First trip to Alton Towers!

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by lu1219, 25th Jun 2014.

  1. lu1219

    lu1219 TowersStreet Member

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    I will be travelling from Ireland next week for my first trip to Alton Towers and I am beyond excited! I just have some questions if anyone could help :)
    We will be going into the water park as well. Is it possible to go in and out of the water park, no? I assume there are lockers there and that we can use towels provided by the hotel in our room?
    For the theme park, can you go back to the hotel (Alton Towers hotel) during the day and back into the theme park?
    We get early ride time so should we go to certain rides first? We're hoping it won't be too busy.
    Are there any good quality places for food in the park/hotel? I saw a video and it looked very fast food like (as in most theme parks). Is there anywhere at all you can get good quality food (preferably not sandwiches)? Which restaurant is best for the hotels?
    Is it okay to bring a small backpack into the park and onto the rides?
    Does anyone know the best way to get back from Alton Towers to Manchester/Manchester airport?

    I can't remember if that's all, I'm sure I have more questions though :p We can't wait!
    Thanks for any help or advice you have :)
     
    Posted 25th Jun 2014
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  2. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    In and out of the water park? No idea.
    Towels? No idea, but I assume so.
    Theme park? Again, no idea, but I'm sure someone else will know.
    ERT? As you're in the hotel, I would recommend taking the woodland walk from the back of the ATH garden, which will go directly to Forbidden Valley and a few other areas, where a few rides, including Nemesis, The Blade, Duel, RMT are open, and you can probably get on Oblivion in that time too, die spite it being on the other side of the park.
    Food on park? I would recommend Woodcutter's or Tavern. The other outlets (bar Pizza & Pasta) are fast food-y.
    Hotel food? No idea, as I've never spent much time in the hotels. I here Secret Garden in ATH is quite good though!
    Backpack? You can bring as big a backpack as you want into the park. Some rides such as Rapids/Flume and some minor flat rides you'll have to take them on with you, most of the others you'll have to leave them in the station.
    AT - Manchester? Not a Scooby-Doo!

    Hope this helps!
     
    Posted 25th Jun 2014
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  3. Andrew

    Andrew TS Contributor

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    Just moved this thread to trip planning :)

    1) I'm not sure if you can go in or out (someone else will have to confirm this) but there are lockers at an extra charge (I'm not certain if this is refundable though) and you can use your towels from your room.

    2) You can go back to the hotel during the day if you wish. There's usually someone on the gate that will stamp your hand or something (I think) so you can be allowed back in. Check on the day just to make certain though.

    3) With early ride time, I'd suggest riding the main coasters that open here (Oblivion and Nemesis) as these will likely become busier later in the day. You should still have time to get re-rides on them during early ride time or ride other rides from the list below if you so wish:

    CBeebies Land
    • Postman Pat’s Parcel Post
    • In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride
    • Mr Bloom’s Allotment
    • Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure
    • Something Special Sensory Garden
    • Justin’s House Pie-O-Matic Factory
    • Nina’s Science Lab
    • Charlie & Lola’s Moonsquirters and Greendrops
    • The Numtums Number-Go-Round
    • Tree Fu Tom Training Camp
    • Big Fun Show Time
    • CBeebies Photo Studio
    Mutiny Bay
    • Heave Ho
    • Marauders Mayhem
    • Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE
    Katanga Canyon / Gloomy Wood
    • Runaway Mine Train
    • Duel
    X-Sector
    • Oblivion
    Forbidden Valley
    • Nemesis
    • The Blade
    4) There are plenty of options for food in the theme park and at the hotels. There are many reviews of them on this site if you wish to look around, and they include prices and quality too to make sure that you find the best restaurant for you.

    5) You can take a backpack in but it would have to be left in the lockers provided in the ride queues for the majority of the rides, or on the side of the station platform if there aren't lockers (usually the case with non-roller coasters or smaller rides). The backpack will have to be taken on water rides though so be aware of this in case you are storing valuables in it.

    6) I'm not good with transport from Manchester (being from near Liverpool myself) so someone else may have to answer this for you. :)
     
    Posted 25th Jun 2014
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  4. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    Firstly, welcome to the forum! Undoubtedly the best place to start your planning :p

    Regarding transport, I'd suggest taking any service into Manchester Piccadilly from the airport, and then change onto a service to Stoke on Trent. From here, you can book a (rather expensive) taxi directly to the resort, or face the gruelling bus journey. Alternatively, you can board the service from Stoke to Derby and disembark at Uttoxeter, where you can once again opt to take a (slightly less expensive) taxi or the 32A bus service.

    It's more than OK to take a small backpack around with you, although you will have to use the appropriate baggage storage facilities when boarding certain rides.

    The food and beverage on park has been very hit and miss recently, one of the biggest complaints that we've had for the season thus far. The range of food on offer however is very accommodating, so it depends on what your preferred tastes are (Woodcutters Bar and Grill / Towers Street are the most noticeable restaurant offerings on the park, whilst other outlets such as Fresh Fish and Chips or Fried Chicken Co are fast food indoor outlets). In the hotels, you're best looking at Secret Garden or Emperors (if it's open!), however I'm yet to dine in either of these places myself so I'll leave that to someone else to comment on.

    For early ride time, I'd recommend doing the rides that will inevitably get busier later in the day. As tempting as it may seem to get Nemesis done as quickly as possible on ERT, it's certainly not worth riding at this time of the day as the queues will be a lot quieter for it later on.

    You can indeed alternate between the theme park and the hotels in the day, just remember to get your hand stamped at the park entrance if you aren't an annual pass holder.

    As I've yet to experience the waterpark, I'll leave someone else to help you on that front. :)

    Finally on a personal note, I'd recommend you check out the Gardens or the Towers ruins if you have time. They are two stunning locations and offer a nice break away from the bustling atmosphere of the theme park.

    Here's hoping you enjoy your visit!
     
    Posted 25th Jun 2014
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  5. nemesis1994

    nemesis1994 TowersStreet Member

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    Can only really answer the food and ERT questions. I would eat at Woodcutters or the tavern if you have time.
    If you are rushing to get all the rides done I usually go to cloud cuckoo land burger kitchen after doing x sector rides and dark forest before getting the sky ride to forbidden valley. For Early ride time I usually go down the woodland walk and get around 5 rides on nemesis before speed walking to x sector for Oblivion and getting in the smiler queue at 9:50 and waiting for the ride to open at ten if the park is busy. If not wait for just before ten for the smiler queue line. I usually get between 13-30 rides this way although look for around 15 unless you are going to re ride loads.
     
    Posted 25th Jun 2014
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  6. Cheese

    Cheese TowersStreet Member

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    Hi and welcome.

    I don't actually know whether you can go in and out of the Waterpark; I've never tried as it's a half day attraction at most. It might be possible but you'd probably need to get a hand stamp if they offer one (that's how it works with the main park). There are indeed lockers which take two £1 coins; both are refunded after. You could use room towels but you'll get the usual 1 large and 1 small per person, so I'd either take my own or hire one at the Waterpark if need be to avoid getting the room towel all chlorine-y.

    Aim to get in as early as possible, as it can get busy pretty quickly. I'd make a beeline for the Master Blaster personally, as its throughput is very low considering it's the biggest slide.

    Absolutely. As mentioned above, when you go back to the entrance ask for a hand stamp. When you go back in they'll check the stamp and might also ask to see your ticket.

    Unfortunately it's school trip season, so the park could be very busy. As a result I'd recommend that you make the most of ERT! With the exception of CBeebies Land and Oblivion, everything that's open for that hour is to the left from the bottom of Towers Street, so follow signs/staff direction towards Mutiny Bay (a lot of people head right to queue for The Smiler or ride Oblivion, but that path is closed until 10AM). The staff there will check your hotel tickets and let you through. From there I'd recommend making your way steadily towards Forbidden Valley via Duel and Runaway Mine Train. You could then do Nemesis, though try and reride later in the day if you can as it improves significantly and should have a shorter wait than other thrill coasters. From about half past 9 it's probably wise to trek to the opposite side of the park to queue for The Smiler, as the 10AM 'Smiler Rush' cements the ride's lengthy queue that it will probably maintain all day.

    It depends what you fancy and how hungry you are. You'll find a lot of different opinions on favourite eateries here. I'd suggest Explorers' Pizza Pasta Buffet, Eastern Express and possibly Woodcutters' Bar and Grill as some of the better options for food quality. Towers St. Bar and Grill is similar to Woodcutters and wasn't too impressive when it opened part way through May, but I'd have thought that should also be fine now. Fast food options are indeed present with Fried Chicken Co and three Burger Kitchen outlets, and both are adequate if unimpressive.

    Hotel choice is sadly pretty limited. Secret Garden is probably your best bet. There's also a pizza restaurant in Ma Garrita's bar in Splash Landings Hotel which has gone down well with members that have tried it. Flambo's Exotic Feast is slightly variable in choice and quality, and the Emperor Bar and Grill is hugely expensive and often closed.

    Backpacks are an excellent idea for Towers. They generally aren't allowed on rides, exceptions being the Flume and Congo River Rapids where you have to take them aboard. On the older coasters you have bag cages to stow them in when boarding, and on the more recent ones there are bag stores where you exchange your bag for a wristband and collect it again after. There are also chargeable lockers in most areas, but they're pretty expensive and I have no experience of whether the system's any good.

    Wrong direction for me sorry, but I'm sure somebody will be able to suggest a route as we have members from that area.

    I hope that helps!
     
    Posted 25th Jun 2014
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  7. Poisson

    Poisson TowersStreet Member

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    Remember to see a welcome host at the entrance when leaving and planning to return as tickets only work once a day (a do Annual Passes bizarrely )
     
    Posted 26th Jun 2014
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  8. lu1219

    lu1219 TowersStreet Member

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    Thank you everyone for replying!
    I figured out the transport thing - we will get the train to Stoke-on-Trent then the X39 to Alton Towers from across the road from the train station. Then to get back to manchester, we will get the X39 to Stoke-on-Trent and then a train from Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester, then to the airport. Are trains usually reliable? Can you buy the bus tickets on the the bus?
    Do Alton Towers have maps of the theme park available?
    We won't be able to check in to the hotel before we go to the water park (will arrive at around 10.10 am) so we will leave our bags in the left luggage facility and then go into the water park. How long do most people spend there? Can you definitely rent towels in the water park? How much does this cost? Also, do you need a swim hat or anything else?
    Regarding the backpack - would my bag be safe leaving it while I go on the ride? Do most people do this?
    Finally, is CBeebies just for little kids, yeah?
    Thanks again for all the advice. Think it might be best to go to the Forbidden Valley (doing Duel and Runaway Mine Train o the way) for Nemesis and what ever else is there and then queue for the Smiler. Hoping it won't be too busy. Also, if we're finished early enough in the water park we hope to be able to get into the theme park as we have 2 days for 1 tickets.
    Is there anything else I should know? I've looked on this website (very helpful!) and the Alton Towers website itself so hoping we will be okay.
    Thanks!
     
    Posted 29th Jun 2014
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  9. Danny

    Danny TPWW's no.1 Fan

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    The trains between the airport, Manchester and Stoke are possibly some of the most reliable in the country. Yes, you can buy bus tickets on the bus :p (I'd be concerned if you couldn't buy bus tickets on a bus!)

    Maps are available at the entrance of the park, at the top of Towers street. They are also dotted around the various kiosks across the park.

    You will be safe leaving your bags in the designated baggage areas. In most circumstances, everyone has to.

    CBeebies Land is aimed at young children, but that's not to say you won't enjoy it :p
     
    Posted 29th Jun 2014
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  10. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    Bus tickets? No idea.
    Park maps? Yes! You can get them as you pass through the turnstiles on the plaza, or from any fast track booth, such as at the far end of Dark Forest.
    Water park? No idea.
    Towels? No idea, however I would assume so, or Merlin are missing a trick.
    Swim hat? No, you do not need a swim cap.
    Backpacks? I personally have never experienced or heard of anyone experiencing their backpack/stuff in the backpack being taken. However, there are signs around saying that bags are left at the owners risk. Best thing to do is to leave them with someone in your group who is not going on the ride, or if you really feel unsafe about it, purchasing a locker on-park.
    CBeebies Land? This new area is undoubtedly aimed at young children. It's fine to walk about it, but be considerate to families in the area who are queuing a long time for these low-throughput rides, which will not help by teenagers/adults in groups queuing for them. Especially as some attractions gain 1hour+ queues fairly regularly. You'd probably be better going on the big rides and attractions, rather than spending time in CBeebies Land, unless of course you are planning on returning again a good few times within the year.

    Hope this helps!
     
  11. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    You can hire towels from the waterpark reception, which is the same place you buy tickets (if you haven't got them online before hand). And you can leave your luggage in the hotel, you can also check in any time (but your room won't be ready until the afternoon).
     
  12. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Think towel hire is now £3 and you still need £2 to use the locker in the waterpark (which incidentally very handily empties the coins onto the floor for them to roll around everywhere when you press the refund button as they have removed the coin trays from the mechanism)
     
  13. lu1219

    lu1219 TowersStreet Member

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    Hi everyone, I was busy for a while after our trip so I didn't get back on here. Just wanted to say thanks for all the advice! We had a brilliant time, would definitely go again :)
     
  14. Burbs

    Burbs TS Site Team Team Member

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    Glad you had a fantastic "fantabulous" time!
     
    Last edited: 19th Aug 2014
  15. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    I believe the word is "fantabulous"
     

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