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YAY Merlin!

Joey

Well-Known Member
The waterpark opening hours have always just...been like, what? So a later close than the park is a step in the right direction. 8 seems reasonable indeed! Things are getting better.
 

gavin

Administrator
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Smithy said:
Alton's location and minimal amount of public transport probably stops a lot of that.
See, I've never really understood the whole "Alton is in the middle of nowhere" argument. It really isn't. Just because it's not right next to a major city doesn't mean it's not easy to get to. The central location gives it a much bigger catchment area than if was just sitting next to London; the higher guest numbers show that. It's doable as a day trip from the Midlands and North West and, to a lesser extent, London. Thorpe and Chessington are very much London parks. I don't know a single person from my neck of the woods who have been to either; they go to Alton on a yearly basis.

The public transport works around the park opening hours, not the other way around. It's not like there's anything else there that those buses are servicing. If the park was open later, they'd end up putting on more buses.

It's a cost-cutting and staffing issue, not looking at the demand or experience of the guests. Look at the USA, a lot of those parks are pretty much only accessible by car, yet they still open until 10pm despite the fact that most people are f**king off by around 6 or 7. They're undoubtedly losing money in those last couple of hours, but they wouldn't close earlier because they know that the customers wouldn't accept it.

In the UK, we're used to stuff - not just theme parks, but everything - closing at 5 or 6. It's ridiculous.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
gavin said:
Smithy said:
Alton's location and minimal amount of public transport probably stops a lot of that.
See, I've never really understood the whole "Alton is in the middle of nowhere" argument. It really isn't. Just because it's not right next to a major city doesn't mean it's not easy to get to. The central location gives it a much bigger catchment area than if was just sitting next to London; the higher guest numbers show that. It's doable as a day trip from the Midlands and North West and, to a lesser extent, London. Thorpe and Chessington are very much London parks. I don't know a single person from my neck of the woods who have been to either; they go to Alton on a yearly basis.
But it is though in comparison to Thorpe/Chessy. It's not within easy reach of a major city, it's not the sort of park most people can just decide to visit on a whim and pop in for a few hours as a lot of people can do for the others.

Exactly as you say, it's doable as a day trip, which means guests will likely be there for the whole day. I don't think that's the case with Thorpe and Chessington, I think a lot of people turn up later in the day and so it lends itself better to later opening hours.
 

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
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You could argue that the average customer tends to have dinner / tea in a pub or at home once they have left the park. Perhaps the parks could capitalise on this by staying open a little later and offering evening dinning options to people that would typically choose to eat after visiting the park? A lunch and dinner combination offer could work well.
 

furie

SBOPD
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Merlin did that at Alton for a few years (may still do). They had certain eateries open after ride close to capture those guests.

The reality is that it didn't work. People tend to think of park food as expensive and low quality (they may have a point) and after a certain time, they "want to get home".

It's true that in the UK we live by a 9-5, 6 days a week and Sundays are short lifestyle. People just seem to associate 5:00 with the time to finish and get home. We're just a bit odd and treat a day out like a day at work :lol:

I think the oddest thing is that Alton sold the late opening as "eat here and avoid the queues to get out" that nobody took them up on and they stood waiting for the monorail for an hour complaining that they'd be late for their dinner - go figure ;)

As somebody who has spent a fair amount of time at Alton across the season, it always starts to get quiet from about 4:30 - even when it's open until late (unless there are fireworks to hang around for - then it empties right after they finish, even if the rides are open).

Opening times don't seem to affect the stupid mindedness of the Brits :p
 

furie

SBOPD
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While I wasn't exactly Yaying Merlin - I was kind of supporting their choice and was more "WTF UK Public" ;)
 

Joey

Well-Known Member
furie said:
Merlin did that at Alton for a few years (may still do). They had certain eateries open after ride close to capture those guests.

The reality is that it didn't work. People tend to think of park food as expensive and low quality (they may have a point) and after a certain time, they "want to get home".

It's true that in the UK we live by a 9-5, 6 days a week and Sundays are short lifestyle. People just seem to associate 5:00 with the time to finish and get home. We're just a bit odd and treat a day out like a day at work :lol:

I think the oddest thing is that Alton sold the late opening as "eat here and avoid the queues to get out" that nobody took them up on and they stood waiting for the monorail for an hour complaining that they'd be late for their dinner - go figure ;)

As somebody who has spent a fair amount of time at Alton across the season, it always starts to get quiet from about 4:30 - even when it's open until late (unless there are fireworks to hang around for - then it empties right after they finish, even if the rides are open).

Opening times don't seem to affect the stupid mindedness of the Brits :p
Not at all convinced this is the only reason.

When I had a season pass to both Busch and Kings Dominion that one year, we'd just roll up at about 7 on weekdays and enjoy the parks for a few hours in such silence you could ride everything. This is in June when schools have broken off in the US and when the weather is nice. People leave US parks at about 6pm, too. Naturally.

Bare in mind that most US parks do not open every day. They only open weekends, except for school holidays. In the UK, this is totally alien.

And shopping in the US is the same, at least in Virginia - which is a lazy southern state and might have a little to do with it. But the shops are all open till about 9, and yet no one's in them. How are they making any money? Why do they bother staying open? And more importantly, why is no one using them at this comparatively quiet time?

If anything, later opening UK parks get busier in the evening. Blackpool and the Halloween openings prove that. But they are weird exceptions. Chessington DOES get a lot of after school annual pass visitors, though. I wonder if Chessie and Thorpe, who have a high population density nearby, opened later more people would come for just the evening. I think it would lessen the pressure annual pass holders put on full days on weekends, personally.

The problem is making the park an appealing place to spend extra money. I disagree that Merlin's food is overall naff, in the grand scheme of things it is affordable, varied and pretty good... (Yay Merlin!) But the perception that attraction food is bad and expensive overrides that for most guests. Annual pass holders know the burger ***SPAM - IGNORE*** suck, but that the fried chicken and pizza pasta is pretty good.

More effort needs to be made on placemaking and keeping the restaurants clean, inviting and affordable, so that annual pass holders cave and want to spend extra money on every visit.
 

jj23w

Member
Thorpe might be reversing the backwards chassises on swarm forwards again may need to spend time on it this year.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
^This is referring to Swarm's back two rows of course.

My favourite rides on Swarm were outer-seat, back right, facing forwards (bit of a mouthful), so fingers firmly crossed.
 

jj23w

Member
Josh they would know what chassises mean they aren't dumb. I think it will be a good move In my opinion because then not everyone will want to go backward and I'll get to try it forwards in the back finally.
 

GuyWithAStick

Captain Basic
^But you never specified that it was Swarm. Although we know it was Swarm, they could've turned something around we didn't know about.
 

DelPiero

Well-Known Member
^^chassises isn't a word Jordan. The plural of chassis is "chassis".

On topic, if they do change them back then I'll miss the backwards view down the lift, as that was quite fab. Though facing forwards in the back is one of the best rides I've had on it too.
 

jackdude101

New Member
My personal experience with Merlin attractions overall has been positive.

Merlin has only recently established a presence here in Florida. I've been to Legoland Florida and I-Drive 360 (Orlando Eye/Madame Tussaud's/Sea Life), and both were very nice. My three-year-old son keeps asking when we can go ride the Ferris wheel again. The wax museum freaked him out a bit, though.

Remember that these are amusements. We need not overthink things.
 

Ian

From CoasterForce
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Yeah, Thorpe tweeted images of chassis earlier in the week and hinted that Swarm, sorry - The Swarm - will be "moving forwards."
[tweet]http://twitter.com/thorpepark/status/692694086608928768[/tweet]

Like Delpiero, I loved the view of the ride area as it climbed up the hill, but I've only done it twice as forwards is much, much better. I look forward to riding back seat facing forwards soon...I really love the pull it has around the helicopter helix.

Hopefully Merlin have it out of their system now and they won't spoil any of their other rides with Brave It Bareback.
 

Jordanovichy

Credit Whore 2016
Be a shame if they do turn those seats around as I enjoy it, a fun gimmick, but my second favourite seat was always the back outside on the left side (left side when you're actually sat on the train) which never had quite the same kick to it backwards so I am looking forward to it being 'normal' again.
 

Ben

Social Media Team
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Yeah I loved mrawS so I'm quite sad - I'm glad I got to do it at least the once at GF.

Love Swarm <3
 

JoshC.

Active Member
**The Swarm .

Only at Thorpe Park Resort ;)

Edit: Capital lettered wordss get changed to proper grammar. Why no shouting? :(
 
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