Sunday 11th June 2017
The day started with a slow wait for the monorail, however when we arrived at the park entrance it became obvious how quiet the park was.
The day started off with a ride on Octonauts (cred), then a few rides on The Smiler & Oblivion before trying out the refurbished Hex (more about this later on). We managed most rides multiple times however unfortunately missed out on Congo River Rapids and RMT - due to Galactica's awfully managed queue taking much longer than expected.
A few thoughts from the day;
Towers Street looks great with the repainted buildings and frog fountain working, much better than it has done in the past few years.
The park was dead with no queues above 20 minutes (apart from Galactica), the pathways were very quiet throughout the park as well.
Really like the new park audio, it helps to create a fantastic atmosphere as you walk around the park and compliments the setting well.
Capacity was fairly good throughout the day, with most coasters on two trains despite the park being quiet.
Duel is looking better than it did last year but is still in need of some professional attention. It has all the makings of a great dark ride but is so poorly executed; take the screaming room for example, who's idea was it to light up the workings and walls rather than the faces?!
The Smiler wasn't rough however it was making some very concerning noises, not great for a ride that only opened in 2013 and has been SBNO for a lot of its time.
It was great to get back on Hex, still one of my favourite dark rides however I do feel it has lost some of its atmosphere as a result of the refurbishment.
The new audio system sounds "tinny" IMO and you can already hear the speakers struggling with the bass - they don't do the soundtrack justice like the old ones did. Also, the ambient track is too loud to be... ambient.
The new emergency tape is horrible, it's literally plastered all over the scenes and completely ruins the effect of the towers.
The first narrated voice (before the projected video) was skipped on both run-throughs, have they done away with this?
Finally, the octagon room didn't seem as effective as before, I think due to the fact the ambient lighting stayed on when the strobes were on.
Nice to see Hex back open - but not sure why these changes took a year and two closed seasons!
Galactica's queue management was awful, up there with the worst I've ever seen. We joined the queue which was advertised as 20 minutes; visibly it was just one corner into the station, which I have known to take 10 minutes in the past.
As we queued an announcement was playing - "Both stations are open with equal queue lengths. Please use both." Upon reaching the merge point the nearest station was closed with a backlog of people entering the queue for the other one. We joined this and it became very noticeable that the queue was hardly moving.
When we finally reached the station, I noticed there were several rows being left empty (), presumably due to broken headsets? The Fastrack queue was also huge.
It ended up taking well over an hour, which is frankly a disgrace given that it was advertised as 20 minutes, and we have queued 10 from the same point before. What a farce this ride has become.
The Smiler x7
Spinball Whizzer x3
- Getting back on Hex
- Low queue times throughout the day
- Park audio
- Galactica taking up far too much of the day
- Only four rides on Nemesis
- Lack of park entertainment
- Still feels like "diet" Alton Towers
- Staff making us walk all the way round on Thirteen despite the fact it was walk-on
Thanks for reading