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Wicker Man or Icon? Which is the most significant for the UK?

Which coaster will be most significant for the UK?

  • Icon

    Votes: 16 59.3%
  • Wicker Man

    Votes: 7 25.9%
  • Neither

    Votes: 4 14.8%

  • Total voters
    27

witchfinder

Member
Both the UK's big new coasters are up and running now, with reviews generally positive for both. This question isn't about which one is best (it's Icon, obviously :)) but how significant or important they will be for the UK theme park and coaster scene.

So what do you think? Will the UK's first woodie for over 20 years give other parks the confidence to invest in wood? Will the smooth, reridable nature of Icon make the general public realise that not every coaster has to be the biggest/fastest/most loopiest? Or will it not make a jot of difference because nobody other than Merlin has any money to invest in a decent modern coaster?

Personally I'd love to think that other UK parks are already looking at new coaster models from Gravity Group and Vekoma and we might get a flury of exciting creds over the next few years, but then reality sets in and I think that other than maybe another GCI at Thorpe Park, it's probably not going to shake things up very much. :(
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Honestly? Difficult to gauge so soon but I think neither, sadly. Unless either of them prove to be a runaway success, I can't see any of the smaller parks following suit with their next investments.

And in truth, that tends to be the way of the UK in general, does it not? I can't think of any particular ride that's been installed that's made the rest of the UK change from their investment plans and try and emulate what's worked at one park. It's not like Oblivion has been installed, been a huge success and suddenly Flamingo Land and Drayton are falling over themselves to install a vertical drop coaster.

Do I think Icon has made it more likely for another UK park to get a Mack coaster? Not really; it's not as if they were an unknown quantity beforehand.

Do I think Wickerman has made it more likely for another UK park to go towards a woodie? Possibly, but unlikely. If it was a stand-out success then maybe the smaller parks might consider it but given it's deemed to be a bit of a filler ride, I can't see other parks taking the risk.

I honestly think it would take something entirely out of the norm to change the UK coaster scene and, even then, I can't imagine more than the odd park would follow suit. We're very much a unique case.
 

Lofty

Well-Known Member
I'd also go with Icon for the above reason - it will hopefully be the lynchpin for other independent producers to give the chain parks a run for their money. I sincerely hope it could show that by investing in a decent quality coaster, your numbers WILL rise (in a year to two).
 
I think I'll have to go with wicker man despite how much I love icon. For the above mentioned reason of it being the first wooden coaster for decades and it's elaborate themeing.

I doubt we will see more UK parks installing woodies in a hurry, but I think it has raised awareness for the British GP to understand that wooden coasters don't have to be rough and rickety.

I also think this along with icon these are both rides that are enhanced by the smaller details such as the mist tunnels on Icon and the fire effects on wicker man, which is something we will see a lot more of in smaller parks than just simply building a coaster and sticking a logo on it.

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Coaster

Member
Wicker Man, because it's a new wooden coaster and the public love it, therefore proving the Merlin "research" stating that the public viewed them as unsafe as complete rubbish.

Of course, both are fantastic quality additions at their respective parks, and I personally prefer Icon.
 

Howie

Active Member
Both.
While neither of them are exactly 'world class', both coasters offer something that the UK was desperately crying out for: 1, wood and 2, a quality, gimmick free coaster.
Whether either of them have any effect on the UK scene as a whole though, well... that remains to be seen.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Wicker Man, because it's a new wooden coaster and the public love it, therefore proving the Merlin "research" stating that the public viewed them as unsafe as complete rubbish.

Of course, both are fantastic quality additions at their respective parks, and I personally prefer Icon.

Bull****. I still have multiple people within my own office who baulk at the idea of a wooden rollercoaster.

It doesn't prove ****, not yet at least. If it does pull the punters in and start to change their opinion, brilliant. But even then, that wouldn't necessarily 'prove' that their research was incorrect, rather, they found that they were able to change the GP's opinion.
 

Robert.W

New Member
I remember walking past Wicker Man during construction and my mum saying how much she doesn't like wooden coasters because of how unsafe they feel. She has only ever been on the ones at Pleasure Beach though. She did ride it, and I'm pretty sure she enjoyed it.

I think Wicker Man really does have the ability to change public perception on wooden coasters. I think the idea that they are in some way unsafe, rickety, old fashioned, etc., is because of the length of time the UK has gone without any new ones being built, and the fact that the ones already in existence are pretty old and somewhat rough.

I'm saying that I think Wicker Man will be the most significant for the UK. I think it'll change public perception on that type of coaster, and I think the level of theming is something that is very rare for the UK, so is also unique in the respect. :)
 

Ben

Social Media Team
Social Media Team
The annoying thing with Icon is it just, hasn't made the impact that it really should have done. Really, not many people are talking about it, and media mentions have been basically non-existent since the actual press day.

Wicker Man made a much bigger impact in terms of marketing and PR, but, is it really going to make other parks go omg we should get wood? Probably not? No-one really cares about the specific fact it's wood, just that it's a coaster. It proves that a woodie can still attract that level of hype, but it hasn't performed any better because it's a woodie.

So, realistically, neither have set the World on fire like we were all hoping they might.
 

Robert.W

New Member
Wicker Man made a much bigger impact in terms of marketing and PR, but, is it really going to make other parks go omg we should get wood? Probably not? No-one really cares about the specific fact it's wood, just that it's a coaster. It proves that a woodie can still attract that level of hype, but it hasn't performed any better because it's a woodie.
I agree with what you're saying, but don't parks get more for their money building a wooden coaster, than they would building a steel one? That's maybe something that could appeal to smaller parks.

I think the fact Wicker Man is a wooden coaster probably does have something to do with how much attention it is getting, but really Merlin are actually, for the most part, pretty clever when it comes to marketing – I've lost count how many companies have advertised Wicker Man on their products! They've created awareness, and with the cheap season pass, a perception of value. That combined with the fact that Wicker Man has so many unique elements to it is bound to get people talking.
 

furie

SBOPD
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
In terms of impact, is Wickerman a bit of an own goal again by Alton?

Hype the **** out of a ride that isn't very good? We saw it with 13 and The Smiler. The Smiler which wasn't hyped for the reason it should have been either (14 inversions) and Wickerman hyped for a "unique" element that was proven to have been done before. Actually, I like that Alton still have a strong "brand" on their coasters individually (whether good or not) - but how many people are heading the Alton expecting a world class experience and get this kiddie coaster? Though if people's only other experience of wood is at Blackpool, it's okay.

As Ben says though, there's been nothing about Icon. I think Icon should really be the "winner" here as it's actually a decent modern ride type, using technology that we've been crying out for in the UK for years. It fits really well in Blackpool's line up and a taste of "the kind of stuff that the rest of the world is doing annually".

However, I've not seen any marketing for Icon beyond the channels I see because I'm an enthusiast. Wickerman assaults me even buying crisps.

I think long term though, both will just become another missed opportunity in the park's line up that people go on, but never really love (with a few exceptions as always).
 
Probably Wicker Man although it's obviously the inferior ride. I don't think any smaller parks would ever have been put off buying a modern steel double launched coaster for any reason other than cost. However the a large portion of the public undoubtedly questioned the safety of woodies. The public generally seem to like WM and a decent family-thrill woodie can be built for a couple of million so I think we're a lot more likely to see more cropping up in the future.
 
Honestly? Difficult to gauge so soon but I think neither, sadly. Unless either of them prove to be a runaway success, I can't see any of the smaller parks following suit with their next investments.

And in truth, that tends to be the way of the UK in general, does it not? I can't think of any particular ride that's been installed that's made the rest of the UK change from their investment plans and try and emulate what's worked at one park. It's not like Oblivion has been installed, been a huge success and suddenly Flamingo Land and Drayton are falling over themselves to install a vertical drop coaster.

Do I think Icon has made it more likely for another UK park to get a Mack coaster? Not really; it's not as if they were an unknown quantity beforehand.

Do I think Wickerman has made it more likely for another UK park to go towards a woodie? Possibly, but unlikely. If it was a stand-out success then maybe the smaller parks might consider it but given it's deemed to be a bit of a filler ride, I can't see other parks taking the risk.

I honestly think it would take something entirely out of the norm to change the UK coaster scene and, even then, I can't imagine more than the odd park would follow suit. We're very much a unique case.
i do think both rides are major investments but the smaller parks wont sped 16m on a rollercoaster like icon. Its good but not ground breaking like when you look at portaventura rollercoasters they always seem to be breaking new records. I have not been to alton towersw this year but im going soon to wicker man! (the movie is not good well the 2006 on is not)

Bull:emoji_poop:. I still have multiple people within my own office who baulk at the idea of a wooden rollercoaster.

It doesn't prove :emoji_poop:, not yet at least. If it does pull the punters in and start to change their opinion, brilliant. But even then, that wouldn't necessarily 'prove' that their research was incorrect, rather, they found that they were able to change the GP's opinion.
icon is going to be the main attraction at blackpool (they need a new one the big one is getting rough) and i see alton towers ride as an addition a big one but a key coaster like smiler was
 
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EndlessWire

Member
Having not ridden either yet, I'm going to say that Icon makes the most sense to me on paper. Wicker Man seems to be the logical extension of Merlin's model of secrecy, controlled leaks and teasers and strong theming around an OK machine. Aside from being a woodie, I don't see that the approach or end result is all that new or innovative - it makes sense that this is where Merlin would end up. It's also worth mentioning that while Merlin's reticence to build woodies is well documented, there's been nothing at all aside from money and the inclination to stop Blackpool or Flamingo or Lightwater building a woodie of their own - Oakwood bears that out, albeit 20 years ago. I also think that the reality of whether people have a good impression of woodies or not is a moot point - what matters is whether Merlin's decision makers feel like they're able to market one. In terms of that, I think Wicker Man may well have a strong influence, just within its own company.
As others have said, Icon is probably more relevant to all the other parks. Other non-Merlin places like Flamingo etc may well look at Blackpool and realise they're falling behind. The promotion has been decidedly un-Merlinesque, the way they've not hidden anything, announced everything as soon as they could and still managed to generate buzz (even though in the end, they maybe could have done better at advertising to the GP). I don't think we'll see much more Mack machinery in the UK, but the approach of building a solid gimmick-free ride and being open with construction may well become the new way forward. Personally, I think it'd be great for someone to build that kind of ride and make a point of saying "we've not chased statistics here, we're not trying to make the tallest or the fastest - we want to make the best. Come down and see what you make of it."
I suppose this question hinges on how much you think Merlin = the UK theme park industry. Wicker Man is more likely to affect Merlin in the future; Icon is more likely to affect all the others.
 
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