Seeing out the 2018 season with Fireworks seems like only yesterday, and it’s hard to believe that we’re now into single figures until opening day for the 2019 season on Saturday 23rd March!
Alton Towers are hard at work completing construction on two new additions for the 2019 season. Due to open on 23rd March, The Alton Towers Dungeon is taking shape on the former site of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Elsewhere, work is continuing on the resort’s newest accommodation option – Stargazing Pods, which is due to open a little later on 12th April.
Despite the ongoing work, Alton Towers kindly invited TowersStreet along with a number of other vloggers and fan sites to take a look at progress so far. Unfortunately, terrible weather seems to be a tradition with preview events at Alton Towers, with last year’s event and even the actual opening day for Wicker Man being delayed thanks to snow. This year, torrential rain and incoming high winds was the order of the day. Thankfully, an afternoon break in Tuesday’s rain gave us chance to take a look and avoid getting soaking wet!
First up, a visit to the Stargazing Pods. This year’s new accommodation is being marketed as a value option for families in comparison to the larger hotels and Enchanted Village lodges. The pods feature two single beds, a double bed at the rear along with charging ports and heating. A facilities building houses toilet and shower facilities, while a breakfast bap and hot drink is able to be picked up at the Pods reception each morning.
Guests will check in at the pods reception, which is the building previously used as the reception for Tree Top Quest. Once checked in, they’ll walk to the Stargazing Pods site, where a large entrance arch will greet them.
The lodges themselves are all numbered and the porch is lit to allow guests to find their way around the site.
Picture provided by Alton Towers
In creating the Stargazing Pods, the resort were keen to provide space for families to spend time together in the outdoors. In the centre of the site, a village green is being created. Over 900 trees and bushes have been planted and over 1000 square metres of turf laid across the site. On the village green, telescopes have been installed to allow guests to view the stars in the night sky.
An overview of the village green area, which sits in the centre of the site. The facilities building can be seen at the rear-left of the image
Check out our full gallery with further information below
The Alton Towers Dungeon
Onto the park itself, and The Alton Towers Dungeon is taking shape. Situated in the former home of dark ride Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the attraction is the second to be added from Merlin’s midway portfolio after Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE.
Work is continuing day and night to ensure the attraction is ready for opening day on 23rd March. At the entrance, additional theming elements have been added recently, and there’s more to come including photo opportunities for guests.
The resort have recruited 23 actors for the attraction, with around 11 in the attraction at any one time.
The Alton Towers Dungeon has been built in around 6 months – a third of the time normally taken for a usual dungeon attraction. The existing boat ride from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been utilised within the Dungeon as the ‘Black River’. A total of six scenes will feature in the attraction, many of which will be familiar to regular ‘Dungeons’ guests, but with a Staffordshire twist to the characters and their stories.
Actors have been busy rehearsing both within the new attraction and also by utilising the nearby Corporate Hospitality Suite beside Spinball Whizzer. All will have undergone 240 hours each of training to prepare them for their roles. Work is continuing day and night to finish up programming the scenes and also adding further layers of theming inside and outside the building.
The Black River boat ride will be unique to others within the Dungeons brand as the teams operating the ride itself will be hidden. Actors will be responsible for loading guests, ensuring that guest immersion isn’t broken.
The Steward welcomes guests to The Alton Towers Dungeon
Alton Towers are keeping most of the effects and elements of the scenes a closely guarded secret for the time being, but check out our gallery below for sneak peeks at some of the scenes. For the rest, you’ll have to see for yourself from 23rd March.
The resort have also shared a number of concept images for costumes for the attraction which can be seen in the gallery below
We’ll be bringing you more updates through our live coverage across opening weekend from the 23rd March on our social media channels over on Twitter and Facebook. In the run up to opening, there’ll also be plenty of chat over on our discussion forums, TowersStreet Talk. Not long to go now!