Alton Towers post 2015 cuts and the recovery so far...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AT86, 20th Mar 2021.

  1. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    So it is fair to say it has been a challenging time in the life of Alton Towers over the past 5 years or so. There was talk in the 2021 thread a few days back about the lack of capacity with food across the park that pretty much stems from the closures post 2015. It got me thinking about what else has been removed since the Smiler incident and whether they have been re-instated/replaced or not.

    The first thing that struck me is just how much was cut when you can see it all in a list, and I am sure I will have missed some things off as well.

    Attractions
    Hex - reopened
    Driving School - reopened
    Charlie and Choc Factory - replaced by Dungeons (upcharge)
    Ripsaw - not replaced
    The Flume - replaced by Wickerman
    Twirling Toadstool - not replaced
    Ice Age 4D - not replaced
    Sub-Terra - not replaced
    Wobble World - replaced by Gangsta Granny

    Entertainment
    Alton Towers Traffic Patrol - returned
    Pirates of Munity Bay Show - not replaced

    Shops
    Ice Age Shop - still closed
    Oblivion Shop - still closed
    Th13teen Shop - still closed
    Munity Bay Lego Shop - reopened as drink refill

    Food and Beverage
    Towers St Bar & Grill - still closed
    Courtyard BBQ - still closed
    Mexican Cantina - demolished and not replaced
    FV Burger Kitchen - still closed
    Refresh @ Ripsaw - still closed
    Forest Feast - reopened
    Wobble World Cafe - replaced by Raj's Shop
    Rehydrator Bar - reopened as Donut Factory

    Operations
    4pm ride closures -
    still present
    Removed Baggage Rooms - not returned
    Removed single rider queues on Th13teen, Oblivion, Spinball and The Smiler - Smiler returned
    Mid-week closed dates - removed for 2021

    Despite new additions such as Go Jetters in CBeebies the park is still down on rides, entertainment, F&B and shops 6 seasons later.

    What is everyone's view on what is the biggest gap that needs plugging? For me its anything that isn't a headline ride, so entertainment and filler rides. Some more variety in the choice of food would be good as well. There are many locations to buy hotdogs, donuts and burgers - but not much else.
     
    MaxPower, Sauron97, OilyWater and 4 others like this.
    Posted 20th Mar 2021
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  2. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    I've wanted to make a thread like this for a while but I didn't want to get a load of replies along the lines of "we're in a global pandemic and all you care about is Merlin budget cuts".
    I was talking to @Poisson last night and he thinks that 2018 onwards were better than 2011-2014. I was surprised by this answer because 2018/19 were marred by short opening hours, staggered openings and all round budget cuts.
    I certainly think that the 2020 season was a good step up and the park should continue in that vain, on that note:
    The Stargazing pods should go and the car park expanded as they did have capacity problems at Scarefest 2019. If the park is aiming for 2.5-3 million guests per year like they used to then they need to get more of everything except coasters and accommodation. I'm not quite sure why they built so much accommodation at a time when visitor numbers were plummeting and one of the biggest complaints on the Alton Towers Facebook page is the cost of accommodation.
    The fairground rides will help with social distancing while that is still necessary but the park need a more permanent solution involving proper theming and music.
    Food and drink should also start to reopen and all kiosks should be run on the busiest days. The choice of food available I think should be considered as (like with most UK parks) it's mostly American-style fast food. It would be nice if they experimented with other styles. e.g. it would make more sense to have a Nandos in Katanga Canyon than a Pizza Pasta.
    I would also consider using the lawns as an event space more like they did in 2010. I don't know how the modern music industry works but it would be nice to have a good pop/rock concert on the lawns like they used to.
     
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    Posted 20th Mar 2021
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  3. Danscott22

    Danscott22 TowersStreet Member

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    Flat Rides (we have a temporary fix currently which will hopefully lead to a permanent fix) and more food options, that being said I quite like Burger Kitchen, Just Chicken, Woodcutters, Pizza and Pasta and Rollercoaster Restaurant - me and my family are quite happy to eat at any of those. But some more options would be nice!
     
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    Posted 20th Mar 2021
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  4. Poisson

    Poisson TowersStreet Member

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    My point behind why 2018 on is better is the fact the park is slowly looking for quality. Wickerman feels like less of a bodge job than The Smiler for example. The staggered openings etc were enforced due to the park having a severely restricted operations budget which has since eased. I can't say anything about the Dungeons as I've not been in but quality is always preferred over quantity.
     
    Posted 20th Mar 2021
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  5. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I think in the quieter months, offering a high quality day out five days a week is better than limping through seven days a week for sure.
     
    Posted 20th Mar 2021
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  6. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    They have got planning permission to semi-surface one of the field car parks for overflow use on more days, but I am not sure if the work is going to go ahead with everything going on in the world at the moment.

    In terms of expanding the food choice, a summer food festival could be a nice idea. Essentially a small version of Epcot food and wine with stalls offering foods from around the world and seating on the lawns. Would help with increasing capacity during the busy months and widen the choice away from Burgers, Hotdogs and Donuts.
     
    Posted 21st Mar 2021
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  7. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    The biggest problem is Merlin operate the top 4 theme parks in the uk so they got no competition.
    1) Legoland
    2) Alton Towers
    3) Thorpe Park
    4) Chessington
    With Drayton Manor 5th and even Paulton’s ain’t got no chance breaking into that top 4 so they really got no need to build new flat rides or rides which can’t have fast track added to it.
    The owners know the young families come for CBeebies and the thrill seekers for the coasters.
     
    Posted 21st Mar 2021
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  8. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    I have to disagree with you on Paultons, they have risen up massively in the last ten years and they are showing no signs of stopping. They are also the top park on TripAdvisor and have been for years. The two barriers they have that I can see are
    1. The Merlin annual pass (although the changes to the pass this year may play to their advantage
    2. Paultons annual pass holders are not happy with how the park has been treating them this year.
    I have just realised how far off topic we have gone so quickly
     
    jon81uk likes this.
    Posted 21st Mar 2021
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  9. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    In the last few years Paultons already stole a lot of customers from other family parks in the south based on value for money alone. They are now opening some of the best quality family areas in the last 10 years. Chessington's first real new ride for 10 years is something Paultons opened 10 years ago!

    The only thing they don't beat the Merlin parks on is brand hype
     
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    Posted 21st Mar 2021
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  10. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    Still haven't forgotten the hilarity of Chessington building a Mega Disk'O the year after Paultons did and naming it Kobra (at a time when the only major coaster at Paultons was Cobra).

    Almost like the team at Chessington haven't got any unique ideas anymore.
     
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  11. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    I loved Paulton’s park and even in 2014 when we went was impressed how clean and nice the whole park looked and we going again this year as my son loves Peppa pig and my daughter tall enough to ride everything but having all this won’t get the park get more visitors than Chessington or Legoland.
    I hope with Octoberfest and Screamfest with the entertainment that was on offer and what they had planned for the Christmas event it will show the same amount on offer this season.
    Would love to see a real ale festival with live bands on the lawn.
     
  12. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    I hadnt clocked til now that the only new ride hardware in the last 10 years was just two rides copying Paultons Park. With some beige animal heads added

    Other than upgrading a carousel

    I hope Paultons gets more recognised as one of the best family theme parks in the UK from this year
     
  13. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Well this quickly turned into the Paultons Park appreciation thread didn't it!

    Back to cuts and recovery, Wickerman is about the only thing that's recovered any of the dignity the park had before 2015. Everything else the park did pre 2020 season seemed like hammering further nails in the coffin.

    It's remarkable really. If the OG post had been posted on here as a prediction of the next 5 seasons back in spring of 2015, even I would've scoffed at how rediculous it sounds. Yet here we are. Park took 20 steps back post 2015 season and probably only moved forward about 5 at best since.

    Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
     
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  14. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    The entertainment has been expanded though and this is probably the biggest continual improvement since 2015
     
  15. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    although the pirate show ended in 2015. Yes CBeebies has added back live entertainment to the old ice rink area that hadn’t been used in a long time and we had slightly more roaming entertainers.
    But I still don’t think the park is back to the level it was when there was both Cred St theatre shows and the Pirates show.
     
  16. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    I more mean Scarefest growing a lot in quality and size (other than the scare zones disappearing) and the number of events growing
     
  17. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not sure Scarefest has grown that much? A lot of what is currently offered was being done years ago. They've had three scare mazes, plus the Skelvin trick or treat show for years. Biggest change is they stopped putting the mazes outside the parks (Field of screams, boilerhouse) due to the Enchanted Village. Only really major expansion is the family maze (Darkest Depths).
     
  18. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Maybe not size then but the quality hasn't suffered, in my opinion it's gotten better, we had some of the best mazes between 2015 and 2019.

    Also the stage making more regular appearances. Add to that the other new events recently, I think entertainments grown since 2015
     

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