Opening Weekend: The Inquest Begins

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

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  1. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    MAP holders could definitely use passes at the turnstiles on Friday because I did just that along with all of the others in the ERT queue.

    So this must have been changed for the weekend.
     
  2. PeteA

    PeteA TowersStreet Member

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    I visited on Friday and it was my first visit to the park since June 2015. To say I was surprised at what I saw was an understatement. I knew things had got worse, but I didn't realise just how bad things actually are.

    First of all the shambolic organisation outside the entrance for the reduced ERT line up was crazy and I hate to think what it was like over the weekend. It did however work to my advantage AND many others who were literally able to walk up to the gates and scan online / Tesco and tickets bought at the booths. So all these people were able to access ERT who were not eligible for it. Not that anything of note was open during ERT that is) Are the cuts so deep that they have to do it this way now?

    The Wicker Man is a well themed experience and probably has the best theming in the park. I truly hope that they manage to keep on top of the maintenance for it. The ride doesn't do it for me, but it will be a popular addition to the park once its teething issues are ironed out.

    However the rest of the park just feels dead. The lack of attractions is significant and there just isn't enough variety to keep me interested. It just became coaster after coaster, interspersed with a ride on Hex and Duel.

    Before I do go on, I must say its nice that the park have carried out enhancements on Duel and Hex, alongside the conservation work on the conservatory in the gardens, however there are many areas which still look grotty and run down.

    The lack of thrilling flat rides and other indoor attractions was obvious and Clock Cuckoo Land was so sad to see with Charlie / Twirling Toadstool boarded up and the 4D cinema closed. The area may be getting redeveloped next year, but that's not the point. Same with Sub Terra, food outlets closed and even the Oblivion shop boarded up. its just so sad seeing the park like this.

    You then of course have the elimination of the Single Rider Queues and the frustration of seeing empty seats on rides. That coupled with reduced trains on the coasters was frustrating to say the least.

    On a final note, as I don't want to bore everyone (I could go on much longer than this), the lack of entertainment was significant. No shows outside of CBeebies, no roaming characters, no fun.... No magic.

    What has Alton / Merlin become? Is money so important to the Merlin group that they have actually forgot that parks are supposed to be fun, well unfortunately I think we all know the answer.

    My visit left me with a very sour taste in my mouth and sadly I have no intention of revisiting any time soon. Very sad to see.
     
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  3. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    It’s not that the turnstiles can’t scan them, it’s the staff mostly don’t let you. The reasoning is to stop people using other peoples annual passes they want the staff to check your picture.

    But it causes chaos.
     
  4. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Fair enough. But staff were encouraging pass holders to scan passes at the turnstiles on Friday which did help keep the queues moving. I suspect they were told to stop doing this for the reason you stated.
     
  5. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Interesting; they certainly were not doing this on Saturday! The last time I tried to use my MAP at one of the turnstiles it simply said 'access denied'. Sounds to me like they are choosing when they do and do not want to allow annual pass holders to be able to use them.

    :)
     
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  6. IanSR

    IanSR TowersStreet Member

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    Crazy thing is they could just do what they do at Chessington and Thorpe and give your pass a quick check once you are through the turnstyle, or just look at the screen since the majority of them now show your photo on the screen when you scan in (this seems to be random, sometimes it shows, other times not, even on the same gate).
     
  7. Croftybaby

    Croftybaby TowersStreet Member

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    Can't they just do random checks on passes to deter would be pass fraudsters? One in ten or something? The message would soon get out to pass holders that they could risk loosing their pass if they get caught out in a spot check.

    It seems like a total over reaction. A very small number of people would actually have the balls to try and use somebody else pass. is it really worth risking the parks reputation to potentially save a couple of quid?
     
  8. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I agree. I think there was an issue of pass miss-use four or five years ago but have not myself heard of issues more recently. If there is still a problem then there has to be a better way of dealing with it that does not hold up thousands of guests getting into the park.

    :)
     
  9. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Well that seems to have been the corporate strategy for the whole running of the park for the last few years at least.
     
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  10. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    I have yet to visit Towers this season and having read the above posts, I am very pleased I was not there over the past weekend. If the place was called Faulty Towers it would be a gross understatement.

    Ride reliability at the start of season is never 100% - but what Towers offered fell way, way below that. Staggered opening, reduced numbers of trains on coasters - coupled with early season reliability glitches = chaos. This is before the Wicker Man problems are thrown into the mix. TBH, the operation of the Wicker Man over the weekend sounds like a complete farce, with hours of downtime and heavily reduced throughputs when it did manage to run before the next breakdown. I hope Alton Towers get GCI back on-site pronto to look at the issues, as it's not as though there is any new technology on the ride system itself. It's a wooden coaster with a modern control system - not exactly unique.

    As for the rest of the park, it sounds very much like Merlin are hell-bent on making Towers run on such a reduced budget that it is all but impossible for a guest visiting on a peak day / weekend to have a good day out - unless of course they want to pay an additional £55 each to Mr Varney for Fastrack Gold. This is no way to run a theme park. Merlin should understand that you can only skin the cat so many times before it dies - sounds to me like Towers has been skinned 8 times so it's on it's last life unless things improve rapidly.

    Alton Towers have 4 days to get their act together before what is normally the busy Easter Weekend - with the extra "family friendly" challenge of Easter Sunday. The current weather forecast for Stoke-on-Trent suggests that whilst it may be cool and damp, the weather should not be a cause of ride unavailability (as it was on park opening weekend).

    If Alton Towers pull off another fiasco show like last weekend next weekend, there will be pure chaos at best. Sheer carnage at worst, especially on Easter Sunday.

    Finally, they say you have to reap what you sow - and the feedback on Tripadvisor from visitors last weekend seems 100% deserved. As to that guy they had snapping at people on Twitter, you can only hope he is a new starter in Guest Relations who will not last long!
     
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  11. Ash84

    Ash84 -

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    Utter shambles yesterday. I can't say much that hasn' already been said, but what I don' understand is the mentally of running the park on a shoestring on a year when a new coaster opens. They should be attacking this for all its worth, getting ever available ride vehicle on and ensuring things are moving as fast and efficiently as possible. Instead it's an embarrassing mixture of low capacity rides, staggered openings, chaos at the entrance and 5pm closings which should be 7-8pm at weekends.
     
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  12. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    A 7-8 close would make it very expensive for staffing. It's exactly why they don't do it now.

    9am to 8pm is a long time to cover. It would mean covering an additional 3hrs which is a big expense.

    One idea could be to have maybe just 1 or 2 areas open past 5pm so most staff can go home as usual.

    Cbeebies closes at 4pm/5pm along with CCL, FV n Dark Forest.

    Leaving just Mutiny Bay open along with X Sector for late night riding at weekends. That way WM is open for longer and Smiler which is still very popular being one of the latest SW's.

    That would be reasonable I think but it's never going to happen under Merlin.
     
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  13. RussellH

    RussellH TowersStreet Member

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    I used my pass at the turnstiles last Tuesday and it let me in. Today, I scanned it at the turnstiles and they wouldn't let me through and I was directed to the gate.
     
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  14. MakoMania

    MakoMania TowersStreet Member

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    Most large parks manage it.
     
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  15. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Most parks get a suitable budget to allow such hours...
     
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  16. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    To those saying that people stopping going is the only way to sort out problems. Well...

    The park has lost 40% of its guests since The Smiler crashed. I think it's also fair to say that everyone on meets has reduced resort stays by at least half in that time, too.

    What good has that done for the park? It has only made it worse!

    There is no way to win.
     
  17. neil.r.benson

    neil.r.benson TowersStreet Member

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    LOL - No way i'm giving Merlin - of all companies - my Biometrics. :O
     
  18. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    I think it's fair to hurl the abuse at Merlin in this case. They clearly are the biggest problem here.

    However I dont think the park operations are good enough regardless of budgets. And I'm not just talking about throughputs on coasters here. That Plaza fiasco at the weekend could have been handled so much better even with the cuts they've clearly had forced on them. Lots of it is simple common sense stuff which seemed to go missing. I'd be pretty worried for my job as operations manager personally. Weekdays it's going to go more unoticed but weekends it's going to kill the park if they don't sort it out.
     
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  19. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    The changes on Smiler need to be reversed. The baggage room is the only way the ride gets an even vaguely acceptable throughput. Even with baggage, 900 was a good hour. Now, we're talking Spinball levels of throughput! On the park's headline thrill coaster! They just need to put the money up and pay the extra few staff. Perhaps on off peak term-time weekdays it can cope without it... but they need it on busier days. Not to mention, more staff means more people to keep the thing clean.

    Th13teen can probably just about cope. But even then, removing baggage is lowering hourly capacity. And in a year where the park hope to get more guests in... that is hardly ideal.

    It's all very well and good making efficiencies, but when your product is worse as a result... well.

    2-hour queues on several rides with probably 12,000 people on park? God help us when it's actually busy.
     
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  20. MakoMania

    MakoMania TowersStreet Member

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    That's what I was getting at :rolleyes:
     
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