Thorpe Park: General Discussion

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by Ted, 11th Jun 2012.

  1. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Which parks are these? Closest example I can think of is Walibi Holland but even that was stagnant until the last few years (same as it's Belgium cousin) when the owners gave it a deliberate long term plan.

    Edit: The Walibi parks are far more family friendly than Thorpe. Even with their big rides (at Holland mostly) they step towards more family thrill as opposed to out and out thrill.

    Untamed is a 1.2m ride! As is Lost Gravity.
     
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  2. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I’d argue that the likes of Cedar Point and the Six Flags parks have been successful in being thrill parks, and in terms of Europe, I was thinking about the Walibi parks, as from about 2016 onwards, a lot of their additions have been more thrill-focused (particularly at Walibi Holland) and seem to have been successful.
    EDIT: Wait, Untamed and Lost Gravity are 1.2m rides? They certainly don’t strike me as overly family-friendly... I always assumed they were 1.4m like all the big thrill rides at Alton.
     
    Last edited: 2nd Sep 2020
  3. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Yes I think they should continue with the same sort of ride hardware, just maybe lighten the themes a bit. Plus make sure the marketing is towards families, rather than just groups of young adults as the 2010 big head stuff did.
    But although over 12s are likely over 1.4m that doesn't mean they will want to ride the bigger stuff and some more thrilling but non-inverting rides are needed. The changes made to X were good, shame they then added the Walking Dead theme. Thorpe really needs a non-inverting coaster and a decent dark ride.
     
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  4. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Ah yes, Six Flags. Famous for their constant bankruptcy problems.

    The Cedar Fair parks have MASSIVE kids areas as well. Cedar Point has 2 if I recall correctly and of course has rides that cover young to old.

    Real family parks cover all the bases. Those out and out thrill parks have tended to struggle (see Six Flags, who's current business plan is to just buy about 10 of each ride type and put them in a park).

    The Walibi parks have blossomed in recent years due to a sound direction (even if it came after the band theme wasn't received as well). Fortunately for them they have a solid enough line up to back up for families who do visit Holland (they'd never be able to challenge Efteling after all).

    Thorpe don't. But Merlin won't want to build family attractions because they won't have an USP. Nor does the park have a real long term vision either. That much is clear when one of the family coasters is rethemed into zombies.

    The family audience is an absolute afterthought and then they wonder why the place performs terribly.
     
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  5. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I think a hyper coaster would be a fantastic addition to Thorpe, personally. They don’t invert, and a hyper coaster would also arguably give the park a true icon, in the same vein as the Big One is for Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It would also give the country a properly airtime-focused coaster; regardless of manufacturer, hyper coasters usually offer very strong airtime (B&M, Intamin and Mack hypers are mostly very airtime-focused rides, on the whole).

    Failing that, I think a GCI similar to Wicker Man, but larger, might be nice. A GCI wouldn’t be too daunting, and wouldn’t invert, but it would also be thrilling enough to satisfy the hardcore thrill seekers. Maybe something along the lines of what was originally planned for the Saw site? That did look absolutely ace, and Merlin could also market it as the country’s tallest and fastest wooden coaster! Wicker Man being a roaring success may also have removed some of Merlin’s doubts about the ability of wooden coasters to be successful, so that bodes well!
     
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  6. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    Considering how they marketed wickerman it doesn't need to be true either.
     
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  7. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    They didn’t really mention the USP of Wicker Man that much in the actual marketing, and it was removed after it was highlighted to them, in fairness. I think the actual USP was a bit of an afterthought during the Wicker Man project, to be honest.
     
  8. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Merlin are building family rides with an USP, just at Chessington (Gruffalo, Room on the Broom) and Alton Towers (Gangsta Granny).

    Its Thorpe Park that is the issue. As you say it does seem like they don't have a clear long-term plan.

    I don't think they need a kiddie ride area or really to consider visitors under 10, those families have several other parks to go to. Thorpe just needs to work out their long-term plan.
     
  9. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    I don't care what Thorpe do next so long as it is not actor led or VR based
     
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  10. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    Had they had just built a solid dark ride instead of the gimmick train the park would be in a far better position now.

    It's such a shame that Merlin actually added something the park desperately needed and still managed to balls it up.

    Six Flags installed Thomas Lands all across the portfolio in the mid 2000's as they realised the thrills first strategy wasn't sustainable, but the damage had already been done at that point.

    If they made Thorpe appeal to families like it used to people would visit Chessington and Thorpe, not either or IMO.
     
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  11. Benzin

    Benzin TowersStreet Member

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    Technically Merlin have only built one of those listed additions. And throwing an IP and selling that is just apt of their lazyness.

    The problem lies in Thorpe's back and forth. Adding Angry Birds and redoing X. Then Ghost Train. Then I'm a Celebrity. Then Walking Dead. Then the leftovers from Weymouth.

    Half-arsed doesn't even cover it really. They know they have to have some family attractions, but won't build anything people want in one.
     
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  12. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    But just adding "Thomas Land" kiddie rides wouldn't work either really as you would have some rides only smaller children will want to ride and others only teenagers and adults can ride.
    Things like angry birds sort of works, Dodgems are fairly all-ages even if capacity is an issue (they should have built two) and more additions in that style would be the right direction.
    I don't think Thorpe should compete with Chessington and Legoland, they can offer a park still aimed at families, but concentrating a little higher age groups.
    Six Flags very much feels like thrill rides OR kiddie rides, nothing inbetween. Alton Towers and Drayton Manor used to be good at the inbetween and the all-family dark ride stuff but sadly they aren't getting it completely right anymore either.
     
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  13. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Yep. Ghost train just didn't work. They should have spent the money on a proper dark ride, not VR fad.
    If they had continued the trajectory from Angry Birds and the X re-do, done a decent dark ride (think maus au chocolat at Phantasialand) instead of ghost train and then added another better flat ride thats good for everyone instead of the second half weymouth junk.
     
  14. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    I remember my family visits between 2004-07 being pretty awful, a cramped park with long switchback queues for every ride and cigarette smoke/litter everywhere.

    It was exciting how every year there was an interesting new thrill ride, but otherwise it was turning pretty difficult to have a nice day out. Compared to when I remember visiting in slightly earlier years and before the farm shut
     
  15. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    I think there was an assumption amongst a lot of enthusiasts back in about 2005 or so that Thorpe was set to become the clear #1 park in the UK within a few years, if it wasn't already. The park was packed with major new thrill rides and was finally getting a decent coaster collection with more on the way, sure the place had issues (ride availability chief amongst them) but it seemed inevitable that if the investment kept up that the park would overtake Towers. Fifteen years on and even accounting for the struggles up at Towers, I think it's safe to say Thorpe still won't be seriously challenging for the title any time soon.
     
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  16. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    I remember around the 2002-2006 period at Thorpe so much was new as well, so it all looked fresh and clean and well maintained. Compared to Alton Towers at the time which had older areas and rides needing work. This all tied in with the feeling that TP was overtaking Towers.

    Now they look run down. Thorpe arguably worse.
     
    Last edited: 2nd Sep 2020
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  17. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    The farm shut in 2006. Maybe that is actually why thing really went downhill from 2007.
     
  18. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    I remember the farm shutting feeling more of a symptom rather than a cause, those few years the park really changed in a way that wasn't great, but at the same time the ride offering was expanding.
     
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  19. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Thorpe Park started going downhill fast from the moment Stealth opened. A shame, really, because Stealth is excellent.

    Initially, the main issues in the park were reliability. This lasted for a few seasons. That side of things has largely improved, but opening hours, a confused marketing position, questionable (and an increasing lack of) investment and fastrack have become an absolute plague on the place.
     
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  20. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    I see THORPE'S main issue as lack of consistency, that's consistently in marketing but also operation's.
     

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