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WTF Merlin?

FogZog

Roller Poster
1. On the Tuesday, the park closed at 4pm. So did the waterpark. The onsite mini golf closed at 5pm. So what was there to do from 5pm? Well, nothing, aside from have dinner and listen to a singer in the bar. It's mental to think that a resort like Towers, which has loads of things to offer built in, has nothing noteworthy to offer after 5pm...

2. The Wicker Man pre show is a god awful faff. They cram way too many people into the pre show room, so that there's a queue of people waiting to be batched which extends into the pre show room. Honestly the whole thing should be scrapped and the Covid-style presentation should be reintroduced.

3. The Wednesday was very quiet; most coasters were walk on all day. So why does the park need staff to batch guests into rows, and make people sit next to each other? For example, going on Nemesis: a group of 2 gets batched into Row 3, and then the next group of 2 also gets batched into Row 3. I'm all for batching when there's a queue; it can help improve the utilisation of number of seats per train and ultimately get more bums on seats per hour. But on a day where there's no queues anywhere, surely it's just a bit nicer to let people choose where to sit, and give freedom to not sit next to a stranger?

Maybe a little bit of this last point is me still adjusting to post-Covid Merlin parks. But equally, I don't have a problem sitting next to strangers on rides. It's just I don't see the need to when half the train is empty for no good reason.
We were at the park on Wed/Thurs and I was surprised at how generous all the staff were with seating requests. We got given our own boat on the rapids and skyride car for just the two of us. No queues all day so the Wicker Man team were asking “Do you want to watch the show or just go straight through”. I get now why the park closes so early some weekdays.
 

Tonkso

Mega Poster
Sorry, but on the vape thing, you're saying the ride op was a jobsworth?
I was there on Wednesday and echo the point about batching guests into rows, it was fine for most of the day but when I asked for back on Rita some jobsworth c*** decided to put us in the middle instead and decided to have a go at my mate as he saw him having a toke of his vape in the q before we got to the station.

Sorry, but the ride op was absolutely right here, and it's unfair to call them a jobsworth. Smoking and Vaping in queues is strictly forbidden for everyone else's sake. One of the thing that can truly ruin a day out for me (and many others) is smokers and vapers in the queues and I'm glad your friend was told off.

He should treat the experience as an 'Am I the arsehole?' moment, because he was.
 

coasteraddict10

Roller Poster
Sorry, but on the vape thing, you're saying the ride op was a jobsworth?


Sorry, but the ride op was absolutely right here, and it's unfair to call them a jobsworth. Smoking and Vaping in queues is strictly forbidden for everyone else's sake. One of the thing that can truly ruin a day out for me (and many others) is smokers and vapers in the queues and I'm glad your friend was told off.

He should treat the experience as an 'Am I the arsehole?' moment, because he was.

He's a jobsworth for not allowing us to pick our seats.

You're outdoors how does others smoking, let alone vaping affect you at all?
 

Trax

Mega Poster
If you are a non-smoker, you will smell smoke very, very quickly. If I walk down a street, 20m behind another person, I can easily tell if the person is smoking (or holding a cigarette for that matter) just by the smell.
While on the street, I can either speed up to pass by, or get some more distance, I don't have the option in a queue-line. If someone inside a queue decides that the ban of cigarrettes is more of a guideline, than a rule, I have to smell and therefore innhale the toxic fumes until the smoker has decided that it is enough. Vaping might produce a less distracting smell, but it is still a strong smell, and the cloud from vaping stays way longer.

Rules are rules, and the member of staff did absolutely right to a) tell your friend off and b) not give you the seat. If you don't play by the rules, why should the staff do you a favour?
You're outdoors how does others smoking, let alone vaping affect you at all?
And you can make this descision for everyone else in the queue?

If I decide to take a dump in an elevator, because I don't feel like it disturbes anyone, would you say it is ok as well?
 

toofpikk

Mega Poster
smoking is actually banned for CCTV purposes; when you produce particularly big smoke (and especially vape) clouds you block critical viewpoints of CCTV. This isn't exclusive to rides either, it's across the whole park, which is why there's designated smoking areas/you're asked to not smoke at all. That, and of course, it is just unpleasant for those around you.

I can imagine on Rita its a particularly big problem because of the open platform and the position of the op box; one vape cloud could seriously obscure the ops view of the offload side. Being an op and having to ask someone to do something which they would otherwise feel like they're being micromanaged for is just as annoying as being the one told to do so. Trust me, as someone who's been on both sides of the situation, its long.
 

Fleetwood_Mack

Roller Poster
Heading to Towers on Thursday for the first time in years and the 4PM closing time is already stressing me out o_O (the date wasn't my choice)

4PM... when they've got an "event" on... seems quite stingy. It's going to be all "running" around getting everything done, no time for standing around witnessing whatever half arsed crap they're doing on the side 😂
 

Tonkso

Mega Poster
Those 4PM closing times really do take any ease out of the day, don't they? Especially in a park where it takes a fair chunk of time to walk from one side to the other.
 

Will

Strata Poster
Aim to be inside the turnstiles before 10, have a vague route in mind, organise your time sensibly and keep an eye on the app/queue boards.

6-7 hours on park is more than enough to get all major rides ticked off on a quiet day, particularly for a regular visitor. No queue is likely to top 30 minutes.
The crowds tend to start out at WM, Smiler or Spinball as they're closest to the entrance - don't follow them ;)
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Next time someone visits AT they should, out of curiosity, measure how much of their time is spent on an actual ride, compared to queueing and walking.

I'd be pretty interested to see the breakdown.

Perhaps @Matt N could give us the lengthy analysis 😉
Funny you should say this, because I’m actually at Alton on Sunday & Monday! I can definitely do this, if you’d like!
 

Crazycoaster

Giga Poster
Aim to be inside the turnstiles before 10, have a vague route in mind, organise your time sensibly and keep an eye on the app/queue boards.

6-7 hours on park is more than enough to get all major rides ticked off on a quiet day, particularly for a regular visitor. No queue is likely to top 30 minutes.
The crowds tend to start out at WM, Smiler or Spinball as they're closest to the entrance - don't follow them ;)
I mean that would work except for the staggered opening of all the other rides. :/
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
Aim to be inside the turnstiles before 10, have a vague route in mind, organise your time sensibly and keep an eye on the app/queue boards.

6-7 hours on park is more than enough to get all major rides ticked off on a quiet day, particularly for a regular visitor. No queue is likely to top 30 minutes.
The crowds tend to start out at WM, Smiler or Spinball as they're closest to the entrance - don't follow them ;)
In theory this sounds great! But if you get rides that break down, or have a busier than normal day, or just don't know where you are going this can make 10-4 simply not enough. If you're GP you may find getting from Wickerman to Nemesis a 30 minute ordeal by itself. The park is a huge spacious layout with many ways to get lost.

I do think Alton Towers also leads the way as the 'premier' park in the UK, and the most well regarded. Having such a big profitable park like Alton Towers closing so early makes me question if i'll visit this season. To me if my train/bus ends me up there at 11:30 and a bunch of rides break down on me. I would travel 4 hours for no good reason. Closing at 6PM would give me so MUCH wiggle room..
 

cookie

Hyper Poster
Heide-Park seems to be a huge mess right now. Multiple rides are closed constantly (Big Loop and Scream have been down for weeks), and given that the ride line-up has shrunk in the past few years (the Mayan flat area just looks sad now) it’s concerning to see that they’re apparently struggling to keep the rides they do have consistently operating. That’s not getting into the general maintenance shortcomings the park’s had for years and how even the landscaping appears to have taken a turn for the worse. It feels like while places like Movie Park make strides in improving themselves, Heide-Park just keeps getting worse.

I’ll be there in a week to see for myself, but my expectations keep dropping with every passing day. Now I just hope the rides that are open are running relatively well.
 
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TilenB

Strata Poster
Due to staffing shortages, Gardaland is going to close a number of their rides at 7pm during Summer when the rest of the park closes at 11pm. The list of rides includes Kung Fu Panda Master, Space Vertigo (drop tower), Flying Island, Jungle Rapids and Colorado Boat among others.

 

Matt N

CF Legend
Next time someone visits AT they should, out of curiosity, measure how much of their time is spent on an actual ride, compared to queueing and walking.

I'd be pretty interested to see the breakdown.

Perhaps @Matt N could give us the lengthy analysis 😉
After hearing this request, I decided to try and measure this on my Alton Towers visit on Sunday 19th June 2022.

Before I delve into my data, I should specify that:
  • 19th June was a 10am-5pm day.
  • The park was not overly busy.
  • I entered the park a little late, and I left slightly after closing time.
  • Being a hotel guest, I was able to enter through the hotel guest entrance. I exited through the main entrance on Towers Street.
  • For what it’s worth, I’ve been told I’m quite a fast walker.
  • I defined boarding a ride as being in the airgates and seeing my vehicle approaching. The definition of exiting a ride was not quite as clear cut, but I tried to make it to be at some point between exiting the station and reaching the public pathways again.
  • Both walking between rides and queueing for rides was defined as non-riding time, as well as the lunch break we took.
  • My ride on Duel included a brief 5 minute breakdown, which could be skewing things slightly.
My day yesterday was as follows:
  • Park entered through hotel guest entrance 10:25
  • Boarded Galactica 10:37
  • Exited Galactica 10:43
  • Boarded Nemesis 10:50
  • Exited Nemesis 10:54
  • Boarded Nemesis 10:58
  • Exited Nemesis 11:02
  • Boarded Duel 11:11
  • Exited Duel 11:21
  • Boarded Runaway Mine Train 11:42
  • Exited Runaway Mine Train 11:48
  • Entered Sharkbait Reef 11:54
  • Exited Sharkbait Reef 12:06
  • Boarded Wicker Man 12:54
  • Exited Wicker Man 12:59
  • Boarded Oblivion 13:39
  • Exited Oblivion 13:44
  • Boarded Smiler 14:01
  • Exited Smiler 14:06
  • Boarded Gangsta Granny 14:43
  • Exited Gangsta Granny 14:50
  • Boarded Thirteen 15:18
  • Exited Thirteen 15:22
  • Boarded Rita 15:51
  • Exited Rita 15:54
  • Boarded Oblivion 16:06
  • Exited Oblivion 16:13
  • Boarded Wicker Man 17:02
  • Exited Wicker Man 17:09
  • Park exited through main entrance 17:15
  • Alton Towers Hotel reached 17:34
To convert that into periods of riding and non-riding time:
  • 12 minutes non-riding time
  • 6 minutes riding Galactica
  • 7 minutes non-riding time
  • 4 minutes riding Nemesis
  • 4 minutes non-riding time
  • 4 minutes riding Nemesis
  • 9 minutes non-riding time
  • 10 minutes riding Duel
  • 21 minutes non-riding time
  • 6 minutes riding Runaway Mine Train
  • 6 minutes non-riding time
  • 12 minutes experiencing Sharkbait Reef
  • 48 minutes non-riding time
  • 5 minutes riding Wicker Man
  • 40 minutes non-riding time
  • 5 minutes riding Oblivion
  • 17 minutes non-riding time
  • 5 minutes riding Smiler
  • 37 minutes non-riding time
  • 7 minutes riding Gangsta Granny
  • 28 minutes non-riding time
  • 4 minutes riding Thirteen
  • 29 minutes non-riding time
  • 3 minutes riding Rita
  • 12 minutes non-riding time
  • 7 minutes riding Oblivion
  • 49 minutes non-riding time
  • 7 minutes riding Wicker Man
  • 6 minutes non-riding time to exit park
  • 19 minutes non-riding time to walk to Alton Towers Hotel
So in total, my park day was 6h 50m/410 minutes in length if you go from the time I entered the park to the time I exited the park, or 7h 9m/429 minutes if you count the time it took me to walk to the hotel as well.

My total attraction time for the day was 1h 25m/85 minutes (for clarity, my time in Sharkbait Reef is counted as attraction time here).

With that in mind, approximately 21% of my day was spent experiencing attractions if you go with the 6h 50m from park entry to park exit, and that figure is approximately 20% for the 7h 9m from park entry to reaching the Alton Towers Hotel.

If you take Sharkbait Reef out of my total (as I know it's not a ride per se), my riding time for the day was 1h 13m/73 minutes, thus making my percentage riding time 18% for the 6h 50m length and approximately 17% for the 7h 9m length.

But in conclusion, I think we can ascertain that my percentage riding time for the day was somewhere in the ballpark of 20%, to 1 significant figure.

I hope you find this interesting!

TL;DR: Following requests, I tested how much of my Alton Towers day on Sunday 19th June 2022 was spent riding. When I tested this, the figure came out at around 20%.
 
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