Alton Towers Review
We like to visit Alton Towers at least once every couple of years. It had been a while since our last visit and with two free tickets courtesy of The Sun newspaper Superdays promotion we decided it was time to pay the park a visit again.
It was an exciting time for us to visit the theme park because our eldest son had just reached the height of 1.4 metres meaning that he was now tall enough to ride the big roller coasters that Alton Towers has to offer.
Alton Towers Review
Having visited Alton Towers a number of times previously we had a good idea of the size of the park. Alton Towers is spread out over 3.7km meaning lots of walking between the different sections of the park. We knew from past experience that in order to take advantage of all the rides and attractions we would need to spend more than one day there. We initially priced up the Alton Towers on-site hotels but with five people in our party, this option was too expensive. We then decided to look at self-catering options and we found a lovely cottage in the nearby town of Ashbourne that accommodated five people through Snaptrip.
As is normally the case I was looking to get the best value for money for our trip to Alton Towers. We got two free tickets for Friday Saturday 29th September courtesy of The Sun Superdays promotion. I purchased the additional three tickets that we required using our Tesco Clubcard points. From previous visits, I knew that we would then be able to purchase tickets to visit the theme park again on Saturday 30th September 2017 once in the park.
Transportation to Alton Towers Theme Park Entrance
On the first day of our visit, we arrived at 10.00am and our plan was to head straight for CBeebies Land which is not far from the entrance to the Theme Park. At Alton Towers like a lot of the Merlin Theme Parks, you have the option of priority parking (currently priced at £16 per car) which allows you to park right at the theme park entrance. If you decide not to use priority parking then you are directed to one of the many large carparks which are quite a long walk from the Theme Park itself (currently priced at £6 per car). Be sure to make a note of the carpark you are parked in. Due to the distance from the theme park, you board a monorail which transports you from the car park (and also the on-site hotels) if you are staying in one of them to the Theme Park entrance. The monorail ride is a good fun experience as it travels above the theme park giving you a taste of whats in store. The negative of this is that at peak times ie. park opening and park closing the queues for the monorail can get quite long. Once at the Theme Park entrance it didn’t take us long to get through the turnstiles thanks to our pre-purchased tickets.
Alton Towers Parent Switch Pass
Once inside the park before heading to CBeebies Land we called in at Guest Services and picked up a parent switch pass. We waited a short time to get this but it is worth waiting for as it saves you a lot of time waiting in line during the course of the day. We also picked up a two-day photopass (costing £40) which allowed us to get digital photos of all the rides we went on during our two-day visit.
CBeebies Land at Alton Towers
Immediately upon entering CBeebies Land, you witness the excellent quality theming. Within this section of the theme park, our children (aged 5 and 7) enjoyed riding a wide selection of rides. The highlights for our children were the Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride. On this ride, the children had their very own controls, allowing them to guide their Vroomster up and down. They also enjoyed the recently added Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure.
After spending the majority of the morning in CBeebies Land, we headed to the adjacent section of the park X-Sector. On our way to this next section, we stopped to ride Spinball Whizzer which is located between CBeebies Land and X-Sector. One of the unique features of Spinball Whizzer is that the different weight distribution in each car affects the way that the car spins, giving you a different ride every time.
In the X-Sector my wife and eldest son rode the Enterprise, and then I rode The Smiler with my sister in law. We also wanted to ride Oblivion but the ride appeared to be experiencing some issues and had a 30 minute wait time. We got some chicken nuggets and chips for lunch at ‘The Fried Chicken Co’. The food was typical of what you would expect at a Theme Park.
Hex and Cloud Cookoo Land
After lunch, we all rode Hex (located within the towers themselves). It is a ride suitable for all the family and our youngest som found it really exciting. I would recommend that you sit this one out if you suffer from any form of motion sickness, but if not it is well worth experiencing. I won’t spoil the surprise if it is not a ride you have been on before. Next, the children ride their own battery powered cars around a mock-up street scene at Cuckoo Cars Driving School. Also in the Cloud Cookoo Land section of the Theme Park, they rode The Frog Hopper (a children’s size drop tower).
The Dark Forest
We were surprised to discover that the park was closing at 4.00pm so we felt it was time to do some more of the major rides. We headed to The Dark Forest section of the theme park where we took it in turns to ride Rita and Thirteen. Rita is the ultimate rollercoaster for speed freaks. From a standing start, you are catapulted from 0 to 100km/ph in just two and a half seconds. With our eldest son (7 years old) just surpassing 1.4 metres tall he took the opportunity to enjoy both of these major rides for the first time. He particularly enjoyed the thrilling speed of Rita. The dark and mysterious TH13TEEN is the world’s first vertical freefall drop rollercoaster.
It is quite a long walk to the ‘Forbidden Valley’ section of the theme park so in order to save both time and our legs we caught the Skyride. The large gondolas travel high across the valley providing fantastic aerial views of the Theme Park, and the magnificent gardens below. Upon reaching Forbidden Valley we only had enough time for us all to ride ‘The Blade’ and the fantastic Nemesis Roller Coaster. The Blade is just a regular pirate ship ride. Despite being built over 20 years ago, Nemesis is still regarded as one of the best rollercoasters in the world. When it first opening, it was Europe’s first ever inverted rollercoaster. The theming of the ride is awesome with 250 tonnes of thrilling, twisting and turning coaster, including an underground tunnel.
Next Day Theme Park Passes
Following our ride on Nemesis, it was almost 4.00pm and the park was due to close so we captured the Skyride back to the Theme Park entrance. Before exiting the Theme Park we went to the Towers Street Resort Box office where we exchanged our theme park tickets for next day theme park passes at £10 per person (£50 in total).
Alton Towers Hotel
We didn’t expect the theme park to close so early and we had made a reservation at the Roller Coaster Restaurant at 6.15pm. In order to fill in some time we went and had a coffee at the Alton Towers Hotel. We also had a walk around the lake and took a look at the new CBeebies Land hotel. Click here to book a stay at one of the Alton Towers on-site resort hotels.
Roller coaster Restaurant
Our full review of The Rollercoaster Restaurant is coming soon.
Day 2 at Alton Towers
The Theme Park was much busier when we visited for our second day on Saturday 30th September. We had to wait a w