Alton Towers Resort General Discussion

General discussion regarding the UK's No.1 Theme Park. Talk about anything and everything Alton Towers here.
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Zach
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Dan wrote:Alton Towers have released some drone footage that has been captured by two of the Resort’s engineering team during the lockdown period.

Primarily featuring the Gardens, Towers ruins and X-Sector, the video also showcases testing footage of Oblivion, giving fans of the park their first glimpses of the theme park and its preparations for reopening.
Great see legal drone footage of the resort, the footage is fantastic and hopefully we may start to see more alike footage.
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Dan
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As reported on TowersTimes social media; Alton Towers have updated their website to confirm that, in line with current government guidance, they expect to be able to reopen the full Resort from 4th July 2020.

Guests are advised to look out in the coming weeks for further information around opening times, as well as updated FAQ’s around the health, safety and operational measures that will be in place when the theme park reopens.
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SilverWisp
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That's brilliant! Hopefully then I'll be able to start planning for our trip in 2021. 
~S.W (SilverWisp) A.K.A MJ
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Dan
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Today, Alton Towers welcomed the public for the first time this season with the opening of the Resort’s historic Gardens.

TowersTimes News has a full round-up of everything we spotted during our visit, including the measures that have been implemented in the park, as well as an update on the preparations that are taking place for the Resort’s full re-opening.
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DeadJack5
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Yesterday I was able to make a trip to Towers for a gardens visit. A lot has been covered already but I'll go through how I felt and my own personal experience with how things went.

When the park opened there was just me and 2 groups in front in the queue, the temperature check was very simple, easy and didn't pose any worry. The security guard would just ask you to step forward, point the device at your forehead to measure and tell you what you're reading, the temperature you'd have to be turned away is above 37.8 degrees whilst I measured 32 degrees (which I know have been informed maybe slightly faulty!) . Slight issue with the measuring device but that could be down to low battery or my hair covering my forehead which just required a few attempts at measuring. Next just a simple walk to turnstiles to show your e ticket and you're good to go. Overall a really good procedure and credit to the staff as they were always cheerful and welcoming, I had an issue with my ticket showing up and the staff member on the turnstile was more than happy to wait whilst I got the ticket up, I believe someone else was struggling with their tickets scanning whilst I was sorting mine out too which the staff member was happy to offer assistance (all from a 2 meter distance).

Another credit to Towers was how much you can walk, besides the gardens opening, you could walk the main pathway up to the towers and towards Wicker Man. So you could see The Smiler, Wicker Man, Oblivion (from a distance) which was all nice to and offered something different from the gardens. The Smiler's 2nd lift hill was testing early on in the day, with maintenance being present throughout the day, all something that you would never normally see on a day at the park. The Smiler eventually did test at the end of day but unfortunately I had left by that time.

The gardens themselves were lovely to explore, something that you'd often overlook at a day on park, it was very weird exploring them without the sound of Nemesis roaring or Wicker Man. Be prepared as they can be exhausting and take it out of you! Make sure to take a drink with you and take regular breaks as they are definitely needed. You can check on the Alton Towers app to see all of the landmarks and brief descriptions on each of them which again adds to the day and offers the potential visit to those that wouldn't normal visit.

Fod and drink offerings I would say could do with a rethink as the only kiosk open was a simple drinks/chocolate stand by Mutiny Bay, but I can understand why it may be like this with such a small staff offering for this event. If you are visiting, I would strongly recommend bringing a picnic/your own food before visiting. When you exit the park, you'll exit via the entrance turnstiles via the old VIP gate (gate nearest to the ticket booths) which wasn't a problem when I left as there was noone else entering at that time.


Overall it was a lovely day out and appreciate the park for opening for this time and offering something new. I think this will help the park and help the staff to see what works with social distancing in place and what could be done differently. I would say that you'll probably spend around 2/3 hours on park so aiming for opening isn't a big priority (bare in mind last entry to the park is 2pm). Again a big thank you to the staff as they've done very well with the entry procedure and anything else needed on the day.
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Dan
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Alton Towers have announced that, in line with the latest government guidance, the theme park will be re-opening on Saturday 4th July.

The majority of outdoor rides & attractions will be available, while some indoor attractions, including the Alton Towers Dungeon, will remain closed until further notice. Initially, Early Ride Time will also be unavailable.

Merlin Annual Pass and Alton Towers Season Pass holders will be required to pre-book a space prior to visiting. Pre-booking costs £1 and tickets are available now on the Alton Towers website.
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abigsmurf
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They really should provide clearer information on the closed indoor rides. If Hex, Duel, The Dungeons and sharkbait reef are closed, it's going to be a pretty uneventful trip for people over 8 who can't take white knuckle rides.
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Dan
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Alton Towers re-opened the gates to the Resort on Saturday 4th July, after the main season opening was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TowersTimes rounds up all the details of what changes have been implemented as well as looking at what is new for the 2020 season.
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lewis97
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As posted on TowersTimes social media, Alton Towers have updated the opening times on their website to confirm that the theme park will now open every day until 8th November.

On off-peak weekdays in September, October and November when the theme park was previously due to be closed, it appears it will now open 10am - 4pm.
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Mr_Gibson
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Is anyone else disappointed with how few season/annual pass holder tickets are available? I can still book a full price ticket for today but if I want to use my season pass the earliest I can go is a week on Monday.
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Dan
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Mr_Gibson wrote:Is anyone else disappointed with how few season/annual pass holder tickets are available? I can still book a full price ticket for today but if I want to use my season pass the earliest I can go is a week on Monday.
It isn’t ideal by any means.

It seems they haven’t got the allocation for passholder pre-book tickets compared to other ticket types quite right. Hopefully it’s something that’ll be addressed fairly soon.
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Mr_Gibson
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I hope so! If the ticket availability is anything to go by the park isn’t hitting capacity yet so i would like to see them allocate more tickets for pass holders.
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Not only are we MAP pass holders, but we are also pass holders for a few of our local Zoo's.  Even though we are shielding, so going out for us is not an option, but when checking availability for when we do go out, it seems like all pass holders slots have been taken up.  You can understand the limiting of the pass holders slots as the on the gate tickets are going to bring in extra revenue.   Usually as a pass holder, we make the decision to go somewhere the night before or on the morning subject to the weather forecast.  It seems like you have to book up a good few weeks in advance to get a time slot.  I certainly won't be renewing any of our passes until this is all over.  

I would rather that they give us the option to suspend our pass's and add the extra months that we lost during the lock-down to our new pass's when this is all over and we come to renew. 

There also seem to be a no show culture at the moment, with many people making bookings but not turning up, this has been happening across the board with Theme parks, Zoo's, Restaurants, hair dressers etc...
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Eagie
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We went over the weekend and it was great to be back at the Park. Most things work well - though there seems to be little point using the online pre-order facility if you are already at the outlet, but really good if you order just before you make your way to your chosen eatery!

I'm not sure that chevrons were the best choice of marker in queue lines though as people were seemingly ignoring them, possibly assuming (despite the announcements) that they were directional aides. Though why you would need to be pointed in the right direction in a queue line is anyone's guess.

What a number of people seemed to struggle to understand was that your next marker may be more than 2m away, due to the proximity of another marker either ahead of you or behind you in the queue line due to the way the queues snake around. Due to this, I had a couple of arguments with people who thought that the gaps were too big and that I should be moving up, even though my next marker wasn't clear.

Added to this, some people don't seem to realise that whilst social distancing may increase the length of a queue line, it doesn't actually increase your waiting time - there are still the same number of people in front of you either way. What we did see was queue line times being incorrectly estimated as they were based on social distancing but when there are large groups of people bunching together, the queue time is larger than they think.

Overall though, we enjoyed our time back at AT. Got 9 rides done each day which I don't think is too bad for a weekend.

Tip: get there for about 8:30. They open the park quite early and you can then get to your favourite ride quickly. On both days, we had ridden Wicker Man by around 10am (1st train on the Saturday, 2nd train on the Sunday).
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Dan
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As reported earlier on TowersTimes social media; A hand sanitiser station has been installed at the entrance of Hex: The Legend of the Towers, suggesting the Resort are preparing to re-open the attraction soon.

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Thanks to Alex Ball for the photo.
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Morgan
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Yesterday was my first visit to Alton Towers since October, and having not really been anywhere since lockdown started in March, I went in feeling pretty unsure and a bit nervous, but thankfully everything was running super smoothly. 

Entering the park with all the extra batching, booking and temperature checks was surprisingly swift. I was expecting the whole process to be a bit of a chore, but the sheer efficiency of the procedure was very nice.

Distancing in queues and on rides, alongside wearing a mask on coasters, may seem odd, but it felt more natural than anticipated. Most people were complying which gave excellent peace of mind throughout the day, but I did feel that some pathways were a bit chaotic. Whilst the majority encourage guests to "keep left", I often found that this was ignored, meaning I had to awkwardly weave in and out of traffic to try and maintain some sort of distance. A particularly tricky spot was the pathway heading up to Fountain Square via The Ruins. Not all paths are like this, but it should be kept in mind that it is a bit difficult in the busy areas (all the more reason to walk through The Gardens!).

The park felt busy, yet managable. Queue times were always over-estimated, and guessing them for yourself isn't really possible with the distanced queues. The longest I waited was around an hour for Wicker Man, despite the distanced line being all the way back to One Tree Path. Most rides seemed to be running quickly; weirdly enough, Nemesis' queue felt shorter than usual (perhaps because it was trickier to estimate how long it would take from a certain point).

As for lunch, I decided to go for Pizza Pasta, which isn't currently offering a buffet service; instead you can order either half, or the entirety of a pizza to eat in, or take away. The queue was understandably lengthy, so hopefully the park will update the app so mobile ordering is available from more food outlets.

Overall, I'm very impressed with what Towers have pulled off here. If you go in knowing what to expect, and you feel comfortable visiting with all these necessary precautions, then it's certainly worth going. Whilst there were some instances where distancing wasn't easy, the park have done everything in their power to ensure it's possible. It was very refreshing to be back; the atmosphere throughout the whole park is fun and strong. When you visit often, you forget how special the park is; having been a semi-regular for years, and not visiting for some ten months, it was almost like re-discovering the place. As always, staff were super friendly, and with crowd stewards keeping an eye on things, they brought a lovely, welcoming feel to the day.

I'll certainly be coming back as soon as possible!
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The gate at Forbidden Valley is open to Resort guests, and opens at ride close for regular people. I was thinking they should look into making a second gate for the park, it would help disperse crowds in the morning, as a lot of people dont like walking or taking the Monorail. It would be a pretty good idea, any opinions?
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AltonOperator
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A second gate at air has been a topic of conversation for many years. It was included in the long term development plan that was published about a decade ago.

If it was to become a second gate I think it would have to be exclusive to certain groups such as disabled, pass holders, resort guests. If it was available to everyone then everyone would use it and it would become extremely congested. Forbidden valley was not built to be an entrance and is not spacious enough. It would also make the main entrance redundant which is a shame because a lot of money has been spent on it and it gives a brilliant view of the towers on arrival.
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AltonOperator wrote:A second gate at air has been a topic of conversation for many years. It was included in the long term development plan that was published about a decade ago.

If it was to become a second gate I think it would have to be exclusive to certain groups such as disabled, pass holders, resort guests. If it was available to everyone then everyone would use it and it would become extremely congested. Forbidden valley was not built to be an entrance and is not spacious enough. It would also make the main entrance redundant which is a shame because a lot of money has been spent on it and it gives a brilliant view of the towers on arrival.
I absolutely agree with that! I think because the FV entrance gate is nearer to the hotels, that should be a hotel guests entrance, as well as a disabled entrance and Merlin passholder entrance, like you said. Plus, with Covid, it helps even more with distancing as it restricts loads of people at the Corkscrew statue entrance plaza and it spreads the crowds to let them enter at two different points. Hopefully, with the introduction of a second gate, we could also see more new rides and attractions to make this one of the country's top theme park resorts.
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AltonOperator
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I’d like to clarify that although it would be an alright idea and it has been mentioned in the past, I do not believe it will happen in the next few years, if at all. Possibly if sw9 is located around there they could build it at the same time but I still don’t think it’s likely.
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