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Alton Towers 7th/8th August 2022 (7th August 2022: Alton Towers Day 1)


Matt N

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7th August 2022: Alton Towers Day 1

Hi guys. Today was the first day of my latest 2 day Alton Towers trip, which is always an exciting day, particularly when your break entails a stay in the Alton Towers Hotel! I know it’s only been two months since my last trip to Alton Towers, but I got offered a theme park trip of my choice for my birthday this year by my parents, and as I had a nice time at Alton in June, I thought “why not go back there?”!

 

We left home at about 7:15am this morning and got to the park in good time, arriving through the hotel entrance shortly after the 10am opening time. I’ve got to say, that hotel entrance has become a real secret weapon on my last two Alton Towers trips; it saves a huge amount of time getting into the park, which is always a bonus:

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After entering the park, we headed to our first ride…

Galactica

Galactica was on an advertised 0 minute queue, so we decided to take a ride on it. As promised, the queue was very short indeed, which is always a bonus. The operations were also very good, with a throughput of comfortably over 1,000pph being attained on 3 trains and 2 stations; terrific work! So, how was the ride? Well, Galactica isn’t a favourite of mine, as I find the flying position a bit uncomfortable, but I’ve got to say that today’s ride was one of the more fun I’ve had on it in recent times; I was seated in row 4, and it was really smooth, with some fun sensations! All in all, that ride on Galactica was about as good as I could have asked for given that the ride isn’t really one of my favourites:

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After Galactica, we tried the other Forbidden Valley B&M…

Nemesis

Nemesis was on an advertised 25 minute queue, and as such, we decided to give it a ride. Ultimately, the queue ended up being more like 45-50 minutes once we joined; it was only stretching up to below the first corkscrew, but dispatches were infrequent, and me and my dad later ascertained that this was because the ride was on 1 train and attaining around 500-600pph. The park decided to add the 2nd train whilst we were in the queue, which added another 10 minutes or so onto our queue time but ultimately sped up the pace of the queue after that. Interestingly, we encountered a rather angry staff member at the Fastrack merge point, who later got moved elsewhere due to them getting overly animated at guests’ behaviour. I’ve never seen that at Towers before… anyway, how was the actual ride? Well, it was good! I was seated in row 5, and it was fairly smooth, well paced and forceful; what’s not to like? As much as I may not hold Nemesis on the same god-like pedestal that most enthusiasts do, today’s ride was very good indeed; it certainly packed a very good punch:

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After Nemesis, we decided to head for a slightly longer stroll to ride…

Wicker Man

Wicker Man was on an advertised 50 minute queue, so we decided to have a ride on it. This queue time was very accurate, which is always a plus, and it appeared that the bulb in the pre-show had been fixed since my last visit, meaning that its tricks were obscured from guest view once again; good work, Alton! But how was the ride? Well, it was phenomenal; I was seated in row 8, and it was relentlessly fast, packed with airtime, smooth and overall very fun! That definitely cemented its place as my personal favourite ride on park, my UK #2 and my overall #5; I always feel like I shouldn’t enjoy Wicker Man nearly as much as I do, but it never fails to have me laughing and feeling blown away when I hit the brake run! As blasphemous as this probably sounds, I genuinely get almost as much enjoyment from riding it as I did from riding Wodan at Europa Park back in April! Even though it’s not nearly as impressively specced as Wodan on paper, it’s just so much fun and so rerideable, and even though Wodan does come out on top for me, the gap between the two remains far smaller than I ever expect; there’s really not a whole lot in it for me! Perhaps I just really like GCIs in general?:

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After Wicker Man, it was getting on for 1pm, so we decided to sit down in the courtyard for a spot of packed lunch before heading to our next ride…

Thirteen

Thirteen was on an advertised 50 minute queue, so we decided to get in the queue and have a ride. This queue didn’t end up being anywhere near 50 minutes, and operations were good; always a bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 2, and it was good fun, with some fun twists and turns in the outdoor section and a cracking indoor section that’s always a laugh; it was lovely and smooth, as well! However, having ridden it both towards the back and towards the front in recent months, I must say that I definitely prefer Thirteen towards the back. That cracking pop of ejector airtime over the first drop is missing in the front, and the outdoor section generally feels a bit more fun in the back. Nevertheless, Thirteen is always a really good, fun ride that puts a smile on my face, and it’s definitely one that’s grown on me over time:

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After Thirteen, we initially considered Rita, but it had a 75 minute queue, so we went elsewhere…

The Smiler

In spite of a 60 minute advertised queue, I decided to give Smiler a go. Now you may be wondering “why on earth did you do Smiler when you’re not a huge fan of it and it had the longest queue on park?”. Well, dear reader, that is where a secret weapon of mine came into play; the single rider queue! I made use of this for the first time on my last visit to Alton Towers, and it is truly a game changer; it reduces my wait time substantially every time I use it, and today was no different! In spite of a 60 minute advertised queue time, I got on the ride within 5-10 minutes, which I thought was brilliant! So, how was the ride? Well, Smiler isn’t really a favourite of mine, as I find it a bit too rough and intense for my personal liking, and today’s ride was pretty par for the course in this regard. However, it admittedly didn’t seem quite as rough as it did on my last ride; always a bonus, particularly given that I was seated on the back row! I do always feel bad for Smiler, though; it’s a coaster I really want to like, as I think there’s some good bits in there (the layout is admittedly creative, and those two airtime hills are absolutely amazing!), but it never really does it for me due to a combination of it not being the most comfortable ride and the back-to-back inversions almost creating a repetitive motion-type sickness feeling for me akin to that caused by a particularly intense spinning flat ride (I’m not a huge flat ride lover myself). I apologise for this, as I know that most enthusiasts love Smiler, but I cannot lie about my own opinions and experiences:

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After The Smiler, I met back up with my parents, and we moved on to the other coaster in X-Sector…

Oblivion

Oblivion was on a mere 15 minute advertised queue time, so we certainly couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a ride! This short advertised queue time certainly held true; it didn’t take us long to get on at all, which was aided by some very good operations. A throughput of over 1,000pph was being attained when I was in the queue, which is phenomenal, in my opinion; well done, team Oblivion! But how was the ride? Well, I’ve got to say that as ever, the other X-Sector coaster is far more up my street; it was particularly excellent today, with an absolutely sublime pop of sustained airtime over the drop and a phenomenal sense of speed in the tunnel. Even though it isn’t the fastest coaster I’ve ridden (that accolade goes to Stealth at 80mph), Oblivion always feels like it could conceivably be the fastest coaster I’ve ridden; that tunnel feels unbelievably fast! Overall, Oblivion was absolutely excellent, and definitely warranted its top 10 placement for me today; it may only have one key element, but it does it so well that it always leaves me grinning:

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After our ride on Oblivion, we fancied something slightly less thrilling…

Congo River Rapids

Congo River Rapids was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go as a slightly more relaxing ride to break up the coaster rides. The queue initially looked long when we joined, but it moved quickly, so the advertised queue time was actually pretty accurate. The good thing about rapids rides is that they are almost invariably queue munchers; CRR was dispatching a boat roughly every 15 seconds or so, making for a throughput of about 1,800pph if you assume full boats of 8. They also seemed pretty good at filling boats today, so this throughput figure likely wasn’t too far off despite rapids rides’ tendency to often dispatch with boats that are far from full. So, how was the ride? Well, it was all right for a nice sit down; as a way to relax, I can’t really complain about it! However, I do feel that the ride is considerably less exciting than it once was due to the removal of the waterfalls and many of the wave machines; I don’t really have an issue with it not being a huge soaker given our climate, but the opportunities to get even a slight spray on the ride are slim to none these days, and my parents and I both felt somewhat short changed upon getting off. I appreciate that this is out of the park’s hands, so I’m probably being overly harsh, but the ride is definitely less of a priority on our agenda than it once was due to these changes. Still, it was perfectly all right for a relaxing ride in between coasters, and it was nice to get back on it after quite a bit of time without a ride:

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After our ride on Congo River Rapids, we had a reride on Wicker Man, with a tempting 40 minute queue. I was seated in row 8, and it was just as sublime as our earlier ride, if not more so; it had warmed up superbly from earlier in the day:

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After this, my parents left the park and left me to my own devices. I went on to ride…

Spinball Whizzer

Spinball Whizzer was on an advertised 25 minute queue, so I decided to take a ride on it. The queue did end up longer than 25 minutes, taking more like 45-50 minutes, but this can’t really be helped; what can you do? So, how was the ride? Well, Spinball isn’t a ride I overly rate, and today wasn’t really an exception to that rule, I’m afraid; spinning rides aren’t my favourite anyway, as I have quite a low tolerance for spin, and Spinball is quite a jerky ride, so definitely isn’t the most comfortable of experiences. Still, that’s more down to my personal preference than anything overly wrong with Spinball; it solidly fills a family thrill coaster hole in Alton’s lineup, and even if it isn’t my personal favourite, I’m glad I got to ride it:

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After getting off Spinball Whizzer, I had a reride on Oblivion. The airtime wasn’t quite as strong this time due to me getting a pretty thorough stapling into the restraint, but the ride was still excellent nonetheless:

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After my reride on Oblivion, I closed out the day with another ride on Wicker Man. I was seated in row 3 this time, and despite being very near the front, the ride was still relentless and brilliantly thrilling and fun like it had been earlier; Wicker Man is a ride that always clicks for me regardless of where I’m sat:

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After that, I left the park and headed back to the Alton Towers Hotel:

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So, that was the first day of our trip to Alton Towers! The park was undeniably busy today, but I still got on 11 rides, which I was really chuffed with! I was also chuffed as always with how some of my favourites were riding; Wicker Man was as phenomenal as ever, and still easily my favourite on park, Oblivion seemed particularly awesome today, Thirteen was great fun, Nemesis was good… it was an excellent day all round!

 

Thanks for reading! I’ll post the 2nd part tomorrow once I’ve had my 2nd day in the park!

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9 hours ago, planenut said:

Great write up Matt. My kids have been brought up to "eat in the queue, don't lose ride time" and I am pleased that my grandson is being educated the same way.

 

Thank you!

 

Yes, that's a strategy we often lean towards; you don't want riding time going to waste! To make things even more efficient, we also take packed lunch to save both money and time queueing at a park food outlet.

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On 8/8/2022 at 9:46 PM, Matt N said:

Thank you!

 

Yes, that's a strategy we often lean towards; you don't want riding time going to waste! To make things even more efficient, we also take packed lunch to save both money and time queueing at a park food outlet.

Likewise there, and we had a rule if one wanted the loo, we all went, which meant there was no searching for each other, nor the aggravation of trying to rejoin others already in queues by persuading people that you should be allowed through.

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