First time poster to these forums, so hi all!
Just back from a 2 day break to AT having not been for about 5 years - despite only living about 35 minutes away! This is mainly due to moving house and having two newborns which kinda took precedence.
However, for my first time there with my wife, 3 year old and one year old, can I say what an absolutely wonderful time we all had! in the intervening 5 years we did get to go to Disneyland Paris and Parc Asterix as well as Thorpe Park, yet nothing that any of them have to offer comes anywhere near to Nemesis in my opinion. You forget what a blistering ride that is, so intense all the way round - my favourite stell coaster I have ever been on anywhere! Well played B&M.
Stayed in Splash Landings and the service, themeing and room was fabntastic, especially for my kids, they thought it was amazing. Breakfast was wonderful too but make sure you get there for 7.30! We did and got sat straight down, by 8.15 there was a massive queue to get in which looked longer than to ride Smiler!
ERT on CeeBeebies was a must with kiddies - got to take my one year old on all the rides which he loved, as the queues of up to 60 minutes after ERT was over were just not practical with young un's - I think they could perfect loading a little quicker as they do at Disney - the staff were often letting boats go round the ITNG ride at half capacity, instead of shouting for any sets of two or fours to fill them up. I suspect as the newness wears off and less footfall hits it, the rides will be back to more managable levels. When it got busy we had some time on thrill rides but there were things in cloud cuckoo land both kids could go on, and I was happy/suprised my three year old being just over 1m, could go on RMT, Blade, Rapids, Flume, Enterprise, Charlie and RMT and Rapids several times again with me or my wife, she loved it.
Another good tip for parents of kids under 1.4m - get a parents pass thingy (not the official name!) from guest services. It means when one of you queues to get on a big ride, they will tick the card for that ride as you get on (even via SR). then hand it to your partner and they can go via fasttrack to save you queing twice.
at 4.30 each day, as the kids were tires, we went to forbidden valley and there were no queues at all for air or nemesis. rode air once and nemesis four times back to back - amazing stuff!
The Thrill rides were great as always and queus not too bad, well done Alton Towers, it really is a gem of a park if you do it corectly - heard loads moaning about wait times at the hotel but then these people had stayed in bed rather than take up ERT - so they get what they deserve! Brilliant place - defo be getting the Annual Passes again next year.