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The Big Debate: Does the UK need an indoor theme park?Submitted by Natalie Sim on Saturday, April 14, 2012 08:59
In this week's poll, we ask whether the UK needs an indoor theme park to keep thrill-seekers happy during its long, cold winter months.
With the news this week that a 37-acre indoor Universal Studios theme park is being planned as part of a major development in Moscow, Russia, I thought now would be a good time to revisit a regular debate among UK theme park fans: does the country need an indoor theme park of its own?
The UK is theme park-crazy. Despite its relatively cold and wet climate, the country manages to support nearly 30 parks, which can only operate between February and early November. Despite the weather conditions, these theme parks feature relatively few indoor rides - most major roller coasters, for example, are located out in the open. Is this because theme park operators know just how much the British love to revel in the sun on the rare occasions that it appears, or are they missing a trick?
One of the reasons that the UK was overlooked as a potential location for Disneyland Paris is its climate, which wouldn't have allowed for year-round operations (not that Paris is much better). This is despite its residents being far keener on theme parks than the French, at least prior to the resort making its debut. Similarly, Universal hasn't exploited the pent-up demand for a major US-style park in the country, and shows no sign of doing so.
While it's not a theme park, the recently-opened Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London highlights the potential of undercover attractions. Almost entirely housed indoors, it has drawn hordes of muggles to its Making of Harry Potter tour during its first weeks in operation. Given that many Universal Studios rides are located inside anyway, it isn't a massive step to imagine one of its parks being similarly contained in large soundstage-style buildings.
Of course, planning laws in the UK can be a nightmare, and the benefits of housing a theme park indoors (reduced noise impact, for instance) may still be outweighed by the need to fund new transport routes and other infrastructure. And, of course, there's the possibility that the British might just prefer to be outdoors, feeling the rush of air in their face as they soar around on a roller coaster.
What do you think - does the UK need an indoor theme park, or are Brits happy hibernating in the pub during the winter? Let us know by voting in our poll below.
Does the UK need an indoor theme park?
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