Consumer Product Reviews And Opinions



Alton Towers Review



THE DAY BEFORE



I wanted to start this review slightly differently you see I haven't actually been to Alton Towers as of yet. No, but i'm off tomorrow and I can't wait. So I thought i'd give a little introduction and see whether the actual experience matches up to the expectation.

I have always wanted to go to Alton Towers, ever since I was a kid. But as I come from a large family it was out of the question because the ticket prices are astronomical in price and we just couldn't afford it. So my Husband suggested that we go tomorrow seen as our son is on holiday with his Grandparents. There is no way we would take a two year old there, it would be ridiculous spending all that money to get in and not be able to go on the rides.

We have scraped the ticket money together, just, and are fully expecting a whole day filled with thrills and such. I feel like a big kid. I've always wanted to go on the Nemesis and will definately head for that first. I'm sure everyone has heard that Alton Towers has the best rides, well I hope so. I LOVE rides.

One aspect I am fully aware of, and quite worried about to be honest, is the amount of queueing we may have to do. Now I don't mind waiting half an hour or so, but if we have to queue up 2 hours for each ride I will be rather disappointed. After all I want to get our moneys worth out of it, that's my poor Husbands hard earned wage.

So will Alton Towers live up to it's reputation?

Only time will tell!......................

Read on......................



THE DAY AFTER


Phew, I am so happy to be back at home. My body is aching and my feet are killing me, I have never walked so much in my life. I'm glad I went to Alton Towers, but was it worth it? Well lets just say that it wasn't what I expected. There were some aspects that were fabulous and some that were down right annoying. So read on to hear a full review about my day.



GETTING THERE


We set off at 8 in the morning to make sure we arrived for when the park opened at 9.30. As sods law would have it we got stuck in a major traffic jam on the M1 for over an hour, therefore we didn't arrive until nearly 11. We are useless at directions but found that Alton Towers was very easy to find as it was signposted very early on in the journey. Some of the roads closer to the park are fairly old and narrow so be careful if you drive yourself as otherwise you'll find yourself in a ditch.



CAR PARKING


There are two car parks once you arrive. One of those is situated right next to the park and it costs a whopping 6 quid to park there. The other is a little further out and costs 3 quid. I was astounded at this. How dare they charge customers to park there car when they are going to spend loads of money in the park anyway. At least the car park was well organised and set out, with parking attendants directing you on where to go.



GETTING INTO THE PARK


As we chose the cheaper car park to park in we were wondering how to actually get to the entrance of the park itself. I didn't fancy walking a mile. But we were very nicely directed to a Monorail which takes you directly to the entrance. This was the first queue we encountered. It took 15 minutes to wait for our turn and another 5 minutes to travel. I know it's only 20 minutes in total but thats 20 minutes of ride time gone.



PAYING


Once arriving at the payment booths we chose the smallest queue to stand in. I knew this was a bad idea cos everytime I stand in small queues they take the longest time to go down. Sure enough it took another 20 minutes to pay our entrance fees and get in. It only cost us 18 quid each to get in as a very nice la dy gave us a couple of discount vouchers as we were stood talking to her. There are lots of other different pricing options to choose from, too many to go into, but the normal price for a single adult is 26.50. There are family tickets available for just over 70 pounds and if you have a child under 4 it is free.



NAVIGATING THE PARK


Even Christopher Columbus would have difficulty navigating himself around this one. We did try to follow the map but the area that the park covers is just too vast. So we came to the conclusion that it would be best if we just went with our gut instinct and see where it took us.

We were none the wiser at the end of the day as to where each of the rides etc were. It is a very difficult park to get your bearings in when everything is surrounded by trees. Even trying to find the start of a queue for a ride was a chore and a half.



RIDES


Everyone has seen the adverts and heard the hype about Alton Towers having the best rides of all the theme parks. If you want the latest roller coaster or are an adrenalin junkie this is the place to be. So what do I think? Did the Nemesis hit all the right buttons? Is there something for everyone?

There is definitely something for everyone I can say that with assurance. The vast area this theme park covers means that they have been able to cram in much more choice than anywhere I have been before. Whether you are a little kid or a big kid there is bound to be something to satisfy you. The park includes the following:-

Nemesis - Ever since I can remember I have been dying to go on this ride. Everyone I knew had told me how brilliant it was and that you wouldn't experience anything like it anywhere else. All I can say to that is Bull S**t. This was the first ride I went on and I came off it feeling absolutely nauseous to the pit of my stomach. It was just too fast and jerky. I was left fe eling that i'd been tossed around in a tumble dryer and spat out at the end. The ride just went tooooo fast to enjoy it. By the time you realised it had started, it was all over. Very, very much over-rated. A 30 second ride is not my idea of fun!

Oblivion - This is the one that takes you up high into the air and then drops you into a black hole. Again this was a very short ride. It really was just a drop and nothing else. I have to admit that the adrenalin it gave me was excellent, but then it was over. What happened to proper rides that lasted a good couple of minutes?

Air - I had not heard of this one but I was assured it was supposed to be great. Air follows the same principal as Nemesis, but instead of hanging underneath the track and facing forwards, you are tilted so you are lying underneath and facing the ground. I was wary of this after Nemesis but I gave it a go anyway. I was glad I did because it was the best ride I have ever had, if maybe a little short. I felt really safe in the harness as it was made of a flexible rubber material that almost hugs you rather than restraining. Your feet and legs are also secured which really makes you feel totally safe. The track was really smooth and it gave you the impression you were flying. Absolutely fantastic. A must for everyone. I went on it twice.

Duel - This is a haunted house with a difference. Its a bit like a ghost ride crossed with laser quest. As you travel through the haunted house you are met by skulls, zombies and ghosts which you have to shoot with a laser gun. The score for each person is totted up as you go through and at the end you see who has the most points. The laser gun itself is slightly heavy and stiff to use but this is immensely enjoyable. I went on this 3 times I loved it so much. Another plus side is that there was no queues at all for this and it lasted about 2 minutes.

Spinball Whizzer - This is a cross between a bod standard roller coaster and wa ltzers. The cart which takes you round the track actually spins at the same time. I didn't feel totally safe on here I have to say. The only support was a crossbar which wasn't sufficient as it was a very jerky ride. It felt like you were about to fly out of the cart.

Runaway Mine Train - I think everyone has been on a Runaway Train ride at some point. It's not a great ride, but is ok for the smaller kids or Grannies. Pretty bod standard roller coaster really.

Other rides which are also featured include:-

Congo River Rapids
Corkscrew
The Flume
Submission
Enterprise
Skyride
Monorail
The Blade
Ripsaw

Small childrens rides and entertainments are situated throughout the park. The Tweenies are featuring at various times which their little fans will love. Rides for the young include:-

Tea Cup Ride
Gallopers Carousel
Old Macdonalds Tractor Ride
UG Swinger
UG Bugs

One big problem I do have with most of the rides I went on is that as you come out of the exit you go straight into a shop. You literally cannot leave a ride without walking right the way through each shop. Isn't it enough that they charge an extortionate fee for the rides, do they have to make you spend money in shops aswell. Oh and another thing, why do they charge 4.99 per photo after you get off the rides? Why do they take photos of you on EVERY ride? What? How much? Do they think we're all rich or something?



QUEUES


I was expecting the queueing times to be horrendous but they weren't at all bad considering that most schools had broke up for the Easter holidays. The longest we had to queue for any ride was 40 minutes for Air.

I don't know whether we are just thick but my Husband and I did have a little difficulty in finding some of the queues for the rides. You could see the queues alright but it was hard to find out how to join the queue a s the entrances to the rides were not neccessarily next to the rides.



AMUSEMENT ARCADES AND STALLS


Amusement arcades seem to be a common practice in theme parks these days and Alton Towers certainly has it's fair share. There are also many different funfair type stalls where you can win big fluffy toys etc. I'm more sensible than to pay all this money for the entrance fee and then spend loads more on seperate entertainment inside. Sod that!



FOOD AND DRINK


There were various food and drink outlets throughout the park including McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut. Unfortunately the price of the meals at these three places was very much inflated from the norm. I know this is because Alton Towers charges these companies massive ground rents so I can't blame it on them, but I can blame it on Alton Towers. Alton Towers seems out to grab any money it can from any source it can and we consumers suffer from it. Surely they make enough money from other ventures to be able to charge normal rent to KFC and the rest.



DISABLED ACCESS


People who are disabled but would still like to go on the rides are able to. There is a seperate entrance at the start of the rides for them to take. Staff then help them onto the rides if help is required.

Although I did see quite a number of people in wheelchairs here i really wouldn't advice it. This is because of the number of hills you have to climb on your travels. Alton Towers isn't the most wheelchair friendly place as it cannot be described as anything near flat. I felt really sorry for the ones that had to push the wheelchairs of the disabled people because they looked knackered.



TOILETS


Some parks I have been to really scrimp on the toilet facilities and you find yourself nearly wetting your pants looking for them. But at Alton To wers there are toilet blocks dotted all over the place and I never had to queue once. They were all fairly clean and (miracle of miracles) had loo roll in the ladies bogs.



SHOPS


As I said previously a lot of the shops are located at the exit of the rides so you have to walk through them so you can't fail to at least take a look at what they have to offer, even if you don't buy anything. They sell everything from clothes, toys, sweets, nik naks etc. The prices vary quite a lot and somethings are quite good value. If you like souvenior shopping my advice would be to look around a few of the shops as some of them have real bargains, whilst others just rip you off.



UPKEEP OF THE PARK


Considering the vast expanse of land it covers the park is very well kept. I didn't see much litter lying about on the paths. The grass was well kept and the toilets were cleaned regularly. I think they must employ quite a few handicapped people to do these kind of chores as I saw a couple whilst I was there. This is a really good idea.

You won't be searching for a bin to dispose of your litter because you will literally fall over one. They pop up all over the place. I counted 5 placed right in the middle of the queues to Air. There's nothing quite like saying 'don't drop litter' by putting bins right in your path.



EXITING THE PARK


I was gearing myself up for a long queue to get out of the car park. I know what these places can be like. But no, the car park seemed to empty really quickly and was very organised. Hey so maybe paying for this car park thing isn't so bad after all! What did grate on me was the queue for the monorail which had to take us back to the car park. The last thing you want at the end of a busy day is to wait for 15 minutes in another queue just to get back to your car.



MY CONCLUSION


Overall I did have a good day even if it does not sound like it. I wouldn't say that Alton Towers has lived up to my expectations and I think a lot of people exagerate the greatness of it. I don't look at it through rose tinted glasses like some people. Yes, some of the rides were good but the only ride that I thought was truly any better than other cheaper theme parks was Air. It is certainly not worth paying the extra money Alton Towers costs for one good ride.

I really wasn't expecting a ten mile hike to get from A to B and I found that this dampened my excitement for the rides somewhat. Knackering yourself out to get to the ride, to wait half an hour in a queue, for the ride to be over in 30 seconds, it doesn't really add up in my book.

I really do believe less is more when it comes to rides. An enjoyable ride that lasts 2 minutes is much better value for money than a 'extreme' ride that lasts 30 seconds.

ALTON TOWERS TAKE NOTE!!!




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