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Review: Alton Towers - Day 2 - What Was That?!

As many of us know, Alton Towers is a two day theme park due to the size and long queues. Even on our low-season trip, we definitely needed the second day. And on that day we experienced the weirdest dark ride that exists in the UK..

On our second day at the Towers we made a plan: Do all the rides we didn't do the day before and then reride the things we loved the most. And do a massive shopping spree ofcourse, because Merlin (the owner of Alton Towers and several other theme parks) has upped their merch game. The only coasters we were missing on our list were Spinball Whizzer and Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure. And both of those are right at the beginning of the park. We started with Spinball Whizzer, a Maurer Spinning coaster. This one surprised me, as it was a really enjoyable ride! Except for the theming, that is just pure shit. Its's supposed to be a pinball theme, but by the looks of it they just gave up while making this. The station is really sad and doesn't even have theming, the coaster itself looks old and janky. Overall, the ride looks like it came from the 70s and never had any TLC.

Circling back around, we find ourselves in the Kids area of Alton Towers, CBeebies land. Not much to see or do for us, except for this one little family coaster called Octonauts. Luckily for us it was a quiet day and we could board the kiddie coaster with our group of 6 adults. We literally laughed our asses off on this ride, to the point the ride operator asked us if 'Everything was alright back there?'. Which ofcourse, resulted in even more laughing. When the ride isn't much fun, you try to BE the fun, right? It was a two lap special, so double photo credit! As we bought the unlimited on-ride photos again, we were on a quest to gather all of the photos. And ofcourse have some fun with the photos ;) Surely we made the ride ops day with our laughter!

That left us with one more credit we wanted in Alton Towers, which was Gangsta Granny the Ride. In my research before the trip, I heard a lot about this ride. Mainly: this is the weirdest darkride ever. We had to check this out because all those reviews made us curious! The theming around this ride and the building was actually really cool! Unfortunately none of us made any photos of this ride. We weren't sure what to expect and we all thought it was going to be one of those 'shooting' dark rides. Turns out it wasn't. Being Dutch, the whole Gangsta Granny story was unknown to us. Which left us confused in this dark ride. Although the ride was set up well and the story was easily understandable, I do understand why people say this ride is weird. The scenes were funny but more of a movie than a dark ride. I like my darkrides with animatronics and props, not screens.. But definitely a great ride for families!

At this point, we did all the rides we wanted to do at Alton Towers. So it was time to conquer the rest again with the rerides! We definitely wanted to reride The Smiler, TH13TEEN and Wickerman. Especially TH13TEEN as that ride caught us all off guard! We spent the rest of the day circling around the park, as there was a lot of down time causing long queues at some of the rides. We were not planning to wait any more than 20 minutes for a reride, so we monitored the queues and went back and forth in the park. Surely we got our steps in that day! Around lunch time we spotted a nacho and hot dog place that looked good. I chose the loaded nachos and holymoly! That was indeed LOADED! Absolutely worth the money!

The Rollercoaster Restaurant in Alton Towers Resort
Rollercoaster Restaurant

A week before we went to Alton Towers, I decided to see if we could eat at the Rollercoaster Restaurant in the park. So I made a reservation for the second day, right at park closing time. We had seen this kind of restaurant in Europa Park, but didn't eat there as there was a huge line everytime we walked past! This time we were lucky with our reservation. We were prepared for high prices and mediocre food quality, but it was actually pretty good food. The only thing that didn't work for us, was the way you order your food. It's all through a QR code on your phone, which works fine if you are from the UK I guess. We all had trouble with our internet and wifi. Besides that, the only way to pay for your food is through creditcard. Which is a shame, as not everyone has a creditcard. It took us some tries to order our food, but when done it arrived really quick! The whole coaster thing is a gimmick ofcourse, but it was fun to experience for once! I wouldn't particularly recommend eating here for the food, but if you have the chance: Do it for the overall experience. Especially if you have kids around, it's a good way to end your day!

The final verdict: Is Alton Towers worth the travel from the Netherlands to the UK? Absolutely! No doubt one of the better theme parks I have been to. But keep in mind that this park can be a pain in the ass in high-season, as operations can be really bad. Be sure to monitor queue times in several different periods to decide which period is the best to go. If you don't mind waiting 80+ minutes for a rollercoaster, then it doesn't really matter. It's at least a 2 day park, so take that into account when planning your trip. Also don't forget that this park is enormous and built on hills. You definitely need good and comfortable shoes. Especially since the Sky Ride (transportation ride) has been closed for a long long time.

With the refurbished Nemesis opening in 2024 and Project Horizon (indoor rollercoaster) probably opening in 2025, there is plenty of reason to come back to this park!

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