Day out with 10 / 8 year old?

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by LondonAndy, 11th Sep 2019.

  1. LondonAndy

    LondonAndy TowersStreet Member

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    I could talk for years about other Merlin attractions (particularly Legoland!) but we are venturing to Alton Towers with our 8 and 10 year old children for the first time this weekend.

    They aren't into massively scary rollercoasters so, whilst they are outgrowing Legoland, they probably aren't ready for the wildest rides at Alton Towers.

    Any advise of which rides to hit, in what order, for this sort of age range? If there is another thread that lists this information already then I apologise, but I couldn't see it.....

    Thanks in advance.
     
    skyscraper likes this.
    Posted 11th Sep 2019
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  2. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    How tall are they both? That will be the best way to narrow down the rides that are best.

    Do you have Merlin passes or are you staying onsite? (and therefore have access to early ride time).
     
    skyscraper likes this.
    Posted 11th Sep 2019
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  3. LondonAndy

    LondonAndy TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks for the reply. They are both over 1.3m, which is the Legoland height restriction for some rides, but it was more a case of for those that aren't adrenaline junkies which would be the best rides? We will be staying about 30 minutes drive away (too far to drive from London in one day) and don't have Merlin passes at the minute, so won't be able to get in early. From some of the posts I've read the queues do seem to be quite long, but perhaps that is just for the biggest rollercoasters?
     
    Posted 11th Sep 2019
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  4. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Queues can be quite long for some of the mid range rides, but not as bad as some of the bigger coasters.

    I would suggest starting off with Spinball Whizzer, then heading over to Mutiny Bay for Heave Ho, Marauders Mayhem and Battle Galleons (be warned, you get SOAKED on this one so you might want to skip it). Take a look at Wickerman to see if you want to have a go, it’s a 1.2m restriction and a really fun family ride but it might appear too much for the kids if they aren’t into big coasters. If you decide to have a go I would recommend leaving it to the last ride as queues will be long early on. Sealife Centre is in this area too (this is a good one for after lunch whilst food does down)

    Then head over to Katanga Canyon for the Runaway Mine Train and the Rapids (these rides open at 11am), then onto Duel (this might be too spooky for them, but it rarely has a queue so you could always check it out before riding with the kids). Onto Forbidden Valley and Blade (it’s a pirate ship). The other rides in that area are big coasters (although if Nemesis has a short queue this is a must do for the adults!). Ask for a parent Q share pass so only one parent has to queue.

    Next I would skyride it over to Dark Forest and go on Hex (this is spooky but not scary, nothing jumps out at you or anything). Around that area you also have the driving school and carousel in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

    In the Dark Forest is Th13teen, again a 1.2m ride with a darker theme, perhaps YouTube this one in advance to see if they will be ok with it - but if you do this you will ‘spoil’ the big surprise for yourself!

    That then leaves you with X-Sector which has enterprise, goes upside down this one so might be good if they are feeling brave! The Smiler is also in this area with a single rider queue for adults if you want a quick go whilst there.

    Arrive early (45mins just to get in the car park last weekend) so you can get parked and get to the entrance ready for gates opening just before 10am. Download the app so you can see up to date queue times and get notification if they extend the ride close time. If you jump in a ride queue just before ride close time you will still get on, which is why I recommended leaving Wickerman till last.

    Hope that helps, enjoy!
     
    pluk, Alsty, TheBolt and 2 others like this.
    Posted 11th Sep 2019
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  5. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    If you get let in at 10am I would suggest heading straight for Thirteen, which is probably the best child friendly coaster in the park anyway, a little bit intimidating for a family coaster but a good starting point to either build confidence or establish what else you all want to do.

    I'd then suggest riding Hex which is a great family 'experience' type ride and is close nearby.

    Then on to the rapids and Runaway Mine Train (ideally get there before they open at 11 as they get long queues), fairly self explanatory family friendly attractions.

    The park will be getting busy now so experience the rides in Mutiny Bay (plus a Sealife) and Duel (haunted house) in any order, all family friendly. Also have lunch around this time.

    By mid afternoon the Spinball Whizzed queue will be as short as it's going to get so if confidence is high enough try that. It spins a lot so not for everyone but it's good fun. If the kids enjoying the spinning sensation then it might also be worth checking out Enterprise in X Sector.

    Definitely, definitely leave Wicker Man until last. This is a wise strategy anyway because everybody rushes there early on, but it is also by far the most intimidating and 'extreme family coaster at the park. Really one to build up to and, quite possibly from what you have said, one your children may decide they're not keen on experiencing.

    Have fun!
     
    skyscraper and LondonAndy like this.
    Posted 11th Sep 2019
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  6. TheBolt

    TheBolt TowersStreet Member

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    Hex has a pretty scary build up in the pre-show. Lots of tense music and darkness. The ride itself is spooky, if they can get past fhat queue.
    Duel can sound much more scary than it is, if the soundtrack is on full volume by the queue. You often see smaller kids turn around because of that. In reality, its pretty tame.

    Don't overlook CBeebies too. They might be over the target age, but the Furchester show is pretty good, and the playground is a welcome change of pace. The theming in there is as good as AT has to offer, and worth strolling around for newbies. Queues tend to be too long to justify riding much though.
     
    LondonAndy likes this.
    Posted 12th Sep 2019
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  7. LondonAndy

    LondonAndy TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their input - we pretty much followed @D4n 's advice:
    Thirteen, which was probably a bit too much to ease them in gently, but 3/4 of us enjoyed it!

    Hex freaked out my son a bit, so three of them headed for the exit before the ride bit.

    The exit was beside the Cuckoo Cars Driving School, so my son did that whilst I was finishing in Hex (my daughter was too tall!)

    We all then headed to the Congo River Rapids and Runaway Mine Train - everyone enjoyed both of those!

    Lunch was at the Explorers Pizza and Pasta Buffet where there was, really surprisingly, no queue and was fairly good value for a captive theme park audience!

    After lunch we did Duel, which I thought was fine, but the kids didn't like the things jumping out at them - I would have happily done that a few times given there was no queue, but once was enough for them.

    Given the hesitation in some of the rides, we headed over to CBeebies land - we were outside the target audience age, but queued up for the Octonauts as that was their favourite programme a few years ago..... after 20 minutes they announced the ride was broken :-(. We therefore went to the Go Jetters ride which was really poorly managed - 3 staff, one of whom seemed to be doing nothing, one operating the ride, and the final one doing all the work. We could have got on a lot quicker if the queue had been better managed. Not really worth the wait, but we had to do something before....

    Wicker Man! We got in the queue just before closing time, and it was still a 70 minute wait. To be honest we were all a bit apprehensive, but my wife and I tried not to show it so that the kids would go on it! In the end we all really enjoyed it! By the way, the 1973 Wicker Man film is on TV this week!

    The biggest disappointment of the day was leaving the place, not because we didn't want to leave, but due to carnage in the car park! If they devoted a fraction of the resource to getting people out that they do to getting people in then it would be a lot better! It ended up taking about 45 minutes to get out.....

    All in all a fun day out, but maybe we should have gone a few years ago when we had Merlin passes to experience the CBeebies Land, and spend more time this visit on the medium-thrill rides! Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions.
     
    Posted 22nd Sep 2019
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  8. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
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    Taron
    Delighted to hear you had a good time and my suggestion worked out reasonably well for you.

    Admittedly in an ideal world you'd do Runaway Mine Train first as a way of 'easing in', but with it not opening until 11, and Th13teen getting big queues later in the day, that's much more difficult to plan for unfortunately. It's a real shame they still insist on opening some rides later than others, especially with the very limited family offering.
     
    LondonAndy likes this.
    Posted 22nd Sep 2019
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