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Unread 31 Mar 19, 06:13 PM  
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Stubbs86
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Talking Alton Towers - March 2019 - solo day out

Good Afternoon Dibbers , I took myself off for a last minute day out at Alton Towers this week and thought I would share it with you lovely lot.

I have spent a few hours in theme parks on my own before but never a full day so this took a bit of umming and ahhing at first to actually decide if I was going to go! I was using up holiday and didnt want to sit around the house, so I had a word with myself and made a decision the night before to just do it!

I was up early (early for a day off work anyway) had a quick breakfast and left the house around 7.30am for the two hour drive to the park. The plus side of visiting during the week is (hopefully) the queues will be low, but the downside is that you have to drive through rush hour to get there. In the end it wasnt too bad and I pulled up in the car park around 9.30am not too many other cars so I was still hoping for a quiet day.

I headed for the monorail to the park, just missed one, but the next one came in straight away so not much of a wait here, and so we were whisked across the park to the entrance having a glance at lots of the rides on the way this is a great way to get the excitement for day going I think.

I headed to the ticket windows, again a small wait. Now because I left planning this trip so last minute there was no discount if I had booked online so late, and as I was on my own I couldnt make use of a 241 voucher so I ended up paying gate price. Something I would normally never ever do! However they have an offer on where if you buy a full priced day ticket (56, gulp) you get a season pass for free! So in the end it wasnt too painful, since I can now come back during the year if I fancy it, you can also bring friends for 15 so seems a good deal to me.

It was about 9.50am by this point and the park doesnt open until 10am so I waited in the queue to enter the park. The weather was looking good, a few clouds and forecast around 16 degrees so not too bad for March.





Just before 10am they opened the gates and in I went, taking a few pictures on the way its no Main Street USA but Towers Street does give great views of the lawns and the Towers in the distance. There were a few people trying to sell you drink refills and photo passes but I swerved them and headed for my first ride of the day.




So first up was the Dark Forest and Rita. I havent done this ride for a few years because it always seems to have long queues for what is a short ride. This morning it was a 0 minute queue and I walked straight on, winner! It goes 0-60mph in about two seconds so this certainly blew away the cobwebs and got the day off to a good start.




Just next door is Th13teen, not one of my favourites but still good fun, and once again it was walk on, so I jumped on for a trip through the forest. The good part of this ride is seeing and hearing people who havent been on before and listening to their reaction to the surprise. The couple behind me clearly hadnt been on before and their reaction was priceless. The typical oh, is that it? followed by a big jump!



The exit from Th13teen brings you right past the Rita entrance, and since there was still no queue I decided on another go.




Leaving the Dark Forest I headed for Hex. This is one of my favourites at Alton Towers, it really reminds me of a Disney ride with lots of good storytelling and the fact most of it is in the actual Towers it is very atmospheric. Again it is fun to see the reaction of other riders and there seemed to be a lot of people who hadnt been on before, so their faces were a picture.



Coming out of Hex you go through parts of the Towers and I wanted an explore but decided to come back later, it was around 11am by now and I had managed to get four rides done in the first hour which wasnt too shabby. I was kind of used to being on my own by now too at first I felt quite self-conscious but you just get used to it, and throughout the day I noticed lots of people on their own I guess you are usually in your own little world and dont notice when you are in a group.

Next up I headed over to X-Sector for a go on The Smiler. I had read online they had re-introduced a single rider queue on this ride but there were no signs. I asked the member of staff at the entrance and yes, it was back but there werent any signs yet. I walked right into the station as the only one in the single rider queue.

Unfortunately just as I arrived they announced that there was a technical problem. So I had to decide whether to stick it out or not. I decided to wait, it took them about 20 minutes to sort it out but they cleared the trains sent around lots of test cars, filled in what looked like lots of paperwork (I guess they cant be too careful now after what happened) and the ride re-opened to a mini round of applause.

I was on the next train and boy is this ride crazy. Maybe a little too crazy or am I just getting old?! I am not a big fan of the second lift which is vertical but otherwise it is good fun being turned upside-down 14 times.




Oblivion is just next door, but it had a bit of a queue, I think because The Smiler had broken down people had gone over there, I thought I would come back later for that one and hope the queue had died down.

I headed back over to Towers Street to the Resort Box Office to sort out my season pass. At the ticket office they just gave me a paper ticket which I needed to exchange for my proper pass and for them to take my photo etc. That was all nice and easy and done in less than 10 mins so I popped next door to the Corner Coffee shop for a tea (2.50) and went on the walk across the park to Forbidden Valley. I decided to have a bit of a walk through the Gardens which of course often get missed because everyone wants to be on the rides!



I had planned to go to Galactica first, but as I approached they were making announcements that there was a delay. So I attempted some arty-farty photos with my season pass near Nemesis whilst finishing my tea.



Tea done with it was time for a go on Nemesis. This is my favourite ride at Alton Towers by a mile and it didnt disappoint this time, once again it was a 0 minute queue so straight on and screaming in no time .

There was lots of merchandise around the park celebrating Nemesis 25th birthday which made me feel VERY old. I remember when they were building this ride and we stood looking at them building it behind the fence. We couldnt work it out; in those days all roller coasters were on top of the track. We were convinced they had made a mistake and built the track the wrong way up . It was mind blowing when we came back the next year and saw that you dangled under the track!



By the time I had come off Galactica had re-opened. A bit of a queue for this one, but only 20 minutes I think I had been spoiled so far. They have scrapped the Virtual Reality for this season so technically the ride is back to being AIR but they have kept the new name and theming. I was never a fan of the VR personally and it really slowed down the dispatches making the queue really long. So it was nice to get back on the ride, I actually enjoyed it more than I remembered. It isnt overly thrilling but after The Smiler and Nemesis it made a nice change of pace.





On the way out of Forbidden Valley I went past Nemesis again. Still on a zero minute queue it would have been rude not to! So on I went again.




I had a look at the queue times on the app and everything was still nice and quiet. Onto Duel next (once again, no queue) I was the only one in the car so shock horror I won! Really low score though; I must be out of practice. Or maybe the targets werent working right? Yeah thats go with that one.




On to the Runaway Mine Train which once again, you guessed it was a walk-on. It is a nice family ride this one with two laps, good fun #choochoo




The Rapids are just next door but they were closed all day. No great loss to me because I dont think I would have gone on those by myself, that would have been a step to far even for the newly confident me.

It was around 1pm by now so it was time for some lunch! Food isnt the best at Alton Towers but I settled on a chicken tikka wrap from the Eastern Express in Mutiny Bay. At 4.99 it wasnt cheap but they made it right in front of me so it was very fresh and surprisingly tasty.




One good thing was that they seemed to have installed a few water fountains around the park so I could fill up my water bottle for free. Compared to 2 for a bottle of water this was a great money saver, especially as it was quite warm so I was able to top up lots throughout the day.



Whilst my lunch went down I took a look around the Sealife centre, its not huge, but plenty to see and the kids seemed to be enjoying the demonstrations and talks they were doing.




To pick up the thrill level somewhat I headed back over to Oblivion. The queue had disappeared and the staff were actually waiting for riders! Again there were notices that this ride was 21 years old this year yet again making me feel ancient. This was a big deal at my school when it opened, only the hard ones would dare go on the vertical drop rollercoaster on our school trip back in the 90s .




Following my plunge into Oblivion I went back into the single rider line on The Smiler for another go, there were only a couple of people waiting so it was less than 5 minutes to wait.

I wanted another walk around the Gardens as I had seen they had restored the Pagoda and I wanted to see if for myself. It does look great, the sign said it was built it the 1840s and it looked as good as new. March isnt the best time for seeing the Gardens but it was a nice walk around for 30 mins or so and a break from the rides.





I walked out of the Gardens back up to the other side of the park (which involved what felt like around 2000 steps). After all that walking I felt like I deserved an ice cream so I headed to the Nitrogenie stall.



Ice Cream from Magic it says, well it was more like Ice Cream from chaos as the staff had little clue what they were doing. In the end it took them about 10 mins to scoop out some salted caramel ice cream and shove some popcorn on it (4.50), but it did taste very nice which is what counts I guess!



It was approaching 3pm by now and there was one ride I had left until last Wickerman. This is the new ride for last year a wooden rollercoaster and I love it. The queue was showing as 25 mins so in I went. You get some great views of the ride from the queue and there is a little preshow before the ride which is really good actually and seemed to get a good reaction from everyone.






The ride is just good fun from start to finish, I had a big smile on my face the whole way around. So much so that as I came off I jumped right back in the queue! It was a bit longer this time, around 35 minutes but considering how well I had done all day I cant really complain at that.

As I came off the ride it had just gone 4pm which was ride close time. I knew it was closing early and I had managed to get lots done but it really is such an early ride close time, especially when the sun is shining. I wish they went back to closing at 5pm in the week like they used to I didnt get chance to go and explore the Towers, but hey I have my season pass now I guess!

I took a slow walk back up Towers Street and took some more photos and then left the park. The queue for the monorail was spilling out the entrance so I walked it back to the car, it is around 15mins but after you have been walking all day it is a killer! I checked my step counter app as I got back in the car and I had walked over 20,000 steps, so hopefully that will have taken care of the ice cream at least (!)





I had a really good day there are certainly benefits to going on your own (like just heading to which ever ride you want without consulting others lol) but of course I would rather visit with family and friends but I was really glad I did it.

Thanks for reading if you got this far.
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Trip Reports

Germany/Netherlands Roadtrip May 2018 - Europa Park & Efteling
DLP October 2018 - Cheyenne in Halloween season
Alton Towers March 2019 - solo day out

Edited at 07:45 PM.
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 06:27 PM  
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fleurbie
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Sounds like a great day 😆
It's about 4 hours drive from where I live, so haven't been for about 15 years! But would love to go again☺
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 06:27 PM  
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What a great report! Some amazing pictures too. Thanks for sharing
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 06:36 PM  
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lottiesmum0
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Good report! I went with my dad last year and really enjoyed the wickerman
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 06:43 PM  
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YorkshireT
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Great report- took me back 2 weeks when I went on Blue Light Card day. I was effectively solo trip aswell, because even though I took my daughter and her friend, and son and his friend, none of them wanted me hanging around with them and so I was off on my own all day (Boo hoo). I enjoyed Smiler the most, then Galactica, then maybe Hex- that was really much better than expected.
You are correct about the food, it is pretty poor and you struggle to get something decent.
I haven't been for 8 years, and it was a great day with some great coasters, but it wasn't as big as I remember as a youngster (or even 8 years ago when the kids were small so we moved slow) and it does look a little worn in places, the lack of theming (or expense spent on theming) is also very evident after being regularly spoilt by the Florida theme parks. It is cheap to get into though (particularly Blue Light Card day), Smiler is worth the admission alone.
Wicker Man was pretty good, not as good as Smiler and disappointing they have replaced the real flame effects with TV screens!
I also did 20k steps and looked around the gardens a bit.
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 06:51 PM  
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Smilesonfaces
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Fabulous photos. Look like you had a good day out and the season pass was a good deal.
We go next weekend for daughters birthday and are staying in the hotel. I cant see the park being as quiet as it was for you. Good tip about the water, I will remember to take water bottles with us.
I vaguely remember going when I was little (years ago !) when it was just the gardens and a few small rides. Other than that we havent been to the theme park before. My daughter is excited for the rides. I will be doing a lot of coat and bag holding !

Thanks for sharing your photos !
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 07:31 PM  
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Stubbs86
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Originally Posted by YorkshireT View Post
Great report- took me back 2 weeks when I went on Blue Light Card day. I was effectively solo trip aswell, because even though I took my daughter and her friend, and son and his friend, none of them wanted me hanging around with them and so I was off on my own all day (Boo hoo). I enjoyed Smiler the most, then Galactica, then maybe Hex- that was really much better than expected.
You are correct about the food, it is pretty poor and you struggle to get something decent.
I haven't been for 8 years, and it was a great day with some great coasters, but it wasn't as big as I remember as a youngster (or even 8 years ago when the kids were small so we moved slow) and it does look a little worn in places, the lack of theming (or expense spent on theming) is also very evident after being regularly spoilt by the Florida theme parks. It is cheap to get into though (particularly Blue Light Card day), Smiler is worth the admission alone.
Wicker Man was pretty good, not as good as Smiler and disappointing they have replaced the real flame effects with TV screens!
I also did 20k steps and looked around the gardens a bit.
Yes since the Smiler incident they have cut back a fair bit and quite a few of the rides went. Hopefully they will start to build it back up again.

The real flames are still there on Wickerman (along with the fake ones) but it is a bit hit and miss as to if they are on each day or not!
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Trip Reports

Germany/Netherlands Roadtrip May 2018 - Europa Park & Efteling
DLP October 2018 - Cheyenne in Halloween season
Alton Towers March 2019 - solo day out
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Unread 31 Mar 19, 07:32 PM  
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Stubbs86
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Originally Posted by Smilesonfaces View Post
Fabulous photos. Look like you had a good day out and the season pass was a good deal.
We go next weekend for daughters birthday and are staying in the hotel. I cant see the park being as quiet as it was for you. Good tip about the water, I will remember to take water bottles with us.
I vaguely remember going when I was little (years ago !) when it was just the gardens and a few small rides. Other than that we havent been to the theme park before. My daughter is excited for the rides. I will be doing a lot of coat and bag holding !

Thanks for sharing your photos !
No problem, thanks for reading. Enjoy your trip (and the bag holding)!
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Trip Reports

Germany/Netherlands Roadtrip May 2018 - Europa Park & Efteling
DLP October 2018 - Cheyenne in Halloween season
Alton Towers March 2019 - solo day out
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