Alton Towers Wknd 6-7 October 2007
Our weekend consisted of two half day visits, due to a late departure and road works and also, we wanted to leave early to get home by early evening on the Sunday. We arrived lunchtime Saturday and the car park was only full to car parks E/F. This indicated a quiet park, which was what we were hoping for. The first ride of the day for us (and most people) is of course the Monorail to the main entrance and unfortunately was my only grumble for this visit. This was due to the incredibly stupid idea of having a blooming annoying recording play over the speakers instead of music. This recording is supposed to give the idea of a driver on the Monorail that argues with the computer system called H.A.R.R.I.E.T. This so called driver makes attempts at jokes along the way but to be honest, by the time we got to the main entrance, I was restraining myself from ripping the speakers out of the cabin. It’s that annoying. Whatever happened to the classical music (from Fantasia?) they used to use? That really helped build up the magical feeling. No more, alas.
Once inside the park, we rode the cable car over to Forbidden Valley and using the Parent Swap, we all managed a go on Air and Nemesis, (I rode Nemesis twice whilst in F.V.) Nemesis flew both times and remains my favourite ride in the park. It was great to ride Air again although I did notice the track is beginning to get a bit bumpy in places. We moved over to Spinball Whizzer next and after a short wait, we were giggling away as it spun us around the track. Spinball Whizzer is great ride but after recently riding it’s cousin at Chessington (Dragon’s Fury) you certainly realise it lacks a decent layout and terrain usage. S.W. seems like it was just put on some grass because it had nowhere else to go, which is a shame.
Whilst Britcit Jnr rode some kids rides at Storybook Land and Old Mcdonalds Farm with the kids, I headed over to X Sector and rode Oblivion. It was only a short queue and before I knew it, I was staring straight down into a hole in the ground. Oblivion is a short, sharp blow to the senses and is huge fun with lots of screams from it’s passengers! Great fun as always.
After meeeting up in Storybook Land, my step son and I headed over to Ugland for some final rides before the park shut. We entered Hex first, which had no queue at all. Infact, the ride operators even waited for us to run through the queue system, before starting the attraction. A nice touch, that. Sadly though, I hate the video at the beginning. I find the whole story a load of cobblers and can’t wait for the actual ride itself. I thoroughly enjoyed riding Hex again. The illusion is so clever and I can’t but help admire the skill that has gone into creating such a great experience. The music is also first class. The more I go on Hex, the more I seem to enjoy it.
We moved on to the Corkscrew which was also a walk on. By keeping my head forwards, I managed a better ride experience than usual and it was quite fun. I love the views from the lift hill and the bend at the top and it’s still quite the classic, Alton Towers ride (from a nostalgic point of view of course). Finally, we entered the queue for R.I.T.A. which looked about a ten minute wait but guess what……it broke down. We waited about ten minutes then decided to leave the queue and meet up with the rest of the tribe. RITA is an okay coaster but not great. I didn’t really mind missing a go this time.
After recharging our batteries with an excellent meal out in Uttoxeter and a good rest at our hotel, we returned to the park just after 10 am on the Sunday. Mrs Britcit took the older kids on Air after we arrived at the park and I headed over to Nemesis, feeling the need for faster fun and thrills. The queue looked huge (but turned out later to be only ten minutes or so, as only a small part of the queue system was being used) so I tried the single rider queue, which was empty. I was put straight on at the back of the train and soon I was speeding, looping and rolling like a very happy loony! Whilst the single rider queue remained quiet, I managed four rides in only ten minutes. I needed a rest afterwards! After rejoining the collective, my step son wanted to try the single rider queue on Nemesis. This time there was plenty of people waiting and we waited as long as the main queue. Still, a ten minute wait for my favourite ride in the park (and on a weekend) is hardly a problem.
We moved on to Cred Street where Britcit Jnr rode the Carousel. Afterwards, he took an interest in the lady ride operator and she took him into the control booth and let him press the bell for the end of the ride. It was really sweet of her. The older kids and I went in the Berry Bash and that was great fun, shooting foam balls out of air guns at each other and at other people!
Moving on to Ugland, my step son and I rode Hex again (only a very short queue) and it was just as awe inspiring as the previous day’s ride. I just love the music on Hex. After a brief trip to X Sector for a go on Oblivion (which was practically walk on) we all joined up and took Britcit Jnr round Storybook Land and Old Macdonalds Farm. He really enjoyed the tractor ride, the River Bank Eye Spy and Carousel. (The carousel had animals that you sat on and they made noises when you pressed a button. He wanted to sit on different ones, to hear their noises!) He was also quite taken by a barn that had animatronic animals that sang when you pressed various buttons. After a hot dinner at Katanga Canyon, we headed out the park for a long journey home.
Overall, the weekend was a good one. The highlight for me personally, was of course Nemesis. Sheer adrenalin and fun wrapped up in an incredible package of runaway speed. World class. I was also very impressed with the themeing of Story Book Land and it’s rides and although we didn’t go in, the new attraction called The Dung Heap looked very good and appealing to the kids. My only complaint was the utterly awful attempt at providing humour over the speakers on the Monorail and I really hope that goes for next season. The weather had remained dry and mild and the queues, nice and short with some rides being walk straight on. From recent experiences, it would seem that the autumn, just before Halloween festivities, is the time to hit theme parks. There were less people at Towers on Sunday than on Saturday and I really thought it would be the other way round. This year we were all Annual Pass holders and this yellow card can be very handy. You get 20% purchases in restaurants and shops and also the same discount off the (very expensive) resort hotels. On our way out, I noticed that the park was advertising a charge of only £5 if you returned the next day and £10 for any other day, this season. An excellent incentive.