The main festivities are split across two areas, with there said to be ‘two sides to the Carnival’. The more traditional Carnival side can be found over by Lost City, whilst the more mysterious Junkyard side is located alongside Derren Brown’s Ghost Train. With there being more space in the area, the former arguably serves as the primary location for the event. A stage has been set up here which serves as a focal point for this side of the Carnival, providing 360° views of the performing acts.
The Ring Leader’s Show kicks off proceedings at 12pm (and then repeats at 3pm and 5pm), bringing together the whole circus troupe with all singing, all dancing fun for the whole family!
The second show here features the comedic Mime Troupe, who perform their mischief at 1pm, 4pm and 6pm. Given that these Carnival members have taken the vow of silence to protect the secrets, it’s all about the hypnotic dancing here. The Mime Troupe can also be found roaming the area, interacting with guests and entertaining them with their cheeky and mischievous physical comedy.
The third show is presented by a singing trio as sweet as sugar, The Flossers. This group performs a set list of candy-themed pop classics for all to enjoy at 2pm, 4:30pm and 5:45pm.
Over at the Carnival side, there are also Mini Tents set up with more characters to meet and interact with. Guests can discover their future in the Fortune Teller’s Tent with Madame Aura or learn a trick or two in the Magician’s Tent!
This area is also home to the Sideshow Shop, which has a selection of sweets and event merchandise available to purchase. On offer are Carnival branded items that include a lanyard, pin badge and juggling baton T-shirt, as well as a T-shirt, magnet, pin badge and mug that features bespoke artwork designed by Rob Yeo, depicting Stealth as a human cannonball. The park’s other main retail outlets are also stocked with these products.
At the heart of the Junkyard side is Trailers: Breakout at Bozo’s – a maze with a twist! This popular FRIGHT NIGHTS attraction has been taken over by the clowns of Bozo’s circus, inviting guests to venture into the dark side of the Carnival. This incarnation of the maze provides a less scary and more humorous experience compared to its debut at last year’s Halloween event, with the age recommendation reduced to 8+ (rather than FRIGHT NIGHTS’ 13+ rating) to reflect its toned-down nature. Tickets are priced at £6pp (discounted to £4.80 for Passholders and THORPE SHARK Cabins guests), which allow guests to experience the maze at a time of their choosing from 1pm – 5pm.
Back out on the streets of the Junkyard, guests can meet the Carnival ‘Rejects’ – individuals banished from the Carnival by The Ring Leader, who now call this side their home. Lead by Rusty the Magician, they live only for chaos so don’t be surprised if they gate-crash the Ring Leader’s Show… Otherwise, guests can catch them causing mayhem in the Junkyard at 2:30pm and 4:30pm.
Featuring across both sides of the Carnival, there are a selection of Circus Acts including acrobats, stilt walkers and a balloon artist who appear at various times throughout the day. This is approximately every half an hour in the Junkyard, and then less frequently on the Carnival Main Stage, where they appear in-between the other shows that take place there, with a Fire Performer also taking to the stage three times over the afternoon.
Whether you are enjoying the Carnival or braving the Junkyard, both also have all the tastes and smells of a Carnival! Corn Dogs, Cotton Candy, Sweets and a selection of speciality Carnival cakes are amongst the offering, intended to keep you salivating. Although Aramark are now responsible for food and beverage at the Resort, it is understood that it has been necessary to use other providers, such as the award-winning Piglets Pantry, for the pop-up stalls that feature at the event, as was also the case for Mardi Gras.
Overall, we were really impressed by this new event, so much so that we returned for a second visit on Saturday! It is a clear improvement on last year’s ParkVibes event, and it would be great to see Alton Towers follow suit in adding a similar fully-fledged event for the summer season. Key to making the event is clearly the cast of actors and entertainers, who bring all the energy and fun that you would expect of a Carnival. The Carnival atmosphere has also been extended further across the park with decorations and ride audio overlays.
Carnival is running every day through to Monday 29th August, with the theme park open 10am – 7pm throughout.
Have you paid a visit to the Carnival yet? Is it the Carnival or Junkyard side where you most belong? Let us know your thoughts via the Attraction Source social media channels.