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Alton Towers General Discussion


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I think the lineup was shaky before this year, but after Duel, Nemesis, and now Enterprise closing- I can safely say Alton Towers have a terrible lineup. If they do not keep the retrosquad god help them- I feel bad for poor Galactica just sitting in the back of the park with.. The Blade when it decides to operate with it.

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2 hours ago, JoshuaWAHH3 said:

I think the lineup was shaky before this year, but after Duel, Nemesis, and now Enterprise closing- I can safely say Alton Towers have a terrible lineup. If they do not keep the retrosquad god help them- I feel bad for poor Galactica just sitting in the back of the park with.. The Blade when it decides to operate with it.

Duel is reopening in March following its refurbishment. Additionally Nemeses Sub Terra is rumoured to be reopening after 8 years SBNO. This means Alton Towers will only have 2 less rides next season. This is assuming a new Flat Ride doesn’t replace Enterprise. Blue markings have been spotted around Enterprise’s former location. This could potentially be an indication that a Permanent new Flat Ride could replace Enterprise. It would be amazing if Alton Towers opened a new (permanent) Flat Ride next season. I cannot remember the last time a proper Flat Ride opened at Alton Towers. I believe the last time Alton Towers installed new Flat Ride hardware was 1999. This was Frog Hopper (Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp). This ride replaced the short lived Nickelodeon Outta Control in Cred Street (The World Of David Williams). It’s shocking that Britain’s largest Theme Park hasn’t installed a completely new non CBeebies Land  Flat Ride in 23 years. That’s my entire life time. Technically Frog Hopper Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp is 24 years old. This is as it was installed during the Winter of 1998. I feel like since the opening of CBeebies Land in 2014 all of the Parks effort has been pumped into it. As for the rest of the Park it’s been largely neglected. The only new additions outside of CBeebies Land,since it’s opening, has been The Alton Towers Dungeons and The World Of David Williams. I don’t class the horrible looking Retro Squad as investment. They were used as a cheap way to advertise “new rides”. Being brutally honest they ruin the atmosphere of Alton Towers. It’s pathetic,I would rather the Retro Squad be given back to the Showman and replaced by permanent Flat Rides. It’s bizarre having an highly themed land with a single unthemed ride. I think Funk’ N Flys downtime is due to being used constantly in Britain’s largest Theme Park. The ride was built to cope with a condensed number of riders. The ride was set up to fail when installed at Alton Towers. It’s a traveling ride not a permanent Theme Park Ride. I’m surprised that out of the whole Retro Squad Funk’N Fly is the only ride to have been broken more than working. 
 

I am relived that Alton Towers is finally caring about the entire Park. The Duel and Nemesis refurbishments are refreshing. Hopefully there a more changes Park wide over the winter. I think Cookoo Cars Driving School should be a priority. It’s slap bang in the middle of The World Of David Williams. This ruins the constancy of the area. You have the far superior Gangsta Granny ride adjacent to a garish and shortened version of Cloud Cookoo Land. I really hope Cookoo Cars Driving School gets rethemed to The World Of David Williams. My hopes of a retheme for Cookoo Cars Driving School were hightend last winter. The ride was rumoured to be rethemed or relocated to CBeebies land. As much as I dislike Alton Towers focus on CBeebies Land at least the relocation would have made The World Of David Williams more fluid and free up space for a phase 2 expansion. The World Of David Williams is full of potentia

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@Benin I think there's a real possibility that Spinball Wizzer will be removed over the coming months. I was reading an article about the closure of Cliff-hanger ay Blackgang Chine. For those that are unaware Blackgang Chine is on The Isle Of White. The final paragraph said Cliff-hanger is being replaced by a bigger and better ride, that will make you feel dizzy just by looking at it. When I read this is instantly thought about Spinball Wizzer. Spinball Wizzer has been on borrowed time at Alton Towers for years. Furthermore, the ride is much bigger both in footprint and hight. Finally, Spinball Wizzer has the potential to make onlookers feel dizzy. If Spinball Wizzer is removed, I think CBeebies Land will have another expansion. I wouldn't be surprised if this expansion is the relocation and refurbishment of Cookoo Cars Driving School. Last closed season rumours of the relocation of  Cookoo Cars Driving School were buzzing around the Theme Park community. 

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13 hours ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

Blue markings have been spotted around Enterprise’s former location. This could potentially be an indication that a Permanent new Flat Ride could replace Enterprise. It would be amazing if Alton Towers opened a new (permanent) Flat Ride next season.


Oh interesting 🧐 that sounds promising for the future!

 

Would we not have seen planning applications for this though if it were for next year? 

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For what it's worth, I've heard that Blackgang's new attraction won't be a roller coaster. 

 

39 minutes ago, Inferno said:

Would we not have seen planning applications for this though if it were for next year? 

Not necessarily. Alton Towers have a General Development Order in place which means they don't have to submit plans for certain things in certain areas of the park. I think X Sector is part of the area the GDO covers, since for Smiler, all they needed planning for was the station building. 

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2 hours ago, JoshC. said:

For what it's worth, I've heard that Blackgang's new attraction won't be a roller coaster. 

@JoshC. what will Blackgang’s new ride be? Also where has Cliffhanger been sold too. I presume it’s been sold not scrapped as it’s only 17 years old. Finally what has happened to the Magic Carpet ride that collapsed while people were on it. Do you know where the Magic Carpet and Drop Tower came from.

 

Now I’ve asked about Blackgang Chine can we please get back on topic. 

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I mean there was one culprit for pulling things off topic

 

Regardless, towers is in a iffy state in regards to flat rides, fact is flat rides though they cant be a main advertising hook (at least on there own, back in the day thorpe advertised multiple new flats as a thing) but they are needed to add variety and capacity to the park guests day

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I went to towers on Saturday, the first saturday of scarefest. This was my first time at scarefest so here are my thoughts.

 

It was absolutely packed, probably one step down from school holidays but the busiest I've personally seen the park. The busyness predictor website got it quite wrong. Think next time I'll avoid a saturday!

 

We got on Rita, Thirteen, wicker man, nemesis, galactica, smiler and oblivion, so pretty much the main rides once, this is with being there shortly after opening to beyond closing with a very short break around lunch not queuing. We also did the attic. 

 

We found the queue times pretty inaccurate in many cases, smiler was advertised as 70 but ended up being around 90 and I doubt it dropped below that all day, one shot fast tracks sold out early on and I could see the fast track queues were quite large for rides like smiler. Also long RAP queues at each ride. Perhaps this all contributed to the queues moving slowly across the board. Rita said 15 but was 50, thirteen said 40 but was 65. Wicker man was fairly accurate at least at 75 min. I also hadn't personally seen nemesis get a queue like that (around an hour). Was kinda gutted not to have time to fit in one final ride on Wicker Man, but that can wait until march.

 

We did notice they'd invited quite a few 'celebs', e.g. we saw curtis prichard, I also heard 'lad baby' was on the park to try to pretend the invitation was good.  I assume this is the route their marketing team is going down.

 

We did one maze (the attic) as we personally find £9 each a bit punchy, and the invitation sounded awful. The attic was really great, I actually think it was one of my favourite mazes ever, the setting and decor was second to none and the actors made a lot of effort- the devil guy especially made me jump several times. They got the smoke effects and lighting just right and actually it was very intense. Definitely worth the £9.

 

I did however think the effort made across the park for scarefest, other than by the entrance, was pretty poor. I think they need some scare zones, roaming actors, or similar. The rides have cool themes, they need to make the most of them.

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Are any remnants of Around The World In 80 Days concealed in  The Alton Towers Dungeon. By remnants I mean scenes,animatronics or walls. I watched a few POVS of Around The World In 80 Days. Personally I find this ride more creepy than the Dungeon. The animatronics have oversized heads and freaky audio. Bloody hell some of the audio is more haunting than the scripts for the Dungeons. In current times Around The World In 80 Days wouldn’t last 5 minutes. Some of the scenes and animatronics were incredibly stereotypical. Most notably the American scene   with the dramatised American accent. The character even blew America up as some Americans do. For instance Americans make their country sound bigger and better than others,I.E England. The ride would definitely have been closed for a couple of reasons primarily it’s perception of Racism and secondly for traumatising riders. This ride reminds me of some of the attractions in America. The American scene of Around The World In 80 Days definitely had an America Sings vibe. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same narrator voiced the America Sings characters and the Around The World In 80 Days ones.   

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I’m not sure about Around the World in 80 Days, but I know that there is a wall from Doom & Sons, which also previously occupied part of the building, left in the Alton Towers Dungeon.

 

As for how it would have aged; I agree that it might not have aged brilliantly had it lasted beyond 1993, but I guess it is basically an Alton Towers version of It’s a Small World, and that ride is still entertaining riders at various Disney parks over 50 years on from its inception.

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19 minutes ago, Matt N said:

I’m not sure about Around the World in 80 Days, but I know that there is a wall from Doom & Sons, which also previously occupied part of the building, left in the Alton Towers Dungeon.

 

As for how it would have aged; I agree that it might not have aged brilliantly had it lasted beyond 1993, but I guess it is basically an Alton Towers version of It’s a Small World, and that ride is still entertaining riders at various Disney parks over 50 years on from its inception.

@Matt N  I don't see and resemblance between the two mentioned rides except the theme. Around The World In 80 Days was far more basic, annoying and stereotypical than Its A small World. Even the Animatronics are worlds apart as Its A small World uses Dolls, whereas Around The World In 80 Days used life size animatronics even if they were out of proportion. Comparing Its A Small World to Around The World In 80 Days is an insult to the classic Disney ride. Around The World In 80 Days lacked any charm, soundtrack or creativity. From watching POVS I can say with certainty that Toyland Tours was a huge upgrade. As for the wall of Doom and Sons those lives on, I think its lovely that Alton Towers has acknowledged their past by retaining this relic. Alton Towers must have thought a lot of Doom and Sons as this wall has survived 3 rethemes. Further features of Doom and Sons remain at Alton Towers. Numerous aspects of Alton Towers's original spooky attraction were relocated to Duel. I hope the Doom and Sons elements still feature in Duel when the refurbished ride reopens next year. The main aspects of Duel I would happily see go are the features added for the Duel retheme in 2003. 

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I apologise… I was under the impression that Around The World in 80 Days was a lot more similar to It’s a Small World than it clearly was.

 

Out of interest, what Doom & Son’s elements are there within Duel? I was under the impression that The Haunted House was entirely brand new and bespoke for the park, so I must admit that it surprises me to hear of Doom & Son’s elements being reused within it.

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3 hours ago, Matt N said:

I apologise… I was under the impression that Around The World in 80 Days was a lot more similar to It’s a Small World than it clearly was.

 

Out of interest, what Doom & Son’s elements are there within Duel? I was under the impression that The Haunted House was entirely brand new and bespoke for the park, so I must admit that it surprises me to hear of Doom & Son’s elements being reused within it.

@Matt N I don’t know suspifics but I know a skeleton is in Duel.

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Next year will be Alton Towers best season,with the Duel refurbishment and the reopening of the SBNO Nemesis Sub Terra the season is brilliant before it’s begun. I wouldn’t be surprised if Enterprise is replaced with Rocky Express from Thorpe Park or Apocalypse from Drayton Manor. Out of the 2 I think the latter is the most realistic Enterprise replacement.

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On 10/17/2022 at 1:43 AM, Theme Park Fanatic said:

Next year will be Alton Towers best season,with the Duel refurbishment and the reopening of the SBNO Nemesis Sub Terra the season is brilliant before it’s begun. I wouldn’t be surprised if Enterprise is replaced with Rocky Express from Thorpe Park or Apocalypse from Drayton Manor. Out of the 2 I think the latter is the most realistic Enterprise replacement.

 

Apocalypse is almost 200ft tall. Given Towers' height restrictions, it wouldn't go unless they built a huge pit, which we'd already have seen construction of.

 

Rocky Express is condemned to the junkyard. It will not return anywhere. 

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37 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

 

Apocalypse is almost 200ft tall. Given Towers' height restrictions, it wouldn't go unless they built a huge pit, which we'd already have seen construction of.

 

Rocky Express is condemned to the junkyard. It will not return anywhere. 

@JoshC. I bet when Enterprises replacement arrives it’s a second hand ride. Merlin are already pumping a lot of money into Alton Towers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the combined expense of the Duel refurbishment and the reopening of Nemesis Sub Terra is more than it cost to build The Smiler. Both rides more so Nemeses Sub Terra were in need of massive overhauls. After all Nemesis Sub Terra has been SBNO for almost a decade. I hope Enterprises replaced is a permanent Flat Ride rather than an additional member of The Retro Squad. 

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1 hour ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

Merlin are already pumping a lot of money into Alton Towers. I wouldn’t be surprised if the combined expense of the Duel refurbishment and the reopening of Nemesis Sub Terra is more than it cost to build The Smiler.

 

Whilst I appreciate the excitement, no. 

 

Smiler cost something in the region of £18m. 

 

Nemesis Sub Terra, when built new, cost something in the region of £4-6m. So if they're spending say £5m on the Duel refurb, Alton Towers are not going to spend 2-3 times the original cost of the ride to refurb Sub Terra. Next year will not see the park invest more than they did for Smiler.

 

I do agree with your core point though. A Duel refurb and reopening Sub Terra will cost a fair amount of money. The addition of a brand new flat ride adds more to that, especially when Enterprise's closure and removal seems to have come as a bit of a surprise (or, at least, was not the original plan).

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Personally, I’d be surprised if an Enterprise replacement opened in 2023. Its removal almost definitely wasn’t pre-planned, by the looks of things, so I’d be surprised if they’ve strategised a replacement for it already. If there was to be a significant flat ride addition, surely we’d also have seen planning permission being sought by now?

 

I do acknowledge that the markings exist, and that Alton Towers now has a number of gaps in its flat ride lineup (which will be exacerbated significantly by the eventual demise of the RetroSquad), but I personally feel that Enterprise is more likely to be replaced in a future year. I’ve heard rumblings that £3-5m is being spent on Duel’s revamp alone, and even if whatever happens to Sub-Terra costs less than £1m (which, in all fairness, is likely), that still adds up to an overall spend of the best part of £5m, if not exceeding £5m, which is not an insignificant sum for a non-major year.

 

Although given that CBeebies cost £9m back in 2014, a non-major year that directly followed the £18m addition of Smiler, I guess it wouldn’t be at all inconceivable for an Enterprise replacement to be budgeted for as well, particularly given that 2021 and 2022 both saw pretty minimal amounts of new CAPEX (TWODW was technically “invested in” for 2020, so there was no new CAPEX in 2021). Nonetheless, I do feel that Enterprise’s replacement is more likely to be built in a future year than next year, personally, particularly seeing as its demise appears to have been quite sudden rather than a pre-planned occurrence.

 

I’d also be very surprised if it was a second hand ride. Don’t quote me on this, but I seem to remember hearing that Merlin has a corporate policy expressly forbidding their parks from purchasing second hand rides that don’t come from within the group, which would rule out the addition of any recently defunct flat ride heavyweights from elsewhere. Even putting that point aside; Apocalypse in particular is 177ft tall, so would require an almighty pit likely passing the point of financial viability to even fit within planning regulations at Alton Towers.

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3 hours ago, Benin said:

Someone needs to drop the Zamperla catalogue outside Magic HQ or something.

 

Do a 2001 Thorpe and just open all the flat rides. Could easily do 4/5 without much work given all the dead space in the park now.

 

Yep, 100% this. Towers need to be more Lost City than Most Sh**** :D

 

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On 10/18/2022 at 5:04 PM, Matt N said:

I’d also be very surprised if it was a second hand ride. Don’t quote me on this, but I seem to remember hearing that Merlin has a corporate policy expressly forbidding their parks from purchasing second hand rides that don’t come from within the group

@Matt N when was this rule implemented? I know Black Buckaneer at Chessington was second hand. When opened as Smugglers Galleon in 1988 the ride had already operated for a couple of years. Chessington  has had many second hand rides. Others  include Dennis’s Mad House (Temple Of Mayhem) and Blly’s Wizzer (Monkey Swinger). I don’t know where Black Buckaneer or Billy’s Wizzer came from. I know Dennie’s Madhouse came from The Millennium Dome. If Chessington are/were aloud to purchase second hand rides why can’t Alton Towers. Their both owned by the same company. Chessington and Alton have always been under the same ownership. Prior to 2007 both Theme Parks were owned by the Tussaud’s Group.

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55 minutes ago, Theme Park Fanatic said:

@Matt N when was this rule implemented? I know Black Buckaneer at Chessington was second hand. When opened as Smugglers Galleon in 1988 the ride had already operated for a couple of years. Chessington  has had many second hand rides. Others  include Dennis’s Mad House (Temple Of Mayhem) and Blly’s Wizzer (Monkey Swinger). I don’t know where Black Buckaneer or Billy’s Wizzer came from. I know Dennie’s Madhouse came from The Millennium Dome. If Chessington are/were aloud to purchase second hand rides why can’t Alton Towers. Their both owned by the same company. Chessington and Alton have always been under the same ownership. Prior to 2007 both Theme Parks were owned by the Tussaud’s Group.

One thing I'd say there is that all of the examples you cite were purchased under Tussauds, whereas the parks now are owned by Merlin. Even though the firms are similar, they will differ in many ways, and I'd wager that this policy is one of those ways.

 

As for when the policy was implemented, I'm not 100% sure. I'm not even 100% sure that it's a policy, but I definitely seem to remember someone in the know saying it once. I think they said it had something to do with the Smiler incident and wanting to be 100% sure that all rides met the corporate safety and maintenance standard or something like that (they wouldn't have been 100% sure with a second hand ride bought from outside the group), if I'm remembering correctly.

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