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Long term creativity and forward thinking has an enormous amount of economic value that will never be recognised by corporate boards who care only about minimum time, min cost and max profit.It's guaranteed to perform well in its first season of opening, and that's all Merlin/Towers need to hail it as a success. A season or two later when it drops to only operating during peak periods, then becomes SBNO a season or two after that, it doesn't matter so much in the long term, as there will be newer attractions to show that the park is doing just fine and it wouldn't damage The Dungeons as everyone will have their eyes on the new stuff.
Absolutely, as I have said over and over again. Don't be disingenuous about this, it's an obvious anomaly in Merlin's way of doing things.
Alton Towers operate semi independently. If they do not want a dungeon, then they don't have to have a dungeon. The ATR board will absolutely have had to approve this investment.