Is Alton Towers a world class theme park?

Is Alton Towers a world class theme park?

  • Yes

    Votes: 20 38.5%
  • No

    Votes: 32 61.5%

  • Total voters
    52

jon81uk

TS Member
Oh, another thing I'd take from DLP is their opening times...

First weekend of the year, the main park is open 9:30 till 22:00 (Studios 10-21), plus Magic Hours at 8:00 at BOTH parks... Those sort of hours are pretty constant throughout the year anyways, but it's a ridiculous standard to have...

I was just looking at January at DLP and they are only open to 7pm studios and 8pm Disneyland. Also 9 attractions across the two parks are closed for the majority of January (http://www.dlpguide.com/calendar/closures-refurbishments/) so this is why year-round opening doesn't always work (but also why hotels at DLP are so cheap for January).
 

Benzin

TS Member
I was just looking at January at DLP and they are only open to 7pm studios and 8pm Disneyland. Also 9 attractions across the two parks are closed for the majority of January (http://www.dlpguide.com/calendar/closures-refurbishments/) so this is why year-round opening doesn't always work (but also why hotels at DLP are so cheap for January).

SM is down for 6 months for a massive refurb (including new trains so the rumour goes), but you say it doesn't always work yet the list of rides closed for the majority of January aren't exactly going to be the sort of rides people go to Disney for bar SM... I'd take a few rides being closed over a certain time period rather than have nothing until March (alternatively, we can look to Efteling, who tend to do their refurbs in Feb and have all their attractions open during their Winter event)...

Also you'll notice I said the first weekend has those opening hours, but even in their off-peak times they have still open the main park for 2 hours longer than Towers... Big old difference even if some rides aren't always open...


Onto Merlin, I'd say that the Shrek attraction epitomises the company very well... It's a terrible concept that is long, LONG after the product was actually in it's prime (and wasn't the prime of Shrek like, a decade ago?)... It's also an attraction that doesn't actually appear to have an actual point or goal towards it, especially in comparison to Sea-Life (aquariums/conservation) and Dungeons (educational horror history lesson)... It'll bring in money in the short term no doubt about it, but is there longevity in such an attraction? I highly doubt Shrek will be the same sort of timeless classic as the likes of Disney brands or even Harry Potter... Though Singapore's Shrek area looks nice, that's predominantly because of the money Universal poured into it, and a Midway attraction is a different kettle of fish comparatively...
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
Ride hardware does not a world class park make. In fact, good ride hardware doesn't even make a good ride! With all it was supposed to be, and all the hope we had for it, every time I come off of The Smiler I have a headache and a sour look on my face.
Air actually breaks down a lot and has a lot of issues.
Merlin seem to think that rides are enough to make people have a great day, they don't care if the park is a bit dirty, the food is over priced and dreadful or that the theming is falling apart/nonexistent.
The ride hardware might be the best, and the manufacturers who built the rides makes it sound incredible. But I prefer a Pinfari that sits up in Scotland to some rides at Towers.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
This whole discussion has another factor that needs to be considered. What are we defining as a "theme park"? There are many different definitions that can be used!

:)
 

Ketz

TS Member
I think peoples definition of theme parks is different.

In the past I think only Disney heavily themed not only there rides but whole sections of parks. Now it's not uncommon for other parks to theme rides, buildings, and even it's food.

With Alton being a relatively old theme park they suffer from rides that were once classed well themed but I think no longer cut the mustard. They aren't particularly well maintained and look dated. There are no well themed buildings, with building simply painted to match the current themes. I do think the rides themselves are mostly good and fun.
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
I don't think people's definition of a theme park is all that important in this particular discussion as Towers has been compared to DLP and EP the most. Six Flags parks are probably more comparable to Thorpe as I'm led to believe they are all giant heaps of concrete too.
 
Please don't take my original question "is Alton Towers a world class the park" too literally... The question is Alton Towers world class would be equally valid.

If is difficult to define an exact line between an amusement park and a theme park.
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Please don't take my original question "is Alton Towers a world class the park" too literally... The question is Alton Towers world class would be equally valid.

If is difficult to define an exact line between an amusement park and a theme park.

Indeed. And I think that is what is being looked at generally here. Of course if you were to go by the true definition of what a theme park is or should be then Alton Towers is not world class. As the generic loose definition of what we mostly consider a theme park then for me it is world class.

:)
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
If Alton Towers is world class, in what way does it compete with parks like Europa, Disney Paris/Florida, Universal? What does it have that means it is on the same level as parks like these?
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
If Alton Towers is world class, in what way does it compete with parks like Europa, Disney Paris/Florida, Universal? What does it have that means it is on the same level as parks like these?

Nobody has said it does, in fact people have taken great pains to explain why it definitely doesn't compete with those parks

But peoples definitions of the term "world class" may be broader than yours, to me any park that attracts foreign visitors beyond enthusiasts is world class. Those parks you mention or the creme de la creme
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
Since those parks are among the best in the world, and as you said are the 'creme de la creme' and Towers cannot compete with them, it is not world class.
That is the very definition of world class, among the best in the world.
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
world-class
adjective
  1. (of a person, thing, or activity) of or among the best in the world.

Well copying and pasting the dictionary defines the word indeed, but it doesn't define the scope and breadth of what you can or can't put within that class. Because unfortunately that is subjective, the definition also doesn't preclude further sub-dividing that class.

For instance, the Premier League is considered a world class football league, but the teams within that frequently get subdivided into the best clubs and the "others".

So unless you can find the international theme park would class standards authority definition on "world class" i'm afraid to tell you the debate will continue.
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
The general public don't even think it's the best park in the UK, let alone the world. Just thought I'd have a look at Trip Advisor, voted 3rd best in the country to BPB and Paultons. 12th in Europe, and not even on the list for the world.
 

Benzin

TS Member
Nobody has said it does, in fact people have taken great pains to explain why it definitely doesn't compete with those parks

But peoples definitions of the term "world class" may be broader than yours, to me any park that attracts foreign visitors beyond enthusiasts is world class. Those parks you mention or the creme de la creme

Hansa Park is therefore world class...

The Legolands are therefore world class...

I think pretty much every park in the world will attract some foreign visitors, even if they've attracted them indirectly because of looking for things to do on holiday...
 

jon81uk

TS Member
I think the general reputation is that it is the best in the UK. BPB hasn't had a proper new ride in 20 years really, although I give them credit for Nickelodeon Land, BPB is also an amusement park , not quite a theme park in the same way as AT. But then AT isn't a theme park in the same way as Disney/Universal. Six Flags and Thorpe Park are almost directly comparable in terms of theming level though.

I think in terms of the TripAdivsor ranking as Tarin brought up I guess Alton Towers has a lot more reviews than Paultons? Generally more guests means you are more likely to get a bad review. But also I think Tussauds/Merlin have got "stuck" with the 2for1 pricing strategy. No vouchers and they loose a big chunk of marketing (Kellogg's and all the other brands who "advertise" Merlin parks). But currently everyone looks at the £50 entry fee and basis their judgement of value on that, not the £25 they actually paid. I see a lot on Tripadvisor of people saying I am glad I had a discount voucher.
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
Even with my annual pass, and not including my very expensive travel up from London, I end up spending over £50 at Towers because of food, drinks, and extras like merch. Now, add that to £25 entry, and make it a family of five. That's gonna be half a month's worth of wages for some people!
 

Rob

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Even with my annual pass, and not including my very expensive travel up from London, I end up spending over £50 at Towers because of food, drinks, and extras like merch. Now, add that to £25 entry, and make it a family of five. That's gonna be half a month's worth of wages for some people!

A day out to a theme park is an expensive day out for a family in pretty much all cases though? How is it relevant to whether or not Towers is world class? God knows what a day out at Magic Kingdom would cost!

:)
 

Tarin Maria

TS Member
World class should also include guest satisfaction, which should include value for money. If it costs half of my entrance ticket to get my lunch, and when I get my lunch is tastes like dog poo, why would I think that park is world class.
 
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