I was at Alton Towers last week again. Yeah I know I love that place. Thursday was spent with friends and was a great time. We did the usual way of queueing for all the rides and enjoyed the conversation (and the Yorkshire pudding wraps).
We only managed about seven rides as it was really busy. Most of the day the queues were above 1 hour for most of the rides although the Smiler did get up to 110 minutes at one point.
That night I spent the evening in the hotel. Just me alone. I was in room 101. I will never go in a room so close to reception ever again. Whilst I accepted that there would be noise from the patio until about 11:15 when they turned the heaters off I didn’t then expect a member of staff to rearrange the furniture in the upstairs lounge at 3am.
Anyone who knows the TV programme Room 101 will shudder at the thought of staying in it. It’s the room into which you put all the bad things of society.
The lake in the middle is quite nice though. I had a view over this from my room (as opposed to every previous visit where I’ve had a view of carparks).
In all honesty though – I’ve never had a great experience at the Alton Towers hotels. If I were reviewing the stay as a whole I’d say the hotels are a bit of a cop out. The so called themed decor in some of the rooms is minimal – mine was simply a border, carpet and light fittings. Very little extra was done to make it an explorer room – and above and beyond what a standard Holiday Inn does there’s not much for kids to do at night. You need to entertain them yourselves.
Now I know I didn’t pay extra for a luxury room – this time it’s only the basic room – but still… I will say though that it’s very comfortable compared to a Travel Lodge or Holiday Inn room.
Breakfast the next day was at 7:30 ready for me to walk up to the park gates.
I was one of the first up there at about quarter to nine, and at just after nine o’clock they let us into the park. With no early ride time at the moment due to social distancing everyone is getting let in at 9. This gave me plenty of time to collect my Platinum pass!
Unbelievably on day two I hardly took any photos! Then again, I’ve got more than enough photos of rides from different angles and it certainly wasn’t great light for photos with a typical British grey sky sitting above.
I’m a bit miffed by some of the current Fastpass lines too, whilst Smiler, Oblivion, Rita and Th13teen have decent queue jump facilities; the batching points for Nemesis, and most specifically Galactica are far too early down the queue line and after you’re batched you still have 5 minutes of queue time ahead for Nemesis, and 15-20 minutes of queue time ahead. Hardly Fastpass – considering it’s a £105 upgrade!
This September is my next trip and I’ll be doing it the normal way then. No fast-pass. The park tends to quieten down in September, plus whilst fastpass has its benefits for maximum ride I do find I lose a lot of the experience of the place as I feel like I need to maximise my pass. When I do it the slow way I’ll sit in for dinner rather than grabbing it on the fly.
So I’ll say farewell to Alton Towers until September.