Alton Towers Resort
|Slogan||"Making Britain Happy"|
|Location||Alton, Staffordshire, England|
|General Manager||Ian Crabbe|
|Opened||4 April 1980
(1860 as country estate)
|Operating season||Theme Park
March - November
January - December
|Area||800 acres (3.2 km2)|
Alton Towers Resort commonly referred to as Alton Towers is a theme park, waterpark, and hotel complex in the Staffordshire countryside. It is the flagship attraction of Merlin Entertainments in the United Kingdom. The site historically opened in 1860 with flower shows and garden tours until a theme park was built on the site in 1980. Since then the waterpark has opened as well as two hotels.
The Alton Towers Theme Park opened on 4 April 1980 and major attractions include Nemesis, Oblivion, Air, Rita and TH13TEEN, and in 2013, The Smiler opened, becoming the world's first 14 inversion roller coaster.
- 1 History
- 2 Events
- 3 Rides and attractions
- 4 Alton Towers Theme Park
- 5 Alton Towers Waterpark
- 6 Resort Hotels
- 7 Future developments
- 8 Controversy
- 9 Conservation Area restrictions
- 10 Court cases
- 11 Gallery
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The Alton Towers estate was a former seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury. Following its sale in 1924 a group of local business men formed Alton Towers Ltd. and began to restore the gardens to be operated as a tourist attraction. The park has developed progressively since the 1950s including the operation of a fairground prior to eventually becoming a theme park in April 1980.
In 1990 the park was purchased by Pearson Media. A few years later, 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 the Tussauds Group 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.
From the 1990s, Alton Towers hosted an annual fireworks event on the Great Lawns. The displays were considered disruptive by some local residents, which led to formal complaints. 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. In 2006, the display was rebranded as Electric Towers, but then discontinued. An impressive fireworks and laser show returned in 2010 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the theme park. The event has since recurred for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 season finales.
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 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 and has operated the Terror of the Towers scaremaze since 2002.
The Splash Landings and Alton Towers hotels remain open throughout winter. Visitors can also still enter 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
|Air||2002||Steel flying||1.4m||Bolliger & Mabillard||Forrbiden Valley||World's first B&M Flying Coaster|
|1.4m||Bolliger & Mabillard||Forbidden Valley||Europe's first inverted coaster|
|Oblivion||1998||Steel dive||1.4m||Bolliger & Mabillard||X-Sector||World's first vertical drop coaster|
|1.4m||Intamin||Dark Forest||Themed as a race-track|
|90 cm||MACK Rides||Katanga Canyon||The oldest coaster in the park following the removal of the Beastie in early 2013|
|1.2m||Maurer Sohne||Adventure Land||The riders can spin the cabs.|
|The Smiler||2013||Steel Infinity||1.4m||Gerstlauer||X-Sector||World's first 14 looping coaster, holds record as of early 2013.|
|TH13TEEN||2010||Steel||1.2m||Intamin||Dark Forest||World's first vertical free-fall drop.|
|Name||Height||Length||Top Speed||Max Vert.
|Air*||66 ft (20 m)||2,760 ft (840 m)||47 mph (75 km/h)||40°||2||3||28 (7 rows 4)||John Wardley|
|Nemesis*||43 ft (13 m)||2,349 ft (716 m)||50 mph (80.5 km/h)||40°||4||2||32 (8 rows of 4)||John Wardley|
|Oblivion*||65 ft (20 m)||1,223 ft (373 m)||68 mph (109 km/h)||88.8°||0||7||16 (2 rows of 8)||John Wardley|
|Rita||68.9 ft (21.0m)||2,099.8 ft (640.0m)||61.1 mph (98.3 km/h)||53°||0||4||20 (10 rows of 2)||Werner Stengel|
|Runaway Mine Train||68 ft (21 m)||1,000 ft (300 m)||22.4 mph (36 km/h)||29°||0||1||46 (23 rows of 2)||John Wardley|
|Sonic Spinball||56 ft (17 m)||1,476 ft (450 m)||38 mph (61 km/h)||90°||0||8||4 (2 rows of 2, back to back)||John Wardley|
|The Smiler**||72 ft (22 m)||3,840 ft (1,170 m)||53 mph (85 km/h)||50°||14**||5||16 (4 rows of 4)||John Wardley, Ben Dowson|
|Thirteen**||60 ft (18 m)||2,625 ft (800 m)||41 mph (66 km/h)||70°||0||5||20 (10 rows of 2)||John Wardley|
- Key: * = record holder upon opening; ** = current record holder (February 2014)
|The Blade||Swinging ship||2000||Forbidden Valley||Huss Rides||Zero gravity swinging ship, themed to look like a piece of machinery. Height limit 1 m.|
|Enterprise||Huss Enterprise||1984||X-Sector||Huss Rides||Classic Huss enterprise. Height limit 1m|
|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.|
|Twirling Toadstool||Wave swinger||2009||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Zierer||Tame wave swinger for families. Height limit 1.2m.|
|Battle Galleons||Water Battle||2008||Mutiny Bay||Mack Rides||Boat attraction with water guns.|
|Congo River Rapids||Rapids ride||1986||Katanga Canyon||Intamin||Intamin rapids ride around the perimeter of Katanga Canyon. Refurbished 1992.|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
|Water dark ride||2006||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Mack Rides||Boat tour around willy wonkas factory. Based on the children's book by Roald Dahl.|
The Haunted House Strikes Back!
|Dark ride||2003||Gloomy Wood||Mack Rides||Dark ride through the haunted house. Rides are equipped with laser guns to shoot the scenery and gain points. Height limit none / 1,2 m alone.|
The Legend of the Towers
|2000||The Towers||Vekoma||Walkthrough attraction based on the legend of the chained oak. Finished with a Madhouse in the rides Vault. Height limit 1.2m|
|The Flume||Log flume||1981
|Mutiny Bay||Mack Rides||Bath time themed log flume with three drops. Once the longest log flume in the world. Rethemed 2004. Height limit 1.2m|
|Driving School||Driving Attraction||2006||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Peugeot||Children's car driving attraction|
|Frog Hopper||Mini drop tower||1999||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Zamperla||Mini drop tower for children|
|Galloper's Carousel||Carousel||1991||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Bertazzon||Children's merry-go-round style ride|
|Heave Ho||Rock 'n' Tug||2008||Mutiny Bay||Zierer||Boat ride themed like a pirate ship.|
|Marauder's Mayhem||Tea Cups Ride||1986||Mutiny Bay||Mack Rides||Tea cups re-themed to look like barrels of gunpowder. Rethemed in 2008; height limit 1,1 m.|
|In the Night Garden Magical Boat Ride||Boat ride||2014||CBeebies Land||Unknown||Set sail on the magical In The Night Garden Boat Ride where you’ll be able to journey through a real Night Garden and spot all your favourite characters!|
|Get Set Go TreeTop Adventure||Pedal rail ride||2014||CBeebies Land||Premier Rides||Travel high through the tree tops in your own vehicle and take in a tip-top view of CBeebies Land!|
|Wobble World||Play area||1993||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Tussauds||Children's soft play area|
|Ice Age: The 4D Experience||4D Cinema||2012||Cloud Cuckoo Land||SimEx/IWerks||4D Cinema licensed by 20th Century Fox, located in Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre.|
|Haunted Hollow||Walkthrough||2007||Gloomy Wood||Tussauds Studios||Themed walk way from Gloomy Wood to Mutiny Bay|
|Monorail||Monorail||1987||Theme Park Entrance Plaza,
|Von Roll Habegger||Monorail system to transport guests from the resort hotels & car parks to the theme park entrance. Trains refurbished in 2008.|
|Sharkbait Reef||Sea Life Centre||2009||Mutiny Bay||Merlin Entertainments Studios||Small aquarium themed to a shipwreck.|
|Sky Ride||Cable car||1987||Towers Street,
Cloud Cuckoo Land
|Poma||Cable car used to transport guests around the theme park giving views of the gardens. Was damaged by fire in 2007; refurbished in 2009; damaged again by fire 21 July 2009; Rebuilt for the 2010 season).|
|The Gardens||Garden||1860||The Towers||Large Garden located within the valley with structures located around.|
- Adventure Playground 1974–1993
- Adventure Railway (15 in (381 mm) gauge miniature 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
- Motor Museum 1987–1992
- The New Beast 1992–1998
- Nickelodeon: Outta Control 1997–1998
- Octopus 1984–1991
- Park Railway (2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge) 1953–1996
- 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
- Submission 2001-2013
- 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
Alton Towers Theme Park
The Alton Towers Theme Park was the first attraction to open at the resort, opening in 1980. It is divided into 9 themed areas: Towers Street, Mutiny Bay, Katanga Canyon, Gloomy Wood, Forbidden Valley, Dark Forest, Cloud Cuckoo Land, X-Sector and Adventure Land, each with a unique theme and setting. CBeebies Land will join the line up in May 2014. The theme park is also home to the Historic Towers and Gardens. The park's maximum daily capacity is set at 28,000 guests. In 2009 the park attracted 2,668,576 people, this coincided with the opening of new childrens fantasy area 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' and the family attraction 'Sharkbait Reef – By Sea Life'.
Timeline of Park Areas
|Ingestre Centre||Aqualand||Katanga Canyon|
|Merrie England||Mutiny Bay|
|Springfield Centre||Fantasy World||X-Sector|
|Talbot Centre||Festival Park||UG Land||Dark Forest|
|Talbot Street||Land of Make Believe||Cred Street||Cloud Cuckoo Land|
|Kiddies Kingdom||Adventure Land|
|Storybook Land||CBeebies Land|
|Britannia Farm||Safeway Farm||Old MacDonalds Farmyard|
|Thunder Valley||Forbidden Valley|
(exterior of Duel)
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 recognizable jumping frog fountains and a lawn where seasonal events usually take place. The first Skyride station is located nearby, which is a 1048 m long cable car transport that opened 1987, and was refurbished 2009. 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.
Themed as an African village; created in 1992 and incorporated existing rapids ride. Rides include the roller coaster Runaway Mine Train and Congo River Rapids. Both are well-established rides in the park whose ride tracks share a tunnel. Congo River Rapids is a river rapids ride that opened 1986, as The Grand Canyon Rapids, and was refurbished in 1992. A 735 m long wild river rapids ride down the Congo River that lasts a full 6 minutes. Runaway Mine Train is a steel sit down powered 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 by Mack Rides, it was designed by John Wardley.
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 from 1992–2002. 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, a path cutting through the woods 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.
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. A Skyride station also serves this area of the park, and there is The Edge: Video Arcade.
One of the major rides is Nemesis; designed by John Wardley and opened in 1994, Nemesis is a steel inverted coaster that reaches a speed of 50 mph (81 km) with four inversions (barrel roll, zero g-roll, loop, barrel roll). Nemesis is consistently regarded as one of the most well-designed rollercoasters in the world in major, global rollercoaster polls. The theming is based around the fictional tale of a giant, ancient, malevolent, alien creature which is now incorporated into the new ride: Nemesis: Sub-Terra – an indoor drop tower that opened 2012.
Also in the area, and continuing the apocalyptic theme, are the Ripsaw and The Blade thrill rides. Ripsaw is a Huss Top Spin ride with a water element which opened in 1997 themed around a piece of shrapnel, supposedly thrown from the alien creature's pit. The Blade is an older Huss Pirate Boat themed around a pendulum blade. It opened in 1980, and was relocated to the area in 1997 from Fantasy World. At the end of the valley is an "oasis", with calmer colors and plants, where the steel flying coaster Air, the world's first B&M flying coaster, can be found. Also designed by John Wardley, it has two two inversions (fly to lie and in line twist). Opened in 2002, it was originally sponsored by Cadbury's Heroes.
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 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. Opened 2004, re-themed 2010. It is a Maure Sohne spinning roller coaster, in which riders sit in carts that can spin on their base whilst traveling at speed around the twisted track. There is one other attraction, the Space Adventures playground.
X-Sector is themed as if it were a sinister futuristic government facility. The area contains three main thrill rides, two of which hold world records. Enterprise is a standard Huss Enterprise model which opened in 1984. There is also the steel sit down dive coaster Oblivion, opened in 1998 as the world's first roller coaster with a vertical (88.8°) drop. The extra-wide cars are held suspended over the edge for three seconds before dropping into a large hole amidst sirens through a pitch-black tunnel. It was designed by John Wardley, as was the second roller coaster in the area, The Smiler. The Smiler is a Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster rollercoaster opened in May 2013 and currently holds the world record for most inversions on a roller coaster (14 inversions).
Mutiny Bay is a pirate-themed land, which re-themed Merrie England in 2008, is aimed primarily at families. Live shows and entertainment include the live shows The Pirates of Mutiny Bay: The Kidnap of Lady Victoria Sponge, introduced in 2013. There are also pirate walkabout characters in the area, Finn's Pirate Training Camp, and Meet and Greets with Finn the Shark.
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, which replaced the Splash Karts. Also in the area is the rocking boat ride, Heave Ho. The teacups ride was re-themed to become Marauders Mayhem, where rotating gunbarrels replaced the tea cups. Slightly outside the area is The Flume Unplugged ride, an updated log flume with boats themed as bath tubs and many rubber ducks quacking around the station area. The Flume opened in 2004 after being re-themed from a traditional log flume ride. Once the longest flume ride in the world at 886 m.
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" for interacting 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.
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. There are regular shows at the theatre, and 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.
Among the attractions are an indoor bouncy castle play area called Wobble World, and a Wave Swinger ride called the the Twirling Toadstool originally located in UG Land. 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 electric cars around a British style road network. There is also Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride, based on the Roald Dahl novel. The dark boat ride opened in 2006, and is an 11-minute fantasy journey that replaced Toyland Tours, which in turn replaced the original boat ride Around the World in Eighty Days.
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. Among the three main attractions are Crypt Games. The new ride for 2010 was unveiled as TH13TEEN, a steel sit down partly indoor coaster themed as a haunted crypt. It features the world's first freefall drop on a roller coaster, and a unique drop in total darkness. The ride replaced the Corkscrew; the park's original roller coaster. 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 roller coaster, was also altered, with new station and train designs to look 'engulfed' by the supernatural forest. Rita is a hydraulically launched steel sit-down coaster that reaches a top speed of 62 mph (100 km).
The Old MacDonald's Farmyard and Storybook Land closed at the end of the 2013 season to undergo a transformation into CBeebies Land. All of the pre-existing attractions have closed and are being re-themed for the 2014 season with. The area is set to open on 24 May 2014.
The Towers & Gardens
- The Towers
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. Key areas of The Towers include the banqueting hall, the chapel, conservatories, and Her Ladyship's Gardens.
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. It 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. It was designed by John Wardley.
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'.
- The Gardens
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". Landmarks include a Chinese Pagoda Fountain, The Swiss Cottage, Miniature 'Stonehenge', a Greek Choragic Monument, and orangeries.
Alton Towers Waterpark
The Alton Towers Waterpark, formerly known as Cariba Creek, opened alongside the Splash Landings Hotel in 2003. It is a large, part indoor and part outdoor waterpark themed as a tropical Caribbean lagoon. The waterpark 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. Unlike Chessington Zoo at the also Merlin opperated Chessington World of Adventures Resort, you have to buy a seperate ticked for Waterpark access as it is not included with the theme park enterance price.
Attractions include Lagoona Bay, which is the main tropical pool, with water cannons, geysers and waterfalls. The Little Leak is a paddling pool for young children with two small slides and interactive pipes to play with, while Wacky Waterworks Treehouse is a wooden 'treehouse' with water cannons, and other interactive features to squirt passing people with.
The largest ride in the area is the water coaster The Master Blaster, with uphill sections similar to the Master Blaster at Sandcastle Water Park, Blackpool and Nucleus at Water World, Stoke-on-Trent. The Master Blaster is a high speed water flume that contains many sharp turns, drops and dark sections, and has a view of the entire waterpark.
Other rides include Rush & Rampage, twin racing slides where riders experience wide turns. This attraction requires rubber rings. Lazy River (Calypso Creek) is a slow-moving water circuit, taking riders underneath spraying water jets and tipping buckets of water. Rubber rings are available. The Tipping Bucketis a very large container is filled with 1000 litres of water and then intermittingly tips its contents over people standing below. Flash Floods is tiered outdoor pools with two slides leading to the middle pool and three leading to the bottom. Other swimming pools include Volcanic Springs, and indoor heated hot pool, and Bubbly Wubbly Pool, an outdoor heated pool & whirlpool.
Alton Towers Hotel
The Alton Towers Hotel opened in 10 April 1996 and is themed to the eccentric fictional character Sir Algenon Alton and his travels. The rooms are decorated in a classical English style with pictures of Sir Algenon's inventions. The Alton Towers Spa is directly connected to the hotel.
Splash Landings Hotel
The Splash Landings Hotel is the newer of the two hotels, opening in 2003, it has an exotic Caribbean theme and is attached to the Alton Towers Waterpark. Located next to Splash Landing Hotel is Extraordinary Golf, two nine hole themed crazy golf courses. Each of the holes have themes based on attractions within the theme park e.g. Nemesis.
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.
Alton Towers have submitted planing permission to install lodge type accommodation next to the Alton Towers Hotel. These Plans were originally submitted in November 2012, but were withdrawn in May 2013, they have been resubmitted, but on a smaller scale. As part of the plans, the Spa at the Alton Towers Hotel will be extended.
- 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.
Conservation Area restrictions
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 camouflaged 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, 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.
- Main gallery: Alton Towers Resort at WikiCommons
- List of theme parks in the United Kingdom
- Merlin Entertainments (Alton Towers parent company)
- Incidents at European amusement parks
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alton Towers Resort.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Alton Towers Resort.|
- Official website
- Lost Heritage: full architectural history of the house
- "Description of Theme Areas". Archived from the original on 2009-10-01.
- 1930 film of Alton Towers
- Heraldry at Alton Towers
- Alton Towers: Before it was Famous (on themagiceye at Joyland)