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Unread 2 Apr 18, 08:37 PM  
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HEMANCLOFTY
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13 Theme Parks This Year - 2: Alton Towers (Visit #3 now added)

Tom is 13 So Let's Do 13 Theme Parks This Year

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2: Alton Towers - Sunday 25th March 2018

Our second theme park visit of the year was Alton Towers...



It was inevitable that this would feature early in the year as 1) We were all excited about the launch of their new Wicker Man coaster and 2) We'd been pondering getting annual passes, as we live close enough (about 90 mins) to make the most of them.

As it turned out, we decided to give Wicker Man a miss in the end, but we still had a brilliant day.

When talk had initially turned to European holidays featuring theme parks or UK day trips (around early Jan), we pondered for quite a while about whether to get Merlin Annual Passes this year, with Alton Towers, Chessington and Thorpe Park featuring high on our to do list. Even with the start of year sale, at 109 for the basic pass, they were still bordering on the break even point. It was much like the age-old DDP debate - get the passes and use them for places we wouldn't have gone to without them (Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussaud's etc) or pay OOP and just do what we wanted to do. OOP won in then end.

Then, Rich spotted the new Alton Towers season pass - at 55 they were the same price as a one day ticket (not that we would have ever paid the on the gate price), but we knew that realistically we could squeeze in at least 3 visits this year, which made the passes good value - and even if we only go twice, they'll have paid for themselves.

Opening weekend (17th / 18th) came and went in a flurry of snow (luckily we weren't going that weekend as barely any rides were running). Rich spent the rest of the week watching the mid-week queue times, and at first it looked like we may have a chance of getting on loads of rides, but by Saturday 24th the wether was much improved, and (according to Twitter), queues for Wicker Man were either at the 2+ hours mark, or it wasn't running at all due to technical issues.

So, our final plan saw us intending to swerve Wicker Man altogether, and make the most of the "shorter" queue times for everything else, as there were so many rides that we're going to be new to us all.

We were up and ready to go fairly early, setting off at about 7:45am. I'd made us a packed lunch of Tuna sandwiches, Pringles, French Fries, Protein Bars and Bottled Water, as we are still trying to eat healthier and didn't want to get sucked into the theme park food trap. We stopped for soft drinks and diesel and were officially on the road by 8:15am.

I realised fairly early on in the drive that my phone hadn't charged overnight, and Rich didn't have an android charger cable in the car . With my battery at 25% it was looking unlikely that I'd be able to take any photos today - so just to break up the text I will add in Google pics of the rides as I go along.

We made good time on the motorway (despite the annoying 30 mph section of the M5) and didn't stop at the services, which was a mistake as by 9am I was bursting for the loo with nowhere to stop to be found in the village lanes of Staffordshire (I was not prepared to go alfresco ). I managed to hold on as the Sat Nav said we would be there by 20 past - which we were.

We parked up in carpark D and headed for the loos at the Monorail station as we all needed to go by now. We wondered why lots of people seemed to be choosing to walk into the park, but soon discovered why when there was an announcement stating that the Monorail queue was currently 40 minutes. Not surprisingly, we joined the crowd of those walking.

It was a fair old trek, almost 3000 steps according to my phone pedometer - and the brisk pace, combined with the cold air made me out of breath for most of it.

Once we got to the entrance, it was chaos - imagine this but with maybe 1000+ people...



There were 2 massive lines for the turnstiles, but it wasn't immediately clear we here we needed to go to buy our tickets. There seemed to be a separate queue for the buildings to the left, which I thought was ticket sales, but a "Cast Member" told us we were in the right queue (for the turnstiles). I wasn't sure so went off to find someone else to ask, and I was right, so we got into what had now built up to a fairly long queue - not helped by the barriers not being set up right so people were jumping over them all over the place .

We waited about 20 minutes to buy our tickets. Frustratingly, we were then told that these were day tickets and that we'd have to go to the Box Office to get them turned into annual passes .

So we got into the turnstile queue and entered the park at about 10:15am - then had to queue again for our passes. The Box Office queue was horrendous, with separate queues for Annual Passes and Fast Track, and again it wasn't clear which one we should be in (like many other guests, we were initially in the wrong one). We were chatting with a couple in the queue, who said the queues across the whole park had been awful yesterday, and that they had arrived at 2 and only got on 1 ride. It looked like it was going to be a day of queuing, especially as when the majority of rides opened at 11am we saw Smiler jump from 5mins to 75mins within 1 minute of it opening .

We finally got to the front of the line and were quickly sorted with our photos and printed passes for the year - by about 11:15am - 2 whole hours since we'd pulled into the carpark.

Rich was in need of a nicotine fix by now, so popped into the designated corner on Tower Street. Whilst we were waiting, we saw 3 actors in Tower Police uniforms with megaphones. One asked my if I was looking forward to the day, then another started shouting out at Tom "Don't look at him, he's embarrassed, just walk past please, we have an embarrassed teenager, no need to look". It was really funny and Tom was bright red 😀

They were dressed like this, but not on scooters...



We skipped straight past CBeebies Land, and Sonic Spinball was the first ride we came to. It was posted as 35 mins and then jumped up to 55, but we thought we'd give it a go now, as last time we were here Tom had got "the fear" just as we were boarding so I had to get off with him...



The queue went really slowly, and we were all starting to wonder if we'd be able to achieve much today if this morning was anything to go by. Rich and I even tucked into half a sandwich each and shared a bag of French Fries as it was taking so long. I think we all had a Protein Bar each too.

Then the ride stopped altogether, and there was an announcement that there were technical issues and recommended we come back later. We were too committed at this stage though (about 45 mins in) and we, along with most of the rest of the queue stayed and stuck it out.

It took them about 10 mins to bring in the families that were stuck and send all 4 cars round for a test run, and then the queue started moving again. I think we actually made it onto the ride by about 12:20pm - 3 hours after we'd arrived!

Tom and I needed the loo again by now, so we stopped off en route to the X Sector. When we got there we watched Smiler for a few mins. This wasn't on our to do list for today as we were all a bit wary since the accident a few years ago, and the 75 min queue reinforced this. Although it looked much better than I thought it would, and quite fancy it for a future visit now...



Oblivion was showing a 20 minute wait, and Tom was up for it so we all headed on...



The queue moved really fast as they had so many trains running (about 8) and we were probably on in less than 20 mins. Tom loved it, and it was great to do it again as I hadn't been on it since 2001! It's a quick ride but that drop is fab. I'm hopeful now that Tom will have no worries about doing Sheikra at BG if we make it to Orlando next year 😀.

Tom was really hungry by now, and wasn't fancying the Tuna Sandwiches packed lunch as I'd made them with 50/50 bread, so we stopped at the fried chicken place and got him a large 2 piece meal (8.25). It's a good thing we weren't all eating at those prices!



Rich had found us a table outside as we'd been queueing so we sat in the sun and enjoyed the rest of our sandwiches as Tom munched his way through his chicken (which he said was nice). I allowed myself a few of Tom's chips as a bit of a treat as we were doing so much walking today. We also fed a few chips, bread crusts and Pringles to a duck who'd taken up residence by our table.

We had been surprised to see that Enterprise was still here, as we thought it had long gone. After Tom and I had ridden the one at Fun Spot last year, neither of us fancied a repeat, but Rich was keen to give it a try as he'd given it a miss last year. Tom was sure he didn't want to ride with a belly full of Chicken & Chips, so I took one for the team and said I'd go on with Rich, leaving Tom with the bags.

We just missed out on the next ride, so it was about a 5 minute wait in total. Having now ridden as the big person at the back and the small person at the front, I definitely felt safer at the front (with Rich holding me in), but I'm definitely done with these kind of rides now. Rich was really funny - he didn't like it at all, but rather than screaming he just kept repeating (in a very calm voice) "Nope, this one's not for me" 😂😂😂



I wasn't keeping an eye on the time (trying to save what was left of my phone battery), but it must've been about 2- 2:30pm by now.

Next, we headed round past the Towers, using the loos again on the way past...



I grabbed a large hot chocolate (3.00) to warm me up on the way.

Rita wasn't running, so we headed into the queue for Thirteen, which was posted as a 50 minute wait. We guessed that everyone had the same idea an got in this queue when they saw Rita was out of action. I had no idea what this ride was going to be like, so did have a sneaky look at Wikipedia whilst in the queue. I wish I hadn't as it totally spoiled the surprise element of the ride (which I won't divulge here). I didn't let on to the boys what I'd read though...



During the queue we did a bit of people watching, Tom bought a couple of Crunchie bars from the vending machine (they're were 50p all over the park as they were short dated) and we watched them sending test trains of Rita before getting it back up and running.

The ride was really good (despite the spoiler) and we all enjoyed it.

By the time we came off Thirteen, Rita was down again. There were about 10 people hovering by the entrance and the "Cast Member" said it should be up and running again in 5-10 mins so we joined the hovering crowd. It was about 10 mins until it reopened, but there were quite a few people who must've stayed in the queue and we estimated it would be about a 15-20 minute wait from where we were stood. We made it to the point where the queue splits for front row seats, but then it stopped again and after 10 mins came the dreaded announcement that the ride was experiencing technical difficulties, so we ditched the queue this time and headed out as time was getting on and we wanted to do Nemesis and Galactica.

It was a fairly long walk around to the area where Nemesis is and we got into the queue at about 4:10pm. It was posted as 20 mins, and that was about right...



Tom had really been looking forward to this, especially since riding Infusion at Blackpool Pleasure Beach last month. This was another ride that I hadn't been on since 2001, and it wasn't quite as good as I remembered, but still great fun.

We couldn't find any loos in this area, so asked the staff in the Rollercoaster restaurant if we could pop in and use theirs and they were fine about it. The restaurant was empty and it looked like they were ready to close up - it was smaller than I expected it to be.

We just had time to squeeze in a final ride on Galactica before the park closed at 5. We decided that we'd ride this without VR as it was our first time on a lying-forward coaster and we wanted to experience it with a full view...





The queue was posted as 15 mins, but I think it was about 20 in the end, with most of that being at the final ramp where we could see people boarding the trains - there were quite a few Quick Queue people which was the cause of the slow down. At one point they sent a whole train of Quick Queue passengers. We heard the "Cast Member" telling the people next to us that one of the Quick Queue passengers had kicked up a fuss about waiting so they'd had to let more in than they usually would. He was also telling them that the VR version isn't that great, so we were glad we'd decided against it for today.

As it turned out, the extra few mins waiting meant that we were on the front row and it was AWESOME! I was in the outside seat and couldn't see the track at all. It really did feel like I was flying! It was a fantastic way to end our day!

We walked back via the Mine Train / Rapids area, and stopped to watch Wicker Man on the way - it looked really cool...



We popped into the Gift Shop, where they had some cool memorabilia. Tom bought himself a set of Alton Towers Top Trumps (7) in here, and they had a Wicker Man / Alton Towers Monopoly which was cool.

Outside, Rich took our only actual photo of the day...



We were all shattered by the time we made it back to Tower Street. The Box Office queue was even longer than this morning, so we were glad we'd stuck it out and had our Annual Passes sorted as the thought of another queue now was horrendous. We did have one final queue though, about 15 mins for the Monorail back to the carpark.

Given the queue, we were surprised when just the three of us were directed to one car that was advertised for 6 and could have comfortably fit 8 in. It was a bit dirty too, much worse than I would expect for only the 2nd weekend of the season!

We were back in the car by about 5:45pm and out of the carpark by 6pm. On the drive home we talked about our plans for visit #2 - deciding against Easter weekend, but as I have the 2nd week of the school hols off, if Rich can get a day off we might be able to sneak in a cheeky return on the Friday.

Tom and I had a game of Top Trumps on the way home. It was my first ever game and I won, as I had the Wicker Man card, which was Top a Trumps on every score 😀

I was craving a carvery on the way home, but it was too late and we had already decided on a quick tea of soup and crusty rolls. So we made a couple of pit stops on the way home - one at Hilton Park services for Rich to have a smoke, and another at our local CoOp for the rolls.

All in all it ended up being a brilliant day - even with the queuing at the start. We made it onto 6 rides (5 for Tom) which wasn't too bad, and we all agreed that Galactica was the best ride of the day.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Our 2nd visit of the year (13th April) is in the thread below...

And our 3rd visit (30th July) is now included too...

Edited at 07:02 PM.
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Unread 2 Apr 18, 08:43 PM  
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Sounds like you made the best of it.

I hate, hate, hate, the entrance at Alton Towers! They are so slow.

I personally would have been very disappointed to have only done 6 rides in the day.

They have definitely cut back on maintenance / cleaning too.
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Unread 2 Apr 18, 09:42 PM  
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Originally Posted by Plato View Post
Sounds like you made the best of it.

I hate, hate, hate, the entrance at Alton Towers! They are so slow.

I personally would have been very disappointed to have only done 6 rides in the day.

They have definitely cut back on maintenance / cleaning too.
We definitely salvaged the afternoon, but the morning was so frustrating .

At least next time we can just go through the turnstiles, do one of the 10am rides and can hopefully be somewhere near the front of a queue when the main rides open at 11am
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Unread 3 Apr 18, 11:20 AM  
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Sounds like you had a great day, despite the queues.
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Unread 5 Apr 18, 09:11 PM  
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Originally Posted by frozenfan97 View Post
Sounds like you had a great day, despite the queues.
We really did

Thanks for reading
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Unread 17 Jun 18, 03:55 PM  
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Tom is 13 So Let's Do 13 Theme Parks This Year
Alton Towers Part 2 - Friday 13th April 2018


This post is a mini summary of our second visit of the year to Alton Towers. It's over 2 months since our visit at the end of Easter school holidays, and to be honest I didn't write any notes. I do have a few photos, so I'll try to piece together as much as I can from those...

The main purpose of today's visit was to ride The Wicker Man (aka SW8) - we'd given it a miss during our March visit due to a combination of long queues and unpredictable operations.

I'd had the 2nd week of the Easter holidays off work and Rich had booked the Friday, so that we could make the most of the pre-weekend crowds.

We'd planned to get on the road early (i.e. 6:30am) to avoid the traffic on the M5/M6, but for various reasons didn't get going until 7:30ish. By 8:20 we still hadn't made it onto the M5, so when we got to the junction we headed South instead of North and came off at the next junction to get a Maccy's for Tom (Bacon Roll with extra Bacon), and to wait out the rush hour. Rich and I just had hot drinks.

I think we got going again at around 9:15, going for the M42 / Litchfield / Uttoxeter route instead of attempting the M6, and arrived at about 10:45, parking in D (I think).

As we had our annual passes, we could go straight through the turnstyles, and even though Wicker Man was showing a 120 min wait, we sucked it up to get it out of the way early. It was drizzling but we weren't going to let that spoil our day...





The queue actually went quite quickly and was around 90 mins in the end, and the rain stopped too. We filled time by mooching on our phones, taking photos of the track and eating our packed lunch of ham cobs, Walkers French Fries and cereal / protein bars...







You know they are expecting long queen when there is a shop in the queue line...



Eventually we made it to the bag drop and pre-show area. We thought this was very well done, and "Take heed" was stuck in our heads for quite a while afterwards.

The ride itself was very good, but if I'm honest didn't blow me away. It's nice and smooth, but Tom and I much prefer Stampida at PortAventura. It's probably my favourite Woody in the UK though, and I'd put it just ahead of White Lightening at Fun Spot Orlando.

After the ride, Rich pootled off for a much needed visit to the smoking area, and I grabbed a Mocha (approx. 3.50) from the Costa stand just outside the ride. By the time I'd got my drink (which took ages), Rich was back and Tom was queuing at the Waffle stand (approx. 4.50 I think).

If my memory serves me, we headed around to Catanga Canyon next, and as it wasn't too cold today, made a spur of the moment decision to go on the Rubber Dinghy Rapids (Four Lions reference there). We had a fairly tame ride and didn't get too wet at all.

We ay have gone on the Mine Train next, and we definitely did Duel as it was a walk on and was probably the worst shooting dark ride we've ever done!

Round to Nemesis next, which was about a 15 min wait...





I know Nemesis is regarded as one of the best coasters in the UK, but I actually prefer Infusion at Blackpool. The boys really love it though, and it's still a fantastic ride.

Galactica had been either a combination of long queues or being out of operation so far this morning, so we skipped it and headed over to the Cable Cars to head over to Rita...



We timed this just right to avoid a short drizzly spell...



We'd missed out on Rita last month, so this was a new credit for all of us. We waited about 20 minutes and we all thought it was really good.

We walked around past the Tower ruins to the X-Sector next. Smiler was down all day, so that one it still on our to-do list (although not Tom's just yet). Oblivion was only 20 minutes so that was our next stop.

Going up the lift hill, my restraint was really loose but I couldn't get it push down into the next click. Going down the drop I had a fair bit of airtime until the forces clicked me in, and then it was really tight for the rest of the ride.

We had a slow stroll back across the grounds towards Mutiny Bay next...







But the Wicker Man queue was too long for us to bother again, so we just watched for a few minutes.

By this time (4pm) there wasn't really enough time to do any other rides, so we just had 20 minutes mooching around the Sea Life area...









We had a mooch around the main gift shop on Towers Street on the way out, mainly checking out t-shirts and hoodies as we all want to get a hoody at some point as we are visiting so many parks thins year. Nothing stood out today though.

Finally, we headed for the exit and back to the car by around 5:20, just as it started to drizzle again - we'd been quite lucky with the weather overall .

Despite the dodgy start and a few bits of drizzle, it had been a great day

PS - We racked up 16,199 steps (7.04 miles)

Edited at 05:04 PM.
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shame about the queues
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Tom is 13 So Let's Do 13 Theme Parks This Year
Alton Towers Part 3 - Monday 30th July 2018
Just The Two Of Us - A Mom & Tom Day


This 3rd visit of the year came about as I had a couple of leiu days owing me. I needed to take the Tuesday off for an appointment, so decided I'd make a long weekend of it. Rich had to work, so suggested Tom and I made the most of our annual passes (but making us promise not to do The Smiler without him). The hot weather had finally broke over the weekend and more rain was forecast for today, but we werent going to let that stop us.

Rich had his usual 4:45am start, and once he'd gone, I had a couple of hours dozing and watching Friends on Netflix, before getting up at half 7. I made a packed lunch then put some toast on for me and Tom and woke him up.

We were ready to leave at about 8:20 and stopped off for a couple of bottles of pop at the local shop before officially setting off at 8:30.

The satnav said we'd be there at 9:45, but I was expecting a bit of Monday morning traffic. We didn't do too bad and despite my sat Nav seemingly taking me the longest windiest route from junction 14, we were pulling into the entrance by about 10:10. We parked up not too far from the monorail station so decided to take the "lazy" way in, but there was a big queue so we ended up walking, and were through the turnstiles by about 10:30ish.

The queue times were looking promising...



We decided to see if the Wicker Man queue eased up later and headed over to Forbidden Valley to make the most of the short lines on Nemesis and Glactica.

We walked through the Gloomy Wood and pretty much straight onto Nemesis - on the last but one row (as back to was for the FastTrackers).





It was a good ride and (being a bit more theme park savvy now) I could really appreciate the difference between this B&M and Infusion at Blackpool (which is a Vekoma SLC and a lot rougher).

Tom needed the loo, so we quickly nipped to the one by the Sky Ride station then doubled back on ourselves to do Galactica, deciding we'd have a go with and without VR.

The wait time 10 mins but again it was pretty much a walk-on. We chose the VR line and were in the line for back row, but there was a broken seat so we were asked to move to the last but one.

I struggled to get my headset right - it was very uncomfortable on my ear.

We both agreed that VR ride was a bit meh. We only have Freedom Flyer at Fun Spot to compare VR experiences with, but this wasn't as good. Quite boring and it definitely detracted from the ride.

We went straight through the gift shop and back around to do the proper version. This time the wait-time was showing as 25 mins, but it was probably around 10. Most people were waiting for VR, so we excused ourselves down the line and walked straight onto the front row, with Tom in the outside seat that I'd been in in April.

Thai was a much better ride - it's a great feeling and the front row view is brilliant. Definitely one of my top coasters!

We had a mooch around the gift shop and picked out a few things that we might get later (a magnet for me and a drinks cup for Tom).

By now Wicker Man was showing as 45 mins so we decided to do it now. I was going to grab a Costa on ten way, but Tom fancied something snacks so I said I'd wait and we'd both get something from Mutiny Bay.

The sky ride wasn't open yet, so we walked back via the lakeside path, having a nice chat along the way.

Tom fancied donuts and they were 5.95 for 5 or 6.95 for 10. We didn't want 10 but it seemed daft not to get the offer. Handily, they came as 2 bags of 5 so we put one in the back pack for later. I also got my cappuccino (2.50) - which was a bog standard Nescaf rather than a Costa.

I wished I'd paid extra for the Costa tho, as it was horrible - like dishwater - even with 3 pots of milk added to it

We got in line for Wicker Man and enjoyed our donuts - I gave up on my coffee as soon as we got to a bin.

We took a few pics and did a bit of instagramming to pass the time...













The 45 mins went really quickly and we were soon in the pre-ride show. We were right at the front of our group for this, so walked straight in and onto the last but 1 row.

Wow! The ride was much better than in April. We both agreed it seemed faster and it was a really good ride. So much so that I insta'd that it could now be a contender for my top Woody! Tom said he enjoyed it more, but he'd need to ride Stampida at PortAventura again before making a decision (we both love Stampida) 🎢🎢🎢.

We had a good mooch at the merch in the shop - I really liked the women's fit shirt for 15 and almost bought it (maybe next time), and Tom said he'd like to get Rich some wood (25) or one of the frames (50) for Christmas, but would let him choose next time. We stopped to fill in the customer survey on the way out of the store.

It was almost 1pm by now, so we headed into the courtyard area by Mutiny Bay to have our packed lunch of ham sandwiches and crisps...



Tom has recently gone off thick sliced bread, so asked if he could use the 5 he had on him to buy a hot dog and nipped off. He came backs saying they didn't look very nice and to let me know he was going to look for something else - I knew his 5 wouldn't stitch far, so I gave him 10 and he came back with Chicken Strips, Chips and a Coke (7.25) (Sorry no pic). He let me have a piece of chicken and a few chips too, so I left my Skips for now.

After a quick loo stop we pondered our plans - we had intended to do Runaway Mine Train next, but It was quite warm so I suggested a quick lap of Battle Gallions first. to, had said he wasn't up for any water rides today, but he agreed to come on with me.

It was less than a 5 min wait and we could see that the squirters looked quite powerful - so everything got put into our trey FootAsylum carrier bag and we were soon on and squirting away. It was great fun, and loads of guests were playing along from the perimeter squirters. We were soaked!

We both loved it and agreed to go straight back on for another go - this time it was a walk on. Sadly our squirters weren't so good this time, but we got another soaking and came off dripping

Tom was keen to have a go at the perimeter squirters so paid a 1 whilst I took a wet selfie...







The 1 didn't last long, but Tom had spotted some free ones around the side so we headed round and he was in his element battling with the riders...





We had a chuckle when a lady of about my age came over and hid herself under the squirters waiting to jump out and catch the riders unware, telling em "it brings out the big kid in us doesn't it?" Then she recognised that Tom had just gotten her whilst she was riding

Tom was absolutely soaked by the time he'd finished...



It was quite warm in the sun - I even put some sun spray on whilst Tom was squirting away.

As we were already wet, we decided we may as well do the Congo River Rapids (Rubber Dinghy Rapids) next and walked around to Catanga Canyon.

The Rapids were a 25 min wait, but it went quickly...



We got a dinghy to ourselves and had a very tame ride - no KFC Mega-Wave for us today (a Themepark Worldwide reference there for any fans of Shawn's Vlogs).

We checked the ride times on the app and as Runaway Mine Train and Wicker Man were both showing as 30 mins, it was a no-brainier where we were headed...



The wait went quite quickly again, but just as we were about to go around the final turn into the bag-drop area, an alarm started ringing (like a fire alarm). It was just starting to spit with rain too. Then they started sending around empty trains, and after a few of these the voiceover came on saying the Wicker Man wasn't accepting sacrifices right now. As we were so close to the front, we decided to wait it out.

It was raining a bit more now, so I put my hoody on. Then about 10 mins another announcement came on saying that the queue was being vacated .

They did give us one of these beauties though, which we could use on most of the big rides...





We decided to hang onto the pass and see if Wicker Man came back up later (it was about 3:30 and the park was open till 6).

Tom said he wasn't particularly bothered about Rita or Thirteen today (which had both had 30-45 min queues all day), so we got the Sky Ride back over to Forbidden Valley (having a donut each on the way) where Nemesis was a 10min wait (but actually no more than 5). We were in the same seats as this morning and it was another great ride.

We headed over to Galctica, but the queue had gone up to 35 mins, so we didn't bother and just went in the shop to get the magnet (4) and cup (6) from earlier...





Then back to Nemesis - another less than 5 min wait, and back in our "usual" seats. It was raining again now and this time was really fast - absolutely brilliant (I had a new-found love for Nemesis after today)

Tom suggested going straight back on for ride #4 so we nipped around for another walk-on. We were in our usual row, but the other two seats this time. It was wetter, but not quite as fast as ride #3.

I was pondering one more ride, but the queue had built up a bit by now. As we were walking out an announcement came on advising that Nemeisis would keep running in the rain, but could be uncomfortable, so advised guests to let others in the queue to pass if they wanted to wait for the rain to calm down.

Wicker Man still wasn't running, so we decided to get the Sky Ride back to Mutiny Bay and give Spinball Whizzer a go as it was a relatively short queue at 20 mins. However, by the time we got off the sky ride, the wait time had jumped to 60 mins' so we walked up to the castle to give Hex a try.

It was after 5 by now, and it wasn't looking good for Wicker Man, so on the way we decided to use our Priority Pass for Rita, which was on a 30 min wait. We asked for back row, so just had to wait for 1 train and we were on. It was a good ride, with a good bit of air-time, and a good use of our pass.

We did Hex next, which had been a 0 min wait all day. It was about a 5 min wait for the pre-ride show. Nicely themed we thought, but just a simple Mad House, so a bit meh.

It was 5:35 by the time we came out, so we headed back towards the entrance, checking the wait time for Spinball Whizzer on the way. It was a more reasonable 25 mins, but Tom wasn't fussed about waiting, so we popped in the shop on Tower Street for a merch mooch instead

A quick loo stop and I sorted the parking ticket (6) - the monorail queue was almost back to the turnstiles, so we decided to walk, getting Tom a Tub of Ben & Jerry's (2.80) from the vending machine on the way past.

We were back to the car by 6:30. Tom quickly changed into some dry shorts as his joggers were still a bit damp, and we headed home.

The sat Nav took us on a different, but equally long winded route back to Junction 14 and Tom was asleep by the time we were on the motorway, so it was a lonely journey back for me.

I quickly nipped in Asda for some bits for tea on the way past and we were home by 8:30.

We'd had a fab day - we definitely missed Rich, but it was nice to have some Mom & Tom time 💙🎢

My phone gave up on me just before we started the walk to the carpark. My step counter was on 17,919 by this point but, based on our previous carpark walks, I estimated we'd have hit 21,000 steps for the day!

Edited at 06:53 PM.
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