The Alton Towers Dungeon Development
In 2019 the park will see the addition of The Alton Towers Dungeon near Cloud Cuckoo Land, in the former Charlie and the Chocolate Factory building.
The Dungeons brand is one of Merlin's midway attractions that take guests through a live action experience, re-enacting a series of gruesome moments from history. They can often be found in historic cities around the world, but rumours of a dungeon coming to the park began to circulate over the summer when a trademark application was made by Merlin for the attraction name.
After much speculation as to where the attraction might be located, in September 2018 work began to start striping the theming from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, followed shortly by the official announcement that the Dungeon would indeed be the park's new attraction the following season.
How will the Dungeons work?
Whilst few details have been revealed about The Alton Towers Dungeons, it would seem likely that they will operate in a similar way to The Castle Dungeon at Warwick Castle. The Castle Dungeon features nine show scenes (having originally opened with eight) and is an experience that lasts around 50 minutes; due to its scope it also has an extra fee of £6.
There has been no confirmation yet as to if an extra fee will be charged at Alton Towers (where the entry fee is already significantly more expensive than Warwick Castle). It is also unclear as to how many show scenes will feature, though five of the scenes have already been revealed in the early marketing for The Alton Towers Dungeon.
What to expect?
If you don't want to know what may lie deep in the dungeons, you should skip this section as it may contain spoilers!
The full line-up for The Alton Towers Dungeons has yet to be announced but from the inital marketing we already know some information on what we can expect from the attraction:
How will you plead? Guilty!
A staple of all of The Dungeons, guests are summoned for their day in a court where crimes from throughout history are all on trial. One unlucky guest is singled out to have the book thrown at them and there's only one question to be answered: are they guilty... or very guilty!
Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's not really there at all!
The Dungeons are well known to include scenes based on local history and whilst little has been revealed so far it is likely that this scene will draw from the history of Alton Towers. The mythology of the Towers is brimming with ghosts who have fascinating stories to tell and what better place to reveal them then deep within a dungeon.
Stand and just shiver!
It is not just a beggar-woman who might stop your carriage en route to Alton Towers. The roads throughout Staffordshire were once dangerous to travel for fear of roaming mask bandits looking to relieve weary travellers of their valuables. This scene is likely to be similar to its namesake in The York Dungeons, which takes place in a real carriage.
The Plague Doctor
The Doctor will see you, if you have the heart!
Another staple of The Dungeons franchise is to retell gruesome tales from the time when the plague ravished the land. And if there is anything more disgusting than the plague itself, it is most certainly the 'cures' that were administered to fight the epidemic.
What's the matter? Rats got your tongue?
What dungeon would be complete without a torture chamber? The torturer is on hand to show you some of his more gruesome toys, but why just look when a demonstration would be ever-so enlightening. Any volunteers?
It has not yet been confirmed as to how many scenes will be included in the dungeon, but it seems likely that both the boat ride as well as the lifts from CATCF could be re-used in the attraction. It would therefore seem likely that we will see some other common attractions of The Dungeons, such as:
A common opening scene for The Dungeons is The Decent, featuring a simulated lift ride down into the depths of the dungeon, which would be a perfect use for one of the old Great Glass Elevators.
Many of the existing dungeons have a boat ride as one of their attractions, themed to a local story in each case, such as a trip through Traitors' Gate in The London Dungeon. Based on the location of The Alton Towers Dungeon, it would be almost unthinkable that the existing boat ride won't be used to the same effect here.
All of The Dungeons mix national historic events with scenes that are linked to the local area, so the rich mythology surrounding Alton Towers could provide ample subject matter for the dungeon. The park also houses the remains of the Bunbury Hillfort and is well known as the site of the Battle of Slain Hollow, so perhaps we can expect some of the park's iron-age residents to make an appearance.