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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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^I think that sounds about right for Spinball from what I remember but it has been quite a while since I visited.

 

I think from what I have read the park have done well removing all The Smiler branding from the park in such a short time, of course it will be here and there on things such as parent swap passes but they have done a good job none the less. Have the park provided new maps around the park and paper ones for guests with The Smiler removed?

 

Yeah I was expecting to see it on the parent swap pass, I made the effort to look for it on the off chance they had gone to that level of removing it. Didn't actually look at a a map all day as we dont need one, never occurred to me to check it but I'll have a look tomorrow out of interest.

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Strange that despite all of the effort taken to take down theming, Smiler is still listed first under rides on their website, and everything is normal besides a small note saying "The Smiler is currently closed".

 

I don't think its too strange. I mean the other thing that it provides with removing the sign is people don't know where the entrance is so won't head towards it instinctively going "Oh look a ride entrance". The amount of people at parks who ask "Where is *insert ride here*" and they are standing right by the entrance. Removing the signage removes one of the incentives to want to ride believe it or not.

 

Didn't actually look at a a map all day as we dont need one, never occurred to me to check it but I'll have a look tomorrow out of interest.

 

I will be interested to here what you find out.

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Thinking about it I noticed staff were stood at the entrance to The Smiler. Given the sign is gone and its closed, why would they be there? Just to answer guests questions?

 

Also interestingly at The Smiler entrance there are light effects on the inside of the 'doorways' into each line . These were still on. Found this odd that the effects would still be on.

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Don't you just remove a piece of coaster then reinstall and the peeps will think it's a new coaster? That's how it worked in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Why bother? Just shop around for a good deal on an ass-load of paint, slap some on-board audio onto the trains at the expense of some seats; this will result in longer lines, which is just another way of saying that your ride is popular and everyone wants to ride it. Don't worry about the actual content riders are treated to- once those restraints are locked you have their undivided attention (pro-tip: no need to throw money away for maintenance either, if it lasts longer than a few seasons, you're doing it wrong).

Lastly, the best way to let guests know that a super-lot of planning, time, and thought went into your design is by adding some flamethrowers along the course of the ride. No one will like you or your ride if you don't. I know for a fact that this is a big reason Son of Beast was torn down, and why Geauga's Big Dipper is still rotting away on-site instead of thrilling millions every day somewhere in Africa.

 

The cherry on top of this sundae? By following these steps, you leave the door open to reap even more publicity and ridership if you ever choose to bring the ride back to it's original state.

 

Make sure to change the halfway-decent audio to some melange of garbage and remove the flamethrowers later. Also, bonus points if the audio system makes the trains track horribly and the new restraints are uncomfortable as heck.

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That poll showing Smiler should be shut down should have a few follow up questions like Have you ever ridden this ride? Do you ride coasters or visit theme parks? Totally useless poll and just the Mirror trying to make news instead of report it.

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I will be interested to here what you find out.

 

None of the maps have changed, paper or park ones.

 

Well that to me says it is possible they are some what optimistic that the ride will re open this year. If the ride was shut down for the year I would expect to see new maps. Im convinced this year they started out with maps that didn't feature "The Blade" but when they decided that the ride was staying for the season new ones were introduced featuring the ride. Or am I just imagining that happened?

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Another note from the 2 days is that there were still quite a few school trips there. I know some schools had cancelled after the Smiler incident, but not all. However there did seem to be less younger teenagers than normal there for when we visit. We do normally visit in May though, so the different time of year may have made a bit of a difference? There were quite a few larger groups of 6-10 year olds there though. We noticed this as they kept all going in their groups of 30 kids, 60 seconds before my daughter decided it was time to go on the same ride! 15 minute wait instead of 5...argh!

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^sounds like more Sky News over dramatisation to me.

 

The source is simply a lawyer for the families. Why would AT tell him anything?

 

And the word 'disaster' used again. Tragic accident for those involved but "disaster"? Not my definition of the word.

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Problem is people read this without thinking about it and then its gets misquoted as fact. Its a quote from a lawyer with no basis other than hm stating its a possibility.

 

Still, it generates more clicks than the headline 'Alton Towers Sparing No Expense in Smiler Accident Investigation' doesn't it

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^This. I think Alton Towers and official investigators are going to find some little issue responsible for the incident that could get corrected pretty easily. If they were to close it, it would have to be as a last resort. Is it a possibility? Yeah, but it would have to require finding major issues that cannot be fixed.

 

I'm hoping this is comparable to the issues with a ropes course killing someone a few months back. Just a few minor things that came together at the wrong time, but patched with little issue:

It was so obvious once we figured it out, it was like `Holy crap,'...It's just a weird bunch of circumstances all happened and we have got to make sure it doesn't happen again."
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For anyone interested in the HSE and what they do in relation to rides in particular, there is a free PDF guide on their site which gives advice, guidance and some legislation for ride operators. Its alot of reading though. You would have to be VERY interested.

 

http://books.hse.gov.uk/hse/public/saleproduct.jsf?catalogueCode=9780717662494

 

They also describe what enforcement power they have, which might give a hint as to whether there could be a threat of a court ordered closure (I think its really unlikely).

 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/index.htm

 

A quick skim of that leads me to believe that, if there are measures which can prevent a similar incident in future, there will be no law-backed permanent closure of the ride. If a permanent closure happens, it will be because Merlin have chosen to do it. It may come down to two things. Will any required changes be too expensive to implement and sustain running the ride, and is it better for the company as a whole PR wise to let it go. Remember that gullible, tabloid believing GP we complain about is where the vast majority of ticket sales come from.

 

 

Dont forget Big Dipper in Blackpool had a block crash and after upgrades it reopened. Okay, so injuries were not as severe, but its about risk. The consequence is only one part of the equation.

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Unfortunately a second girl has had to have her leg amputated following the Smiler collision: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-33296533

 

Such sad news. Hopefully she can recover (the best she can) as soon as possible. my heart goes out to all of them involved.

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^ was about to post the same. Really sad. The fact it's taken so long to happen almost seems worse. Must have had an awful time of it.

Yes you're absolutely right. She's had something like seven operations, presumably most of which were to try and save her leg. Fortunately it is a below-knee amputation which is a lot easier to live with, while the other girl had it amputated above the knee. I hope that Alton Towers will be true to their word in being as generous as possible with compensation so that they can both have the best prosthetics, best rehabilitation and best support so that they can live as normal a life as possible. I don't doubt that this will be the case.

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