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Friday, 11 February, 2000, 17:38 GMT
Does the Dome need some Disney magic?
The Millennium Dome is meant to "entertain, educate and inspire" the nation, but attendance figures are down and a theme park boss has been hired to give it a new lease of life.
The educational exhibits have not been enough to pull in the punters, so would Brits prefer white knuckle rides and some glittering Disney magic?
Does the Dome need to be "Disneyfied" to succeed? Are British people not interested in "serious and educational" attractions? Can we reverse this trend? How would you change the Dome?
Disney does amazing things. The whole world enjoys the creations of this organisation. But, there are some things that should be fixed with respect to not only the 'Dome', but, all other Disney attractions. They need to lower their prices. Entertainment costs are ridiculous. We see people having to pay entirely too much money to attend professional sporting events, and attractions like what Disney builds. I think that at times we have all lost our focus when it comes to prices. What the world needs to do is start seeing to it that the prices for entertaining events are not beyond the economic means of every person whenever possible. I believe that Disney has been charging too much for their creations. And, we lose our direction over the outrageous charges to see what we can.
Dave Adams, USA
Is there not enough disneyfication as things stand? The dome could be swapped with the EPCOT centre, and no-one would notice Quite frankly I am sick of the same big blue eyed white feature animation characters popping up in everyday life, forcing American morals on the rest of the world The way Disney reduces life to a happy little sludge is disgusting and the people of the world should say that we have had enough of this emotional propaganda. Before I am contradicted with Mulan, being a Chinese epic, isn't it funny how Disney gave this figure their makeover and their vision of acceptance just as they were trying to break in to the growing Chinese market?
I visited the Dome last Saturday with a friend. I have to be honest and say that our main reason for going was so that we could criticise the dome with an informed opinion rather than relying on what we'd heard in the media. However - we loved it! Admittedly transport to/from the site (tube) was rather crowded but the content of the zones was so in-depth and inspiring that we didn't see all of them! There was just too much to see and do! We were both very sceptical about the dome, but have been proved wrong. I would urge others to visit the Dome for themselves if possible - just to see if they think it's as bad as the media would have us believe. I agree with Chris Lydon - why should we take the press's word for it, after all we don't believe them on much else!
Zoe Payne, Staffordshire, UK
Enough with Disneyfication! The Dome should have been embraced and celebrated by the nation, but as per usual the whingers put the boot in. Now it is time to say "to hell with it" use the Dome for pop concerts and sporting events, light shows etc, just forget the concept and make some return on the investment. The transport links etc should make the place ideal for all sorts of exhibitions and conferences.
I just have one thing to say to all the people who have submitted comments: Stop moaning! It has been built now. I'm glad we built it, let's party, and not spend everything on health. They will make back the money even if it takes a few years and it has got numerous uses afterwards, such as leisure complex with cinema, Olympic sized swimming pool, etc.
Stuart Price, UK
The dome does not need to be "Disneyfied". I went to the dome the first Saturday it was open to the public and had the time of my life. It was SO much better than I expected and beat Disney parks in Florida and California for educational and entertainment value. The Dome just needs people to give it the chance it deserves. I didn't have time to go to all the zones in the single day, not because of the queues, the longest was a mere 10 minutes even though a few hundred people long, but because there was so much information of interest to be taken in. I can't wait until I return to the dome in a few weeks time. Forget Disney - the dome is so much better.
Nick Holmes, UK
Please, Great Britain, home of Shakespeare, Wm. Blake and P.G. Wodehouse!!! Don't pollute your soil with the poison of Disney. You have so much to be proud of right in front of you. Don't inherit the shame of marketing manipulations and mediocrity that can only mean one thing¿ Disney.
We Brits only know how to carry on with our own mundane lives. Trips to the supermarket, picking the kids up and living in our own little suburban lives. The Dome is a futuristic piece of real estate that just happens to contact things dreamt up by unrealistic designers who know nothing of the real world. The people should keep the Dome, and in a few years it will probably become a landmark. But the contents needs an overhaul, perhaps it should become a stadium for athletics? Now that would be a good idea, but the government would never think of that. The world's largest inside stadium is something we could at least be proud of and the people would appreciate.
Having been to the Dome with an open - and positive - mind, I was disturbed to find myself feeling as if I had missed something. I am always the first to resist the typically British impulse to put down whatever we do, but in this case it is justified. Although spectacular to look at both outside and in, once you get within the zones there is very little to hold the attention, nothing of substance to exercise the mind and certainly nothing that celebrates the success and achievements of our nation. The money should have been spent on building and developing our theatres, art galleries and cultural centres, distributing the cash across the country so that everyone could take pride in what we know we can do and what we know we are good at.
It is still, and will always be the biggest criminal waste of public money, since the last biggest criminal waste of public money; which was probably lamentable Lamont's pouring away of our National reserves on propping up a dead pound. It is now February and excect for a couple of models of bodies, a whole load or corporate displays, and some acrobats I still have no idea what's in the Dome. The TV adverts only tell you that it is "amazing" and you can get a Big Mac inside. Nobody tells you what the "it" is! Why should I spend a small fortune on a blind gamble that "it" might interest me?
Here we go again! A very small island trying to reinvent the British Empire. Who else in the world spent so much of their taxpayers hard earned cash on such a folly?
The money spent on the Dome could have been much better spent. We have been told that there was no money for everything from a new royal yacht on the one hand to surgeons in the NHS on the other hand. It seems this Govt thought the Dome could be used as yet another spin machine to herald how great they are. When I visited the dome, I was appalled by all the propaganda pushing nannying interference in people's affairs.
M Wright, UK
It was a total waste of money and space in the first place, why not just begin preparations for it's unavoidable fate, when the dome meet's the demolition crew! If it's already seeing low attendance figures, it's doomed, let it fade away. Bringing in Disney would only feed the growing Anti- Americanism happening in Europe anyhow. You don't want to turn it into Euro-Disney West, do you?
Steve Kenney, USA
I went to the Dome last week and thought it was good, not fantastic but definitely worth visiting. The main 'trapeze' show was fantastic, almost worth the entry fee on its own.
No! It just needs demolishing.
Alasdair Cameron, Scotland
I have been to the Dome and I loved it. There was so much in there to do that in the 7-hour period I had there I was unable to see everything there! I will be going back there again sometime. I would recommend it as a great day out for anyone anytime and I personally don't think that the cost of going is that bad really!
Overall it sounds like the Dome is good once you get inside it. Is it value for money? No - I don't think so. The prices that so many people say should be reduced are not aimed at the majority of people in this Country. What family can afford £57 for a day out, without any other expenses taken into account (travelling, food, souvenirs etc.)?
I live in London and take visitors to see the Dome, and that's where we stop - on the outside, marvelling at the prices that they are charging!
The Millennium Dome is meant to "entertain, educate and inspire" I found on visiting it a couple of Fridays ago to be all three. Funnily everybody who expressed an opinion on it, I've spoken to, hasn't actually been to see it. But an awful lot of press has told them it's not good and of course the British press and media is the fairest in the world as we all know.
Chris Lyon, UK
Personally, I feel that the dome is a BIG waste of space and money. I think there are better ways that the government could have marked the millennium and spent public money. The Dome has been built in one of the poorest areas of the capital and some of the money used to build this could have been put to more useful community projects, not only in East London but the rest of the country.
If the government had wanted to build a monument they should have built one that would last at least a 100 years - with all this advancement in technology and the Dome is all we have to show for it. As for its location, the Greenwich area had been considered for other theme parks and leisure areas before but was always let down by the lack of transport and parking facilities. Finally as for those (French) praising EuroDisney, it is NOT a FRENCH product, but an AMERICAN one. Enough said.
I lived in London during the construction of the Millennium Dome but returned to the States prior to its completion. Under no circumstance should the Dome be turned over to an amusement park operator! Us Americans rely on the British to supply us with culture and education that is far beyond and above what is offered in the United States.
Maybe a new marketing approach should be looked into, is education not its own form of entertainment? Will the British follow the path of consumerism and commercialism that the US is trying to lead the world down? I think the BBC should take over the Dome with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as tour guides leading us through a highly informative and interactive (and not to mention humorous) educational experience.
Curtis Orthmann, USA
I thought the whole point of the Millennium Dome was to build something for the people of the UK which would be representative of us going into the new millennium. A look back at our past a glimpse of our present and a view of our future. There are plenty of amusement parks around already, why make this in to one too.
Who wants to travel to London, get caught up in London Traffic and pay London Prices just to see £750 million pounds of wasted time, effort and money. London already has many attractions and cannot cope with even more visitors. It should have been regionalised - or moved into the West, East or North of the country. The world revolves around London - well not for me!
David Warburton, United Kingdom
Anyone who has seen the Dome from a distance cannot help but marvel at it. I recently saw it from an airplane and it is an awesome sight.
The problem is its content and the appalling lack of imagination shown by its creators. The solution is to make its content reflect its design. Turn it into a museum on extra terrestrials. Just think of the opportunities. It could appeal to everyone, with factual and futuristic exhibits and be a showcase for the 21st century we now live in.
For £75M Bilbao got a museum which has put the city on the map, which the whole region is proud of, and which is a permanent structure that has changed how we see architecture. From personal experience, it is beautiful and mind-blowing.
What did Britain get for ten times as much? A temporary tent which looks inside like a vast empty car park. And what a nonsense to ask an ex-civil servant (Jennie Page) with no previous relevant experience to conceive a world beating and innovative interior capable of attracting 12M people? No wonder the tent is an unmitigated disaster.
John McNeil, Scotland
I agree with Richard, we should rather allow the mechanisms of capitalism build these millennium-domes. If no one wished to make one, why should our politicians bother?
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND: There are many taxpaying Londoners who wanted the dome, and most of them Londoners have paid their taxes for many years, SO LET THEM HAVE THEIR DOME.
Torstein M, a Brit in Norway
To Mark in the UK; The difference we have a lot of idle money for folly, you Brits are flat broke !
I live in Hampshire and work in London. My rail season ticket would get me to Greenwich if I so desired, but, I have been put off by the reportedly didactic nature of the Dome's contents. Consequently, I'm reluctant to spend time and money on a visit.
I am, however, looking forward to a ride on the London Eye ferris wheel. What a contrast the opening publicity has been for this attraction. It shows how private enterprise provides people with they want not what they think they should have. In the meantime, perhaps they should have got Goofy in from Disney to run the Dome.
Chris Klein, UK
The change at the NMLC was inevitable given the microscopic, constant (almost obsessive) and inevitably negative media attention the dome has experienced since (and before) it opened. The British media once again seem determined to knock the stuffing out of what ought to be promoted as a great British achievement. And despite all their efforts it would seem the great majority of visitors to the Dome have actually enjoyed the experience. The frustration at being ignored by their "loyal" readership and audience seems to have increased the media frenzy, so we now have more space given over to the Dome than almost any other topic in the UK. And let the people decide in their own way whether they think something which has put the UK on the map - for all the right reasons - is worth it. Now that the man from Disney has arrived things may change. But so what; they probably would have anyway had his predecessor been allowed to complete her term.
I had the opportunity of being taken on a tour of the Millennium Dome in 1999, just shortly before it opened to the public. I came to the conclusion that the Dome is a sheer waste of funds. By no means will it accomplish the grandiose goals for which it was created. Neither will any amount of "Disneyfication" convince the British public that this "white elephant" is worth a visit.
Victor oladokun, USA
I thought the whole point of the Millennium Dome was to build something for the people of the UK which would be representative of us going into the new millennium. A look back at our past, a glimpse of our present and a view of our future. There are plenty of amusement parks around already, why makes this in to one too.
The Dome's strategy should be to maximise revenue during the next 12-18 months from the 'millennium experience' then to convert itself into either: Europe's number 1 Expo site, attracting business revenue or cut a large hole in the roof, replace with a retracting transparent roof and convert into an Olympic Stadium.
Chris Thomas, UK
The only thing that can ever be done to improve the Dome is to sell it. The proceeds can then be put to good use. It makes me sick to think of the homeless people living on the streets who could have been homed and fed and given the opportunity to have a normal life and perhaps a job with the funds used for this white elephant. How can we begin to persuade foreigners that the dome is a worthwhile attraction to come and see?
Melanie Cowie, Scotland
The Dome is it a disaster or what? Well every one is moaning about it, but I still will go and see it with my family, to see the truth. I think they can design some conference rooms there for rent, or a guest house etc.. They can use the space to let others do some activities like having a car show room for one week and next week something else.
I must agree with Marcus - I'm sure the Dome does provide a certain degree of entertainment but there are many more ways to celebrate the new Millennium with 1 Billion pounds than to erect a large metallic marquee. What about providing every school or hospital in the country with the necessary facilities and resources. That would give our children more to improve their quality of life than a "Disney Dome".
The only problem the Brits have is the cost of this 'Ikea' structure. £750 million would have depleted the hospital waiting lists, revamped schools with 21st Century material etc etc. No consultation and no input from the General public has proved that there IS a lot to complain about - and not without reason.
Lisa D, Britain
I'm glad that we have spent a large amount of public money on such an impressive monument. The health service always needs more money but sometimes it does us good to stop moaning and raise our spirits by throwing some money around and having a celebration! The Dome's poor image is somewhat ironical considering how many media consultants are supposed to have been involved in the project. It seem to me that the dome has been blighted by its endless association with dull, unpopular politicians. Why have I seen no significant advertising extolling the wonders of the Dome experience? For all its spin doctoring prowess the Blair government has created a media failure.
At least the dome has freed up some land in London for a giant leisure complex. Although its present contents are banal and tacky, I am certain that when a private consortium takes over next year it will make a genuinely attractive development, which also makes money.
Players of the National Lottery have mainly funded the dome, and tickets can be bought from Lottery outlets. Why not offer free admission to anyone who can present 20 or more losing lottery tickets? This will help increase visitors, give regular lottery losers (most of us!) a "prize" and maybe slow the decline in lottery ticket sales.
In all the time the dome was being built the British public made it clear they didn't want it. And now the government are surprised at so few visitors. Well - I knew it would flop, as did most other people. Just goes to show how those in power just don't listen.
Ed Cork, UK
After recently putting media induced prejudices aside and actually enjoying a family visit to the Dome. Reading Leighton Arnold's, USA comments about wasting money is the limit- just how much did NASA spend on those Mars probes?
I went to the Dome on Saturday, and while I went with an open mind and hoping to be impressed, I left disappointed. This does not mean, as some people have been implying, that I am not patriotic. It's far simpler than that. It just means that I can recognise poor quality when I see it. In the UK (and especially in London), we are blessed with some of the most exciting attractions the world has to offer. This week, the Wheel at Waterloo was opened to wide public acclaim. People are already calling it London's Eiffel Tower. This just goes to prove that we Brits don't knock everything. But we do have the ability to distinguish between excellence and mediocrity. In a few months time the new Tate Modern gallery will open on the South Bank - the world's largest modern gallery. In 100 years from now, that gallery will be a well loved institution - the Dome a distant memory - and the British people will be thankful that their ancestors were able to praise what needed praising and to condemn that which needed condemning. Patriotism is not an issue here.
A contributor wrote "Can someone please tell me what is wrong with fun. " Nothing at all. Indeed it's a marvellous celebration of the millennium and a testament to our children that we've chosen to show them that fun matters more to us as a nation than our children and our less well-off people matter to us.
The Millennium Dome has and always will be a total waste of money. It also has the audacity to ask for a loan after it began making losses and no lying spokesperson can make it right.
The money wasted on the Dome would have been much better spent improving our existing great national museums and allowing them to restore the free admission which was taking away by the previous government.
To Tristan - I'm more inclined to think that Britain will become a very dull place if our elected government is allowed to erect any more of these vacuous, pompous, preachy, infantile shams. I mean, a plastic blob telling Tommy Cooper jokes, a tunnel of love and some lice-filled pubes, a snip at 20 quid a head and a minimum two hour journey for anyone outside the M25. I get my jollies where I can, and that's not in Greenwich.
You Brits amaze me with your constant moaning about the things you do. Whinge about anything. When will you realise you live in the BEST country in the world. Someone has the courage to build a superb Dome, something no other county has done and what do you do MOAN. Critics listen to the people who have been there, they have enjoyed the Dome. And start praising your country. If the Dome was in New Zealand we would rate it as the best building in the world.
Terry Milburn, New Zealand
Why didn't we think about this in the first place? Instead of having the government wasting our hard-earned money on some gigantic piece of junk, we should have got a large organisation like Disney or Madame Taussauds to build it for us.
Paint the outside blue and yellow, sell lots of Scandinavian Changing Rooms style tacky household items, and create a Dome concept lifestyle and people will drive for miles and queue for parking around the M25 just to get in.....
I think the British are becoming a very sad bunch of people. While almost everybody in the world is dying to come to London to see the Dome, what do you Brits do, you write to the BBC and moan about how awful and expensive it is. Pathetic. If the Dome was built in any other country, for example such as France or Germany, then the French and Germans would be forcing it down your throat about how amazing it is and what a great nation they are for building it. The British should stop hating their country and learn what the word patriotism means. Then hopefully they would stop behaving like spoilt kids and be grateful that they are capable of building something like this. After all, what did the other cities in "Christendom" build to celebrate the Millennium? Nothing!
With the number of homeless people in the UK, the Dome could be handed over to the Big Issue magazine who could turn it into a massive soup kitchen, and also provide some accommodation.
How about some fairytale magic? With one swish of a magic wand it would disappear!
What was it that inspired the dome in the first place? Surely the inspiration was to leave a legacy? Well why a Dome then? What's wrong with leaving a legacy which actually helps people? What about Millennium wards? The money from the Dome, used to open hospital wards up and down the country, instead of an eyesore, a publicity stunt from an overly London-centric government. Is it any wonder we want our independence when the Government make political blunders like this?
It seems that two things are keeping the public away from the Dome, the cost and the press. I agree that ticket prices seem high, but the majority of those who have been to the Dome have emerged impressed and satisfied.
If the press would put their prejudices aside, listened to the public's opinions (and especially those of the children) and gave the Dome a chance on a level playing field, then perhaps they could be hailing a success story in the weeks and months to come instead of doing their utmost to ensure the venture fails
Graham Goodwin, UK
I wasn't going to add anything to this until I read the comments by Arthur Neglee in France. As someone who has just returned from Disneyland Paris I can't think of one thing that the French could teach us. Oh yes, how to be rude, how not to queue for ANYTHING, that we must smoke at every opportunity. The French could teach us nothing about running a theme park that we do not already know - try going to Alton Towers.
From what I've seen, a big off-put is poor access. Turn Greenwich park into a major car park for the duration, so that people can get there with their families without having to take out a second mortgage and a week's holiday to get there, and we will come in our thousands.
Barry Brown, USA
What the Dome needs to attract more visitors is very simple - a car park next door.
I haven't been to the Dome yet, but can assure you that I fully intend to go. Ok, so the Dome may have its problems, but it seems to me that the real problem here is that the British are so unwilling to spend money on anything that can be remotely fun or interesting that isn't seen to be immediately "useful".
OK, so they may have made some bad decisions with the Dome, but I just wish all the people who complain about how much we COULD have spent on schools and hospitals instead would just stop whinging!!! Britain needs to learn to loosen up, and have more fun, and why not pay for it with taxes? If we're not careful, Britain will soon become a very dull place.
Tristan O'Dwyer, England
Does anyone care? I for one would be perfectly happy if I never heard anyone utter the words "Millennium Dome" again for the rest of my life. Same goes for "Mayor of London". To the majority of people in the UK, both subjects are utterly boring and irrelevant!
Pete Morgan-Lucas, UK
I went to the Dome and found it to be a totally different experience to that reported in the Media. It is brilliant.
But I guess the reporting follows the British tradition of bad mouthing anything that's good and 'home grown'.
Richard Latham, UK
So The Dome, flagship of Tony's Blair's vision of "Cool Britannia" is now to be run by a Frenchman on behalf of an insidious American company. Why is it such a flop? Maybe because like most of "Cool Britannia" it is contrived, derivative and smacks of state-sponsored "culture". Do the British people really need Tony Blair and his Islington cronies to tell them what is "cool" and what is "hip" while at the same time denigrate their ancient traditions and native instincts of creative genius?
Would the Beatles have been such a worldwide success had Harold Macmillan officially "endorsed" them. Was the Jaguar "E Type" designed by government committee? The British continue to lead the world in so many fields of endeavour; art, film, music, architecture, fashion etc. They don't need a whopping great circus tent on the Thames to inspire them to further greatness.
Peter Kohler, USA
They say that a Cow was a horse designed by committee. The dome is the end result of a committee formed of politicians. If I recall rightly the Body Zone was originally to be housed in a Mother and Child. The committee couldn't decide whether or not the body should be female or have no obvious sex. Being typically British they became shocked at the prospect of a naked body and so settled on a blob.
No one can save the project after this type of help. The project was flawed once the politicians became personally involved and offered their opinions.
Roy Chapman, UK/Germany
I have no opinion on whether or not a Disney whizz kid can fix the Dome but like many people in this country I am boycotting the Dome because I think the money should have been spent on other things. Even if Monsieur Eurodisney drops the price to a fiver I would still rather go and see a movie.
Well I've been to the Dome and was very, very impressed. Go and see the thing then decide!
Mark Smith, UK
I am so proud to be British it makes my heart swell with pride when I see my fellow Brits express our pride as a nation by spending 200 million pounds on a plastic tent and managing to make a staggering loss all at the same time. Well Rule Britannia is all want to say.
Andrew Casey, Scotland
I went to the Dome yesterday and had a great day. It got busy in the afternoon but I just went back to any zones which had large queues later when the waiting time had gone down. (The plasma boards that were everywhere were good indicators). The hosts were all brilliant and I found there was something for both adult and child alike. As a regular museum-goer in London I thought it represented good value for money for a day out.
The Dome is a completely pathetic waste of space. All that money!? Whoever heard of a government building a theme park. Just think of all those worthwhile projects that could have been funded around the country and the lives enriched as a result. It boggles the mind.
Leighton Arnold, USA
Everything I have read about the Dome suggests it is an expensive, tiring and dull day out. A bit of Disney Magic can not make it worse, but did it have to be a Frenchman?
What a waste of money. Surely a large statue of our great leader, Mr Blair, would have been a better use of £750M.
R. Townsend, England
I wanted to visit the dome. But £22 with student discount is much too much. Changes should begin with the prices.
Steffen Enninga, Germany
Sounds like the Dome was built on the principle that it was too big and too expensive to fail! Well it has and it will. On my next visit to the UK I would rather visit one of the many splendid Museums and Art Galleries etc. than this monument to a total lack of business sense.....
Ian Jardine, USA
Only a government could build something and THEN decide what to put in it. It brings into question the Blair government's whole train of thought, if indeed there is one at all.
Graham Bell, Brazil
As a piece of Civil Engineering, "The Dome" is without doubt, superb. However, as it was put so well recently on BBC's "Question Time", the Dome is neither St Paul's Cathedral, nor is it Disney Land, yet.
I am sure it is very good inside, but I fail to understand why I have to pay AGAIN to go in, when so much of "our" Tax has funded it so far. From the West of England it will cost me 150 Pounds to get my family there and back for a day trip. I'm sorry, but I can't justify that, and my priorities are elsewhere.
When it has reached the end of it's life in 2001, the decision should be made to convert it into something of use for the nation, like a new National Stadium, a large centre for the homeless, or perhaps an overspill hospital. Don't tear it down. Use it effectively for the benefit of the people. We've paid for it.
Phil W, UK
I went to see the Dome last October, whilst it was still a long way from being finished. I must admit, it did look pretty impressive, but I also had my doubts if it could pull in enough people to visit. I think the entrance fee is too high, considering there are no Roller Coaster rides etc. If the fee were to be brought down, i.e. Adults £11.75 Child £7.50, I feel more people will make an effort on visiting.
Maggie Cownden, England
I haven't been to the Dome yet, but all I keep hearing about from people that have gone is the ridiculously long queues for anything worth seeing. God knows what it will be like in the summer when people actually start going in large numbers - I don't think I'll bother. I have just gone to the Royal Academy 1900 exhibition which was excellent, well defined, interesting, accessible and cheap - far more appealing.
Alex Paul, England
I was in London recently and went to the Dome. It was a wonderful place and I intend to take my children when we next go to London in the summer. It may be expensive to get in, but it is a once in a lifetime experience and must be worth the money.
I visited the Dome this weekend with my boyfriend and his brother's family. The children with us were aged 5, 9 and 12 and were extremely excited at the prospect of visiting the Dome. In fact the oldest had told his teacher at school about the visit and was due to report back to the class the following week.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
As the first hour wore on the look of disappointment on the children's faces was marked. They announced "was that it?" after queuing for over an hour for the body zone. Three of the Play Zone's key activities were out of order. And with only one Dome Staff member in the whole zone tempers were getting frayed between families patiently queuing and those that were pushing in.
In every zone we visited there was at least two interactive 'games' out of order. The queues were so long and disorganised that a wait of an hour is standard at every zone (except the faith zone!). When you did finally get into a zone the educational aspect of each 'attraction' was minimal, with no signs to explain why, say, the heart was beating faster or the eye projects objects up-side-down.
The dome is neither educational nor thrilling. It is a tremendous building filled with useless half-conceived themes and plenty of disappointed visitors. I shall be writing for a refund.
The Dome certainly inspired me and my whole family. I am constantly surprised by the unpatriotic stance taken by the British press over it. My brother and his family are coming to visit from India next month and the Dome will be first on the list of places to take them.
It certainly needs something to liven it up but whether it needs to be turned into the sort of saccharine sweetness found at the Disney parks is debatable. Why don't the people in charge say to everyone that they are sorry, things have not gone as well as they'd hoped and they are going to shut for a few months while they arrange to put something for people to actually do in the Dome.
I have made several visits to the Dome already and have been very impressed. My only complaint is that I couldn't seem to get a cup of coffee anywhere. The only place I found that had been selling it said that their machine was broken. Apart from this minor niggle , it is a great day out.
Mark Verth, UK
I have been to the Dome, what I thought is the Dome is very good for everyone. Maybe it is not enough, but in fact it is not bad at all. As you know, the Dome is for fun, education and people who enjoy their lives, but nobody wants to wait to see the place for an hour or more, so I think if they can improve the waiting, this is what most people don't like.
Chen Rui, China
If you want education and interest go to the natural history museum or science museum - both the result of painstaking work over decades. If you want exhilaration go to a good theme park. The Dome - it's neither; something knocked up in a couple of years without any real plan could never compete, especially when built in a city with so much to offer already. It's quite amazing that the only people who didn't realise how the dome was going to turn out were those advising the government.
Kevin Millican, England
As usual this is a load of dome-bashing from people who have not visited and did not wish to. Whilst I have yet to visit and believe that mistakes have been made I know a number of people who have visited (adults) who say it was wonderful and thoroughly recommended it. Indeed they were looking forward to going again. Perhaps a few more people who have visited should be vocal in their support?
I live only 40 miles from London. The train fare costs over £20 per person before you even think about entry fees, eating, souvenirs etc. I don't run a car and have three children - I cannot afford this type of day out. We'd far rather visit places locally and combine it with shopping, sports/games and eating out as a family. No one asked us what we wanted - not about the dome itself or its content. The first thing most people knew about it was when pictures started to appear.
Yes Janet, we Americans take credit for interfering with the Dome. We knew it was going to be a great success. So we took a few moments off from controlling the weather to mess it up. We're so evil, cackle, cackle, cackle...
I'm not frightened off by educational affairs like the Dome...But do wish there was more details about what exactly is in there. Who's going to pay out that amount of money when they don't know what they're going to get? I will be visiting London with my kids in the summer but WON'T be taking them to the Dome. It's too expensive with too little to offer - especially when London is chock full of other attractions, which are cheaper and more defined in appeal.
Steve Beat, Scotland
I feel sympathy for the previous project manager of the dome. She had an impossible task. The project was poorly conceived from the outset and has drawn nothing but bad press from the UK media. This new guy will fare no better. The concept is fundamentally flawed. Entry prices should be drastically reduced to encourage poorer families to visit (the demographic group which contributes the most to lottery coffers, is the one least able to afford a family ticket and travel costs to the dome).
The Dome while interesting on a 'Science Museum' level is just not going to be a crowd-puller when it concentrates its marketing efforts at the so-called 'more intelligent' crowd. The Dome is not aimed at everyone. Theme parks, on the other hand, are for most people from all walks of life because their sole purpose is to provide fun. Should the Dome be 'Disneyfied'? - only if the government want it to succeed - but that would be too sensible a move.
The general public made their feelings clear before the thing was even built, they simply did not want this massive white elephant. The government has wasted enough taxpayers' money, its time they admitted defeat and pulled the damn thing down instead of blindly ploughing more and more much needed cash into it.
I visited the Dome on January 3rd and it must have been one of the busiest days since it opened. The problem isn't the 'attractions' but the number of people who were sold tickets for the day. I have since complained to the NMEC whose reply was that you would expect to queue at Disney or Thorpe Park, so why shouldn't you queue at the Dome? It is this sort of arrogance and an inflexible business plan that is the problem, not the Dome itself.
In its current form, the Dome is a wart on the face of the country. If it contains anything of merit, strip it out and put it in other institutes around the country. As for the dome itself, turn it into the major athletics stadium which the country needs. The whole Dome Experience is a nightmare best ended cheaply sooner rather than expensively later.
David Steadman, England
I was over here visiting the Dome and I have to say it was bad. Compared to EuroDisney which is vibrancy, and the Dome is just cold and big and there is no friendly welcome like in France - I think you English can learn much from us French for a change, yes?
Arthur Neglee, France
Can someone please tell me what is wrong with fun. The Dome is not a museum, it is not a fun-fair, it is not a school. In fact the main problem is that it does not know what it is. Why can't we be honest and just build something to amuse. The Dome project has been pathetic from the start, it is hard to get to. Expensive for anyone outside the M25 area, and has been changed so often no-one knows whether to laugh or cry. Is it any wonder we are not going there. Put in a fun-fair and a non-animal circus, get rid of the new angle, and just gives us something to amuse. By the way I live within the M25 and refuse to go to the Dome, whilst it is some sort of politically correct mish-mash.
Chris Govey, UK
Recently the row over Wembley Stadium and the athletics track caused people to question, where do we hold athletics now? What is wrong with using the Dome? Surely this would fill the needs of the sport. I for one will not visit the Dome in its present form, but if it was to become an Athletics stadium then I certainly would. Lets not waste any more of the tax payers hard earned money on this stupid project. Perhaps it could be a showpiece for British Beef?
Paul Phillips, England
Do we really need another theme park? And what a complete waste of money in the first place! We should be attracting people to existing facilities such as the Science and Natural History Museums, not to mention the numerous exhibitions, shows etc held regularly around the country. Why did we need to spend more money on such a white elephant! Perhaps if there had been a definite long-term plan i.e. a multi-sports stadium replacing Wembley for example, people might be more attracted to it, instead we have ended up with a site that we don't know what to do with. Such a shame.
It seems a pity that we can't hold an event without the inevitable American interference, which appears to be creeping into all aspects of our rich culture and heritage. I decided to boycott the Dome sometime ago anyway, because of the obnoxious presence of McDonald's.
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