In a surprise announcement this morning, Alton Towers have submitted a planning application for the retheme of the Old MacDonald’s farmyard area of the park – as has been hinted by the park in the past as the ‘major’ addition for the 2014 season. It has been rumoured for some time that something was happening to the Old MacDonald’s Farm area as it was noted that the area was not going to be featured as usual in the Christmas line-up for the resort.
These plans have confirmed that the Resort indeed intends to refresh the area, which first opened as the Britannia Building Society Farm back in 1989 . It has been speculated for some time now that the refresh may bring a new IP (Intellectual Property or more simply, a brand name licensed to be used) to the area with it, so could we possibly see the area returning back to the old style in which it first opened. The rumoured IP tie in appears to be further supported by the lack of specific names, themes, or brands in the planning application, which the planners state have been left out due to “commercial confidentiality”.
The plans that have been submitted can be viewed on the Staffordshire Moorlands planning website in full. However from the plans put online today, we have summarised the following changes to the area:
- Dung Heap to be removed and replaced with ‘low level’ play equipment in a smaller area
- Dovecote to be removed, which currently stands between Berry Bish Bash and Doodle Doo Derby
- Minor extension to the current Berry Bish Bash attraction for new family and baby changing facilities
- New toilet block located in the old ice tent area
- New pieces of theming for Riverbank Eye Spy in the form of themed characters
- New pieces of theming for the Tractor Ride in the form of themed characters
- The old ice tent is to be removed and replaced with a new ‘green space’, including an activity area, and performance area and back of house area made of portacabins
- The performance area shall consit of a slightly raised stage area, which can cater for 3 “performances”. Could this hint towards new shows or attractions for the parks younger visitors?
- The ice tent area is to feature Astroturf, a marquee, and surrounded by 3.5m sound barrier fences due to proximity to local residents
- Activity area within ice tent area including 4 small tents for covered activities, surrounded by open lawns and a large canopy over the stage area.
- Part of entrance “barn” to be demolished and remaining parts rethemed
- The existing animal areas appear to be remaining untouched by the redevelopment, hinting that traces of the farming theme will remain
News In Pictures
For those of you who don’t have time to browse the plans yourself, below are a series of images from the submitted plans:
The Berry Bish Bash attraction will feature new cladding on the outside, along with a small extension for some baby change facilities. Click the image for a larger diagram.
Riverbank Eye Spy will remain the same ride, but will feature many new theming elements – some of which seem as though they will move. Click the image to see it larger.
The Tractor Ride will have a similar makeover to that of Riverbank Eye Spy – with multiple new theming elements. Click the image to see it larger.
The full layout for the new marquee and green area. Including activity tents, sound-proof walls, a new toilet block, new back of house facilities and a new stage – which will presumably for some sort of new show. Click the image to expand.
This shows the side elevation of the new green space. It will be lower than the previous big top and shows the canopy for the stage area, along with the soundproof wall, activity tents and the soundproof tunnel entrance for the area.
This image shows the areas of the farmyard due to be demolished. It shows that part of the barn entrance, the dovecote, the dungheap and the Ice Tent will all be removed for next year. Click the image to expand.
Although the plans do indicate that Storybook Land is also included in the proposed developments, at present there does not appear to be any notable changes being made to attractions or theming.
It should also be mentioned that no new rides are proposed for the area. Any changes appear to be purely cosmetic, structural or for theming purposes.
In the meantime, why not pay a visit to our TowersStreet forums to discuss this exciting news!