Alton Towers 12th/13th September 2021

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by Matt N, 12th Sep 2021.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    12th September 2021 (Day 1)
    Hi guys. Today, my parents and I went to Alton Towers for Oktoberfest. We’re actually spending 2 days on park this trip, so today’s report is the first of two!

    We actually didn’t arrive at the resort until just after 12pm today, so as the opening time crowds had migrated into the park by this point, we decided to take the monorail into the park for the first time in quite a few years, as it was a practically walk-on queue! I apologise; I would have taken pictures of the views from on the ride, but the windows aren’t that easy to take pictures through:
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    Due to some stacking on the Monorail, we ultimately didn’t get into the park until about 12:30pm:
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    As I inferred above, we visited for Oktoberfest, and I have to say, the event has been very nicely done! There’s a surprising amount of decorations about, a lot of food and entertainment around, and the Oompah music in various parts of the park is a nice touch:
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    Once we got into the park, Galactica was actually on a 5 minute queue, so we decided to head over there. I was keen to get back on it, as I’ve always really liked it previously, and I hadn’t ridden since July 2020. Unfortunately, however, we were unable to ride; it broke down and ceased operation, so after we’d been in the queue for around 20 minutes (the advertised time had gone up to 25 by the time we reached it), we were evacuated from the queue.

    After our failed attempt to ride Galactica, we went to something that was definitely open, and had a reasonably short queue...
    Wicker Man
    Wicker Man was on a 50 minute advertised wait time, so we decided to give it a go. The advertised wait time actually turned out to be somewhat of an overstatement, as we only waited around 35 minutes; always a bonus! Today’s ride was also interesting because it was the first time I’ve actually done the pre-show since about 2018, and in terms of the pre-show; having experienced it today, I’m a little unsure on it returning overall. I love the video itself (I still don’t quite know how they’re able to hide the curtain moving so effectively!), but I think it does pose a few cons in terms of practicality. The scrum to leave the room isn’t too pleasant, and they did seem to occasionally be having a few issues with batching. The ride’s general operations are still phenomenal, however, and the queue still moves at a fair pace; trains were frequently hitting the lift hill no later than the train in front was hitting the brake run, which I’d say is brilliant! But enough about operations; how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 7, and it was tremendous fun as always! Great pacing, loads of little pops of airtime, and overall, it was just a really fun ride; I do absolutely love Wicker Man! I know I’ll get a lot of funny looks for this, but it’s certainly my favourite ride on park for sure, and up there with Icon as one of my UK favourites:
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    After a great ride on Wicker Man, we headed over to ride…
    Oblivion
    Oblivion was on an advertised 30 minute queue, so me & my dad decided to give it a go (my mum doesn’t like Oblivion). As it turned out, 30 minutes was once again a bit of an overstatement, as we were on within about 20 minutes; always a bonus! So, how was the ride? Well, it was excellent as always! We were seated in the back row (first time in ages I’ve done the back), and the airtime felt amazing, as well as the raw sensation of speed! Oblivion’s definitely one that’s grown on me a lot over the years, and today did nothing to make me go off it; Oblivion might be short, but it’s certainly sweet, in my opinion:
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    After a great ride on Oblivion, we decided to head over towards Forbidden Valley, but we actually decided to go back on Wicker Man on the way by, as it only had a 35 minute queue and we all either like or love it. This time, we were seated in row 4, and it was just as great as earlier on! By this point, however, I realised that my mum & dad were not very happy about the pre-show’s return; my mum’s exact words to me after we saw the pre-show for the second time were “Meh. That literally adds nothing other than more time onto our wait to get onto the ride and a scrum to get into the station”, and my dad’s thoughts were similar:
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    After Wicker Man, we headed down towards…
    Nemesis
    Nemesis was on an advertised 30 minute queue, so me & my dad joined it (my mum doesn’t enjoy Nemesis). The queue looked much shorter than 30 minutes (it only reached the end of the main queue, not going into any of the extensions), and it ultimately turned out at more like 10-15 minutes; yet again, it’s always a bonus when you get an overestimated queue time! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in a row 5 middle seat, and I have to say, it was great; no head banging, a nice level of forces (the helix made me grey out a touch, which wasn’t too enjoyable, but other than that, the ride was generally quite enjoyable)! What’s not to like?:
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    After Nemesis, we decided to see if Galactica had rallied. Sadly, it hadn’t; in the meantime, my parents asked me if I wanted to go off and have another ride on Nemesis, and I couldn’t say no to that! The queue had died down substantially; I walked into the station before even waiting (advertised time had dropped to 10 minutes), and this was while other rides had rather long waits! The second ride I had is one I had alone, and I was seated in an outer seat in row 4 this time. It was perhaps a little bit rougher than the one I had earlier, but nothing major; still very enjoyable, on the whole!

    After my second ride on Nemesis, me and my parents met back up just in time for the ride we had pursued earlier to reopen…
    Galactica
    We were right by Galactica when it reopened, so we entered a walk-on queue; we waltzed straight onto row 7 with no waiting whatsoever! As I said above, I was keen to get back on Galactica, because I hadn’t done it since July 2020, and I had always rather liked it. So, how was the ride? Well, even though I’d always liked Galactica previously, I’m afraid to say that it was a bit of a disappointment for me today; I’ll admit I wasn’t too enamoured with today’s experience compared to some of my past ones. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it, and there’s a lot going for it; the layout is nice (other than the fly-to-lie, which I’ll admit I’m not personally huge on), it’s really smooth, it’s not too intense. But the thing is; I really don’t think I find the position on the whole overly comfortable. I’m not sure that riding in the prone position, and the restraints that it brings with it, are really my favourite, and because of that, I’m afraid that Galactica has dropped down a fair bit in my rankings:
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    After Galactica, we headed back towards the entrance, doing one final ride on our way out…
    Runaway Mine Train
    Runaway Mine Train was on an advertised 30 minute queue, so my mum & I decided to give it a go (my dad doesn’t like RMT). However, 30 minutes seemed like a drastic overestimate; we were barely waiting much beyond the station, and were on within 5-10 minutes. So, how was the ride? Well, we were seated on the very back row, and it was great fun! I’ve got to admit that RMT has always been a real guilty pleasure of mine, and I genuinely do rather enjoy a ride on it; it’s not the most intense or thrilling of rides, but it’s just a tremendous amount of fun, in my opinion! I do apologise; I forgot to take any pictures of Runaway Mine Train!

    After RMT, we made our way out of the park, taking a little look at the Oktoberfest area as we walked by; as I said earlier, the park’s done a great job with all the Oktoberfest stuff, by the look of it:
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    After that, it was getting on for 5:30pm, so we left for the day as we needed to get to our hotel in time for a dinner reservation:
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    So, that sums up our first day of the trip at Alton Towers! I hope you enjoyed my report, and I look forward to bringing you my summary of our second day on park tomorrow!
     
    Posted 12th Sep 2021
    #1
  2. JAperson

    JAperson TowersStreet Member

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    As always a good report @Matt N . Surprised you didn't have an Oktoberfest beverage as you are of the age. Anyway It seems your parents can't agree on what they like. My parents are similar in that my Mum really doesn't like oblivion while my Dad doesn't mind it. I presume are parents are around the same age so it's interesting to see thats all. Both my parents agree that nemesis is the best and that they haven't beaten it yet. My Dads thoughts on the Wicker Mans pre-show was different to yours in that he was disappointed we didn't get to see it. I think his words were something like 'Why ain't they doing that cool show thing? I suppose they can't pack people like sardines in. Never mind the rides second best anyway. *arguments begins*'.
     
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    Posted 12th Sep 2021
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  3. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks @JAperson!

    In terms of why I didn’t have an Oktoberfest beverage; I know it sounds weird, but I’m not remotely keen to drink myself. None of the alcoholic drinks I’ve smelt (or non-alcoholic drinks I’ve tasted) have appealed to me at all (they’re generally too strong for me, and I generally don’t like the flavour of some of them), and as silly as it sounds, I’m a bit afraid to drink alcohol out of principle simply because I don’t personally like the thought of drinking something that can alter your mental state in that way.

    In terms of my parents’ ride preferences; we can all find common ground on some rides (for instance, we all at very least like Wicker Man), but my mum doesn’t like some of the more intense rides (Nemesis makes her feel quite strange after she rides it) and Oblivion terrifies her, whereas my dad has a bit more of an intensity tolerance and loves Oblivion and the whole dive coaster concept just like I do (SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa is his all-time favourite coaster!).

    In terms of the pre-show; interesting! I guess our parents must have very different takes on this; mine certainly weren’t too keen on the pre-show’s return…
     
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    Posted 12th Sep 2021
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  4. JAperson

    JAperson TowersStreet Member

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    I was joking @Matt N I'm not sure I'd want to drink in a theme park.
    Interesting that Wicker Man units you all. Did your Dad ride Nemesis in 1994 or around that sort of time? Did he visit Pleasure beach and Drayton the same year? Funnily enough I only just found out my dad did and he is in no way an enthusiast, he was just a young lad with his mates.
     
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    Posted 12th Sep 2021
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  5. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    My dad did ride Nemesis in 1994, but didn’t visit Blackpool or Drayton until he went with me in the late 2010s.

    The only person in our family who’d previously visited either was my mum, who went to Blackpool on a hen do back in 1997!
     
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    Posted 13th Sep 2021
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  6. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Anyone else often get that nightmare before theme park trips? The one where everything goes wrong - you arrive late, rides break down, people faff, you barely get on any rides and then have to leave early? ;)

    For the avoidance of doubt @Matt N the above is tongue in cheek. As long as you and your family are enjoying your trip that’s all that matters. I just feel for you sometimes reading the reports because you travel so far to Towers and don’t generally get on much!
     
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    Posted 13th Sep 2021
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  7. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I'm deliberatly taking this out of context.

    I wouldn't often want to really drink in a theme park, several drinks is definitely not going to make the rides feel better!

    But one beer/cider with a relaxed lunch at Rollercoaster Restaurant is nice, I think of that as having a drink with lunch, not a drink in a theme park.

    Or at the end of the day, if you are done with the rides I can see the appeal of watching the Oktorberfest bands and enjoying a drink on the lawns. So again not really a drink in a theme park, its a drink while watching entertainent on the lawns.

    Coaster, coaster, pint, coaster, pint, coaster coaster, pint, really doesn't appeal to me either. But a drink with food or when relaxing at the end of the day very much does.
     
    Posted 13th Sep 2021
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  8. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not sure I'd want to not drink at a theme park!
     
    Posted 13th Sep 2021
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  9. Plastic Person

    Plastic Person TowersStreet Member

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    I certainly don't go to a theme park to get sloshed (although it's been known to occur), but the Oktoberfest event definitely appeals to me if I can stay at the resort afterwards. No visit this time round, but being able to drink into the evening on the lawns as the early autumn rolls in is one of the best things to happen to Alton Towers in years.
     
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    Posted 13th Sep 2021
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  10. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Also I think there is definitely age-related changes with drinking.

    When I was 18ish alcohol was consumed at nightclubs and house parties. Didn't consider it much of the rest of the time, it was something you had when partying.

    Now (I've just turned 40 :(), its a nice accompaniment to dinner, or something to enjoy with friends. I still sometimes get sloshed, but can have alcoholic drinks more regularly too.
     
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  11. pluk

    pluk TowersStreet Member

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    Getting smashed and riding coasters in the dark on Thorpes Ministry of Sound nights was awesome!

    You be you Matt, but as an older person I can confirm the old adage of 'regret the things you have done, not the things you haven't' is a good one. Don't not do something in case you don't like it, do it and don't do it again if you don't like it.
     
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  12. Austin Towers

    Austin Towers TowersStreet Member

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    Have a great 2nd day.

    I agree with you about Galactica. I gave up on it around 3 years ago and wouldn't waste my time on it even if it were walk on. It just doesn't do anything for me.

    I find Manta at SWO a bit meh too now though it holds a place in my heart as it was my first big coaster experience.
     
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  13. JAperson

    JAperson TowersStreet Member

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    I was like this until earlier in the year when I got a really good ride in the front row. It felt really fast and well paced and really did feel like flying. Not sure why the ride was so good but haven't had a chance to ride it since. If you get the chance to do it in the front, give it a go as I think it's a completely different ride there.
     
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  14. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    My general rule is to go on Galactica before Nemesis. If you do it the other way around Galactica feels so tame.
     
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  15. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    That's because you're doing it all wrong mate! Pint, coaster, wee, pint, pint, wee, coaster, wee, pint, pint, wee, coaster, wee, pint, pint, wee, coaster, wee, pint, wee, pint, wee, coaster and so forth.
     
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  16. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    The thing with Galactica for me is that while the layout was perfectly nice, the whole flying dynamic was just a bit uncomfortable for me this time. Interesting you should mention Manta, because I think I like that one less than Galactica; I remember the grey out in the pretzel being very unpleasant!

    Anyway, let’s proceed onto the second half of our trip...
    13th September 2021 (Day 2)
    I’m back again, with a report from the second day of our trip!

    Being in a hotel in the local area, we were in a much better position than usual to get to Alton Towers early; we were on resort by 9:15am, and through the turnstiles by about 9:40am:
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    As such, we decided to head to Dark Forest first, as this area is generally quiet in the mornings, and we didn’t do it yesterday. Out of the two, we decided to start our day on...
    Rita
    Rita had only built up a very small queue outside of the entrance, so we all decided to give it a go. The advantage of getting to Rita early was that the queue was very short; barely even to the stairs, so very little waiting was involved! So, how was the ride? Well, it was very good indeed; I had my first ever front row ride, and it was brilliant! Not rough at all, such a sense of speed on the launch, and some surprisingly excellent airtime! Overall, my first front row ride on Rita was excellent; a really good, fun ride:
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    After Rita, we initially planned to ride Thirteen, however it was delayed, so I decided to go on my own to have another lap on Rita while it was still walk-on; the queue had died down even further compared to the first ride, so it would have been rude not to! My second lap was in row 8, and while it was perhaps a touch more rattly, it was nothing terrible by any means, and still really enjoyable!

    After my second ride on Rita, Thirteen sadly showed no signs of action, so we decided to head elsewhere. A very rare opportunity had come up that we couldn’t say no to...
    The Smiler
    The Smiler was on an advertised 10 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. Anyone who goes to Alton Towers regularly will know that this is very rare, so we felt that we should seize this opportunity while it existed! The 10 minute queue time turned out to be very accurate, possibly even slightly overstated, as we waltzed through the entire outdoor queue (which feels like a hike and a half when you’re walking straight through it!) and only queued for a few minutes in the illusion room! So, how was the ride? Well, we were seated in row 3, and it wasn’t too bad; while it was perhaps a little rougher than my previous experience on Smiler, it was still nothing too bad at all, and certainly far from my roughest ride on Smiler! I’ll admit it isn’t one of my favourite coasters, as the repeated inversions do make my head spin a bit, and it still isn’t the smoothest of coasters, but it wasn’t bad today:
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    After Smiler, we tackled a favourite of mine...
    Oblivion
    Oblivion was on a 20 minute advertised queue, so me and my dad decided to give it a go. There weren’t too many people in the queue, however, so it didn’t take too long, even though it was on 4 cars/1 station; operations were great on there today, with the ride hitting a solid 600-650pph! So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated on the back row, on an edge seat, and it was excellent; the speed and airtime were both great, and both of us thoroughly enjoyed our ride! As an additional point of interest, I got sprayed by a face full of mist, so the misters on the drop were clearly working well today:
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    After Oblivion, a ride we’d been pursuing earlier had finally opened up...
    Thirteen
    Thirteen had opened up and was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so we decided to give it a go. The queue was a bit overstated, as we ultimately only waited 10 minutes, which is always a plus! So, how was the ride? Well, we were seated in row 8, and I have to say, it was the most enjoyable ride I’ve had on Thirteen in a while; really fun throughout, with some nice pops of airtime (the first drop in particular was a really fun moment), and some fun turns, as well as a fun drop track and perhaps my favourite backwards section on any ride I’ve done:
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    After Thirteen, we decided to head over towards the other end of the park...
    Wicker Man
    Wicker Man was on an advertised 30 minute queue time, so we decided to give it a go. This was pretty accurate, if slightly overstated, as we were on within about 25 minutes of joining the queue. So, how was the ride? Well, we were seated in row 8, and it was excellent; fast, fun and full of airtime! We all thoroughly enjoyed it:
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    After Wicker Man, we decided to head further along this part of the park, making a dark ride detour along the way…
    Duel
    Duel was walk-on, and we fancied a brief change of tone to our day, so we decided to give it a go. I’ll admit Duel isn’t something I do too often, but I don’t dislike it, so I decided to give it a go today. In a rarity, we all went on Duel; it’s usually only me and my dad who do Duel, but my mum decided to give it a go today. So, how was the ride? Well, we all enjoyed it; my parents fared a lot better than me on the score front. My dad got 38,500, my mum got 11,300, and I got 3,200… I won’t claim for a second that I’m any good at Duel, as my aim is terrible! It’s not my favourite ride, personally, as I’ll admit that the guns do tire my arm out a bit after so long, but it’s quite well done in terms of the theming! It’s rides like Duel that tell me I’d probably hate scare attractions, as if Duel still makes me jump loads in places (I ride round it slightly on edge waiting for the next jumpscare), then god knows what it would be like with a real actor getting properly close to you! I think it’d make me terribly anxious, which is why I’d be hesitant to visit a park at Halloween… overall, though, Duel was perfectly good fun, and something different:
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    After Duel, we headed further down this end of the park for a ride on…
    Nemesis
    Nemesis was on an advertised 20 minute queue, so me and my dad decided to give it a go. However, when we got into the queue, it turned out to be far less than 20 minutes, so me and my dad decided to wait for the front row. So, how was Nemesis in the front row? Well, it was brilliant; front row is my favourite place to be on Nemesis, simply because I think you feel a sense of speed that you don’t quite get in the other rows. In terms of the ride, it was enjoyable on the whole; fairly smooth, with great pacing and some good forces (although I’ll admit that once again, the helix did make me grey out a little bit. I apologise if this makes me sound a bit touchy, but I’ll admit that greying out isn’t a sensation I find terribly enjoyable, personally. This wasn’t a deal breaker, though; the rest of the ride was very enjoyable!):
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    After Nemesis, we briefly stopped for a lunch break in the Coffee Lounge before heading back towards Wicker Man, as it was on an advertised 5 minute queue. After that, I proceeded to have 2 back-to-back Wicker Man rides; the first was one I took alone, where I was seated in row 8, while the second was one my parents joined me for, where I was seated in row 10. Both were absolutely awesome, with the row 10 ride in particular packing phenomenal speed and some amazing moments of airtime! Those two rides comfortably reaffirmed Wicker Man’s place as my favourite ride at Alton Towers and one of my favourites in the UK; I absolutely love it! I know you’re probably all thinking I’m mad and giving me very funny looks, so I apologise for liking what I’m led to believe is quite a poor woodie on the world stage, but I just find it terrific fun; there’s so many elements on it that always get me going, and it paints a huge grin on my face every time!:
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    After Wicker Man, I rode the final Towers coaster (Octonauts aside) that I was yet to ride this trip…
    Spinball Whizzer
    Spinball was on a 0 minute queue, so I thought it would be rude not to give it a go and complete the set of Towers coasters (Octonauts aside) for this trip! As frequent Alton Towers visitors will know, walk-on Spinball is something seldom seen, and when I got there, I quite literally waltzed straight into the station; amazing stuff! I actually rode this one alone, as my dad is too tall for Spinball and my mum doesn’t especially like it. So, how was the ride? Well, I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan, if I’m being honest. It seemed incredibly jerky today, and seemed to jolt very suddenly around the corners, and I also don’t have the highest spin tolerance in general, so it’s not really my kind of coaster. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly fine family coaster, with some fun portions, but it’s not really my kind of thing, personally:
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    By this point, it was nearing 2:30pm, and my parents were keen to get back in order to make an evening meal reservation they’d made for us back at home, so we decided to call it a day there:
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    So in summary, I had a tremendous 2 days at Alton Towers! Today in particular was absolutely superb; I was personally chuffed with 11 rides in 4.5 hours, and that encompassed at least 1 ride on every coaster bar Runaway Mine Train and Galactica! Yesterday was great too, though; I did RMT and Galactica yesterday, so I’d at least plugged the coasters I didn’t get on today yesterday, and I do always enjoy getting back on some of my favourites! Is it weird that even having visited at least once a year for years and years, walking around Alton Towers and just visiting in general still gives me this childlike sense of wonder and excitement?

    I hope you guys enjoyed my report from today! I think that wraps things up for my season; we were originally going to come back for Fireworks, but my parents don’t think they can hack a 4th visit to Alton Towers this year, which I think is completely fair given that they are the ones driving, and that they’re not enthusiasts! So with that in mind; my next trip report won’t be until 2022; 2021’s been amazing, and here’s hoping 2022 is a good year!
     
    Last edited: 13th Sep 2021
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  17. RicketyCricket

    RicketyCricket TowersStreet Member

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    "solid 600-650pph":eek:
     
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  18. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    In my defence, it was on one station; based on some of the horror stories I’d heard about Oblivion on one station, I was anticipating lower! They were working really hard to knock trains out, and in fairness to them, they were getting a car out roughly every minute and 30 seconds, which I’d say is brilliant myself!

    Given that I’d always been told that the rule was “two station throughput = 2*one station throughput”, that would have meant that the ride would have been attaining 1,266pph had dual load been in operation, as I clocked one station operation with 4 cars in action today at 633pph! For some idea, I clocked the dual load throughput with 5 cars in operation at 885pph on Sunday, so the throughput was only reduced by 1/3; they really were working hard on there today!
     
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