Submission

Whether you loved it or loathed it, Submission has entered the history books as the Marmite ride that heralded the end of an era at Alton Towers.

Submission

Submission

Hang In There... you can't say the park didn't warn you if you embarked on X Sector's signature flat ride and chose to have your world turned upside down aboard this secretive military experiment.

As guests entered X-Sector, the dramatic motion of Submission alongside its star-like framework drew attention to the bottom of the area, where the ride certainly looked the part for the experimental theme whilst also giving the impression of being an unashamed thrill ride.

When it first opened, Submission offered guests a dual ride experience, where they would have a  similar but ultimately different ride depending on whether they chose to ride the front arm or the back. Once you had chosen your seat (three rows of four people face one direction, three rows the opposite), the over the shoulder restraints and T-bar lap-bars closed tightly as a lip around the edge of the car lifts up to close off the row ends.

The arm then began to rock from side to side, gaining height with every swing and at the same time the car itself also began to rock back and forth. After a few swings the arm reached the top of the ride where the gondolas were held upside down for a moment, the arm teetering on the balance point. Once the arms released again, guests would experience the rush of flying back to the ground, and swooping back up into the air.

The ride sequence would continue for several more rotations before eventually coming to a stop back at the platform, where more guests waited to submit themselves to the experience.

The Life and Times

Submission Promo Art

Submission was one of the last of the major rides to be added during the park's boom years around the turn of the millennium and as such was afforded the marketing campaign of a much larger installation. The marketing very much echoed the campaign used for Oblivion several years earlier, including its own enigmatic TV advert, as well as a snappy slogan for the attraction of: 'Hang in there'.

The ride leant itself to TV advertising as the attraction was an attractive installation which added a striking centre of attention to the lower portion of X Sector drawing guests towards the rides at the bottom of the hill. Equally when in operation (more so when both arms operated), the ride gave a very pleasing show to spectators, much like Ripsaw does in Forbidden Valley.

Everything looked promising for Submission right up to the point that guests began to ride it...

On 31st March 2001 Submission opened to the public on the site that had formerly been occupied by Energizer, which had since been moved to Ug Land. And despite its slick advertising campaign and aesthetic appeal, even from opening it received decidedly mixed reviews, with many guests comparing it unfavourably with the ride it had replaced.

The attraction suffered from two main issues, one of which became apparent as soon as guests sat down and its highly restrictive restraints closed to make the ride uncomfortable for most and particularly for those with larger statures, such as taller guests.

When the gondola began to move it also became clear that despite its looks, the ride was not really that thrilling either. Throughout the ride cycle it never felt like the gondola was swinging freely, but rather in a very controlled manner. This not only removed the thrill offered by free movement and momentum, but also further reinforced the discomfort felt by guests due to the restraints.

Despite not finding mainstream popularity, Submission's relatively low height restriction of 1.2m combined with its mild thrills, meant the ride was in many ways an ideal stepping stone for those who were not quite tall enough for the park's big attractions, but still wanted some thrills. As such even as its popularity ebbed away leaving the ride with short queues for most of the season, Submission was often uncommonly busy during the school trip season.

 What happened next...

Submission

Needless to say Submission's popularity was short-lived at best and it was never really regarded as a 'must ride' attraction, more as something to fill time on the way to Oblivion. In its later years it was commonplace for only one side of the ride to run, due to both waning popularity and maintenance reasons.

It was therefore unsurprising that the park considered closing Submission (along with the neighbouring Enterprise) for part of 2012 to allow for the construction of The Smiler. This plan did not come to pass in the end and the ride operated throughout the construction process. Indeed, for it to better support The Smiler during its first season, a lot of effort was put in to bringing Submission back to full working order, with both sides briefly working once again in 2013.

Despite this renewed effort from the park, Submission's popularity did not pick up and not even its close proximity to The Smiler could not draw large numbers of guests to the ride. Ultimately it is likely that this, alongside ongoing maintenance issues, contributed to the ride being removed from the park early in 2014. The ride was removed fairly late on during the closed season, leaving a space in the X Sector ripe for future developments.

Submission's area after removal

But the story didn't end there... or did it? With the ride so recently dismantled it is not yet clear what lies in store for Submission. There is a chance the ride may go the way of many other retired attractions and be sold on, either to another park as an operating attraction or to ride refurbishment company for spare parts.

Alternatively, it may go the same way as less salvageable rides such as the Corkscrew and find itself on a one way trip to the scrapyard (although we don't think the park will build a monument to Submission like they did with Corkie).

One thing is for sure however, if you are looking for a pleasant spot to enjoy a picnic right at the heart of the X Sector, one of the new attractions for 2014 was a freshly laid lawn area right below Oblivion's break-run.

Attraction Stats


Opened
2001, 31st March
Closed
2013, 10th November
Cost
£2 million
Max Speed
7 rpm
Throughput
600 riders per hour
Ride Capacity
48 riders
Ride Cars
2 arms
Persons per Car
24

Attraction Facts

Manufacturer
Chance Rides Manufacturing
Type
Double Inverter
Opened
2001, 31st March
Closed
2013, 10th November

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