Fireworks 2014

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by James, 10th Oct 2014.

  1. Lurker

    Lurker TowersStreet Member

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    called it ;) http://www.towersstreet.com/talk/threads/fireworks-2013.2400/page-2

    I was critical of last year, but this year i thought they improved the show no end, seems like they were given a higher budget and the show came off as very impressive. Sure it was cheesy as hell, but i enjoyed it ;D A few lulls, but in general a really good show i thought!

    Maybe next year we will get some sort of alien invasion. They have these super cool (although painful) super bright stobes, that don't really bang. Pair it with some of those little parachute fireworks and the ones that come down on strings (sorry can't be bothered to look up names), and you could have a super cool raining invasion style thing going on. Then you could have the big alton towers structures which turn out to be cleverly designed weapons just for the purpose of warding off aliens. Though since they did the battle thing maybe they want to get more creative.

    My guess for next years additions ... just so i can call it again ... i think maybe using the lake more? There are fireworks that can go in water (or launch from water), think they could be paired with the water projector perfectly. (see MLEs work at the british firework championship down in plymouth... the loud bangs they use are fun too.) . Why not use the awesome setting they have a bit more (though reflecting lasers is already pretty cool)

    Maybe extend the fire to coloured fire () ... just because it's pretty and fun! :p

    Also, while i'm on suggesting things. Check out Sydney's vivid festival for a run down on how projections and other lighting fun can be used super effectively.
     
    Last edited: 10th Nov 2014
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  2. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    This years display was a little underwhelming, not enough fireworks and pyro musical timing, too much emphasis on story repeating the same stock ride footage. I would rather have great fireworks perfectly timed to music than a storyline that results in gaps of nothing happening. I did like the well timed propane torches though.

    My favourite were the 2011 & 2012 displays with great timed fireworks and no quiet sections.
    But then my favourite worldwide fireworks show is IllumiNations at Epcot where the story is very well told with no dialogue or obvious show on screens.
     
  3. Plastic Person

    Plastic Person TowersStreet Member

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    You've basically just described the show they did way back in 1997! Complete with specially filmed video segments from Trevor Mcdonald!
     
  4. Lurker

    Lurker TowersStreet Member

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    heh, i was probably there. Was only 4 though so don't remember it, have to check it on youtube! Maybe it is in my sub-conscious somewhere!
     
  5. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    Like other people have said, it was nice attempt at bringing back the 90's shows but I felt it was a bit dull and uninspiring, and ultimately stumbled in many places. While I appreciate the fact they've tried to use a story with special effects as part of the show, they were poorly executed with low production values.

    I don't want to make this out as a rant, it's mainly just my views, review, and some constructive criticism. Not having a go or moaning for the sake of it.

    So, here goes everything that (I personally think) is wrong with the Alton Towers firework displays, in one post:


    The Theme & Script - a battle between Dreams & Nightmares we were promised. Just from that one line, my imagination ran wild and I was thinking this may turn out to be something like the 2002 Air show, but it wasn't. Started off with the premise of building a dream, epic music building up to what? Nothing. The battle sequence was just overused flames and simply telling Mrs Nightmares to go away. Wonderful. Bravo. What a hero that Mr Dream Face is. No one would expect a Hollywood masterpiece script for a 25 minute firework show, but a little bit of character development and a journey where some kind of achievement is made could have been explored in that time.


    Music Selection - all over the place, disjointed, from epic trailer soundtracks then into pop music not suited to the story sequence or emotion. While I prefer more classical and film soundtrack type music for any firework event, I have nothing against a pop music display if it's done well (i.e. Dr Pop Rocket 2004 and 2005, and 2010 30th Birthday, but certainly not the awful 2011 and 2012 mashups). The problem is you can't have it both ways. Is this a pop-tastic firework "display", or a theatrical multimedia "show"? Decide which.

    Not sure what people are getting at with the Disney music? I assume they are referring to the 2nd track which was James Newton Howard's Peter Pan theme, heavily edited. It's not a track you see used on many displays. I've used it a couple of times, and there's a company in Peterborough called PDC Fireworks who love to use it on competition displays, but other than that it's not a exactly a popular choice for fireworks. So I'd say Alton win here, great choice! The first track, Voyage to Atlantis, I thought was a great opener for a show about dreams. Too bad they didn't use any of the tracks from Inception - that would have been very fitting for this theme.

    Most importantly, ITHOTMK as the finale has to go. 5 years running now. Enough already. I know everyone here loves it, and yes, it's so iconic of Alton Towers but it has no place in a theatrical show because again it has no meaning to the story or emotion. It was cool as the finale of the 30th Birthday Celebration, because that WAS all about Alton Towers and it's history. Even I suggested it way back on TT months before the 2010 show because I thought it would be a good idea. It was, but not for EVERY year. Looking back at the 90's when ITHOTMK was blasting out everywhere at the park, not ever was it used in the firework shows. Actually a very short, creepy version was used at the beginning of the 2003 Duel show, but that was it. It has no place here. Get rid.

    Come to think of it, that's 3 shows in very recent years which have been themed around Alton Towers rides or history. Surely they can come up with something more original than reusing the same theme over and over?


    Lighting - overpowering in places, they're taking the moving beam lights a bit too far now. Sometimes the lights were on constantly, not moving, too much static time, and leaving them running while waterscreen is running ruins the illusion of a 'floating image' by lighting the entire thing. They're supposed to look a bit like holograms. Also the cheap, tacky, council house style Christmas LED's draped all over towers. For what reason? Must have been bought from B&M Bargains for 3 quid each. Overall it looked a mess. The big beams should have been either left exclusively on the towers rooftops or moved way off to the far sides of the park, leaving the lower powered movers lining the lake. But again, with the lake lights just constantly throwing them around the sky doesn't really achieve anything. Do something interesting with the lights that fit each song/story section/sequence etc.


    Effects - flame projectors and lasers had absolutely no purpose in the show. I get that they tried use the flames to represent nightmares in some way but I just that was naff. In 2002 the flames were used as the Fire element. 2003 it was Flame Hypnosis. What have flames got to do with nightmares? And to me it seemed they were just hitting them in a random order for a while. Was it to warm up the audience a bit? Oh look we've got nothing going on in this next sequence, let’s hit those flames again, and again, and again. Ok Alton, we've seen enough meaningless flames thank you. The laser had no purpose either. It's was like lets fill up some space by waving that laser around a bit. If you're doing a story led show then you have to work the effects into that story.


    Video - unfortunately wasted on two CG animated faces and stock video of rides. This could have easily just been a voice-narrated-only show like 2013. The video added nothing really. There's no point spending 10's of thousands of pounds on special effects that have no purpose or meaning. If you've got that in yer show, then make use of it properly!

    Of all the actors and performers working at Towers, would it really have been too much to film a few characters? I do wonder if a certain creative manager just loves the sound of his own voice a bit too much to let anyone else in on it. From the pre-show's dodgy 'voice of god' with it's constant safety announcements and countdown straight into the main show's lead character. Come on man.


    Pretentious Story - as with 2013, this years show was another 25 minutes of marketing drivel trying convince the general public how amazing the rides and attractions are. From last years "alton towers memories" it's now all about "alton towers dreams". Sorry, let me correct myself - it's about the "RESORT memories" and now "RESORT dreams". Best not forget that RESORT bit! Same thing as 2013 really though isn't it? It gets on your nerves with the constant "look at us, we have such amazing rides and attractions at our RESORT, we make millions of people happy, we're so great at what we do, you'll remember us, we create your dreams". We, we, we... RESORT, RESORT, RESORT! We know you are a resort, but you are also just simply ALTON TOWERS. Actually, you don’t even have to mention that every 5 seconds either.

    Going back to the pretentiousness, can you imagine if children's books and bedtime stories were full of how amazing the book publisher think they are? Can you imagine a Disney animated film that only tells a story of how amazing Disney think they are and the experiences they create?

    Seriously, just shut up! Give us a silly story of fantasy and fun, not marketing BS.

    On a side note, I'm really fed up of both Merlin and Alton Towers bigging themselves up in everything they do. Can't say I'm all that surprised though, from the organisation that considers itself 2nd only to Disney. This stupidly high opinion of themselves is completely laughable, but it seems to filter down to every lower level of the company.

    Although I miss the quirky comedy of the old 90's/00's shows, I could actually get away with this serious, epic style they're going for if it wasn't for the pretentiousness of it all.


    VIP Packages - This has got me fuming. Get rid of it! There are no "very important people" at a family firework event (only very important pr***s). When paying for a ticket, every person has a right to stand in a position of good view (or at least let them have that choice). Like I say, VIP's don't exist other than celebrities who might be performing or presenting on stage, in which case you keep the hospitality backstage and away from public eyes. The blatant obstruction on the lawns for the paying public is an absolute disgrace. All that inconvenience for a minority of knobs who want a seat and a glass of wine with their fireworks. One must not mix with the lower claarrrrses at such festivities. Of course, this is no doubt a creation of the Marketing Department, who are the biggest cause of problems at this theme park.


    In Conclusion - it's not all bad news. Best thing about the whole production? A couple of music choices like Voyage to Atlantis and the Peter Pan theme, but mainly it was just Jubilee Fireworks. Sublime display by them given what they had to work with, as always, because Jubilee are the real deal. Tight choreography, quality pyro effects, good variation, building it up and breaking it back down to create an interesting display. They clearly know what showmanship is.

    As I said at the start of this post, I'm not having a moan, it's mostly constructive criticism here which I hope is taken into consideration for the next time.

    I've written this from my passion and love of fireworks. It's due to Alton's shows back when I was a kid that made me want to get involved with fireworks, entertainment, and the events industry. I know many other pyrotechnicians who are the same, so I'm glad they are slowly returning the big story-led special effect spectaculars, but I seriously doubt we'll ever see the innovation and world record breaking attempts that we had with the 90's shows. Occasionally I look back at my videos of those old shows and despite the advances in technology, they still stand up to some of the world’s best firework displays of today. They were indeed something very special.
     
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  6. Alastair

    Alastair TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Excellent post @PeteB, harsh but fair criticism. The orchestral sections (the first two tracks and the ES. Posthumus track about 19 minutes in) were by far the best, mainly because they create a much more expansive atmosphere, and indeed feel much more suited to theme parks than Coldplay/U2. I do however disagree that ITHOTMK should be removed. It's synonymous with the park, to such an extent that a lot of people actually think it is the park's composed theme. It wouldn't feel right without it at the end, however incongruous it is with the theme of the show.

    Definitely hope they ditch the tacky christmas lights next year though. Go back to the brilliant looking backlighting of 2013:

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Lurker

    Lurker TowersStreet Member

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    I agree on the finale, though actually the fun and mischievous sounds of ITHOTMK seems like one of the best ways to ward off nightmares, and does make a good finale song since it builds so nicely. I do enjoy the song, and think that it should be kept as part of the show (even if only a short cut of it, and not as a finale).

    I'm curious what else you think should have been on the projection screen. In a way i agree it would have been nice to see it utilised more, but i struggle to see what they could have done with the story they chose. I suppose that is why im not a creative writer ;D I think it's a fun technology and would like to see it used again (so i want to resist saying it was bad) but i do agree it could have been put to better use. It didn't not aid the story ;D

    As for the story, i just appreciated the effort. It was a little self pushy (though i do think it's stupid, people talking about how immersive the display was is going to be better talk than even the biggest crowd going home subliminally thinking Alton Towers rides are the thing of dreams) ... I think a history based story could be fun, using the towers a bit more ... they are so pretty and have always fascinated me. I mentioned before about putting projector screens in the windows and making shadows move around the place, still thinking that is super fun.

    On the flames/lasers, part disagree. I imagine both are a cost saving thing, once you have a tank of fuel and a long cable you can just use the effects as much as you like without significantly increasing the cost of the show (i.e it's going to cost a similar amount to use them for 30 secs or 5 mins.) i think they can be quite impressive, especially to those who don't get to see large scale displays often (and so are unlikely to have seen this kind of flame system used too frequently already). Obviously fireworks are going to be more impressive than a few flames ... but it wasn't a gap and allows them to save up some product for the big moments. I'm still against the wider beams being used while fireworks are going off for more than a very short period of time, Just lights up the sky and lessens the contrast.

    Also speaking of the lighting, does anyone know where all that gear comes from? I presume they rent it all, anyone know who from?

    Over all i stand by my saying it was better than last year, and more impressive.
     
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  8. Alastair

    Alastair TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I believe they use AC Lighting :)
     
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  9. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    Not 100% sure about this year, but last few years some kit has been supplied by HSL Group. In years previous to that it was Hawthorns. Yeah it's hired. A lot of the beam lights used for concerts and outdoor shows like this are upwards of £10,000 each to buy so it only makes sense to hire them.
     
    Last edited: 11th Nov 2014
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  10. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry Pete but if every one of your criticisms caused a change then there wouldn't be anything left! I agree the water screen was pointless, they could have done narration only same as last year. The fire effects were good and perfectly timed, but over used and not backed up with enough fireworks, but they have their place in the show and I think are one of the things that make ATs fireworks a big show.
    There just wasn't enough fireworks this year, I loved the 2010 / 2011 / 2012 shows as it was just very very well timed fireworks to good music and some lighting. By focusing on "story" they end up with low points with nothing happening, or just the screen being used. Dr Pop Rocket was a better use of a screen! That's the other problem of using water projection, the lake is too low down so getting a decent view is difficult, the LED screen used years ago are easier for whole audience to see, but block the view of the towers.

    As for VIP, the viewing area was a little too close to the centre to allow good guest flow around it, but it didn't ruin my night and if the price was £20-30 cheaper I would have used it myself. We did reserved seating at Fantasmic! at Disneyland and that took up a huge amount of frontier land, but we were only there one night and it was worth it so we could see fireworks and Fantasmic both in one evening.
     
  11. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    The story is marketing approved so it always seems to be a pointless resort advert (don't think they quite clocked the guests are already in the park). Would like to see what ents could do if allowed to run free with a decent story.

    Music was a bit mixed, not as good as previous years. I liked the fire, it mixes things up a bit and was also a handy way to let the smoke try and clear a bit.

    I watched a video of the 2013 fireworks side by side with this years and there isn't a huge difference in the number of fireworks. A shade more last year and a few more high launchers.

    Overall I think it was a great show, we had some guys over from France who's local park is Europa and they thought it was amazing. I don't see any non-Disney parks really doing a firework display at the quality AT do it. And when your working at that level not every year can beat the last. And the fact opinions are so mixed this year (some prefer it to last year) I think it's more down to personal preference than actual competency.

    And leave the string lights on the towers alone, I like them :p

    (Do agree ITHOTMK as iconic as it is would be better snuck into the displays in various guises at different points rather than always being the finale)
     
  12. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    @PeteB - think your criticism there is a bit harsh in my opinion. While it wasnt as good as last years epic show, it was still good.

    I watched it on the Saturday and Sunday night. Saturday I watched it with fellow AT regulars and Sunday with two people who have never seen them before (and an 8 year old).

    Firstly, the VIP area. I actually think well done Alton - it looked good, and had it been cheaper for those of us with AP, I "may" have been tempted to use it. There were decent tables, a good view, and looked well organised this year as compared to last. It also didnt get in the way of people stood in the field as it was more over to the left than I had thought. Given that people were starting to hog all the good places by 5pm, and the field was more like a mud pit, I would have happily gone into the VIP area so I could spend more time enjoying the rides and not having to stand for 2 hours to get a spot at the front. If AT are reading this - can you knock off the cost of admission from the VIP tickets for next year for those of us with AP, not just a measly 10%

    As for the fireworks themselves and the show, on the Saturday we were stood right at the front. I know some had mentioned the smaller sound set up this year, but it was fine, nice and loud. The water wall was very good, though I just thought it was a bit cheesy at the beginning, .... the big build up... 10, 9, 8 ... 3, 2, 1 then pfft, the TV comes on lol.

    There were definitely less fireworks this year compared to last, and I felt a little cheated at the points where only the flames were being used with nothing up in the sky. Incidentally, being stood at the front, one of the flame machines, two of the jets on it were not working, so the fluid was being squirted out, failing to ignite and covering us, and it was extremely strong in terms of it smell. Not pleasant.

    ITHOTMK - this HAS to stay. Every year, it has to be there. Its Alton's signature tune ever since year dot and its been in the fireworks every year. It must remain and I love the build up the music provides to the final explosions. Also, its quite an emotional moment on the last day hearing that theme tune and the final bangs of the 2014 season fade away.

    Sunday - viewed it from where the hearse was parked at scarefest. This is my usual viewing spot and took my Alton newbie's here to watch it. Again, people had taken good spots by 5pm, so we grabbed some food and drink, put a waterproof down on the wet grass and did some people watching for the next 2 hours.

    Sound volume at the back of the field was fine, no complaints and you could quite easily see the water screen above everyone's heads. My two Alton newbies and their 8 year old absolutely loved the show!

    So, for us regulars, who may have spoilt by last years show, or the likes of Dr Pop Rocket in the past, it may not rank as high as previous years displays, but it wasn't bad, and it seemed to entertain the general public given the reactions of all the people stood around me, on both nights.

    Actually, the only real complaint I have is the lighting around the field. They turned the floods off at 6:50, so the area was pitch black even though people were still trying to find their way around and after it finished, they didnt come back on until 10 minutes after the end of the show. How people didnt go kicking in the slippery mud in the dark on that field I dont know!

    One final thing - the Towers, in those lights, wow, how amazing a sight was that during and after the show. Loved the way the towers changed colour to match the show and that purple lighting up at the very end, absolutely loved this, it was an awe inspiring sight to see for the remainder of the the evening. It was a good night (both of them!)
     
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  13. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Completly agree with this, no other theme park (except Disney) comes close to the standard of Alton Towers displays. Although there are some other great pyromusical displays, such as Jubilee's festival of fireworks at Catton Hall.
     
  14. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I agree with a lot of what you've said but disagree with some also. You do make some very good points. I agree that 'pop' displays like in 2010 work well but the 2011 and 2012 ones were not good.

    In terms of the Disney track, I'm surely not one of the only ones who does associate it heavily with Disney? Orchestral music is great and I love it when they use it, but I still think using an iconic Disney song to try and create a feeling of magic demonstrated a lack of creativity.

    You're spot on about the story. They concept of dreams vs nightmares was a good one but in the end it turned into a marketing led story which is a shame as I am sure that the creative team could have done something brilliant. Towers do not have a good enough all round project to back up saying how good they are etc. EP do it a lot but at least there is significant substance to it.

    I do disagree with what you say about the VIP area though. I know VIP things are not popular with many on here but it is part of today's world. Disney offer a lot of VIP/premium experiences for various events/shows. It's a nice way of generating some extra revenue which for me is fine. And it certainly was not a blatant obstruction for the public. Maybe it was if you stood right behind it but common sense tells you not to do that. On the two nights I watched the fireworks there was more than enough space to watch them without even noticing the VIP area.
    They've had those lights for 2 or 3 years now. I agree that the backlighting last year was fantasic but it is nice that they change the lighting set up each year, would be boring if they just kept it the same. Hopefully backlighting will come back one year though.

    :)
     
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  15. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    The display has to finish with ITHOTMK, It just would not a alton towers display without it.
     
  16. AtmosFear

    AtmosFear TowersStreet Member

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    I much preferred this years to the previous years. The music was much more fitting, not only going to for just standard tracks but also remixes.

    Especially with the fire effects! Overall thought the experience was much more interesting. The story line was much more thought out and put into a place! As Pete cliff said... Going for the Disney style was much more of a better thought out display!
     
  17. Coaster

    Coaster TowersStreet Member

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    Didn't see the show but I watched it on YouTube and this seems like a strange choice of music (first piece of music used in the display).
     
  18. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    There seems to be a enormously mixed opinion about the shows they do these days, and that's a good example. As someone who has visited every display in the last 20 years I feel ending on ITHOTMK does NOT make it feel like an Alton Towers display haha. :p

    Anyways, on the subject of soundtrack:

    01. Future World Music - Voyage to Atlantis (Volume 10: Immortal Empire)
    02. James Newton Howard - Flying (Peter Pan)
    03. U2 - Beautiful Day
    04. Michael Jackson - Don't Stop Til You Get Enough (Immortal Megamix)
    05. Coldplay - Sky Full of Stars
    06. Keane - Silenced By the Night (Alesso Remix)
    07. Hans Zimmer - Imagine The Fire (The Dark Knight Rises)
    08. Puff Daddy - Come With Me (Godzilla)
    09. Marilyn Manson - Tainted Love
    10. Hans Zimmer - Imagine The Fire (The Dark Knight Rises)
    11. American Authors - Best Day of My Life (Gazzo Remix)
    12. Martin Garrix - Wizard
    13. American Authors - Best Day of My Life (Gazzo Remix)
    14. Knife Party - Bonfire
    15. The Prodigy - Breathe
    16. David Guetta - Titanium
    17. E.S. Posthumus - Unstoppable
    18. Porter Robinson - Sea of Voices
    19. Edvar Grieg - In The Hall of The Mountain King

    It's the weird pop choices here which get me, and it's like they're still trying to hang on to the pop mashup style from previous years, alternating between Best Day of My Life and Wizard. Whoever thought mashing up Breathe with Titanium must be tone deaf lol!

    My choice for a battle with Nightmares would have been Hans Zimmer's 'Dream is Collapsing' because it's fitting for the theme and sounds kinda sinister -
     
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  19. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    Marketing need to feck off.

    A bad obsessed marketing team suck the life out of creativity. Which is ironic, given it is at it's best when lead by CREATIVE people with a firm grasp of how to build business around it.

    Got a nice piece of paper did they with a "Look at me, I can do marketing in a classroom" certificate?

    Also. ITHOTMK. GET RID OF IT!!!

    For goodness sakes why on Earth would I want to hear the iconic Alton Towers signature music played at the crescendo of a season along to beautiful pyrotechnics?! REPLACE IT WITH LADY GAGA NOW! ;)

    :D

    Guys. Give that last point some thought eh?
     
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  20. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    [QUOTE="TheMan" Also. ITHOTMK. GET RID OF IT!! [/QUOTE]

    Noooooooooooooooooooo
     

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