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Small News From The Theme Park Industry

JoshC.

Active Member
I wonder whether this has finally “fixed” the ride so to speak, and made it the critically acclaimed dark ride Thorpe hoped it would be?

I haven't done it yet, so don't take my word exactly on this. But these changes very much seem superficial and won't change much in the grand scheme of things.

The story line needed tweaking really. During the main actor led portion of the experience, the focus would be on 'toxic gas' being present, a need to 'cover your mouth', and then an attack from a monster. Obviously that doesn't quite work when everyone is wearing a face mask, and I guess could be deemed a little on the nose what with Covid. This change in story just circumnavigates that, whilst presumably still making some sort of sense with the VR.

The list of changes the attraction need to really get up to a decent level are longer than I dare think about frankly. But in short:
-The actual hardware is a cocktail of different manufacturers and ideas, which has caused many of the reliability issues (even today, I don't believe all effects were working)
-The storyline of the ride is too muddled, and that won't change without changes to the VR
-Operationally, the ride needs a strong, well trained team to give a smooth experience. It's hard for the park to get that every time

Unless they basically start from scratch with it, it will always be a bit of an awkward elephant in the room that the park will make do with until the time comes. I'm still genuinely surprised they've reopened it...it would be easy to just close it down, blame Covid, pay out any fees to Derren and his team and just take the loss tbh.
 
The start of today's public consultation for the new rides at Chessington has given us some interesting attendance data regarding the Merlin parks- especially the 2020 figures. I think this is one of the first pieces of evidence we've received to show how the closures and capacity restrictions impacted last season. Looking like roughly a 60% decrease for all 4 parks1621281461155.png
Interestingly, this dataset differs slightly from that of the TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report that is usually used for attendance figures. The difference is partially noticeable when looking at Towers vs Legoland. The Merlin graph above shows that Towers is now busier than Legoland, but the TEA data (bellow) indicates that Legoland still reigns supreme. I guess Merlin might be counting Towers attendance to be the whole resort whist TEA are only looking at the theme park? This still doesn't explain why TEA think Legoland is growing in attendance whist Merlin thinks it is declining
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Leon

New Member
The start of today's public consultation for the new rides at Chessington has given us some interesting attendance data regarding the Merlin parks- especially the 2020 figures. I think this is one of the first pieces of evidence we've received to show how the closures and capacity restrictions impacted last season. Looking like roughly a 60% decrease for all 4 parksView attachment 11972
Interestingly, this dataset differs slightly from that of the TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report that is usually used for attendance figures. The difference is partially noticeable when looking at Towers vs Legoland. The Merlin graph above shows that Towers is now busier than Legoland, but the TEA data (bellow) indicates that Legoland still reigns supreme. I guess Merlin might be counting Towers attendance to be the whole resort whist TEA are only looking at the theme park? This still doesn't explain why TEA think Legoland is growing in attendance whist Merlin thinks it is declining
View attachment 11974
Very interesting post. what i learned from this is alton towers needs to build something on the scale of nemesis again because that didn't half pull the crowds in 1994 really was the magic year wasn't it .
 

JoshC.

Active Member
Interestingly, this dataset differs slightly from that of the TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report that is usually used for attendance figures.

The TEA numbers don't always represent an accurate reflection of attendance.

Obviously they try to get accurate numbers, and will contact relevant parks / companies where appropriate (or use announced numbers, since some parks do publicly announce their yearly attendance). But who they contact are under no obligation to respond or, if they do, under no obligation to respond truthfully. I'm sure plenty of parks will try to fudge their numbers, especially if the real numbers are lower than they want them to be.

I would very much trust the graph posted to the Chessington consultation over the TEA numbers.

And that graph gives us some very interesting insight into the trends within the parks:
-Towers huge attendance figures clearly weren't sustainable after Nemesis and Oblivion. People loved the investments in that period, but to hit ~3m every year long term just doesn't seem possible. You could draw parallels with Thorpe and the 2m mark, and see why Swarm's opening year was doomed to see a drop in attendance.
-Speaking of Towers, much is made of Nemesis' impact, but look also at the boost for 2010 and 13's opening. Almost as impactful.
-Thorpe's growth and Chessington's shrinkage occur much at the same time.
-Much is made of the Smiler incident hitting Towers hard, but you just have to see they were on a downward trend before then too. It certainly didn't help, but it's clear there were other issues that needed addressing too.

I think one big question to ask is what was so good for theme parks in 2008-2010? Big increases for all the parks across the board there. Financial crisis led to more staycations explains part of it, but not all of it in my opinion. Something clearly made the parks tick for the UK then. Rediscover that and Merlin could be back onto a winner.
 

oriolat2

Active Member
I don't know if it has been posted anywhere but Cedar Point has released a statement saying that they are indeed changing their park schedule because of staffing issues.

I like that they are openly admitting it but I don't know how they can turn around this. Plus, social media assholes are already throwing a tantrum about something that the park cannot control, even though they have already improved working conditions at the Point. I hope they can get enough associates to be up to the operations standard that Cedar Point is known for.
 

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CSLKennyNI

Active Member
Phantasialand remains closed without an opening perspective from their state, in contrast to other German states which have for their parks. Nevertheless the park is continuing to use the extra closed time to renovate the exterior of Hotel Matamba, alongside other repaints at Hotel Ling Bao and in Berlin for the new cafe posted about on the previous page.

Following the gradual modernisation and improvements to the Africa area around Black Mamba from 2014 to 2019, and last year's hotel garden refurbishment with a park entrance built, the park are repainting and adding more colours and details to the hotel facades. Some thatched roofs have also been renewed.
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
Thorpe Park have gained themselves a new Guinness World Record, as Diags from The Only Way is Essex (I think I spelt that right? I don’t watch TOWIE, so wouldn’t know for sure…) apparently won the world record for “most capital cities named on a roller coaster in one minute”, managing to name 38 capital cities while on Colossus. The previous record was 27.
https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http...1n_T1r2simZH0dCxcTLVVoArZTKUZBb13VcEQSyCA&s=1

Well done, Diags!
 

Eyebrows

Member
Thorpe Park have gained themselves a new Guinness World Record, as Diags from The Only Way is Essex (I think I spelt that right? I don’t watch TOWIE, so wouldn’t know for sure…) apparently won the world record for “most capital cities named on a roller coaster in one minute”, managing to name 38 capital cities while on Colossus. The previous record was 27.
https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2021/5/the-only-way-is-essex-star-smashes-record-in-celebration-of-30th-birthday-661220?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Orlo&h=AT2QLz2Wz3VoNLamV3TNiVrm5Bh2KeIcVWwzSOQjJkElksjqOam0LovcY1L79tR9TKbFZYj4ysU_29acROmLD1TtqW4sKvoos1n_T1r2simZH0dCxcTLVVoArZTKUZBb13VcEQSyCA&s=1

Well done, Diags!
That record is almost as specific and pointless as some of the records that parks are claiming for their rides. Almost.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
That record is almost as specific and pointless as some of the records that parks are claiming for their rides. Almost.
Apparently it’s not one that Thorpe invented; the previous record holder was a German enthusiast, who named 27 capital cities while on a roller coaster at Europa Park in July 2012!
 

Will

Well-Known Member
Ah, that'll teach me to read the full post :)
I did run around the house earlier trying to name the capital of every Eurovision/Euro 2020/F1 country and I admit, it was surprisingly hard!

...and I've become obsessed with Pointless and House of Games when I stay with my parents during lockdown!
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
According to this (very interesting, might I add) Defunctland documentary, Submarine Quest at SeaWorld San Diego is currently in the process of being demolished:
It’s a shame to see it get removed, so soon after it opened! Did anyone here get to experience Submarine Quest when it (briefly) operated?
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Sorry that this is somewhat out-of-date news (August 2020), but I don’t seem to remember hearing it get mentioned. In terms of what news it is, I have some news regarding Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin and Wild Arctic at SeaWorld Orlando.

Apparently, the ride portion of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin did not reopen following the COVID-19 lockdown in Florida, in spite of the fact that the penguin exhibit itself reopened. Now on the face of it, this might not seem suspicious, but other things have happened too.

According to a poster on the Inside Universal forum, the ride requirements sign and ride entrance for Antarctica has vanished in favour of a large and permanent-looking “Penguin Exhibit” sign: https://forums.insideuniversal.net/threads/antarctica-empire-of-the-penguin.6756/page-62#post-867143

And SeaWorld Orlando’s website seems to have removed any trace of there ever having been a ride within Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin: https://seaworld.com/orlando/rides/

This is in spite of the fact that the animal exhibit itself is still advertised: https://seaworld.com/orlando/animal-experiences/antarctica-empire-of-the-penguin/

The ride portion of Wild Arctic also appears to be in a similar situation, as that also isn’t advertised at all on SWO’s website, while the animal exhibit is.

With this info in mind, I think it’s fair to suggest that the ride portions of both Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin and Wild Arctic may have quietly closed down forever. As much as you could say that the ride portions of these attractions are simply shut as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Sky Tower is shut due to COVID, and that is still listed, simply with a banner saying “closed due to physical distancing” alongside it. As such, I think it’s fair to suggest that Antarctica and Wild Arctic’s ride portions may have been mothballed for seemingly unknown reasons.

While it will be a shame if these attractions have met their end, especially Antarctica seeing as it was so new, neither ride exactly had glowing reviews.

While I didn’t get to experience the simulator within Wild Arctic, it was absolutely panned by most who rode it.

I did get to experience the trackless dark ride within Antarctica, however, and I’ll say that I quite possibly found it one of the strangest dark rides I’ve ever been on, and I can’t say I was particularly enamoured with it overall. I think the concept is quite cute, and the theming of the area and penguin enclosure are both incredible, but I’m simply not sure that the ride concept translated that well into a theme park attraction, personally. As much as I’m not sure if I’d want to call Antarctica “bad” per se, as I think it did have its redeeming features and was kind of cute as an overall concept, it was certainly far from my favourite dark ride, and I’d actually say that I personally found the penguin exhibit itself the highlight of the area as opposed to the ride.

But what are your thoughts on the Antarctica and Wild Arctic situation at SeaWorld Orlando? Do you think these attractions have met their end, and if they have, will you miss them?
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
It's been years since I've been on Wild Arctic (2014), but 11-year-old me still remembers that the ride was a bit turd. Whatever they replace it with I imagine it will be substantial and worthwhile. I quite liked the penguin enclosure afterwards though.
 
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