21-22 October Report

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by rlongcake, 23rd Oct 2018.

  1. rlongcake

    rlongcake TowersStreet Member

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    I left a very negative review here in May so I thought I'd update it after my trip on the 21st-22nd October
    Overall the park was fantastic.

    Lighting
    I haven't been to Scarefest since 2013 so I'm glad to see that the horrible floods have been replaced with the LEDs with coloured gel filters. Lighting is vital for a night time event so its nice to see them putting a bit of effort in. The park was covered in a yellow rope light with white leds every metre or so. They're absolutely everywhere and I personally didn't mind them but it would have been nice of they were a little more ambient.
    Wickerman, however, was lit beautifully with the red leds along with the large fire dome things in the centre. Another small detail was some of the large led fixtures were actually flickering between red and orange giving a lovely fire effect.
    The station of wickerman had some quite amusing fixtures too. They're using moving heads in the rafters of the stations with gobos but I've never actually seen them move. They're often several hundreds of pounds each and the exact same effect could be achieved with a light a fraction of the price!
    [​IMG]

    Queues
    We did very well with the rides. We managed a decent amount of rides without using any kind of passes. On the Monday between 10 and 11am we did Rita x2 and Thirteen x3 all as walk on. it seems that the first hour is perfect for DF and then running round to FV is the next step. Under 20mins for Nemmie and GalacticAir.
    I went into detail on how disappointed I was with the ride times system last time and I'm happy to report that they are now being used very effectively. Only once or twice was the queue over the estimate. On CRR the queue said 25mins and we reached the platform in 25:16. Most rides actually overestimated times which was a lovely surprise. Its important to get a nice balance between overestimating to please the guest when they finish and not going too high so people perceive the park to have ridiculous queues. I'm so pleased they've sorted it because I don't mind waiting 80mins as long as I know before hand.
    Also we arrived at the entrance at around 9.50 and we managed to pick up tickets and be in the park by 10. Impressive compared to the sham in May.

    Rides
    • Nemesis - Nice to see both trains on. It's keeping queues down and I love it. Found it rather smooth and a little forceless this trip though. Maybe I'm getting used to it?
    • GalacticAir - Good as usual. They're batching from the old photo kiosk and sending a large group at a time down to one station or the other. I think it works well. No VR on the second day. I prefer it that way because it keeps queues down and it's rubbish anyway.
    • Duel - Might have been my first ride since the refurb, not sure. It's good as always but is very loud. I obviously wasn't scared by it but I could see why people might be. A lot jumps out at you.
    • RMT - Alright as usual. Did not appreciate the children who had climbed the fence and were playing on the mining theming :(
    • CRR - Got a nasty splash. Noticed inconsistencies with batching. Some couples were left alone in a boat and it annoyed me because it slows things down but we were put with a group of 3 boys. not complaining really they were perfectly well behaved. There were no new boats on - I presume that's coming next year.
    • Th13teen - Got a front and back row ride. Back row over the first drop is underrated. I think its the first time I've ever seen the tesla coil on so that was pretty cool. Also its the first time I figured out why there's a ladder before you walk into the building - its bad luck.
    • Rita - This is the first time I've realised just how rough it is. The launch is still a little thrilling but after that its a bit meh. On the Sunday we did Rita first before Thirteen. We then headed back to Rita to find it had broken down already. At 10.30 in the morning!
    • Oblivion - Fantastic operations. between 0 and 15mins all day as both stations were being used effectively. It was my first time actually queuing for it after using RAP or a breakdown pass in the past - its quite a trek!
    • Hex - My first ride since the refurb. Excellent! I forgot how effective each element of the experience is. The madhouse works so well and all the effects were great. My mum is convinced that the walls in the vault were changed in some way during the refurb but I'm pretty sure they weren't? I haven't done DBGT but I'm proud to say Hex is my favourite dark ride in the country.
    • Wickerman - Wow. Almost everything about it is perfect. I've already talked about it enough so I won't here. They're batching it wrong now. They're stopping the queue at the preshow doors rather than before the baggage hold leading to many hold ups and issues in the station and the automatic door trying to close on a lady in a wheelchair! I got my first back row ride yesterday as well as a backrow night ride later on. I feel a little bad because we were asked to move to the front once we were in the 'pen' and we said we really wanted the back and were told it was fine we could stay but it turns out it was so a disabled guest could have our spot. Whoops. They got on straight after us though so its ok. It was incredible on the back at night with all the effects working and we came off saying how it's definitely not a family ride. Loved it.

    Other Things
    • Kellogg's were giving away free Squares samples on the Sunday. I personally approve of this sponsorship because there's no way I'm paying Towers' prices for snacks.
    • We ate at Eastern Express because they offered a vegan meal. My mother enjoyed it and was pleased she didn't have to have jacket potato and beans like usual when eating out. We planned to eat at Explorers' but there was no vegan option as all they do is pizza and pasta and the price had risen drastically since we last checked. I also recommend the cheesy chips from Forest Feast :)
    • Smoking. Its even worse than my last visit. Its actually infuriating. In GalacticAir's queue I saw a lady stood next to a no smoking sign having a fag. It's not just against park rules, its against the law. It was difficult to walk anywhere without having a cloud of whatever the trendiest vape juice is in your face. Its disgusting and needs to stop, The park aren't doing enough to keep it to designated areas. It completely ruins the exciting family atmosphere and makes me want to throw up at times. Anyone caught smoking/vaping outside of a designated area (especially in queues) should be removed from the park. Its just plain horrible without the fact that its bad for the health for everyone around them.
    • Couples - So many couples. They remind me that I'm ugly and will be alone forever! :)


    Sorry it was a bit long.
     
    skyscraper, b2311e, Alsty and 5 others like this.
    Posted 23rd Oct 2018
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  2. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Great report; glad to see you had a nice couple of days at the park!
     
    skyscraper likes this.
    Posted 23rd Oct 2018
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  3. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    I think the "why are there moving heads in Wickerman's station?" question has been brought up before. I've not seen them personally to verify this, but here is my theory:

    In order to create a good flame projection, you need certain gizmos, at the right point in the focal chain before or after the lenses: A static flame gobo, a rotating flame gobo (or external effect wheel), and/or a rotating prism.

    An ECT Source Four (the industry standard profile spot) only has a single gobo slot. By the time you've bought one, plus a gobo rotator, an effect wheel, the extra housing to fit all this stuff in (which adds a good six inches to the barrel of the lense) and bolted all those extras on to it... you've already spent way more than the cost of a cheap moving head. Not to mention that a moving head is far more compact than this Frankenstein's-lamp-on-life-support alternative.

    I've done flame / water ripple effects the old fashioned way (it's exactly the same effect, but water is slow and blue, while fire is fast and red) back when I was at school. In those days we even had huge rotating wheels in front of the spots! (The internal rotating prism has made these obsolete). It's a ball ache. You have to manually tweak the rotation speed on pots, and play about with the focus on the lamp (two seperate lenses to slide back and forth) while up a ladder. Far easier to have a single automated fixture that you can control from the ground via DMX. Technology marches on! :p

    Besides, just because a light can move, doesn't mean it has to. ;)
     
    Posted 24th Oct 2018
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  4. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    As much as I also don't like smoking in the queues, its not illegal as long as the space isn't enclosed. If they were smoking in the station, the park is breaking the law allowing them to smoke. But an open air queue line, its only park rules.


    The oil/grease stains were cleaned off the walls. I don't think much else changed in the vault though.
     
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    Posted 12th Nov 2018
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  5. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Just to be picky, I can confirm that it is not against the law to smoke in a queue. ;)
     
    Posted 12th Nov 2018
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  6. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Depends what you are smoking...
     
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    Posted 12th Nov 2018
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  7. rlongcake

    rlongcake TowersStreet Member

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    But it is against the park's terms and conditions of entry. Breaking these makes you guilty of trespass.

    Smoking (including of e-cigarettes) is strictly prohibited other than in the designated smoking areas identified on the park map
     
    Posted 18th Nov 2018
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  8. Robert.W

    Robert.W TowersStreet Member

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    I’ve no idea about the legality of smoking whilst at Alton Towers (although it is against the law to smoke in enclosed spaces, i.e. inside the Wicker Man pre-show, where they do have signage saying it is illegal before you enter).
    The real problem is enforcing and rules, not the actual rules themselves. They have in the past openly admitted on social media that their terms and conditions for preventing people smoking across the park are practically unenforceable.
     
    Posted 19th Nov 2018
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  9. rlongcake

    rlongcake TowersStreet Member

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    Yes I completely understand that people do it because there is no reason not to. They know they won't get in trouble. The lady in Galactica's queue was within site of a staff member and they did nothing. These people who were walking all the way through areas must have passed 15 staff members and if they're not caught by any of them why stop?
     
    Posted 19th Nov 2018
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  10. DistortAMG

    DistortAMG TowersStreet Member

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    In regards to the moving head fixtures in WM station. I am sure Alton have accrued a large amount of stage lighting over the years, as not all of it is rented. I am sure it was not hard for them to find a few fixtures lying around to place in the station. So effectively, cost nothing.

    Even though it was a while ago and I am sure most of it got sold. Alton had large amounts of Martin moving heads and tonnes of par cans left over from the old Webmaster on ice tent, all owned and purchased by Tussauds or the park.. Although technology has moved on since then, they were all state of the art Martin lights back in the day. I am sure they have a stock pile of stuff like this lying around, as they have used it and used it so much over the years. A good majority is probably rented now, but not all of it would be.
     
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  11. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Lighting equipment can last decades. Simple stuff like PARcans can be fully functional 50 years after they were made, if looked after. The older generation of Martin movers are still perfectly good lamps. The Mac 500 and 600 were industry standard workhorses for their day, and are still going strong, even if they don't have all the features of newer lamps.
     
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  12. DistortAMG

    DistortAMG TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah, the biggest feature I love in the newer moving head lamps is the CMYK colour selection rather than GOBO colour wheels. The ones used at Alton in the big top were gobo colour wheel based moving heads, but they were good non the less. There was loads of them in that webmaster tent too. Probably 40+ easily.
     
  13. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    The Mac 600 wash had full CMY colour mixing (there's no "K" in light, FYI ;) ).

    The Mac 500 spot had two colour wheels. Depends what effect you are looking for really. The ability to bump between two colours on wheels depends on how far apart they are, and how fast the wheel moves. Unless they are next to each other, you end up with a brief flash of another colour(s) between the two you wanted. Now sometimes, that can be a really cool effect. But most of the time it's annoying.

    The 600 had three graduated colour flags for you to mix in CMY. Of course, the problem with this is that you can't hard-bump between colours. No matter how fast the flags move, there will always be a fade.

    These days of course, LEDs have solved all this. Mix, bumps, flash, it's all good. Plus the colour mixing is RGB additive, rather than CMY subtractive, which is far easier to understand when your brain thinks in terms of cameras. ;)
     
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  14. DistortAMG

    DistortAMG TowersStreet Member

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    CMYK was a rock band from America in the early 2000's, my mistake. Edit no it's not, its print stuff. I must be getting old.
     
    Last edited: 20th Nov 2018
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