Your favourite investment from each owner in Alton Towers' history?

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Hi guys. With TowersStreet having recently started its Talbot Street Lock In project, I thought it might be nice to have a look at some of the additions to Alton Towers in years gone by. So my question to you today is; what is your favourite investment made by each owner that the Resort has had over the last 40 years? I know that technically, they've only had 3, but I have personally decided to split Tussauds into Pearson, Charterhouse and DIC, as most would agree that Tussauds had very different visions for the park under each of its owners, and very different types of investments were made by each. I'll get the ball rolling with my choices:
  • John Broome (1980-1990) - I'm a little unsure with this one, as I haven't actually been able to experience much from this era! If I had to choose, I'd probably say either Congo River Rapids or Towers Street; even now, Congo still provides a refreshing spray on a hot day, and Towers Street has arguably become one of the most iconic staples of the park!
  • Pearson Tussauds (1990-1998) - Now despite the fact that many fantastic things were built during this era, this one was a much easier choice; it just has to be Nemesis for me! While it may not be the biggest crowd puller anymore, it arguably made the park what it is today, and it just delivers every time!
  • Charterhouse Tussauds (1998-2005) - Again, this is another one where I'm struggling. I'd probably pick Air, as I do really enjoy it as a coaster and I admire the vision behind it, but I think that Hex and Splash Landings also deserve honourable mentions!
  • DIC Tussauds (2005-2007) - There isn't an awful lot to pick from here, but I'd go with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; I always used to enjoy it, and I had a real soft spot for it. An honourable mention goes to the Haunted Hollow; even though it was only a minor investment, it certainly spruces up the walk between Gloomy Wood & Mutiny Bay if you fancy a shortcut!
  • Merlin (2007-present) - As much as Merlin has built some really good things, my choice for my favourite investment from them was relatively easy; Wicker Man wins the Merlin era so far for me! It's easily my favourite coaster installed by Merlin, and I just adore the overall thematic package that comes alongside the coaster!
So, those are my favourite investments from each Alton Towers owner throughout history! I'm sure that there will be many more fantastic investments that will make this list in years to come, and there were of course many other fantastic things built during these eras that I didn't mention!
 

Thameslink Rail

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
John Broome: Congo River Rapids (shame Merlin tamed it so much)
Pearsons: Nemesis
Charterhouse: Hex
DIC: Charlie (pretty much the only addition they made)
Merlin: The Smiler
 

Ted

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Taron
Broome: Congo
Pearsons: Nemesis and Toyland Tours (as they were both built the same year)
Charterhouse: Splash Landings/Cariba Creek
DIC: Rita
Merlin: Wicker Man
 

OilyWater

TS Member
Id say in the Tussauds era it was more of a sloping decline in investment and the changes of style for Alton Towers came with different marketing/management teams at the parks, though sometimes the management changes were linked to the ownership changes bla bla

How come youve not split Merlin up into its different owners as well?
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Id say in the Tussauds era it was more of a sloping decline in investment and the changes of style for Alton Towers came with different marketing/management teams at the parks, though sometimes the management changes were linked to the ownership changes bla bla

How come youve not split Merlin up into its different owners as well?
Because I sort of feel like Merlin has mostly had the same sort of vision throughout, and mostly the same people leading it/being involved in it. If things change a lot under private ownership, then I might change that.
 

OilyWater

TS Member
Because I sort of feel like Merlin has mostly had the same sort of vision throughout, and mostly the same people leading it/being involved in it. If things change a lot under private ownership, then I might change that.
Ok, but Merlin have had a number different private owners over the years even before they went public (including DIC for example). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would have probably happened under Charterhouse etc. All DIC really seemed to do was reduce Tussauds' funding so much and then sell.
 
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WillPS

TS Member
Ok, but Merlin have had a number different private owners over the years even before they went public (including DIC for example). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would have probably happened under Charterhouse etc. All DIC really seemed to do was reduce Tussauds' funding so much and then sell.
I'm not sure you can blame DIC for that really. 2004 was a worse season than any of the following ones under DIC - closure of Boneshaker without replacement, closure of half of Cred Street, Dynamo replaced by various pay-per-play crap, mid-season closure of 3D Cinema without replacement, replacement of the lovely Swans with pay-per-play aquakarts, withdrawal of free Fastrack and shoddy implementation of the hotel queue cut passes.

Offset that with The Flume refurb (which was good, in fairness) and Spinball Whizzer (a great ride but in the wrong place and arguably not suitable for a park as busy as Alton Towers was consistently back then).
 

OilyWater

TS Member
I'm not sure you can blame DIC for that really. 2004 was a worse season than any of the following ones under DIC
Yeah probably, but that's what I was meant before, there's no big immediate distinction between Tussauds under its different owners, more of a steady slope in the bigger picture
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
I loved when they introduced Rita, Such a focused Marketing Campaign and forward upon what they wanted to pursue

Thankfully they did, it's the greatest ride in this country and one of the best in the world. A true masterpiece, a wonder to behold, 10/10 IGN
 

Tentaclaws

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Tentaclaws
What a brilliant idea, love it! For me:

John Broome: Swan Boats! (wanted to choose something that I rode and the Swan Boats were truly iconic and unchanged from when they were put in in the 80s, they were always the first ride for us and lots of lovely memories going on all as a family and how hot the swans were to touch on a sunny day!)

Pearson Tussauds: Nemesis / Haunted House (Would have to choose Nemmy if I had to pick one, but the Haunted House was a masterpiece!)

Charterhouse Tussauds: Hex (1000% Hex! I’ve got so much love for Hex. Not even going to get started on that one!)

DIC Tussauds: Driving School (Not much to choose from here, and even with the original IP, a solid investment that kids love and I love the quirky theming, fits right into Towers and still a great attraction for young ones now)

Merlin: Wicker Man (It’s got to be! Nemmy will always be my favourite, but I think Wicker Man is the only complete package on a world-class level. It is the only ride that I experience and say to myself “That was too amazing to be at Alton Towers!” They knocked it out the park on this one.
 
Favourite Ride
Nemesis
John Broome: Congo River Rapids- they were brilliant and it's a shame what Merlin have done to them now!
Pearson Tussauds: It's got to be Nemmy it's such a good and iconic ride and I'll say, the Haunted House was very good as well and I don't like Duel at all. Toyland Tours was amazing as well!
Charterhouse Tussauds: It's got be Hex or Air, both brilliant rides, though I'd probably take Hex over Air as we lost a lot of theming that was meant to be involved but the budget overran so never mind. Maybe one day that tunnel will be themed.
DIC Tussauds: Probably the Flume or Rita, Spinball doesn't fit the park and CATCF was a disgusting replacement to Toyland Tours so it was probably that Rita or Flume. It was dark times during DIC Tussauds because they messed everything up but that's the way of Towers.
Merlin: So far it has to be Wicker Man. Smiler was good for the ride itself, but it's theming was a bit disappointing in my opinion, which is a shame. Wicker Man however, it's not just a rollercoaster it's an experience and it's a brilliant investment that was certainty needed!
So overall, it's only the DIC Tussauds I didn't like. I'll always see Pearson Tussauds or Charterhouse Tussauds as the best though! Merlin, still needs time and John Broome was ok with some of his investments, but not others !
 

jon81uk

TS Member
Congo River Rapids- they were brilliant and it's a shame what Merlin have done to them now!

Don't forget when they opened it was just the Grand Canyon Rapids, the Congo theming only came later with Tussauds.
Also I don't think Merlin have made any changes? The park has been forced to make changes due to the initial advice of the HSE following the Drayton Manor incident but I'm not aware of other changes?
 
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