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Mardi Gras At Alton Towers

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The first of five events this year at Alton Towers Resort is happening right now and till June 22nd and it is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday happens the day before Ash Wednesday or 47 days before Easter. It’s a carnival celebration which highlights and celebrates the last day of eating rich fatty food and therefore giving up a certain type of food for lent.

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers
Alton Towers have transformed Towers Street into a carnival celebration with lots of themed stages reflecting different areas of the park. The main stage on the front lawn has entertainment throughout the day and you can watch from one of the many picnic benches. For those that would like to sample foods of the world 'food street' is also just under the walkway alongside the towers. You can enjoy Chinese, Greek or Italian food or our favourite a king donut.


Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers



Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers


Whilst walking around the park be prepared to see stilt walkers, dancers, musicians and lots of other family themed entertainment.

The Mardi Gras celebrations are included in your ticket so you can enjoy everything Mardi Gras has to offer at no extra cost.

You will also find some Mardi Gras souvenirs in Tower Street shop including hats, beads and T-shirts.

Alton Towers can be so busy, rushing from ride to ride so it’s nice to just sit back and enjoy the entertainment provided.

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers

Mardi Gras sign at Alton Towers


As I said earlier this is the first of five events happening at Alton Towers Resort this year. Next is in September when Alton Towers will be transformed for Oktoberfest. Prepare for spooks, chills and family fun in October when Alton Towers is transformed for Scarefest. Another personal favourite of ours is the fireworks display that happens in November and then a nice way to finish off the year is celebrating Christmas time at Alton Towers.

As well as Mardi Gras there are lots of new things to enjoy at Alton Towers Resort including David Walliams World featuring the Gangsta Granny Ride and the four Retro Squad Rides. 

Michelle
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Where To Stay At The Alton Towers Resort

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We have been visiting Alton Towers for as long as I can remember. In the past 15 years we have visited Alton Towers at least 3 times per year and have watched as it has grown in to the resort it is today. Originally Alton Towers was a day trip which you could enjoy with your family or friends but now it is more than that. It's a UK holiday resort with a theme park, a waterpark, mini golf and a wide range of accommodation to choose from and there are lots of reasons to stay over at the Alton Towers Resort. We have been lucky to stay in most of the resorts accommodation over the years and can tell you which hotel to stay in at the Alton towers Resort to suit your needs. 

    The alton towers hotel


    The Alton Towers Hotel

    The Alton Towers Hotel is the original hotel and usually our first choice when booking a stay. The hotel is themed around the explorer Sir Algenon who landed at Alton Towers and made this hotel his home. The hotel is beautifully decorated inside and has gorgeous gardens and features on the outside. 

    The hotel main entrance is on level two and consists of the reception area, a small shop selling gifts and snacks and a small Costa Coffee. Here you will be able to check in and out, book your restaurant reservations, find out information regarding opening times and predicted weather for the duration of your stay. You will find the entertainment board providing you with a schedule of the entertainment available that evening. 

    Rooms and Suites are located on every floor of the hotel. You can choose to take the lift or enjoy the views from the stunning staircase. 

    Level 1 has the arcade and toilets. The arcade at the Alton Towers Hotel is only small however there is a larger arcade in the adjacent hotel Splash Landing

    On the ground floor you have the Dragons Bar, The Secret Restaurant and Atrium which provides evening entertainment for all the family. 

    While at the resort you can also enjoy a visit to the Spa which is located in the Alton Towers Hotel.


    The Rooms
    There are a wide variety of rooms and suites to meet your needs and budget with each room type having a different theme. 

    The Explorer Room - This is your standard room at the Alton Towers hotel. It consists of a double bed and usually a set of bunkbeds. The theme is based on Sir Algenon's travels and are decorated with maps, compasses and flying boats. 

    We have stayed in the Explorer Room many times and it has everything you need for an overnight stay for up to a family of four.

    The Moon Voyage Room - This room is themed around Sir Algenon's visit to the moon and is space themed. The room is very similar to the Explorer Room except the children have their own area to sleep, watch tv or play XBOX. 

    We have also stayed in a Moon Voyage Room and the children's separate area was a hit with the boys especially as it is equipped with a TV and XBOX. These rooms are great for families who need a little extra space and entertainment in the room. 

    Artic Explorer Room at Alton Towers


    The Artic Explorer Room - This is usually our first choice when it comes to booking a room at the hotel. The Artic Explorer room is based on Sir Algenon's travels to the artic and has a snow themed decor. 

    We have found that there is more floor space in these rooms and they are usually located on a the main entrance floor. The room has a double bed, a single bed and a truckle bed which is pulled out from under the single. We prefer this room setup than those with bunk beds.

    These are the main three room types within the hotel however you can choose to book a suite especially if it is a special occasion. There are a number of suites available all with a different theme including The Chocolate Room, The Smiler Room and The Coca Cola Room. 

    The Coca Cola Room

    The Coca Cola Room


    Suites - We have only stayed in the Coca Cola Suite so can't comment on the others however we absolutely loved the room and it was the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. 

    The Coca Cola room is themed around the brand and features a double bed, a set of bunk beds and a pull out double sofa bed so can comfortably sleep six. As the room is a suite you can expect lots of floor space and special features such as a fridge full of complimentary Coca Cola and a game console in the room. You will also be treated with celebration balloons and chocolates on arrival. 

    The room and extras are a lovely treat to head back to after a day in the theme park however the rooms are costly an we would probably only stay in a suite for a very special occasion as you don't really get much time in your room as you are so busy enjoying the resort. 

    Why Stay At The Alton Towers Hotel?
    The Alton Towers Hotel is the perfect base for you to explore the resort. It's the original hotel and unlike other accommodation around the resort this hotel actually feels like a hotel with its gorgeous decor, beautiful features and ambience. 

    The Secret Garden restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening meal or breakfast with some tables having views over the beautiful gardens towards the back. 

    There are more room choices within the hotel to suit all needs and budgets. We also find the rooms to be bigger than Splash Landings Hotel.

    If you do want to explore what Splash Landing hotel has to offer you can always take the indoor walkway which connects the two hotels. 

    Outside the Splash Landing Hotel


    Splash Landing Hotel

    The Splash Landing hotel is themed around the Caribbean. Everything about the hotel from the fixtures, furnishing, restaurant and rooms have a calypso feel and is ideal for those who would like a hotel stay to remember. 

    As soon as you enter the hotel on level two you feel like you have just stepped on to a Caribbean island. As well as the reception, small shop selling snacks and gifts on this level you will find Ma Garrita's Bar. Ma Garrita's serves delicious cocktails as well as beers and soft drinks with a tropical themed terrace or windows overlooking the waterpark. It is also home to the Calypso Crew kids club who provide entertainment throughout the day and evening for the kids staying at any of the resort accommodation.

    On level one you will find toilets, a large arcade and Flambo's restaurant. Here you will enjoy your breakfast or if you are staying for an evening meal they serve grills, burgers, salads and a kids menu all in a tropical surrounding with some tables overlooking the waterpark below. 

    On the ground level you will find The Waterpark. The Waterpark is an indoors Waterpark with an outside area too. It boasts a Master Blaster Coaster and Lazy River and has a Bubbly Wubbly pool and flumes outside. Make a splash in Lagoona Bay, head to the interactive Wacky Waterworks or little ones can paddle and play in Little Leak.


    The Rooms
    Splash Landings Hotel offers the choice of three rooms to suit your requirements and budget. 

    Beachcomber Room - This room is a standard room that lives up to your Caribbean expectations. Brightly coloured bedding, pineapple shaped lamp and sand and water patterned carpet. 

    Rooms sleep up to 4 and consist of a double bed and a set of bunk beds. Cots are available on request. 

    When staying at Splash Landings this is the hotel room we choose every time. It's comfortable and always clean.

    Pirate Room - Inspired by Mutiny Bay, the pirate room is a must for little adventurers. You will be staying in the Captains Quarters filled with Pirate themed decor and hidden treasures. Can you crack the code to unlock them?

    The Pirate Room is spacious offering room for up to 6 people. The children can enjoy the XBOX console that is available in the room and also a mini fridge filled with complimentary water. 

    Ice Age Room - Despite Ice Age being removed from the theme park years ago Splash Landings hotel still offers an Ice Age Themed room for fans of the movies. 

    Designed and themed around the Ice Age you can cosy up under fur blankets in your own artic den with ice berg walls.

    Each room sleeps up to 6 people with an XBOX console and Ice Age Game and a mini fridge filled with complimentary water. 

    Why Stay At The Splash Landing Hotel?
    Splash Landing is perfect for guests who want to be submerged in to the Caribbean theme and feel like they are actually on a tropical island once inside. The temperature is always warmer in this hotel so you usually find guests walking round in shorts and flip flops even during the colder months. 

    The entertainment has always been more child friendly at Splash Landing with games and fun throughout the evening shows. We also prefer the larger arcade in this hotel too. 

    Although all guests can access The Waterpark, it is just down a few steps once you have finished breakfast or before checking in. 

    It is also closer to the Monorail which takes you to the theme park.

    The CBeebies Land Hotel

    CBeebies Hotel


    CBeebies Land Hotel 

    Even though we are regulars to the resort and staying over throughout the year we have never stayed at the CBeebies Land Hotel. It's aimed at littler ones and the boys were too old when it opened. We have however visited inside and looked around and it would be the perfect choice for CBeebies fans. 

    When the hotel was designed and built they definitely had children in mind so you can expect bright colours, CBeebies theme running throughout the whole hotel, interactive features and entertainment exclusive to hotel guests. 

    The Windmill Restaurant has lots of yummy food for the kids to enjoy including fish fingers, pasta dishes and burgers. 

    There is a gift shop inside selling lots of CBeebies merchandise. 

    Keeping the kids entertained is a priority at the hotel and the team provide non stop entertainment throughout the day. Join in with the Ubercorn disco to burn off some energy and dance away to some of Ubercorns favourite music. Meet some of your favourite characters with Meet and Greets. Join the Spot Bots on screen as the CBeebies Land Hotel team help you with some of the Spot Bot puzzles. Just before bedtime enjoy some stargazing on a comfy beanbag.

    The Rooms
    There is a huge range of rooms and suites in the CBeebies Land Hotel to suit family size, requirements and budget.

    Bugbies Room - Although this is your standard room choice it will not feel like it once inside. The room is decorated and themed around CBeebies Bugbies characters. It's brightly coloured and features and double bed and bunk beds. 

    The children have their own sleeping area which features an interactive play wall. 

    The room can sleep up to a family of 5.

    Themed Rooms - Similar layout and features of a Bugbies room the themed rooms are deluxe and are themed around some of your favourite characters. Choose from Octonauts, Postman Pat, Swashbuckle, In The Night Garden and Something Special.

    Suites - As I mentioned earlier the suites available at the Alton Towers Hotels are perfect for larger families, those who would like a little more floor space or if celebrating a special occasion. 

    The suites at The CBeebies Land Hotel sleep up to 7 people and there are a variety of themes to choose from, Postman Pat, In The Night Garden, Swashbuckle or Something Special. 

    Why Stay At The CBeebies Land Hotel?
    The hotel has children in mind so its bright, fun, interactive and themed around CBeebies and the CBeebies characters. Entertainment and Meet and Greets are scheduled throughout the day to keep little ones busy when they are not at the theme park. 

    Toddler friendly features available including cots, baby baths, children's toilet seats and steps for the bathroom sink. 

    Entertainment is exclusive to CBeebies Land Hotel guests and Early Ride Access at CBeebies Land is included. 


    Woodland lodges


    The Enchanted Village

    The Enchanted Village is like a fairytale with woodland lodges and luxury treehouses amongst winding pathways with twinkling lights. The Enchanted Village is set back behind the hotels and is furthest from the theme park. 

    The Enchanted Village has its own reception for check in to the Woodland Lodges. There is a small gift shop within the village, children's play areas and small arcade machines. 

    The Crooked Spoon Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. 

    Woodland lodges

    Woodland lodges


    Woodland Lodges
    Woodland Lodges offer you the privacy of your own log cabin within the Enchanted Village. Each cabin sleeps up to 5 people with a double bed and a separate sleeping area for children featuring bunk beds and a truckle bed. 

    Each Woodland Lodge offers free wifi, TV and an outdoor decking area to relax at after a long day at the park. 

    Luxury Treehouses
    There are five luxury treehouses within the Alton Towers Resort. Each treehouse offers luxury accommodation for up to 8 people. 

    The Treehouses have their own private decking with a hot tub overlooking the Enchanted Village. You can access exclusive in-resort takeaway service or make use of the kitchenette with crockery and glasses for up to 8 people. 

    The treehouse will be equipped with a 50" Plasma TV, PS4 and family friendly games. 

    You will be given VIP parking, an earlier check in time of 2pm with a Costa waiting for you on arrival.

    Stargazing Pods 
    The stargazing pods are the newest addition to the resort offering budget accommodation. Each pod consists of a double bed and two single beds. The pod does come equipped with lighting and heaters however it is similar to a camping experience where you access to communal toilets, showers, baby change facilities located in another area of the camp. 

    These are perfect for families who want to enjoy a stay over at the resort without the great expense. 

    Why Stay In The Enchanted Village?
    The Enchanted Village offers a unique experience and is perfect for those who enjoy the idea of having their own personal lodge, cabin or pod. 

    In the evening it looks magical with the twinkling lights guiding you through the dark pathways. The Crooked Spoon restaurant is at the heart of the village and is within walking distance from the lodges. 

    Anything Else?

    Most short breaks at Alton Towers are based on Bed and Breakfast. You need to add on theme park tickets to your booking to gain access to the theme park unless you are a merlin pass holder.

    A complimentary pass to use at the Extraordinary Golf is included in overnight stays.

    Check in is 3pm (unless otherwise stated based on your accommodation) and check out is 10am.

    Car Parking is free and some accommodation offer VIP parking. 

    Tickets to the Waterpark can be purchased at the time of booking.

    Early access to the theme park is included however this does not include special events such as Scarefest. 

    Restaurant bookings can be made prior to your arrival using the email link in your booking. 

    Free WIFI is included throughout the resort. 


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    Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you stayed at Alton Towers or planning a stay soon? Which accommodation did you choose? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

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    Michelle
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    What's New At Merlin Attractions In 2021

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    Today is the day that we begin the second step of the Roadmap out of lockdown and restrictions. All non essential shops will open, as well as hairdressers and beer gardens to name a few. I think the one thing we have been looking forward to the most is the opening of the Theme Parks. Visiting theme parks is our favourite day out and we can't wait till we can visit our favourites this year. 

    Merlin Standard Annual Pass


    We are Merlin Pass holders so their attractions will be top of our visit list this year. They have been working hard behind the scenes during lockdown to bring lots of new and exciting updates to their parks and attractions in 2021. Here is what we can look forward to.



      Alton Towers

      Due to Covid-19 the opening of David Walliams land was delayed but it now looks set to open this year with the 'land' being added to the park map and features new rides. 

      Gangsta Granny: The Ride
      This dark ride will take you on a journey based on the popular David Walliams book, Gangsta Granny. 

      You must be 0.9m or over to ride, and 1.2m or over to ride without an adult. All riders aged 11+ must wear a face mask. 

      Royal Carousel
      Hop on board the Queens horses or sit on the throne as you spin round and round. 

      If you are under 1.3m you must be with an adult (18+). All riders aged 11+ must wear a face mask. 

      Raj's Bouncy Bottom Burp
      Bounce up and down on Raj's Bouncy Bottom Burp Ride. 

      You must be at least 0.9m to ride Raj's Bouncy Bottom Burp. If you are under 1.1m you must be with an adult (18+). All riders aged 11+ must wear a face mask. 

      If you are familiar with Alton Towers you may know David Walliams land will take over the former land Cloud Cuckoo Land. 

      Although the location has not been confirmed yet I can only assume that Gangsta Granny The Ride will either be in the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory ride which closed in 2015 or the old Wobble World play area. 

      The Royal Carousel and Raj's Bouncy Bottom Burp sound very familiar to the Carousel and Frog Hopper which were located in Cloud Cuckoo Land so may not be new rides as such, maybe just rebranded. 

      Alton made a very exciting announcement recently on their social media that they have added three 'pop up' type rides to the park called The Retro Squad. 

      We don't know a lot about these rides other than they are old school rides called Mixtape, Funk'n'Fly and Roller Disco. 

      The locations of the rides have been shared with a brief description.

      Roller Disco 
      Located in The Dark Forest and is a spinning ride.

      Mix Tape 
      Located in X Sector and seems to be a 'bouncy' type of ride. 

      Funk'n'Fly 
      Located in Forbidden Valley and says we will soar to heights.

      All three rides require you to be a minimum of 1.2m and all riders aged 11+ must wear a face mask. 

      All the above rides may not open on the 12th April 2021. Further updates will be made with opening dates once released.

      Chessington World Of Adventures

      It looks like there is just one new addition to Chessington World of Adventures in 2021. 

      Croc Drop
      Jump on board and reach great heights before being plunge 25m in to the Crocs Jaw.

      Croc Drop is a fun and exciting 'drop tower' type of ride which requires all riders to be a minimum of 1.2m. If you are between 1.2-1.3 you must ride with an adult over the age of 16. All riders over 1.3 can ride alone. 

      There is no update about face masks for this ride however I assume it will be similar to Alton Towers. 

      Legoland Windsor Resort

      Opening on the 29th May Lego Mythica is a new land coming to Legoland Windsor Resort. Mythica is a parallel universe where all the lego creatures we create go so they can come to life. 

      There are three new rides opening in the land of Lego Mythica and includes the UK's first ever flying theatre ride. 

      Flight Of The Sky Lion
      Take a ride with Maximus through Lego Mythica and explore the realms facing some of the rarest and scariest creatures.

      Fire and Ice Free Fall
      Two spinning top tower rides.

      Hydra's Challenge.
      An interactive water ride with twists and turns.

      Again there isn't much information about the new land and the three exciting new rides. As soon as information is released I will update minimum height restrictions and other updates. 

      Thorpe Park 

      Just one new attraction heading to Thorpe Park this spring and it is a UK first.

      Black Mirror Labyrinth
      Opening on May 21st The UK's first ever Black Mirror Experience attraction. Described as a twisted and sensory defying maze it will lead you in to the core of the Black Mirror Universe. 

      Based on the description I will assume this will be adults only however will update as soon as more information is released. 

      Warwick Castle

      A new activity trail to follow.

      Zog and The Quest For The Golden Star
      Included in the price of your ticket and available until 5th September 2021, the Zog activity trail will keep you busy. Learn how to become a true dragon, rescue a princess and collect stamps along the way. 

      Zog will be there to pose for a photograph and hand out some golden stars too. 

      All these new rides and attractions should keep us busy this year. What are you looking forward to most?

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      Michelle
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      Scarefest At Alton Towers

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      Beginning on the 8th-10th and then the 15th - 31st October, Alton Towers will transform the resort in to a Halloween haven of all things spooky for its Halloween event, Scarefest. We visit every year and in our opinion it keeps getting better and better and we couldn't wait to see what was in store for us this year. 

      Alton Towers have promised that this year it will be as spooktacular as ever with lots of thrills and chills planned. The one thing we love at Alton Towers is they provide Halloween fun for all the family. 

      Scarefest sign at Alton Towers
      What To Expect When Visiting Scarefest, Alton Towers 
      Alton Towers really do get their spook on when it comes to the Halloween event and you can expect all kinds of tricks and treats. 

      Open till 9pm every night you can experience your favourite rides in the dark, 4 scare mazes, family fun and lots more. 

      Scarefest at Alton Towers


      NEW FOR 2021 - Trick O'Treat Town
      Suitable for all ages Trick O'Treat Town is an interactive walkthrough where you must pluck up the courage to knock on doors. The residents of Spooky Avenue up to Witchy Woods love Trick or Treating so be prepared for plenty of treats and tricks too.

      Adults (12+) must purchase a bag (£10) to gain entrance to Trick O'Treat Town. An adult can share a bag with up to 2 children aged 11 and under.

      Alton Ancestors
      On Arrival you will usually bump in to the Alton Ancestors. They have left their gravestones behind and are back from the dead. One thing you should know about the Ancestors is they love to dance so make sure you check them out and even join in.

      CBeebies Land Monster Ball
      Join the CBeebies characters live in Big Fun ShowTime as they dance and play games. the show features Bing, Ubercorn, Peter Rabbit and many more of your favourite CBeebies friends, you can even dress up in your favourite costume.

      Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls
      We visited the Alton Towers gardens for this first time last year just as lockdown eased and I have said ever since that I hope we visit again. This year the Gardens has its own event during Scarefest. View the gardens as never before and witness them come to life in a whole new spooktacular…LIGHT! This is a free attraction and not a live scare maze.

      scarefest at alton towers


      Freaky Fun Zone
      You won't want to miss the Freaky Fun Zone on the front lawns.  The five super-freaky Halloween characters put on the most spook-tacular shows, with meet and greets and photo opportunities. Little ones will love this as the characters are so much fun and very colourful. 

      Thrilling Frights

      scarefest at alton towers


      Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard
      New for 2020 the Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard is an outdoor maze inviting you to venture into the Freak Show hidden den to discover the secret of the psycho clowns’ next big show.

      Altonville Mine Tours
      The ‘Skin Snatchers’ are the outcasts of their whole family. Rumours are they lived in that old mine. It’s deep, dark and the damp inside gives you the proper shivers. Just recently some fool reopened it – for tours! Be careful: they say those Skin Snatchers have a secret, too horrifying for words. 

      The Attic: Terror of the Towers
      In Alton people talk of the Governess – how she’s haunted by the death of young children. She wants revenge, and she will do it by seizing the spirits of the living in retribution. They say her ghost haunts The Attic and that’s where you’re headed.

      Alton's scare mazes are award winning and definitely not for the faint hearted. Recommended for those aged 15+ and make sure you are prepared for anything. The scare mazes are an extra charge which can be pre booked online. 

      We have done a few scare attractions over the years with The Attic our most recent and I can confirm they are very scary.

      scarefest at alton towers


      There are also many other reasons to visit Alton Towers during Scarefest including the Alton Towers Dungeon and Darkest Depths

      Darkest Depths
      Enjoy some extra-spooky swashbuckling aboard ‘The Mutiny’, a notoriously spine-chilling ghost ship. You’ll truly earn your golden Piece of Eight by venturing into the darkest depths, avoiding the hazardous calls of the treacherous Sirens, dodging the swords of terrifyingly ghoulish pirate mutineers and coming face to face with the Kraken – the legendary monster of the seas!

      Alton Towers Dungeon
      As Scarefest descends on the Towers, enter The Alton Towers Dungeon for a little less laughing… and a lot more screaming! Will you be found guilty by the Bishop of Stafford, survive a visit to the Plague Doctor and make it out of The Witch of Burslem’s Cottage? Enter The Alton Towers Dungeon this Halloween, as we celebrate the most hideously horrible time of year with your delightful peasant screams… If you dare!

      Both attractions are recommended for guests age 10+ and a charge is applicable. Pre booking is advised. 
      scarefest at alton towers
      scarefest at alton towers


      As well as as this scary fun you can enjoy your favourite rides in the dark as the theme park is open till 9pm every night during Scarefest. 

      Also if you want to make the most of your visit to Scarefest you can stay over at the resort where the spooky fun continues. 


      If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

      Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

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      Michelle
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      What To Expect When Visiting Alton Towers After Lockdown

      6 comments
      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. 

      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. 

      ********************************************************************************

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      Michelle
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      Visiting Alton Towers Gardens

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      Alton towers

      Alton Towers holds very special memories for us. As individuals John, Big J and I have all been separately with friends. As a couple John and I have visited for over 20 years now and John proposed to me during the fireworks. We got Merlin Passes when big J was young and every year we would visit the fireworks and start a Christmas tradition of visiting Santa at his Sleepover at the Alton Towers Hotel. When little J was born we continued with our Merlin Passes and he has now turned out to be the biggest thrill seeker of us all, loving rollercoasters. We visit the Alton Towers Resort at least 6 times a year so not being able to visit this year has been hard. When Alton Towers announced they were going to open the gardens I was eager to visit however I wasn't sure whether it would feel weird especially for the boys not being able to go on the rides. We decided to go anyway for a day out and we all really enjoyed it.

      Alton Towers Gardens

      Obviously when you think of Alton Towers you think of a theme park but the gardens are actually quite a big part of the resort. I think we have maybe walked through them less than a handful of times and that was to get from one ride to another if the sky ride was closed, we have never stopped to actually appreciate how beautiful they are.

      Here are a few tips and hints to make the most out of your day.

      Alton Towers Gardens

      1. The gardens are open daily from 10-4pm and as the theme park is closed the gardens cost £12 per person or £1 if you are a pass holder. You have to book online and they will not accept walk ups.

      2. Upon arrival by car you head towards the coach parking / disabled parking area. Someone will be there to show you where to park. When we got there, there where only about 20 cars.

      3. Heading towards the main entrance you will see a pop up tent. Here they will take your temperature and check your bag. All staff had masks on.

      4. If you are familiar with Alton Towers then the toilets to the right of the entrance are open as are the ones in Mutiny Bay.

      The Smiler at Alton towers

      Social Distance Queues at Alton Towers

      Spinball Whizzer At Alton towers

      5. Once inside you can choose to head straight to the gardens via the 3 entrances or you can head up towards X Sector and the Towers for a stroll. It was so quiet but it was actually lovely to walk around taking nice photographs of the boys next to their favourite rides, Spinball Whizzer and Smiler.

      Walking alongside the Towers

      6. You cannot go inside the Towers at this time but you can walk along the front.

      7. Once inside the gardens you can choose from 3 routes. There is a map available to download online which will show you a suggested route, an alternative route and an accessible route.

      walking along a path

      Alton Towers Gardens

      8. Some of the pathways are uneven and some paths have steep steps to get up and down so always check your map for an alternative way if these paths and steps are unsuitable for you.

      Stonehenge at Alton Towers

      9. There are 13 points of interest in the gardens including Conservatories, fountains, a swiss cottage and even Stonehenge.

      10. You are more than welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens and their are plenty of bins around to dispose your litter.

      11. There is a snack shop open just by Mutiny Bay selling hot and cold drinks, ice creams and snacks.

      12. In the Mutiny Bay Courtyard there are approx 12-15 picnic benches under cover which is a nice place to enjoy a snack if it is too hot or raining. Just watch out for the hungry birds and ducks!

      13. Enjoy

      Boy sitting in Alton Towers





      We are actually really happy we went. It was lovely exploring the grounds and not rushing from one place to another. 

      ********************************************************************************

      If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

      Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

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      Michelle
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