What's new

YAY Merlin!

Tonkso

Mega Poster
Wtf has happened over the course of this season? It honestly seems like Merlin have got it together a bit and started running things properly.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Tbf Thorpe in particular have been running most of their rides at full capacity, even on off peak days, since about 2019. But yes, more recently they have improved reliability further, which is good to see
 

Rob Coasters

Mega Poster
I wouldn't be surprised if this "running things significantly better" is the start of a new arc of trying to get people to return more often - I predict a massive boom in international travel next year from people wanting to leave the country for holidays, and this might poke parks to start convincing guests "hey, you should come back here :)".

And you know what? I can get behind it, and I support that.
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
I wouldn't be surprised if this "running things significantly better" is the start of a new arc of trying to get people to return more often - I predict a massive boom in international travel next year from people wanting to leave the country for holidays, and this might poke parks to start convincing guests "hey, you should come back here :)".

And you know what? I can get behind it, and I support that.
It's almost as if this way of thinking would have been beneficial for them all along ;)
 

Will

Strata Poster
Too much time has elapsed for me to write a proper report now, but I had a really good day at Legoland on Thursday.
I was half-expecting to end up grabbing the cred and then wondering how the hell to kill the rest of the day, but couldn't have been more wrong.
Even on a quiet day when only Mythica had a line in excess of 5-10 minutes, the day flew by. I'd never properly visited before, despite going with CF for the fireworks three or four times, but the vast majority of rides seemed to be new since my last visit in 2012 and I went into most of them with no idea what to expect.

The vast majority of the park is looking very clean and shiny and the staff were very friendly, putting to rest any concerns that a lone male adult may not be entirely welcome there. The haunted madhouse is a laugh, as I always enjoy those and so was the Tomb Blaster type ride. Mythica's quite an impressive new area and I do enjoy flying theatres, though sadly, they do give me a fair amount of motion sickness. I always enjoy Lego 4D films, though the silent Mythica film (basically Ice Age with different characters) wasn't as good as Movie World Australia's take on The Lego Movie.

The only letdown was Ninjago the Ride, as the shooting system didn't seem to be working on my car - that, and the Lego PS4 games being closed due to Covid.

My favourite though was the Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride - I was expecting this to be a simulator, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to explore the actual aquarium. It was a bit of a shame you couldn't see the main tank from anywhere other than the ride though.

Obviously, it's not somewhere I'd rush back to or do often, but I wish 6-year-old Will could have visited Legoland as it is in 2021, as at that age, I'd probably have enjoyed it more than I could Alton. I rounded off the day by spending over £200 in the Lego shop. Oops.
 

Jamesss

Hyper Poster
Went to Chessington earlier this week for my first theme park visit since pre-covid.

The biggest surprise of the day was the "Vile Villagers" scare zone for Halloween. I hadn't heard anything about it but it was a brilliant little scare attraction for Chessington. The actors were fantastic and took their time to interact with every member of my group. Was the highlight of the day. If anyone is going this coming week, don't miss it.
 

Will

Strata Poster
Can't find anywhere else to put this, but I met up with a few goons yesterday evening to watch Alton's fireworks and finish the 2021 season in the only way I know how...

The 40 year history storyline had obviously been postponed from last year, and I felt like the time-travel aspect had been done before - but that was the 2013 display which I absolutely loved. The first half was a delight and really blew it out of the park - I doubt 99% of those in attendance understood, but I loved all the little nods to the past, explaining how the park developed through the 90s. The Towers Street overture always brings a tear to my eye in that kind of setting and it's fab to see Nemesis getting the acknowledgement it deserves.

I did feel the story lost its way after that - I dislike fireworks being set to anything to songs-with-words and obnoxious pop of the last three decades made its inevitable experience. Trance music is fine, but nobody needs Usher - so the 'rewind' section toward the end felt forced and incredibly incongruous. Unsurprisingly, I've got a LOT of memories tied in to Alton since 1992 (the most powerful being a Scarefest evening in 2011) and prefer the reflective, sentimental stuff. The finale however, was great as ever :)

I took some pictures, but they're **** as I only had my phone with me (plus I think you know what a firework looks like!!)

I was also impressed that crowd control was obviously better than in previous years - getting away at the end wasn't too burdenous at all :)
... @Serena might disagree though. I was sad when I found out she was there but we missed eachother!
 
Last edited:

Swat

Mega Poster
I just got back from Alton Towers Christmas Market and Lightopia a few hours ago. And honestly, I’m blown away. If they can just get a few more coasters operating to justify the ride pass, they have the makings of a world class theme park Christmas event on their hands!!!
It would have been great for them to use the retro squad or more fun fair rides but yeah, this event is absolutely amazing for Alton!
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Glad you enjoyed it - maybe it was just my narky mood (though Nick, you are a natural optimist :p )- or was it not as busy on a weeknight? :)
It was actually much busier than I expected... But I have no problems with crowds usually... I do wish I'd picked a later slot to do Lightopia, as there were so many photography opportunities I wish I had more time to take advantage of.

A nice touch was that the guy on the Yorkie Wrap stall was the same guy that runs the bar, and he recognised us from our many hours spent at the bar over Oktoberfest, Scarefest etc... And gave me a HUGE discount on all of our yorkie wraps... Which is ALWAYS nice. (I think I do need to have a chat with our group about alcohol poisoning and it's dangers though! if the bar staff at major events are recognising us months later!)
 

Will

Strata Poster
I've not seen enough praise so far for Festival of Thrills - but personally, I really like it.
It's always great when Alton do something that celebrates its own hardware, almost takes me back to the bygone days of 'Fearsome Five fortnight!' where t-shirts were given out if you rode all the big coasters.

I managed to actually sit and watch the Thirteen show today - not only did I really like the music (relatively dark, heavy stuff with violin accompaniment, kind of reminiscent of Apocalyptica) but the long overdue return of the wraiths and Thirteen Girl.

Elsewhere, there's Oblivion, Wickerman, Smiler, Nemesis etc. themed entertainers and live music to fit the style of the ride (I noticed WM's playing Franz Ferdinand's song about fire). We sometimes forget it's not all about the rides and I'm loving seeing a bit of TLC going to ents. A few of the entertainers were chatting with guests too and genuinely seemed to be enjoying what they were doing.

With a slightly darker tone, I'd love to see it back around Scarefest.
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
I have not seen it in person, but i have seen videos and overall it looks like fun and brings atmosphere to their areas.
I really like how Merlin are investing in bringing in live entertainment into their parks, i think it is always fun to listen to some live actors/music in between rides.
i also would like to mention Thorpe's team of roamers, who are a little cheesey but honestly incredibly fun and i always pop a smile when i see them near Amity. I think Alton's looks a little more refinded but the casual party atmosphere of Thorpe's sort the park better tbf.
 

JoshC.

Strata Poster
Forgive me in advance, as this is like a mini trip report, but:
1. Doesn't really warrant a trip report thread
2. Suits here better

Thorpe started their Mardi Gras event today. And you something, it's a really well-polished event which is a lot of fun.

They have a mini parade through half the park (I think the first proper parade to ever happen at Thorpe Park):
282036700_10166780110430624_7152157505255273089_n.jpg

282375055_10166780110475624_6182705595564274358_n.jpg

282151761_10166780110505624_2211073586455288858_n.jpg


They have a 15-20 minute long song and dance show:
283022271_10166780562790624_6873697983351205656_n.jpg

It's great fun, especially the Stealth-style "Krewe" who sing Rihanna's Shut Up and Drive and have changed the lyric "'Cause it's 0 to 60 in 3.5" to "'Cause it's 0 to 80 in 2.3"...because, you know, that's what Stealth does (debatably)!

And there's loads of food options...jambalaya, Louisiana style ribs and chicken, Po Boys, etc. And it's reasonably priced, largely in line with other meals across the park.
282448641_10166780665010624_8645238088726507676_n.jpg

283007629_10166779974560624_1947018606347712811_n.jpg
Even have Mardi Gras cupcakes.

It's not a perfect event, and I'm not a fan of how over the top the actors are when interacting outside of the shows (a bit too cringey for my liking...but then again, great for others). And on a fairly quiet day like today, the shows didn't attract a big crowd, so hopefully it is actually what the wider audience want to see. But honestly, it's a fun little event, and it's clear to see that everyone involved has put in the time and energy to make this work, and the park have put the money in to try and make it a success. So, YAY Thorpe!
 

Will

Strata Poster
Alton's mardi-gras starts tomorrow and I've just worked the preview night.
I don't think I'm breaching any policies if I say: it looks pretty cool :)
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
A few days ago i had the pleasure of visting Chessington for the first time since March 2020. I really enjoyed myself in 2020, i thought the park was starting to look very modern in places, and Merlin generally were showing it a lot of love. So how was it 2 years on? I'd say the same if not better.

Since 2017 Merlin have seemed to pour in refurbs, rethemes, and replacements to old dying attractions and gave some new life to the park. Areas like the area around Croc Drop, the main plaza with the carousel, Tiger Falls, and overall just little touch ups across the park really has made the park fresh and fun again.
I'd argue this is the best the park has been in a LONG Long time.

Croc Drop: So this was my first ride on this thing, i really enjoyed Rameses back in the day but honestly i am glad they removed it, it was crying for removal for years. I believe Croc Drop is a great replacement, sure it is a simple flat ride but the way its presented is awesome!
I love the large croc mouth, the mist coming out when the doors open, and overall its a fun mild drop tower that looks cool in the skyline. It also gives the area around it a nice atmopshere as well.

My main gripes of the day was no water in the finale on Zufari, and sometimes slow dispatches. But the park was ABSOLUTELY dead with most of the coasters on a 5 minute queue anyway. I also would like to say the staff across the park were all very friendly. Overall Chessington in my eyes is vastly superior to Thorpe Park in every way besides roller coasters. I'd much rather spend a day here than Thorpe.

Ps: Dragon's Fury is an awesome family-thrill coaster, it has such a great and unique layout and honestly is a brilliant ride for a small park like Chessington.
 

Changa

Roller Poster
It might not strictly count here as its not a theme park. But we went to Warwick Castle last week and had an amazing time. The place is immaculately kept, the castle itself is fantastic, the access you get is surprisingly great, and the extra attractions are all very fun and charming. Other than the 4pm closing time (which was fine for us as we had places to be), I couldn't really fault anything about our day, and would genuinely recommend it to anyone.
 

Ethan

Strata Poster
Mentioned it in the Project Amazon thread, but I visited Chessington yesterday on a very quiet Thursday (but with very hot weather), and we actually had a really lovely time.

The park is really quite lovely in parts, but as I mentioned in the other post, it does feel like it needs more of a revamp in parts. The place had a lovely atmosphere though, I really love the area with Rattlesnake, Croc Drop, and the old Rameses queue line winding above, and I do wish Croc Drop took advantage of it tbh.

They had the Mardi Gras event on (in June, weird...) and if I'm honest it's not my cup of tea at all. The performers were great and are obviously good at their job, but they felt awkwardly placed. I wasn't a fan of the pop music playing around the park, or the event's food offerings either. We ended up at the place beside Tomb Blaster and the Veggie Deluxe burger was a surprise hit, actually delicious and not what I was expecting at all.

Operations weren't great but on a day where all of the major attractions were at a 5/10 minute wait or walk on, it didn't really matter. I don't know if anyone can enlighten me as to why, but they were running two trains on Vampire but sending one of them around empty every time? Odd.

But overall a lovely day, but I'll be glad to see a revamped entrance area and the Jumanji expansion or whatever it is. I do sort of wish they'd skip investments in new attractions for a while and spend a load of cash just theming the crap out of the place. It has so much potential, and the themes they have are great, I just think if it had top tier theming, it could be something really noteworthy, something Animal Kingdom-esque, but on a much smaller scale of course.
 

Jared

Hyper Poster
I don't know if anyone can enlighten me as to why, but they were running two trains on Vampire but sending one of them around empty every time? Odd.

I can answer that one for you. Vampire has 3 trains. They run two during the main season and one which typically runs during the winter months.

Train 2 I believe is the winter train and has just been taken off for its annual strip down and train 3 has taken its place. Typically they do it midweek and run it alongside the other train so that it can get its cycles in before guests ride. That and it’s a great way of keeping staff used to operating with two trains.
 

Changa

Roller Poster
We had a great day at Thorpe last Saturday, despite the crowds at the start of the day, the queuetimes were pretty low throughout (Only colossus and tidal wave stayed above an hour all day). The operations were fantastic on the coasters, dispatches were fast and we only saw nemesis break down for about 15 mins in the afternoon. Stealth in particular ran fast dispatches all day without any breakdowns, and the op was taking votes from the train to turn off the countdown each time.

Though the main thing I noticed was that there were lots of free suncream dispensers and water refill spots throughout the park. Merlin could easily profit off of the summer heatwaves and sell suncream, but they went out of their way to put these in everywhere instead. This and our warwick castle visit has really swayed my thoughts of merlin, they seem seem to be investing more into the general park operations solely for guest benefits which is just fantastic!
 
Last edited:
Top