Oh wow, where do I start?! 2017 at Alton Towers has been a stellar year in my opinion! So many awesome memories made.
For a start, this year has been the first year I have been able to follow the construction of a Secret Weapon, which has been so amazing to see, especially it being a woodie!
From first seeing the flume in previous years (and yes I do now regret not having a go in it!), to riding above the site during the early construction (and getting stuck hanging over it for nearly 15 minutes), over the year watching the theming structure at the rides centre rise from the ground and watching the rollercoasters wooden frame construction progress at such a rapid rate, it has just been nothing short of extraordinary for me!
As well as SW8, during my first summer trip this year I managed to finally complete the Big Six Challenge sort of (the only one I missed was Galactica which I don't believe was running that day).
My first ever ride on The Smiler at the end of that day has been one of my most enjoyable rides ever at Alton Towers! We had joined the queue literally just before it closed and we slowly made our way to the station. I remember being amazed at the effects in the indoor queue area... they have got the atmosphere so on point! To my absolute delight, my first ever ride on this incredible machine was to be on the front row! But just before we could ride we were again treated with being able to witness one of the trains being put in to the storage / maintenance building for some reason, the ride operator fluffing up his announcement which caused the entire station to erupt with laughter, and after a few test runs we were on the first passenger train and front row, to leave the station. By this time it was almost 6pm and this park seemed so empty which just added to the almost exclusivity of the experience! It's certainly one ride I will never ever forget.
Oh, and how can I forget about Scarefest?! Riding my beloved Nemmy in the dark of night gave me a completey different and spectacular perspective of already this amazing ride... it's just sooo beautiful with its sinister red glow!
Of course the Alton Ancestors were out dancing to Despacito of all things in Gloomy Woods - quite a surprise!
And Freak Show... well let's just say that my little bro now has a completely irrational fear of clowns!!
In total, and due to my insanely distant proximity to the resort, I have only been able to spend six full days there, but I am certain that these are the best six days I have had the pleasure of experiencing in a very very long time. I'm lucky that I have the right balance in the amount of times I can travel to Towers... I get to go enough that I can call myself an "enthusiast" but little enough that the same type of magic I found on my first ever visit is still something I am able to experience on every visit to a certain extent.
I can already feel the anticipation for next year, all the possiblities - experiencing not only Alton's next Secret Weapon, but my first ever wooden coaster, seeing all the possible TLC improvements around the park including that of another firm favourite of mine, Duel, and of course next years versions of the spectacular Scarefest and Fireworks which were particularly amazing this year! I can feel that there is still so much to be discovered or in some cases rediscovered!
So, bring on 2018! I can't wait!!!