First visit in 14 years - what can I expect?

Discussion in 'Your Alton Towers Trip Reports and Plans' started by andyramone, 11th Mar 2013.

  1. andyramone

    andyramone TowersStreet Member

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    Hi everyone.

    So, closet Towers/Coaster enthusiast coming out here, thought I'd introduce myself now I'm planning on a 2 day trip to AT in May.

    When I was younger, my family used to go to Alton Towers every year, and they are some of my most cherished childhood memories. We went every year between 1996-1999, so I was there in the heyday, when the 'magic' was still alive. I'll never forget riding Oblivion in it's opening year. Those where the days! Glad to see it will be repainted to it's original glory when I return this year!

    So, I was hoping you kind chaps could give me a general overview of what to expect on my visit. Any tips, reccomendations etc, things to avoid. I know the park is not supposed to be what it used to be, but I really can't wait to relive my childhood. I was gutted that we never got to ride Air because we stopped going in 2000, so I will be heading to that first I think.

    I suppose there's a chance The Smiler won't be open, which would be a shame, but I can live with not riding it as long as everything else is open, especially Oblivion!

    I'm driving up from Norwich on the 14th May, staying at the Chained Oak Farm for two nights, and having two full days at the park to make the most of the 4 hour drive.

    One question I have - is it likely WH smiths will have BOGOF this year again? If not, is there anywhere else that does them?

    I really can't wait to go, I've only been to Thorpe Park & Port Aventura since my regular holidays in the 90's, TP is great for rides, but not for the atmosphere, and PA was one of the best Birthdays I have ever had. A truly stunning theme park. I'm hoping Alton Towers still has a more open, family feel to it, and that it isn't too run down these days.

    Anyway, I'm rambling now, so I'll stop talking.
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  2. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    Hey Andy,

    First off, a very warm welcome I am still quite new to this community, despite how it may appear ;D

    Onto the park... Well, you are talking about my favourite period of the park really there. My goodness in 14 years it is so very different. I think how different everything is now, will completely take over your senses - I doubt you will do anything but enjoy yourself after such a long time away from the park.

    I am sure you have checked out pictures and things, but with Rita, Thirteen/Dark Forest etc - that side has completely changed.

    I for one will be very interested in how you experience your day, and of course I hope you have a fantastic couple of days there.

    It has changed, as has the ambiance and atmosphere from then, much more commercial now - be prepared for that in a way, but as I say, so long as you have been keeping check on the forums you will have a pretty decent idea of what to expect.

    It has its issues, but it remains my favourite park all round.
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  3. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Hello Andy. If you havn't been since circa 1999 I'm sure you'll have a great time. You'll probably have not experienced HEX, Spinball Whizzer (Sonic?), Air, Rita, Thirteen etc. It was an excellent period during the 90's but it's still a great day (or two) out with some new attractions for you to experience (I actually really like Spinball/Sonic myself which I don't think is popular with some others).

    Good choice of accommodation too, be sure to go and visit the 'tree' featured in 'HEX'.

    I've not covered many of your questions there but I'm sure others will be able to help you out.
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  4. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Short answer: Disapointment.
    Long answer: Disapointment plus some new rides. ;)
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  5. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    ...Just as I was trying hard to put a positive spin on things as well ;)
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  6. josht

    josht TowersStreet Member

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    Before 1999 nemesis
    After 1999 nemesis sub terra

    Enjoy :)
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  7. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    Hey, even I said nice things about the park! We do critique it a lot, and it has deserved some stick, but over all it is still a very decent park - certainly does feel very different to the mid/late 90s though, that's for sure.
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  8. BarryZola

    BarryZola TowersStreet Member

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    Whatever we may say, it's still a park with some great rides and is located in a truly unique setting. This is why we still really appreciate it.
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  9. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    That is very true Barry, the fact we take so much time talking about it, caring what happens to the place, and being passionate about every inch of the place says it all.
     
    Posted 11th Mar 2013
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  10. ianto42

    ianto42 TowersStreet Member

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    First post! Woo :)

    Im planning a trip in May/June and its only my second trip, and really looking forward to it.
    In the original post you asked about BOGOF tickets. I dont know about Smiths, but Kellogs cereals are doing them. One adult free when you purchase an adult ticket :) Hope that helps! Theyre valid at all Merlin attractions too.
     
  11. LewisNavex

    LewisNavex TowersStreet Member

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    Expect the Corkscrew to be very different! ;)
     
  12. TheMan

    TheMan TowersStreet Member

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    Ha-ha!! That made me laugh. ;D

    Indeed, it has been "re-themed"... :twirly:

    And being serious Andy, get in The Sanctuary. It is rare to get to experience a scare attraction at this time, and whilst it wasn't perfect last year - some aspects really are sensational and it will set a tone for The Smiler for you. Much more of the topics surrounding it will make sense.

    And you have to meet Dr Kelman, the man sent Christmas (I think it was) wishes to most of the forums and this man is brilliant in character. And if they have the characters around park from The Sanctuary, the other random Dr is brilliant.

    It will be one of the first things I want to do when the park opens again. That should say it all really. So if you like scarey stuff, or creepy things - this one psychological too, get in that scaremaze as some of the themed rooms, especially the first couple, are really magnificent.

    Those things are a huge, huge improvement from the 90s in terms of what they add atmospherically. Stunning in my opinion, and I am quick to criticise AT at times lol.

    And believe me, I am known for being one of the proper 90s fan boys - annoyingly so at times no doubt ;)

    ;D
     
  13. GAGrathea

    GAGrathea TS Founding Member

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    The magic is very much still prevalent, I think you'll find a lot of new magic waiting for you which you've not experienced yet :)

    Enjoy it, ignore this whinging lot!
     
  14. andyramone

    andyramone TowersStreet Member

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    Thanks for the replies folks.

    As much as I'd like to try Hex, I can't deal with anything that spins and disorientates, so will have to give that a miss I think. I would throw up everywhere.

    The Sanctuary sounds interesting, I'm not a huge fan of live action & dark rides, but maybe I should dip my toe. I like the sound of Nemesis Sub Terra as well. I'll be focusing on the coasters and water rides, but with two days, at a hopefully quiet time of the week, I should have time to try some of these.

    I won't miss the corkscrew, despite it's charm, I banged my head something rotten on that every time I went on it. Really like the look of Th13teen, and my friend has no idea about the dropped track, so can't wait to get him on that.
     
  15. Scott

    Scott Former TS Team Member

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    Hex doesn't physically spin you or anything, it's just an optical illusion to make you feel as though you are moving more than you are - you might be alright :) besides, it's a world class dark ride experience and is definitely worth seeing.

    On a side note, nice to see another member from Norwich! That's what, three of us now? :p


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.
     
  16. andyramone

    andyramone TowersStreet Member

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    I know it doesn't actually spin, but that might actually be worse for me. That kind of disorientation would ruin me.

    That's why I'm praying there's no 'Washing Machine' element planned for The Smiler. It would stop me riding it, which would be a great shame, because the actual coaster looks great.
     
  17. Scott

    Scott Former TS Team Member

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    I see what you're saying - though I guess it's hard to know without going on it. There is an illusion there but it's such a big room that it may well not effect you like you think it would. It's really hard to try and explain...

    Don't worry about there being a washing machine though - no chance :p


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.
     
  18. Prometheus

    Prometheus TowersStreet Member

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    Hi Andy, I know exactly what you are saying regarding Hex and I had a reluctance to go on it for a long for the same reasons (I get terrible terrible seasickness, and I'd imagined this ride would emulate the same feeling as being below decks on a ferry). It's actually not anywhere near as vom inducing as it looks on paper. Scott raises a good point with the size of the room, it definitely helps as it keeps all movement slow and more manageable.

    If you decide to try it one day, it is definitely worth it, it's a great experience. ;D
     
  19. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Even I, in my "miserable old fart" mode, would recomend not missing out on hex.
    As has been said, the physical movement is minute, so if it gets too much for you, just close your eyes and you should be fine.

    The best thing about Hex is looking out for people who can't work out what's really happening, and watching them panic, so concentrating on them and having a good laugh might distract you from motion sickness. Not that I've ever heard of anyone getting ill on Hex, that is.
     
  20. andyramone

    andyramone TowersStreet Member

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    Gotta say, you guys are making a fine case for it. I'll see how I feel on the day. Your point about closing my eyes is a good one, as obviously, that should counter any feelings of spinning.

    Another question I have, which I know is much asked, but what are queue times like around May weekdays like? I've heard widely varying reports on here about last season regarding queue times and throughput. I'm hoping going on a Tuesday and Wednesday around exam time is a good choice (it worked wonders at Thorpe Park last year.) But I have concerns about oversubscribing fast track, and reducing ride capacity in quieter times.

    Also, as I'll be walking from the Chained Oak to Alton Towers, does that mean I'll miss out on the monorail? If so, I might have to go ride it anyway, as I love the ride over the park in the morning, such a great feeling seeing all the rides, it's like getting up Christmas morning and seeing all you presents under the tree.
     

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