||This article possibly contains original research. (July 2012)|
Alton Towers Resort
|Slogan||"Making Britain Happy"|
|Location||Alton, Staffordshire, England|
|General Manager||Ian Crabbe|
(4 April 1980 as Theme Park)
|Operating season||March – November|
|Area||800 acres (3.2 km2)|
Alton Towers Resort is a theme park and resort located in Alton, England, UK. In 2012, it attracted 2.4 million visitors, making it the most visited theme park in the United Kingdom and 9th most visited theme park in Europe. It employs in excess of 2400 staff members during the summer months, over 1,000 of whom are full-time. It is based north of the village of Alton in Staffordshire (approximately 16 miles (26 km) east of Stoke-on-Trent, and not to be confused with the town of Alton in Hampshire), in the grounds of Alton Towers, a semi-ruined gothic revival country house. The estate was a former seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury. The park has developed progressively since the 1950s. In 1990 it was purchased by The Tussauds Group. Fifteen years later Alton Towers was acquired by the investment group Dubai International Capital (DIC) when it purchased Tussauds for £800 million in 2005. The Tussauds Group was bought by Merlin Entertainments in March 2007 for over £1billion from DIC, placing Alton Towers under their control. In July 2007, the resort and park was sold to Nick Leslau and his investment firm Prestbury who now lease the park back to Merlin Entertainments to operate on a 35-year lease.
The resort includes the theme park as well as the Alton Towers Hotel, Splash Landings Hotel, Waterpark, Spa, Extraordinary Golf and Conference Centre. It is the flagship attraction of Merlin Entertainments in the United Kingdom. Major attractions at Alton Towers include Nemesis, Oblivion, Air, Rita and Th13teen, and in 2013, The Smiler opened, becoming the world's first 14 inversion roller coaster.
The park's maximum daily capacity is set at 28,000 guests. Its promotional music has been Edvard Grieg's classical composition In the Hall of the Mountain King for the past two decades. In 2009 the park attracted 2,668,576 people, this coincided with the opening of new kids land 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' and the family attraction 'Sharkbait Reef – By Sea Life' Cbeebies land will be scheduled for opening in 2014.
- 1 History
- 2 Events
- 3 Rides and Attractions
- 4 Current park areas
- 5 Resort
- 6 Future Developments
- 7 Smoking Policy
- 8 Alton Towers Resort DVD
- 9 Controversy
- 10 Restrictions
- 11 Court Cases
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The park's largest annual event is the Alton Towers 'Scarefest' which celebrates Halloween with a number of temporary scare maze attractions, costumed characters and extended opening hours to 9:00 pm. Many rides and areas are lit with coloured lighting at night, with rides operatieng in the darkness after dusk. The Scarefest event has been running since 2007, although the park started celebrating Halloween with decoration several years before. in 2013 Scarefest ran from 19 October- 3 November 2013.
Current seasonal attractions as of 2013
- Terror of the Towers – What Lies Within, a long scare maze situated inside the Towers themselves, first introduced in 2002. This attraction has seen several different incarnations since its debut. A new format was introduced in the 2009 Scarefest event, along with the new tagline "What Lies Within" replacing "Bloodfest Banquet". Visitors queue outside in Her Ladyship's Gardens, and the attraction itself starts in the derelict Conservatories. Batches of guests watch a short pre show video showing two men exploring inside the Towers in search of ghosts. The video then unexpectedly cuts short, and guests enter the Towers in order to find them. At certain points in the maze, the bodies of the two men are each seen hanging from a noose. Visitors become lost in the lengthy corridors and themed scenes in the Towers, with live actors pursuing them in every room. The finale to the attraction is a maze-like walkway that winds around actors in cages, with intense strobe effects.
- The Sanctuary was new for the 2012 Scarefest event and returning in 2013, the attraction is set in a research facility operated by "The Ministry of Joy". Alton Towers have released the following about the attraction: "Is life a burden? Are things getting you down? Lost your Smile? Then check yourself in for a refreshing check up at The Sanctuary. The Ministry of Joy will launch its next revolutionary project in March 2013. After being closed for new patients for almost 50 years The Sanctuary, The Ministry of Joy’s earliest establishment, is now holding important trials searching for ‘Advocates’ for its 2013 project. So please, book your appointment, get yourself comfortable as the Doctor will see you now." The maze is also believed to be in some-way linked to a number of smiley face symbols that have appeared around the park. It was revealed to be part of marketing of The Smiler, 2013's new attraction.
- Carnival of Screams is a scare maze that opened for the first time during the 2010 Scarefest event. During its debut at the 2010 Scarefest, the Carnival of Screams shared the same temporary building as the Boiler House. The attraction was entered through a large clown face with enhanced horrific features, but was relocated with the Boiler House to the X-Sector area inside the park for the 2011 event. The maze is a mixture of funny "laugh out loud" moments and serious scares. The music used during the scare maze is the Toy Land Tours music that has been slightly warped for dramatic effect (Toyland Tours was a former attraction at the resort). John Wardley is known to have contributed heavily to the development of this Scarefest attraction.
- "Zombie Scarezone" is a walk through scare zone themed to a nuclear fallout where zombies roam the earth. The attraction is aimed to bridge the gap between the children's Scarefest activities and the scare mazes so is not as intense as the other "scare attractions". In 2011 the attraction was located between Sonic Spinball and the Goal Striker building though it has been moved behind the Dark Forest for 2012 as Carnival of Screams is relocated to the Goal Striker building.
Past seasonal attractions
- Terror of the Towers. The first incarnation of this long-running annual scare maze was introduced in 2002, and was located in the Towers ruins themselves. Many scenes from the original maze are still used every year. Visitors walked through the long, winding corridors of the Towers, through many different themed scenes, whilst being pursued by live actors. The finale featured a winding pathway around actors behind fences, who lunged towards visitors, accompanies with heavy strobe effects. Terror of the Towers returned for the 2003 season, but was completely restructured and gained the new tagline and theme "Bloodfest Banquet".
- "TH13TEEN: After Dark" features an enhanced queue line experience for Alton Towers' newest roller coaster, including fog and lighting effects as well as live actors. This attraction has not returned for 2012 due to the assault on the actress playing the girl from the adverts.
- Terror of the Towers – Bloodfest Banquet was a new version of the successful Terror of the Towers scare maze, running from 2003 to 2008. It retained much of the original version, but featured new scenes that included scripted dialogue from the several characters, and a new storyline was added. The strobe maze finale was moved to another point in the maze and replaced by a new ending, in which visitors become trapped in a small room with cages on every side, as actors reach for them through the metal bars for almost a minute. Every year, Terror of the Towers kept changing slightly with revised scenes and new scares. However, for the 2009 Scarefest event, Terror of the Towers was once again completely rethought, with the tagline "What Lies Within". The new incarnation drops the scripted scenes and characters; meaning it is similar to the original Terror of Towers of 2002. The whole layout for the maze was also reversed, with what was previously the entrance becoming the exit.
- Room 13 was first introduced in 2006 and was located in the conference room of the Alton Towers Hotel. It was only available to guests of the hotel, who were led around the maze as many live actors appeared to scare them. Room 13 had positive reviews and returned in 2007, but was replaced by The Boiler House in 2008.
- Field of 1000 Screams was first introduced in the 2007 Scarefest event and was the first maze at Alton Towers not situated inside a pre-existing building. The Field was located entirely outdoors in a moderately sized field of maize, which had to be planted especially for the event several months earlier. It was based around the fictional village of Altonville, that had supposedly become overrun by zombies. Visitors walked down a long pathway cut through the corn, and encountered various characters and scares along the way, before the finale took place. Each year the maze developed slightly with different scenes, with the storyline continuing on from the previous year's backstory. The Field of 1000 Screams was received with positive reviews in its first few seasons, but did not return for the 2010 event.
- Haunted Hollow Live was first seen in 2007 and consisted of several sinister, costumed actors performing along the Haunted Hollow walkway in Gloomy Wood. The attraction was similar to Duel Live, which was introduced the year later. Haunted Hollow Live returned for the 2008 Scarefest event, but was cancelled for 2009 because of incidents involving actors being attacked.
- Duel Live was first introduced in the 2008 Scarefest event. Throughout this period, the park's haunted house dark ride, Duel, became host to this attraction, which included several live actors situated around the ride circuit. Duel was available to ride normally until 12 pm, when the laser guns and LED targets were switched and the actors took their positions. This was changed in 2009, when Duel Live took place throughout the whole day and many more actors than the previous year were present. Duel Live was aimed at the family audience, and included such features as new music playing throughout the ride (instead of the usual Duel theme music), as well as a butler or maid who would welcome you inside the house. The attraction was changed slightly for the 2010 season and is now based around the park's Scarefest mascots.
- Skelvin's Haunted Adventure was a newer version of Duel Live, introduced in 2010, and took over Duel – The Haunted House Strikes Back! throughout Scarefest. As in previous years, the attraction included live actors situated at different points around the ride. The laser guns and LED targets were switched off during this time. The ride was based around the Scarefest mascots, notably the character of "Skelvin".
- The Boiler House was a scare maze first introduced in 2008, and was situated next to the Alton Towers Hotel. Originally, the scare maze was based around an abandoned industrial facility and featured live actors in make up. This was changed in 2009, when a new storyline was added. The scare maze later became based around the fictional "Hamble Twins" serial killers hiding in the industrial building, and visitors have to escape them as they are chased through the scenes. Visitors queued outside, past a van labelled "Alton News 24", from which television screens play news reports on the activity of the serial killers. Guests then walk through a covered walkway, which hides the marquee that the maze is contained in from view. Once inside, a man appears and warns guests about the dangers of coming inside. The murderers then appear and kill him, before chasing visitors away. Each of the Twins are played by two different actors wearing the same grotesque, latex mask. They appear at different points in the maze, creating the illusion that one character is in several places at once. Dim lighting and scent effects are heavily used. For the 2011 Scarefest, The Boiler House moved along with the Carnival of Screams to the X Sector, where they both shared the old Black Hole tent. After three years it did not return for the 2012 season. The major reason for its axing was because visitors started to find it boring and repetitive as the plot line remained the same every year since its opening.
Alton Towers Live
Alton Towers Live is an annual concert that takes place in the theme park during July.
The theme park traditionally opens selected attractions during February half-term in the closed season, prior to the main opening in March, and includes a selection of thrill and family rides.
From the 1990s, Alton Towers hosted an annual fireworks event on the Great Lawns, which often attracted tens of thousands of visitors. The displays, although stunning, were considered disruptive by some, which led to complaints from local residents. Two local residents, Suzanne and Stephen Roper, decided to take the theme park to court regarding this issue. The court issued Alton Towers with a noise abatement order in October 2005, this restricted the theme park to three shows a year, previously five, with noise readings not exceeding 40 decibels outside the park. This led to the park temporarily abandoning the fireworks event. However, the 2010 season finished with an impressive fireworks and laser show, which ran from 5–7 November, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the theme park. The event has since recurred for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 season finales with the park remaining open until 9 pm and most major rides still operating. The 2013 season ended with 3 days of fireworks from the 8th-10th November.
It is also of note that the Earl of Shrewsbury made use of fireworks as part of the Grand Fetes held at Alton Towers in the 1890s, when Alton Towers was still a stately home.
The Splash Landings and Alton Towers hotels remain open throughout "Winter". Visitors can also still enjoy the Alton Towers Waterpark (Cariba Creek), Extraordinary Golf and Spa while most of the theme park is closed. However, selected areas of the theme park are open for the Christmas event, in which the park is decorated for the special occasion and is home to Santa and real reindeer.
Rides and Attractions
|Name||Opened||Height||Length||Top Speed||Max Vertical Angle||Inversions||Height Restriction||Trains on Ride||Riders Per Train||Manufacturer||Park Section||Notes|
|Nemesis||1994||43 ft (13 m)||2,349 ft (716 m)||50 mph (80.5 km/h)||40°||4||1.4m||2||32 (8 rows of 4)||Bolliger & Mabillard||Forbidden Valley|
|Oblivion||1998||65 ft (20 m)||1,223 ft (373 m)||68 mph (109 km/h)||88.8°||0||1.4m||7||16 (2 rows of 8)||Bolliger & Mabillard||X-Sector|
|Air||2002||66 ft (20 m)||2,760 ft (840 m)||47 mph (75 km/h)||40°||2||1.4m||3||28 (7 rows 4)||Bolliger & Mabillard||Forrbiden Valley|
|TH13TEEN||2010||60 ft (18 m)||2,625 ft (800 m)||41 mph (66 km/h)||70°||0||1.2m||5||20 (10 rows of 2)||Intamin||Dark Forest|
|The Smiler||2013||72 ft (22 m)||3,840 ft (1,170 m)||53 mph (85 km/h)||50°||14||1.4m||5||16 (4 rows of 4)||Gerstlauer||X-Sector|
|Rita||2005||68.9 ft (21.0m)||2,099.8 ft (640.0m)||61.1 mph (98.3 km/h)||53°||0||1.4m||4||20 (10 rows of 2)||Intamin||Dark Forest|
|Sonic Spinball||2004||56 ft (17 m)||1,476 ft (450 m)||38 mph (61 km/h)||0||1.2m||8||4 (2 rows of 2, back to back)||Maurer Sohne||Adventure Land|
|Runaway Mine Train||1992||68 ft (21 m)||1,000 ft (300 m)||22.4 mph (36 km/h)||29°||0||90 cm||1||46 (23 rows of 2)||MACK Rides||Katanga Canyon|
|Ride Name||Type||Opened in||Themed land||Manufacture||Additional Information|
|The Blade||Swinging Ship||1980||Forbidden Valley||Huss Rides||Zero gravity swinging ship, themed to look like a piece of machinery from Nemesis' crash landing. Height limit 1 m.|
|Enterprise||Huss Enterprise||1984||X-Sector||Huss Rides||Classic Huss enterprise. Height limit 1m|
|Submission||Double inverter||2001||X-Sector||Chance Morgan||Giant Swing double inverter that opened in 2001. Height Limit 1.2m.|
|Twirling Toadstool||Wave Swinger||2009||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Zierer||Tame wave swinger for families. Height limit 1.2m.|
|Nemesis: Sub-Terra||Drop Tower||2012||Forbidden Valley||ABC Rides||Combined dark ride and drop tower, housed underground. Height limit 1.4m.|
|Ripsaw||Top Spin||1997||Forbidden Valley||Huss Rides||Top spin with a water feature, themed as a piece of machinery. Height limit 1.4m.|
- Adventure Playground 1974–1993
- Adventure Railway 1982–1992
- Alpine Bob Sled 1980–1986
- Alton Mouse 1988–1991
- Aquarium 1974–1994
- Around The World in 80 Days 1981–1993
- Astroglide 1979–1992
- Barney's Playground 2000–2002
- The Beast 1988–1991
- The Beastie 1983–2010
- Black Hole 1984–2005
- The Blue Carousel 1981–1991
- Boneshaker (formerly Energizer) 1995–2004
- Bouncing Bugs 1982–2008
- Cine 360 1981–1987
- Cine 2000 1980–1992
- Corkscrew 1980–2008
- Cred Street Carousel 2000–2005
- Cred Street Playground 2006–2008
- Dinosaurs 1980–1983
- Doll's House 1981–1995
- Doom & Sons 1981–1991
- Dynamo (formerly Astro Dancer and then Dino Dancer) 1993–2003
- Fantastic Fountains 1981–1992
- Ferris wheel 1985–1986
- Gravitron 1990–1992
- Magic Carpet 1984–1985
- Magic Show 1980–1986
- Mini Apple Coaster 1982–1997
- Miniature Golf 1980–1994
- Mississippi Showboat 1985–1996
- Model Railway 1957–1992
- The New Beast 1992–1998
- Nickelodeon: Outta Control 1997–1998
- Octopus 1984–1991
- Park Railway 1953–1996
- Motor Museum 1987–1992
- Paddling Pool 1963–1992
- Peter Rabbit and Friends on Ice 1994–2001
- Planetarium 1972–1987
- Rowing Boats 1923–1996
- Sea Lions 1957–1990
- Space Boat 1983
- Spider 1986–1991
- Splash Cats 1966–1996
- Splash Karts 2004–2007
- Sun Liner Trains 1984–1986
- Swan Boats 1987–2003
- Tea Cup Ride 1986–2007
- Thunder Looper 1990–1996
- Thunderbirds 1982–1990
- Toyland Tours 1994–2005
- Towers Express 1974–1983
- Tri-Star 1989–1992
- Turbo Star 1984–1989
- Tweenies Playground 2003–2005
- Vintage Cars 1983–2005
- 3D Cinema 1981–2004
- 4 Man Bob Coaster 1985–1991
- 1001 Nights 1985–1994
Current park areas
Alton Towers theme park is divided into 10 themed areas: Towers Street, Mutiny Bay, Katanga Canyon, Gloomy Wood, Forbidden Valley, Dark Forest, Cloud Cuckoo Land, X-Sector, Adventure Land and Cbeebies Land (Opening May 2014). There is also a small area called 'Storybook Land' however the park map states that this area is part of 'Adventure Land'.
Timeline of Park Areas
|Kiddies Kingdom||Adventure Land|
|Talbot Street||Land of Make Believe||Cred Street||Cloud Cuckoo Land|
|Talbot Centre||Festival Park||UG Land||Dark Forest|
|Ingestre Centre||Aqualand||Katanga Canyon|
|Merrie England||Mutiny Bay|
|Thunder Valley||Forbidden Valley|
|Britannia Farm||Safeway Farm||Old MacDonalds Farmyard||Cbeebies Land (Opening May 2014)|
|Springfield Centre||Fantasy World||X-Sector|
Opened in 1986, Towers Street is the first area that visitors to the park encounter. Themed loosely as a town street, it leads to views of the gardens and the Towers across the lake in the distance. Along the pathway are the park's famous jumping frog fountains and a lawn where seasonal events usually take place. The street contains several shops, including the Towers Trading Co., which sells official park merchandise. The first Skyride station is located nearby. A ticket shop called Resort Box Office is based in a building at the end of Towers Street and sells products such as Fastrack, Annual Passes and Hotel Breaks. Also located in Towers Street is Corner Coffee, Towers Family Restaurant and Guest Services.
- Skyride – a 1048 m long cable car transport that opened 1987; refurbished 2009. Poma.
- Monorail – the monorail moves guests from the two on-site hotels and the water park to the theme park; it opened 1987 and was refurbished in 2008. Von Roll/Allot&Lomax/C.W.A.
Food, drink and shops:
- Coca Cola Refill Station
- Corner Coffee
- The Towers Hot Dogs
- The Towers Family Restaurant
- Towers Trading
- Resort Box Office
Mutiny Bay is a pirate-themed land, which re-themed Merrie England in 2008, is aimed primarily at families. Attractions in Mutiny Bay include: Battle Galleons, a large interactive "Splash Battle" water ride where guests sit in pirate boats that travel through a water channel, while soaking other riders with water cannons; and a rocking boat ride, Heave Ho. The teacups ride was re-themed to become Marauders Mayhem, where rotating gunbarrels replaced the tea cups. The area also has a new Burger Kitchen take-away and live entertainment. Since the opening of the area, many live actors roam around the area dressed as pirates. In 2009, a new Sea Life Centre, Sharkbait Reef, opened in the location previously home to the 3-D Cinema. This includes designated "touch pools" where guests can interact with various underwater species and a 10-metre ocean tunnel. The attraction is one of the most heavily themed Sea Life centres to open worldwide. In April 2010, a live webcam was installed to allow internet users to watch one of the tanks, which can be accessed via the official website.
Slightly outside the area is the popular 'Flume' ride, a log flume with boats themed as bath tubs and many ducks quacking around the station area. The Flume opened in 2004 after being re-themed from a traditional log flume ride. The ride was sponsored by imperial toiletries until 2011.
- Battle Galleons – splash battle that opened in 2008 (replaced the Splash Karts); height limit 90 cm. Mack Rides
- Heave Ho – rocking tug that opened in 2008; height limit 1,1 m. Zamperla.
- Marauder's Mayhem – spinning barrels ride that opened in 1986, rethemed in 2008; height limit 1,1 m. Mack Rides.
- Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE – walkthrough aquarium that opened in 2009 (replaced 3D Cinema, which closed in 2004). Sea Life
- The Flume Unplugged – log flume ride that opened in 1981, refurbished 2004. Once the longest flume ride in the world at 886 m; the ride lasts 6 minutes; height limit 1,2 m. Mack Rides.
Live shows and entertainment:
- The Pirates of Mutiny Bay: The Kidnap of Lady Victoria Sponge – Live Show (2013)
- Finn's Pirate Training Camp
- Pirate Walkabout Characters
- Meet and Greets with Finn the Shark
Food, drink and shops:
- Pirate's Galley – The Burger Kitchen
- Courtyard Tavern and BBQ
- Eastern Express
- Mexican Cantina
- Mutiny Bay Donuts
- Mutiny Bay Hot Dogs
- Mutiny Bay Shoppe
- Pirates Pasty Co.
- Ben & Jerry's
Themed as an African village; created in 1992 and incorporated existing rapids ride. Rides include the Runaway Mine Train a wild speeding mine train rollercoaster and the Congo River Rapids. Both are well-established rides in the park whose ride tracks share a tunnel. The area includes the 'Explorer's' restaurant, with a shared indoor seating area. There is a shop located at the exits of the two rides called Katanga Cargo, hosting "ancient" tribal themed merchandise.
- Congo River Rapids – river rapids ride that opened 1986 and was refurbished in 1992. A 735 m long wild river rapids ride down the Congo River that lasts a full 6 minutes; height limit 90 cm. Intamin.
- Runaway Mine Train – a steel sit down coaster that reaches a speed of 22 mph (36 km) on a 1000 ft long track (305 m) and height of 68 ft (21 m); height limit 90 cm. Opened in 1992. Mack Rides, designed by John Wardley.
Food, drink and shops:
- Katanga Kabin
- Explorers Pizza-Pasta Buffet Restaurant
- The Katanga Cargo Company
The Gloomy Wood is a small, haunted house themed area containing the ride Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back!. The ride was originally a standard ghost train ride aptly named The Haunted House. However, the ride was upgraded in 2003 with laser-based plastic guns fitted to shoot LED lights scattered around the ride in order to deactivate scares. Each player's shooting score is recorded a digital display in the ride car to encourage competitive play. In 2007, an outdoor walk-through was added to Gloomy Wood, named "Haunted Hollow". The pathway follows part of the route formerly used by the old scenic railway, linking from Mutiny Bay to Gloomy Wood. Haunted Hollow includes various tombstones, statues and other features, some of which interact with guests using sound effects.
- Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back! – dark ride laser shoot out that opened in 2003; height limit none / 1,2 m alone. Mack Rides.
- Haunted Hollow – spooky walkthrough in the Towers Garden that opened 2007. Tussauds Studios.
Past attractions: Haunted House (1992–2002) Now Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back
Food, drink and shops:
- Gloomy Wood Kiosk
- Waffles and Ices
- Spooks 'R' Us
Forbidden Valley is themed around a frightening post-apocalyptic landscape, with large rocks and rusty pieces of metal and machinery scattering the area and also waterfalls coloured red to look like blood. One of the major rides is Nemesis, an inverted steel roller coaster, based around the fictional tale of a giant, ancient, malevolent, alien creature which is now incorporated into the new ride: Nemesis: Sub-Terra. Nemesis itself is consistently regarded as one of the most well-designed rollercoasters in the world in major, global rollercoaster polls. Also in the area, and continuing the apocalyptic theme, are the Ripsaw and The Blade thrill rides. Ripsaw is a Huss Top Spin ride which opened in 1997 themed around a piece of shrapnel, supposedly thrown from the alien creature's pit, while The Blade is an older Huss Pirate Boat themed around a pendulum blade. At the end of the valley is an "oasis", with calmer colours and plants, where the ride Air, the world's first B&M flying coaster, can be found. A Skyride station also serves this area of the park.
- Air – a steel flying coaster that reaches a speed of 46 mph (75 km) on a 2,756-foot-long (840 m) track and a height of 65 ft (20 m) with two inversions (fly to lie and in line twist); height restriction is 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). Opened in 2002 (originally sponsored by Cadbury's Heroes). Bolliger & Mabillard, designed by John Wardley.
- The Blade – a swinging ship that opened 1980 (relocated 1997 from Fantasy World, now X-Sector); height restriction 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in). Huss.
- Nemesis – a steel inverted coaster that reaches a speed of 50 mph (81 km) on a 2,349-foot-long (716 m) track and a height of 43 ft (13 m) with four inversions (barrel roll, zero g-roll, loop, barrel roll); height restriction is 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). Opened in 1994. Bolliger & Mabillard, designed by John Wardley.
- Ripsaw – top spin with water element that opened 1997; height restriction 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). Huss
- Nemesis: Sub-Terra – an indoor drop tower that opened 2012; height restriction is 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in). ABC Rides.
- Skyride – a cable car transport that opened in 1987; was damaged by fire in 2007; refurbished in 2009; damaged again by fire 21 July 2009; Rebuilt for the 2010 season). Poma.
- The Edge: Video Arcade
- Thunder Valley (1992–1994)
Food, drink and shops:
- Forbidden Treats
- Fresh Fish and Chips (Take-Away)
- The Generator – The Burger Kitchen
- Nemices Donuts
- Air Shop
- Thunder Looper (1990–1996), now at Hopi Hari as Katapult
- Alton Beast (1988–1997), replaced by Air in 2002
- Dynamo (2002–2003), same ride as AstroDancer and Dino Dancer
The Dark Forest opened in March 2010; replacing Ug Land which opened in 1999. Dark Forest is themed as a supernatural area of woodland that has been disturbed by recent excavation of an ancient burial ground. The new ride for 2010 was unveiled as 'Thirteen', themed as a haunted crypt and features the world's first freefall drop on a rollercoaster. The ride replaced the Corkscrew; the park's original rollercoaster. Along with Thirteen's opening, the surrounding land was rethemed into the Dark Forest with refurbished outlets and game stalls to fit the theme. Rita, an existing rollercoaster, was also altered, with new station and train designs to look 'engulfed' by the supernatural forest.
- Th13teen – steel sit down partly indoor coaster that reaches a speed of 41 mph (66 km) and a height of 60 ft (18 m) with a unique drop in total darkness; height limit 1,2 m Opened in 2010; replaced Corkscrew). Intamin, designed by Candy Holland.
- Rita – hydraulically launched steel sit-down coaster that reaches a speed of 61 mph (101 km) in just 2.5 seconds on a 2100 ft (640 m) and a height of 69 ft (21 m); height limit 1.4. Opened in 2005 and re-themed in 2010. Intamin, designed by Ing-Buro Stengel.
- Crypt Games
Food, drink and shops:
- Forest Feast
- Tormented Treats
- Rita Shop
- Thirteen Shop
- Woodcutter's Bar & Grill
- Festival Park (1983–1999)
- UG Land (1999–2009)
- Corkscrew (1980–2008)
- UG Bugs (1980–2008)
- AstroDancer (1997–1999)
- Dino Dancer (1999–2000)
- Festival Park Dome (1987–1998)
- Tri-Star (1991–1992)
- Ferris Wheel (1985–1986)
- Energiser (1995–1998)
- Boneshaker (2001–2003)
Cloud Cuckoo Land
Cloud Cuckoo Land is aimed at the younger audience of Alton Towers, and is themed with bright colours incorporating oversized flowers and toadstools, as if in a fantasy garden. Among the attractions are a bouncy castle play area called Wobble World, regular shows in the Theatre, a Wave Swinger ride called the Twirling Toadstool and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride, based on the Roald Dahl novel. There are other rides in the area especially suited for younger children such as Frog Hopper and Galloper's Carousel. The Alton Towers Driving School gives children the opportunity to ride their own miniature car around a British style road network. As of 2012 the Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre is the home of Ice Age: The 4-D Experience. A Skyride station is also located nearby, which was newly refurbished for the 2010 season.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride – dark boat ride that opened in 2006, a 11-minute fantasy journey based on Roald Dahl´s famous book (this ride replaced Toyland Tours which in turn replaced the original boat ride Around the World in eighty days). Mack Rides, designed by Tussauds Studios.
- Frog Hopper – mini drop tower that opened in 1999. Zamperla.
- Galloper's Carousel – merry go round that opened in 1991; refurbished 2009.
- Driving School – electric cars for kids to drive that opened in 2006; height limit 1,1 m – 1,4 m max. Originally sponsored by Peugeot.
- Wobble World – indoor-play area that opened in 2009; height limit 90 cm – 1,2 m max.
- Twirling Toadstool – kiddie ride that opened in 2009 (originally located in Ug Land).
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The 4-D Experience – this 4D film opened in 2012. SimEx/IWerks.
Food, drink and shops:
- Cuckoo Diner – The Burger Kitchen
- Caffe Express
- Wobble World Cafe
- Ice Age Shop
- Skyride – third station (opened 1988, refurbished 2009. The new station was opened in 2010).
X-Sector is themed as if it were a sinister futuristic government facility. The area contains the innovative Oblivion ride, the world's first roller coaster with a vertical (88.8°) drop. The extra-wide roller coaster cars are held suspended over the edge for a maximum of three seconds before dropping downwards into a large hole amid mist and sirens through a pitch-black tunnel, and then re-emerging into a heavily banked turn leading back into the station. A game arcade next to Oblivion's gift shop and the 'Meltdown' restaurant, selling fast food, can also be found here.
Three other thrill rides are located in X Sector: Submission, a double swing inverter which opened in 2001; and Enterprise, a standard Huss Enterprise model which opened in 1984 and The Smiler, a Gerstlauer infinity rollercoster opened in May 2013 and currently holds the world record for most inversions on a roller coaster (14 inversions)
On 5 January 2012, the plans for The Smiler were released, previously codenamed SW7. Construction for the ride began with the deconstruction of the former Black Hole tent in April 2012 and track for The Smiler started being put up on 7 December 2012. Multiple delays on the ride set the park back on 2 deadlines: March and May 23. The ride eventually opened on 31 May 2013.
- Oblivion – steel sit down dive coaster that reaches a speed of 68 mph (110 km) on a 1222 ft long track (373 m) and a height of 180 ft (40 m); height limit 1.4m. Opened in 1998. Bolliger & Mabillard, designed by John Wardley
- Submission – giant swing (double inverter) that opened in 2001; height limit 1,2 m. Chance Morgan.
- The Smiler – A Gerstlauer steel infinity coaster with a total of 14 inversions, the most in the world. Opened 31 May 2013; height limit 1,4 m ; designed by John Wardley and Candy Holland.
- Enterprise – Standard model of the Huss Enterprise. Opened 1984.
Food, drink and shops:
- Meltdown – Fried Chicken Company
- Buy The Smiler
- X-Cell, a small gift shop
- Black Hole (1984–2005)
- Energizer (1998–2001)
Adventure Land is located in an area of the park aimed mainly at families and consists of family coasters as well as a selection of play equipment. The main ride is the Sonic Spinball, based on the hit SEGA video game franchise Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Spinball was previously known as Spinball Whizzer until the name change in 2010 when Alton bought a contract with SEGA. It is a Maure Sohne spinning roller coaster, in which riders sit in carts that can spin on their base whilst travelling at speed around the twisted track. There is one other attraction, the 'Space Adventures' playground. The area also contains a food counter called Spinball Noodles.
- Sonic Spinball – steel sit down spinning coaster that reaches a speed of 26 mph (36 km) on a 1476 ft long track (450 m) and a height of 56 ft (17 m); height limit 1,2 m. Opened 2004, re-themed 2010. Maurer Söhne, designed by John Wardley.
- Squirrel Nutty Ride – monorail ride that opened in 1996.
- Space Adventure – playground
Live shows and entertainment:
- Meet and Greets with Squirrel Nutty (Since 2010)
Food and drink:
- Spinball Noodles
- Beastie (1983–2010)
Old MacDonald's Farmyard
Themed around a traditional farm, this area did contain a small petting zoo as well as a few rides for younger visitors, which include Doodle Doo Derby, a farm-themed carousel, and Riverbank Eye Spy, a recently re-themed boat ride. In 2003, the old barn that used to hold the farm animals before the Foot and Mouth crisis of 2001, was converted to a play barn called Ribena Berry Bish Bash, that contains thousands of small foam balls that are propelled, raised, thrown, dropped and shot from air cannons, now called Berry Bish Bash. In 2007, a new themed play area opened called There's Something in the Dungheap, especially for youngsters, with a maze, a playground and a picnic area. The main feature is a large pile of dung in which visitors can enter to find interactive insects crawling the floor, made possible by a projector and sensor.
This area is due to become CBeebies Land in 2014 and some attractions have already closed to the public so that work can commence.
- Doodle Doo Derby – kiddie Derby ride that opened in 1995.
- Old MacDonald's Singing Barn – musical animals for kids that opened in 1995.
- Old MacDonald's Tractor Ride – on track tractor ride that opened in 1995.
- Berry Bish Bash – play area that opened in 2003 (originally sponsored by Ribena). Closed September 2013.
- There's Something in the Dung Heap – play area that opened in 2007. Closed October 2013.
- Riverbank Eye-Spy – canal boat ride that opened in 1999. Closed October 2013.
- The Barn – A barn that contained Rabbits, Pigs and Shetland Ponies. The animals were removed in 2001 due to Foot and Mouth disease and the barn was removed in 2006 to make way for 'There's Something In The Dung Heap', the new play area for 2007.
As an example of the mixed style of Humphry Repton's gardens, Alton Towers' garden was begun, circa 1814 by the eccentric 15th Earl of Shrewsbury, of whom J. C. Loudon (who was consulted on design features of which there were many) relates that he consulted every artist, only to avoid 'whatever an artist might recommend'.
Alton Towers grew into a collection of gardens: a Swiss Cottage, a Stonehenge, a Dutch garden, a Pagoda Fountain, said to be based on the To Ho pagoda in Canton, Lysicrates' Choragic Monument from Athens (a feature in English gardens since the 1760s), domed glasshouses (originally gilded), even a fairly large Matterhorn as a backing to one of England's earliest Alpine gardens. Near the garden entrance is a cenotaph to the 15th Earl, a marble bust with an inscription reading "He made the desert smile".
- Chinese Pagoda Fountain
- The Swiss Cottage
- Miniature 'Stonehenge'
- A Greek Choragic Monument
The Towers ruins are the source of the park's name. They belonged to the Talbot family as a stately home until 1924. The Towers are now in a state of disrepair following several decades of neglect. The ruins are open to the public during most of the open season. However, some areas are closed off as part of a £1.1 million project in place to restore the oldest parts of the Towers.
Hex – the Legend of the Towers, a walk-through dark ride based within the ruins themselves, opened in 2000. The finale to the ride is a Vekoma Madhouse located away from the real Towers but themed as a secret vault. The storyline is based on Staffordshire's true legend about the chained oak tree, located in a nearby forest, and makes use of the history of the Towers.
In addition, a temporary scare maze, Terror of the Towers, operates during the park's Halloween 'Scarefest' event and has done yearly since 2002. It takes guests through a tour of the ruins and uses live actors, lighting, mist and sound effects to add atmosphere. The attraction won the 2009 London Screamie Awards for 'Best Seasonal Attraction/Maze'.
- Hex – The Legend of the Towers – this Madhouse dark ride that opened in 2000 is themed around the legend of the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury who was cursed by a beggar woman to suffer death every time a branch falls from an oak tree. Vekoma, designed by John Wardley.
- Terror of the Towers: What Lies Within – this is a seasonal Halloween attraction.
- The banqueting hall
- The chapel
- Her Ladyship's Gardens
The Alton Towers Resort also includes the following attractions/facilities alongside the theme park.
The monorail transports visitors between the car parks, Alton Towers Hotel, Splash Landings Hotel, Cariba Creek Waterpark & Extraordinary Golf, and the Alton Towers Theme Park entrance.
The Von Roll monorail system was acquired from Expo 86 which was held in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was installed at Alton Towers in 1987, a year after Towers Street, and was opened by Star Trek actor William Shatner 
In 2003, The monorail was temporarily closed following a low-speed collision between two trains not carrying passengers.
In 2008, Sarner, a UK-based theme park design company, was commissioned to revamp the nine monorail trains. This included exterior decoration and new bench seating. Each train has a personalised soundtrack to fit with its own theme, such as 'pirates'.
In 2012, The monorail was closed for approximately 2 weeks following a high-speed collision with one train returning to the car park full of guests. The transfer track wasn't fully in position when the train passed over at full speed causing a small derailment and numerous injuries to passengers due to the forceful impact.
Alton Towers Hotel
The Alton Towers Hotel opened in 10 April 1996 and is themed to the eccentric fictional character Sir Algernon Alton. The rooms are decorated in a classically English style with pictures of Sir Algernon's inventions including the coasting roller adorning the walls.
The hotel features the Secret Garden restaurant serving a buffet breakfast and à la carte dinner, there is also the Captain and Dragon bars, the latter having a Chinese theme along with the small event/conference rooms in the hotel. The bars and restaurant surround the "ship" centrepiece of the hotel featuring a hot air balloon shape and rotating propellers.
The ship is also used as a stage for the evening entertainment including:
- Pirate Bill's Magic Show
- Live Bands and Singers
- Character Photoshoots with Darwin the Dodo and Alton Bear.
Splash Landings Hotel
The Splash Landings Hotel is the newer of the two hotels, opening in 2003, it has a colourful exotic Caribbean theme and the main feature is the Cariba Creek Waterpark. The hotel features Flambo's Exotic Feast, a buffet restaurant with a wide selection of food including roast dinner and a chocolate fountain, also serving a buffet breakfast. Above Flambo's Feast is the Ma Garrita's Bar. Both the bar and restaurant have windows looking out over the indoor waterpark. The hotel rooms are in a wing to the side of the hotel and some rooms have views over the outdoor sections of the waterpark. The hotel also contains two shops, one selling general snacks, sweets and souvenirs and the other offering swimming costumes and other waterpark related sundries. There is also an arcade near Flambo's restaurant. In all the public elevators in the hotel, when they are in motion, the theme tune to Captain Pugwash is played, and stops as soon as the doors start opening. Splash Landings also plays host to "Ringo's Kids Club,".
Between the hotels sits the Alton Towers Conference Centre, Winner of meeting & Incentive Travel Magazine's Best UK Unusual Venue Award 2007. The Conference Centre opened shortly after the Splash Landings Hotel and is linked to both hotels via a walkway running from the side of the Alton Towers Hotel to the Conference Centre and through the Cariba Creek waterpark to the Splash Landings Hotel.
Alton Towers Waterpark (Cariba Creek)
The Alton Towers Waterpark, formerly known as Cariba Creek, opened in 2003. It is a large, part indoor and part outdoor waterpark themed as a tropical lagoon. It is located within The Splash Landings Hotel and is available for both guests at the hotel and members of the public. The park features several fast slides, a lazy river, a giant tipping bucket and many other water features. Also located here is The Original Sandwich Co. & Ice Cream Parlor, which was previously themed as a shipwreck until 2007 when it was extended.
In 2007, Alton Towers opened Extraordinary Golf, 2 nine hole themed crazy golf courses, located near The Splash Landings Hotel. Each of the holes have themes based on attractions within the theme park e.g. Nemesis. As with Cariba Creek, this facility is aimed at the general public as well as park and hotel guests. The standard price is £4 to play one 9-hole course or £6 to play all 18 holes.
In July 2009, the park outlined a 10-year development plan for the park (2010–2019), the aim being to increase visitor numbers, in particular multi-day guests. The plan showed an option for a third hotel or new accommodation of some sort over the coming years. This in the 2012 Team Brief to the Alton Towers Staff by the Alton Towers Resort's Directors was said to be a Log Cabin hotel project, similar to what Centre Parcs offers, that is to reside over the land that is currently used for "Muddy Good Fun" activities. The plan also highlighted areas for development, as well as suggesting the possibility of a new park entrance nearer to the hotels, which could act as a second entrance or replacement to the existing one in Towers Street.
In September 2013, a planning application was put forward to redevelopment Old MacDonald's Farmyard, including a large new outdoor performance area and various changes to existing attractions. On 15 October 2013 it was announced that the area would be re-branded as CBeebies Land (through a partnership with BBC Worldwide) and is scheduled to reopen in May 2014. This follows a trend by British theme parks to theme children’s areas in accordance with television series; such as Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Park. It is currently unknown which programs will be included in the new ‘land’. On 7 October, River Bank Eye Spy and The Dung Heap closed to the public and Berry Bish Bash closed in September.
In 2008, Alton Towers introduced designated smoking areas across the resort, including at Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings Hotel. Smoking is no longer permitted outside of these areas, including the use of e-cigarettes.
Prior to the full ban, Alton Towers did not allow smoking in queue lines, shops and restaurants.
Alton Towers Resort DVD
The Alton Towers Resort DVD system operated intermittently from 2007 to 2011. It enabled participating visitors to have footage captured of themselves on eight of the main rides and other various locations around the park, by wearing RFID wristbands during their stay. The wristbands could later be returned to the shop (located on Towers Street); where the personalised footage is collected and compiled alongside stock footage of the rides, to produce a DVD souvenir of the visitor's day.
The system featured personalised footage on Nemesis, Rita, Sonic Spinball, Oblivion, Air, The Flume, Congo River Rapids and also Corkscrew (until its 2008 closure). Customers could preview their footage before buying the DVD by scanning their wristband next to a monitor.
The system was originally known as "YourDay" and was run by a separate business to Alton Towers. It was first installed in the 2007 season. YourDay officially went into administration on 31 March 2009, and failed to open at the start of the 2009 season. However, the shop reopened for business in October 2009 for the final weeks of the season after Alton Towers decided to take over the concept and run the system themselves. YourDay remained closed again throughout the first few months of the 2010 season, before being rebranded as the "Alton Towers Resort DVD" and reopened again. The shop, system and footage used remained much the same. It was permanently closed part-way through the 2011 season and has since been refitted as Alton Towers Box Office.
On-ride video is now being tested on several attractions, including Oblivion, Air and The Smiler. These videos are sold by Picsolve, directly at the ride, differently to how the system operated under Alton Towers Resort DVD.
- A marketing strategy encouraging workers to call in absent in order to visit the theme park was heavily criticised by business groups.
- Relations with the local community were harmed when Alton Towers significantly reduced the number of free tickets it provides to local residents as compensation for the heavy traffic the theme park attracts to the small local village roads.
- On 20 July 2006, an accident involving the Runaway Mine Train occurred near the tunnel area of the ride. The train separated into two, with the two sections colliding after the first section rolled back (or "valleyed"). Three people were taken to hospital while another 26 were treated for minor injuries. The ride remained closed until 2007. See Incidents at European amusement parks for more information on accidents that occurred at Alton Towers.
- The park was subject to media coverage over its decision to slaughter its livestock from the Old McDonald's Farmyard area due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001. The slaughter was deemed necessary as the park would have been unable to open to the public if the animals remained, and livestock movement restrictions prevented them from being removed from the theme park itself. The RSPCA criticised the action, saying other options should have been examined.
- In July 2006 a story broke that Alton Towers had been hired out for the day by a Muslim group, so people of Muslim faith could attend the resort for the whole day and perform prayers and other Islamic activities. It was, however, attacked by critics as an example of political correctness. It was discovered that the same day had already been booked for a wedding for a non-Muslim couple and their 60 invited guests. The couple were told they were allowed to attend the day, but had to respect the Muslim rules. The event was eventually cancelled due to lack of interest.
- In October 2006, 15 out of 19 fast food outlets, and an independently run KFC failed local council health inspections.
- In August 2009, Alton Towers hit the press with its decision to ban men from wearing Speedo style swimming briefs.
- The Sun published an article on 29 July 2010 stating that the resort had banned sexual intercourse in certain sections of the hotels, because "a string of families moaned to staff that they were kept awake by noises from neighbouring rooms".
- Alton Towers appeared on a Watchdog Episode following an extensively delayed opening date of The Smiler, which opened the day after.
Alton Towers is set in a dedicated Conservation Area, which puts a restriction on the height of any ride or building development in the park. It has been agreed with the local council that no buildings should be built above the tree line and if so should be disguised to fit the landscape; this can be seen on the ride Rita, where part of the track is painted dark green to fit in with the trees.
Noise pollution is also a problem for the park due to the close proximity to the villages of Alton and Farley. There have been several cases where Alton Towers have been taken to court over the noise levels emitted from the park and have been served noise abatement orders in 2004 and 2005 and 2006.
On 3 May 2012 a couple from the local village of Farley won the rights to a full High Court trial on the amount of noise generated by the park. The couple have been in a legal battle with the park for nearly a decade, and during this period succeeded in a noise abatement order on the theme park which led to the audio from the top of the Oblivion drop being removed, and Alton Towers having to limit the amount of annual fireworks displays to only three a year.
Stephan and Suzanne Roper, who live only 100 yards from the park, say that their lives have been made a misery by the noise of the screams as well as Fireworks Displays and Music. They first launched their legal fight in 2002, but after years of wrangling, their claim for an injunction and damages was thrown out in January 2011. Judge Mr Justice Hickinbottom later overturned that decision, bringing the claim back. This now paves the way for a full court hearing. The Ropers will seek an injunction forcing the park owners to close or relocate some rides and an order forcing them to pay damages for noise suffered from 1998 to the present.
- List of theme parks in the United Kingdom
- Merlin Entertainments (Alton Towers parent company)
- Incidents at European amusement parks
- History of Alton Towers
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- Kennedy, Maev (10 August 2009). "Alton Towers bans men in Speedos". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2009. "Morwenna Angove, sales and marketing director for Alton Towers, said: "We feel this small brief style is not appropriate for a family venue so we are advising male bathers to wear more protective swimwear such as shorts.""
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alton Towers.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Alton Towers.|
- Official website
- Lost Heritage: full architectural history of the house
- Description of Theme Areas
- 1930 film of Alton Towers
- Heraldry at Alton Towers
- Alton Towers: Before it was Famous (on themagiceye at Joyland)