It has been a busy winter at Alton Towers and the 2023 season is almost upon us. But what can we expect from the new season? Before the park opens this weekend, let’s take a look at what’s been going on.
The park have wasted no time in dismantling Nemesis 1.0. The ride closed with much fanfare at the end of the 2022 season and instantly disappeared behind work walls. Well, an entire closed season has now occurred and the coaster is gone, or at least all the parts that are going. Nemesis 2.0 will use the same brake-run, station and lift hill, which are all still in situ, but the rest of the ride will be replaced like for like, using modern construction methods, including sand-filled supports.
But as it stands at the start of this season, there is now a large empty pit sitting at the heart of Forbidden Valley, where early foundation work has commenced. Over the course of the closed season, piece by piece the ride was removed to the staging area by the car parks, before being taken off site to be scrapped.
Want to take a peek over the construction walls? Well, the park has got you covered. A temporary viewing platform has been installed, alongside Sub-Terra’s old queue line and looking directly into the pit. It’s not clear if this will be open for the start of the season, but certainly will be by the time any interesting construction begins.
In other Nemesis related news, in February, Merlin trademarked the name Nemesis Reborn. Could the ride be sporting a new name when it returns for its 30th anniversary in 2024? Or could the name be part of a limited-time marketing campaign to mark the ride’s return? We may have to wait a year to find out…
A Dolls House reveals the secrets of the park’s latest ride…
February was a busy month for Alton Towers and all eyes were on London as marketing got under way for the park’s new attraction, The Curse at Alton Manor. To coincide with the revelation of the ride’s new name, a pop-up Doll’s House appeared at Mudchute Farm in central London town, tempting media and members of the public alike to open the doors and take a first look into the twisted world of Emily Alton.
The larger than life dolls house featured a walkthrough, which was open for two days, complete with live actors and laced with clues about the new attraction, including the opening date – 18th March 2023.
After the marketing launch it was clear that Emily Alton was ready to play and earlier this week the park gave us our first look inside the revamped Haunted House, showing off some of the scenes that have replaced the zombies of Duel. And on Wednesday, the ride’s extremely creepy ad was released, giving further insight into the games that Emily has in mind.
It was clear from the outset that a new ride would mean changes for Gloomy Wood, with the old graveyard extended queue being cleared for upgrades last season, but we also now know that the area’s food offering will be reopening as Coach House Confectionary. And elsewhere, the shop at the exit of The Curse at Alton Manor will now be known as Attic of Antiquities.
The ‘temporary’ additions of The Retro Squad have returned for a third season, with a slightly refreshed line-up. Funk’n’Fly and Spinjam will operate once again in 2023, along with Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango, the park’s other pop-up attraction. Earlier in the month, however, the park announced that Roller Disco would be returning to Planet Retrograde but had put out a distress call for a replacement.
We now know that, the new member of the Squad will be Twistatron and will be replacing Enterprise in X-Sector, rather than filling the spot in Dark Forest. The new ride is a Trabant, normally known as Star Fighter, which has been hired for the season from Raecher Hiscoe, a UK showman. The ride’s height restriction will be 1.4.
Enterprise was finally removed from the park earlier in the year, having been out of commission and semi-dismantled for the 2022 season. Whilst it is disappointing not to be getting a permanent replacement, it is at least good that the site will be in use this season. The park has now lost four flat rides in the past decade, none of which have received proper replacements, and have decimated the park’s line-up of support rides. The hired fairground rides have been a welcome temporary solution, but hopefully the park have plans to properly address the lack of support attractions in the coming seasons after many years of cuts to the ride line-up.
One closed support attraction that has been receiving some attention over the closed season is Nemesis Sub-Terra. Not only has the ride gained a new viewing platform next door, but over the closed season the queue-line floor has been replaced, and the building has received a new paint job, not to mention lashings of WD40. Whilst the park have yet to announce anything, the building has also reappeared on the park map, suggesting there are plans for the Phalanx’s compound in the near future.
The ride originally closed in 2015 and there has been very little sign of life since, other than during subsequent Scarefests, when the ride hosted the Project 42 scare maze. However, last year the Scarefest props were finally removed from the building and given the recent restoration work all indications suggest that the attraction may return this year, but we’ll just have to wait and see what the park have in store.
Finally, the park’s next big ride project is truly on the Horizon. Planning Permission for the ride was approved in February, paving the way for a new ride in what was once Coaster Corner. By 2025 it is expected that the current backstage area between The World of David Walliams and the Alton Towers Dungeon will be transformed to become the home of a new indoor attraction.
It is heavily anticipated that the attraction will be a new indoor rollercoaster, the park’s first since the Blackhole departed nearly twenty years ago, and will effectively be SW9, the latest in the park’s signature line of large-scale additions. Whilst few details have been released about the ride, we do know that the attraction building will only be 20m tall, with no significant excavations planned for the site. This means we know whatever is added won’t have much height, so will possibly be aimed at the family market, which would make sense given its location in a traditionally family-friendly area of the park.
We know from the planning documents that the construction period for the ride is expected to take around 78 weeks, so if the intention is for the coaster to open by the start of the 2025 season, we should see work commence on the site towards the end of this season.
We’ve got lots to look forward to in 2023, so stick with TowersStreet to keep you up to date with the latest goings on around the park here on our website and via social media on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram.
Don’t forget there’s also our forum, with plenty of speculation and discussion about the new season, including plenty of hot takes on The Curse at Alton Manor (beware spoilers) and of course the on-going refurbishment of Nemesis.