What's new

Future UK coasters?

tynemouthsurfer

Roller Poster
Apologies if there is another thread on this or similar...

I am trying to get a view on current coaster rumours/construction in the UK: -

Intamin inverted coaster - Flamingo Land - 2022 (hopefully)
Project Amazon coaster ,- Chessington - 2023/2024
???

Appreciate the past year have been devasting to the leisure industry - but are there any other indications of any coasters at Towers/Thorpe/Blackpool/anywhere?
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Thorpe Car Park B&M Hyper Coaster?
Alton Towers SW9
Drayton Manor maybe?
Paultons Farmyard Flyer
Are there really rumours of a B&M hyper at Thorpe? I’m very excited if so, as I love the only B&M hyper I’ve done so far (Mako)!
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Are there really rumours of a B&M hyper at Thorpe? I’m very excited if so, as I love the only B&M hyper I’ve done so far (Mako)!
There have been rumours of a B&M hyper at Thorpe for longer than I can remember. Certainly well before Swarm, and possibly even before Saw. Not come to anything yet...
 

Matt N

CF Legend
There have been rumours of a B&M hyper at Thorpe for longer than I can remember. Certainly well before Swarm, and possibly even before Saw. Not come to anything yet...
Merlin’s stance on B&M hypers must have changed a bit if the ride type is being rumoured again, because back when Swarm was being developed, John Wardley and B&M both wanted a Hyper Coaster for that project, but Merlin rejected the idea because a B&M hyper didn’t have an adequate USP. Here’s what Making Thorpe Park by Chris Atkinson (great read, by the way!) said:
Making Thorpe Park by Chris Atkinson said:
When [B&M] was approached to suggest ideas for the first of the new development islands, they were strongly against using the new Wing model. The flat piece of land really didn’t play to the strengths of the concept, and [John] Wardley also felt that a different B&M option should be utilised instead. His preference was a Hyper Coaster, a tall ride that offers high speeds and massive airtime. Having good knowledge of planning restrictions, he was confident that permission could be agreed and it would be the perfect complement to the four major roller coasters already in operation at Thorpe Park. However, when the suggestion was put forward, the message from the very top of Merlin was a familiar one. They were adamant that any major new attraction would need to have some kind of unique selling point in order to attract the public, and getting their hands on a Wing Coaster would give them an exclusive.
I guess the Merlin board must have had a similar attitude to approving a B&M hyper to when they approved a wooden coaster for the Wicker Man project.
 

JoshC.

Giga Poster
A Thorpe B&M Hyper is more an enthusiast pipe dream than anything else. I don't think it's ever been seriously considered by the park, even if certain individuals have wanted one.

Side note: I haven't read Making Thorpe Park, and that's the first I've heard about a Hyper Coaster being considered for Swarm's location. Interesting. I have always been of the impression the the wing coaster model was more or less the only ride type considered for there, and had been been pretty nailed on by 2010 (maybe even late 2009). And it was agreed in 2010 that any coaster there wouldn't exceed 50m/~160ft, so not exactly 'hyper' coaster height. Obviously doesn't stop a B&M sit down going there though.
Also, rambling side note: Aren't most B&M wings on reasonable flat pieces of land, and have had theming features built up?

Anyway, not saying B&M hyper won't ever happen. But at this point, I'd've thought the elusive Thorpe RMC would be more likely.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Apparently the bit about Wardley and B&M wanting a Hyper was actually sourced from an interview with Wardley himself that the writer did while finding info for the book, so I’d personally be inclined to believe it. I’m assuming this desire would have been a good few years before Swarm opened, as it’s said that Merlin ordered Swarm at the same time as they ordered Raptor at Gardaland.

In terms of the location being why B&M and Wardley weren’t keen on a Wing Coaster; they apparently designed the concept for Raptor at Gardaland, which uses the terrain a fair bit and has a somewhat more interesting site to play with topography-wise than Swarm. As they didn’t have that interesting terrain to play with at Thorpe, Wardley and B&M didn’t think that the site in question played to the concept’s strengths. It says later in the book that the copious theming and near-misses Swarm has were incorporated because of this lack of terrain.
 

Jared

Hyper Poster
A Thorpe B&M Hyper is more an enthusiast pipe dream than anything else. I don't think it's ever been seriously considered by the park, even if certain individuals have wanted one.

You say that, but there are designs for one up on the walls ‘somewhere’ within Merlin... Station replacing Depth Charge and running up into the car parks past the main entrance and back.

There’s been multiple rides drawn up recently, including said B&M Hyper as well as a Mack Hyper and a few other proposals. Merlin Magic Making are working on a new coaster project for Thorpe. It’s not a case of if anymore. It’s a case of when it gets the green light.

With Merlin under new ownership, they’re keen to invest again, they no longer need to pander to share holders and can spend more money getting people to visit again. If Chessington is 2023 I’d say Thorpe will be 2024 / 2025 at the latest.

There will also be SW9. I can see that potentially being 2023 as it’s far enough away from Chessington to not impact their new investment. Similar to Zufari and Smiler back in 2013.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Interesting… I guess we’ll have to keep our eyes peeled for the next few years at Thorpe!
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
I don't want to sound like a negative nancy here, but i do believe Thorpe will not see the type of investments we used to see for a long time. I think Merlin lost interest back in 2016, it is no secret that the park has just kind of declined in the past 5 years, and i do not believe Merlin have good enough reason to invest compared to other bigger potential properties they own. Maybe we will see a cheaper coaster, but i would not expect a B&M. A hyper is wholely unrealistic for the time being as well, they barely got Stealth approved right? It is going to have be scaled down if so, and that is assuming Merlin would pay for that for one of their lower parks.

Chessington i think has been on Merlin's radar for years now, Gruffalo was seemingly the start of the that interest. Merlin obviously sees potential competition and/or potential in the park in general. I honestly think a park like Gardaland would make much more sense for a large scale investment like a Hyper than Thorpe. Considering it attracts just shy of 3 million yearly.

Anyway that is just my opinion, i believe UK-wise Alton and Chessington are the ones to get the coasters for now. Unless circumstances change.
 

tynemouthsurfer

Roller Poster
Thorpe Car Park B&M Hyper Coaster?
Alton Towers SW9
Drayton Manor maybe?
Paultons Farmyard Flyer
What is the expectation for Drayton? I know they have new owners following administration and have Apocalypse for sale.

Shockwave is very old - I am unsure what condition it is in...
 

Matt N

CF Legend
What is the expectation for Drayton? I know they have new owners following administration and have Apocalypse for sale.

Shockwave is very old - I am unsure what condition it is in...
I previously heard rumours rumbled around of an S&S Free Spin replacing Pandemonium and Apocalypse, but I did think that seemed slightly strange given the park’s recent effort to make themselves more appealing to young families, while also moving away from the thrill seekers.

However, this came from a source who also correctly predicted Splash Canyon reopening in 2021, as well as the attractions included within Adventure Cove, so who knows?
 

toofpikk

Mega Poster
With Merlin under new ownership, they’re keen to invest again, they no longer need to pander to share holders and can spend more money getting people to visit again. If Chessington is 2023 I’d say Thorpe will be 2024 / 2025 at the latest.

Aside from Chessington's (ridiculously long overdue) green light and mythica, what other evidence is there from merlin that they're keen to invest outside of their cut and paste formula for global attractions? It's often speculated by insiders that many significant projects can take upwards of 5 years to materialise from their start (the chessington project being case and example from the previous MTDP), I imagine this is only fast-tracked when IP's get involved. If that were the case and assuming the new management immediately got on the backs of creatives towards the end of last year as they took over, even if projects were in the pipeline, I think we'd be lucky to see something by 2024. I hope the new management will see a significant attitude change towards investments, general upkeep and overall management of the UK parks but I can't help but think that may be a little naive.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I don't want to sound like a negative nancy here, but i do believe Thorpe will not see the type of investments we used to see for a long time. I think Merlin lost interest back in 2016, it is no secret that the park has just kind of declined in the past 5 years, and i do not believe Merlin have good enough reason to invest compared to other bigger potential properties they own. Maybe we will see a cheaper coaster, but i would not expect a B&M. A hyper is wholely unrealistic for the time being as well, they barely got Stealth approved right? It is going to have be scaled down if so, and that is assuming Merlin would pay for that for one of their lower parks.

Chessington i think has been on Merlin's radar for years now, Gruffalo was seemingly the start of the that interest. Merlin obviously sees potential competition and/or potential in the park in general. I honestly think a park like Gardaland would make much more sense for a large scale investment like a Hyper than Thorpe. Considering it attracts just shy of 3 million yearly.

Anyway that is just my opinion, i believe UK-wise Alton and Chessington are the ones to get the coasters for now. Unless circumstances change.
Aside from Chessington's (ridiculously long overdue) green light and mythica, what other evidence is there from merlin that they're keen to invest outside of their cut and paste formula for global attractions? It's often speculated by insiders that many significant projects can take upwards of 5 years to materialise from their start (the chessington project being case and example from the previous MTDP), I imagine this is only fast-tracked when IP's get involved. If that were the case and assuming the new management immediately got on the backs of creatives towards the end of last year as they took over, even if projects were in the pipeline, I think we'd be lucky to see something by 2024. I hope the new management will see a significant attitude change towards investments, general upkeep and overall management of the UK parks but I can't help but think that may be a little naive.
One thing worth remembering about Merlin is that they’ve been public since the early 2010s, which does impact strategy to an extent. If we look back to the early Merlin era, when the company hadn’t gone public yet, the parks did generally receive more investment.

Between 2008 and 2010, Alton had the likes of Mutiny Bay, Cloud Cuckoo Land, Sharkbait Reef and Thirteen all within very short succession, and 2012 wasn’t an insignificant year investment-wise either, with both Sub-Terra and Ice Age 4D opening. 2011 was only empty because the IP fronting their original plan pulled out at the last minute, and 2013 was another major year in the form of The Smiler.

Thorpe had the substantial investment in Saw: The Ride in 2009, closely followed by Saw Alive, Storm Surge and then The Swarm just 3 years later.

Chessington had the SeaLife centre in 2008, which was closely followed by Wild Asia in 2010, the big aesthetical touch-up project in the early 2010s (which I believe had a 7-figure budget) and then ZUFARI just 3 years later in 2013 (which I think might have had an 8-figure budget, as much as it’s not often thought of as a major ride?).

So if the early Merlin era before they went public is anything to go by, I’d say we could begin to see a fair amount of investment into the RTPs.
 

Jared

Hyper Poster
Chessington had the SeaLife centre in 2008, which was closely followed by Wild Asia in 2010, the big aesthetical touch-up project in the early 2010s (which I believe had a 7-figure budget) and then ZUFARI just 3 years later in 2013 (which I think might have had an 8-figure budget, as much as it’s not often thought of as a major ride?).
Just to confirm something here. The SeaLife at Chessington was only meant to be a temporary investment and was made as a test-bed to see how viable Chessington World of Adventures was as an attraction. Ideas were floated around during the late Tussauds days to offload the attraction, but it was saved by the Merlin takeover bid. What would've happened to Chessington is unknown, but it was saved and tested by Merlin with the SeaLife centre, which was proven to be a success.

They invested £14m in the renovation works, including the Azteca Hotel. A lot of that money was spent on renovating ride hardware, Dragon Falls for example had a lot of poorly maintained structural work and a large amount of the rides backbone was replaced alongside sections of the trough. Lots of rides received newly updated control systems etc. Lots of things that were put off under the DIC era of Tussauds. Another £6m was spent on Zufari, although this was due to be bigger, funds were sadly diverted from the project by MMM to fix issues with Smiler. £4m on Wild Asia. For example, pre floatation, Merlin invested around £20m in Chessington over the course of 4 years, the funds were allocated I believe at the end of the 2009 season following the success of the SeaLife Centre. Chessington works very differently from the other RTPs in terms of investment strategy due to the zoo. They just essentially get a pot over say 4 years and earmark where to spend it themselves.

I hope the new management will see a significant attitude change towards investments, general upkeep and overall management of the UK parks but I can't help but think that may be a little naive.
There's been a structural change within the Merlin RTPs teams fairly recently, with the removal of the Divisional Director role, I now believe that the former Director at Chessington now has a dual role in charge of both Thorpe Park and Chessington. I believe this will likely lead to positive change as Chessington went from strength to strength under his stewardship. As for the other aspect regarding what has changed regarding Merlin to warrant this change in investment strategy, just look at the recent Project Amazon Consultation for that.
This investment is critical to the Resort’s recovery from the impacts to the business from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This statement won't just relate to Chessington. From what I gathered in the room at the Consultation, Investment is coming to all of the parks to help bolster and maintain visited numbers. There is huge pent up demand for days out following the lockdowns, Merlin hopes to capitalise on this by investing to encourage repeat visits and hotel stays etc.
What is the expectation for Drayton? I know they have new owners following administration and have Apocalypse for sale.
Honestly, I was just making an educated guess. With the expected removal of Apocalypse and likely Pandemonium that'll leave a nice plot to build on. I also expect the removal of the Flying Dutchman, due to the construction of a Waveswinger for this season over at the other side of the park. It wouldn't make sense to have two very similar rides in one area. This would extend this plot to one suited to a relatively large scale attraction in my view.
 
Top