A few of us went up to Alton over the weekend (Fri – Sun) and I thought I’d write up a little trip report, not done one for a while! Enchanted Village We stayed in one of the lodges here and I take back all the negative stuff I have said, it was actually a lot better than I expected. The general atmosphere walking through the village, with kids out playing in the various play areas, people sat out on the grass outside their lodges or on their porches, and the various activities taking place, it just felt really nice. Infact, it didn’t feel like you were in Towers at all. The lodge inside was really nice, a decent size, with a nice bathroom and comfortable beds. It was warm inside due to the nice weather outside, but the large fan inside helped as did having the door open. Was so nice to be able to sit outside on the porch with a cold beer and just relax. Infact, dare I say it but I may prefer to stay here now as opposed to the hotels due to this very fact that you have some outside space. My concerns about noise didn’t surface as we found them a lot quieter than the hotels. A hell of a lot quieter! We had a look at the treehouses, but in all honesty, they didn’t impress me, they were too close to each other, and I thought the areas around the lodges was far nicer. As for the enchanted tree, ok, it looks pretty with the lights on it, but they could have perhaps done a little more! Only thing that struck me about the village was at night time just how dark the area was. I think they need a bit more lighting as small lights along the paths are just not bright enough in places. I also thought they could have perhaps been a bit more creative with the lighting, such as making the mushrooms light up better, or sparkle, something like that to make it truly magical. But, overall, very impressive, and if I were a kid staying here, I would have loved it. Crooked Spoon Oh dear. What a shambles. The inside is about as imaginative as someone with, umm, no imagination. Just a long room and a hell of a lot of tables crammed together. It reminded me of Explorers pizza pasta. The music was ruddy annoying inside, to the extent they had to turn it down as I think people complained, and the loop was far too short. Whilst the food was good, having to go and queue at the bar in amongst other diners was not the best idea. Why they cant do table service I don’t know. They had enough staff in there. Breakfast was even worse. Imagine the scene at the Secret Garden where if your sat by the buffet section you have people walking past you with plates of food, but even worse. Because of the amount of tables in there, not only do you have guests now pushing through small gaps with their plates of food, but now also the kitchen staff carrying large silver bowls of hot beans and fried eggs above your head. There were two buffet areas, and I found that one section had half the food trays full, then you had to go to the other end to get the remainder as they had not been replenished. Then there was also the queue at the bar to get a cup of tea or coffee in amongst people queuing to get cereal or juice. It was just chaos and not an experience I want to repeat. They need to have a re think on this place, remove some seats, add a bit of theming to break up the areas a bit, and move around the buffet areas to make it easier for people to get food, and staff to refill it without having to squeeze through other diners. Theme Park Ok, so I was expecting it to be quiet, but not that quiet! The place was dead. The longest queue was 10 mins for Rita all day. Sub Terra was closed all day for “maintenance”. However, we had a great day, the sun was shining, and we had done everything by 3pm. Sad to see the Smiler all closed up and to not hear the ha ha ha music in that area. Oblivion was only filling the front seats as they didn’t have enough people to fill the cars completely. Air was running just one station. Nemesis was going around half full. Was really sad to see how quiet the place was, but also good that the queues were non-existent. However, for the sake of the park, I hope it picks up for them. Hotels Watched the evening entertainment in ATH – the something sisters, cant recall their name. Both evenings was the same sort of show. They were ok, but I still prefer the old group, they had more life about them, whereas these two girls didn’t seem to be able to grab the audience and didn’t add much life to the place. Splash Landings was a bit louder and was absolutely rammed in the evening. There was not a free seat in sight! Waterpark Spent a few hours in the waterpark before leaving on the Sunday which was very very busy. 45 min queue for the Masterblaster so we didn’t bother with that. Despite how packed it was, we still had a fun time and the new changing rooms were much better than the previous ones. Tree Top Quest We did the high wires at 5pm and this was much better than expected. The staff were great and it was fascinating seeing parts of Towers we had never been around before. After initial training we went up and its surprising how high you are, and how much those poles sway which feels a bit unnerving at first! Some of the obstacles were tricky, and I found you needed quite a bit of upper body strength, but we all had a great time. We could have hired a GoPro for £20 (£16 AP discount) but we opted for the photos instead. Plenty of zip wire fun. Will definitely do this again and the lower course also looked fun. Took just under an hour. Overall Was a fantastic two days, due to the excellent sunny weather and the lack of queues. Wasps were a problem, particularly trying to sit at the rear of ATH with a cold beer, which in the end proved impossible. They need some traps around the seating area here. Was interesting to see the cars now parking in the VIP parking area outside ATH. I lost count of the number of high end Range Rovers, Jaguars, Mercedes and BMW’s taking up the spaces, so it looks like Towers strategy of encouraging those with more money than sense to stay at the resort is working. Was funny watching them sitting in their VIP Waiting area away from the other plebs before boarding their special VIP golf buggy to drive them the 5 minute walk to their luxury treehouses! Enchanted village was actually the highlight of the weekend, really enjoyed it there and the atmosphere in the village. Will be even better when vegetation has fully grown, although….. one thought, the tarmac road through the middle would have been better it was coated in the yellow chippings like the paths but that’s just a minor thing. Low point was the Crooked Spoon and like I said, with a bit of reworking, this could be a nice place to eat. The place is now starting to feel like a resort!