Alton Towers!!!!!!!!!!, day 1

The beds were surprisingly spacious and comfy for a youth hostel so I got a good night’s sleep. After a hot shower and a good filling breakfast I was ready to don my “Air” T-shirt and drive to the park. On the way out we got our first proper look at the hall in daylight. The weather was quite misty but didn’t look too bad.

The park was VERY busy, full of people in every imaginable kind of Hallowe’en costume. I’d expected it to be quite busy due to the Scarefest, but was surprised it was even busier than it usually is on weekends in the summer. By the time we’d queued for our tickets, it was past 10am which meant the rides were already open.

First we took the Sky Ride over to Forbidden Valley where our favourite rides are. (Actually, that’s not quite true. First, I breathed a sigh of relief as the sweet, sweet signal found its way once again to my phone, and felt my racing heart and urge to kill subsiding as I got my much-needed internet fix. I’m half joking. But only half).

It was good to see the Sky Ride back in operation… on two out of my previous three visits it was out of action due to first the Forbidden Valley station and then the Cloud Cuckoo Land station burning down. (This means there is now only one station left that hasn’t at some point gone up in flames. I bet the staff are eyeing that one nervously and hoping bad things don’t really come in threes). From our gondola we saw something strange… kittens on top of the Mexican restaurant near the Flume! About four of them, cute little bundles of fur just playing on the roof… no idea what they were doing up there. If anyone does know, please tell us.

First ride of the day was Nemesis. It’s still my favourite, I think. I don’t find it scary anymore now, just really, really fun. After that we found that the Air queue was still reasonably short so we did Air as well (it used to be my favourite before I plucked up the courage was forced by threats of eternal ridicule to go on Nemesis a couple of years ago).

Heather hates the Blade, so naturally we forced her to go on it twice in a row.

I like it, but I can kind of see where she’s coming from. It is much scarier than you’d expect from watching it, especially if you sit up at the back.

That was all the Forbidden Valley rides done apart from the Ripsaw, which no-one was in a hurry to go on as it was a cold day to risk getting sprayed with water. Instead we wandered around the park taking in some of the less intense rides before lunch. Though opinions vary on what is “less intense”, of course. Alex, for instance, will happily go on any of the big coasters, but refuses point blank to go anywhere near this

… after an unfortunate incident in the past involving Alex having just eaten and Gavin spinning our barrel like a madman and refusing to stop. (Disappointingly, Gavin couldn’t get it to go very fast this time, even with my help. Maybe we were in a dodgy barrel, or maybe it was the one before that was dodgy).

Later in the day, the queues got long… VERY long…

… or maybe they always just run it with a skeleton crew at this time of year ;). But in all seriousness, the queues were longer than I’ve ever seen them before, up to two hours for Sonic Spinball at the peak time. So during the afternoon we avoided the big rides and went on smaller things. We also wandered round the petting zoo and the aquarium:

The new spider crabs were pretty big and freaky. I got a surprisingly good photo of a seahorse:

Gavin and Heather tried to get their fingernails done by the cleaner shrimps like usual, but there were too many kids and not enough shrimps to go round.

(By the way, if the Alton Towers employee who was dressed up as a pirate outside the aquarium and who shouted at a passing woman “What’s that you’re wearing? A Disney T-shirt?? You don’t see us going round Disneyland wearing Alton Towers T-shirts, do you?!” is reading this… you made my day! 😀 ).

For dinner we went to the all you can eat pizza and pasta buffet in Katanga Canyon. It was just as good as I remembered, and I overdid the pasta bolognese just as much as I did last time. After that the queues had died down a little and we decided to go back to Forbidden Valley to ride the rides in the dark!

We got on both Nemesis and Air before they closed. Air in the dark was spectacular, I would highly recommend it. It was weird being in the park at night, it felt as if we weren’t meant to be there. The lighting didn’t really seem bright enough for a theme park and even with a lot of extra portable floodlights there were lots of very dark corners. It all added to the atmosphere.

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