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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Europe Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2

Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2

Posted: 10/13/07 at 4:23:13 PM
Views: 1831

Hi everyone, I’m back for my second instalment of the behind the scenes tour of Alton Towers. Right where were we, oh yes.

After saying our farewells to the rest of the tour group we decided to head over towards the Macdonalds near the cable car because we were absolutely starving. After a very filling double quarter pounder with cheese we decided to head next door to the Charlie and the Chocolate factory ride.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (spoiler alert)
Now the queue for this ride seemed fairly big, but every time I’ve been to Alton Towers recently we have never had the time to ride it so we made sure that we did it this time. The queue was winding outside, so we waited probably a maximum of about 20 minutes before we got in the building. On the way I think we scared the daylights out of a couple in front of us because we were discussing the horrible accident that happened in America where a girl got a severed leg from a drop tower. We soon realised and apologised for discussing that in front of them.
We entered the building to be greeted by a large screen with Willy Wonka introducing us to all the characters of the book. When he said the child’s name, a picture of them would light up next to us which were a good storyline touch.
We eventually reached the station and were ushered onto a boat by a person dressed as a worker from the factory. It’s finally good to see the staff dressing up with the theme in a British theme park. The boats were off and we were travelling along the chocolate river. The effects themselves are strictly OK. The lights and the themeing is pretty good though. We went through the juicing room, the bubblegum room and the nut sorting room which I have got to say has to be the worst themed bit of the ride. It’s just a bunch of mirrors, apart from one side which has a projection of some squirrels attacking Veruca Salts (yes I do remember the name)
Before the ride had even started however, the ride finished. Overall very disappointing. Once we exited the boat we moved through to another screen explaining the glass elevator. From here we moved into the glass elevator itself, which on first impressions were quite good. The door closed and the ride began. The movements are very small but enough to jolt you around. The projection all around us though was very impressive. I thoroughly enjoyed the finale; however, I probably wouldn’t queue up for it again.
Overall score for the day: 4.5 out of 10 (only made up for by the elevator)

After a very boring start we decided to go on something that would make our hearts pump harder. Since we were right next door to rita we thought, why not!!!

Rita Queen of Speed
For this ride we used the priority pass ticket for the four of us. We thought these tickets were going to be reusable, sadly they are not. Looks like only one ride then because the queue was about 50 minutes long. After about a 5 minute wait we were sitting in rita’s cramped yet quite cosy seats. After lowering my restraint, I clenched onto the handle and waited for the count down. This time however it got to 5 lights which was a bit better than the 3 we had previously. Off we went with a bang round the first banked curve and over the hill for some serious air time. Round the second curve and I forgot to put my head back so the forces made it stay down which was a bit uncomfortable. Round the next corner and a little twist before getting some serious air time before we hit the brake run and cruise round to the station again.
I’ve got to admit, I know why this ride appeals to so many people, however, I can see why it doesn’t for some. I seriously liked the kick at the beginning and the air time, however, the ride is very brief, there is no originality and there is no themeing with the surrounding area. It scores a high mark from me on this trip, however, I wouldn’t miss it if it went.
Overall score for the day: 9 out of 10 (just because I enjoyed it, not agreeing with it)

After rita we had the adrenaline pumping and so we jumped on to the sky ride and cruised over to forbidden valley for some serious G-force. (by the way I’m not going to review sky ride because there is no point) Next up on the agenda, the almighty Nemesis.

Nemesis
This ride is an instant classic, you have not lived until you ride this. We used our priority pass and waited in a different queue again for about 5 minutes before we were in the station and strapped up ready to tame the beast. We leave the station and climb the lift hill into the woods. At the top we curve round to the left and gain speed. What I didn’t realise before is the little dip before the wingover. Gets some nice air time there!! Round the wingover and we are racing into the tight powerful helix before zooming over the station in a zero g roll. Up and round the cliff face before plummeting towards the red blood and suddenly racing through a vertical loop. We then race round the corner before hitting my personal favourite bit, the super fast inline twist that always catches you out for surprise. After this we are back in the station, whilst our stomachs are still at the top of the lift hill. What a fabulous ride.
Overall score for the day: 9.5 out of 10 (it impressed me more than usual on this visit)

Next up after Nemesis…. Drum roll please …. Air!

Air
Again the priority pass came into affect as we queued up probably about 15 minutes this time to get on the ride. In the station we sat in the luxury tilted seats and pulled the comfortable restraint over our heads. “Prepare for air” the loud speaker bellows overhead. The floor drops, and we begin. We curve round a corner before engaging in the lift hill. We slowly creep to the top, with a quite picturesque view of nemesis to our left. We leave the lift hill and swoop down to the right and back up again before soaring down to the ground only to be lifted into the air yet again. Next thing we know, we are lying on our backs racing towards the ground and then twisting and going back underground again. We are now flying over the heads of all the dubious people contemplating whether they should ride or not. Next we hit the in line twist and swoop round towards the car park area before being lifted round and hitting the brake run. You don’t realise that this ride uses the terrain so much until you are actually riding it. Yeah it isn’t the scariest ride, but the experience is that of pure self enlightenment and any rider will come off the ride feeling good but also having had a mild thrill as well.
Overall score of the day: 9 out of 10 (just because I love it)

After air we decided to head towards oblivion and stop off at any rides we see on the way. Therefore the next ride had to be situated in the gloomy woods. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce Duel.

Duel: the haunted house strikes back
This ride I absolutely love. The queue was probably about 2 minutes and its just so much fun. We walk up some steps into the front room of the haunted mansion. It has probably one of the crappest looking moose heads I have ever seen, but anyway! You then walk into a room with a slanted corridor and the infamous dolls house illusion. What we realised before was the effect behind the fireplace. It’s supposed to look like a hologram (ghostly fire). If you pear your head over the edge, you will see a TV covered in robes to disguise it facing the glass screen. Thus giving the illusion (albeit rubbish one). We then clambered into the moving cars and waited for the ghostly voice to tell us some instructions (“I’ll lower the restraint for you mwah ha ha ha”)
Now we are off and going round the corner to see loads of bats hanging on the wall to shoot at. Then we are in a dining room where the tables are wobbling and the giant devil swings out at you. The themeing is quite good but to be honest you don’t tend to pay attention. Some bat holograms float overhead, ghosts scream “yeaaaaaah” theres a rotating room, a spider room with one giant spider. As you can see, theres so many rooms that I can’t even remember which order or what happened. You’ll have to ride to find out. We are right near the end and I knew where the camera was so I told my family to pose at the right time. If you could see the poses we made!! Me and my dad looked petrified, my brothers girlfriend looked possessed and my brother put the gun to his head. Perfect photo to buy. I have got to say though; it doesn’t half hurt your fingers afterwards.
As usual I won with like nearly 50,000 points, but seriously, it is a very fun ride. Not up to the standards of men in black at universal studios, but still good nevertheless.
Overall score for the day: 8.5 out of ten (because there could be improvements)

Next area we passed was runaway mine train and I had never been on it before so we decided to use our priority pass.

Runaway mine train
We managed to get on the very back seat of the train which was pretty lucky. We bordered the very very long train and lowered the lap bar. Note: because it curves into the station, the back two cars are still at a slant even when loading.
The ride began and we waved goodbye to the operator above us before picking up speed bending round a corner to the left. Over a series of bumps and wooden beams and after a few quirky mine train anecdotes from me and my brother (“theres gold in this here mine” In the miners accent) we then suddenly whip round a helix and round another one before entering the tunnel where the river rapids go through. You can’t help but wave and whistle when you go through that tunnel and you see the other people in the rafts. We then race up the hill and round the corner before going round again a second time. (I won’t explain it again) We eventually come to the station and it starts to slow down and because my dad was on the inside I was practically leaning on him so he was getting squished into the sides. That was quite humorous.
Overall score of the day: 5.5 out of 10 (just a bit to boring for my liking)

We then headed over to spinball whizzer which was next stop on the way to oblivion.

Spinball Whizzer
We walked straight on this ride and luckily for us the ride operator didn’t cross off our priority pass. Gives us another chance to ride it later on in the day. We got on the tiny trains and we are out of the station turning on to the lift hill. The lift hill kicks in and we (very quickly) ascend the lift hill. At the top we hit a sharp hair pin turn before descending round and under the hill and back again to a series of block brakes. We then turn again and go down a steeper drop before going into the vertical hair pin turn. We drop back down and race through another set of block brakes at a top of a hill. We then curve and drop and spin constantly round a series of sharp turns and drops before hitting the brake run whilst still laughing. A very enjoyable experience.
Overall score of the day: 8.5 out of 10 (I think it scores a lot because of the laughing)

We had finally made to X-Sector and there it was towering above us. The almighty oblivion loomed over head and cast a daunting shadow over our tiny bodies.

Oblivion
We used our priority passes for this and headed along a very long queue line passing loads and loads of people queueing over an hour for it. You can’t help but look smug as you gracefully walk passed them!! We eventually got to the station and unfortunately got stuck in the back row of the coaster. I always go on the front seat so I thought; it’ll be good for a change. Plus what I didn’t realise before is that the back row is much more elevated than the front, so you can still have a good look down. We engaged in the very steep lift hill, got to the top, slowly travelled around the corner and stopped just on the edge. The view seemed the same as in the front row (well from my knowledge it was) and the heart was beating fast. Suddenly we plummeted into the narrow tunnel full of mist and raced underground before flying round the corner and into the brakes.
I was actually very disappointed this time. This is the ride I normally get very excited to ride and is my favourite in the park. Today it just didn’t impress. The build up was just as good as before, but for some strange reason, I didn’t lose my stomach as much and didn’t get the extra thrill I so desperately wanted. Plus the banked corner seemed to be a bit rougher than normal; my brother also pointed this out.
Overall score of the day: 7 out of 10 (I still love the ride but it didn’t impress today)

After a disappointing run on oblivion we thought we would go on hex and see the effects working in full.

Hex: legends of the tower
We walked through the grand entrance into the long stretch of corridor with winding queue lines and archaeologist findings scattered everywhere. The queue (although seemed very long) was very quick and in no time we were ushered into the next room. What I have to point out though was the fact that it wasn’t as dark as I remembered it to be. Perhaps it was because it was sunnier outside, but either way the atmosphere wasn’t as spooky.
We got into the projector room and watched the story unravel before we moved through into the octagon. The effects didn’t seem as impressive as the first time I went on this, but that was probably because I know what was going to happen this time, so no marks will be deducted for that.
We walked through the bookcase and started to walk through the secret tunnels to the vault, or as we now know, the big green metal shed. We were sat down, lap bar lowered and the ride began. The effect of the music, lighting and spinning room truly does make this a remarkable ride. The lady opposite us on the other side looked horrified with what was going on and just couldn’t understand what was happening. That made it quite humorous.
Overall score of the day: 8.5 out of 10

We’d now pretty much finished all the rides we wanted to go on so from here we decided to move on to spinball whizzer again and make use of the extra priority ride that the operator forgot to rip. I won’t write another review of it for this time so don’t worry.
I really wanted to see the haunted hallow, so we planned a route of from merrie England, through haunted hallow, ride duel one more time and go meet with the tour at the 3D cinema.

Haunted Hallow
I had quite anticipations about this walk. We got to the gate with the goblin holding the sign for the haunted hallow with his fluorescent green tongue. We walked on underneath an archway with ivy beginning to grow round them until we got to a crypt. The crypt had a few holes in them which lit up every so often to show a skeleton in there. Nothing overly impressive there. We then walked past some bust gravestones which were talking to one another. We couldn’t really be bothered to listen to the conversation, but it was still quite dull. We then got to a crypt where you walk in and close the curtain behind you. Inside is a plain black wall. (it does say something on the outside but I cant remember what it said) Now a couple walked in before us and they got the full whack. We got in, had to wait for ages and got bored so we moved on. Apparently something jumps out at you, but that’s coming from the couple who went in.
After this there was a coffin where you can go and stand round the back and make it look like your in it. It’s good for making photos I guess. Nearing the end and there are a few gravestones with musicians on them. When you walk on the grave it makes you jump by playing a note really loud. More comical than scary. There are also a few other statues that talk and stuff but nothing else. In the Halloween events I’m sure this is awesome. Unfortunately, by itself it is total rubbish.
Overall score of the day: 1.5 out of 10 (bored stiff less)

We then rode duel one more time (I won again!!) and then headed over through Catanga Canyon to Merrie England to see the rest of the tour sitting on benches near the 3D Cinema.

Right that’s the end of part 2. Yes I have decided to split it into 3 parts because it is a very long review. Sorry if you’re bored right now … I just like to go into detail. Lol

I will post the second half of the tour and the part 3 of my review asap

Thanks for reading
Brad

Re: Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2 by britcitchris britcitchris Profile at 10/13/07 6:06:11 PM

Thoroughly enjoying your review, Brad! (Weren't you Flaming Brick? - you live near me, I seem to remember). Just love your detailing.

Chris.

Re: Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2 by brad brad Profile at 10/13/07 6:08:42 PM

> Thoroughly enjoying your review, Brad! (Weren't you Flaming
> Brick? - you live near me, I seem to remember). Just love
> your detailing.

> Chris.

Yeah I was but I changed my e-mail address, so they stopped my account. Thats why ive changed it. Yeah I live in Norwich near the dinosaur park.

Thanks for the comment, i really appreciate it.

Brad

Re: Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2 by Graeme Graeme Profile at 10/14/07 9:02:00 AM

> Overall score for the day: 4.5 out of 10 (only made up for
> by the elevator)

OK, I quite look forward to trying it.

> Rita Queen of Speed
> After about a 5 minute
> wait we were sitting in rita’s cramped yet quite cosy
> seats.

Have you been on Colossus at Thorpe Park? If so, how do they compare to that? Also, what does the launch feel like to you?

> Nemesis
> What
> I didn’t realise before is the little dip before the
> wingover. Gets some nice air time there!!

LOL, it's quite a big drop, really! :)

> We then
> race round the corner before hitting my personal favourite
> bit, the super fast inline twist that always catches you
> out for surprise.

Yes, that is a good one, and it does often surprise, for some reason!

> Runaway mine train
> Overall score of the day: 5.5 out of 10 (just a bit to
> boring for my liking)

Yes, I agree, although it's actually incredibly intense. The direction change can throw you about more than anything else there.

> Spinball Whizzer
> Overall score of the day: 8.5 out of 10 (I think it scores
> a lot because of the laughing)

I look forward to trying this too.

> Haunted Hallow
> We then got to a
> crypt where you walk in and close the curtain behind you.
> Inside is a plain black wall. (it does say something on the
> outside but I cant remember what it said) Now a couple
> walked in before us and they got the full whack. We got in,
> had to wait for ages and got bored so we moved on.
> Apparently something jumps out at you, but that’s coming
> from the couple who went in.

Ooh, I didn't know anything about that whatsoever.

Anyway, Brad, very interesting as usual! I agree with most of your coaster scores, especially 9/10 for Air - it's a great ride!

Re: Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2 by brad brad Profile at 10/14/07 1:14:43 PM

>> Rita Queen of Speed
> After about a 5 minute
> wait we were sitting in rita’s cramped yet quite cosy
> seats.

> Have you been on Colossus at Thorpe Park? If so, how do
> they compare to that? Also, what does the launch feel like
> to you?

I think if you really have to compare the seats to anything, stealth is the best option because it has the exact same type of cars, minus a few alterations to the design on the outside. I have been on collosus. I can't really remember it well but from the back of my knowledge, rita has the nicer seats. The seats on rita are quite upright, but thats only because of the launch.
The launch itself, i have got to say felt (for some strange reason) more powerful than stealth!! But to be fair its been a while since i've ridden stealth so who knows anymore!! :)

> Ooh, I didn't know anything about that whatsoever.

Oh whoops ... sorry if i've spolied it for you ... i really should have put a spoiler alert on there!!

Brad

Re: Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2 by Cal at 10/16/07 10:14:32 AM

Stealth is more powerful than Rita, but Rita still packs a punch. I haven't tried the big American rides but I've done Speed Monster and Kanonen and our two have more intense launches than those two.

Re: Alton Towers behind the scenes tour part 2 by d_n_s_u at 10/19/07 2:52:55 PM

Great TR..Hey..and Flaming Brick is / was a great name! :-)