Park Hours: Updates and Discussion

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
To bring back an old subject discussion, the Coaster Studios review of ATR came out the other day and he also supported the claim that ATR has pretty much the worst opening hours of any major theme park in the world.

Today, for example. Looking at ride times - queues are between 20 and 60 minutes for the rollercoasters and 0 and 35 minute queues for the family rides.

Today is pre-advertised as a 4.00pm ride close. Now, I would hope it is being extended. But as has been the case for some years now - nobody here is asking for the park to close at stupid-o-clock every night, but these absurdly short hours have surely run their course. It's a massive theme park, with lots of walking to be done.

The shortest hours - IN THE WORLD!

If anybody can find another large theme park with the same or poorer hours than ATR, please share.
 

Austin Towers

TS Member
But don't forget they're second only to Disney. In fact they're that good they only need to open until 4 and all guests go home satisfied and thrilled they had the best day ever.

Open longer and people will travel further to get there. 4pm close and it's not worth leaving the house if you have a long way to travel. On a busy day with short hours everyone is rushing around trying to get all the rides done. Merlin must really believe that people enjoy standing in queues all day or rushing around from attraction to attraction. Where's the magic in that?

People need time to take it all in, relax, get a bite to eat etc and maybe have time to do a few attractions more than once. Not enough attractions is another issue though.
 

Rick

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Crux
I can't think of another park off hand that does the same.

Cedar Point does a number of 6 hour 'days', but they're typically 6pm - Midnight, rather than 10am - 4pm.
 

Rick

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Crux
It's also the fact that the hours require people to get up very early and go home very early. It doesn't feel perhaps as "full" as if the hours were 12-6 or even 2-8pm.
Volumes at the moment are primarily driven by school trips across the park and pre-schoolers in CBeebies. 10 - 4 is the jackpot time for both those markets.
 

John_P

TS Member
The biggest issue with the midweek 4pm closure that certainly puts me off going is if you leave the park at 4pm and head back to your car you end up on the motorways at bang on rush hour. At least with the 5pm closure I'd just head to the hotel, have a tea/coffee and then leave around 6pmish.
 

rob666

TS Member
This is why I didn't get a cheap pass this year.
And opening a bit later in the day would be kinder to the non school groups to get a few rides in at the end of the day.
 

RoyJess

TS Member
Even my local Zoo has better opening hours than any of the Merlin parks and they have a lot less less gate visitors.

I personally don't know of any other tourist attraction, let alone another theme park that has worse opening hours other than that of the Merlin owned ones (even their Sealife centres opening times have been cut in recent years)

Edit, Great Yarmouth Joyland and Pleasure beach current opening times are 11am to 4pm which are less than ATR, but with rides more or less walk on, then the opening times are not as much of an issue compared to ATR
 

Error

TS Member
Even my local Zoo has better opening hours than any of the Merlin parks and they have a lot less less gate visitors.

I personally don't know of any other tourist attraction, let alone another theme park that has worse opening hours other than that of the Merlin owned ones (even their Sealife centres opening times have been cut in recent years)

Edit, Great Yarmouth Joyland and Pleasure beach current opening times are 11am to 4pm which are less than ATR, but with rides more or less walk on, then the opening times are not as much of an issue compared to ATR

Couple of weeks though mate when schools finish, towers will be bottom again.
 

AT86

TS Member
Not being privy to the inner workings of Merlin I don’t know how these things come about but it appears that an order simply came from on high that all attractions shall shorten their opening times to save money without anymore thought.

If you look at other attractions such as Shrek in London - that also closes at 4pm in the week. 4PM. In central London tourist hotspot.

Warwick Castle - the often forgotten sibling in the Resort Theme Park division (probably because well, it’s not a theme park) has cut back its hours in recent years, the latest it closes over the summer is 5pm. Imagine a nice warm summers afternoon chilling in the grounds of the castle - only to be turfed out at 5pm!

It’s so short sighted and seems to be a knee jerk reaction to rising labour costs, but ridiculously counter intuitive.

Maybe this is the kind of behaviour that can be changed when the company goes private? More sensible decision making that isn’t driven by the figures that have to be released to shareholders, but driven by the right thing to do for the business.
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
What's changed since the 4pm closes were brought in, is that the park's guest figures have increased by a double digit percentage amount. We're not in the doldrums post Smiler anymore where rides were almost walk on every day.

I don't think many people are fussed if it's a 4pm close and everything has 0-15 minute waits. But the fact is now, we're seeing such closing times (or a measly 4.30pm extension) with multiple queues over 30 minutes and sometimes selected rides with hour waits caused by operational cuts (e.g. one station Oblivion/Galactica).

Do ATR leaders know the park has the weakest operational hours on the planet? I'd love to know how the director would react to that?

At this time of year, we need to see at least 5pm in the week and 7pm at weekends with good weather. That's not an absurd request, it's merely how ATR should be acting. In fact even posting 'we should be seeing 5pm' from the off sounds ridiculous. Pleading for 5pm. How ridiculous.

It's galling how Alton Towers have hours shorter than an office.

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AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
The park didn't extend today and remained at 4pm.

Smiler hit 80 minutes. WM 55.

Managers need to grow some balls and make some decisions. Whoever is providing operating budgets also needs to look out the window.

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Poopoohead

TS Member
It’s absolutely pathetic on a day like today ride close is 4pm. The opening hours now rarely make it worthwhile my 4 hour each way trip
 

AstroDan

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point
It’s absolutely pathetic on a day like today ride close is 4pm. The opening hours now rarely make it worthwhile my 4 hour each way trip
Well it's not worth it.

How is it worth anybody going to a park open for 6 hours with such queues?

Don't bother. The park doesn't really deserve anybody's custom when it's like that.

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Plastic Person

TS Member
Longer opening hours - 7PM, 8PM - haven't always traditionally worked out for Alton outside of Fireworks and Scarefest, but there's one good/bad reason for that, and it's not only the relative isolation of the park's location, despite what certain sycophants and suits might tell you.

The food and retail offerings at the resort are completely dire, so aside from Towers Trading, the hotels and maybe whatever food stand they've wheeled out onto Towers Street, the park just stops making money once everyone is in. This is unlike at pretty much every other major European park, where guests are compelled to stick around and enjoy themselves, spend money, watch a show or have a meal. The park is completely suffocated by Merlin, who seemingly won't even increase budgets in order to potentially make money, so risk averse and unimaginative they are. Not to mention that guests like and appreciate an opportunity to wait around for a park to quieten down, which in turn, is good for overall satisfaction.

4PM on a weekday in July is absolutely outrageous, and poor value for money no matter what BOGOF or discount you've made your way in with.
 

evilcod

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Pirates of the Caribbean - Paris
My local zoo (that we also have a pass for) has better hours:
Summer Season (from the 31st March till November) - Open 10am ‘til 6pm
Winter Season - Open from 10am ‘til 5pm

This is should be of note to Alton Towers because its also their closest paid entry tourist attraction less than 6 miles away from the ATR! https://www.peakwildlifepark.co.uk/
Due to cost of entry and opening hours I recommend it far above Alton Towers for anyone with toddlers/young children.
 
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speedy

TS Member
Blackpool is often open 11-5. But to be fair at least on the day I was there there were no queues.
 

RicketyCricket

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Taron
Even the 5pm closes on a weekend aren't good enough tbh. It should be 6 at an absolute minimum and maybe 5 on weekdays.

On arrival you queue to get into the car park, then queue to get on the monorail/walk to the entrance, then queue for tickets and/or turnstiles. It's a pretty stressful way to start a day at a theme park, especially after a long drive. Then you know you've only got 4 or 5 hours left to rush around and get on the rides.
 

Tom

TS Member
It's about making money, and the argument that they'd make more money by opening longer hasn't been won. It will only change if enough people stop going, and there's been no sign of that yet.
 
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