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WTF Merlin?

Gimble

New Member
^ it begins.

The shares were overpriced when Merlin was floated IMO.

Maybe they're pulling a Tesco, or maybe not.

It will all come out in the wash.
 

Tom G

Member
They will try and 'animalify' Chessington as much as possible to try and make it a USP for the area - but it's still most liable to be canned I agree. They have already decided that they need to make Thorpe and Alton more family friendly and indeed it wouldn't surprise me if Legoland's started getting thrill rides or two. Their strategy of having family and thrill parks was flawed.

If Paramount comes, then Thorpe and Chessington are both going to be hammered - I wouldn't rule anything out.
 

CoasterCrazy

Active Member
I suppose there isn't a financial incentive to refurbish dragon falls, so sadly, it may not ever return in its previous form. Merlin will either remove it completely, or replace it with something quite different so they can market it properly. Hopefully its replacement will also be a flume-type ride - something like Chiapas would fit perfectly, and be marketable, but Merlin couldn't possibly invest in Chessington, could they?

nadroJ said:
^ your use of the word perceive is spot on. They think they know what the public want because they're done some market research, but I always feel the questions are loaded. You can't ask 'what would you like to see' and the give some options of boxes to tick, you need to keep it completely ope. ended to see what the public would truly want, and then use that as a base for creativity.
Sorry, but I just had to post this...this might well be Merlin's approach:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA[/youtube]

One of Merlin's biggest problems is certainly that they're not really taking much of a gamble with their investments. If they really want to continue to attract regular visitors of theme parks abroad (of which there are many, as said above), they need to stop playing safe with the duller coasters in the B&M catalogue. It's just like trying a new food really....you might not want to eat it before, but once you've taken a bite, you can't get enough of it.

The public are only afraid of woodies etc, because they simply haven't ridden any....look at the media storm generated by SFFT's Batman - of course there will be people saying 'that's too intense for me', but I can guarantee the ride will be far more prolific than if it was a generic B&M. When I was younger, I used to love The Swarm, but having ridden Katun and Ispeed, it's now a little like eating beetroot. I like beetroot on my salad, but it's quite neutral...and I wouldn't sprint down to the shop to buy some if I ran out.

No pain = No gain. They of all people should know that!
Also, do they know what a medium-scale investment is?


Oh, and what have we got here?
http://bit.ly/1GO3fyI
If Chessington raises its prices, I'm flipping the table ;)
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
See the issue here is loads of us are sat criticising the decisions they make whilst they're reporting increased turnovers and massive profits.

So really, who are we to tell them they're doing it wrong by not installing a woody, as above?
 

Gimble

New Member
Yep we can be a miserable bunch, but its only because we care.

I'd say there have been some great additions in personal terms.

We had SAW, Smiler, Krake etc.

I think it was only a matter of time until we got something big with whichever conglomerate owned the parks.

Then you'd get rides like Sub terra, storm surge and to a certain extent zufari which were a joke.

The hand Chessie has been playing is a foolish one, if Falls looses another conveyer it may well end up being pinched from loggers leap's spares. If a ride breaks down it doesn't tend to get the parts engineers need to fix it. There have been rides knocked out for an entire season due to penny pinching.

Its a budgeting problem, they're so busy trying to cut the fat they've forgotten that their job is to run a successful theme park, with a full ccomprehensive attraction line-up.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Smithy said:
See the issue here is loads of us are sat criticising the decisions they make whilst they're reporting increased turnovers and massive profits.

So really, who are we to tell them they're doing it wrong by not installing a woody, as above?
But really, the main thing is how many people come away saying they've had an amazing experience? When I tell people about the I'm A Celeb Maze they laugh at it, because it's RIDICULOUS. And yes they can report as much profit as they like, read how many TERRIBLE reviews they have on Trip Advisor. I think the reason I moan is because I don't want people to laugh at my home parks, I want to be proud of them. How many of those 'increased profits' will return the following year? I'd love to see the figures on that. In their eyes a new attraction brings new guests but in my opinion if you have a lovely park in the first place guests will keep coming back because they had such a great day in the first place and to ride all of their old favourites and generally have a good day out, new attraction regardless.
 

Ian

From CoasterForce
Staff member
Administrator
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Smithy said:
See the issue here is loads of us are sat criticising the decisions they make whilst they're reporting increased turnovers and massive profits.

So really, who are we to tell them they're doing it wrong by not installing a woody, as above?
The reason for the profits is all thanks to Lego. The brand (see, Merlin do make sound IP and brand investments!) and the recent film have pushed up attendance. One day I might sit down and work out how much money they'd make if it wasn't for the Lego parks. More and more Lego parks seems to be announced every few months. How many 'regular' theme parks are they opening? None.

This is why we, as predominantly adrenaline junkies, do sit here and whinge. We see investment going into Legoland Parks (which is not a bad thing) but it appears that the money isn't trickling down to the other thrill seeker Merlin parks that need a boost. It's enthusiast self-interest.
 

Crazycoaster

Active Member
But even the Lego Parks (or at least Windsor) looks terrible when you look at them closer. The state the minilands are in is awful, and it just screams neglect. Like there doesn't seem to be any real upkeep or pride in maintaining them.

Yeah the Legolands are popular right now, but that's because Lego is popular, not the parks. They have a serious investment opportunity in terms of the Lego Movie, but all they'll invest in is a basic 4D movie.

I don't see myself as an adrenaline junkie when it comes to being an enthusiast. I'm an enthusiast because of the entire "day", the entire experience. I like theme parks, but I like them as a whole. I enjoy going on all the rides, not just the adrenaline filled ones.

And while Merlin parks arn't necessarily bad (yeah, they have plenty of decent rides and coasters to satisfy a thrill seeker), they arn't that good either, they're just 'Meh'. And that's because it comes down to the entire experience of the day. I feel more like I'm being treated like a sales target at Merlin, rather than like a guest at another park.

I think as enthusiasts, we have a much wider knowledge of what is going on in the industry, so we can see small parks like Phantasialand and other European/American parks that put in the effort that just isn't seen at Merlin, and it's annoying.

I think Jordan hit it on the head with this:
nadroJ said:
I think the reason I moan is because I don't want people to laugh at my home parks, I want to be proud of them.
We care a lot more about that parks than the GP. And it's horrible seeing them being neglected and driven into the ground because of short sightedness and unthoughtful ideas.
 

elephant58

Active Member
The only Merlin park I've actually been to (I'm so awful!) is Alton Towers, which is clean, staff are polite and it has a good ride line-up (needs flats now). My main complaint though is that their single rider efficiency isn't the best.

I don't know how bad the other Merlin parks are though, but that's what I think of Alton anyway.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
^In my opinion Alton is one of the best theme parks in the world, and when I complain about them it's usually only silly niggly things (Nemesis River of Blood for example). Generally speaking though they're fab, it's Chessington and Thorpe that bear the brunt of the neglect.
 

owentaylor121

Active Member
I feel if Thorpe had operations like Alton and cut down on fast tracks it could be a very good park, it has a really good selection of rides but the operations do them no justice.
Plus the park needs a big clean up.
 

caffeine_demon

Well-Known Member
In thorpe's defence compared to the year or 2 following stealth their reliability is pretty damn good.. and x is now fab!
 

owentaylor121

Active Member
I'm not talking about rides breaking down, I'm talking about the operations and how they are run, one train operations in a park like Thorpe is not acceptable.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
nadroJ said:
But really, the main thing is how many people come away saying they've had an amazing experience? When I tell people about the I'm A Celeb Maze they laugh at it, because it's RIDICULOUS. And yes they can report as much profit as they like, read how many TERRIBLE reviews they have on Trip Advisor. I think the reason I moan is because I don't want people to laugh at my home parks, I want to be proud of them. How many of those 'increased profits' will return the following year? I'd love to see the figures on that. In their eyes a new attraction brings new guests but in my opinion if you have a lovely park in the first place guests will keep coming back because they had such a great day in the first place and to ride all of their old favourites and generally have a good day out, new attraction regardless.
But you're not their target audience with their I'm A Celeb maze, and I'd wager none of your friends are either. I bet that you and I both know the sort of people they are appealing to with it though, and it fits in with Thorpe's clientele perfectly. At the end of the day they're a business, if they get terrible reviews on Trip Advisor but their finances show they're up on the previous year, which one will concern them? You're absolutely right to criticise mistakes they make, where you think they're going wrong and challenge them to think about more than money; I'm just playing devils advocate for the sake of a discussion and I think for as long as they're making money, they'll keep doing as they are.

Ian said:
The reason for the profits is all thanks to Lego. The brand (see, Merlin do make sound IP and brand investments!) and the recent film have pushed up attendance. One day I might sit down and work out how much money they'd make if it wasn't for the Lego parks. More and more Lego parks seems to be announced every few months. How many 'regular' theme parks are they opening? None.

This is why we, as predominantly adrenaline junkies, do sit here and whinge. We see investment going into Legoland Parks (which is not a bad thing) but it appears that the money isn't trickling down to the other thrill seeker Merlin parks that need a boost. It's enthusiast self-interest.
How many regular theme parks are opening in general though? I think realistically their only option if starting from scratch would be to rely on a proven IP. Your last point is pretty much what I was getting at, we're all entitled to have a moan about the actions they do or don't take but from a business point of view, whatever they're doing appears to be working for them and until that changes I can't see them frankly caring about what you or I or a group of enthusiasts want on the whole. Sure, we'll get the odd bit of appeasement here and there, but Joe Public is where they earn their crust and he has far more simple needs than we do.
 

jj23w

Member
Crazycoaster said:
But even the Lego Parks (or at least Windsor) looks terrible when you look at them closer. The state the minilands are in is awful, and it just screams neglect. Like there doesn't seem to be any real upkeep or pride in maintaining them. .
No, that's why everytime I have been around the resort in the past 2 months there is always people cleaning up miniland, hell even today there were people in there. But remember one thing Lego and Great British Weather do not mix :).
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Smithy said:
nadroJ said:
But really, the main thing is how many people come away saying they've had an amazing experience? When I tell people about the I'm A Celeb Maze they laugh at it, because it's RIDICULOUS. And yes they can report as much profit as they like, read how many TERRIBLE reviews they have on Trip Advisor. I think the reason I moan is because I don't want people to laugh at my home parks, I want to be proud of them. How many of those 'increased profits' will return the following year? I'd love to see the figures on that. In their eyes a new attraction brings new guests but in my opinion if you have a lovely park in the first place guests will keep coming back because they had such a great day in the first place and to ride all of their old favourites and generally have a good day out, new attraction regardless.
But you're not their target audience with their I'm A Celeb maze, and I'd wager none of your friends are either. I bet that you and I both know the sort of people they are appealing to with it though, and it fits in with Thorpe's clientele perfectly. At the end of the day they're a business, if they get terrible reviews on Trip Advisor but their finances show they're up on the previous year, which one will concern them? You're absolutely right to criticise mistakes they make, where you think they're going wrong and challenge them to think about more than money; I'm just playing devils advocate for the sake of a discussion and I think for as long as they're making money, they'll keep doing as they are.
It was people in my office who were like 'Oh my god, let's go Thorpe again!' and one guy was like 'I don't want to go back unless they have a new ride' so I told them about the new for 2015 attraction and literally I have never seen excitement die from a conversation like that <//3. I completely disagree that it fits Thorpe's clientele perfectly, Thorpe's current clientele are big thrill lovers and whilst this is clearly them try to go in a family direction there are a million less **** ways to do it. It's shoddy. I wonder if 2015 sees Thorpe not do as well as previous years (with hardly anything new to offer I can't see there being a massive leap in gate figures) and then watch how they turn around and blame the I'm A Celeb attraction.
 
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