Whether you clicked on this article because you’re an attraction design agency, sell props and costumes or simply love torturing your body on rollercoasters, you want to know what’s poppin’ in the world of themed attractions in the UK this year. Let us be your guide and show you what where and when!
Tornado Springs at Paultons Park in Hampshire
Paultons Park announced that their new world of attractions is in development in July last year. They described the newest addition to their park as “a creative imagining of a Midwest desert resort town set in the American heyday of the 1950’s” and James Mancey, the park’s operations director stated that the project is “the single largest and most ambitious investment in the future of Paultons Park since we opened in 1983 “
The attraction called Tornado Springs will cover over four acres and will consist of eight different rides and attractions such as an over 20m high rollercoaster or a massive spinning pendulum swing. All attractions will follow the same theme and it will also extend to the eating establishments in the park - Al’s Garage, a confectionery based shop and Route 83 Diner, a family restaurant and two new playgrounds. The operator promises ‘incredibly detailed theming‘ with ‘memorable characters, intricately finished styling and even its own radio station’ to help immerse the guests into the world of Tornado Springs.
The development will become the fifth themed world in Paultons Park after Peppa Pig World, Critter Creek, Little Africa and the Jurassic-themed attraction of Lost Kingdom. It is set to open in May this year.
Gulliver's Valley in Yorkshire
There is a totally new theme park coming into existence in Yorkshire. Gulliver's Theme Park franchise is investing £37 million in their new 250 acre site that is set to open later this year. Joining Gulliver's Land in Milton Keynes, Gulliver's Kingdom in Matlock Bath and Gulliver's World in Cheshire, the new park will include 70 rides and attractions.
The construction will be divided into 5 phases, the first phase will be completed and opened to the public in Spring 2020. It will include an enormous two-storey indoor play area and a themed area called Wild Western World. Also Toy Land, Smugglers Wharf and a Lost Jurassic World, featuring a long water slide, are currently in construction.
Theming of the resort will not end with the attractions. There will be relevant accommodations options available such as glamping pods and hotel rooms with pirates and princesses themes. Other attractions in the theme park include a climbing centre, water play zone and an attraction known as the 'Blast Area' (a NERF gun battle area for kids).
Duplo Valley expansion at Legoland Windsor in Berkshire
This development is somewhat different to the other two we listed so far, as it’s a single ride. The Duplo Dream Coaster is being developed at Legoland in Berkshire in the area of the attraction called Duplo Valley.
The duplo themed ride will join other attractions in the valley such as Drench Towers water play area, and the Duplo Train and will be suitable for toddlers below three years old. The exact layout and theme of the attraction is not known yet, but the operators promise that the passengers will be "swooping through a topsy turvy wonderland full of colour and a sprinkle of magic, they can be sure they will meet all sorts of cool creatures along the way…".
David Walliams attraction at Alton Towers in Staffordshire
Alton Towers are about to expand their park and the newest addition will be a result of collaboration between the resort and David Walliams. The new part of the theme park is likely to be based on Walliams book “The Ice Monster” which became the fastest selling title since JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Alton towers hopes to monetise on the popularity of Walliams' books.
James Walker, Marketing Director at Alton Towers Resort said: "David’s books have really captured the imagination of Britain’s children and their families.(...) and it’s a huge honour to be working with David on this fabulous collaboration for 2020”. There isn’t much information available about the new rides that are being developed at the moment, however the themed attraction is already selling annual passes for £58 per person.
BeWILDerwood in Cheshire
The second site of BeWILDerwood will be spread across 70 acres and is looking to replicate the success of their first site in Norfolk. The adventure park prides itself on operating environmentally sustainable attractions and it hopes to bring the same ethos to its development in Cheshire.
The new themed attraction includes play structures, tree houses, boardwalks and a mystical boat ride to transport visitors into the park. Both aerial and ground walking areas will connect tree houses, play structures, but also picnic and story-telling areas providing a unique tree-tops experience. There’s many attractions hidden up in the tree crowns such as Broken Bridge, Wobbly Wires or Slippery Slopes.
The company has invested £5 millions into the new project and the directors are hoping it will encourage “families to enjoy traditional, imaginative and healthy outdoor play”
Rainforest, Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey
The new land in the Chessington World of Adventures is called The Rainforest and it is not hard to guess what is the general theme of the park! The development joins 10 other sets in the resort and is reportedly inspired by the resort’s support for international conservation charity, World Land Trust (WLT), which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats.
The themed attraction will invite kids to enter the Jungle Rangers attraction, jump on the log flume ride called River Rafts and then, just like BeWILDerwood, enjoy a walk in treetops. The areas around the rides and attractions will be filled with animals such as tortoises and capybaras. The exact date for the opening of the expansion is not yet known but the operator assured it will happen later this year.
West Midland Safari Park in Worcestershire
This safari park just outside of Birmingham is currently undergoing a major redevelopment. The works are being done on new state-of-the-art housing and outdoor spaces for its African elephants and cheetahs as well as 8 new luxury lodges for the guests within the resort.
In the conversation with Birmingham Live Angela Potter (Head of Wildlife in the facility) said: "We have been working very closely with the development team to ensure that the new facilities provide stimulating and enriching environments for the animals, as well as an amazing immersive experience for our guests."
The park is determined to finish the first phase of the development by the summer 2020.
There is much more to come in the themed attractions industry in this decade, like for example the $4.6 billion London Resort set to open in 2024. However the title of this article focuses on the developments scheduled for opening this year and there is simply not enough space to list all of them! If you want to get in touch with 18,000 decision makers from the industry, exhibit your products and take part in these developments, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org