Opening Weekend: The Inquest Begins

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AstroDan, 25th Mar 2018.

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  1. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    It's time for one of those topics. I think it's needed after the weekend where, by all accounts, things went badly wrong for Alton Towers on many fronts. I feel quite sad for those individuals across the resort putting in the hours, time and energy into trying to get the resort into a position where it's a fantastic day out - every time. Yet, it seems increasingly difficult in this climate of reduced budgets from on high. TripAdvisor is not pleasant reading tonight.

    The Monorail
    The park have decided to change ERT to 9.30am, and the Monorail now opens at 9.00am. This, in itself, is probably fine on quieter days - but on busy days? I am not sure. The Monorail queue at 8.45am stretched back past the golf course and the service hadn't even opened. This does not start people's day well. As a result, many decided to walk, so the plaza was already packed on both Saturday and Sunday well before the advertised 9.30am opening time.

    The Plaza
    Was sadly a bit of a shambles. Whether it was 60 minute waits to purchase a ticket, or a 30 minute wait simply to get through the turnstiles. With no Merlin or Alton passes able to be scanned at the barriers, this was even more of an issue. At one stage, such were the crowds on the plaza, that the Monorail exit was blocked - and guests were backing up the ramp towards the platforms! There was a complete lack of crowd control. To make matters worse, some turnstiles were not opened up. It would appear this is due to cuts to the welcome team. Perhaps the park need to look at the Early Ride Time setup. On busier days - is there any way that they can offer 1 hour of ERT - yet on quieter days, 30 minutes? As we all know - there are huge differences in guests on a Saturday than a term time weekday. Something to think about. The plaza was a mess. I felt sorry for some of the staff who were receiving abuse from guests.

    Wicker Man
    A fantastic overall family-thrill experience it may well be, but some of the communication regarding the ride's issues was dire. It took almost 2 hours of stops and starts before any genuine announcement was made to the queue line - and even then, there was a distinct lack of clarity. The ride's teething issues obviously are 'one of those things' and we'll live with it, but there was, quite honestly, chaos at points. I was very grateful though that the park were happy to keep running the ride until after 8pm on Saturday. The throughput was a disaster because of all the problems but everyone managed to ride that wanted to. I do have some concern over the quantity of Fastrack ticket holders, but this is probably complimentary ones due to all the technical problems. I am shocked that a brand new GCI has had such problems and am gutted for the park on this one because they have worked so hard to get it ready on time. But errors were nevertheless made. I was stapled into the seat so airtime? What airtime! Restraints had to be re-checked, people couldn't fit, it was stopping on the lift - oh. my. days!

    TLC
    Credit where credit is due(l). Work has obviously not yet been completed, but the improvements to Duel thus far are welcome. I love the new soundtrack and the pre show experience has been enhanced. Let the good work continue! The Nemesis monster also looks great. Kudos.

    F&B/Retail
    Two steps forward, two steps back. We now have mothballed Th13teen shop and FV Burger Kitchen. However, the new WM shop is great and the Hot Wraps stand is welcome.

    Th13teen / The Smiler
    If a job is worth doing: do it well. This is not the case on these two rides. The blocked up baggage hold and bodge-job on the FT entrances is not great and does not leave a good impression. Th13teen has lost around 20% of its throughput due to the baggage loss (not too bad) but Smiler is far worse. Not to mention that the ride remains a complete cess-pit. Alton Towers need to invest £000s: The queue line needs ripping out and starting again and they entire experience needs bringing up to scratch. The Smiler is not going to cope with the throughput loss caused by the new baggage system. There is even fake ivy pinned to The Smiler's queue line. Honestly. Someone got mixed up.

    General Throughputs
    Rubbish. Galactica was running 2 crafts only and the new loading system is awful. Just get rid of VR once and for all and wash your hands of it. Nemesis, 1 train. Spinball, 4 cars. Smiler, 3 cars. Rita was running 2 but was being dispatched very slowly. I worked on the ride in 2007 and it would achieve 960 to 1080 most hours. Today? Barely 600. Add in the issues with Wicker Man and it made for a miserable queue experience on park this weekend.

    Ride Availability
    Was awful. It was like being at Thorpe Park on a rough day. At 10.30am this morning, only Oblivion, and Spinball were large coasters open. At least half the park's rides suffered problems during the weekend and it meant that guests were left frustrated.

    It is wholly unpleasant when you are standing around and hearing families and groups of friends have negative conversations about their day out at 'your happy place'. 2018 should be the year that Alton shine. But once again, Merlin Entertainments have proved they are completely unfit to provide the budget which allows Alton Towers to remain the beacon of British days out.

    Sad.
     
    Last edited: 25th Mar 2018
    NemeTime, Towerslover, Rojo and 31 others like this.
    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  2. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    .... So you'll be there again next week then?
     
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    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  3. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    No, I will be there mid-April once they have had time to sort themselves out - smart Alec.
     
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    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  4. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Whatever floats your boat old bean.
    Even if it's like getting food poisoning from a restaurant, but still going back for more. ;)
     
    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  5. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    I've voice my complaint about my visit to Alton on Thursday on their FB page.

    At least all the main/popular rides including all the rollercoasters should be open (subject to them not breaking down) from when the turnstiles open, none of this staggard opening times rubbish. When I was there on Thursday, I thought that I was at Drayton Manor for the moment. It was just so depressing.

    If Alton are in need of saving money, then they should inform people of their intentions before their accommodation and MAP sales, so then people know what they are getting from their trip.

    I travel a good 8 to 9 round trip to Alton and I go for a full day out riding some of my favourite rides, all I'm now getting is half a day.

    ERT should return to an hour, even on a quiet day with at least an offering of 2 popular SW rides (Wicker Man is a great choice as it's a new ride to have in the ERT line up). Week days can get very busy, especially the lead up to the summer holidays with plenty of school trips.
     
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    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  6. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Could they at least have a staff member in the entrance plaza to organize people in to relevant queues for Annual Pass, wheelchair, normal tickets etc? That may actually speed up entry to the park. Even open more gates? A lot to ask, I know...........
     
    MaxPower, jon81uk, RoyJess and 6 others like this.
    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  7. Oatcakedodger

    Oatcakedodger TowersStreet Member

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    Is ERT time just a free for all, no organisation at Entrance Plaza,MAP holders turnstiles are the smallest taking longer to get in than day ticket purchases who shouldn’t go in till 10 ?
     
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    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  8. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Really sad reading all this about a place that means so much to me. However it's not really that surprising anymore is it?

    I stopped visiting the park on peak days about 4 years ago and have kept to it. Fireworks doesn't bother me one bit and I don't care for Scare mazes at all so again scarefest isn't much of a miss for me either apart from getting to ride the coasters in the dark which I do kind of miss tbh.

    Off peak days are the only option for me now. On Tuesday I could have easily got in 25-30 rides had I not decided to chance it by Wickerman from 12pm. And that was my choice to do so.

    From reading all the comments they are incredibly under staffed / under prepared for these busy weekends it's almost criminal.
     
    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  9. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    See TripAdvisor.

    Awful for this weekend.

    The park is understaffed and underfunded.
     
    MattyH, KingNemesis, Matt.GC and 5 others like this.
    Posted 25th Mar 2018
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  10. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    Really? I was on park Thursday and the rides were all walks on's, but with ride opening late and rides down, I would be surprised if I got on half the amount rides in that you quoted

    I'm sure if they had know that there would be very long queues of people at the entrance, I sure that they would of had extra staff selling fast tracks to fast track the turnstiles :p
     
  11. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Now now Roy, let's not get too cynical haha ;)
     
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  12. Britford

    Britford TowersStreet Member

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    Is it bad that I genuinely had to look up weather VIP passes got fastrack for the turn styles (own separate entrance or something)
     
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  13. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Well I did 3 rides on Nemmy and 2 on Galactica by 11.45 and then walked over to WM where I queued among a very small group of people until it opened. All in all I'd say I didn't leave the WM area until 3.35pm as I hung around for 15mins after my ride to watch it for a bit. I then went to Smiler and Blivy which were both walk on.

    I could have easily done 25 rides had I wanted to I reckon as long as I picked them sensibly of course and didn't go back and forwards to all the areas.

    Off peak days really can be quite good like that. Definitely get your money's worth despite the staggered openings.
     
  14. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Not for most of the rest of the season though. You picked probably the best day all season for that to happen. It can only get worse from your situation.
     
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  15. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I thought that the only reason that queues were long this weekend was because the park was really busy. The car park looked pretty full on the Saturday, and apart from the problems on Wicker Man, I didn't think that the operations were too bad considering the crowds. Definitely not the worst operations I've ever seen *cough* Oakwood in July 2016 *cough*.
     
  16. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Perhaps but 25 rides would be incredible anywah. I think I'd be happy with 15 these days as long as they were the rides I wanted to do of course.

    Im thinking of going mid week again after the Easter Hols are over for everyone (I will check) and I wouldn't be surprised if the place is dead tbh.
     
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  17. Burbs

    Burbs TowersStreet Team Team Member

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    Meanwhile at EP, I average at least 25-30 rides in a full day without even hurrying, and regardless of how busy it is.

    But I digress.
     
  18. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    You could be right. I'll be trying the same. You may have an unwanted surprise however ;)
     
  19. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    One thing I will say is that there seemed to be quite a few aggravated guests at the park entrance pre-opening this morning because the staff wouldn't let them in. Phrases were tossed around such as "I've visited 4 parks in 4 days, and you're the worst!"
     
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  20. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Off peak?

    Also I'm not surprised by that one bit. EP is well known for being the best park in Europe if not the world. German efficiency for you.
     
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