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Alton Towers | Wicker Man | GCI Wood

Discussion in 'Roller Coaster Construction' started by Dar, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N Active Member

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    What did you think?
     
  2. SilverArrow

    SilverArrow Well-Known Member

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    Is it the same kind of breakdown every time? Been hearing that it's been breaking down a lot, I know there was a rumour that there was a new sensor trial going on but still, it had been testing with people for months. Unless maybe they didn't test with two (or three?) trains then and the issues are due to that?? I expect they would have done that though...?
     
  3. NeoXIII

    NeoXIII Best Newcomer 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    I think it's the new sensor/brake system having trouble dealing with three trains. Engineers have been fiddling around with the outside break run quite a bit yesterday and they've taken out one of the trains and everything seemed to work a lot better afterwards. But just a guess from my side.
     
  4. NeoXIII

    NeoXIII Best Newcomer 2016 CF Award Winner 2016

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    After two rides and waiting longer because of the ride just breaking down several times, I do have to say I quite liked the entire experience. That is, the theme, build-up and ride itself. If I were to judge the ride by itself, it is a really save options as a new addition for Alton, maybe a bit too tame (but then again it is a family coaster, but then again with the pre-show and all, I'm surprised I didn't hear any small children just scream out loud).
    It does miss some little tricks here and there for me to make it a world class experience as advertised, but I can imagine why Alton/Merlin wouldn't fully commit to it. :p
     
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  5. Matt N

    Matt N Active Member

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    Great stuff! Glad to hear that you liked it! I also think that the coaster is a fantastic experience overall, and for me, I actually thought the coaster on its own was fantastic!

    With regards to the theme, I like that Merlin have attempted a more mystical attempt at dark theming, as opposed to their usual out-and-out grim dark theming. While their usual theming is still fantastic, I do prefer Wicker Man's style, as it gives off quite a different vibe to Merlin's other themes. Whereas Merlin's usual themes tend to have dark written all over them, Wicker Man's theme is more mystical, and doesn't give too much away. If you get what I mean. Don't get me wrong, Merlin's other themes are all fantastic, but Wicker Man is on a completely new level of theming, and it makes me really optimistic for future Merlin attractions. In their defence, The Smiler is another coaster that isn't really out-and-out grim, but I didn't find The Smiler to have Wicker Man's mystical vibe, either. The Smiler gives off a very strange sort of vibe, in that it appears nice and cheery at first, but once you delve further into it, it really starts to get quite creepy. Anyway, that's going off-topic a bit. Glad to hear you enjoyed Wicker Man.
    P.S. Sorry for the long post.
     
  6. witchfinder

    witchfinder Well-Known Member

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    I rode The Wicker Man for the first time yesterday along with Neo. We got in the queue at 10am and the queue time was immediately 90 minutes, and at that point it wasn’t even running. After about 15 minutes it started dispatching trains, though in some cases they had several empty rows, with this being the worst culprit…
    [​IMG]

    Pretty frustrating to see this when you’re in a very long queue! :mad: An hour later we were getting close to the station and the ride broke down again. After a delay of around 20 minutes it started testing again and sent at least 6 trains, then operations restarted. We then got as far as the preshow and then as we were in the final queue in the station it broke down again for another ten minutes or so. By the time we got on the ride we had been waiting 2hrs 40mins!

    It's hard to be positive about a ride when you’ve stood in a queue for so long and seen it break down several times, but there are positives. The preshow is good, the station is nicely themed (as is the queue line in places) and the ride itself is quite fun. It was kind of like a junior version of Thunderhead and I enjoyed the wild, twister style layout. There were even the faintest pops of airtime in places (we rode in row 10) and the near misses and interactions with the Wicker Man statue were good. Even Boring Corner wasn’t that bad - it looked awful off-ride but it didn’t take as much pace off the ride as we expected. Overall I’d say it’s a decent family woodie and the 4th best coaster in the park, but my opinion may change when I’ve ridden it more.

    Now for the bad points, and ride-wise the only real issue was how short it was (other than the technical issues). The other issues are all around the supposedly World Class Experience that Merlin claim to be offering. Firstly, The Wicker Man statue looks cool but is a lot smaller than it seemed on all the PR material, so that was a bit disappointing. The fire effects weren’t switched on so the only ‘fusion of wood and fire’ was the very obvious screens inside the statue, which look a bit naff, a few orange LEDs and some smoke effects which are cold. Very poor.

    Even worse though is the dark tunnel that you end up in at the end of the ride. We were expecting something spectacular but basically just sat there in the dark on the brake run for a couple of minutes. It looked like there was some kind of pathetic fire effect near the front of the train but we couldn’t see what it was. I noticed the ceiling of the tunnel seemed unfinished, with the wooden beams still showing. This made me think that they were intending to mount something on there but ran out of time/cash/enthusiasm. This tunnel is crying out for a big, dramatic, fire-filled finale, something like they do on The Mummy at Universal, with screens showing a ceiling of fire and some kind of heat blowers. That would have been a world class experience.

    Similarly the lack of any kind of heat in the Wicker Man statue and no fire effects in the two tunnels on the ride are further missed opportunities. So in summary, the ride is fun but it seems incomplete and the theme is not carried out anywhere near what it should have been. Add to that the current technical issues and shaky operations and it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Merlin attraction! I completed the survey at the exit of the shop and rated the ride 6/10 overall. I am looking forward to riding it again when they've sorted the issues out and a 90 mins queue actually means 90 mins. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. ATI

    ATI Spammer of the Year & Most Improved Member CF Award Winner 2016

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    You apologise way to much. :p There is no limit to how long you can make your posts (I believe). ;)
     
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  8. Matt N

    Matt N Active Member

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    Thanks!
     
  9. Efan

    Efan Active Member

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    I got on today after a roller coaster of emotions (ha).
     
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  10. Pokemaniac

    Pokemaniac Mountain monkey Staff Member Administrator Moderator Social Media Team

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    There is one, but it's quite big. 65,000 characters or something like that.
     
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  11. Martyn B

    Martyn B Well-Known Member

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    I've been on the Wicker Man a few times now, and I have to say that for me, it's probably the best coaster experience we have in the UK (before WM, I really couldn't say what that was).

    For me, the biggest factor is that I just wasn't expecting anything from it. Through-out the construction I just wasn't really feeling it, just expecting it to be another run of the mill "good fun" GCI. I'm glad I had that mind-set though, I might not feel the same way about it if I was bumming it during construction...?

    It surpasses anything Merlin have ever created in the UK (IMO), although there are still touches of Merlin around, like the seemingly endless miles of the ugly queue line fencing. I'm being picky I know, but it does look nasty and cheap. They've put this fencing along parts of the ride structure for some reason. But the music, effects, the roar of the coaster and the general atmosphere really do make it something special (for the UK).

    At front and the middle, its good, but at the back, it's really good. Really wasn't expecting that tiny first drop to feel so powerful (at the back). The tunnels surprisingly really add to it too, especially if the smoke effects are working well (they seem to be really temperamental in the tunnels). Second hill, you get pulled over that wonderfully in to the s-bend drop thing. That start to the ride truly is awesome.

    The other part that really took me by surprise was the two tiny little bumps just as you enter WM for the second time. Actual air time on them that I wasn't expecting. Again, with the smoke everywhere and the flames, it really is a great experience.

    I believe the unbanked turn is like that due to the focus on the WM (that's also supposedly why the original plans for the first drop were so awful, so the main focus would on entering the structure). I don't find it that bad really, if you're at the front you get some ejector going into it, at the back its just floater, but then going down the drop is equally awesome at the back (seriously, GCI make some awesome straight drops, they need to do it more!). I look at that turn like the stall turn on Nemesis, a bit of clam before some more carnage.

    One thing I don't get, is the brake run and why the brakes are so far away. There's an unusual unbanked s-bend just before the brake run.... this is a GCI coaster, why haven't they stuck in some little quirky bumps/jolts that they are famed for?

    Also, I was a little disappointed that nothing happened in the shed at the end. That guy who created WM said something about when the ride ends, the experience doesn't, so I was expecting something to happen. Filling that shed with more of the same basic smoke effects with red lights and burning sound effects would have been good. Nothing spectacular I know, but better than a pitch black shed.

    It's great that they want to run it on 3 trains, but why do they? It's stacks like Oblivion, so they may as well keep it on 2. And what is the deal with the restraints? I get that some restraints need rechecking, but with MW is practically every train, with multiple seats. And why do they need to release them and push them down again? What happened to just pushing them down more? I've never seen anything like it on any other coaster, let alone any other GCI I've been on. It's just so time consuming and painful.

    And with regards to the RAP nonsense, I agree with what's been said, it infuriates me that a ride can open with a huge disabled queue, with no one in the queue having any physical disabilities (that's what it's for isn't it?). Yes not all disabilities are visible blah blah, but why should every family get a disabled pass because one of their kids has ADHD? or "he gets anxious in queues" - don't go to a theme park then? Coz your kid who can't queue seems to be doing just fine in the long RAP queue...

    If there really are these restrictions in place, why is the WM RAP queue constantly full all day? I've had to bite my lip around some people that I know who use it. One guy I know, who is very much physically disabled, used his RAP and then queued normally, sort of proving that he doesn't need the RAP. I also know someone who claims to have anxiety when in big crowds, yet they'll visit Towers during Fireworks and Scarefest... it just winds me up so much.

    I actually saw this morning in that poisonous Annual Pass group on Facebook someone woman wanting to know what to do to get their passes as her precious little boy who she can't raise properly has just been diagnosed with ADHD....
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  12. zazobo

    zazobo Well-Known Member

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    ^^ in terms of the RAP, sometimes you are well enough/able to handle one or two long queues but couldn’t do it all day. That’s certainly the case for me. I don’t see why I should miss out on doing the hobby I love ‘just because’...
     
  13. spicy

    spicy Well-Known Member

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    Wonder if they will issue RAP for cred anxiety?
     
  14. Howie

    Howie Well-Known Member

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    I gotta say, had an absolutely storming ride on Wicker Dude today.
    The fire effects are busted already, operations are still abysmal (400pph, tops), the constant cloud of mist engulfing the statue is making the wood go green already, and it was pissing down. I mean torrential. But man, the thing was flying! What a different beast to just a few weeks ago.
    Front row this time (well, 2nd row actually, but they couldn't close the restraints on 2 fat blokes in row 1 so they had to do the walk of shame, and staff didn't bother letting anyone else on so we had an unobstructed view which felt like front row :) ).
    Yeah man, great stuff. Had a back row ride last time, which was decent enough, but believe it or not there was far more genuine airtime near the front. The problem with the back is the drops are too small. Yes, you get that snappy, 'pull down' effect at the top, but just as it's about to get really good you start going up again so any airtime is kinda cut short in its prime. At the front though, when it's hauling ass on a wet track, you get 'pushed up' and over with some serious force - and it's hilarious!
    In fact, the best bit, the very best bit, was the first half of boring corner! My arse wasn't even touching the seat. 'Holy sh*t' I thought. 'That was boring corner??'

    So yeah. Howie's handy hints when next riding Wicker Dude.
    1. Ride in the rain.
    2. Push the beer gut out when boarding so you don't get stapled too much.
    And 3. Don't get too hung up about riding at the back. It's not all it's cracked up to be.

    Wicker Duuuuuude :)

    It's still too short though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  15. davidm

    davidm Well-Known Member

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    Been to see it today...

    Yeah was nice enough. Not a patch on the big GCIs for "thrills" but much better than it looked "on paper" and a decent family-thriller ride. My family-members who I was with thought it was good, liked the speed and the whole themed setup, so its working for those who don't really geek out on the details like us lot.

    No fire effects running, just the screens in the structure. Lift chain was stupid noisy though when you are stood in the Q underneath it ; bad bit of design that.

    Rode it twice ; once at the start of the day (advertised 70min Q - was about 50mins) and at the end of the day (advertised 40min Q - was about 50 mins). Was about the only thing we had to Q for in the day (apart from Galactica which was a slow loading faff related Q, and maybe 10 mins for Rita) so normal-punters do seem to like it - so that's good. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Matt N

    Matt N Active Member

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    Wow, that photo is fantastic! Also glad to hear that you and your family liked the ride!
     
  17. Howie

    Howie Well-Known Member

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    ^Aye, lovely photograph that, Dave.
    You're right about that lift chain thing, I noticed that too.
    You'd have been better off going tomorrow though, dude. Gonna rain tomorrow. S'faster in the rain! :)
     
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  18. davidm

    davidm Well-Known Member

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    Not wrong, the Q mid afternoon today apparently ; I was back at work, sis & family were on day#2.
    wm_0.jpg
     
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  19. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

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    That picture is incredible.
     
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  20. Howie

    Howie Well-Known Member

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    Which one? The amazing view of the ride, or the queue board showing a zero minute wait? Both are fairly mind blowing tbf.
     
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