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Alton Towers 23rd/24th June 2019

Matt N

Well-Known Member
23rd June 2019
Hi guys. Today, I returned to Alton Towers for the first time this year, and I'm staying in the hotel tonight and going on park again tomorrow, so this will be a 2 day report! As many of you probably know, I have visited Alton Towers many times over the years. But these 2 days have a bit of a twist, as I've brought my nan with me who hasn't been since 1998, so I was interested to see her thoughts on the park 21 years on. Due to this, we had a fun time doing some of the attractions we don't often do at Alton Towers! We left at about 7:30 this morning and got to Alton at about 10am after a somewhat eventful drive through the country lanes, we arrived. After a 15 minute walk to the park, I knew that I was back at Alton Towers when I saw this wonderful view:

Now, we learned that Wicker Man would unfortunately be closed today. This was a minor blow initially, as it was one of the main rides we were convinced my nan would like, but we weren't going to let this stop us! With that attitude, we headed up to Dark Forest to ride...
Thirteen
Now, Thirteen was on a 50 minute queue when we went and joined it, but it was only 35 minutes in the end, which is always a plus! The tesla coil in the queue was also working well! So, how was the ride? Well, we were sat in row 7 and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I got some reasonably good floater airtime over the first drop and a couple of minor spots elsewhere, as well as a great sense of whip! That's why I love to sit towards the back of Thirteen; it may not be one of my all-time favourite coasters, but it's always smooth and enjoyable, and I consider it somewhat underrated, so what else can you really ask for from a family coaster? As for my nan, let's just say she sounded concerned when I said "did you like the first bit?" and seemed as though the drop took her by surprise! She enjoyed the ride overall, however:


After Thirteen, we headed out of Dark Forest to ride...
Hex: The Legend of the Towers
Hex looked relatively quiet, so we decided to wander in. The good thing about Hex is that it always seems to be quiet, so it's a reliable ride to go on for a walk-on queue most of the time! So, how was the ride? Well, I always enjoy Hex for the immersive aspects of the experience as well as the actual madhouse portion itself, and today was no different! However, my nan wasn't a fan of the sensation on the ride itself. Hex is certainly a hidden gem worth checking out, in my opinion:

After Hex, we took a pleasant journey on the Skyride over to Forbidden Valley, where we got a drink before me and my mum rode...
Nemesis
Nemesis was on a 45 minute queue, so me and my mum joined it. My nan skipped this one, as she doesn't like really intense rides with loads of inversions; she looked horrified just watching the vertical loop in particular! So, how was the ride! Well, we were in row 7, and I thought it was just as brilliant as ever, definitely holding its own as my #5 coaster:

After Nemesis, my mum tried to coerce my nan into riding Galactica to no avail before we headed back over to Katanga Canyon to ride...
Runaway Mine Train
Now, I was interested to reride Runaway Mine Train, as I hadn't been on it since 2017. The queue was 45 minutes, and after a while, we were on! So, how was it? Well, it was fun and surprisingly fast as always! My nan loved it, too! For me, the Runaway Mine Train will always be a special ride, being my first coaster, and it's still my favourite of the 4 powered coasters I've done by a considerable distance! For the best ride, I'd suggest heading towards the back:


After our fun ride on the Runaway Mine Train, we walked a short distance to the entrance of...
Congo River Rapids
Congo River Rapids was on a 60 minute queue, so we decided to join it. Now, I was interested to see what Congo River Rapids was like, as I last rode in 2017 just after the waterfalls were turned off. So, how was it? Well, I thought it was still fun despite the lack of waterfalls; even though I stayed relatively dry, my mum and nan got wetter and the people sat with us got quite wet! It was certainly an enjoyable ride for everyone!

After that, we got an ice cream and gazed upon a closed Wicker Man:


Even though the ride was closed, I still think it looked very impressive, and I must say that it was the quietest I've ever seen the area! The official reason from the ride hosts was "maintenance" from what we could hear them saying, but I've heard that it is awaiting a replacement part. Hopefully it'll operate again soon!

After eating our ice cream and gazing upon Wicker Man for a bit, we headed down into Mutiny Bay, where me and my nan rode...
Marauder's Mayhem
Marauder's Mayhem was on a 10 minute queue, so my nan and I thought it might be fun to ride on our way out! I haven't done Marauder's Mayhem in a number of years, so I was interested to see what it was like. So, how was the ride? Well, I found it very fun, although my nan found it exhausting spinning the barrel! She seemed to enjoy it, though:

After that, we headed out of the park on the monorail.

So, in conclusion, I had a lovely day at Alton Towers today! Even though I may not have had the most extreme day, it was nice to take my nan on some of the more familiar attractions to me, as well as experiencing some of the attractions we don't experience as often when we come as a family!

I hope you enjoyed today's trip report! I'm heading off soon to eat in the Rollercoaster Restaurant before sleeping in the Alton Towers Hotel and spending another day on park tomorrow, which I will be reporting on!
 

Kw6sTheater

Member
It sounded like you had a great time, @Matt N! I just visited Calaway Park yesterday, so I'm busy writing up the trip report for that (which I hope to post in the coming week or two. On another note CrashCoaster told me that he went to Alton Towers 2 days ago, and like during your visit Wicker Man was also closed for him.
 

Hutch

Active Member
I neeeed more Nemesis in my life. It's been five years and it's stayed firm in my Top 5 since (and out of my Top 10 creds, I've gone the longest without riding it). That ride was just perfection to me at the time and I was able to marathon it (so many back row rides <3). I imagine it still rides the same, it was already 20 years old when I rode it so it's aged incredibly well. Question is does it still hold up now that I'm more experienced?

I loved Alton Towers though. I know a lot of you British goons are kind of over Merlin by now, but for someone who hasn't really done much outside of the US, Towers really surprised me. It's unlike any other park I've been to.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I loved Alton Towers though. I know a lot of you British goons are kind of over Merlin by now, but for someone who hasn't really done much outside of the US, Towers really surprised me. It's unlike any other park I've been to.
I still definitely love Alton Towers! I definitely think it's still my favourite theme park I've been to!

24th June 2019
I’m back again for day 2 at Alton Towers! After a good night’s sleep at the Alton Towers Hotel, we were ready to get back onto the park again for another day! We arrived at the entrance plaza at about 10am when we were greeted by this view:

After we were through the turnstiles, we took a quick walk over to...
The Smiler
Even though it had only been open for a minute or two, The Smiler had somehow already amassed a 30 minute queue, so we thought it best to join then. My nan did not join us on this ride as she doesn't like inversions; her apprehensive reaction of "oh my god..." upon seeing The Smiler just about sums it up! Me and my mum queued for the ride in the pouring rain, but it had thankfully lightened up by the time we were on. So, how was it? Well, we were put in row 2, and I would say it was probably one of the rougher rides I've had on The Smiler, unfortunately! Despite that, I still think The Smiler is a good coaster to some extent, as the layout itself is quite well designed, and I certainly wouldn't say that it felt as unbearably rough as Speed or Saw. I'd say that The Smiler has a sort of consistent rattle going along the track with a couple of somewhat hard jolts as opposed to constant head banging. That may well also be down to my own rider error, as my mum insists that The Smiler isn't rough and that I'm not riding it right:

After our ride on The Smiler, we headed over to Dark Forest to ride...
Thirteen
Thirteen was on a considerably shorter queue than it was yesterday, at 10 minutes, so we thought we may as well join! It was certainly quieter around the area than it was yesterday, although the tesla coil wasn't working today. As for the ride itself, I was seated in row 5 and it was just as fun as it was yesterday! I do always enjoy Thirteen and today was no exception; my nan and mum loved it too! After Thirteen, we took the Skyride over to Forbidden Valley to ride...
Nemesis
Nemesis was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so I decided to join it. Now, I rode Nemesis on my own, as my mum is not a Nemesis fan and my nan didn't ride it for obvious reasons. As I was queueing on my own; I decided to do something I would never normally do when with my family; I decided to get into the front row queue and wait for the front row! So, how was my front row Nemesis experience? Well, I thought it was absolutely immense! The ride somehow felt even more forceful on the front row; I'd definitely say it was one of the best rides I've ever had on Nemesis, if not the best! Controversially, I think the front row is definitely my row of choice on Nemesis now:

After Nemesis, I met back up with my mum and nan and we headed to Katanga Canyon to ride...
Runaway Mine Train
Compared to yesterday, Runaway Mine Train had a pretty much non-existent queue, so we thought it would be rude not to join it! We were seated relatively near to the back, and as I said yesterday, it was an immensely enjoyable ride for all that will always be special to me:

After our fun ride on Runaway Mine Train, we headed for a little walk around Sharkbait Reef. I didn't take any pictures, but I must say that it is a very nicely done aquarium with some nice theming! After this, we were originally going to head home, but my mum noticed that the only credit I didn't have in Alton Towers was on a 0 minute queue, so we quickly headed to ride...
Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure
Now, Octonauts has been a credit that's been bugging me for the last 4 years ever since it opened; it was always so annoying knowing that I didn't have the complete set of Alton Towers coasters considering I'd been so much! Due to this, I thought that I may as well seize the opportunity of Octonauts having a short queue as my only time of ever having to ride it in order to get the credit; regular visitors to Alton Towers will know that an Octonauts queue that short is extremely rare! The queue ended up not quite being walk-on, but it was only 1 or 2 trains long; certainly better than the queues in excess of an hour that the ride typically gets! So, how was the ride? Well, I must say that for a junior coaster, it was a perfectly nice ride! Very smooth and enjoyable for what it is, with some nice theming! However, it is definitely one of the coasters that falls into the category of "ride once for the credit and probably never ride again" for me:

After that, we ate lunch before heading home.

So all in all, I had a very nice 2 days at Alton Towers, and I hope you've all enjoyed my 2 trip reports! It was nice to get back on some of the attractions I hadn't been on in a while as well as the regulars, and it was nice to take my nan to the park with me! She seemed to really enjoy it; she particularly liked the Rollercoaster Restaurant yesterday evening! Even though I've visited Alton Towers many times over the years, I still believe that there are very few places I would rather spend a day at!
 

TPSou

Member
I neeeed more Nemesis in my life. It's been five years and it's stayed firm in my Top 5 since (and out of my Top 10 creds, I've gone the longest without riding it). That ride was just perfection to me at the time and I was able to marathon it (so many back row rides
I loved Alton Towers though. I know a lot of you British goons are kind of over Merlin by now, but for someone who hasn't really done much outside of the US, Towers really surprised me. It's unlike any other park I've been to.
I think a lot of Brits are just a bit sad that it used to be so magical and exciting and Merlin (and Tussauds with their vending machines and money grabbing) kind of took away that magic quite a bit. It's still a great park and looks beautiful, but it's full of wasted opportunities and parts that are past their best.

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Hutch

Active Member
I think a lot of Brits are just a bit sad that it used to be so magical and exciting and Merlin (and Tussauds with their vending machines and money grabbing) kind of took away that magic quite a bit. It's still a great park and looks beautiful, but it's full of wasted opportunities and parts that are past their best.

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See, I actually felt the magic on my one and only visit. I had next to no knowledge on the actual setting of the place so I was just completely blown away by the atmosphere. The big open field, the Towers in the distance, the huge gardens, these are all gorgeous places that I would not have expected to see in a theme park.

Then of course you've got a solid line up of rides, some decently themed areas (some admittedly not as good... X-Sector), and good staff (at least as far as I could tell). But then it's the setting that really elevates the park a leg up from the other "good" parks. I think it was when I got lost on my way to the Dark Forest and stumbled into the gardens, which I didn't know existed, that I realized this a was a special park for me.

It also helps that I'm not too invested in all the corporate Merlin mayhem and it didn't really affect my visit at all.
 
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