Alton Towers 2nd September 2018

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by Matt N, 2nd Sep 2018.

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  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Hi guys. Sorry to bore you all with another of my trip reports, but my family and I set off for Alton Towers today. We used our tickets left over from our trip 2 weeks ago, and we arrived at around 10am. We were met by quite a busy car park, so we got out of our car and headed to the park. We got in at around 10:30am, and after that, we headed to our first ride...
    The Smiler
    When we got to X-Sector, we entered a 50 minute queue for The Smiler. The ride was duelling today, which was awesome! Also, all of the effects were working today, as well as an extra strobe light! So how was the ride? Well; we were sat in the back, we were duelling and it was brilliant! I absolutely love how intense the ride is; Gerstlauer put some brilliantly executed inversions into the ride, and each one added to the feeling of disorientation! The ride had a slight rattle and the cobra roll jolt, but these didn’t detract from the ride for me! I always feel as though I shouldn’t like The Smiler, but I really do; it’s one of my biggest guilty pleasure coasters! All in all, a great start to our day! The rest of my family really enjoyed it, too. After Smiler, we headed to our next ride...
    Thirteen
    Thirteen was on a 40 minute queue, so we joined it. The queue moved quite quickly, so we boarded the ride feeling good. The ride was awesome, if you ask me! We were sat in row 5, and the ride was good fun today! The turns were nice and snappy and I thought I felt one or two pops of airtime! I also love the backwards section; if you ask me, it’s really thrilling going backwards in the dark! So all in all, Thirteen was really fun today! My family all seemed to like it, which was good! After Thirteen, we then headed to our next ride...
    Nemesis
    Nemesis was running brilliantly today, as always! We were sat in row 6, and the ride was really intense, with some awesome G’s! It was pretty smooth, too, with only a minor rattle! I swear Nemesis has been running brilliantly this year, because it was amazing in August, too! I even greyed out down in between the helix and the zero-g roll! So overall, Nemesis was amazing! My family mostly seemed to enjoy it, too, apart from my mum who hates Nemesis anyway! After Nemesis, we headed to our next ride...
    Galactica
    Now, today was the first time I had ridden Galactica VR-less since it was converted to Galactica in 2016, so I was excited to get back on it after 2 years of riding it with VR. The queue was 50 minutes when we joined, and it initially moved quite slowly. However, when we got to the station, we discovered that this was because everyone was queueing for the back 3 rows, which have the VR on them. So after the merge point, me and my mum just walked virtually straight into row 4. So how was the ride? Well, I thought it was good fun; not massively intense or forceful, but still good fun, in my opinion! It was refreshing riding the coaster VR-less again, and all in all, I think my mum used a good word to describe Galactica; “pleasant”. I’d completely agree with this, as while Galactica isn’t the most thrilling of coasters, it’s mostly a really nice ride that portrays the sensation of flying wonderfully, in my opinion, although I’m not a huge fan of when you’re on your back! So all in all, me and my mum really enjoyed Galactica! After Galactica, we headed to our next coaster, taking an interesting mode of transport there...
    Skyride
    Today was the first time that I had ridden the Skyride in quite some time, so I was interested to see my opinion on it now! Also, I was looking forward to viewing Wicker Man from a different perspective! The queue to get the Skyride to the entrance was walk on, so me and my family boarded our gondola and set off on our journey. In my opinion, it was nice seeing the Gardens and Wicker Man from a different perspective, but the ride was a bit shaky! Also, the gondola stopped in a lovely opportune location that provided a brilliant aerial view of Wicker Man! So all in all, I personally quite liked the Skyride! After getting off the Skyride, we headed to our next ride...
    Wicker Man
    When we got to Wicker Man, it was unfortunately suffering with technical difficulties, so we got some waffles while we waited for it to open. The waffles were lovely! A really nice way to wait for Wicker Man to open, and just as we finished our waffles, the Wicker Man queue opened! What good timing! By the time we got into it, the sign was already reporting 40 minutes, but my dad thought it only looked about 20-25 minutes long. The queue was moving quite quickly... until we heard “the Wicker Man is currently experiencing a temporary delay and we have ceased our ritual” come over the tannoy. At that point, an empty train went round the course, followed by a few more. Then, a couple of trains with people in went round... before another announcement announcing a temporary delay came over the tannoy. After that, an empty train went up the lift hill and stopped halfway up. It stayed up there for a couple of minutes, but it quickly began moving again. Despite being advised to “leave the woods”, my family and I stuck it out. And I’m glad we did, as the ride reopened around 15 minutes later. So how was the experience? It was awesome! Everything was working in the pre-show, and me and my dad were sat on the very front row. It was great, as per usual! The views were great, and despite hearing reports that the ride felt slow in the front, I didn’t think it did at all! The coaster was lovely and fast, and the corners felt really thrilling! Unfortunately the fire from the shoulders wasn’t working today, but the mist must have been on full pelt today, as I seemed to get much wetter from it than I did on previous rides on Wicker Man! While I don’t think Wicker Man really has a wealth of strong or sustained airtime, there were two or three particularly good moments of airtime on today’s run! The airtime hill before the s-bend drop and the hill following the not-so-boring corner were two particularly good moments of airtime, in my opinion! Besides, Wicker Man doesn’t seem to focus on airtime, so that doesn’t matter a huge amount, if you ask me! My whole family really enjoyed Wicker Man too, and my dad said that he seems to enjoy it more each time he rides it, which is promising! So all in all, Wicker Man was great today! After Wicker Man, I did want to go on Hex, but my family all looked pretty exhausted, so we decided to end out our day there...
    So, in conclusion...
    My family and me had an awesome day at Alton Towers today! Despite the crowds, we got on quite a bit, and we had a ride count of 6, which is great if you ask me! Getting back to my personal favourite theme park was really nice, and I really enjoyed everything we rode today! Nemesis was amazing as usual, Smiler was awesome, front row Wicker Man was great; it was a really great day out overall!

    I’m afraid that’s probably it from me this year trip report-wise! The next time you’ll probably hear from me in the form of a trip report is in April 2019, when my family and I are getting on a plane and travelling to Florida! I’m so excited; we’ve got 14 day Disney passes and we’re visiting all 6 Disney parks! It’ll be my first ever time at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Blizzard Beach; I can’t wait! Anyway, before I go off on too much of a Florida tangent; 2018’s been an awesome year for me, and thank you everyone for following me on my 2018 theme park journey! I’ve gotten 17 new credits this year, which I’m really pleased with! Here’s to a great 2019!
     
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    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  2. skyscraper

    skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    Glad you had a good day @Matt N! :)
     
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  3. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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  4. Prepare4Air

    Prepare4Air TowersStreet Member

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    Glad to hear you somehow enjoyed your day, but a ride count of 6 being "great"? Really? Surely on a 10-6 day you'd want a ride count of at least triple that to consider it "great"? I think this shows the relentless cuts at Alton lowering guest standards - you really should expect more from a day out with a value of £55 :rolleyes:
     
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    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  5. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks @Prepare4Air! We left at around 4:30pm and got in at about 10-10:30am. In my opinion, 6 was brilliant considering the crowds!
     
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  6. Prepare4Air

    Prepare4Air TowersStreet Member

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    That's fair enough. I just think 6 rides in 6 hours isn't brilliant at all, even if it was busy: this shows Alton's severe lack of many things a theme park should be (flat rides, dark rides, water rides etc) in my opinion :)
     
    Last edited: 2nd Sep 2018
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    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  7. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    :banghead::banghead::banghead:

    For the past Eight years, I been attending the fireworks at Alton. The busiest days of the seasons. Early ride opening was 10am and I was done riding rides around 4.30 with a wheelchair in toe having to stop to attend Jess's needs, I can assure you I got at least 10+ rides and attractions in on these busy days.

    Merlin/Alton love people like you giving rave reviews when the offering/operations is below standard. You are simply playing into their hands and give them the justification to make more money saving cuts next season :rolleyes:
     
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    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  8. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    A few of the meet up regulars were also on park today and we fared rather better - my ride count was at least in double figures, helped by arriving for ERT and doing Dark Forest early when both coasters still had very short waits. We also benefited from a Galactica queue advertised at 50 minutes that turned out to be 10 for the non-VR rows (many of which were going round empty). Hopefully next year the capacity will be back to what it should be and the ride can become a queue muncher again.

    The day was quite odd really, in terms of number of people there it didn't really feel that busy, the main issue was that both Smiler and Thirteen can no longer cope with demand. Thirteen operations have at least improved a little since they got an additional host on the offload side, so now the boarding is slightly more efficient than it was at the start of season. Smiler on the other hand is an absolute nightmare on busy days. We waited 95 minutes from the shop shortly after it reopened from a breakdown. The reason for this horrendous queue turned out to be the fact that it running on 50% fastrack, with a fastrack queue all the way down the stairs, out of the building and stretching all the way to what used to be the SRQ entrance. A queue line less than half full is over an hour and a half. Back in 2013 it was less than 90 minutes from the steps down into the pit.
     
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  9. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Me and my mum also benefitted from picking non-VR on Galactica, although we didn't get these benefits until we were nearly in the station.

    I thought that Smiler operations were pretty good today, myself; we got duelling! Out of interest, what sort of throughputs would you guess Thirteen and Smiler were achieving on average, as you seem to be quite knowledgeable about that kind of thing? Bear in mind that Thirteen and Smiler have theoretical throughputs of 1200 and 960 riders per hour, respectively (I think?).
     
    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  10. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    No idea on Thirteen, we weren't there long enough to get a feel for it - we only waited from the what used to be the bag store, but with no fastrack and minimal exit pass users so we were on in 5-10 minutes. As a guide, in 2010 they could typically dispatch so that when there was a train leaving the 2nd lift there'd be another half way up the first. When approaching the building you can time how long it takes between a train disappearing into the building and the next appearing on lift 1 to track how much extra time they're taking

    Smiler meanwhile was below 700/hr when we clocked it. If it's running flat out it shouldn't really duel as one train will leave the first lift significantly before the other clears the second, but several times whilst we were there a train was leaving lift 2 before the next one to be dispatched had even reached lift one. it's frustrating to queue for at the best of times but when the park is busy and lots of people have fastrack it's a misery, on most of my visits I generally avoid it except near the start of the day or at the very end - I had hoped that by catching it shortly after reopening from a breakdown I might avoid the worst of it but I hadn't anticipated just how slowly the queue would move (stated queue time: 55, my estimate once in: 70, actual: 95).

    To be honest as soon as the closure of baggage rooms was revealed before the start of season we identified the issues with capacity that would result. Hopefully Wicker Man won't be so badly affected when it loses the bag room in a few years.
     
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  11. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Ah OK. Thanks @John! Do you reckon Wicker Man will lose its baggage hold, then? I personally reckon Thirteen and Smiler might regain theirs; potentially even next season!
     
    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  12. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Please stop.
     
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  13. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    What with?
     
    Posted 2nd Sep 2018
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  14. Vik

    Vik TowersStreet Member

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    I'm quite glad now I left for home at that point and not had to endure that. Anything more than 30 minutes in that pit is enough to drive anyone insane:eek:.
     
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    Posted 3rd Sep 2018
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  15. Danny

    Danny Gugu Rides’ Number 1 Fan

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    Alternatively, you could have endured time well spent at the Welcome Inn with those of us possessing sanity to not queue in that cesspit instead ;)
     
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    Posted 3rd Sep 2018
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  16. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    But only if you aren't paying with cash of course!
     
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