Alton Towers 24th/25th March 2018

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by Matt N, 24th Mar 2018.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
    Forest of Dean
    Favourite Ride:
    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
    24th March 2018
    Hi guys. Today, my family and I set off for Alton Towers in order to ride Wicker Man, and we're staying at ATH tonight so that we can get into the park and ride Wicker Man tomorrow during ERT. Anyway, because we left late and didn't get into the park until about 3:30pm, we didn't get on Wicker Man today, but we did get on Oblivion and The Smiler, so I'll post about those:
    Oblivion
    Even though it's short, I do have a real soft spot for Oblivion! It's a great ride, and it really provides a good rush. It's very forceful too. It may not be the best B&M Dive Coaster out there, but it's a great ride nonetheless, and still my 3rd favourite at Alton (pre-Wicker Man, that is!). It's also incredibly smooth considering it's 20 years old! On a side note, has Oblivion always had very posh announcements, with a guy who pronounces Oblivion as "Oh-blivion"?
    The Smiler
    Our ride today on The Smiler was actually really good today! We sat in row 3, and other than a bit of a rattle and the cobra roll jolt, I actually found it pretty smooth! I always find Smiler a very disorientating ride, and today was no exception! Whether you like it or not, you have to admit that it's an obscene piece of engineering. That many inversions in that small amount of space is simply crazy! The queue is also just as disorientating as the ride itself, and it offers some fantastic views of the coaster! The addition of bag cages also didn't seem to impact operations too much, with a member of my family actually saying that they thought the queue moved faster than it did with the baggage hold, which is a plus. Overall, The Smiler was great today!

    That was unfortunately all we managed to get done today, what with how busy the park was. Alton have done really well today considering how busy the park was and the problems with Wicker Man. But thankfully, we're going to do everything else tomorrow, including Wicker Man! I'm so excited! My 40th roller coaster and my 2nd wooden roller coaster! It looks fantastic, and I can't wait to ride it tomorrow! I did however, get to see the ride in the flesh and purchase a block of wood. It really looks fantastic in person, and it's much bigger than I was expecting! The block of wood was also much bigger than I was expecting! To end today, have a few photos I took. Sorry about quality:
    View attachment 2611 View attachment 2612 View attachment 2613 View attachment 2614
    P.S. I am aware that the images have uploaded sideways, but I'm not sure how to change that. Also, sorry if this comes across as badly written. I've never really written a proper trip report before, so I tried my best.
     
    Posted 24th Mar 2018
    #1
  2. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    6,420
    Location:
    Forest of Dean
    Favourite Ride:
    Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
    25th March 2018
    So, my family and I got back from Alton a couple of hours ago. And thankfully, we did manage to get on Wicker Man today. But getting on it turned out to be a much longer process than I think any of us had ever imagined. So let's start with the turnstiles. We arrived at the turnstiles at exactly 9:00am, and a decent crowd had already formed by this point. I did notice that there were many Premium/VIP MAP holders (not all of them, though) who were trying to get in the front of the queue and get into the park first. Alas, they were turned to the back by park security. Then, 30 minutes and a few aggravated people later, the turnstiles opened, and my family and I headed straight to Wicker Man, being passed by quite a few people jogging at a fair pace as we strolled towards the entrance. Then, we entered the outside extension queue (at exactly 9:37am), at this point expecting it to open within a couple of minutes. After that... not much happened for the next hour or so. Apart from some people bailing out, meaning that we moved about 50-100yds forward before the queue line had even opened. However, everyone cheered when an empty car was sent around at about 10:30am. Unfortunately, the queue line didn't actually open until about between 11:30am and 11:45am. Then, we probably waited for about 45 minutes to an hour before getting on the actual ride...
    Wicker Man
    So, after about 3 hours of waiting, the experience finally begun. I'll run through the whole experience for those of you who haven't ridden yet. Firstly, after handing your bags into the baggage hold, you enter the pre-show. If you want spoilers, then here's a video, as it will explain it much better than my poor explanation:
    If you don't want spoilers, then all I will say is that it is very clever, and it really builds up suspense for the ride well. After the pre-show, you then enter the station, which is incredibly atmospheric. It has smell pods and a fire wall (?) type thing at the far end. It is probably Alton Towers' best station, in my opinion. Following this, you actually get on to the coaster itself. The ride starts by exiting the station into a pre-lift section that goes under the pre-show building through some smoke and orange lighting. It actually gained pace quite quickly during this section, making it a fun start to the ride just before the lift hill. After climbing the lift hill, you go down the first drop. The ride again gains pace very quickly on this drop, and it's actually quite a good drop. Then, you s-curve down the ride's main drop so to speak, and this is where you really start to get going. Even though the ride only reaches 44mph, it actually feels like near to 50mph during this section. Then, the ride goes up into a large turnaround, still going at a decent speed. This was the only part of the ride where I really noticed the flaming wicker man structure, and it does look really good on-ride! Then, you dive downwards and shoot upwards into what many refer to as the "Boring Corner". Now I was dreading this element, as I wasn't a fan of Megafobia's unbanked turns, but it was actually not that bad! The ride still goes at a very respectable pace during this section, and the turn was not rough or jolty at all! Then, you plunge down a drop that provides what is in my opinion the ride's best moment of airtime. This drop's airtime felt very similar to Megafobia's ejector airtime, and it was fantastic! The following hill also provided a very good pop of airtime. After that, you rose up into the ride's final turns and into the brake run. These final flat turns also rode smoothly. Overall, Wicker Man is an absolutely fantastic roller coaster, and it is definitely the woodie that Alton has been waiting for! I would personally rank Wicker Man as my 3rd favourite coaster at Alton (behind Nemesis and The Smiler) and my 9th favourite coaster overall. I know that ranking it behind The Smiler makes it sound bad, but I don't hate The Smiler as much as a lot of enthusiasts seem to, so if you're not a Smiler fan, then you'll probably rank Wicker Man as 2nd at Alton. It all depends on your taste in coasters, though. One thing I will definitely say, though, is that Wicker Man has just edged past Megafobia to become my new favourite wooden roller coaster. Even though Megafobia has superior airtime and is slightly more forceful, the transitions are better and more thrilling on Wicker Man, Wicker Man is smoother and I overall seemed to enjoy Wicker Man more than I enjoyed Megafobia. The ride also has better pacing than Megafobia in my opinion, and is actually quite forceful in sections, even if it is slightly less forceful than Megafobia. If I had to improve Wicker Man, the only things I would do are:

    • Make it slightly longer, even though the ride does not feel that short when you're on it.
    • Add some more intense moments and some more potential moments of airtime.
    Overall, Wicker Man is an absolutely fantastic coaster that is really worth coming to Alton Towers to experience. This fantastic coaster is also taken even further by its theming. The 57ft wicker man structure looks huge in real life and really dominates the area. The little touches in the queue really make the experience as well, and along with the soundtrack, the pre-show, the station etc.; it all fits together superbly in order to create what is in my opinion the UK's best experience coaster. However, the ride seemed to be having quite a few teething problems plaguing it throughout the day, and when we hit the brakes, we entered the dark maintenance shed, where something very small did happen effects-wise that I could see. After that, we were queueing to go back into the station, and... one of the ride's restraints stopped working. After a staff member tampered with it for a couple of minutes, they dispatched the train. It moved about 2ft out of the station... and then came to a complete stop. After around 10 minutes of the staff wondering what to do, the riders in that train were evacuated to the left and given priority passes, so the train was left empty in the station for a bit. After a couple of minutes, the lights came on in our tunnel and we were evacuated through the exit. This was only the second time I've been evac'd from a ride, and it took the whole length of our Wicker Man experience (from turnstiles to exiting the ride) to around 4 hours. We were given priority passes for rides with a height restriction of 1.2m or under, so we used these on our next ride...
    Thirteen
    We used our Fastracks on Thirteen after we ate lunch, which I am quite thankful for, as the queue was 50 minutes long! The tesla coil unfortunately didn't come on in the queue, but we were on the ride within about 2 minutes of entering the Fastrack entrance, which was good. Again, bag cages did not seem to be impacting operations too much, which was good. The ride itself was just as smooth and fun as usual. We did not get much airtime over the first drop because we were sat nearer the front, but the ride was still great! On a side note, the Thirteen Shop really doesn't look at its best now that it is SBNO.

    After this, Rita was unavailable, so I suggested that we head over to Forbidden Valley and ride Nemesis and Galactica, but by this point it was around 2:30pm and my family wanted to go home. They definitely didn't want to wait 60 minutes for Nemesis! So we headed to the monorail, taking a look in Towers Trading on our way back, and headed home. By the time we drove out of Alton Towers, it was about 3:30pm. I am a bit disappointed that I didn't get to ride Nemesis and Galactica, but our main mission of this trip was to ride Wicker Man, and we definitely accomplished that, which I am very pleased about!

    So, in conclusion; Wicker Man is fantastic and really needs to be ridden to be believed. Also, the park have coped incredibly well this weekend considering how busy the park was, and they really deserve commendation for their efforts. To end this report, have some pictures that I took of Wicker Man today. Again, I apologise about the quality and the fact that they are sideways:
    View attachment 2615 View attachment 2616 View attachment 2617

    P.S. Sorry for the long post. Also, sorry if this is badly written.
    EDIT: Sorry for double posting!
     
    Posted 25th Mar 2018
    #2

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