Whilst no major new additions have been announced for the 2022 season, over the closed season some drips of information have started to emerge about what we can expect next year. It is also possible to speculate on a few other areas that the park might also focus on in 2022…
CBeebies Land will be getting three new attractions for 2022, along with two new shows in Big Fun Showtime and a more general refresh to the wider area. Construction on the new attractions has been ongoing since the end of the 2021 season and on December 20th the park announced more details about their plans for the area, including a ‘CBeebies Bug interactive trail’ around the land as well as a refreshed entrance portal.
The three new attractions are:
- JoJo & Gran Gran at Home, replacing Charlie and Lola’s Moonsquirters and Green Drops
- Hey Duggee’s Big Adventure Badge, replacing Tree Fu Tom Training Camp
- Andy’s Adventure Dinosaur Dig, replacing Mr Bloom’s Allotment
And if all that wasn’t enough, Big Fun Showtime will also be getting two new shows for 2022, with a new show for Bing as well as The Map Badge, a new show starring Hey Duggee. Elsewhere, Bing will also be staying over in the CBeebies Land Hotel from 2022, in a set of new themed rooms. It is not yet known which rooms, or how many, will be converted into the new theme.
Swiss Cottage Repairs
The Swiss Cottage will be the latest building in the garden to receive attention. Though unlike some recent garden projects, this will be more modest in scale and aims to repair damage to the back of the building and make the structure watertight.
During the years when the Swiss Cottage operated as a restaurant, a flat-roofed kitchen extension was built onto the back of the structure. It has been many years since the building was in regular use and by 2019 the roof of this extension had collapsed, which lead to the subsequent demolition of the entire modern section of the kitchen.
The current planning permission is for repair works to complete the process of removing that structure and return the back of the Swiss Cottage to its original state. This involves repairing windows, brick and stone work, as well as removing remaining remnants of the kitchens, such as extractor fans and electric boxes.
Whilst this work will secure the structure for years to come, there is no indication that the park are planning to return the building to regular use at any time soon.
Retro Squad Returns
Originally, the park were expecting the Retro Squad to be a single season phenomenon, but we now know that the Squad will be returning for 2022. Responding to a question on Twitter, the park have revealed that Funk’n’Fly and Roller Disco will be returning to the park, though without Mixtape this season. Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango, the fourth of the pop-up rides will also remain in The World of David Walliams.
The park officially announced the return of the rides just a few days before the start of the season, including a new addition, Spinjam, which has replaced Mixtape in X Sector. The new ride is an Extreme by Tivoli and is due to open a few days into the season.
Whilst it would undoubtedly be preferable if the park were to invest in some new permanent flat ride, the return of the Retro Squad is at least a promising sign that they have recognised the need for extra flat rides in the park. Over the years, the park’s flat ride line-up has dwindled with the removal of popular rides such as Ripsaw and Twirling Toadstool (and also Submission). Now there are four sites prepped for flat rides, perhaps 2023 will finally see Merlin invest in this much maligned area of their operation.
2022 Event Line-up
The park have announced another full season of events for 2022, repeating last season’s line up along with a new event for the Easter Holidays. Alton Towers have confirmed that Mardi Gras will be returning for its second season, this year joined by the new Festival of Thrills in April.
We already know that several events will be receiving upgrades this year, with new food and drink offerings for Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest, as well as a new Scare Maze to celebrate Scarefest’s 15th birthday.
The new Festival of Thrills event will kick off the season’s event line-up in April, and so far we know that it will be a celebration of the park’s seven main rollercoasters. The new event will include live music at each of the coasters, so we’re expecting that it may be a new version of the park’s long-running Big Six Challenge crossed with Mardi Gras style entertainment.
Further ahead, the park have already revealed that Lightopia will be returning for Christmas. They have not, however, elaborated on the new scare maze for Scarefest, though it seems likely that it might replace either Altonville Mine Tours or Darkest Depths, both of which were conspicuously absent from the new promo video.
The full line up of this year’s events is:
- Pirate Takeover: 18th – 27th February
- Festival of Thrills: 4th April-6th May
- Mardi Gras: 21st May-19th June
- Oktoberfest: 10th September-2nd October
- Scarefest: 7th-9th, 14th-30th October
- Fireworks: 4th-6th November
- Christmas: Select dates from 25th November
In 2021, the park applied for planning permission to keep the ‘temporary’ stage on the front lawns during future seasons, so we can expect that this area will once again play host to many of this year’s events.
The park have submitted planning permission to replace the track of Nemesis. The application, which was passed on 23rd March 2021, will allow them to extend the coaster’s life long into the future.
The plans will see the entire track replaced from the top of the lift hill right through to the break run, but there will be no significant changes to the coaster’s design, beyond strengthening and extending some of the ride’s foundations in the most intense parts of the course.
The park have not yet given any indication about when they expect the work to take place, but given that planning permission was sought in January 2022, it seems like a safe assumption that the ride will close later in the year to begin its refurbishment.
What Sites are Available?
There are several sites around the park that are currently available for redevelopment. Here we take a look at some sites where we can expect to see new attractions built in the coming years.
The World of David Walliams
Most of the buildings on one side of the area are no longer open to the public, from the shuttered 4D Cinema and Toy Shop at one end through to the old Nickelodeon building at the other. We can expect the area to expand over the coming years to incorporate these unused spaces, and not forgetting the Driving School, which is likely to be rethemed in the near future.
2021 saw the end of The Submission Memorial Garden to make way for Mixtape. However, the former site of Submission is now vacant again, so perhaps it is time for the Ministry of Joy to add a new experiment and bolster the park’s dwindling flat ride line-up.
The Dark Forest is brimming with potential for future development, most notably on the former site of the Ug Swinger, which is currently home to Roller Disco.
When the area was Festival Park in the 90s, the area around Th13teen’s entrance played host to several other rides, including The Beastie and Enterprise, so there is potential for more than one attraction in this under-used area. Perhaps the park could re-visit plans for the Robo-Arms that were considered as part of the Dark Forest development.
Equally, it is worth mentioning that the site that currently houses the Dark Forest Lockers was once the site of the Magic Carpet and later The Spider. Whilst the site itself is compact, the queues for these attractions once ran through the neighbouring woodland, with some evidence of the site’s past still visible today.
Funk’n’Fly took over the site left vacant by the removal of Ripsaw in 2015. Will this prime location once again become home to a new headliner for the park’s flat ride line-up?
Next door, in Adventure Land, there is also the long abandoned [email protected] site, which site in an area which could be re-used as part of either of the neighbouring lands.