2020 – The theme of the year is the 40th anniversary. Old branding is used for the entrance and old ride music is used park wide. Every Saturday in July and August becomes a birthday party. Tickets to these days are £19.80 and there is free birthday cake handed out. The park closes at midnight on these days. The Saturdays alternate between a huge fireworks display celebrating the history of the park and an 80s concert, each evening featuring different bands, artists and tributes.
Despite no long-term investment, the year should be profitable. The party days should achieve high attendance because of the low price publicity stunt and the concerts and firework shows. Guest spending should also increase as they remain in the park for dinner time so are likely to buy another meal. Hotel stays should increase also as guests leaving the park in the early hours of Sunday are likely to chose not to drive. This way, they are also able to purchase alcohol without worrying about getting home.
2021 – This year, the waterpark finally receives an expansion. Three attractions are added, both inside and outside. Two would be thrilling speed slides while the other is a family raft ride. The update should regenerate the public’s interest in it (many people do not know the park exists) and drive ticket sales. The opening times are adjusted so that guests can visit the waterpark after the main park closes. Tickets for hotel guests are heavily discounted to encourage them to visit.
Spinball Whizzer is removed this year and replaced by a Cbeebies Land expansion. Three or four new, small rides or attractions are added along with a new shop and food outlet. New paths are built behind Big Fun Showtime to tie the new site into the Cbeebies Land area. An audit of the entire area should take place to ensure all IPs are still relevant and popular, as they are essential to attracting young families.
2022 – Forbidden Valley is expanded and revamped. In my opinion, Forbidden Valley has more potential than any other land because of its proximity to the hotels. The car park to the east of Galactica is added to the area and holds a new roller coaster – SW9. The coaster acts as a feature for the new entrance to the park, like Gatekeeper at Cedar Point. The entrance is used by hotel guests, MAP holders and disabled guests. This means disabled parking can be incorporated into the main car parks. ERT now consists of FV, GW and possibly KC. The new entrance helps to spread guests out at the start of the day and reduce monorail queue times. The Towers Street entrance is still used for day guests.
Work is done to consolidate the space/alien theme of Forbidden Valley, ensuring Nemesis, Galactica and SW9 work together and exist in the same universe. The area could even have a new name. Beautiful, effective lighting is invested in to turn FV into the perfect spot for after-hours parties and events. The proximity to the hotels means it is easily accessed and the RCR can provide catering. Events could range from companies showing off new products and treating clients to private parties for the rich, featuring coasters and a DJ. The area could also be used in the off-season for hotel guests. Promoting the short queues should increase hotel stays in the usually very quiet off-season. The Frog Hopper is moved to Forbidden Valley to cater to children visiting from hotels, but is closed during normal operating days.
2023 – The Dark Forest takes over Cloud Cuckoo Land. Rita is removed, turning the newly expanded Dark Forest into a family area. The buildings around CCL are rethemed to resemble the Towers, but as you move away from the Towers and towards the Dungeons and Th13teen, they become covered in vines and branches, so they look like the forest has taken over, like the crypt. With Rita gone, the area is a little more spacious. New family rides are built on the Twirling Toadstool and Bone Shaker sites and the carousel and driving school are rethemed. The cinema and indoor play buildings are gutted, ready to be expanded for a new dark ride in future years.
2024 – Flat rides are added to X-Sector and Forbidden Valley. They must be unique and interesting enough to be able to be marketed as experiences worth visiting the park for.
- Opening hours are increased in summer months. The extended openings can be marketed as events in themselves e.g. Summer Lates. The longer days mean guests can be encouraged to spend time visiting the Dungeons or the RCR. Guests are in the park for both lunch and tea so there are more opportunities to sell food, and they are likely to buy a full meal for one of them, rather than just a burger or hot dog.
- Food offerings are improved to offer a much wider range. There are more vegetarian, vegan, GF, etc. options and food from different countries, rather than the stereotypical theme park foods. More sit-down restaurants are built and the Towers Family Restaurant is available all year round for a meal on the way out of the park.
- On closed days such as off-peak Wednesdays, the Gardens and Towers are open for guests interested in heritage. Older guests are encouraged to visit on coach trips and the tickets are reasonably priced. Talks about the history of the Towers and the Park are held throughout the day. Also held on closed days are behind the scenes tours. Fans pay a premium price to tour Duel with the lights on or take a lift hill walk on Obivion. On these days, parking is free, guest numbers are low, food options are limited and most of the park is closed, meaning very few staff are needed.
- Wealthy guests can choose to take VIP tours around the park. Similar to Disney Parks, the VIP tours offer front of the line access, food, a personal guide, etc. There is no inconvenience to the average guest but Merlin can make a little extra profit.
- Access to the park is improved using shuttle buses to train stations. The times should work with the opening times of the park (unlike the X41 which does not reach the park until too late in the morning) and should be promoted better, offering combined bus + park tickets and the option to add bus shuttle to hotel stays.
That was longer than expected! As I said, this is just a few ideas of what I’d like to see and how it could be made profitable - this is not what I think will or should happen. Its just for fun.
I encourage discussion based on my ideas.
(Also this kind of thing should probably have its own topic)