Alton Towers roller coaster crash hits operator’s profits

The operator of Staffordshire-based theme park, Alton Towers, has announced that its profits will take a hit as a result of the serious roller coaster crash at the park in June this year, the BBC has reported.

Park owner Merlin Entertainments announced yesterday that its profits could suffer by as much as £47 million following the accident. The temporary closure of the park and the adverse effect that the crash had on trade at the beginning of the important summer visitor season were offered as the main reasons behind the forecast. Profits for the company’s theme parks division for the year are now forecast to be between £40 and £50 million, compared to the £87 million that it achieved last year.

The crash also impacted on Merlin’s other sites, with advertising suspended and some rides temporarily closed. Fallout from the crash could continue to impact on the business into 2016.

The incident took place on the Smiler roller coaster on June 2. Sixteen people were injured when their car collided with an empty car that had stopped on the track. Several of the victims suffered serious injuries, with 17-year-old Leah Washington’s leg injury requiring amputation. There were several other leg injuries, and one rider suffered a punctured lung.

All 16 of the victims will receive compensation, with initial payments having been made last month.

Chief executive, Nick Varney, said: ‘The accident at Alton Towers in June was a devastating event, for which we have accepted responsibility and are deeply sorry.

‘We have been humbled by the grace and fortitude of those who were injured, and their families, and will continue to do whatever we can to support them.’ He added that reclaiming its position as the UK’s number 1 theme park could take Alton Towers 12 to 18 months.

According to Merlin, additional safety protocols have been introduced to prevent a similar accident from happening in future.

Plans for £2 billion movie theme park caught in spider’s web

The development of a major UK-based theme park has been halted by the discovery of a colony of rare spiders on the site.

The proposed development on the outskirts of London is backed by US-based filmmaking giant, Paramount, and at 842 acres the rival to Disneyland Paris would be the third biggest theme park in the world once it is completed. However, tiny arachnid, sitticus distinguendus, or the distinguished jumping spider, has shown that it has little respect for the movie company’s ambitious £2 billion plans by claiming squatters’ rights once it was discovered during an environmental audit of the brownfield site.

The park, located on the Swansombe Peninsular in Kent, was scheduled to be open to the public by 2019 and create 27,000 jobs in the process, but the rare spiders, which are only found at one other UK location in Essex, will need to be found a new home that meets their specialised requirements before development work starts.

London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), the theme park’s management company, is unfazed by the development however, and despite the spiders’ legal status not affording them any official protection, the developer has promised to do right by them. Currently the creatures are only listed as a UK Biodiversity Plan priority species by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and they would need to be included in the Wildlife and Countryside Act to achieve full protection in law.

The proposal is that the distinguished jumping spider colony will be moved to a site that offers similar high-alkali conditions to their current home, and LRHC will recommence its development, which will include Europe’s largest indoor water park and state-of-the-art rides.

Hotels in Finland to feature Angry Birds theme

Three hotels in Finland are to offer attractions that feature the Angry Birds theme.

Angry Birds is a video game that has captured the attention of smart phone users all over the world. With children and adults alike being addicted to the game, three hotels in Finland have taken it to the next level by bringing its themes to the real world, and allowing guests to play the game without using their smart phones. They are opening Angry Birds themed activity parks that are not like typical theme parks.

Instead of a smart phone app, players use their hands and feet to move to the game’s next level.

Iiro Rossi of Holiday Club Resorts, said, ‘There will be different kinds of activities for children as well as for grown-ups. There will be climbing, sliding, crawling, jumping, scoring, driving, playing, you name it. One thing missing are traditional rides usually seen in amusement parks.’

The idea behind the plan is to offer unique experiences that will attract more visitors to the country. By offering the game as a core attraction in the hotels, Finland tourism officials are planning to tap into a market for game-loving travellers. The concept for the interactive parks is to be presented during the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo 2012, from November 12 to 16, in Orlando, US.

Holiday Club CEO, Vesa Tengman, said, ‘We need more travellers besides from the neighbouring areas Russia, Sweden and Norway. Currently we are able, by using only Finnish power, to produce experiences which attract not only local but also international travellers.’

The hotels that will be implementing the theme are the Kuusamon Tropiikki, Saariselka and Lappeenranta. Other hotels that will offer the theme in addition to normal amusement park activities are also being planned in Finland.

 

Alton Towers new ride ‘too scary’ for under-12s

Alton towers will be opening a new ride that’s been named ‘too scary’ for those under the age of 12 by the British Board of Film Classification.

The ride, Nemesis Sub-Terra, as a result younger visitors to the park will not be able to experience this ride when it opens for the Easter holidays this weekend.

The BBFC were invited to experience the new ride by Alton Towers following feedback from the testing panel, this will be the first time they have classified a theme park ride.

Murray Perkins of the BBFC concluded that Nemesis Sub-Terra contained ‘some intense moments, in some respects comparable with scary scenes which may be experienced in horror or science fiction films at ’12A’/’12’.’

He said that as a result, the BBFC recommended Alton Towers should classify the experience in the ’12A’ category, which allows for ‘moderate physical and psychological threat, provided that the disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained.’

The rid is completely in the dark, but what actually happens to you during the experience is being kept quiet until it officially opens on March 24.

It has been described as ‘neither a ride, performance nor a maze’.

Publicity has called the ride ‘unlike anything the world has seen before – a psychologically and physically thrilling experience, taking place in a dark, intense underground setting and based around the back-story of the original Nemesis attraction, launched in 1994.’

Mr Perkins said: ‘We are seeing a real blur of the old boundaries of visual content and physical experience in both 3D and 4D cinema, and at theme parks.

‘After experiencing the attraction first-hand, based on 100 years of experience and line with British public opinion, we would recommend that Alton Towers Resort classify the new Nemesis Sub-Terra a 12A.’

Katherine Duckworth of Alton Towers said: ‘The classification advice from the BBFC is important to ensure the well-being of our guests.’

She added: ‘We are aware the enforcement’s that will now be implemented will mean that many of our younger visitors are unable to experience Nemesis Sub-Terra, which we are obviously concerned about.

‘However, the Alton Towers Resort prides itself on offering a variety of rides for all ages and we hope that those under the age of 12 will continue to enjoy our other attractions.’

Angry Birds app so popular theme park will open

It is the number one paid app of all time, it has millions of fans around the world – including Prime Minister David Cameron and now it has its very own theme park in the pipeline.

The theme park will be opening in Finland on 28 April 2012, where the game was first designed.

Angry Birds Land will be based on the popular smartphone game, and be part of the Särkänniemi Adventure Park in Tampere featuring rides and interactive games.

Tourists have been told to expect something a bit different, an ‘interactive entertainment experience’ where ‘the physical and virtual worlds combine’.

Miikka Seppälä, the CEO of Särkänniemi Adventure Park said: ‘We wanted to create a unique themed area and associate it with a strong and well-known brand.

‘The Angry Birds characters were born in Finland but are known worldwide by people of all ages. This is a perfect fit for our Adventure Park.

‘Our goal is to motivate the fans, both adults and children, to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.’

The simple game that has become a worldwide phenomenon has been downloaded more than 700 million times since it’s launching.

The game involves catapulting enraged birds at green pigs balanced on buildings made of planks.

The game that took the app world by storm cost just 59p to download, was developed by Finnish gaming company Rovio Entertainment, will now be since in real life as visitors to the park can use a giant catapult to shoot Angry Birds soft toys at green pig balloons floating around a toy brick fortress.

To get a glimpse of Angry Birds Land before it opens, previews will be available though the parks website and the Angry Birds Facebook page.

Super-size seats now provided at Thorpe Park

Extra large seats are now provided on many of Thorpe Parks most popular rides.

 

The Surrey-based theme park realised it had a problem when numerous visitors were left embarrassed when they could not fit in the seats.

 

One of the more popular rides Nemesis Inferno can now provide small and larger people with the adrenalin rush their seeking.

 

The theme parks website now states that there is a ’51 inch torso restriction’ on this roller coaster.

 

The ride now features two larger seats for super size visitors, and there are plans to create larger seats on many rides.

 

Divisional director Mike Vallis said: ‘We listen to the concerns of our customers and continually monitor trends, so that we can modify our offering to ensure we’re giving them the very best possible experience.

 

‘The reality is that we are super-sizing – and that’s a fact we’re embracing. Why shouldn’t people be comfortable when they are enjoying a day out with their friends or family?’

 

Avatar theme park to break boundaries

The blockbuster success of Avatar made left many fans wishing they lived in James Cameron’s fictional world. Whilst they may not be able to visit the real thing, Cameron will be working with Disney to create an Avatar-themed park at Walt Disney World Florida.

 

The new attraction will be situated within the Animal Kingdom area, with the construction planned to begin in 2013 – costing an estimated $400m.

 

The director of the major £D movie will help to design the park, which he stated would ‘go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling’.

 

The park will see the planet Pandora created – park visitors will be able to walk through rainforests and ‘experience the oceans’.

 

The beautiful setting of Avatar will be brought to life using animatronics and 3-D and holographic technology.

 

‘The scenes that people liked best were not the obvious things like the big battle scenes,’ Mr Cameron said. ‘It was the creatures, it was learning to fly, it was being in the forest at night.

 

‘So here’s an opportunity…to bring this world to life and get you to wander in it and see things you didn’t see in either in the first film or the subsequent two.’

 

Adding to the experience visitors will be able to explore new locations, characters and stories planned especially for the park.

 

Two more Avatar films are currently in the pipe-line, and the new theme park is rumoured to featured animals and characters that will not be revealed to film goers until the second and third movie come out in 2014 and 2015.

 

The new part of the theme park aims to go beyond current boundaries, bringing the world of Avatar into reality.

 

 

Time to check into the Drayton Manor Hotel

The 4-star Drayton Manor Hotel officially opened its doors to guests on Monday 15th August.

 

Drayton Manor Theme Park’s Managing Director, Colin Bryan, Hotel Manager, Martin Wright and popular Thomas & Friends™ character, The Fat Controller, were at the launch to cut the ceremonial ribbon and welcome the hotel’s first guests personally.

 

The hotel boasts 150-bedrooms, all of which have wi-fi access, air-conditioning, an en-suite bathroom and LCD TVs as standard. Each room has a stylish, contemporary interior, complete with a unique framed photograph of one of the theme park’s rides. Guests can choose from a range of rooms including standard, family, interconnecting, executive and deluxe rooms, as well as three presidential rooms, each with fantastic views overlooking the theme park and grounds, for those wanting that extra something special.

 

Eleven rooms are Thomas & Friends™ themed, each with a hand-painted scene on the wall and ceiling, depicting a different character from the Thomas & Friends series, along with unique themed bunk beds, and train track patterned carpets in the corridors leading to each room.

 

Guests can choose from two restaurants, Parklands Brassiere and Parklands Restaurant as well as two bars, Parklands Bar and the Carousel Bar, so guests will never be stuck for a choice of fine food and drink.

 

The hotel will also be a popular venue for both private and corporate events as it includes a beautifully styled, large hospitality suite, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows. This suite can accommodate up to 150 delegates for the likes of conferences, exhibitions and product launches or wedding parties and other celebrations. In addition, the hotel has three smaller rooms, each accommodating up to 12 people, making them ideal for board meetings.

 

Colin Bryan comments: “It’s been a long time coming and we’re all really pleased that the hotel is now ready to welcome visitors through the door. With the hotel now open, we can turn Drayton Manor into more than a theme park, it will become a leisure resort where families can come and enjoy a few fun filled days away from it all and let our excellent hospitality team take care of all their needs.”

 

For more information or to book a stay go to www.draytonmanorhotel.co.uk or call 01827 285551. The hotel is also on Facebook www.facebook.com/Drayton-Manor-Hotel and Twitter www.twitter.com/DraytonManHotel for regular updates and news.

 

Save on kid’s days out this summer break

Mums and dads under pressure to spoil kids with fun entertainment this coming school summer break can enjoy a helping hand in the shape of new deals and offers from top consumer codes website DiscountVouchers.co.uk.

The online specialist offers consumers money off at over 800 suppliers and has this week introduced new for Odeon Cinemas, Drayton Manor and Wetherspoons.
With the new Harry Potter movie coming out this summer alongside many other blockbusters, Mums and Dads can use the new DiscountVouchers.co.uk deals to save at cinemas. A visit to the website right now allows users to get new Odeon vouchers which offer adults children’s prices on the new Family Ticket.

One of the country’s top theme parks is Drayton Manor, and thanks to its location in the middle of the country it is a simple place to get to for a great day out. Mums and Dads can keep the kids busy and occupied this summer thanks to a new DiscountVouchers.co.uk choice of Drayton Manor vouchers which includes a Family Supersaver ticket for just £69.

Dining out over the summer can be more affordable too now thanks to the latest batch of new offers for saving money at Wetherspoon pubs throughhout the country. A visit to the DiscountVouchers.co.uk website this week helps consumers to get hold of new deals offering the children’s menu with a free drink and bag of fruit as well as free WiFi access for iPhone users.

Doug Scott, managing director at DiscountVouchers.co.uk, commented, “We can help Mums and Dads all over the country to get more for their money when needing to keep the kids busy over the summer. Logging on to us right now is the way to great summer savings.”

DiscountVouchers.co.uk offers consumers money saving deals at major high street brands and specialist retailers, including stores like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Travelodge, First Choice, lastminute.com and Boden.

For more information visit www.discountvouchers.co.uk