UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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JamieDeath
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First visit to Alton Towers in 8 years

Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:25 pm

Visited for the first time in 8 years last week, for two days, so a bit of a review from me.

First thing I'd like to mention: getting to this park with public transport is an absolute pain, both Thorpe and Chessington are super easy to get to, but Alton basically requires you to either rent a car or get a taxi. They should really have some kind of shuttle bus from one of the nearby stations - even if it was hourly it'd be a great help. This was the major factor in me not having been back in 8 years.

Anyway, arrived at the park at about midday, I read on here and was told at the entrance that I could leave my luggage and that it would be transported to the hotel, after going to the Box Office (as directed by staff on the gate) was told that this was not the case and I'd have to go to the hotel and drop off myself, so I ended up just carrying it around with me for the day. Unfortunately, it was quite windy so X-Sector was down, and all the major rides had a 60min queue, so went on a few of the smaller rides, was glad to see Hex in a good condition still!

The park stayed open an extra hour (well I assume so) - there was no mention in the park about this, or on any of the social media channels, but the queues were still letting people in up till 5, although annoyingly I decided to join the gigantic queue for Galactica near to 4pm, so it didn't really make a difference. The VR thing was only attached to the back 3 sections, and was about half working in these, so the queue moved terribly slow. The VR seemed to work ok for me but there was no sound, so it kind of felt a bit weird and made me motion sick. I much prefer Air and hope they decide to bring it back. Second day due to the early start was able to get on most things before the huge queues accumulated, only coaster I didn't get to go on was Rita.

Wicker Man was down I'd say about 70% of the time of the 2 day visit, not too sure what problems it’s having, but it's not great when a major new ride like that is having such poor reliability issues. Managed to ride it as part of ERT luckily, and really enjoyed it - faster than I expected.

Park operations were extremely poor, I was in shock by how slow the queues for the B&Ms move now. I remember Oblivion used to be an amazing queue muncher, using only the one loading bay really slows things up, and the staff were in no hurry at all at dispatching each train. Nemesis was only on one train so that had a huge queue all day (especially with the late opening). Air was only using the one loading bay, is the new Galactica thing capable of doing two loading bays? Quite frustratingly it was sending the front cars out with empty seats as most people wanted to do the VR, and the queue split is quite late on into the queue.

Really impressed with The Smiler, great intense ride and great theme. Queue was pretty slow moving for this also though, it was on 3 trains - can it run on any more than that since the accident?

The park seems to be severely lacking flat rides (same problem Thorpe has). Sad to see Ripsaw has gone, and spent a good 10mins or so looking for the Twirling Toadstool which I assume has gone now too? Shame Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has also disappeared.

Overall, quite an enjoyable visit for me, but mainly because I stayed over night and so got to get on most rides in the morning and spread out over the two days. There was a lot of discontent from other guests (not being able to get on many things), and some seemed shocked that the park closed so early, and that a lot of rides don't open until 11.
 
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Robert.W
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Re: First visit to Alton Towers in 8 years

Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:56 pm

Towers social media is a bit hit and miss with regards to updating visitors on the opening times – sometimes they will, sometimes they won't bother. 

The Smiler can run 4 trains, I don't know how often they do though. Oblivion doesn't seem to use both stations for some reason, which will lessen throughout. Nemesis, I'm not sure what's happening with it to be honest... it just seems the dispatches are so slow this season. Might be to do with poor operations in general meaning more people want to ride it, as well as less ride hosts, both making queueing for it longer. Twirling Toadstool and CATCF have been under TLC for... a while now. Not that any TLC has actually been happening though.
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jackf1tz
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Re: First visit to Alton Towers in 8 years

Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:47 pm

Galactica is definitely capable of running a 2 station service, as it was doing just that on my last trip just a few weeks ago. Same with The Smiler, although this really only happens on days when the park is full to the brim, like peak Scarefest, August and Fireworks.
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