The magic has disappeared!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Oatcakedodger, 19th Mar 2016.

  1. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Ahhhh magic, the word associated with theme parks largely because of Disney. The big thing with magic is that it is subjective; there is no way to measure it and what seems magical to one person may not seem magical to another.

    For example; walking down Towers Street with the new music playing and the view of the Towers ahead of you, on the first day of a new season, may seem really magical to one person. But the next person, walking down at the same time, may dislike the new music and therefore not find it magical at all. Is there magic? Is there not? It's so personal.

    I do think you can get magical moments at Alton Towers but I would argue that the park is not a fully magical place at present. For me, Disney parks do have magic because of the way they go about their services. EP have a totally different kind of magic, although I tend to see it as love and care rather than magic. Put as I say, other may totally (and rightfully) disagree with these feelings on it.

    :)
     
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  2. AliceHL91

    AliceHL91 TowersStreet Member

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    For me right now the grounds (towers and garden) are the only thing that hold "magic" for me as they are the only things that have remained consistent through the years and bring back good memories.

    Forbidden valley feels like it's slowly losing its magic and x sector isn't what it used to be. The less said about dark forest the better. The atmosphere bar the smiler last Saturday was pretty dead which is sad.

    Like everyone else said I think it's purely subjective. I try to imagine how I'd view the park if it was my first time visiting every time but it's not easy to do, and I do think the more you visit the more mundane it becomes. When you know it like the back of your hand there's nothing to discover and then you start picking up on all the flaws instead.
     
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  3. Error

    Error TowersStreet Member

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    I actually agree with the previous posts about going many times in one season may dampen this "magical" feeling.
    I live a good 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive away from the park and I try and go twice a year. That's enough for me, but giving that space and time between visits gives you that excitement, that looking forward to going again feeling.
    Popping over to park after work etc etc and riding the smiler 20-30 times everyday or two is inevitably going to get tedious, or give you a different outlook/perspective to the park than someone who goes once or twice a year.
     
  4. Danny

    Danny Gugu Rides’ Number 1 Fan

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    The ruins sadly seem to be losing their magic in terms of how much you can experience them. I had a quick pop in on the Sunday and at least half of them are now closed. I was unable to access the lower levels to the servants tunnel, and various tool kits and equipment leftover from Scarefest were scattered throughout.

    Indeed it's lucky they were open at all over open weekend, but they simply weren't what they used to be when access was much broader and there were more areas to explore.
     
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  5. Rosie

    Rosie TowersStreet Member

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    This!!

    I live an hour away from the park however i don't visit more than twice a year (once in summer and once at Scarefest) because i prefer to enjoy my time there instead of walking around looking for fault.
    One of the best things about visiting for me is taking my younger sisters and other extended family and seeing how much they love it.
    I have to disagree with the magic disappearing, i know it may have been slightly dampened in recent seasons but there still for me is nothing better than walking down Towers Street in the morning excited about getting to spend the day somewhere i love with my family or friends.
     
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  6. AliceHL91

    AliceHL91 TowersStreet Member

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    @Danny Been like that for a while now, used as a place to store all the scarefest junk. I'm reckoning that they've left all the sub species stuff down there. Looked like it when we went on Saturday
     
  7. Danny

    Danny Gugu Rides’ Number 1 Fan

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    There were areas closed off this year that weren't previously, particularly the servant's tunnel entrance and the old TotT entrance. On top of that, I've known for Scarefest equipment to be left lying around, but not to the extent I witnessed on Sunday.

    The only entry/exit point appeared to be via the conservatory, which made it all the more difficult for guests who weren't familiar with the layout of the ruins.
     
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  8. Ted

    Ted TowersStreet Member

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    When I first visited Towers in 2008, it felt very magical because I had never experienced the place before. I remember arriving and checking into Splash Landings and being amazed by how nicely themed the place looked. Then jumping on the monorail and over viewing most of the park, actually seeing Nemesis in person, which I knew was one of the best coasters at the time and wanting to ride ever since I first heard of it many years before. Walking down Towers Street (and I recall hearing Graham Smart's rendition of the Towers Street theme) and getting to see what was one of the most beautiful sites of any theme park in Europe, if not the World. I felt a buzz inside of me and it put a smile on my 12 year old self. Stayed for two days, and I was gutted I had to eventually leave. It was probably the best theme park trip I had in my life at that point.

    Nowadays though, I don't get that feeling anymore when visiting Merlin parks. I do wonder at times if it has to do with the fact I visit the place quite often, or if really the park has gone downhill? I think it's a bit of both, because I do get to the park twice a year, and get plenty of rides on Nemesis, is it I just grown bored of Towers' attractions? Not really, as I still enjoy 85% of everything there, but the downfall of the park doesn't really make me feel like I'm in that immersive environment.

    However, in the weekend just gone, I felt a sense of enjoyment over seeing the new TLC and soundtracks for Towers Street and Spinball Whizzer, the repaint for Nemesis and other bits of TLC around the park. But with the ride closures, it felt a bit shallow and I knew the park still wasn't at its best. So there was no real sense of "magic" there, but rather little bits and bobs.

    I do agree it can be subjective. I suppose it's what people want in their day at the park. And comes down to the frequency of visits, and what is on offer at the park overall.
     
  9. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    The magic is certainly created in our minds and imaginations. Alton Towers is still an enhanced place to visit.

    However, our customer experience can have an effect on the magic that we experience. What Tussauds brought in the old days were knowing how to train the staff to be welcoming, they also knew how to make you feel like a very important guest.

    Closing rides, not opening them on time, big queues, bad weather, failing to maintain the park, can all have an adverse effect on our experience which in turn will put a damper on the magic that we will perceive.

    For me some of my magical memories are from night time at Scarefest and Fireworks as well as a few Christmas visits ago when the place was covered in snow, and the water fountain out side the Alton Towers frozen with icicles hanging from it.

    The resort hotels are also a very magical places to say as well.
     
  10. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I have.been watching this thread with intrigue since it started. Whilst it seemed on the surface to be another "hasn't the park gone downhill in recent years" stating the obvious type affair, I think we've deduced by now that the "magic" can be a very personal thing that is partly dependent on age, amount of visits and interpretation/personal opinion.

    But whilst I completely agree with all that, I think there are many universal measures of the magic. I dare anyone to drive up hill through those twisting roads and that beautiful village, over the unmistakably AT estate stone bridges, past Alton Towers railway station and the chained oak turn off without getting exited at the wonder of the location. Then you have the valley itself, the fantastic dark green all around you of the Staffordshire moorlands countryside, the Disney inspired monorail trip with great views of the parks assets, towers Street and that view we all love etc etc. Even the beautiful corkscrew track and the entrance plaza is a great place if you think about it, especially compared to other UK parks.

    The ruins are great, the history is great. The gardens, the conservatories, the pagoda, the woodland walk, fountain square. The Nemesis pit, the Blade cutting dividing FB. The monorail passing over the RMT and past Nemesis giving the look and feeling of a proper world class resort. Then you have the design of the resort hotels, which are awesome if a little pokey.

    I first visited the park in the late 1980's as a child. We went every year religiously as a family, and went on a couple of school trips there as a teenager. We also went to Florida in the early 90's alongside these trips. I remember in 1994, just coming back from 2 weeks in the florida parks then coming back to AT and the park really did stand up on the world stage back then.

    This trend continued throughout the 90s with the opening of the AT hotel, Oblivion and X sector, as I grew into an adult. I went regularly right up until the opening of Air when I fell ill and and did not visit for a number of years....

    Cue 2008 when I revisit as a man in his late 20's. I'm amazed at the superb Splash landings hotel, intrigued with Rita and the retheme of the log flume and a bit miffed about all the sponsorship and licences around the place - I also get my last ride on corkscrew for old times sake. But the park seems in good order and moving forwards, albeit in a rather unpredictable way.

    Ever since then, as a MAP holder, I still love the park but see the deterioration. This is no longer a world class park. The setting is stunning as ever, but look further and it's just another Merlin park. It seems as big as ever in size, but sparse in attractions, there is no longer more to do there compared to other parks, only the geography seems different now. Forbidden Valley is the same, yet tired. CCL is a corner of the park and no longer an area as such. Dark Forest is a couple of coasters where the great and vibrant festival park once stood. Katanga Canyon and Gloomy wood look like they were just waiting to be expanded for the last 20 years.

    My children are still young but are becoming massive park fans. Yet for the first year in almost 3 decades, Towers wasn't my first choice this opening weekend. We are of course making our way up there next month for Galactica and Smiler and have booked our overnight stay the following month, but I have never felt so compelled to look elsewhere as I have now for the "magic". For a park with the natural and historical majesty of Towers, that is a big problem!
     
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  11. Grand_Nash

    Grand_Nash TowersStreet Member

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    As someone who visited towers first in 2007 as a teenager then 2011 and again in 2015 I used to be a typical visitor, every 3-4 years I would imagine is typical.

    Anyway the problem I had with towers was how commercial it was. it never felt personal IMO. I visited in 2011 for alton towers live with my other half and my god the people there! it must have had 35000+ it took 3 hours to get home and I rode 2 coasters and the log flume. Food was crap value and tasteless, waiting to do anything, it was the worst theme park experience and I was put off. I visited Drayton, pleasure beach, foreign parks etc and they felt more personal.

    Up until the crash I had no interest in going to towers, my gf didn't like it, seemed poor value for money, and overpriced. With the crash we bit the bullet and went, to show support and we knew rides were safe. That first day we went it was the first Saturday once the park had reopened and was 20-40 min waits. Staff were attentive and tried to get it right and this was the first time towers felt personal. We since brought merlin passes and prefer towers over other UK parks.

    I think towers went wrong in the way they looked to deliver the product. for me the magic is what I create with my other half or friends/ family. Magic is not luke warm chips in BK, its not closing rides, its trying to make the difference to some ones day. Alton towers can be a world class resort, but it needs to shrug off the large business image as it can feel its all about selling
     
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  12. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    And I'm not sure why as I only visited the park once before the advert and back in 1994 I was too scared to even ride Corkscrew, but this advert has all the magic. I remember Toyland Tours and Riverbank Eye-Spy (boring to a 12-year old) and Peter Rabbit.
    But there is something about this advert that made me want to go to the hotel, this for me was peak "magic".


    My first stay was for the Nemisis X 10th birthday event (how things change when you stop being scared) and I remember the themed uniforms, with high waisted trousers and braces and long Victorian dresses for the girls and there was something special about AT hotel.

    Also compare that advert to this years where the voice over just keeps telling you how much you can save by booking in advance. Nothing about how great the hotel is, just how cheap early booking is. It makes the whole thing fee money-orientated.
     
    Last edited: 24th Mar 2016
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  13. Ted

    Ted TowersStreet Member

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    What I find great about this advert is that not only it shows off the hotel and its facilities well, but it also shows what the park has to offer in a very clever way. Which is why I love it.

    ATH is probably one of my favourite places on the resort because it looks so beautiful and the atmosphere I find to be nice. Even though it was built in Towers' peak, it reminds me of the time before that just because of how old fashioned the place feels.
     
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  14. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    ATH was built to encapsulate "the magic". Everything about that hotel was magical. And to some extent it still is (except the price). I recall the exclusive benefits of staying there, the small pool and the booking system for it, the kettle which changed colour when it boiled, the duck shaped hair drier, the great evening entertainment, the gardener's in the Secret Garden restaurant serving your food, table service around the ship and Dragon Bar etc.

    I still love the hotel and the memories it has for me, and its still my hotel of choice between all 3, but, sadly, in reality, its now overpriced and outdated by many hotels in the area, charging considerably less.
     
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  15. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    Great examples there of how Alton Towers is much different now compared to what it used to be. The 1994 hotel advert is very magical, relaxed, exciting and enticing. Same with all their adverts of the time. Also, unlike the 2016 advert it shows the park and hotel in a realistic way, not heavy CGI which looks nothing like the park. Again enchanted village is just an embarrassment, it looks NOTHING like what they show in that advert. It's all very misleading, and it sounds like an insurance advert or something. I wish Merlin would just fire all of the morons working in the marketing department.

    Nailed it. The only thing I could add to that is the fact that NONE of the rides at Towers are worth queueing more than 10 minutes for. Sod waiting 90 minutes for Air, 2 hours for Rita and 3 hours for The Smiler.

    If I have to queue more than 10 minutes now at Towers it ruins my day, because there's nothing else the park has going for it to make up for all the standing around waiting.
     
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  16. Stuntman707

    Stuntman707 TowersStreet Member

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    Out of comparison, the Harry Potter area at Universal Studios looks so gobsmackingly real from what I've seen. It's the best themed area ive ever seen at a theme park. If you didn't know where it was, you would think you were looking at an old street in Edinburgh.

    Maybe what Alton Towers needs to do is to hire the same people who make such wonderful film sets to totally overhaul an area of the park (Ahem, Dark Forest!) NO vines and NO scaffolding! But yeah, film set quality theming would really impress me like it does at Universal.

    On a side note, the food outlets are so bad after they got rid of the commercial outlets. I would advise going somewhere to eat outside of the park.
     
  17. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    The magic effectively ended when John Wardley left Tussauds.

    Between 1992 and 2002 there was a clear plan for the park, all the pieces seemed to come together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Since then the park has tried to stick round pegs in square holes.

    The parks marketing department is also a contributing factor to the lack of magic, particularly as they constantly over-promise and under-deliver leaving guests feeling deflated.
     
    Last edited: 27th Mar 2016
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  18. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    There was never any magic, it was all in your head.
     
  19. Dar

    Dar TowersStreet Member

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    Magic isn't real? No way! But that feeling of joy and escapism felt so much like magic!
     
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  20. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    THERE IS NO MAGIC, ONLY ZUUL!!
     
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