Park Hours: Updates and Discussion

Squiggs

TS Team
A massive reduction in disposable incomes, and the threat of coming energy costs and a big fat recession may be playing on peoples minds.
Fewer feet on the ground, lower secondary spend, shorter hours.
Shorter hours, which then feeds into the spiral. If your disposable income is already stretched, I suspect you'd be looking to attend on days with the longest hours possible.

One of the reasons 4pm closes are quieter is because they are 4pm closes. There is a large chunk of guests who simply won't even consider attending on a 4pm close. Why would you attend a theme park that is open for fewer hours than most other businesses?
 

rob666

TS Member
Because you have a free weekday and you know that most of the rides will be completely walk on, or ten minute queues, all day.
We are walking blind into a hard recession, with massive increases in the cost of living, and high inflation and interest rates...all at once.
Hours, operations and standards in all parks are going to be cut further to the bone.
The Beach is opening a month later next year.
People have already cut right back on leisure spending, and it shows in attendances.
 

Ash

TS Member
I'm sure the energy costs will also be playing a big role in opening hours. I'm sure it's not cheap to keep the park open for an extra hour or two.

If they’d got any brains they will of fixed theirs already for the next year like many energy intensive industries


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Islander

TS Member
If they’d got any brains they will of fixed theirs already for the next year like many energy intensive industries


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I should imagine they'll still be looking at massive increases - industry will be hit far harder than consumers, and we all know how hard we're personally hit.

(this definitely isn't sympathy...)
 
No doubt that, once the full effects of the cost of living crisis are realised, we’ll see Nick Varney doing the media rounds appearing on every breakfast and day time TV show expecting us to feel sorry for Merlin, when the rest of us are struggling to even put food on the table.

Maybe when he retires, whoever replaces him won’t be quite as forceful with their public opinions.
 

James

TS Founding Member
He hasn’t got much longer left in Merlin has he? Thought he was going at the start of 2023?

I doubt companies will seek sympathy, but they will of course mention energy increases as it’s a big thing regardless. As with anything additional costs are passed on to the consumer, and people may have to make hard decisions on whether leisure trips are worth it or not.
 

Thameslink Rail

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
Thorpe Park are advertising the following through September:
Monday: 10-5
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 10-5
Friday: 10-6
Saturday: 10-7
Sunday: 10-6
I would much prefer this to Alton's weekday 10-4s and weekend 10-5s (although I doubt Alton would close at 6 on Fridays and 7 on Saturdays).
 

rob666

TS Member
Saturday should, in all cases, be the latest close of the week.

Alton have been poor this year.

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Poor in both senses!
I imagine paid attendances are well down this year, foreign holidays back, cost of living up.
 
It’s interesting how in 2021, we saw a really quite significant increase in opening hours at all the Merlin parks, even though they didn’t seem significantly busier, but this has nose dived this year.

Last year I genuinely thought that we might see an end to the 4pm closes. No such luck sadly.
 

tech

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Universe of Energy - Epcot (RIP)
It’s interesting how in 2021, we saw a really quite significant increase in opening hours at all the Merlin parks, even though they didn’t seem significantly busier, but this has nose dived this year.

Last year I genuinely thought that we might see an end to the 4pm closes. No such luck sadly.

Indeed. At the time it felt like a return to former glories but in fact was more likely a trial that didn’t result in a significant enough revenue boost for them to continue with it.
 

Steve74

TS Member
Indeed. At the time it felt like a return to former glories but in fact was more likely a trial that didn’t result in a significant enough revenue boost for them to continue with it.
Or it could be that they had every intention of continuing with longer hours but with the on-going recruitment issues, the current cost of living crisis expected to get a hell of a lot worse for near enough everyone, energy costs soaring for both consumers and industry, maybe they decided to be a bit more proactive and limit their hours now so they don't waste money on opening when they have a fair idea there will be reduced number of guests attending at a time when costs could be much higher for them. I guess they're looking at pre bookings compared to last year too and if they're down then that is helping them decide?
 

tech

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Universe of Energy - Epcot (RIP)
Or it could be that they had every intention of continuing with longer hours but with the on-going recruitment issues, the current cost of living crisis expected to get a hell of a lot worse for near enough everyone, energy costs soaring for both consumers and industry, maybe they decided to be a bit more proactive and limit their hours now so they don't waste money on opening when they have a fair idea there will be reduced number of guests attending at a time when costs could be much higher for them. I guess they're looking at pre bookings compared to last year too and if they're down then that is helping them decide?

I definitely think that’ll also be a factor - it’s a tough time to be running a business right now (unless you’re drilling oil….) and leisure businesses are always among the first to be hit when folk have less pennies going spare.

As for bookings being down this can often be a vicious circle, Oktoberfest sure looks a lot less appealing to me this year now, and we went 2-3 times last year.

Mind you, I’m a passholder and relatively local to the resort. From a business point of view I’m probably not their ideal customer 😂
 
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