Project Horizon: Planning Application Submitted

QTXAdsy

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Black Hole
I cannot see much being done with Oblivion layout wise. By the time the coaster comes out of the tunnel and to the brakes most of the energy is already gone. You have to remember Oblivion goes as deep underground as it goes high above ground.

So by the time it comes out the tunnel, it's already lost most of the kinetic energy it gained from that drop. Servery limiting what you could do track wise.
True, unless though they decided to install a Hulk style launch system when exiting the hole which would add an extra kick to the ride for sure.

Retrofitting Oblivion to become World's first launching dive coaster? :p

Anyway, back on Project Horizon before I get bricked. Yeah, I suspect that if we get a family coaster in there then I'm certain that Spinball's future will come into question at least, funnily enough if this new ride were to open in 2025 as some suspect then Spinball's lifespan would be up by then so it might all be well timed by then.
 

Dave

TS Founding Member
Because it's the best ride on park, followed by nemesis of course.

If it didn’t try to stall all the time, wasnt rough and the theme was executed correctly then it would likely be the best coaster on park.

But it does try to stall all the time, therefore it runs on hard wheels, the profiling is messed up and the theme is half arsed so I personally disagree.

But you do you
 

George W

TS Member
If it didn’t try to stall all the time, wasnt rough and the theme was executed correctly then it would likely be the best coaster on park.

But it does try to stall all the time, therefore it runs on hard wheels, the profiling is messed up and the theme is half arsed so I personally disagree.

But you do you
I get there's a pothole after the 2nd inversion (the corkscrew after the first lift hill) and the exit of the cobra roll is also rough.

I don't mind as long as I brace for those 2 jolts which I always do and the restraints aren't too tight it's usually a very enjoyable ride experience.

It's the only really world class ride we have in the country, definitely the most famous and recognized coaster we have however I'll leave it there as this isn't the smiler thread.

However I think going forward Merlin learned a lot of lessons from the smiler and with project horizon and other projects we won't see anymore rushed constructions, so I'm guessing we will see project horizon come around sometime by 2025 hopefully?
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
It's the only really world class ride we have in the country, definitely the most famous and recognized coaster we have however I'll leave it there as this isn't the smiler thread.
I agree that Smiler is the most famous and recognised rollercoaster export we have, but in terms of quality, I think many would argue that Nemesis is a “world class” ride as well.

Even if I don’t rank Nemesis that highly compared to most, I find it hard to argue with the consensus that does. If you don’t personally rank it highly, then fair enough, but a great many enthusiasts do. I’d take a punt on Nemesis being the most highly rated UK coaster on average among enthusiasts, and I’d wager that it would win by quite some distance.

As for when Horizon might open, I could possibly see 2024. The EIA says that it will only have a 12-14 month construction period, so if the full application is submitted at about Christmas 2022 or so (this would make sense; the consultation period started in September and ends on 18th October, and both Thorpe and Chessington’s recent applications went in around 2 months after the consultation ended, which would take us to a full planning application in December 2022 if similar timescales were applied here) and takes a couple of months to get approved, I could maybe see a mid-2024 opening?

I think opening day 2024 is unlikely unless construction falls within the very lowest timeframe of 12 months and the application is approved very quickly, but I could certainly see late spring to early summer 2024 dependent on the timeframe within which they submit the planning application.
 
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Maelstrom

TS Member
I think there is almost zero chance that this will open in 2024, it will likely be a 2025 project. They have nemesis reopening in 2024, along with the major investment at Thorpe. Not to mention time scales are tight for a 2024 opening without considering timescales from manufactures from getting the green light planning wise and signing the contracts with the various vendors. Plus the worldwide issue with electrical components etc. that’s without considering any potential delays from Merlin due to current economic uncertainty in the Uk and impact of current exchange rates and rising interest rates could also play a part.

2025+ makes much more sense.
 

AT86

TS Member
I agree that Smiler is the most famous and recognised rollercoaster export we have, but in terms of quality, I think many would argue that Nemesis is a “world class” ride as well.

Even if I don’t rank Nemesis that highly compared to most, I find it hard to argue with the consensus that does. If you don’t personally rank it highly, then fair enough, but a great many enthusiasts do. I’d take a punt on Nemesis being the most highly rated UK coaster on average among enthusiasts, and I’d wager that it would win by quite some distance.

As for when Horizon might open, I could possibly see 2024. The EIA says that it will only have a 12-14 month construction period, so if the full application is submitted at about Christmas 2022 or so (this would make sense; the consultation period started in September and ends on 18th October, and both Thorpe and Chessington’s recent applications went in around 2 months after the consultation ended, which would take us to a full planning application in December 2022 if similar timescales were applied here) and takes a couple of months to get approved, I could maybe see a mid-2024 opening?

I think opening day 2024 is unlikely unless construction falls within the very lowest timeframe of 12 months and the application is approved very quickly, but I could certainly see late spring to early summer 2024 dependent on the timeframe within which they submit the planning application.

Merlin have always staggered large investments at the parks for cash flow and marketing reasons, they are unlikely to want a large project opening in 2024 at both Towers and Thorpe.

Chessington 2023, Thorpe Park 2024, Alton Towers 2025 makes more sense.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Merlin have always staggered large investments at the parks for cash flow and marketing reasons, they are unlikely to want a large project opening in 2024 at both Towers and Thorpe.

Chessington 2023, Thorpe Park 2024, Alton Towers 2025 makes more sense.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they do both ZUFARI and Smiler in 2013?

Smiler was always touted as £18m, and ZUFARI wasn’t cheap (I seem to remember £12m being banded about as its originally intended price; I’m aware that this was cut later on, but Merlin certainly intended £12m originally, from what I’ve heard), but they both opened in the same year and both parks experienced good attendance growth.

I’d wager that this and Exodus would likely cater for two very different markets.

For starters, they’re in different parts of the country. And I’d also guess that this will be more family-orientated, while Exodus will be more thrill-orientated, so the target markets will be very different. Not dissimilarly to Smiler and ZUFARI, really.

I would also say that we appear to be seeing increased RTP CAPEX from Merlin (Chessington has been allocated £60m between 2022 and 2026, and the recent spate of Towers projects would suggest an increase), so I wouldn’t rule anything out. I accept that 2025 is probably more likely, but I wouldn’t count out a 2024 opening. Based on the recent planning timescales of Amazon and Exodus, as well as the outlined construction period in the EIA, I could certainly see a 2024 opening if all goes well.

I’d wager an indoor attraction could cause less controversy in planning than a roller coaster (at very least, I certainly can’t see this being as controversial as Exodus has been), and the touted construction timeframe is also a good 6 months shorter than either Amazon or Exodus.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Wouldn't it be a turn up for the books if the reopening of Nemesis - even if there is little publicity from Towers - ended up being more popular with the public than the opening of Exodus if they opened in the same year!
I don’t reckon this will be the case myself.

I’m guessing that Thorpe will market the hell out of their new height record breaker and get the word out as far as they can, which will have a big effect.

A height record breaker like Exodus is will almost definitely be very big news. The ride looks excellent, and I think it’ll really attract people to Thorpe. Records sell in this country (look at The Smiler and The Big One!), and I don’t think that will be any different for Exodus; I think it could become a true icon for Thorpe and be one of the most popular rides built in recent years.

Nemesis, on the other hand, will be the reopening of a ride that’s already existed for 30 years and will likely have changed very little. It will undeniably be great when it does reopen, but I don’t think “Nemesis is back” will pull new people to Alton Towers in great numbers; I don’t think Towers are even doing the Nemesis retrack under the pretence of it significantly growing guest figures, to be honest.

I could be completely wrong, but that’s just my thought.
 

Danscott22

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
I wouldn’t say Exodus looks excellent, the word is use is “short”. As for Horizon, I can see it being 2025. Merlin will want folks at Chessington next year, Thorpe in 2024 and hopefully Towers in 2025
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I wouldn’t say Exodus looks excellent, the word is use is “short”.
Admittedly, it’s not the longest hyper in the world, but I’d personally say it plays to the strengths of being a shorter ride, and I’d hardly say it’s a short ride like Oblivion or Stealth. You’ll get a decent 5 or 6 elements out of it, and a decent 40 seconds of ride time (similar to Nemesis, which everyone raves about, and also not much shorter than some of the recent 200ft RMCs like Zadra and Iron Gwazi, which are also rides that everyone raves about) and the pacing and design style of it looks to be quite unrelenting and breathtaking. It appears a very unconventional hyper, with a more fast-paced, relentless layout style than something like a B&M Hyper, which I’d argue will play to the strengths of it not being as long as other hyper coasters; if it were a longer ride, you might not get the same type of effect. It appears a bit like Skyrush in that regard; that ride is also (apparently) short, but intense.

Would it have been my choice of ride? No; I was a very keen advocate of a B&M Hyper, as I personally rate a mix of thrill, fun and rerideability over out and out intensity, and I think a B&M Hyper would have filled a more discernible gap within both Thorpe and the wider UK industry. But I can see the rationale behind how Exodus was designed, and I think that Exodus as a layout appears to suit its length perfectly fine rather than appearing like a stunted version of a ride that should be loads longer (like a B&M Hyper of a similar length might possibly have been). I think it could be similar in style to something like Skyrush, or the Wodan of hyper coasters, in that it’s on the shorter side, but takes an unrelenting “bam, bam, bam” approach to its layout design.

Each to their own, of course, and if length is important to you, then fair enough, but I would say that it still looks excellent even if it’s not the longest hyper coaster on earth.
EDIT: Sorry, I forgot we were in the Project Horizon thread… mods, move this if you feel it’s necessary.
 

Alastair

TS Team
Favourite Ride
Indiana Jones Adventure
Admittedly, it’s not the longest hyper in the world, but I’d personally say it plays to the strengths of being a shorter ride, and I’d hardly say it’s a short ride like Oblivion or Stealth. You’ll get a decent 5 or 6 elements out of it, and a decent 40 seconds of ride time (similar to Nemesis, which everyone raves about, and also not much shorter than some of the recent 200ft RMCs like Zadra and Iron Gwazi, which are also rides that everyone raves about) and the pacing and design style of it looks to be quite unrelenting and breathtaking. It appears a very unconventional hyper, with a more fast-paced, relentless layout style than something like a B&M Hyper, which I’d argue will play to the strengths of it not being as long as other hyper coasters; if it were a longer ride, you might not get the same type of effect. It appears a bit like Skyrush in that regard; that ride is also (apparently) short, but intense.

Would it have been my choice of ride? No; I was a very keen advocate of a B&M Hyper, as I personally rate a mix of thrill, fun and rerideability over out and out intensity, and I think a B&M Hyper would have filled a more discernible gap within both Thorpe and the wider UK industry. But I can see the rationale behind how Exodus was designed, and I think that Exodus as a layout appears to suit its length perfectly fine rather than appearing like a stunted version of a ride that should be loads longer (like a B&M Hyper of a similar length might possibly have been). I think it could be similar in style to something like Skyrush, or the Wodan of hyper coasters, in that it’s on the shorter side, but takes an unrelenting “bam, bam, bam” approach to its layout design.

Each to their own, of course, and if length is important to you, then fair enough, but I would say that it still looks excellent even if it’s not the longest hyper coaster on earth.
EDIT: Sorry, I forgot we were in the Project Horizon thread… mods, move this if you feel it’s necessary.

No need, as long as we can cease Exodus chat from hereon in!
 

Squiggs

TS Team
When it comes to timelines, it is probably worth remembering that there will need to be a separate round of construction (and probably associated planning permission) before the park even get started on the attraction itself. Project Horizon is slated to be built in a functional backstage area, so those services would need to be relocated before any work can start of demolition of the existing infrastructure.

In the Long Term Development Plan (LTDP), the park identified that in order to put an attraction on this site, they would need to relocate the existing servicing areas as well as the waste and recycling centre, which occupied the site (and I assume they still do). In the LTDP they speculated that they would move these facilities into the service yard behind The Haunted House, so if this was still the plan, they would need separate planning permission for this. Admittedly, this is a document from 10 years ago, so specific plans may have changed now they are looking at the reality of building on the site, but it at least gives us a steer as to what to expect.
 

WillPS

TS Member
I wouldn’t say Exodus looks excellent, the word is use is “short”. As for Horizon, I can see it being 2025. Merlin will want folks at Chessington next year, Thorpe in 2024 and hopefully Towers in 2025
You might be right about 2025, but I'm not at all sure this would be the rationale.

There is probably a lot less overlap between potential visitors than you might imagine.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
I agree with @WillPS. Seeing as this is likely to be more of a family or family thrill ride, in my view, it and Exodus will likely not have that much of an overlap as far as potential visitor demographics are concerned.

Project Horizon is likely to be aimed more at the family market, whereas Exodus will be aimed solely at thrillseekers.

It’s a bit like how Smiler and ZUFARI were both major investments built in 2013. They worked well together because they had very little overlap of demographics; a safari ride at Chessington has a very different target demographic to a 14 looping coaster at Alton Towers, so there’s fairly little overlap between them. I think the same would likely be true for Project Exodus and Project Horizon.

For that reason, I don’t think a 2024 opening for Horizon is impossible. I concede that 2025 is more likely, but I still wouldn’t count out 2024 entirely. I certainly think a mid-season opening in 2024 could be possible given the construction timeline provided by Towers and the planning application timelines of Merlin’s past 2 major projects that have had similar public consultations.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Keep in mind a large chunk of AT visitors don't even know Thorpe exists! Vast majority at work for instance haven't when I say where I was at the weekend etc.
That’s another thing to consider; although I’d say that most people in the UK have probably heard of Thorpe (at very least, most people South of Birmingham probably have), it will have a slightly different locational demographic to Towers. People in the North will likely go to Towers and not Thorpe, whereas people in the South East will likely go to Thorpe and not Towers.
 

QTXAdsy

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Black Hole
That’s another thing to consider; although I’d say that most people in the UK have probably heard of Thorpe (at very least, most people South of Birmingham probably have), it will have a slightly different locational demographic to Towers. People in the North will likely go to Towers and not Thorpe, whereas people in the South East will likely go to Thorpe and not Towers.
In Scotland, 8 times out of 10 will know of Towers and BPB though some are aware of Thorpe and Mingoland though in recent years Drayton has started to get recognised. Chessie I'm afraid is afraid to say either ignored or is unknown.

Anyway, regarding an opening date, I'm saying 2025 if this is a coaster, however if this is a flying theatre or simulator ride of some kind then I would consider a 2024 opening date but then again given the size of the building it is rather overscaled for just a flying theatre unless two were being built into it. Plus with Nemesis coming back for 2024, would they want to have some groundbreaking new attraction to open that year and steal Nemesis' thunder? Would be weirdly fitting if we had two new attractions open that year for we had the same in 1994 and 2010, even if one attraction on each of those years was just a retheme/repaint technically speaking.

Come to think of it, how many years have Towers opened more than one attraction in a season not including in the early '80's when they were just starting out and certainly not the Retrosquad?
 
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