Alton Towers 2010

7-9 September 2010

 

 

 

 

We left Toddington just after 5.45am and headed up the M5/M6, with a comfort stop once through Birmingham; we beat any problems with traffic this year, passing quickly through the outskirts of Stoke and were soon on the local roads through Cheadle and Alton.  At exactly 8.0am the familiar view of the Alton Towers Hotel (above) was in front of us.  We checked in, left our bags and donned our park garb

 

 

Turning in towards the hotel

 

Despite arriving so promptly, we found it quite busy, and were not able to get on the first monorail to the park.  But we were soon on the forecourt, making our traditional comparison of shoes (right) – I think only Jay’s had changed since the previous year – and we had a short wait for the gates to open.

 

 

 

 

On the second morning, things were quieter – not only did we get the first monorail, but, once through the entrance, Teresa and Jay raced down Tower Street and were the very first into the park itself

 

 

Teresa pauses at the bottom of Tower Street

 

 

 

The Woodcutter’s Bar and Grill where we had lunch each day

 

 

… and Jay loved the nearby slush machine

 

The sitting area near Air – one of Roger’s habitual haunts

 

 

Later in the day Teresa by Squirrel Nutty’s ride

 

This year the Sky Ride was open again (fire had destroyed one of the stations in 2009)

 

 

The restored station in Cloud Cuckoo Land

 

After lunch at the Woodcutter’s Bar and Grill

 

Some large flowers near the Twirling Toadstools which Teresa and Jay rode

Of course, for Teresa and Jay, the main point of the visit is the rides, and here they are in no particular order

The entrance to this year’s new attraction – Th13teen

Little can be seen of the ride from the outside – its secrets lie within the forbidding castle

 

 

 

 

I noticed later in the year that the main innovation of  Th13teen was just about evident in the television adverts, but for most of the summer little was given away – except in visitors’ blogs if you cared to look – so I won’t drop any hints

 

 

 

The entrance to Air – no queue early on

 

 

 

 

Although Air was not officially open early, it did start early on the first morning and Teresa and Jay had several rides before the crowds arrived

 

It is Teresa’s all time favourite, and here she is riding at the front again

Air’s 3D logo

 

 

 

 

Two old favourites – the log flume (left) and the river rapids (right)

 

The Flume, however, is now a succession of bath-tubs, which doesn’t quite have the same aura

 

 

The Congo River Rapids is the only major ride that Roger still does.  Luckily it’s lost some of its popularity so several times we were able to go round twice in quick succession

 

 

 

 

 

Early mornings were devoted mainly to the Runaway Mine Train, which rattled round half-empty as you can see (left)

 

 

 

Once Teresa and Jay rode round in solitary state right at the front (just visible, left, disappearing into the distance).  Unfortunately Roger only discovered a rather better place for viewing and photographs when it was too late

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the sake of old times Teresa and Jay rode the Beastie several times – on its last year in the park.  Here they are at the front again (left)

 

 

 

Roger and Teresa had a return match in Duel – a shoot ‘em up game in ghostly darkness.  This time Teresa got her revenge and won by 39,000+ to 37,000+

 

You can see our scores (left – in  the enlargement) where Teresa’s is under  the gun replaced the wrong way round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger and Jay near the Gallopers Carousel – a traditional roundabout with cantering horses which we could all ride – several times

 

 

 

In between the rides we went to the more relaxing areas of the park, though we didn’t visit the gardens this year, our nearest approach being the view from the Sky Ride (right)

 

 

 

 

 

A brief rest in Mutiny Bay (above)

 

 

 

For old times sake we always visit Old MacDonald’s Farmyard (right)

 

The Riverbank Eye-Spy was as relaxing as ever but our ride on the tractors was interrupted by thunder, lightning and torrential rain:  the power was cut and we had to be evacuated from our tractor by a concerned attendant

 

After the storm, we rode in Squirrel Nutty’s elevated acorns

 

 

 

Teresa with cows

 

 

 

Roger with scarecrow

(the latter in red)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also spent some time in the immaculately maintained aquarium at Sharkbait Reef (by SEALIFE), with its wonderful displays of  exotic sea creatures, including sharks, huge spider crabs and elusive (this year at least) octopuses

 

Among the specimens, a horseshoe crab (far left) and a ray, sampling the chef’s special – vegetable kebab, which must have been good because he kept coming back for more

 

 

 

Almost time to leave the park – a final view across Mutiny Bay (right) and we walked past the shops in Tower Street (far right)

 

(Correction – we don’t walk past, of course, we go in and browse and sometimes buy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we crossed the forecourt back the monorail station, we passed the monument (right) to the now defunct Corkscrew – the first big attraction and for many years part of the Alton Towers logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our evenings were spent in the Alton Towers Hotel – this year with live cabaret in the bar each night (we sampled it briefly) and on our second night a good dinner

 

The singer on our first night (left)

 

 

 

 

In the morning we enjoyed the self service buffet breakfast – every imaginable breakfast food to choose from, or indeed sample ad lib, a good start to the day

 

Only the toast machine disappointed:  despite warnings to the customers (right), it was so badly set up that one pass through left the bread barely coloured and two passes through set it on fire – there was no alternative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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