What To Expect When Visiting Alton Towers After Lockdown

boy looking at an Alton Towers map

After our visit to the Alton Towers Gardens back in June we couldn't wait to get back to the theme park and ride the coasters. We decided to visit last week after we renewed our Merlin Passes at the Legoland Centre in Manchester. We pre booked our tickets and also booked a night at the Alton Towers hotel. We were keen to visit but also a little anxious how social distancing would work both in the park and hotel. 

Entering The Park
The entrance was extremely busy and there were huge queues. The monorail was off so the queues were backing up as people walked from the car parks. 

Temperature and bag checks first and also we were checked with a handheld metal detector scanner too. 

There was no social distancing taking place getting in to the park. Although there are guidelines on the floor as to where you should stand, most people just ignored this and huddled together. 

Towers Street
Towers Street was extremely busy. As everyone is entering the park at the same time it was very overcrowded in places as people were deciding which way to go, heading to guest services or just stopping to take pictures. 

The Rides
We managed quite a few rides so I will tell you about individual rides and how the socially distancing works. The queues were very busy for most rides which you would expect during Summer. There are chevrons in place within the queue lines but again most people just ignored these despite announcements every few minutes from staff reminding guests to socially distance from the guests in front and behind. 

Spinball Whizzer
Each ride seats 4 guests however they will only fill the ride with members from your own party. If you are a 'two' then the seats behind you are left empty. 

There is no single rider queue. 

This ride does not require you to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue was really big for this ride. We heard a family saying they had queued for 1 hour. They will only allow one ride access pass family on at a time so you have to wait for the guests using their passes to finish the ride before you can go on. 

Heave Ho
There are 6 rows on Heave Ho however they are only using the two back rows and one of the middle rows to ensure social distancing takes place on the ride. Only one family can sit per row. You will not be allowed to sit by other guests to fill up a row. 

This ride does not require you to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal.

wearing mask on ride at Alton Towers

Marauders Mayhem
This ride runs as it did previously with each barrel being used. 

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal.

Wicker Man
If you have experienced Wicker Man before you will know that just before you reach the ride you are enclosed in a room with other guests and you watch a short video. This has been removed. You are kept outside until it's your turn then you walk straight through the room and on to the ride. 

Every other row is kept free to ensure social distancing from other guests. 

There is no single rider queue.

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal.

The Runaway Mine Train
Every other row is kept free to ensure social distancing from other guests.

This was the only ride we saw being cleaned. They stopped the ride quite frequently and cleaned all the seats and bars. 

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal. They will let up to two ride access pass parties on the ride at any one time. 

Duel
Each cart seats 5 people however if your party is less you will not share a cart with anyone else. 

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

There is no ride access pass / disabled queue for this ride. It has been removed. 

Congo River Rapids
Each boat seats 8 people however if your party is less you will not share a boat with anyone else. 

This ride does not require you to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal however the entrance has moved. It is now down a pathway that is opposite Duel.  

The Blade ride at Alton Towers

The Blade
The blade has 10 rows available however only half are being used to allow social distancing. 

Both back rows are used as are rows 3 on each side. Another party will fill up one of the middle rows (row 5) on one side.

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal. They will let one ride access pass party on the ride at any one time. 

Nemesis
Every row is being used as normal, however if you have less than 4 in your party then you won't share your row.  

There is no single rider queue.

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal. They will let one ride access pass party on the ride at any one time. 

Galactica
Every row is being used as normal, however if you have less than 4 in your party then you won't share your row.  

There is no single rider queue.

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue has been moved. It is now next to the main entrance. They will let one ride access pass party on the ride at any one time. 

Thirteen
The rows at the back of the Thirteen train are filled with mannequins so are out of use. This is to ensure enough weight is on the train to allow it to go. Depending on party sizes they were only allowing 2-3 parties on at any one time to allow for social distancing. 

There is no single rider queue. 

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal. They will let one ride access pass party on the ride at any one time. 

Rita
Every other row is kept free to ensure social distancing from other guests.

There is no single rider queue. 

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal. They will let one ride access pass party on the ride at any one time. 

Smiler
Every row is being used as normal, however if you have less than 4 in your party then you won't share your row.  

There is no single rider queue.

This ride does require anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask.

The ride access pass / disabled queue runs as normal. Once at the lower staircase you are in with the main queue from this point on. 

Unfortunately we did not go on Hex, Oblivion or Enterprise so I am unable to update on these rides.

freestyle machines

Around The Park
There are hand sanitisers everywhere. 

There are keep left / keep right guides for you to follow ensuring you stay on your own side of the path.

Toilets were very clean and every time we went in there was a cleaner in there. If the sinks were in rows of three the middle one was the only one in use. All toilet cubicles were open which wasn't great if you open the door at  the same time as the person next to you. 

The FreeStyle drinks machines were open. I thought they wouldn't be available but it was. There were hand sanitisers close by to clean your hands both before and after.

We had a great few days at Alton Towers although even though we have our passes we still had to pre book our tickets. Pre booking your tickets online before you go guarantees entry and also lets Alton Towers know how many guests to expect. It's £1 per person to book and as we had to do the same for the Legoland Centre too I can see this mounting up over a year if it continues so could make it very costly on top of the annual pass cost. Hopefully they will come up with another solution for annual pass holders or at least reduce the yearly cost.

Michelle

6 comments

  1. Wow you did manage to get on a lot of rides which is great news, especially at this time of year!

    It’s a shame that social distancing wasn’t followed on the entry. I think that would put me off a little.

    Sounds like they’ve covered Covid well though x

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  2. Such an informative post. Somewhere local offers annual pass holders a voucher to then spend there for the value of the booking fee so they don't really lose out.

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  3. Seem a bit unfair to charge you extra when you've already paid for an annual pass, I hope they find a better solution for you. I have to admit, I'd be a bit nervous about visiting a theme park right now. We've observed the same as you have on a few days out, where people were not observing social distancing in queues despite measures in place.

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  4. This is really useful for anyone thinking of visiting Alton Towers, we used to go a lot when I was younger. I think lots of places have adapted really well since lockdown. It's a shame they still charge the extra £1 for pass holders though, hopefully they'll lift that charge soon.

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  5. Great post! We have decided to get Merlin passes this year and I think Alton towers is at the top of my husbands list lol! It sounds like they have great procedures in place so that everyone can still have a great day which is fab!

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  6. Such a shame you found it too busy. It must be really hard for them to manage queues with only half a ride operating. My kids really want to do a theme park but think I will wait

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Thanks for your comments. I love reading them :)