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Project Horizon - New “indoor attraction” being built in Coaster Corner


Matt N
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Hi guys. I have exciting news; it appears that Alton Towers is holding a consultation about building an “indoor attraction” on the former site of the Alton Mouse, within Coaster Corner (the area behind World of David Walliams):

Those “in the know” apparently think that this is to be the next Secret Weapon.

 

I’ve got to say, I think this is brilliant news! A new indoor attraction will definitely add some variety to Alton Towers’ lineup, which should hopefully allay recent concerns about the park lacking filler rides! With this being in/near TWODW, I doubt that it’ll be anything too thrilling, but I think the park needs more middle-ground things with a more universal appeal at present, so I don’t think that really matters myself.


My personal hunch is that this will be a dark ride or some form of indoor family coaster, but I could be wrong there.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

The consultation is on 19th September.

 

Also, just as a note for the moderators, I made a separate topic for this because it’s not confirmed that this is anything to do with SW9 despite the rumours, so I thought I’d better be safe rather than sorry. If you’d rather this be in with the SW9 discussion, though, I apologise.

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  • Matt N changed the title to New “indoor attraction” being built in Coaster Corner

@Matt N it sounds like this indoor attraction will be an expansion of The World Of David Williams. I would expect a Flying Theatre themed to Grandpa’s Great Escape. My other theory is that the Alton Towers Dungeons are being extended. This could be why work is happening with Nemesis Sub-Terra. My rationale is the Drop Towers could be relocated to the expansion. Many Dungeon attractions have a Drop Tower that simulates a hanging. If Nemesis Sub-Terra had its Drop Towers removed,Alton Towers could add this experience.

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1 hour ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Matt N it sounds like this indoor attraction will be an expansion of The World Of David Williams. I would expect a Flying Theatre themed to Grandpa’s Great Escape. My other theory is that the Alton Towers Dungeons are being extended. This could be why work is happening with Nemesis Sub-Terra. My rationale is the Drop Towers could be relocated to the expansion. Many Dungeon attractions have a Drop Tower that simulates a hanging. If Nemesis Sub-Terra had its Drop Towers removed,Alton Towers could add this experience.

I'm not personally sure it'll be either, having read around a bit.

 

I initially cottoned onto Walliams as well, but the area in which this attraction is being built is pretty far away from Walliams World; I was told that you likely wouldn't even be able to see Walliams from the old Mouse site, so it was unlikely to be a Walliams addition.

 

As for a Dungeons expansion; I'd highly doubt that myself. This building will be a fair old walk from the Alton Towers Dungeon building, so this expansion would either have to be massive (it would need to more than double the size of the attraction), or it would need to have some very long, convoluted way of connecting it to the rest of the Dungeons complex.

 

And even putting aside the stumbling block of the location, the Dungeons haven't exactly been a roaring success; the attraction doesn't seem very highly attended at all, from what I gather, so I'd be surprised if an expansion was on the cards myself.

 

I could be wrong, however; those are just my thoughts.

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Interesting times!

 

Didn’t expect it, but great news it’s an indoor attraction.

 

There is quite a lot of room back there isn’t there?

I’d absolutely LOVE for this to be the next secret weapon coaster - something along the lines of Revenge of the Mummy at Universal would be the dream but who knows!

The timescales feel right for the SW cogs to be turning.

 

A flying theatre or other type would be cool too though.

 

I can’t see the Dungeons sticking around - perhaps they could go soon to make more space? That would be a decent space for a secret weapon, and bring some life to a bit of a dead spot  area of the park.

 

interesting times!

 

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I've been on Google Earth scoping this area out and doing some comparisons with existing attractions to gauge some idea of what kind of space we have to play with here.

 

From what I could ascertain from a helpful guide that I saw elsewhere online, the Mouse site alone is around 1,795 square metres, the combined area available in and around both the Alton Mouse and the Alton Beast sites is around 4,005 square metres, and the Adventureland 4-11 space is roughly 2,005 square metres (could be a bit more if you felled the trees separating Adventureland 4-11 and Coaster Corner).

 

The whole combined area, if everything is amalgamated together and things like trees in the middle aren't considered (I didn't include the trees separating A4-11 and CC in either measurement) is around 7,079 square metres, but as I said, that is in very broad brush terms and literally includes everything within those 3 areas. I did exclude Merlin Magic Making to the North East, the Flag Tower to the North West, and the historic monument to the South, however, so it does take into account some of the boundaries faced.

 

For some idea, let's look at some existing indoor attractions as points of comparison:

Alton Towers' Other Dark Rides

  • Alton Towers Dungeon: 2,951 square metres
  • Duel (excluding garden queue line and Gloomy Wood area): 3,080 square metres
  • Nemesis Sub-Terra (excluding queue line): 743 square metres
  • Gangsta Granny (excluding outdoor queue line): 881 square metres

Other Merlin-Built Dark Rides/Areas

  • Derren Brown's Ghost Train (Thorpe Park): 3,680 square metres
  • Flight of the Sky Lion (Legoland Windsor): 869 square metres (Sky Lion alone), 4,627 square metres (entirety of Lego Mythica)
  • Lego Ninjago: The Ride (Legoland Windsor): 1,916 square metres (Lego Ninjago: The Ride alone), 2,843 square metres (entirety of Lego Ninjago World)
  • Ghostbusters 5D (Heide Park): 1,746 square metres (possibly excluding queue line)

Worldwide Enclosed/Indoor Coasters

  • The Walking Dead: The Ride (Thorpe Park): 2,563 square metres (excluding queue line)
  • Van Helsing's Factory (Movie Park Germany): 3,859 square metres
  • Movie Park Studio Tour (Movie Park Germany): 5,943 square metres
  • Arthur: The Ride (Europa Park): 6,185 square metres (rough measurement of entire area)
  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain (Disneyland Paris): 6,545 square metres
  • Revenge of the Mummy (Universal Studios Florida): 9,358 square metres (rough measurement of entire building)
  • Rock'n'Rollercoaster (Disney's Hollywood Studios): 11,552 square metres (rough measurement of entire area)
  • Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom): 12,183 square metres (dome alone)
  • Vogel Rok (Efteling): 3,987 square metres (possibly excluding some queue line)
  • Crazy Bats (Phantasialand): 5,953 square metres
  • CanCan Coaster (Europa Park): 1,985 square metres

Worldwide Dark Rides

  • Symbolica (Efteling): 4,273 square metres (possibly excluding some queue line)
  • Piraten in Batavia (Europa Park): 4,658 square metres (roughly... knowing the design of that Scandinavia/Holland area, god only knows if this is right...)
  • Curse of DarKastle (Busch Gardens Williamsburg): 4,280 square metres
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Universal's Islands of Adventure): 5,732 square metres
  • Transformers: The Ride (Universal Studios Florida): 3,079 square metres
  • Valhalla (Blackpool Pleasure Beach): 3,479 square metres
  • Challenge of Tutankhamon (Walibi Belgium): 2,816 square metres
  • Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin (SeaWorld Orlando): 4,643 square metres (ride building alone), 7,698 square metres (entire Antarctica realm)
  • Hotel Transylvania (Motiongate Dubai): 3,672 square metres (including facade)

In essence... I think they have a pretty big area to play with here! Bigger than any other Alton dark ride by a fair margin, and on par with some true dark ride and enclosed coaster heavyweights at other parks!

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19 hours ago, Matt N said:

initially cottoned onto Walliams as well, but the area in which this attraction is being built is pretty far away from Walliams World; I was told that you likely wouldn't even be able to see Walliams from the old Mouse site, so it was unlikely to be a Walliams addition.

@Matt N the site of this new Indoor attraction is very near to The World Of David Williams. When The World Of David Williams was The Land Of Make Believe this plot was part of the area. On old Alton Towers parks maps you’ll see that The Alton Beast,Wild Mouse and Big Apple were part of this area. I hope this development doesn’t receive objections at the Public Consultations. I say this as the mentioned Rollercoasters closed due to local residents complaining. Hopefully over  30 years later these residents have died/moved house. I think it’s pathetic to complain about noise from a Theme Park. Due to their nature noise is generated at these attractions. If you don’t like noise don’t move in close proximity to a Theme Park. Alternatively move away. It’s the residents that are at fault not the Theme Park. I’m surprised John Broome the then owner of Alton Towers didn’t complain about the local residents.

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1 hour ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Matt N the site of this new Indoor attraction is very near to The World Of David Williams. When The World Of David Williams was The Land Of Make Believe this plot was part of the area. On old Alton Towers parks maps you’ll see that The Alton Beast,Wild Mouse and Big Apple were part of this area. I hope this development doesn’t receive objections at the Public Consultations. I say this as the mentioned Rollercoasters closed due to local residents complaining. Hopefully over  30 years later these residents have died/moved house. I think it’s pathetic to complain about noise from a Theme Park. Due to their nature noise is generated at these attractions. If you don’t like noise don’t move in close proximity to a Theme Park. Alternatively move away. It’s the residents that are at fault not the Theme Park. I’m surprised John Broome the then owner of Alton Towers didn’t complain about the local residents.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think the Alton Mouse or Alton Beast (the coasters which this attraction is replacing) were ever part of that area. They were part of an area colloquially referred to as Coaster Corner, which wasn't part of Talbot Street and is actually quite a walk from the area that is now The World of David Walliams (was Talbot Street back then).

 

The Mini Apple was part of a separate kids' area called Adventureland 4-11 until 1992, when it became part of that area.

 

In terms of objections; I'd like to think that the possibility of it being objected to is low simply due to the attraction being indoors. An indoor attraction will lower noise levels significantly, which was a key factor in the demise of the original Coaster Corner.

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To be honest I can’t think of a good reason why anyone would object to an indoor ride, especially if the building can’t be seen easily from the neighbouring villages.  It really is the ultimate compromise.

A large building would also act as a sound barrier between the other rides and the park boundary, so even better really.

 

Merlin have seriously changed gear since going private. So much going on!

 

Towers and Thorpe might be in a bad way now, but the level of investment planned for the next few years is like nothing we’ve seen for many years.

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6 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Matt N  I think it’s pathetic to complain about noise from a Theme Park. Due to their nature noise is generated at these attractions. If you don’t like noise don’t move in close proximity to a Theme Park. Alternatively move away. It’s the residents that are at fault not the Theme Park. I’m surprised John Broome the then owner of Alton Towers didn’t complain about the local residents.

 

Back in the 80's Towers went from garden with the odd slide to a fully fledged amusement park. The locals already lived there and yes it caused massive issues. In the times we live in, things are very different and the locals seem much more forgiving of the noise from Towers. That being said, Nemesis received noise complaints in 2009 because of new wheels being louder.

 

It just makes sense for Towers to get on with its neighbours. They know the value Towers brings to the area but their lives shouldn't be ruined by the park either.

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I honestly don't think I could live in the surrounding area (a uni friend does these days), the amount of traffic over the peak season would affectively control your spare time and considering how bad the access to the park actually is to boot.

 

Most of the neighbours have probably lived there since before it became a proper theme park. Got to play nicely otherwise it makes any future developments even harder to push through.

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The other thing to note is that for many people living in the immediate vicinity of Alton Towers, it may not simply be a case of “dealing with it” when it comes to living near a theme park.

 

Some residents may have lived there since before the site became a nationally renowned theme park.

 

Also, some residents may not like the theme park aspect, but may consider having Alton Towers in their back garden a worthy sacrifice to get other benefits, such as close proximity to friends and family, jobs etc.

 

A lot of enthusiasts always say “if you don’t like living near a theme park, don’t live near a theme park”, but I don’t think it’s that simple.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Matt N changed the title to Project Horizon - New “indoor attraction” being built in Coaster Corner

The public exhibition was today, and TowersTimes was there to grab some info:

The project is being codenamed Project Horizon.

 

The building housing the ride will be 71m*46m, which equates to 3,266m2. There will also be an additional 40m*10m extension at the front of the building, which will take the overall building area including everything to 3,666m2.

 

For some idea, that is Towers’ largest dark ride building by a fair margin; Duel, including the indoor queue line, is about 3,000m2, possibly less. So this ride will be Towers’ biggest dark ride building by a margin of at least 20%.

 

Little else is known other than that.


I think an indoor coaster could still be a fair possibility myself.
 

Many are suggesting a flying theatre, but I think the building is too big for one myself; Flight of the Sky Lion takes up under 1,000 square metres of ground space (it’s surprisingly compact), so even if Towers got a second theatre, it would be no bigger than 2,000m2. This is over 3,000m2, closer to 3,500-4,000m2 including the entrance and queue line, so unless Towers built an inordinate amount of theatres (unlikely, in my opinion - even the Florida version of Soarin’ only recently added a 3rd theatre, with all the other Soarin’ clones having 2, so I’d be very surprised if Towers built the amount of theatres needed to make up over 3,000m2 of ground space), a flying theatre would take up too little ground space to fulfil the dimensions provided by Towers.

 

What do you guys think?

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I really do think it could be a flying theatre. Don't get me wrong, I would love for it not to be... but I just think at the moment all of the hints are pointing at it.

I hope the name is a red herring and actually has nothing to do with the ride at all.

 

Intamin have released a new 'Motion Tower' recently, which I think could be an option and looks like it could be scaled up and take up a whole lot of space.

Take a look at the demo here:

 

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I think the thing to remember with flying theatres is they are physically very tall; I believe Sky Lion's building is around 30m tall. 

 

Not to say this won't be a flying theatre / pair of theatres, or some variation thereof. But I'm not sure per se if the physical height of this building is something which suits that style of attraction?

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8 minutes ago, Trooper Looper said:

My money is on a new Dark ride maybe. The building is the same size as Valhallas...

 

Who wouldn't want another Valhalla like attraction in the country!!

 

Not forgetting that Alton is in dire need of a new water ride now - The Flume was bloody brilliant (granted, Wicker Man is even better) but now all that we have is the rapids, and even that is a shadow of its former self.

 

I would absolutely love a Valhalla style dark water-ride and I'm crossing everything I've got that's what it's going to be!

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For anyone interested, documents have been uploaded to the EIA application. Here’s a link to the EIA letter: http://publicaccess.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/portal/servlets/AttachmentShowServlet?ImageName=313746

 

The project description describes a 4,000m2 aluminium warehouse, which will be up to 75m*57m in ground space dimensions and up to 20m tall.

 

That’s very tall for a dark ride… for some idea, Sky Lion’s building is 13m tall, and DBGT’s is 10m tall.

 

I also feel that the building is too large in terms of ground space for something like a flying theatre; Sky Lion is actually very compact, and takes up less than 1,000m2 of ground space, so even a double theatre version probably wouldn’t be any larger than 2,000m2 or so. This is 4,000m2; larger than any other dark ride building on park (Duel, the current largest, is about 3,000m2), and also larger than DBGT (2,306m2 according to the planning application). Would a flying theatre, even one with 2 theatres, really take up that much ground space?

 

It could be a dark ride, but my money is on an indoor family coaster of some sort; the building area could definitely accommodate one, and a 20m building height sounds more “coaster” than “dark ride” to me.

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