Is Alton Towers a world class theme park?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Altonadvocate1, 18th Dec 2014.

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Is Alton Towers a world class theme park?

  1. Yes

    20 vote(s)
    38.5%
  2. No

    32 vote(s)
    61.5%
  1. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Universal and Disney are in a different financial bracket to Alton Towers. It's not really fair to compare them.
     
  2. Alastair

    Alastair TS Forum Team Team Member

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    But Universal and Disney are truly world class theme parks. I saw Dave's football analogy earlier, but I see it differently. In the Premier League, there are only a select few "world class" teams; arguably only two at the moment (City and Chelsea). There are others that are very good, but not in that top bracket. Alton Towers are like the Spurs of the theme park world; they have a lot to spend but never produce anything even remotely close to the elite and make infinite poor decisions.

    In any case, the kind of money Merlin possess should be more than enough to theme Alton Towers to a standard similar to Europa, which is very high up if not at Disney/Universal levels. Currently we're seeing it in the Enchanted Village development; but that sort of standard needs to be consistently applied everywhere - which it hasn't been.
     
  3. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Merlin put in more money into investments than most parks, yet tend to be outdone in terms of the quality of addition...

    Saw and Fluch von Novgorod is the best example of this...

    In thinking, Towers should look towards Dollywood for another park that uses the local terrain to it's advantage and is still an atmospheric place to visit, helped by the great staff and some of the best food available at any park in the world...

    Should definitely not look towards Six Flags or Cedar Fair, otherwise we will end up having every park the same...
     
  4. SuperMuscleMan

    SuperMuscleMan TowersStreet Member

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    Your quite rite, in the last decade alton has proved they are not world class, take the smiler. Any coaster with vinal transfers and water problems (which could be fixed) are cheap lazy additions. It shows that merlin are not interested in quality or customer experience. The same can be applied to food on park. And the details around the park.

    Alton is a grubby place these days. Outdated infrastructure, paintwork and maintaince being left out, you can't even say its in the second league. Its a tired place which is used as a cash cow. I used to love it but I won't be going back for sometime. I really hope pop London makes merlin wake up and realise they need to invest.

    Nemesis and oblivion were world class. But both need love and both have been left to rot.
     
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  5. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    For me one phrase sums up Merlin as a whole.

    "That'll do"
     
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  6. Coaster

    Coaster TowersStreet Member

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    Don't agree with that. There is no park that automatically should be the UK's number one park. Alton Towers is no different to any other park apart from the fact that it is on a much larger plot of land (which admittedly is very nice). However, a nice location doesn't make a theme park, but merely adds to it if everything else is as it should be. I find Blackpool better than Alton Towers in almost every way, and always have done.

    Also, out of interest, what is world class about Oblivion? It's just one drop, and whilst it is a good drop it has been recreated on so many dive machines which also have a layout to follow.
     
    Last edited: 20th Dec 2014
  7. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    If Blackpool had built a custom coaster since 1994 I would be more keen to lavish praise on them.

    But they haven't and Alton Towers + Thorpe Park have built 5 since. Even Chessington have built 2!

    If you're into history/nostalgia then Blackpool is going to be your favourite park. If you aren't, then it won't be because they do not invest in big custom rides anymore.
     
    Last edited: 20th Dec 2014
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  8. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Everything about Oblivion as a project shows how well thought out it is as a ride... Just because the other DMs are either taller or longer doesn't make them better...

    Why? They lack the same level of atmosphere Oblivion does, they lack the tunnel, they lack the X Sector concept and Oblivion Man...

    The drop is the showcase part, but the build up to the showcase has yet to be bested elsewhere...
     
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  9. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I concur that even though Griffon, SheiKra etc. are superior coasters - the Oblivion drop is better than both those two. The drop on Oblivion is also better than the smaller one on Krake.

    Oblivion is world class. It was ahead of its time - remember it opened in 1998! Astounding really.
     
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  10. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    Oblivion for me is absolutely world class, isn't being cared for like a world class coaster, but it is one.

    Admittedly I haven't ridden any other dive machines, but even looking online, the only one I've seen that looks anything like as outright intimidating is G5 and that's because they built it so high up, it makes the cars look small! Clever use of terrain, much like Nemesis but of the opposite order. For those that haven't seen it's reversed twin:

    [​IMG]
    (Credit, TPR)

    That also gives you some sense of exactly how far down Oblivion goes!

    Now, think about the problems they had building The Smiler, and take a look at just how far underground that drop goes, it's an extraordinary feat of engineering, imagination, and sheer absolute audacity to create something 16 years ago that to this day maintains an intimidation factor I STILL feel every time I go around that turnaround.

    Nemesis, Stealth etc, The Smiler, all my favourite UK coasters are tamed after a go on it or two, but I know many people who still find that ride a right "parp" machine after goodness knows how many goes round it.

    A truly ground breaking, excuse the pun, piece of design and imagination, which for it's time was absolutely incomprehensible.

    Just as too was Nemesis.

    And that's what Alton Towers used to be about.

    THAT is why it had magic.
     
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  11. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Actually, if there is any coaster at Alton Towers that is being cared for these days... it is Oblivion.

    As much as it's still not spick and span, it was re-painted and the station/cars are in a reasonable state.

    :)
     
  12. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    At a truely world class park, a paint touch up is not a "once in a lifetime" big deal. It's regular maintenance.
     
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  13. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    I'm awaiting it's nomination for the Nobel Prize.

    Hang on, isn't it around now we have the Queen's honours?

    We should ask Nick to be honoured. For services to theme park maintenance.

    :D
     
  14. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I do agree with you - although there are VERY FEW theme parks which look after the rides as much as would be ideal.

    Even Universal's Islands of Adventure allow Hulk to get into a vile state track-wise before they consider a re-paint. Look at the Geysers by Boot Hill at Disneyland Paris, consider the state of the queueline on Stampida or the chewing gum tunnel on Tutuki Splash...

    There are genuinely less than 5 parks I have been to which I would say are kept 100% 'world-class' for at least 90% of the time!
     
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  15. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    I can almost forgive some of the US parks that have such intense sunshine that even space shuttle heat tiles would fade to light grey in a few months.
     
  16. Jem8472

    Jem8472 TowersStreet Member

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    I have been going to AT for a long time. I think the first time I went there I was probably about 10 which was *furious counting* 21 years ago.....

    Obviously it has changed a lot over the years and I feel its lost that magic that it used to have. The hard question is has AT lost the magic or have I grown up? I am not sure but I would like to think that it's more AT has lost it as I enjoy other parks and some places I find amazing and I could stay there forever. I still have that exciting "magical" feeling about places I have visited.

    I don't feel AT is a world class theme park for a number of reasons.
    1. They are limited by their location.
    They have strict rules on building their coasters and the roads heading to and from Towers are really not good enough.

    2. There does not seem to be a feeling of looking after the customer.
    I know there are some great staff at the park and I have met some and they make your day a bit better and more enjoyable. The feeling comes from higher up the tree not the guys and girls facing the public.

    3. The park is not well maintained.
    The general state of the park is not very good. The rides always seem half-arsed. The ideas and plans look good but when it comes to spending the money to get the results there always seems to be a break down in the ability to finish it off. I have a feeling it could well be down to someone getting a bonus if a project comes in under budget. (Not sure but that seems to be the case in most companies these days)

    4. The OTT outrageous in your face upselling.
    As soon as you arrive at AT it is money money money. First you have the Express parking for £15 (when I last visited) Then the Normal parking is £7(?). Big signs saying don't forget to pay etc. Its all in your face.
    Once you get in the park its big adverts for buy this drink container, buy this meal deal, Want a photo on towers street when all you really want to do is get to a ride, Fast track tickets and what about bounce back tickets?
    Its just all too much. It feels like you are being tricked in to everything. I have no idea how people that don't research a trip to AT get on.
    This does not lead to a good day, it just makes me feel that the point of the park is not my enjoyment it is so Merlin can remove as much money as possible then maybe a little bit more.
    I know they are in business and they have to make money but I do feel they could tone it down and not try and fleece you at every turn.

    5.Losing the magic.
    If for nothing else but getting rid of the custom music which was made for the park and switching to generic pop rubbish on Towers street.
    It must be expensive to get the music made but it adds so much to my enjoyment and my memories of the park when I find the music online and listen to it. It makes me want to return there.
    Part of losing the magic is the condition of the park. It does not help when you see theming not done or just falling apart.


    I think it could be a lot better. It would take time and money to improve it. I am not sure if it could ever get up to being world class. I hope it might one day but I won't be holding my breath.
     
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  17. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I disagree with #1.

    The location adds to it.
     
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  18. Poisson

    Poisson TowersStreet Member

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    I feel this is very subjective, for example I can think somewhere is world class with little theming and few shws as it just doesn't come on my radar, but someone else will think these are vital
     
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  19. Jem8472

    Jem8472 TowersStreet Member

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    Of course it is subjective. Most things are. I just decided to chuck my 2ps worth in and I tried to give some reasons why I feel that way.
     
  20. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    @Jem8472 I'd also respectfully disagree with #1

    The drive up through the country lanes, feeling it's hidden away in the middle of no where - it's not convenient as such, but that's part of the charm, and makes it rather unique. True escapism if you will.

    Also, of course, the location and restrictions are arguably the reason they have 2 absolute world class rides. It's precisely that which forced them to think of building an 80 foot deep tunnel or rock blasting out a valley. That takes bottle (lacking now) real creativity and thinking so far out of the box some questioned a box even existed at the time (Oblivion) - Schrodinger's Box. John et al chose not to look and acknowledge said box existed.

    Also, the gardens, valleys, folly etc - all things that give the park something special.

    I agree with the obvious infrastructure issues location wise, but I don't think that prevents it being world class - it hasn't before, and whilst not ideal, I wouldn't say it's a huge contributing factor.
     
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