1986 Park Guide Map & Quiz

Discussion in 'Talbot Street' started by Sir Queer Llama, 15th Sep 2015.

  1. Sir Queer Llama

    Sir Queer Llama TowersStreet Member Team Member

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    Warning, this post is rather picture heavy.

    So I was having a little clear out of my house the other day and came across this little gem, an Alton Towers 1986 Guide Book/Map and naturally I have decided to share it with the lovely people of TowersStreet ;) The little 10 page, A5 booklet is filled with lots of wonderful pictures of the rides and park in days gone by, accompanied with little snippets of delightfully 80's style marketing spiel that is all so very quaint.


    The front page of the book is taken up by the standard 1980's promo piece, The Corkscrew swooping over the Towers viewed from across the lake.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Also, take note... We may well laugh at Today's generic corporate line of "You can still enjoy over 50 other rides and attractions" However it would appear that is, in actual fact rather reserved, as guests in the 80's had no reason to be disgruntled if 'The Black Hole' or 'Log Flume' were ever to close, they were spoiled rotten with over 100 other attractions to enjoy!


    104 attractions to be precise as shown here on pages 2-3 of the guide, the park map. Needless to say some of them are rather questionable, anybody for a trip to the 'Baby Feeding Room'?

    [​IMG]
    The map does however show that 1986 really was rather a high investment year, with not only two new areas (one of which being our very own namesake Towers Street) but also, 'The Spider' and 'The Grand Canyon Rapids'.


    Moving on to pages 4-5 we start to look at the individual areas, with some lovely captions, I'm particularly fond of the use of the word 'Superb'.

    [​IMG]
    Not so much of a fan of the Doll Exhibition...


    Pages 6-7 see us look at 'Fantasy World' and 'Aqualand', featuring a 'sensational journey through space' and 'the most exciting family ride in the world'

    ...Always been a fan of bold statements then.
    [​IMG]
    Lots of use of the word Spectacular too, anybody would think this was Blackpool Pleasure Beach.


    Beyond the centre pages we discover the parks wide range of restaurants and shopping facilities including, the largest fast food eatery in Europe, steak served from a carriage and obviously pottery, freshly blown glass and a wide array of 'Basketware'. After all, what theme park trip is complete without a handcrafted wicker basket?

    [​IMG]
    Is that some 'Ride Me' merch I can see in the leisurewear shop? ;)


    The final pages give us a lovely comparison of the 'Unique combination' of culture and heritage next to lots of garish, brightly coloured inflatable children's tat, sorry... I mean 'A kaleidoscope of activities for young children' :p

    [​IMG]
    Nice to see some lovely images of the gardens without them covered in wooden posts and rope anyway...


    And obviously we couldn't leave without talking pricing, the back page covers, directions, entry fee's and how they went out of their way to lay special paved areas and provide special toilets for disabled guests...

    [​IMG]
    One for the geeks... Check out the throughput on those fast food outlets!




    But wait, that is not all back in 1986 every visit to Alton Towers came with the opportunity to win a holiday... And not one to Alton Towers either! :flushed: The park had teamed up with Horizon holidays to offer a number of holidays to Spain... along with a few return visits to the park.

    [​IMG]


    Now for the fun part, the 'Alton Towers Fun Quiz' to be exact! All guests had to do was complete 12 simple questions, the answers to which were readily available around the park, to be in with a chance of winning said holidays. And for the competitive ones among you, here is that quiz... Note a long term photographic memory is required, one of approximately 29 years.

    [​IMG]
    (Please note: Terms and Conditions apply, please ask the bill payers permission before entering, entries past the closing date will not count but you may still be charged... holidays and return tickets are no longer available.)


    So I guess all that's left to say is, I hope you will find this both as interesting and amusing as I did. :)
     
    AT86, josht, djtruefitt and 8 others like this.
    Posted 15th Sep 2015
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  2. bluesonichd

    bluesonichd TowersStreet Member

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    £5.99 entry and open till 7pm, oh those were the days :)
    waste of time me entering the quiz.. cant answer a singe one :(
     
    Posted 15th Sep 2015
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  3. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    I reckon I could get 7 of them given a couple of hours :D
     
    Posted 15th Sep 2015
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  4. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Blimey, it's a tad more challenging than today's "like and share to win!"
    *mumbles something about the youth of today being dumbed down*
     
    Posted 15th Sep 2015
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  5. Leah

    Leah TowersStreet Member

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    Can't get any, but it was years before I set foot in the park for the first time, s I have an excuse ;)

    Wait... OVER 100 RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS! I thought over 50 was an exaggeration. Is that counting toilets and food stands as attractions (though both probably get more people going to them than enterprise ;))
     
    Posted 15th Sep 2015
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  6. CGM

    CGM TowersStreet Member

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    Whilst I tend to think of the late 90s to early 00s as being the park's strongest years, there's a lot from this era that I like. All of the shows, museums, potteries, glass blowing studios etc. might seem quaint by today's standards but they would have offered a lot more variety to the day, particularly if you're visiting with someone who might not be keen on rides.

    From a food point of view, I like the fact they offered food in many varieties across a range of price brackets. You didn't have to put up with the usual greasy theme park food. I would have certainly liked to eat at the Swiss Cottage before it was left to decay.

    Not a fan of the map in this booklet though, one of the weaker ones in my opinion.
     
    Posted 15th Sep 2015
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  7. Shockadelica

    Shockadelica TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks for this. Interesting that it seems there were ultimately three versions of the 1986 leaflet.
    First one had the same photos as yours, but the map was an updated version of the 1984/5 maps.
    Then this one with the new (not brilliant) map.
    And later on in the season, this new map with a brand new design for the rest of the booklet, with proper pictures of Towers Street, Kiddies Kingdom and their own rapids.

    I've learned something new today, cheers.
     
    Posted 16th Sep 2015
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  8. IanB

    IanB TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks for sharing @Sammy

    Always great to get a chance to peek at things from the past, and see how some things have changed so much, and others have hardly changed.

    Ian
     
    Posted 16th Sep 2015
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  9. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    The other attraction I would want to give a miss to was the First Aid room. :D
     
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    Posted 16th Sep 2015
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  10. Dylan

    Dylan TowersStreet Member

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    I remember this leaflet well, I think my first visit would have been the year before as the rapids were definitely not there.
     
  11. Gezz

    Gezz TowersStreet Member

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    Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

    I love looking at park maps and seeing how they have changed. I'm currently in the process of putting my collection online at www.tpmdb.com, and was wondering whether you would be willing to let me include the map picture (credited to you as the source) on my site?
     
  12. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    And we thought towers went over the top the other year with their 50 rides and attractions!

    It's always interesting to see old maps and leaflets, could you imagine how well a pottery or wicket basket shop would do now at Alton Towers?

    As for that quiz, I have no idea! Maybe if I was on park I could look for some clues (if they still exist!)
     
  13. Ben

    Ben TS Founding Member

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    I want a Towers wicker basket
     
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  14. Slugjc

    Slugjc TowersStreet Member

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    Just to the left of over there!!!
    The 80's was a season of change, and this shows the beginning of all we now know.
     
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  15. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Although it's easy to be nostalgic (and rightly so, sometimes) - it's important to remember that a lot of the park was a fairground back then. Although change was in the air with the introduction of larger amusement rides, the bulk of the coasters were portable and a lot of the flats looked like they could (and many in fact had done) have come from the local travelling fair.

    Times change, tastes change, it's important not to forget where the park of today came from but you have to know when to remove the rose tinted glasses.
     
    AndrewH and Swes like this.
  16. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    You do and you don't. Certainly it's better now than 1986. But, I am less sure of the early to mid 1990's.

    In the early to mid 1990's, Alton Towers was at the absolute forefront of the European industry. The park offered several fairly large live shows, a parade and was, at that time, investing in rides on the scale of Nemesis - the first B&M in Europe. It also had some of the highest gate figures in Europe, excluding Disney. The park had floral displays in many areas, offered an a-la-carte waitress service restaurant and allowed dogs into the park. Seasonal events were held across the year, with craft markets, summer spectaculars and much more. Older guests (i.e. 60+) were as commonplace as teenagers. The Alton Towers Hotel opened in the mid 1990s as one of the first resort hotels in Europe.

    Now you cannot say the park is at the absolute forefront. It may well have good rides, but it no longer has anywhere near the highest gate figures, no longer invests in anywhere near the highest quality overall attractions, doesn't have anywhere near the amount of live entertainment, lacks floral/landscape displays, offers very standard food/beverage and doesn't allow dogs. The latest addition to the resort, the Enchanted Village, is at nowhere near the opening-day quality that ATH was in the 1990s, in spite of the room rate being almost identical. Seasonal events now are reduced to just three: Halloween, Fireworks and Christmas. The months of January to mid-October are forgotten almost entirely. The biggest and best European parks offer most of these things today: Efteling, PortAventura, Europa-Park to name just three.

    I am not one to offer a blanket 'AT was better 20 years ago', but I certainly think the park's position was better and also the ethos. Alton Towers may well be in consolidation phase these days, but unfortunately the net overall quality on offer in the park has declined as financial responsibility has taken hold.

    As they said in 1986: "the extra touches make the day complete".

    Amen to that.

    :)
     
    Last edited: 14th Oct 2015
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  17. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    Alton does feel a bit like merlins cash cow at the moment.
     
  18. AstroDan

    AstroDan TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Ultimately, within Merlin, Alton Towers has to be a cash cow as they have a responsibility to shareholders to give them a return...

    Capitalism, I guess.
     
  19. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    It must be dogging the bottom line more than every other attraction in the portfolio, not much of a cash cow at the moment!
     
  20. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    In the 80s and early 90s, it did seem as if there was more of a hi-de-hi feel to the place. Which I suppose was manly due to it being a family run business.

    It's also important to remember that in these 'high investment' years, a lot of the rides weren't actually owned by the park, merely leased.

    I don't even think the corkscrew at that time was owned by the park although I may be wrong?
     

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