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Oakwood 10th May 2009
garyholc
post May 11 2009, 7:48 AM
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My first visit to Oakwood this year, and oh dear, the place has taken a turn for the worse.

Got there at midday and I have to say I have never been to any park so empty and devoid of guests! The place was mostly empty, no queues for anything, infact, most rides were waiting for people before being dispatched. Weather was luckily warm and sunny however.

Many shops and places to eat have now closed, and the place looks terribly shabby and run down. I was speaking to one of the ride op's during the day who told me they are not happy with their new Spanish owners, who apparently have no experience of running theme parks, but own a few aqua parks. He told me they have decided not to do the late nights in the summer with the fireworks because they are not viable, we both agreed that they brought in loads of people and we very enjoyable. He also said the staff were annoyed because they are closing the staff restaurant located just behind speed, where staff could do and sit in the dry and warm to eat their lunch, or purchase hot food from a buffet inside.

Coupled with a 2 entrance fee increase this year it seems the new owners are thinking profit before happy staff and maintaining the park - pity because with a bit of effort Oakwood could be really good. Advertised park close on the website was 6pm, however signs around the park said 5pm.

So anyway, the rides:

Megafobia - walk on all day, RCCGB were there (6 of them) doing a Great Ormond Street Charity Rideathon, they were doing 100 rides non stop sat in the middle of the car. They were up to 81 by 5pm. As good as ever however, the ride ops were excellent, cracking jokes over the mic, coming to talk to you etc. We had 6 goes on this.

Bounce - needs a paintjob badly, very wobbly now as you shoot up and feels a bit, dare I say, unsafe! Restraints looking rusty and worn. Again, walk on, mostly empty seats, had 6 goes on this.

Speed - still no themeing, no music, nothing! Great ride op though who looked so bored. No queue, walk on, had 3 goes on this before a headache developed!!! Still cant get used to climbing the lift hill vertically!

Treetops coaster - good laugh even though most of the seats were empty, ride op was sending it around twice. Had 2 goes.

Hydro - opens at 2pm. had 1st car out in the front row, track looking rusty on the way up now. Got absolutely soaked before coming off and doing it again smile.gif

Other rides, 3d Voodoo Mansion - oh dear, terrible!! Was as bad as a fun fair haunted house ride, nothing worked, effects were out of time, bits missing here and there, and the wearable 3D glasses have been replaced by the glasses bit being slid into one of those plastic edges you put on documents to hold the pages in! Which you then had to hold with one hand all the way around. Snake river falls and waterfalls, had a few goes, again, looking shabby.

Had some food in the New Orleans chicken restaurant, prices have gone up here and the portions smaller! Even now have to pay for sauce. We must have been the only ones sat there eating, and the area around us was desserted.

We left at 5 having done everything multiple times. I felt sorry for the ride ops who looked so bored, but at least they were very chatty and there was no rush to get on anything. My partner who is a veggie found their vegitarian choices very limited with regards food. Toilets still terrible and very smelly.

I cant see myself going to Oakwood much this year, the new owners really need to plough some money into it, get it back up to scratch, invest in some new rides, especially with the new Bluestone development next door which should bring more customers to the park.

An enjoyable day thanks to no queues in what is now a very average park.
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meames
post May 11 2009, 8:36 AM
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Oh dear......I am off to Oakwood on 31st May, I was really looking forward to the park after not being there in years. No choice now, tickets are booked, just hope for the best when we go I suppose. At least I get a ride on Megafobia and Speed, hopefully without waiting.


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garyholc
post May 11 2009, 9:08 AM
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Dont get me wrong, the rides are still fun, and hopefully when you visit the park will be busier and have more of an atmosphere about it, just for me who visits every year I notice things changing over the years. You'll love Megafobia and Speed!
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meames
post May 11 2009, 12:46 PM
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Hope so, only been on Speed once and it was tipping it down so I'm hoping for better weather this time smile.gif

Also looking forward to getting on the back of Megafobia, got elbowed out of the way by a couple of chavvy lasses last time we were there sad.gif


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garyholc
post May 11 2009, 12:53 PM
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There is no one at the top of the stairs anymore telling you when you can enter the "holding gates" so if I was you I would go to the back and just wait there until the gate becomes clear, no one will say anything.
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meames
post May 11 2009, 1:50 PM
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Woo hoo, don't you just love budget cuts tongue.gif


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Boombox2009
post May 12 2009, 4:46 PM
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Oh dear crying.gif I really look forward to going to Oakwood while im down in south wales on the annual pilgramage on holiday. Why do park owners think its viable to close rides, attractions, make the staff unhappy and everything else they do at a time where everyone wants to escape for the day? What brings in people is the rides, attractions and whilst there, the food. I dont think i have found ever an unhappy staff member when i have visted. This is the time where they should be putting themself out to please guests not make them unhappy whilst on a visit by reduced maintance, putting on the shows and one offs that makes Oakwood really special when they do this.


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garyholc
post May 13 2009, 9:03 AM
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I agree. Alton Towers released this a few years back and the attitude of the staff now also adds to the enjoyment of the day. The staff in Oakwood that day were bored, but not miserable as such. On a busy day however I have come across miserable staff, usually due to them being overworked, most rides just have 1 ride op, such as the snake river falls where 1 guy is made to work on top of a platform exposed to the weather, and has to lift a dingy to fill 4 different water slides - all day on his own.

Speed is the same, 1 person to distach the ride, no checking of restraints. Same on Bounce. The only ride with more than 1 ride op is Megafobia and Hydro - and we know the reason for that.

It is such a pity, Oakwood could be so much more, it has a lot of potential, its a nice little park in a nice setting, but if the new owners are going to run the park on a shoe string and not maintain it then its not going to be a success. The 3D Voodoo mansion hasnt been touched since last year, the effects which were not working last year are not working this year, simple things, such as a tv which projected a woman's face on the wall has not been fixed - low cost items which should be working.

Even the Guest Services hut has closed down, anyone with a problem has to walk up past the shop, over the railway line and into the reception!!!
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Yeah 7
post May 13 2009, 10:28 AM
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QUOTE (Boombox2009 @ May 12 2009, 5:46 PM) *
Oh dear crying.gif I really look forward to going to Oakwood while im down in south wales on the annual pilgramage on holiday. Why do park owners think its viable to close rides, attractions, make the staff unhappy and everything else they do at a time where everyone wants to escape for the day? What brings in people is the rides, attractions and whilst there, the food. I dont think i have found ever an unhappy staff member when i have visted. This is the time where they should be putting themself out to please guests not make them unhappy whilst on a visit by reduced maintance, putting on the shows and one offs that makes Oakwood really special when they do this.

Maybe the park was not viable the way it was? I doubt the park is/was a gold mine especially in the current economic climate. I think its safe to say the parks reputation took a colossal spanking with the Hydro death. If you visited before and after the accident it was plain to see the massive effect it had on the park with it's old owners. Had the accident not had happened, I think we would still have the park in the hands of the family, rather than the current owners.

Google oakwood and you'll still get the news reports of the accident. It'll take years to shake off.


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