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Alton Towers General Discussion


themeparkmad
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  • 4 weeks later...

So last weekend, I got round to my first Towers trip this year. Here’s how it went:

 

Park was pretty busy, so 8pm closures are definitely warranted, even if numbers trickle down from mid afternoon. With queues exceeding over an hour often. 
 

presentation was a mixed bag, with some areas such as Towers Street looking great but others needing work. A jetwash would help. 
 

Operations were a mixed bag (likely due to restrictions). Wickermans we’re amongst the best with Nemy perhaps being the worst. However they were batching outside the station building. Indoor attractions were closed as expected. 
 

The Retrosquad rides definitely give Towers much needed support attractions, even if they look a little out of place. They are certainly fun additions to the lineup. Mixtape was probably my favourite, although I really liked Funk N Fly too. I didn’t get chance to try Roller Disco. 
 

Social distancing around the park was ok, with staff wardens etc. But still some room for improvement I guess. 
 

Just a few pics. Don’t Stop Believing!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The trouble with the 4pm closures on weekdays is that the park have had them for so long now, it's hard to know for certain how 5pm weekday closures would be received. 

 

There's some logic at the park at the moment though:

They've realised people didn't like the fact there were less rides available, so they've temporarily bought in more to see if it works.

They've realised people didn't like the fact they closed between 5-6pm on weekends, so they've increased those open hours (though for some reason, they only announce it like a week before...)

 

So either they've realised people don't like 4pm weekday closures, but don't have the budget to extend them, with focus being on the more profitable weekend. Or there isn't a problem with 4pm closures. OR they haven't realised 4pm closures are the problem.

 

There is still the issue of British logic of leaving early, beating the traffic and being home for dinner, yes. But credit where it's due: Towers are at least sticking with later closes this year, and hopefully that shows the demand is there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was at Towers the last two days and as much as I love the rides there and the gardens I think I'l stop going until the ride capacities are restored. Despite all the markers and announcements, the public have given up on any form of social distancing. On our first attempt to ride the Smiler it was like a special form of torture with only the odd group following the guidance. Not until does it not feel safe after a year of social distancing but it also meant it took about 15 minutes to move ten metres. So until the parks can fill trains to maximum, I really would say don't bother visiting until September time. 

 

It was also excruciatingly busy which seemed to catch the park by surprise. All fastrack was sold out, the rides were unreliable as hell with only the Wickerman from the main coasters not experiencing significant downtime. I really felt for the staff as well, the Smiler team in particular were working so hard but no matter what they did, with such low capacity, there's not much they can realistically do to reduce that queue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Park is clearly very busy, with continual extended closing hours. The once-4pm closes have been 5 or 6pm, with tomorrow a 7pm closure, and the weekend 8pm. 

 

Next week has been pushed to 5pm but I expect that will probably be extended again at some point:

 

image.png

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Spent the past two days at towers, It was very busy, even a 10-6 didn't feel like enough for both days.

but in other news, Decided to try out roller disco for a laugh, and it was actually intense as f*ck!
It seems to be running at full speed, slowing down then full speed again, the G force felt when spinning clockwise was like the speed its ran at a normal fair.

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Sounds like the park / higher up Merlin H&S teams have done appropriate risk assessments and the like and decided now is the time to see if this works.

 

It's strange timing given it occurs around the time the government will almost-definitely announce a delay to the next lockdown easing. But possibly coincidental too. Hopefully the park don't receive too much backlash over it.

 

For what it's worth, I think social distancing on rides is a pretty pointless concept. If someone has Covid and is sat at the front of a coaster train going 50mph, for example, it doesn't matter if you're sat in the row behind them or the back of train, you're still probably going to come into contact with particles that they may spread. And even then, if you're outside and wearing masks, the likelihood of transmission is extremely low.

 

With all the information we have, social distancing on rides should have been scrapped long ago. If not the back end of last year, definitely at the start of this season. At this point, it's really only something that's being done for show.

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Was on park this weekend and literally only saw Funk n Fly have a quick wipe down around 12pm today. However, I didn't even see any cleaning fluid bottles in any ride station the entire weekend, whereas before you'd see the bottles somewhere at the side of the station or through the operating cabin.

 

In terms of the trial with the rows something must have changed as queues moved fairly quick all weekend. The park felt still very busy but didn't wait more than 55 mins for anything all weekend. Apart from Smiler saw very little fastrack or RAP being used which made a change from what has been experienced down at CWoA and TP.

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  • 4 months later...

Went to the fireworks yesterday to see the season off for another year!

 

The fireworks were probably the best they’ve done yet in my opinion - by far the most impressive display!

May have shed a tear at one point if I’m honest 😂 


After a very disappointing Thorpe FN visit this was a perfect reminder of why I adore theme parks.

The atmosphere before and during the show was great - lots of people from all over the country dancing and having a great time, kids and adults alike, and the show itself was incredible.  I’m lucky enough to have been nearly every year for the last 10 or so years, and every time it blows me away how extra the show actually is.

 

The theme park isn’t in great shape however if I’m honest - A lot of major rides were closed, but I understand some are down to parts being stuck in Europe with no lorry drivers to get them here, so perhaps can’t be helped.

 

Duel is also an embarrassment- it felt like we were trundling around an abandoned props warehouse!

I really hope they invest in Duel soon, and add some new sit-in restaurants to the park to

cater for the mad queues.

The park is looking a bit rough around the edges now adays, but the magic is still there I think.

 

Wickerman however, and Nemesis in the dark - WOW. These, along with the incredible fireworks, is what theme parks are all about, just pure fun, leaving you wanting more.


What a great way to finish the season!

 

If anyone is reading this is a theme park fan and hasn’t been to Alton Towers Fireworks before - GO. You won’t regret it.

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  • 4 months later...

Had a pretty miserable time at Towers this week. Things feel like they are sliding. The retro squad were bought in to help capacity but in actual fact they are now just replacements for Enterprise and Hex which for all intents and purposes have passed away. Thirteen was running the best I've seen it for about five years with three trains, all seats full and staff working hard. Can't say that for a lot of rides. Smiler was a nightmare and I'm questioning in myself whether I will ever bother with it again. I love the ride but operationally it blows and there's only so much patience I have with it. 

 

There was a distinct lack of energy across the resort. Slipping standards. We got a lovely upgrade at ATH because our apparent room wasn't passing health and safety (Whatever that means). So we got upgraded to the Smiler room. Yay. It was a bit dirty with dust and the sheets had marks on them. The complimentary water from the previous guests wasn't replaced so we lost that perk. The shower was awful to use, stiff. Definitely not worth £500 a night. 

 

Nemesis was amazing. With it being closed all of 2023 I won't be visiting Towers next year. Without its star ride and so many operational issues, Towers really has a lot to do to turn around the decay.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Had a visit to Towers Tuesday and Wednesday. Some scattered thoughts:

 

-Like Mark says, the Retrosquad's inclusion are effectively serving as replacements for Hex and Enterprise right now, defeating their original purpose.

-The Tuesday was a bit busier than I expected, I guess from people who avoided the Bank Holiday Monday. Wednesday was very quiet.

-Operationally, coasters were running well. I question the need on a day like Wednesday to run 3 trains on Thirteen, for example, when the team was effectively sending one empty all day. Surely that just ultimately leads to unnecessary wear and tear and more work for the engineering team in the long run?

-I will expand on this in the Wicker Man topic, but I truly hate the Wicker Man pre show.

-The park were running their 'Festival of Thrills' event still. They have live music / acts around the park, themed in some sense to the corresponding areas. It was fine, but even on the livelier Tuesday, didn't seem to garner much attention. Have to wonder if the money spent on this entertainment could be spent elsewhere more effectively.

-All coasters had staff batching you into rows. This is obviously good when things are busy, but on the Wednesday especially, it felt unnecessary. When there's literally no queue, having a member of staff tell you what row to go in, and then batch others into the same row just feels a bit OTT. Maybe this is also a bit of me having gotten used to 'Covid rules' of not being sat next to strangers, but heyho.

 

I also stayed onsite at the Splash Landings Hotel. First time staying there, was nice. However, the resort offerings are pretty...minimal. The park closed at 4pm on Tuesday. So does the water park. The mini golf shut at 5pm. So what's there to do at this resort? Eat dinner, or listen to a singer or two in the hotel bars. 

 

Just feels like they could do things so much better. Surely the indoor water park can stay open later, and attract more visitors? Surely they should be something to do at a big resort theme park after 5pm that isn't akin to something you could see at a local bar / fancier pub?

 

All in, I had a nice couple of days with a decent ride count. But it still feels like there's a lot of steps that Towers need to do to get back to the top of their game

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That's a bit of a shame.

 

I think honestly the Festival of Thrills has flopped.

The acts are very good, but it was the same when I was there - nobody was attracted to the stages, and the park was worryingly quiet.

 

It feels to me like they were expecting huge numbers now that Covid seems to be 'over', but nobody showed up.

 

I've noticed the weirdly enormous number of staff this season too.

I assumed it's down to the attendance not meeting their expectations, which is desperately sad really considering they've put on all these staff (if that's what the reason is).

Could they also be 'displaced' staff from Hex and Enterprise?

 

Last season I felt that Towers was in bad shape, but this year with more rides closed and no real improvements, it's starting to feel again like it did when they re-opened shortly after the Smiler's crash.. Still a good day out, but feels empty and a shadow of its former self :(

 

Looking ahead, in the sort term at least it's a bit worrying that Nemesis will be closing soon for its refurb.

 

As for this season, hopefully crowd levels pick up and they get (and keep) all their rides open - Towers is one of those places that does well when it's a little busier to make it feel alive.

The summer season is almost here too, so that should be a boost for them.

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Who has time to stop and watch the people dancing on these stages? When you lose an hour to the Smiler or the Wicker Man, you aren't left with long to get on everything especially with the size of the place. 

 

There's not enough filler to spread people around. I felt the same as Madi Gras last year. There's just not enough hours open in the day to spend watching the stage. 

 

I just do not understand why the golf or the water park have the same opening times as the theme park. They've done that for years and its stupid. 

 

As I said in my trip report, there's no point visiting in 2023 with Nemesis closed. The park is just thread bare in attractions at the moment.

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I had no idea the waterpark and golf had pretty much the same opening hours as the park.

 

 

What is the thinking behind that I wonder?

The waterpark used to be busy in the evenings as far as I remember? (it's been ages since I stated there)

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Tbh, as busy as last year was, the park didnt cope well with numbers/ staff and has probably left a sour taste in many peoples mouth, choosing not to return thinking last year was the ‘normal’ especially for new guests to the resort 

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On 5/6/2022 at 9:28 PM, RobF said:

Tbh, as busy as last year was, the park didnt cope well with numbers/ staff and has probably left a sour taste in many peoples mouth, choosing not to return thinking last year was the ‘normal’ especially for new guests to the resort 

 

But...but... but... what about the Retrosquad? People definitely want to go to a theme park to ride fun fair rides with stickers on?

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18 hours ago, Matt Creek said:

Towers just needs to fix what they’ve got now before they invest in another major ride in all honesty. 

I agree.

Doing small things like improving the food offerings, getting all the rides open, and improving the appearance of things by refreshing the monorail and deep cleaning or painting shabby things (like the entire Smiler) would make a big difference.

 

Losing Nemesis is going to be a blow to the park in its current state.

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  • 1 month later...

Somewhat of a quiet day at Towers yesterday.

Also, not sure if it was a technical glitch or an intentional thing (for whatever reason), but Wicker Man's pre-show was cut short all three times I rode it yesterday, seemingly all around the "let the ceremony commence" part. Like I say, no idea if that's intentional for whatever reason or just a technical glitch, but thought I'd share anyway.

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