UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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ScareTour, Alton Towers & Scarefest 20/21 October

Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:24 pm

Believe it or not its been a year since I visited Alton Towers - due to work commitments etc.

So I find myself booked up for a weekend staying at the rather lovely Quarry Walk Lodges in Cheadle - How can I explain these? - 5 Star luxury log cabins with a exterior heated hot-tub and leather sofas/plasma screen. Totally private and great value for money. I stayed here with Chris-TT and his partner and my wife.

I think I shall be writing a separate report on these lodges later - as I don't want to go into too much detail here about accommodation.

Back to Towers, I was along with Pete, Chris-TT, Charlotte and Petes partner Den to be picked to go on our friends at ScareTour's Behind The Scenes tour of Terror of The Towers and also The Sanctuary. We did the "lights on walk through" with Pete Cliff (Creative Manager at Alton Towers) before and after the mazes opened to the general public. A totally amazing insight into the running of a scare attraction and detailed explanation of the back-story of these mazes which normally go unnoticed.

Each tour lasted around 30 minutes in total and was attended by 15 people only.

So... the mazes. Were they good? - Were they worth the money? - Were they worth queuing for? - Simple answer to that is Yes. Below I have reviewed 3 of the mazes which I experienced normally (not lights on)

Carnival of Screams

General consensus of this maze is, that its poor. I don't believe this I enjoyed it very much the first scene with the clown was hilarious and shocking at the same time, space was utilised very well here also considering the area used.

Ok, its the Carnival its been seen before and it had not differed from what I remember when I last did it in 2010, I thought the end scene with the puppets was very good and left me with lots of anticipation.

Overall Good! 7/10

Terror of The Towers

Didn't rate this im afraid, its the same as previous years. But I guess what works, works.
The setting to this maze is ideal what with it being in the ruins of the Towers. I thought it was too light in there to start with you could see what was coming up ahead of you which was shame.

Average 5/10

The Sanctuary

One word. AMAZING. Best thing that Alton Towers have pulled off in ages! - amazing back story, theming was top notch and the acting was tremendous. Using older actors (seniors) PERFECT you don't see enough of this and it totally works.

Everything about it was perfect, the lighting the music - including that music "Mantovani - Charmaine" worked so well, as it said to me "everything is ok here - you have nothing to worry about" I'm not sure that was the intention but it certainly seemed like it.  Going back to the actors again once more, very good. Each one being totally different to the next all with a unique character.

Excellent 10/10

Overall Scarefest as an event was very good. But with positive reviews sometimes comes with some negative things which I have listed below.

1. Alton obviously thought it was going to be Travellers day today with metal detectors, a strong police presence and a park wide alcohol ban enforced. There was no travellers there today. And with all the police walking around gave todays Scarefest a very unwelcome feel.

2. UPSELL! - God! its everywhere! - shops in queue lines being one of them. I think also considering the queues were long for Terror of The Towers, for Towers to start up selling fastracks for £6 is a insult, which only results in the standard queue line being a longer wait! - Also we noticed £12 "Extreme Sanctuary" upgrade tickets being sold which I totally disagree with.

3. Queue times, I don't expect to see a Approximate queue time for 40 minutes (Nemesis Sub Terra) and have to wait in line for 1hr20 minutes TWICE this happened. And 35 minutes for TH13TEEN resulting in way over a hour and a half. Totally unacceptable Alton. Sort it out!
 
thebutterflyeffect
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Re: ScareTour, Alton Towers & Scarefest 20/21 October

Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:41 pm

If Alton Towers want to embrace the use of an app in the park, then they need to get to grips with "real time element" of the application.

We visited for scarefest and the app for the queue times was NEVER correct,  mind you the LCD signs around the park weren't either. I'm sure this is more than an "educated guesstimate"....surely they have the "knowledge" for it to be more of a science ?

Being in marketing and events myself, I chatted to guests in the queue line to see what they thought....many considered it a brainwashing (me i'd call it a "marketing tool") to indicate lower queues to "outsiders" and to scare "actual guests" to purchasing their fastracks.

I'd encourage the park to look at its fast track  purchases as a % of their overall sales, and consider some market research into why guests buy them. Again most people we spoke to saw it as a fast fix way to overcome their dissatisfaction with queue lines...........TRULY AWFUL Alton Towers - get a grip !!
Last edited by thebutterflyeffect on Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Chaz
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ScareTour, Alton Towers & Scarefest 20/21 October

Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:59 am

I am also in marketing. On visit Thorpe the other week you can see this in motion. The queue times have about 10-15min added on (which is a nice surprise if your queuing) but the average person will queue 30mins no problem but 45 seems a bit too long right? So, they stand outside the front of the queue selling Fasttrack.

I have complained to the park about this but they deny that this is their strategy. I think it's wrong when the majority of guests have paid a fortune to park/get in.

Anyway, back on topic eh?
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leammiles
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Re: ScareTour, Alton Towers & Scarefest 20/21 October

Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:33 pm

That sounds amazing Mark.

I'd love to experience things like that.

I know in the past there have been behind the scenes tours etc, but how can you get involved in things like that?

I would love to do a tour during the off season
 
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Re: ScareTour, Alton Towers & Scarefest 20/21 October

Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:20 pm

It was arranged through our friends at scaretour.com

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