Opening Weekend: The Inquest Begins

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John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Instead of having manned baggage system on each ride, they should have a manned baggage hold as you enter and leave each ride area. That way, you don't need to keep leaving and collecting bags on re-rides or if you are riding more than one ride in that area.
I have, in the past, done Swarm/Stealth at Thorpe several times and just kept the wristband on throughout as the baggage hold inevitably had a queue even if the ride itself didn't.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Smiler stacks on 3 trains now, it was designed to run 5.
Was it running 3 on the weekend? My family and I weren't sure whether it was running 3 or 2 from the queue line, but I think it might have been 3.

Overall, though, I preferred the baggage holds as a system to the bag cages, even if their removal does mean that enthusiasts armed with a camera can film and take photos in the ride stations more easily. I know quite a few people, however, who prefer the bag cages, as they say that the baggage holds hold up the ride queues less than the cages do.
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
I only rode on Sunday morning, when it was running 3.

I'm not sure if they've only got 3 available at the moment or if they're just not bothering to run 4 as they know they can't load it fast enough to benefit from the 4th any more. It makes no difference either way really, the 4th is only really useful as a spare in the event of a fault on one of the others now.
 

Dogdangling

TS Member
Um... I actually thought that the park coped pretty well last weekend considering how many people there were. An unpopular opinion, I know, but let me justify it. The main car park looked nearly full when we pulled in on Saturday evening. However, my sister and I managed to get on Oblivion within 5 minutes on Saturday evening, which symbolises pretty good operations. Admittedly, Smiler's queue was 70 minutes long, but it didn't seem to be moving too slowly. Also, the baggage holds' removals on Smiler and Thirteen didn't seem to be impacting dispatches too much, which is good.

On to the subject of Wicker Man, while it was disappointing that the ride didn't open until 11:30am on the Sunday, I understand why it didn't, and we did get on it, which I'm glad about.

Furthermore, with regards to ride availability, while things did break down, it isn't the park's fault that rides broke down. While I was unable to get on Rita due to it being down when we were in Dark Forest, there was staff stood around it who looked as though they were trying to solve the problem. Not that I'm sad that I was unable to get on Rita, though.

So, in conclusion, that's why I think the park dealt pretty well with the crowds on the weekend.
Last Saturday was a disaser for the park. Rides breaking down, running low capacity on rides. Even the Skyride was out of action.

I actually felt sorry for the park staff, they really are trying there best with shoddy maintenance and lack of staffing.
 

themeparkfan

TS Member
It's not the staff's fault all this, its the amount of staff and the budgets the management have been given. I would imagine some overpaid consultancy company have been paid by Merlin to look at "efficiency savings " and come back with this idea of staggering opening times and closing baggage rooms. So staffing can be reduced, less technical guys are needed etc and wow "look how much we can save !" The problem is we get this opening weekend shambles . Management will just say it will be the system bedding in and things will improve. Nemisis on one train doesn't help either. Looking at thorpe park feeds their ops sound rubbish too!! If things don't improve I'm worried their attendance figures won't be up on a sw year and it ain't no terrorism issue or Russians with nerve agents fault it's the consultants fault but merlin will never blame them as the probably paid them thousands or even millions!
On Friday a ride host asked me how my day was and I just said ok with all the issues, their face changed but I stressed it's nothing to do with you guys and they opened up talking about all this s**t.
On another note a big thank you to the wicker man staff on Friday it kept breaking (again! ! Due to the restraints issues ) but they carried on it was 6:30 when I got on so I hope it's overtime all round! Plus I think it's a bit of a protest to make a point to management regarding these silly closing times! I mean 5pm on good Friday? And no where to eat before setting off home. Thank you for pizza hut where I spent my £ 35 for the day (not a penny at the park! Wonderful business sense! ) oh these consultants laughing all the way to the bank! !!

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IanSR

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Smiler
People were leaving at 4 on Friday, management will take that as confirmation people don't want late openings, but I wonder how much is that, and the fact people were exhausted / fedup of walking around the park since 9.30am taking pot luck over whether a ride will be open.

At one point for us it seemed that every time we got in the queue for a ride it broke down, Rita, Thirteen, Smiler, Oblivion all "ceased operations temporarily" while we were waiting, the only ride that didn't was Enterprise, ironically the ride built for occasional fairground use while the stuff designed for continuous operations were breaking down every couple of hours.

On the Thursday we waited out Wickerman through a half hour delay (thank god for phones) because of the restraints issue and based on the ride ops reaction when we came back into the station, it's more than just a restraints issue bugging the ride, we hadn't even got back into the station to disembark properly when the person in the booth said something not repeatable because the forum will censor it and the ride "ceased operations temporarily" message was played again, we then waited while they had to manually unlatch the restraints to let us off while a team of ride technicians stood on the platform looking very unhappy.
 

venny

TS Member
It’s incredible that a technology that is so tried and tested is having so many issues.

One of the things which is frustrating about Alton’s staff is their artificial ‘are you having a good day’ question which appears to come from training. What the training doesn’t extend to us what to do when you reply with a ‘no’. The amount of times you are met with blank stares only serves to reinforce that the initial question is artificial. In fact it actually frustrates me further when you’re met with this reaction when you are having a bad day.
 

themeparkfan

TS Member
Whatever money they spend on consultancy guys/ advisers invest in improving experience. At the end of the day the experience is what this business is all about. Ask John wardley.

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IanSR

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Smiler
Kind of stupid if ex-management of the Park now sitting CEO of Merlin employ an outside consultant to advise them how to improve the park experience, surely it would have been cheaper just to talk to yourself in the mirror, I mean Varney didn't make a bad job of running Towers when he was in charge there, why get some outsider that has no idea how to run a theme park to advise you on something you already know how to do?
 

ringo

TS Member
Kind of stupid if ex-management of the Park now sitting CEO of Merlin employ an outside consultant to advise them how to improve the park experience, surely it would have been cheaper just to talk to yourself in the mirror, I mean Varney didn't make a bad job of running Towers when he was in charge there, why get some outsider that has no idea how to run a theme park to advise you on something you already know how to do?

Take own advice and gut instincts > I’m wrong if it doesn’t improve with no one to blame

Hire someone else to tell me what I thought > I’ve got someone to blame when it doesn’t work out
 

IanSR

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Smiler
That be true there @ringo, always better to blame someone else rather than own up to your own failings.

Although maybe Varney wouldn't have recommended such cuts if he'd asked himself, but we'll never know.
 

GaryH

TS Member
Sounds like today on park is a disaster as well if their Twitter feed is anything to go by due to the cold weather again.
 

NemeTime

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Shambhala: Expedición al Himalaya
Sounds like today on park is a disaster as well if their Twitter feed is anything to go by due to the cold weather again.
Oh I love the responses from Alton Towers!

SQqjI6v
 

IanSR

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Smiler
That's no funny, and the moron running the Twitter account needs to find another job, preferably not in public relations. There are ways and means in dealing with angry customers, and that's a perfect example of how not to do it, and now someone has tweeted a screenshot of it to the Mail, they've only got themselves to blame when these kinds of responses blow up in their faces.

A simple, "we're really sorry and feel your frustration, but the weather is causing problem with the rides and we are trying to open them as quickly as we can, please bear with us" would have surficed instead of the "go f*** yourself pretty boy, you're in the park now, what else do you want?" type response,
 

Dar

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Taron
"It's better than nothing"? Anybody would think it was a small family run park, not a multi-million pound park with the backing of the world's second (only to disney) largest amusement company. It's disgraceful to be honest. It plants the seed of doubt, "if they've not bothered training their social media people in how to effectively deal with customers, who else haven't they trained properly?"
 

Sauron97

TS Member
"Better than nothing" :tearsofjoy: What an ass. Merlin have literally ruined the flagship theme park of the UK. Crap ents, crap social media, crap marketing, crap CAPEX, crap everything. And they have the cheek to say that!
Let me correct you sir: Worse than nothing.
 
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