2016: General Discussion

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themeparkfan

TS Member
Burbs, In Lancashire holidays don't start till next week!!. surely marketing at Alton towers check school holidays in 50 or so miles radius before sorting out opening hours?? do they want to make money??
 

Croftybaby

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
Ooh i'd actually prefer a holiday like that! Fair enough, Alton haven't done their research or just don't care that they may loose a certain amount of customers
 

Rojo

TS Member
They are only closed 2 days during the week. Can you not go Thursday instead? You will get a better response on social media than you ever will on email but don't expect anything that isn't scripted.

I can't imagine that many people will turn up Tues/wed as most people will try and book online first or will check the opening times.
 

rob666

TS Member
Merlin know lots of schools will still be off...
Blackpool Tower has extra Circus performances on that week.
I would say silly Towers management,
not silly Merlin!
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Merlin know lots of schools will still be off...
Blackpool Tower has extra Circus performances on that week.
I would say silly Towers management,
not silly Merlin!
Both Alton and Blackpool circus are open the full week beginning 10th April, even though many schools are back. But the week beginning 17th April Alton are closed Tue/Wed and Blackpool circus has some days without shows. I don't think many schools are still off that week but some Blackpool ones are.
 

Burbs

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Untamed - Walibi Holland
A large birthday card is going to be erected in the Alton Towers Hotel for the 20th anniversary.

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World's largest birthday card, anyone?
 

Sku

TS Member
A small Easter Holiday attendance update for you guys... the season so far...

So far attendance for the Easter holidays has been disappointing, but about the level that Alton Towers were probably expecting. The Easter Holiday, particularly the bank holiday weekend is traditionally the busiest time of year at the park outside of Scarefest. If there is disappointing attendance during Easter, and with "Galactica" only just launched, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the year.

Alton Towers were not helped by Easter weekend being an almost complete washout. Only really Easter Friday was moderately busy (which was a beautiful sunny day), the other weekend days not so much due to poor weather being forecast. Attendance was actually better in the week after the bank holiday weekend, once the weather had picked up (school holidays for many).

Here is my "average wait time" graph based on the 7 main thrill attractions at the park ("Thrill 7"). Please note the first Saturday and Sunday are an average of only 6 rides due to Galactica not being open yet. As before this only provides an approximate view of park attendance based on data from ridetimes (which has been more flakey than last year so far), but can help give a good overall picture at the least.
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Weekends are highlighted in red, and the bank holidays in orange. Apart from the week leading up to Galactica launch, when the park was completely empty for 3 days (average wait times all 0), attendance is overall surprisingly consistent, with not really any major standout busy days, just a lot of quiet to moderate days. I'm expecting a major drop over the next 2 weeks as more and more counties head back to school.

One thing that is interesting to note, is that while some rides, notably Galactica, The Smiler and Spinball continue to attract larger queues, other major rides remain with only 10 minute or less queues on average. These 3 rides all have obvious capacity problems at present which the forum is already aware of. This suggests attendance might actually be worse than it even looks, as only the lower capacity major attractions draw a queue, and those which still have a better throughput are successfully keeping waits low.

Here is how the wait times across the 7 attractions have stacked up so far:
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Please note you can click on the graphs to make them slightly larger if your browser has resized them.

Since we are still seeing low wait times on Rita, Th13teen, Oblivion and Nemesis, I am led the believe the park has been very quiet indeed this Easter holiday. Even Smiler queues are not particularly substantial, given the slightly reduced capacity of the ride.

This data is only based on the 7 major coasters, more detailed data based on a wider selection of attractions (family rides too!) will follow as the season progresses, and I get the time to do so :)
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Brilliant report and very interesting! The park does seem to have been quiet so far this season but I'm sure it's nothing they didn't expect. I know for example that Good Friday was far busier than they anticipated, even if it wasn't near the levels of previous years.

School trip season and the summer will be very telling for the park and ultimately determine whether it is a good season or not. I'd imagine school trip numbers will be down a fair amout this year and that's usually a big market for them.

Looking at ridetimes quickly now, all thrill rides currently have a 0 minute queue. That says it all and explains why the park will be closed on select mid-week days.

:)
 
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Sku

TS Member
I know for example that Good Friday was far busier than they anticipated, even if it wasn't near the levels of previous years.
Having a quick look, it would seem you are right, if I would have included all the family rides and cbeebies land, Good Friday was by far the busiest day of the season so far, which isn't really accurately reflected above only using coaster queue times. Also, some days appear busier than they should, as there have been multiple reports of 1 train operation etc on many coasters (which would be unheard of during the easter holidays in years gone by). It's amazing waits actually remained low given the operational circumstances.

Of course, in practice, the graph still at least reflects how long you will actually queue for the major thrill attractions, if not the actual attendance of the park.

From what I saw last year, bank holidays are usually very popular for family rides. Thrill seekers tend to try and avoid bank holidays assuming they will be busy, whereas families with small children often have far less choice when they can visit. My theory at least on that. :)

Good Friday was the only day predicted to be sunny that weekend, so the park did very well, considering.
 
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Lizkatewells

TS Member
I think it is entirely feasible that visitor numbers will be down this year in general. All the ride closures are causing people to write bad reviews all over the Internet - I went against the majority and wrote them a raving review on Facebook after my 2 day visit in the Easter hols about 2 weeks ago. I for one am a huge fan of Towers, mainly thanks to their coaster variety. Since that hasn't changed, nothing much has changed for me at all - so I thoroughly enjoyed my visit - in fact I enjoyed it more than usual due to staying in the AT hotel for the first time - there is some serious magic in that place, if some of you guys think it's magic has gone, (personally I don't) then I recommend an overnight stay!

But yeah, I can't see the general visitor numbers picking up drastically this season. I think 2017 season will be better, and by 2018, many people will have moved on from the Smiler crash - and come to visit SW8.

Also FYI - I read a news article posted today (Google News 'Alton towers')that Towers have applied for planning permission to extend their tree-top resort and build more cabins. So they clearly foresee growth as well as me :)
 

Matt.GC

TS Member
A few thoughts on this. Firstly, unlike previous seasons, I think the queues for the thrill coasters is actually the worst attendance indicator in the post Smiler crash era. I'm looking forward to your analysis of the family rides that you mentioned.

As a father, I am seeing a side to Towers that I never explored before in years gone by when I only went for the thrills. On the floor, its almost like business as usual in Ceebebies, I waited 30mins for the RMT the other day, 5 mins for Duel and the monorail was horrendous (albeit with reduced train numbers causing some of this). Even the gardens s eemed busy when the sun came out. Forbidden Valley however was a ghost town, Dark Forest seemed almost eerie (never EVER seen that area so quiet) and I waited 20 mins for enterprise whilst half empty Oblivion shuttles zoomed above our heads.

Secondly, it leaves me wondering about what I think is really THE important question - How much does the actual attendance compare to what Towers planned/budgeted for and their expectations. I think it's very clear that they expected very low attendance figures this season, but just how low did they expect?

The mass ride, shop and food outlet closures coupled with the announcement of TLC (which has pleasantly surpassed my expectations so far) and SW8 tells you a lot about how Merlin perceive the park. They're clearly "battening down the hatches" for a tough few seasons, to look after the bottom line, but also see a long term future in the park. That's how I (positively) look at it. It's easy to get bogged down with how bad things are on park at the moment, but I think the park will now embark on a journey of drastic change over the coming seasons.

Thanks for the analysis Sku, very enlightening.

Sent from my D6603 using Tapatalk
 
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