Queues, People and Problems!

Alton Towers: One reader's feelings on the park, when it gets too busy.

From Hannah Maclean
Posted May 15, 2005 at 10:28 PM
I went to Alton Towers on the 14th of May (yesterday! it was my first time and after reading endless reviews on this website and studying the Alton Towers Website for hours i was really excited. I knew what rides i wanted to go on etc. etc...until i got to the park! We arrived at just after 11.
Riding the monorail through the park i couldnt help noticing the ques..and when i entered the park the Ques Times Board made me want to cry! 150 minute ques for Air, the same for Oblivion, Nemesis, Rita, The Flume:Unplugged... it was going to be a loooong day!
The first ride was saw was Spinball Whizzer, and it had broken down! So we decided to revisit it later.
After wandering into The X-sector, the ques were so long and the rides just didnt seem to justify waiting.
The one ride i really wanted to go on was Air so we decided to Fasttrack it, but by the time we got there (after hiking through the Gardens, due to the terrible park map!) Fasttrack was sold out (it was only 11:30!) The que was over 2 hours and as good as the ride looked it just didnt justify waiting.
So after hunting for lunch for absolutely ages my family finally settled down to eat Macdonalds on the only available table! The park was way too busy, Alton Towers should really limit the number of people allowed into the park. There was easily 100 tour buses in the car park!
After watching Ripshaw and Nemesis (both with way too long que lines) a Paramedic entered the area, turns out someone had collapsed next to Ripshaw ( Im unsure why but it happened at about 1:00 pm)
My brother was determined to go on The flume: Unplugged, so we headed that way, somehow we ended up at Rita: Queen of Speed, That ride looked so good! The music in the area and the theming made it the best area of the park, unfortunately the que was too long ( over and hour and a half,for a 10 second ride). So we left.
We headed the right way (they really need to do something about the park maps) and went past the Katunga Rapids, they looked good so we qued up, the que ended up as being about 1/2 an hour, but after going on the ride we found out why! Not a very good rapids ride (especially compared to the Popeye Rapids at I O A) Then we went on the Runaway Mine Train, two girls had spare Priority Passes and gave them to me and my brother, so we skipped the que! The ride was good and the cave was great.
We finally reached The Flume, the que was 1 hour and 45 minutes long, but it looked shorter, we were wrong! Thankfully there was food in the que or we would have died of starvation! The Flume was okay, im not the worlds greatest fan of Log Flumes and much prefer rollercoasters, so my last ride of the day was my favourite!
The que for Spinball Whizzer had died down a little, but i chose to ride in the single riders que, i qued for about 1/2 an hour. The ride was good, alot of fun. The braking was a bit rough but i guess it adds to the 'spinball' effect!
By the time we left it was nearly 6, so the ques for the Monorail were long.
So overall i still prefer Thorpe Park to Alton Towers. They are both very different, but good in their own ways. I loved Rita's thememing, and Spinball Whizzer was great.
However here are my complaints
1) THE PARK MAP! It was really bad, most of the pathways were missed out and it gave no prospective of distance. It was very uninformative.
2) SMOKING! Everywhere in the park people were smoking, in the ques, on every pathway etc. There should really be smoking areas.
3)NUMBERS: There was far too many people in the park. Alton Towers needs to limit its numbers.
So thats my trip report, hope it 'helps' or is fun to read! Feel free to write me any comments etc!

From Mark Goodge
Posted May 18, 2005 at 10:07 AM
Just a note on this: You picked the worst possible day to visit Alton Towers for the first time if you went on 14th May, as that's the date of the Ultimate Event, a big music festival at the park which attracts thousands of extra visitors. It isn't usually that bad, and if you can go midweek then the queues are usually pretty reasonable.

From Hannah Maclean
Posted June 10, 2005 at 11:29 AM
Thanks, we wondered what the stage outside was for. It was a shame as i wont get a chance to go back for ages.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted June 10, 2005 at 2:04 PM
All Parks have different ways to combat the problems you had! I think Universal and DIsney has got it right! Still, I think that it just was the day you went with the crowd issue. However, the smoking and map issue are a bit troubling!

From mark walker
Posted June 13, 2005 at 11:31 AM
Park Map: The park map can't have been that bad Hannah. Besides, when I went I forgot to get a park map but I made it through all right.
Smoking: I agree, AT should get some smoking areas. The worse things I hate about theme parks are smokers and que-jumpers.
Numbers: One reason why I like Thorpe Park better.

From Ben Mills
Posted June 13, 2005 at 11:43 AM
Also, your major issue here was the time you got into the park! Rule number 1 for theme parks: you can do more in the first two hours than you will in the following five. Theme park fans LIVE by that one, using the lunchtime period to take some time away from the crowds and regain themselves. That way, you've got the energy to cope with all the queuing of late afternoon.

From Hannah Maclean
Posted June 24, 2005 at 11:30 AM
See im all up for getting to parks the moment they open..however my family disagree and believe the weekend is for relaxing. I understand i probably shouldnt complain but i still felt dissapointed.

From Hannah Maclean
Posted June 24, 2005 at 11:34 AM
Oh and about the park map, due to the business of the park we wanted to make the most of our day, therefore by planning what rides to go on. The map just didnt help..but thats just my opinion.

From Sherly C.
Posted June 24, 2005 at 7:34 PM
Wow. I can't stand smokers. just can't. most family on my dad's side smokes so i was sure i was gonna die of second hand smoke when we visited. i agree that the time and day was terrible. whenever we go to theme parks, i bring stuff to keep me entertained during the lines. we waited FOREVER on one of the water rides for busch gardens tampa, but it wasn't that bad.

From Samuel Hale
Posted June 28, 2005 at 10:29 AM
Hi, just to say its Ripsaw, not Ripshaw.

Also, Rita is a brand new ride, so expect long ques. But I suspect you went on a bad day, the ques do seem massive. True, 2005's map is rubbish, but I don't think you need to have the pathways in the gardens marked on, its pretty obvious in there.
I also suggest you read the help tips on www.towerstimes.co.uk, on how to beat the ques.

If you havent been on the rides, you'll never no if u dont que up for them.

From becky Smith
Posted June 28, 2005 at 11:59 AM
| aven't been to Alton Towers since 2003,are there anymore changes since then except for rita and spinball wizzer??And expect long queues it is a theme park!!!!Try get there more early-around 10ish?

From Hannah Maclean
Posted October 11, 2005 at 4:56 AM
Okay, Okay! I now know to get to theme parks earlier as i have done every other time. For Alton Towers i made the mistake of going later and suffered the consiquences! But i still found the park overcrowded,dirty and pretty unenjoyable. 2 hour ques and longer for rides like Nemesis,Air and Rita? Plus sold out fasttrack tickets...its still disappointing.Spinball Whizzer was good however. I spent weeks looking forward to going, but i still prefer Thorpe Park. ( Just my opinion!)

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