Major Ride Closures 2016

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AstroDan, 20th Nov 2015.

  1. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    I really hope that the six rides won't close straight away next season, so I can ride the Flume, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and, especially, Hex (one of my favorite rides in the park) before they close! They'll probably close straight away, though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 27th Nov 2015
  2. MattyH

    MattyH TowersStreet Member

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    They won't close straight away! They just won't open!
     
  3. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    ^yeah, i just realized that- oops!
     
  4. Stelios

    Stelios TowersStreet Member

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    I think its more of a case of Spinball being mentioned in the LTDP to be removed within the next 10 (now 4 or 5 years) due to a potential theme in Adventure Land being the really only non-themed area left its just Sonic whacked onto the end of Cbeebies Land. And thus because of that we're expecting its removal over a ride like Hex which seemingly has many more years of longevity in it only being in its 16th season makes it all the more shocking that its going - or more accurately - SBNO before Sonic Spinball.
     
  5. Leah

    Leah TowersStreet Member

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    To add to this, sonic can be replaced with one of more rides, hex can't be replaced really; Very few rides will fit in the space without requiring to knock down some of the towers or destroy some of the gardens and - due to being a grade II listed building - wouldn't be allowed.
     
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  6. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    I'm sure it was once said somewhere that Tussauds/Merlin expected their dark rides to have a life span of approx only 10 years. If that is the case, Hex has done well.
     
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  7. Matt Creek

    Matt Creek TowersStreet Member

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    Surely that isn't true, after all I would be shocked if rides were only expected to last 10 years especially Hex.

    Villa Volta at Efteling is still operating fine which is almost 20 years old pre-dating Hex by at least 4 years. I really hope Hex is to stay as getting rid of it would be a foolish move by the park.

    2016 looks bleak in the uk bar Derren Brown & Paultons.
     
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  8. rightbackgranty

    rightbackgranty TowersStreet Member

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    I would love to know how the budgets for the 'resort' work - getting such mixed messages. We're currently staring down the barrel of 6 ride closures - 1 of which I would class as major - whilst also learning news that a planning application for a hotel extension is approved.

    I know an approved plan does not mean a hotel extension will be built - but is this really the best use of funds at present? If the park are able to shut an entire new resort hotel area down for the winter due to low demand why would we need more hotel rooms?

    Although a glimmer of 'good news' for the resort - I'd mothball the hotel extension and put the money and effort into getting the above rides open and running. Walking past empty units and SBNO rides will be even more demoralising to visitors than it already is.
     
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  9. Grand_Nash

    Grand_Nash TowersStreet Member

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    Rides with staff don't make the park money thats the problem they face.

    Rooms make the resort the money probably the summer season really boosts the resorts income so are a more attractive investment than a new ride which slows down after 2-3 seasons.

    What would worry me from a Merlin point of view is currently any park owned by another company is IMO one good away from putting towers into history.

    Britain is littered with once great businesses that relied on being great. Became too big and thought they could do no wrong. The last few years at Towers have not worked as they have planned. Smaller parks have noticed changes in the market before merlin (nick land at BPB and Thomas land) and towers have had to react late.

    If BPB can pull of a helix style ride then that would shake up the industry. Let's remember in the 80's and 90's BPB were the big dog who could guarantee a massive return in guests no matter what and then slumped and slowly have cleaned up the act.

    So towers need to look at what makes them great, different and that's unique rides in a unique setting and a customer experience second to none. It's striving to get a ride ready even if it opens with 15 mins of the day to go. It's not closing 6 rides and rising on your laurels I'm afraid.
     
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  10. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Give it a few years, and the park will be nothing but a couple of these.
     
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  11. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    ^i hope not!
     
  12. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    From an operational point of view, budgets work in the way any other would. There is less foot fall at the moment and there likely is to be for a period of time going forward. During that time, you have to downscale the size of the product (and the costs associated with it) or the business will lose money, which clearly isn't OK. Not to mention, Merlin will need to try and recoup the money lost during the 2015 season.

    In terms of a new hotel, these things are planned way in advance, of course. The fact that Merlin are considering their options in terms of providing more on site accommodation, can only be a good thing in terms of their confidence in the future of Alton Towers.

    There are a couple of points I would make regarding the above - things that people forget about in terms of the WGT era at BPB. Let's remember that Pleasure Beach was part of a thriving mini economy during the 80s & 90s. Blackpool was enjoying its last hurrah before the decline and the change in the town really set in.

    Secondly, when WGT passed, the debt situation at Pleasure Beach was phenomenally bad. The park may have been packed to the rafters and was seemingly profitable, but they had financed themselves on a wing and a prayer to build Valhalla, expand Pleasureland and keep Pleasure Beach afloat during the final Geoffrey years.

    Tons of guests does not equate to tons of profit, look at Six Flags in the early 2000s. Parks jam-packed but the chain was in financial turmoil and only recovered through bankruptcy.
     
  13. Grand_Nash

    Grand_Nash TowersStreet Member

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    The point I was trying to make was pleasure beach didn't notice the trend of blackpool demise. It didn't try to be different it was the essence of blackpool which tarnished it's image.

    They relied on the big rides, playstation ride, big one, valhalla but never cleaned up their image which was actually needed at the time. Recent changes were sneered upon like charging entry, Wallace and gromit ride, infusion, the fountains, nick land etc and they are starting to work for the park.

    If alton towers thinks it can sit back and think it's OK we are Alton Towers then think again. I understand car park, picture up selling, resort this, resort that but you go to a theme park to simply go on as many rides and attractions as possible once that is affected for reasons other than maintainance then that's when towers days as UK number one are coming to an end.
     
  14. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @Grand_Nash - the Pleasure Beach company did a lot of things to reduce costs to help combat reduced revenues, not least close Pleasureland & Frontierland which were both dogging the bottom line. It closed Whip, Turtle Chase, Noah's Ark, Superbowl, Water Chute, Trauma Towers, Space Invader, Bling, Spin Doctor, Monorail, Black Hole etc.

    Alton Towers aren't sitting back and thinking that, they're taking action - the only sensible action, which is to cut costs. The problem of course, is that that isn't the action that fans of the park want to see.

    I have no doubt that the park has a strong future ahead of it, when things are put into perspective, much worse things have happened at other parks and they have lived to fight another day - and prospered, when it comes down to it. It'll take time, sure.

    The key reason that The Smiler incident is such a big story is because the park has been at the forefront of the industry for three decades and it absolutely is the UK's favourite park. The story is so big because a vast number of people have an attachment to that park and I don't think that is going to evaporate, it's just going to take a little time to recover and Alton will react to that in the short term, while planning for the glory days in the long term.

    I just don't buy the whole "We're going to Drayton Manor instead" or "I'm never riding a roller coaster again" thing, it's knee jerk and will pass. Alton is unbeatable when its at its best and it will be again. Just sit tight and moan about the air tunnel in the interim.
     
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  15. Altonadvocate1

    Altonadvocate1 TowersStreet Member

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    Agree with everything this guy just said. Rick's the man!
     
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  16. CGM

    CGM TowersStreet Member

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    Unlike Pleasure Beach, Merlin can afford to sustain a loss for a few years. I firmly believe that if they invest in the park now, they will be making a larger profit more quickly than if they try to keep skimming expenditure below a shrinking revenue.

    At the time that you mention, Pleasure Beach hadn't had a high profile incident which had been bandied across the nation's media. The public's confidence in Alton has been severely dented. Closing a number of rides and laying off staff is hardly the image that Alton needs to be projecting right now.

    If we're basing the ideal strategy for the park on Blackpool Pleasure Beach then the park really is in trouble.
     
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  17. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    At least they know there on thin ice with these closures
     
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  18. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    They will continue to invest, nothing appears to have been cancelled in terms of capex (although the next coaster could have been shifted, granted). Unless I have missed something, the Air redo/restaurant was always the plan for 2016 - things are just plodding along in terms of the capital programme.

    I would suggest there is a difference between investment in new attractions/facilities and day to day/operational costs. You can't keep subsidising the park with profits from other divisions, that's madness. What if things are still as they are in 2020? Every element of the business has to pay its way and when the revenue is down, you can't keep spending as if it isn't - that's nuts.

    We're not - we're discussing two parks who had to evolve to survive/prosper. Like every other park or business for that matter, ever.
     
  19. DanJB

    DanJB TowersStreet Member

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    Nobody's asking them to do that indefinitely, but it would be nice if they waited to see what happens next year before leaping in with cuts.
     
  20. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I'm not sure that is totally true; although the Air re-theme and FoodLoop were always planned I believe other 2016 capex investments were indeed cancelled.

    I think a lot of people's frustrations come from the fact that Merlin are a very big profit making business. They will make a handsome profit in 2015. They are not struggling financially and because of this it would be nice to see them support Alton Towers in the short term to protect it as the UK's biggest theme park in the long term. Of course it wouldn't be the best strategy for making immediate profit in the business and shareholders may lose out a little but I honestly believe it would be better long term.

    As it is, by closing a lot of rides and not replacing them and slashing the number of staff they employee they are turning themselves into a smaller theme park. When you visit a smaller park you tend to spend less time there. If you are there for less time then there is less time for you to spend money in shops and eateries. If there are less rides to go on then you are far more likely to get the park done in one day and not feel the need to stay over at the hotels and take a short break. And you are less like to make a repeat visit to a smaller theme park.

    Yes the headline rides remain but with all these closures there is not all the much behind them to support. As far as I am concerned it is a bizzare way to operate a theme park. Who's going to think, "let's go back to Alton Towers next year, they've just closed loads of their rides so we'll have loads of fun spending a fortune with less to do!" It doesn't add up.

    But as they say, the proof will be in the pudding. We won't know until next year how it is all going to turn out. If it goes well then Merlin will be justified in their decisions (even if we didn't like them). If it goes badly then who knows what they'll do, probably close yet more rides and hope that works instead.

    :)
     
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