I think it is plain and simply that the park just appears unloved and uncared for by the people running it. There is no pride. Year on year we see theming removed and never replaced (rapids station this year) they are usually just little things but over time just gives the feeling you are in a place that has lost its sparkle. The fact most of the park is overgrown and frankly just grubby does nothing to help. We scarcely see anything done to improve and enhance the quality of the park environment, any 'improvements' that take place are because they are directly involved with raising revenue or H&S related, so we see upgrade retail and F&B outlets all the time (but even these usually result in something pretty sterile) and pointless fences stuck around the gardens but rarely anything that will actually improve the quality of the park. When they do stick their finger out and do anything it usually looks nasty and garish but is lauded because people are just glad they have done something....see Splash Landings, X-Sector and even CBeebies to be frank. All evidence the park or company has run out of creative steam/doesn't employ talented designers/has a shoestring budget. The biggest issue though is how ad-hoc and incoherent the park has become in terms of themed areas over the last decade or so- Air isolated down the far end of FV, Spinball stuck next to entrance, Rita dumped in Ug Land, The Smiler shoehorned into X-Sector...and these are just the big attractions never mind Charlie and all the other bits of junk inflicted on the place by various management since around 2003/4. There are precious few areas of the park that are genuinely immersive or exciting except for around Nemesis, Hex and in Katanga Canyon. Then there's the sheer amount of pure cr*p clogging up the park. Completely themeless and irrelevant games stalls and machines around every corner, cheap and ugly signage up all over the place and the masses of overpriced tat they sell in the shops that could be brought in most high streets for half the price. I can walk through pretty much every retail outlet on park and see almost nothing I want to buy. Alton Towers has become all about headline grabbing rides (quite literally this year) with too much emphasis on marketing over actual quality and has lost most of the nuance that is needed for a genuinely good theme park. As such I have little desire to return anytime in the near future.