What is the finest achievement of Alton Towers?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Drew Peacock, 20th Jun 2021.

  1. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    Building a roller coaster better than the legendary god nemesis I suspect
     
  2. tayspru

    tayspru TowersStreet Member

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    Or :

    - Abandoned buildings and food outlets
    - Short sighted investments that are SBNO or deserted (Dungeons and Sub Terra)
    - Poor theming quality throughout the park
    - Poor attraction planning that leave standout features (ie “Big Bob” and the Marmalizer) being the only notable theming of new attractions
    - Older theming not maintained
    - Tiered park experiences based on if you can afford FT or exploit RAP
    - Lack of long term vision for the park (Retrosquad are symptomatic of this due to a lack of permanent attractions not being replaced over the years)

    But yeah this is obviously the thread to take a jab at people who prefer Nemesis over the Smiler
     
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  3. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    I just logged on to answer @Drew Peacock's question, but this^, described far better than I would've done.

    Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    It's not criticism it's just banter haha I wasn't being serious when I said that. Why would I criticise those who love Nemesis when it is a legendary ride. No different to anyone saying that Nemesis craps on the smiler, which is certainly a common opinion. If anything the controversial opinion is preferring the smiler as Nemesis has always been the enthusiast communities general favourite
     
    Last edited: 21st Jun 2021
  5. NuttySquirrel

    NuttySquirrel TowersStreet Member

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    I think there's plenty to be said about poorly themed areas, mothballed rides, safety lapses, food quality etc. but plenty of other threads on the forum in which to grumble about them :)

    Not sure if this is an achievement per se - but personally I think Towers is unmatched in terms of its unique location and setting - literally hidden away in a valley in a random part of Staffordshire, in the grounds of an actual ruined gothic mansion that would otherwise have been left to crumble. They've made the Towers such an iconic part of their branding, and I love that we have attractions like Hex that give you at least a taster of the centuries of history behind the place. I think they could do a lot more with that, but it's something anyway.

    Also the work they've done to restore the grounds in recent years is really impressive and really adds to that "hidden valley" feel; I think it's great that they've added the garden lights walk as an attraction in its own right. Certainly a far cry from so many other parks (cough, Thorpe Park) that just feel like a gloomy bit of wasteland no one else could be bothered with.

    I've always thought of AT as a special place, and it's not because of the rides themselves, or the overpriced hotels, or the comfortingly familiar soundtrack; it's because there literally isn't anywhere else like it on Earth. Even Disneyland can't boast a real castle, just a fibreglass one! I also don't think it could happen now, because the Heritage movement would never allow a theme park to be built in the grounds of a historic house. So as much as I love to grumble about the terrible food, lazy theming and hopelessly slow queues I think it's worth taking a minute just to appreciate the place for what it is.
     
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  6. Heidi

    Heidi TowersStreet Member

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    I think Nemesis 100%. Sadly I'm not old enough to know for sure but from what I know Nemesis was the thing that really put towers on the map and ultimately had a huge influence on UK theme parks from then on. It was a level of intensity, themeing and backstory that just hadn't been seen in the UK before, and any rides following in the SW series (because we all have our favourites ;) ) wouldn't exist without it. Also its longevity is just amazing, and we bring it up a lot but I just hope and pray Nemesis isn't leaving anytime soon.
     
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  7. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    I completely agree. Nemmy will most likely be refurbed in a few seasons time (I hope, anyway), but I dread visiting Towers when she's closed for a whole season. Will definitely be worth the wait when it eventually happens though! :)
     
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  8. John_P

    John_P TowersStreet Member

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    The two key moments for me are the opening as a theme park with Corkscrew, a game changing moment for them and the UK.

    But more significantly during the planning for SW1/2 when John Wardley and Co rode the Arrow Pipeline Coaster. What if they'd enjoyed it, or they'd been convinced a full scale version would work for them. How would Alton Towers history have been altered.
    Even after that what if they'd not caught wind of what Six Flags Great America had planned, and not formed the working relationship with B and M.
     
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  9. Danny

    Danny Gugu Rides’ Number 1 Fan

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    Whilst Nemesis is blatantly the biggest achievement from a ride perspective, I think Oblivion also deserves some recognition. The sheer scale of what they were doing at the time with such a massive tunnel, and venturing into something that was a totally unique concept is something else. Even with B&M having ventured into smaller dive coasters with more substantial layouts and inversions across the world, I'd still argue Oblivion is the second-best dive coaster in Europe.

    As a Gardens and Towers ruins fanboy, the quality of the renovations in the pagoda fountain and prospect tower are also great achievements of recent years. Hopefully, they can match that with the ongoing work to the window.
     
  10. andeyhart

    andeyhart TowersStreet Member

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    With the greatest of respect, I think some of what you've mentioned here is influenced by your own subjectivity, and as a result reads as a bit of an exaggeration. The theme park was never, even after 2015, in any serious danger of closing so I wouldn't say it's "incredible" or in anyway surprising that it still exists. Enthusiasts will lament that Merlin have, "run the park into the ground" but there has never been strong enough evidence to suggest that this is a view also held by the GP, who obviously consist of the high majority of visitors to the park.

    The attractions over the past few decades have certainly not been as influential as the likes of Nemesis and Oblivion, but most of them have, in their own way, been largely very successful additions. Air, Th13teen, Smiler and Wicker Man (even Rita and Spinball) have all been popular with the GP, and opened to largely positive responses, and the visitor numbers pre crash have always been healthy. Plus CBeebies Land has been very successful for the young market, probably moreso than the Farm ever was.

    Obviously, the crash was a huge issue for the park and it took a while to recover from, but let's be honest, the park has largely recovered. There haven't been mothballed rides since 2017, the visitor numbers (pre covid) were going back up, The Smiler is, despite everything, still hugely popular, as is the park. Merlin make stupid decisions, the park hours being a prime example, but sadly they can get away with it, as there will always be enough people that'll overlook it.
     
  11. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Not all enthusiasts think that and not all non enthusiasts think otherwise. Still you mention a good point, if you look at the attendances they have been rising back to pre crash levels, so the really low years the park have successfully gotten out of.

    But since Wicker Man, the recent pattern of investment is heading the same way as Thorpe and Chessington been doing for last 10 years, which are now losing numbers a lot. So the trend seems to suggest that Alton might go the same way if they carry on that route. Hope not.

    Overall the park isn't as popular as 10 years ago or in the mid 90s when it was doing really well. So maybe overall public perception is just mixed now.
     
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  12. andeyhart

    andeyhart TowersStreet Member

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    I'd say it's too early regarding post Wicker Man years, as two of those years have been covid years where obviously attendance is going to be down.

    And you're right of course regarding public v enthusiast perception. I just feel enthusiasts are naturally more likely to critical due to invested interest/higher overall theme park knowledge, whereas a lot of the GP won't look into things as deep. But yes, there are going to be exceptions.

    Alton is definitely not the draw it once was of course, but I think mixed is too weak a word. It's still the go to attraction for many people not going abroad. Plus it'll always be more famous than Thorpe and Chessy.
     
  13. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Well if course it's subjectivity, all these posts are. I've never thought Alton Towers was in any danger of closing and did not say this. It IS incredible for a heavily handicapped park to be able to build such strong foundations over 2 decades that it's able to weather the 2 decades of stagnation at best and serious trauma at worst, that followed it.

    I'm not arguing whether that's right or wrong from a business perspective and I feel like the whether "Merlin have run the parks into the ground" or not debate is covered extensively already in other existing threads. The question was what we thought was Altons greatest achievement, my answer is it's very existence, especially relevant when another business venture in Kent can't even lay a single brick on a brown field site.

    Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk
     
  14. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry, I had to correct your post for you ;)
     
  15. s_g_k

    s_g_k TowersStreet Member

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    If I can make a tongue in cheek comment, Alton Towers’ finest achievement was the sound of the Corkscrew’s lift hill.
     
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  16. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    Back in the day, I have memories of seeing the ride controller in the control booth playing the air drums to the sound of the lift hill
     
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  17. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Picking up the phone, meeting and subsequently working with John Wardley is the greatest thing they ever did.
     
  18. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Well given he was already working for Tussauds (mainly on Chessington) it was kind of a given he would work on Alton Towers after Tussauds bought it.
    I would say that Tussauds buying AT was probably the great move. Without that we wouldn't have got Runaway Mine Train, Haunted House, Toyland Tours or Nemesis really, all of which defined the path the park took in the 90s.
     
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  19. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    Well John is the main reason we have some absolutely class rides so good job they picked up the phone
     
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  20. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    Kiboshing the duelling BHS coaster that was planned to be built by Broome when Tussauds took over was certainly one of the best decisions they ever made.

    In terms of achievements, it has to be the fact John Broome made a go of turning the place into a theme park and building the necessary infrastructure. Tussauds obviously did alot of great things during the 90's in terms of ride hardware and branding but the hard work to build up the business had been done by then.
     

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