Do half term events need a full ride offering?

Do Half Term Events NEED A Full Ride Offering?

The February Half Term is the first time that a lot of the UK theme parks open their doors in a new year and its always an exciting time. Unfortunately, unlike other countries, we find that a lot of these attractions operate at a significantly reduced operating capacity instead. With most major rides and attractions unavailable. This can be for a range of reasons – for example, the weather and seasonal maintenance to name a few. But that thought, got us thinking: Do theme parks need to have a full ride offering during the half term?

For the most part, it can be quite disappointing to look at an out of season event and see that there is only a handful of rides available and often, these rides are aimed at younger audiences (e.g Thomas Land at Drayton Manor). Whilst half term is something for children, it can feel a bit of a let-down for older children and families looking for something a little more thrilling. I can imagine that this is also a little difficult to explain to children who are excited to experience a certain favourite ride, to find that it’s not open during the half term.

However, it’s not all bad. Half term events offer more than a limited number of rides, and this is where the events really come into their own. Most events offer a range of entertainment and unique offerings such as special character meet and greets and live shows. The events take the place of the missing rides and offer something new to the park for a limited time. From our experience, its these events which really sell the idea of a half term visit to guests.  The other benefit to visiting during a half term event is that the parks are a lot less busy than normal and are pleasant to explore. We found that Drayton Manor was incredibly pleasant to visit during Dinosaur Breakout with smaller queues and a lower guest footprint than a main season Saturday. With enough events, there is plenty to do during the day at an event without a full attraction offering. Pirate Takeover at Alton Towers is another example of an event which is heavily actor led with Pirates stealing the show (with their own shows and other themed activities).

My personal thought is that I think the half term events run fine without a full ride offering as there are enough events across the day to participate in. I would however, like many I’m sure, wish to see more rides on these schedules which are suited for older visitors. For example, Dinosaur Breakout has plenty to see and do that we feel it works fine with the lower ride offering.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that theme parks should have a full ride offering during out of season events? Or are events enough to keep you interested?
Let us know in the comments!

– Elise