Oakwood Discussion

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Rob, 21st Dec 2012.

  1. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    Lack of investment and interest by the owners are the main culprits I suspect.

    Most of locals knew who the McNamaras were and and there was a sense of pride about the place back in the day. We used to go up to Pembrokeshire in the 90s and have photos of it being rammed in the summer.

    The removal of Nutty Jake's gold mine ride and the bizarre decision to install a ride like Hydro signalled the beginning of the park's decline in my opinion, with Speed being the one last hurrah before the family sold up.

    It could still be a great park, but they need some serious investment in entertainment and family attractions whilst getting more involved with the local community.
     
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  2. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Lack of investment is the issue if you ask me.
    Like Lightwater, it was doing great, but they stopped investing in new decent rides and maintenance.
    ...and Mr Power agreed with me in advance!
     
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  3. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Yes, spending a lot on a couple of huge attractions like Hydro and Speed probably wasn't best when something smaller would have done better.

    It's interesting seeing what Tayto Park in Ireland is doing now, they in a way are on a similar path, small park added a wooden rollercoaster. But they went for a log flume and now looking at some more family coasters, which seems a much better plan rather than going all in on huge thrill rides.
     
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  4. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah hydro was a very odd move, a cheaper log flume would have sufficed but I think at the time Oakwood wanted to be different and offer something bigger and better to the other U.K. parks. In the early 2000s it would have been a serious competitor.

    Yes the hydro incident started the decline as it put people off visiting. However it’s not the sole reason. The park is run down, tatty and people don’t want to visit anymore.

    If it had some serious investment, with some new decent rides, better staffing levels, more food options with better pricing then I may be tempted to visit again but it’s not worth the journey as it stands.
     
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  5. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I think Oakwood did have a fair backbone of family rides already built up from the park’s initial years in the late 80s and early 90s, though, with things like Treetops, Spooky 3D, the Bobsleigh, Waterfall, Snake River Falls and Brer Rabbit’s Burrow amongst others, as well as numerous play areas and go-kart tracks.

    The park was very much aimed at families in its earlier days, even up until Megafobia was built. Apparently Megafobia was originally intended to be a more modest, family-orientated woodie, but CCI offered Oakwood the larger ride we have today at a substantially reduced price so that they could have a large ride in Europe showcasing the best of their abilities to show off to potential European clients (Megafobia was the first CCI built in Europe).

    After that, it seems as though the park took an almost Thorpe Park-esque approach for the decade or so after that, going all in on the huge thrill rides. Everything major built in the decade following Megafobia’s opening was aimed at the thrill seekers; Bounce, Vertigo, Hydro and Speed were all big, white-knuckle thrill rides. In fairness, though, this did seem to be going well for them prior to the death on Hydro, and in spite of the Hydro incident, Speed still raised guest figures by 53% back to around 400,000 or so in its opening year, so I don’t think it was going for the thrill market that caused Oakwood’s downfall; this approach was very, very successful for them when they took it, and caused some of their most successful years.

    Under Aspro, the park seems to have taken a more family-orientated approach once again, with theming/aesthetics taking centre stage, and playing a far larger role than it had previously. I also think that the park is trying to create areas instead of sole rides; things like Neverland and Spooky Street are intricately themed areas with multiple different attractions within them, and still represent substantial investments in themselves, but the only difference is that they are more aimed at families with younger children, and perhaps lack a huge headliner in the vein of Megafobia, Drenched or Speed.

    Oakwood is an enigma, I’ll admit. I think it’s a lovely little place with real charm and a solid ride lineup, and it looked fairly well-maintained last time I went; Aspro have done a lot of refurbishment and renovation, and they’re still making a fair amount of investment every now and then, or at least, a fair amount for a park of Oakwood’s size. However, it never seems busy these days, and you often get the impression that the park doesn’t make much money. Guest figures have fallen by over 50% since the 2000s.

    On a side note; a fun fact that you might not know is that according to his autobiography, John Wardley apparently played a fairly heavy role in Oakwood’s creation, acting as a consultant assisting the McNamaras. I knew that he designed Megafobia, but I thought that was the only thing he’d done for Oakwood; I never knew he played such a heavy role in developing the park!
     
    Last edited: 16th Jun 2021
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  6. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    John was involved in most aspects of Oakwoods development. I believe he designed Speed and was consulted on Spooky 3d and Nutty Jake's Goldmine ride.

    Theres probably a lot more but those are the ones I'm aware of.
     
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  7. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Wait, John designed Speed? I never knew he was involved with the park for so many years; his autobiography implied that he didn’t do much else for Oakwood after Megafobia!

    I know he certainly designed Megafobia, but it’s cool that he designed Speed as well; it would certainly make sense, as the paths under Speed and such would certainly reinforce his mantra of rides being appealing to the spectator as well as the rider!
     
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  8. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    He was there on opening day when we went to try it out. He was involved with the park quite a bit when the McNamaras were there.

    I've always liked Oakwood but it's looking incredibly run down these days unfortunately.
     
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  9. Leigh90

    Leigh90 TowersStreet Member

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    Hello all, new member here. I’ve been reading the board for the past year or so, but decided to join after visiting Oakwood for the first time last Monday (whilst on holiday down in Tenby).

    Firstly I thought the park had a great feel to it, similar to Alton Towers but obviously on a much smaller scale. However the price (£35pp) I thought was very expensive for what was on offer.

    I was so excited to get on Megaphobia, and had a great ride somewhere in the middle earlier in the day, but as was mentioned above in another post, we rode it on the back row towards the end of the day and it was incredibly rough, so much so that I picked up a number of bruises!

    Other than Megaphobia, we also rode Speed and Treetops Coaster multiple times, however Drenched, Creepy Crawler and Bounce were all unavailable. Almost every ride was walk on throughout the day, despite there being quite a few school trips there.

    In terms of operations, each ride was manned by just 1 member of staff. So it was there job to wipe down all of the rides, check restraints and work the whole ride system. Luckily it wasn’t too busy a day.

    I felt the park is a solid option for families, but does need quite a bit of investment if it wants to go to that next level.
     
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  10. Poisson

    Poisson TowersStreet Member

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    Speed is.....weird. Unrideable on the wheel seats, enjoyable on the middle seats. Never ever had a Eurofighter like that. Mental.
     
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  11. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    Talking of Speed, this is it's op panel;

    [​IMG]

    Love how the dispatch button is marked "send it". :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:
     
  12. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    The operators must have been watching a lot of PBE, as I know that’s a favourite catchphrase of theirs!
     
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  13. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    Or Coaster Crazy, he says it a lot too. :p
     
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  14. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    I always think you can judge the quality of a ride and how much care it gets by the state of its control panel(s).
     
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  15. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Feel like we need a thread for favourite control panels.
     
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  16. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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  17. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    Apparently Bounce has been testing a bit recently, so rumours are it may be opening soon!
     
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  18. MattyH

    MattyH TowersStreet Member

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    Pretty sure it's been opening soon for the last 10 years
     
  19. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Has Drenched run this year ?
     
  20. NuttySquirrel

    NuttySquirrel TowersStreet Member

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    Looked pretty inactive last time I was there - as in there wasn't even any water in the splash pool. My guess is it's been mothballed. They're citing Covid-19 as the reason for it's temporary closure on the website but I don't really buy that, Thorpe have got Tidal Wave open this year.
     
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