One of Alton Towers' shortest lived rides, The Graviton offered guests an experience that was out of this world, allowing riders to discover the weightless feeling of outer space aboard the park's very own spaceship.
The Graviton belongs to the same family of fairground rides as the traditional Rotor that can still be found in many travelling fairs across the country. The ride itself was essentially a giant centrifuge where 48 people would stand against panels located in the futuristic looking central chamber. There were no restraints and once everyone was in place the room would begin to spin, getting faster and faster until it was up to speed and the panels would raise up the side of the walls so guests no longer touched the floor, instead being held to the wall by the centripetal forces on their bodies.
With their distinctive UFO theme, Gravitrons were always traditionally more popular in the USA, where many more examples exist across the country. They never really gained the same popularity in the UK, where the Rotor has always been a much more common sight, offering a similar ride experience with the additional benefit of a spectators' gallery, for those not brave enough for the ride itself.
The Life & Times
The spinning fairground ride was one of the last rides to arrive in the park before Tussauds took over and was no doubt purchased as filler ride to quickly take the space left by departing Turbo Star.
Despite this, the giant faux spaceship of the travelling ride helped it fit in well with the loose space theme that Fantasy World had developed since the arrival of the Black Hole several years earlier.
What Happened Next...
As with so many rides, the arrival of Tussauds saw the departure of the Gravitron from the park. Despite being one of the newest rides to arrive in the park it soon became one of the first to leave and the attraction was at the park for just three years before it was removed at the end of the 1992 season to be replaced with... nothing.
At the time of the Gravitron's closure, Fantasy World already featured a large grassy area at its heart where the Alpine Bobsleighs had been removed several years earlier. With the departure of the Gravitron and the removal of the neighbouring Miniature Golf course the following year this left almost half of Fantasy World empty.
And this was how the area remained until 1997, when almost the whole of Fantasy World disappeared behind a construction wall for the park's latest headline attraction. When the construction walls came down in 1998, the area was now home to Oblivion and the spot formerly occupied by the Gravitron now lies deep beneath the hill that forms the coaster's queue-line.
But the story didn't end there... and the Gravitron is still thrilling guests in the UK to this day. Upon its departure from the Alton Towers, the ride joined a rich tradition of the park's attractions to find their way to Pleasure Island in Cleethorpes. And there the ride operated for over twenty years before being sold back to Barry Island, its original owner.