Full details of the proposed improvements to Air, including new theming elements and station changes, have been revealed in documents on the Staffordshire Moorlands planning website.
Some of the biggest changes are set to be within the ride station itself. Plans indicate that walls will be constructed on either side of the station building (using materials which match those being used for the façade of the building above), along with partition walls between the queueline and ride area enclosing the final part of the queue. The new enclosed area is labelled as being a ‘pre-show platform’ with the entrance to the area being covered by strip curtains to help prevent light from entering, however, exactly what will happen in this pre-show area is not yet known. In the main ride area, the current air gates are set to be altered with the addition of 1.8m high internal partitions separating each row batching area. The ramp on the left hand side of the station is due to be replaced by steps, although the current disabled access ramp will remain on the station’s left hand side. It would also suggest that there may be alterations made to the organisation of the queue with the point where guests are split between stations being located after the new photo kiosk. Fastrack will only use the right side of the station, only merging briefly with the main queue to be sent through the photo kiosk.
Also detailed are plans for two new theming elements in the area around the ride. The first will be set at the exit to the first tunnel with a maximum height of 11.1 metres and will see the ride interact with the new element as it ascends the lift hill. The second of the new theming elements will be free standing and located by the current seating area in the plaza with a height of 4 metres. Exact details for both of these features are not yet known so it is unclear whether these will enhance the current theme of the ride, or if they will represent a bigger change in the area.
The final addition will be a photo opportunity kiosk within the main queueline. Whilst the exact nature of the photo opportunity is not known at this stage, although plans appear to indicate ‘green screen’ will be used in some form, the plans submitted state that the kiosk will feature a themed ‘corner finial’ of around 4.25 metres in height.
These latest proposals follow on from the plans submitted for the new Rollercoaster Restaurant which were granted permission earlier this year which will see a new Food Loop restaurant open in Forbidden Valley next May. The façades for the station improvements will correspond to the existing exterior of the restaurant and shop above creating a coherent appearance across all of the improvements to both the station and building above. The plans for the Rollercoaster Restaurant also contain a large feature element at the entrance to the building meaning that, combined with the proposed new theming elements for Air, the area will receive a substantial refresh.
What are your thoughts on these latest proposals? Are you pleased to see Air receive these enhancements? Have your say over on the Attraction Source Forum. We’ll be following these plans and all developments across the resort and will bring you all the latest as we get it.