2019: The Alton Towers Dungeon

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by GaryH, 28th Jun 2018.

  1. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @Jb85 Alton, Chessington & Gardaland each got a Sea Life at the same time, as I recall - before that brand was introduced to the Lego parks.

    I am not sure we have seen enough Midway openings within RTP properties to understand their intentions.
     
  2. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    I don't get "Disney do it" so it's ok. Can you imagine Merlin producing a ride anywhere near the quality of Disney? And then, Disney's best new dark rides are where they've got a format that works (say a haunted dark ride) then do something new and creative with it like Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor.

    The bigger problem is the good ideas not allowed to get made because of this policy.

    It might work for trash midways, but just rolling out the same idea for parks has proven to be sabotage in the long run. A concept has to be so generic and 'safe' enough to work in loads of different countries at once. It's trying to be the McDonalds formula of dumbing down and repeating.

    So you get a trash meal at a fast food chain because it has to be the exact same recipe everywhere, cheap enough to produce on mass. You're no longer just getting a straight up, decent burger made for you. Fine if the naff product was cheap enough to justify it, but usually they're incredibly overpriced. People will fall for it, when they could be getting much better value somewhere more independent.

    I agree theme parks need to have tried and tested appeal, but you still got to surprise people and do something extraordinary, that's the whole point of a theme park. Not just offer a generic, sterile attraction like every Legoland, every Sea Life and every Dungeon is now.

    So many of Merlin's ideas in recent years have been achingly dull and predictable. You can almost hear the corporate hipsters in the boardroom as they come up with them. Bar Wicker Man, which I actually think had a lot more character to it than anything else Merlin have produced.

    No surprise they would block wooden coasters for so long because they're 'different', but as soon as one slips through and proves successful (shock!) they copy the idea for their other one too.

    It's like an AI is making theme parks.
     
    Last edited: 25th Sep 2019
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  3. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @TakeYourMedicine I don't want to get too bogged down in the food analogy, but I think it's a fair comparison. If you take the fast food brands and look at their revenues - people want those things and wilfully spend their money there. We spend half a billion(!) pounds a year on Dominos pizza. People know what they're getting and like the familiarity. We've all been guilty of doing that, surely.

    Equally, the opposite end of the market is thriving where people want something entirely unique, not found anywhere else, served on the sole of an upturned shoe - but if you look at that market, it's hard to scale it up and the success rate is far lower.

    I think the Wicker Man and Collosos comparison is tricky to make work when you look at the markets of those parks and how they don't in any way overlap, not even at all - I am willing to bet that it must be 1% of guests to those parks that are aware of the other ride and even less have ridden it. And if they have, so what - the fire figure is such a miniscule element of two rides that couldn't be anymore different in terms of the ride experience.

    Again, the above has an opposite and I think that's back to the familiarity thing, like the fast food example. If I go to a Lego Park, I want there to be a Miniland, I want there to be a Sleeping Beauty's castle at a Magic Kingdom style park, I want there to be a Batman The Ride if I go to a Six Flags park.

    Maybe the success of Wicker Man will convince them to do something more daring - bring it on, but if they make something successful and choose to replicate it hundreds or thousands of miles away, I'm not losing any sleep over it.

    I am sure we had this debate in 2002 when it came to light that Thorpe were building 'a Nemesis ride'.
     
  4. Jb85

    Jb85 TowersStreet Member

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    @TakeYourMedicine your post is spot on.

    I would disagree with one point though - Merlins ideas at AT have been great in recent years. Thirteen to me is ace. Smiler unique theme and wicker man is class.

    The issue though is when they roll the ideas elsewhere - like you say McDonalds syndrome
     
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  5. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @Jb85 Have you enjoyed Wicker Man less in 2019 than you did in 2018 because Merlin opened a ride with a similar theme 15 hours drive away? I just don't get it...

    Blue Fire is no worse a ride for being cloned six times or whatever it is.
     
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  6. Jb85

    Jb85 TowersStreet Member

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    @Rick - yes I have actually ;-)

    In all seriousness no, it’s more the lack of imagination that gets me.
     
  7. TheBolt

    TheBolt TowersStreet Member

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    It isn't a bad thing for different parks to have versions of some of the same rides.
    Bulk buying anything saves money, so they can afford more investments.

    I'd love to feel I would use the phrase "go to Merlin" in the way I can "go to Disney"... that sentiment would show the brand offers something unique.
    I think the parks should have common characters, like a Merlin the Wizard, Henry Hound etc. at all the parks, selling a core set of common merchandise across all the theme parks. I agree the UK (?) parks need to improve the offering too... food,, atmosphere, customer service, queue length etc.... but the brand image could be used better.
     
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  8. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    The bigger problem with the policy is that it kills good ideas more than it spreads them. I think the public are just as hungry for new ideas as well as familiarity! A company like Merlin aren't interested in what actually gets made, they just want to guarantee globalised success, which inevitably leads to dumbing down and cheapening.

    I mention the Wicker Man copy because it's ironic how for years no wooden coasters were allowed to be built because they didn't pass the same marketing tests, even though it obviously proved popular. I'd be really interested to know what changed for Merlin to finally push a wooden coaster through the net and allow more theming quality as well. I also hoped WM would encourage them to push boundaries more and take more creative risks.

    Going back to Disney, they would never have come up with their classic 'all-rounders' had the criteria been to make something copyable around the world. They had to practically invent animatronics and go through loads of revisions to get to Pirates of the Caribbean (probably the most copied theme in the world now!).

    It's all about balance I suppose, you want to hit on a good hook without overdoing it so much that it becomes stale. But you want to try new things too, otherwise the next big success will never be found. Merlin seem to be poor at both in my opinion, they repeat like a robot and usually never pull off new ideas very well. Even if something is new for Merlin, it's usually a bland version of something else that became fleetingly trendy 5 years earlier.

    I appreciate that Alton Towers Dungeon is kind of a different take to the others in places, that's it's best strength to be honest.
     
    Last edited: 26th Sep 2019
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  9. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    Experienced the Alton Towers Dungeon for the first time yesterday. Shows and actors were excellent, I did jump a few times! Weakest part was the boat section- some totally black tunnels and the projections were a bit too gruesome I think. Not my cup of tea.
    Overall a good experience but I don't think it will last long.
     
  10. Matt878787

    Matt878787 TowersStreet Member

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    Do you think the dungeons will be back for 2020? I wonder if they will turn it into something with The World of David Walliams.

    I haven’t visited the dungeons as hearing stories about people being picked out of the crowd is my worst nightmare.
     
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  11. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    That's what I was worried about, but if you stand in the middle or at the back you won't get picked.

    I wouln't be surprised if it closed and they used the building for TWoDW. Don't think it'd be ready for 2020 though as it would be a lot of work. Part of an area expansion in 2021 perhaps?
     
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  12. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I'm pretty sure that the Dungeons will be staying for 2020. Although I do not think that they have a long term future in the park. It is a pity that they will not be able to use the building for a more substantial CCL dark ride.
     
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  13. Lurker

    Lurker TowersStreet Member

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    I'm kind of hoping they'll stay (madness I know), but hoping they'll be free for map holders. I'd like to experience them as the boat ride got good reviews.
     
  14. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Good reviews for the boat ride? I wouldn't get your hopes up, unless you are a fan of darkness and/or projections.
     
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  15. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    The 2020 premium season pass is being sold with free access to the Dungeons as a perk. So it seems to be staying for another season.
     
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  16. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    I predict a replacement for the Dungeons in 2021 as part of a David Walliams Land expansion.

    We know how Merlin like to milk new areas in this way.
     
  17. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    First it be SBNO for a few seasons before it is turned into another attraction :rolleyes:
     
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  18. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    So sadly the Dungeons will live on for another season. It seems they have actually increased the number of time slots, going from every 15mins to every 10mins throughout the day. This could just be more of an operational tweak than a suggestion that it will be more popular this year.

    Unless they are hoping that Gangsta Granny will increase footfall around that part of the park and encourage visitors to part with more cash.

    Any news on if they will open this up to premium MAP holders this year now the 'hype' has died down?
     
  19. ringo

    ringo TowersStreet Member

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  20. Mikw

    Mikw TowersStreet Member

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    Mmm, do the timing increases indicate the removal of a room?
     
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