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The Curse at Alton Manor - NEW for 2023


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I don’t think it harms the ride in any aspect though.  Yes it seems like there’s a lot of Easter eggs on paper but when you ride the ride. You have to be pretty hardcore to notice it or get the reference. It gets the goons excited and fits with the story. I’d rather have eggs related to the park as the rides part of the park. Rather than generic branded stuff. 


John B gets praise because after years of DBGT and minor additions (all before his time) . He’s pretty much came in and owned these new attractions as the face of them and there’s direction now. Where there wasn’t before. He interacts with the fans, he’s visible to gander what people want and semi accountable for his attractions. 

John Wardley was always the poster boy for attractions. But as same as John Burton there were more people working on it than just these figure heads. 

I think people are excited for John B as it’s a new generation of attractions and he’s effectively learning from John W

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On 3/21/2023 at 9:53 AM, Glitch said:

Why does John Burton get so much credit / praise for everything. Yes he has creative direction but surely he's spread over so many projects at this point that there's teams of great people doing all the work but not getting any credit?

Is he the next John Wardley, seems like he's trying to fill those boots? 


I personally like that there seems to be a creative lead who has become the face of the attractions. It helps that he clearly has a passion for the parks and the products delivered. 


It's something that has been missing from Merlin since John Wardley semi-retired. I don't think John Burton is as creative or as entertainment minded as JW is. But I think the passion and enthusiasm is the same. You can always tell from an attraction when there's care and dedication poured into it. 

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On 3/21/2023 at 9:53 AM, Glitch said:

Why does John Burton get so much credit / praise for everything. Yes he has creative direction but surely he's spread over so many projects at this point that there's teams of great people doing all the work but not getting any credit?

This is most likely the exact same situation as when John Wardley was the creative lead at Tussauds. Creative projects like this always require massive teams, you only need to watch the recent documentary on The Haunted House to see that it was the product of a large creative team working together. 

The leaders on creative projects always get the lions share of praise (Or criticism!) because they are the public face of the project. It’s the same reason we revere film directors even though they’re one part of a larger team. John Wardley’s role in his projects is most likely over-estimated by quite a few enthusiasts.


Also, @Theme park Fanantic pre Tussauds, shops on Towers Street sold brands like Gucci and Cartier, among others. Pretty wild to think about designer brands being on sale at parks these days!

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Well, I rode this for the first time today! I'll admit that I initially struggled to coherently review the ride, and my actual first ride itself was a bit of a blur, but having watched a few POVs of the ride, I can better process what happened, and I now feel more at liberty to talk about it in a bit more depth.


Be warned; this review does contain spoilers of The Curse at Alton Manor. If you do not want spoilers, read no further.


Let me start with the area. Gloomy Wood looks brilliant; given that they haven't changed much, the area feels weirdly fleshed out and lively compared to how it did before, and I'm a big fan of the darker colour scheme that they've adopted with the facade and area buildings. It looks great!


As the ride was walk on when I did it, I didn't get to see an awful lot of the outdoor queue, but what I did see looked very nice. I particularly liked the copious amounts of smoke; this made it feel very ambient!


Moving onto the indoor queue; this hasn't changed a huge amount, but has been spruced up somewhat to fit the new theme. The vestibule looks very similar to how it did before, but they have added some cloth over the theming items to make it look like it's been "repossessed". The more notably different room is the Drawing Room, which, although quite similar to how it was before on the face of it, does feel notably enhanced to me. There's now a pre-show telling the story of Emily Alton, and this culminates with some brilliant projection mapping and a really surprising reveal of UV paint all over the walls, showing what seem to be Emily Alton's deranged ramblings. I thought this was a very clever effect, and set up the ride very nicely!


Let's move onto the ride itself. Now as I said, I found this to be a bit of a blur when I physically rode, and as stupid as it sounds, I had to watch a few POVs to actually process it. It is a lot to take in, and as someone who's a bit of a weakling when it comes to horror stuff, I did find the first ride a bit overwhelming. With that being said, I do feel that the ride is a definite improvement on its predecessor Duel, and in terms of production value, I think it's a nicely done ride overall, although there are odd things I'd improve. I won't do a scene-by-scene breakdown, but some key points of interest include:

  • I thought that projection mapping was used to great effect within the ride, and I felt that it definitely did add something.
  • The Trommel Tunnel is working again, and I have to say that this effect did surprise me! I'd never actually experienced this effect in a working state (I.e. spinning) before, and I never really understood what people thought was so great about the Trommel Tunnel. I have to say that its use within The Curse at Alton Manor definitely proved me wrong on that front; it is a surprisingly convincing effect, particularly when paired with the spinning clock at the end, and it was probably one of my favourite individual effects in the ride!
  • The mirror scene that replaced what was previously the Skeleton Corridor now houses a very clever effect, wherein you seem to disappear from the car and Emily Alton "replaces" you. I thought that this was very clever!
  • The ending is an excellently executed jumpscare; I have to admit that I audibly shrieked when the massive Emily head suddenly appeared!
  • Paradoxically, the ride feels very similar to how it was before, yet also very different, if that makes any sense?
  • There was perhaps more reuse of old scenes from the previous iterations than I was expecting, but I think that this mostly works well because the park have made these scenes befitting of the new storyline; they feel very different to how they were before.
  • There were some surprisingly impressive physical sets built new for the ride; I was particularly impressed with what they've done with the Attic scene.
  • I've heard people mention the dark area between the Trommel and the Attic scene. I think the audio does still make this area feel quite unnerving, but I do get what people mean when they say that it feels a bit unfinished. I think it could do with an extra something to properly finish it off; maybe some UV paint like in the pre-show and exit corridor, or some light flashes?
  • The other scene that I don't think entirely works is the Screaming Heads scene. I'm not entirely sure how it fits into the ride, and it feels a bit out of place to me.
  • As I said above, I do think that it's quite an overwhelming attraction overall. When combining the noise, the darkness and the jumpscares, it is quite a lot to take in. Although with that being said, that could just be because I'm not the biggest horror lover and it was my first ride on a ghost train-style attraction; I felt similarly about Duel the first time I rode that.

Overall, I thought that it was a nicely executed ride; Merlin Magic Making have done a very good job given the budget and timeframe, and they have definitely improved upon Duel, in my view! If I'm being completely honest, however, I didn't exactly come off feeling entirely blown away. I'd stop short of saying that I was disappointed, because as I said, it is a very nicely done ride with high production value overall, in my view, and my initial gut reaction upon exiting could well be due to my initial struggling to process it all. I did only have 1 ride, after all.


I must admit, though, that I'm not sure the ride entirely lived up to some of the hyperbole being thrown around for me. It's a very nicely executed ride overall, but it's not my favourite dark ride in the UK and I would still say that I prefer Hex within the park. That could be down to it not being entirely my sort of thing, it could be down to the fact that I felt a little overwhelmed by it on my first ride, or it could be down to the fact that I only got 1 ride on it, but for whatever reason, I'm perhaps not feeling as enamoured with it and enthralled by it as many others seem to be. It's nice and it's well executed, but I'm not quite gelling with it like everyone else seems to be for some reason; I don't deny that they've done very well, but I'm not quite on board the hype train like everyone else seems to be. I apologise if I come across a bit cynical or moany here, but I'm just being 100% honest about how I personally felt about the attraction on my ride.


Nonetheless, it is a nice ride overall, I'm sure that it will be tweaked and improved with time, and Alton Towers should be really proud of what they've pulled off!

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Gave this a couple of goes yesterday, felt quite underwhelmed when I came off, it does have some nice sets and effects on the ride which are an improvement to previous and the trommel and clock was my favourite part was great to see that all working. But for me overall I found it a bit dull, I gave it another go in the afternoon to see what another run through was like unfortunately it was Dark from the usual spot after the Trommel to just after the old screaming heads which was a shame so missed the spiders and mirror effects 2nd time round. Was walk on both times so didnt see too much of the queue or pre show, The hosts were in their new character in the morning but in the afternoon were just normal and was asking everyone their thoughts on it, John Burton was also outside in the afternoon talking to various people

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