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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Europe Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Alton towers behind the scenes tour review part 3

Alton towers behind the scenes tour review part 3

Posted: 12/11/07 at 9:11:55 AM
Views: 1673

Hello once again. I’m sorry this update has taken so long; it’s just that I have had a lot of coursework deadlines to keep up with. But anywho, I will now progress further on with my behind the scenes tour of Alton towers.

After meeting up with the group once again, we progressed into the towers suite. This is basically an executive dining area for businesses. Inside waiting for us was a huge buffet meal including jacket potatoes, pasta bake and salad. Around the outside of the room were tables with concept art and antique photos of Alton towers. After eating the lovely meal and helping myself to a huge chocolate brownie, I started to look at the surround art work. Some of the pieces were very intriguing. One of them included a cluedo style attraction incorporated into the towers. Basically it’s a walk through with a flash light. When you shine the torch at a certain object (a bust for instance) it will interact with you and talk to you to give you clues so you can solve the mystery. Interesting concept I must say, but the capacity must be horrible!! They also had concept for new shows which includes a fear factor show, but they called it something different.
There were also old concepts of oblivions station and lots of other neat things aswell. On the tables we were eating on were booklets on the technical specifications and effects of some of the rides. These included, duel, air, rita, nemesis, oblivion and runaway mine train. He said they were strictly confidential and weren’t allowed to be taken. But if he turned his back and saw that some of them disappeared he wouldn’t ask questions. Therefore, I took one of each ride. Great little souvenir!!

The buffet was great. We were so full that we thought the only way to burn those calories off was to go look at some more rides. Once out of the suite we headed round to the 3D cinema gate which leads out to the maintenance areas. Outside here, everything is just a huge green shed. The buildings were sheds, the sheds were even sheds!! We headed into a building (what I guess is one of the main buildings) and had a quick peak round all of that. Even got to meet a huge life size model of Barney the dinosaur. Did he used to be a sponsor because I swear he was? I think this area was the place where they hold all the interviews and training for staff.

We then left that building and went into the maintenance shed. My brother and dad were in heaven (aswell as me of course). This Is because all of us are engineers. It was so fascinating to see a dismantled spinball whizzer car. The head technician showed us everything about it. How the lapbars hold in place, where the sensors are in the car and just about everything you could think of. It was truly brilliant to see all the parts separated on the floor. Between us, my family actually managed to figure out which part went where and how it worked. This was the same for when we were queuing for air. We figured out how the seats manage to move from the flying position to the sitting position using the hydraulic pistons etc etc.
There were also a few other things in there including a beastie car and a boat from the riverbank eyespy.

After this shed, can u guess it??? Yes another green shed. This time it was for the skyride cars. Inside was a large room with the track of the skyride which the cars obviously go into when the day is over. The head technician said that Alton towers have always wondered whether to refurbish the ride or not. They have to see if the refurbishment will actually get them a profit or not before doing it. I guess now that the fire has happened, they generally have no choice.

After the maintenance area we walked through the back roads of Kataga canyon. Why they don’t build a path here I do not know because it was so much quicker to pass through on this route. It was actually quite humerous that everyone (and I mean everyone) was leaving the park because it was about to shut. Whilst they were walking out we were walking in the other direction. They must have wondered what the hell was going on.

We eventually arrived outside duel but instead of walking through the front door, we walked through the big wooden gates next to the building. There stood before us was …. A green shed. This was getting obvious now. We walked inside into the loading area and got briefed on how we walk along the track. The track in the middle is apparantely very fragile so we had to be very careful when walking along. The lights were on but it was still quite dark inside. The smoke from the machines was still flowing around us giving it a quite frightening feel. I was scared that they would turn on one of the effects as walked past it to frighten us. But thankfully that didn’t happen. The effects on the ride are rubbish when it isn’t dark. The bats that fly above you are no more than bats suspended on poles from a drum and the drum rotates. Not only that, the flying head that goes over you whilst screaming, it is literally a plastic (rubbish looking) head with a speak literally attached to the side of it on a large metal swing. The effect in the dark with a strobe light does the job though. The most detailed area was the graveyard where every bit is themed well. What was quite funny was the incorporation of old props with new. If you remember back to when duel was the haunted house you will remember the giant in the window? Also the hand of the giant in another window. Well now it is just the zombies upper body attached to the fingers of the giant. But because it is dark, you cant see it.
What was also quite weird was in one corner, there was a black headed bust. Now because it was black, and because it was dark and because it’s in a corner, what is the point? Even the ride operator didn’t know?!?
They then lead us into the parking bay for the duel cars and they opened one up for us to show the electronics. All I can say is….that’s damn crazy!!
Another funny point I must add is the on ride photo. The camera takes a picture by movement rather than a trigger sensor. So when we were walking round it, it kept taking photos. I bet in the morning when they started it up they had loads of pictures of us posing.

Once duel was over we trekked into forbiddon valley and went and looked at air. This was very interesting because they opened one of the backs of the cars. The amount of electronics in those cars is amazing. He also told us the reason why air breaks down so much. Its because it is too safe. They are so many sensors and triggers that if anything is slightly out, it will stop the ride. I guess this is a good thing because it is safer for the park. The bad thing is … well…. You have to wait longer!!! We also managed to go into the service area which was nothing too amazing but it was still cool to see all the parts.

Finally, the part of the tour I was waiting for. Nemesis!!
We walked through the exit of the ride and he began to tell us loads of facts about the ride and technical information. Did you know the ride actually has several bits retracked recently?
After this he asked if we wanted to go up the lift hill. Well, how could we object. So we started to climb the lift hill. I originally thought that this ride had a small lift hill. I was so wrong. The lift hill is huge. We eventually got to the apex and the views are just stunning. You can see over the entire track, all the countryside and all the car park. This truly was the highlight of everyones day at the behind the scenes tour. We were speechless. If any of you are thinking of doing this tour. Just do it. The nemesis lift hill is so worth every penny spent.

Well I think I’ll end it there. I hope you enjoyed the review because I’ve enjoyed writing it. Sorry it was so spaced out and long. But if any of you are thinking of doing the tour I strongly advise it.

My general highlights were:
Skipping the queue in fornt of everyone on Rita
Seeing the rita hydraulic launch
Seeing hex behind the scenes
Seeing duel behind the scenes
And finally nemesis lift hill.

If you want to see any pics don’t hesitate to drop me an email….i’ll be more than happy to show you them.

Thanks once again

Brad

Re: Alton towers behind the scenes tour review part 3 by Graeme Graeme Profile at 12/16/07 9:28:25 AM

> Interesting concept
> I must say, but the capacity must be horrible!! They also
> had concept for new shows which includes a fear factor
> show, but they called it something different.

Cluedo sounds interesting, but Fear Factor would be too tacky!

> These included, duel, air,
> rita, nemesis, oblivion and runaway mine train. He said
> they were strictly confidential and weren’t allowed to be
> taken. But if he turned his back and saw that some of them
> disappeared he wouldn’t ask questions. Therefore, I took
> one of each ride. Great little souvenir!!

Do you know how tall Air is from highest to lowest point?

> Even got to meet a
> huge life size model of Barney the dinosaur. Did he used to
> be a sponsor because I swear he was?

Rings a bell, yeah.

> What was also quite weird was in one corner, there was a
> black headed bust. Now because it was black, and because it
> was dark and because it’s in a corner, what is the point?
> Even the ride operator didn’t know?!?

Sounds like they once projected something onto it.

Anyway Brad, thanks for all the parts to this epic tour. The whole thing was fascinating. I now know so much about Alton Towers that I didn't.

Re: Alton towers behind the scenes tour review part 3 by britcitchris britcitchris Profile at 12/17/07 5:05:39 AM

Agreed. A great review, Brad. I hope to do the tour one day, especially after reading your review.

Regards.

Chris.