We arrived just prior to park opening at 10am. We took the monorail to the entrance and had to get tickets there. If you head for the outer ticket booths, there are no lines as most people head for the middle booths near the park entrance. I was fortunate enough to have a 50% Off Voucher and my youngest was free so the whole family paid £49 to enter. We also paid £6 parking fee, which can be done when you purchase your tickets so don't be fooled into waiting in line at the ticket machines as this can take up some precious park time.
My eldest son had one aim for the day and this was to meet Sonic the Hedgehog. As we entered the park, Sonic was stood waiting to greet guests so mission accomplished within 2 minutes of entering the park. We then continued into the park and bumped into Finn the shark (another character). More photos and happy children.
During our day, we only went on rides suitable for the children so the big coasters were out. Our maximum queue time was no more that 20 minutes for any ride and we managed to squeeze over 14 of them into our day. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ride is the Alton Towers attempt at a dark ride that Disney do so well. It's good. Sticks close to the Gene Wilder version of the movie and includes a boat ride and a trip in the glass elevator (simulator) at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed bursting through the roof of the chocolate factory, even more than the kids I think. The ride also had a delicious chocolate smell throughout. This was probably the longest queue we waited in and when we reached the front, we discovered it was only running to half capacity and they were sending 4 empty boats through every so often due to a faulty ramp. This was a little annoying, when you watch the empty boats passing you by while you stand in the loading bay trying to explain this to restless kids. For me, the ride was worth the wait.
Although we didn't ride on any of the bigger coasters, I did manage to catch a look at the ride wait time board and the longest wait listed was 40 minutes, which still isn't too bad if you haven't got restless kids waiting with you.
We rode the rapids twice and the runaway mine train twice. For a little rest during our day, we took the skyride (cable car) around the park twice. This gave us chance to rest our weary feet and take in the beautiful surroundings.
We visited the Sea-life Centre which is included in the admission fee and continued to enjoy many other rides around the park.
We left just prior to park closing at 6.30ish and we hadn't even managed to catch any of the shows.
All in all, a great day was had by all and I would recommend this park for a day out with young children.
I've only been as a young adult / adult so always just headed for all the big rides. However, now with 2 little nephews I would take them to Alton Towers - I hadn't realised there was so much for kids!