Hi guys. After a theme park hiatus of many months due to the various lockdowns and restrictions, my parents and I were finally able to get back to a theme park today! And it was only natural that we would go to the UK theme park that we always start with; our favourite UK park, Alton Towers! We left Gloucestershire at around 7am, and got to the resort at just after 9:30am, leaving us in good stead to get into the park for 10am. I’ll admit, after so many months away, I just found it nice to see this sight again: After we got into the park, we decided to start our day in Dark Forest, so our first ride was... Rita It would appear that our decision to go to Dark Forest first was a good one, because Rita was practically walk-on; me and my mum joined the back of a very short queue! So, how was the ride? We were batched into row 6, and it was pretty good fun, although I wouldn’t say I was quite as enamoured with it as I was last September in general. Smoothness-wise, we still found it not painful at all, as we had last September; although the rattle perhaps felt a tad more noticeable than it was in September, I’m happy to say that Rita is still a far cry from the rough and painful ride I’d remembered from my earlier experiences! I thought it was certainly an enjoyable way to kick off our day, and my mum agreed: After Rita, it seemed only natural to ride the other coaster in the area... Thirteen Thirteen was on an advertised 15 minute queue, so we joined it. Again, I reiterate that doing the Dark Forest coasters first was a great way to start the day, as their queues had grown rather large by the time we left the area; I’d really recommend that strategy if you’re visiting Alton Towers any time soon! The queue for Thirteen ended up at around 20 minutes, so roughly as advertised, which is always good! So, how was our ride on Thirteen? Well, it was very good fun; we were seated in row 4, and it seemed a hit all round! I’ll admit Thirteen is a coaster that has grown on me over the years; I never used to think too much of it, but I must admit I really enjoy it now, and today was no different! The outdoor section was fun, and provided a few nice twists and pops of floater airtime, and the drop track and backwards section are always a laugh! I also think that Thirteen has aged very well; it’s still glass smooth, and you certainly wouldn’t believe it to be 11 years old: After Thirteen, we took a relaxing ride on the Skyride over to Forbidden Valley. Whilst on the Skyride, I took the opportunity to take a few aerial snaps: Once we’d gotten over to Forbidden Valley, me and my dad got in the queue for... Nemesis Nemesis was on an advertised 40 minute queue, so we joined it. One interesting thing to note about Nemesis during the era of social distancing is that many of the old queue line extensions are open, meaning that you get some excellent, previously unseen perspectives of the ride: So, how was the ride? Well, me and my dad were seated in row 3, and I have to say, the ride was running very well indeed; today’s run on Nemesis was probably my favourite I’ve had on it in a while, with no head banging and just the right amount of force! It was great; although I still wouldn’t say that Nemesis ranks quite as highly for me as it does for many, I still love it and think it’s an absolutely great ride, and I’d say today’s ride probably elevated its ranking by a good few spots for me: After our ride on Nemesis, we met back up with my mum and headed over to... Wicker Man Now, when we started to walk over to Wicker Man from Forbidden Valley, the queue was advertised on the app at a fairly low (in Wicker Man terms) 65 minutes. However, it would seem that many people had the same idea as us, because this had risen to 90 minutes by the time we were able to reach Wicker Man, and ended up being closer to 2 hours once we’d joined. So, how was the ride? Well, I was seated in row 1, so I’ll admit I was unsure whether I would enjoy it like I had last summer, when I rode further back, but I have to say it was still absolutely amazing! Although I’d definitely say it was less forceful than my rides last summer, and it didn’t blow me away to quite the same degree as it did last summer, Wicker Man in the front row very much retained the qualities I love about it; it was still really fast-paced, with many pops of brilliant airtime, and was also still relatively smooth and comfortable for the most part! However, one thing I did notice is that there’s now a bit of a jolt in the 3rd and final wicker man pass through before the end of the ride; it’s only a very small section of the ride, but I definitely noticed it, and that particular section did bash me about a little bit, which I found odd given that the vast majority of the ride (well, all of it bar that section) is still very smooth and comfortable, as far as wooden coasters go. However, this tiny spot of roughness was by no means a deal breaker, only slightly detracting from the ride for me; on the whole, I still absolutely loved Wicker Man today, and still rank it as my favourite ride in Alton Towers and one of my favourite overall coasters: After our amazing ride on Wicker Man, we initially thought to head over to Oblivion, as it was listed on the app as only having a 10 minute queue. However, the ride was broken down when we got to it, so instead, me and my mum went to ride... Spinball Whizzer Spinball Whizzer was on an advertised 40 minute queue, so we joined it. This queue later went up to 60 minutes, however we didn’t seem to end up waiting 60 minutes; our wait time was more like 20-30 minutes in the end. I was intrigued to see how Spinball rode, as I hadn’t actually ridden it since 2017 prior to today’s visit, and I had remembered it being a somewhat rough ride. So, how was it? Well, it was actually more fun than I’d remembered, and far less rough than I’d remembered, too! We got quite a bit of spin, which was good fun, if a little dizzying! On the whole, while I still wouldn’t say that Spinball Whizzer is one of my favourite coasters, as I did find it a little bit dizzying, it was certainly more fun than I’d remembered, and a really solid family coaster that I’d quite happily ride again on a future visit: After Spinball, we met back up with my dad, who told us that Oblivion was back open, so we then got to ride... Oblivion Our second attempt of the day to ride Oblivion was far more successful, as despite being on an advertised 40 minute queue, we only ended up waiting around 10 minutes; a definite bonus, in my eyes! So, how was our ride? Well, I’ll admit that it was a really surprising one; don’t get me wrong, I really liked Oblivion before today’s ride, but it seemed to be on a whole different level today! The airtime over the vertical drop was way stronger than I’d remembered from last time, providing an absolutely fantastic moment of strong, sustained, out-of-your-seat airtime for the whole length of the drop! Then, once the airtime ended, the tunnel provided a genuinely phenomenal sense of speed and force quite unlike any other ride I’ve ridden before! And then the ride provided one final bonus burst of surprisingly strong airtime before the brake run! Overall, I was genuinely stunned by Oblivion today; it’s definitely a ride that’s grown on me as the years have gone on, but I genuinely wasn’t expecting it to surprise me in this way! While I’d say Oblivion is still ultimately a bit too short to be one of my very top coasters, and Wicker Man still sits firmly in front of it as my top Alton Towers coaster, it’s eked its way into my top 10 for sure, now coming in at #9 and a solid 9/10! I do still place it below SheiKra at Busch Gardens, the other B&M Dive Coaster I’ve ridden, as that ride is my #8 and I distinctly remember liking it more than Oblivion, but the gap between the two significantly narrowed today, I’ll admit: After our really surprising ride on Oblivion, it was around 4:30pm, and my parents thought it would be a good idea to head home, as we had a 2.5 hour drive ahead of us. Thus, our day ended there. On the whole, today was an absolutely amazing start to what will hopefully be a brilliant 2021 season at Alton Towers! I loved getting back on some of my old favourites, as well as reacquainting myself with Spinball Whizzer after 4 years! In particular, I was thrilled to get back on my personal Alton Towers favourite Wicker Man, and I was glad to see that it was generally running well, and how can I not mention my amazing ride on Oblivion! Nemesis, even though I still don’t think I rate it quite as highly as many do, was also running very well today, and I enjoyed it more than I have done in a while! In general, I’d say that everything I did today was very enjoyable, which must surely be a good sign that we had a great day! I really hope you like my trip report from my first Alton Towers visit of the 2021 season! I’m not sure when I’ll next be reporting to you guys, but I hope it’s not too long, and it’ll probably either be from Thorpe Park or Alton Towers Mardi Gras!