Theme Park
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Celebrating Oktoberfest At Alton Towers

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Last update August 2023

Each year I feel Alton Towers gets bigger and better and this year Alton Towers have 6 events to celebrate. They started with Festival of Thrills and then Mardi Gras that took play May/June. Now we are on to the third event and from 9th September Alton Towers will be transformed into the German festival Oktoberfest. The festival will take place till 1st October and you can enjoy all the fun and entertainment of Oktoberfest included in your admission fee. 

Oktoberfest sign

What to expect at Alton Towers Oktoberfest
For those not familiar with the festival, Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest, annual festival in Munich, Germany, is held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Alton Towers bring the fun of the festival to the resort offering delicious food, live entertainment and of course, beer.

Oktoberfest at Alton Towers

oktoberfest sign for Alton Towers

When you enter Alton Towers you will be greeted with German music, blue and white decorations and the smell of delicious food in the background.

brownie and cream

If you head to the front lawn you will see a huge Oktoberfest entrance leading to a variety of food stalls including churros, brownies and marshmallows.

man and woman having a stein of lager

You will see the Wunder Bar to the left of the stage which has a range of German beers on offer. You can choose to purchase a pint at the bar or head to the souvenir stall first and purchase a stein glass. Then you can head back to the Wunder Bar where they will fill up your stein which averages about 2 and a half pints. 

Tables at Oktoberfest at Alton Towers

There are plenty of picnic benches on the front lawn where you can sit and enjoy your beer and snacks or you can sit upstairs in the Wunder Bar however seating is very limited to just a few tables. 

Live entertainment stage at Oktoberfest Alton Towers

The live entertainment stage which has been a permanent fixture over the past few months has a variety of  entertainment including german dancing which was a crowd favourite. 

Oktoberfest stage at Alton Towers

If you are familiar with the resort you can head to the Bierkellar which is situated in the courtyard in Mutiny Bay. Undercover seating options are available here with live entertainment throughout the day. This year Oktoberfest has extended from the theme park entrance and front lawn to the whole of Mutiny Bay. 

Anything Else?
As well as enjoying the German fun you can also enjoy all your favourite rides. 

Opening times do vary so be sure to check out the opening times schedule. The park closing is anywhere from 4-7pm depending on the day. 

Oktoberfest is included in your ticket price so is no extra cost to you. 

Head to the resort before the 1st October for your chance to join in all the fun. 

To extend your fun you can stay over at one of the many choices of accommodation at Alton Towers

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Virtual Queue for Mandrill Mayhem At Chessington World Of Adventures

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Disclosure - This post contains affiliate links. 

Being Merlin Pass Holders we cannot wait to head to Chessington World of Adventures this year. It's been a while since we visited and we are looking forward to the new additions to the park. From the 15th May 2023 you will be able to head in to the world of Jumanji at Chessington World of Adventures. The new land offers visits 3 new rides - Ostrich Stampede, Mamba Strike and Mandrill Mayhem. Unlike the other rides Mandrill Mayhem will be operated using a virtual queuing system. If you haven't used a virtual queuing system before, it's really simple and I've popped more details below. 

mandrill mayhem poster

What Is A Virtual Queue?
A virtual queue is exactly how it sounds. You wait your queue time exploring and enjoying the rest of the park until it is your time to ride. 

How Do I Get A Queue Time?
Getting a queue time should be fairly simple. All you need to do is on the day of your visit to Chessington World of Adventures head to the reserve and ride website from 9:45am. This will allow you to book a time slot to return to Mandrill Mayhem. You will also be able to scan QR codes within the park or reserve a slot through the Chessington World of Adventures app. 

How Will I Know When It Is My Time To Ride?
Once you have reserved your virtual queue time, a countdown will appear and once you reach zero you will be able to make your way to the ride. You will be given 45 minutes to return to the ride. 

What If I Couldn't Get A Return Time?
Queue times will be given on a first come first served basis. Chessington have announced that more virtual queue slots will become available throughout the day so I would just keep checking the website to app. 
How Many Times Can I Ride Mandrill Mayhem?
Guests can ride Mandrill Mayhem once per day. This allows more guests to be able to access the virtual queue and ride. 

How Much Is A Virtual Queue Slot?
Virtual queue slots for Mandrill Mayhem are free. Fast Track is not available for the ride.

How Many People Can I Reserve A Virtual Queue Slot For?
When accessing the reserve and ride website you can book a virtual queue slot for up to 6 people.

What Happens If The Ride Closes?
If the ride closes while you are in the virtual queue your countdown will pause. This will allow the ride time to get up and running again however if it closes for the rest of your day then your queue time will be cancelled. 

Using a Virtual Queuing system may seem daunting however once you have accessed the ride and reserve website you should be able to access the virtual queue with ease. We used virtual queues on our recent trip to Walt Disney World and the process was simple. The only downside is only being able to ride once but I understand why that is the rule. 

Are you looking forward to visiting the new World of Jumanji at Chessington World of Adventures?


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Seaworld, Orlando

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Disclosure - We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

Our on recent visit to Walt Disney World we decided to head out of the parks and visit two other attractions, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. We have visited Universal before but we had never been to SeaWorld so we were really looking forward to it. SeaWorld tends to get quite bad press although I never actually take notice of such things in the media unless I experience it myself, so I was eager to explore the park myself and make my own decisions.

SeaWorld entrance
Arriving at SeaWorld was easy from Walt Disney World, we ordered an Uber which took us straight to the main gate and cost around $11. We headed straight through security and then were greeted by a very friendly dolphin who was more than happy to pose for a photo with little J.

I had already downloaded the SeaWorld app so had an idea of what we would get up to there and also little J was quite excited to visit the new Sesame Street Land.

Just from glancing at the app you will know that SeaWorld isn't just about animals and shows it's so much more than that. It's a theme park too with actually some of the best thrill rides we have ever been on but I will talk more about them later.

We started to make our way around the park and we soon came to the StringRay area. We have visited many aquariums in the past and seen StringRay up close but we actually got the chance to feed them which was an amazing experience.

Stringray food
Stringray food
The StingRay food is available to buy for $6 and I will warn you that you will be given little frozen fishes. They are dead of course but their eyes are still there and it did make me feel a little queasy. The idea is you hold the fish in-between your fingers upright and place your hand on the bottom of the tank. The Stingray will then swim over your hand collecting the fish on the way. I actually didn't give this a go myself but the boys loved it and it did look fun.

Dolphins at SeaWorld
Dolphins at SeaWorld
Next we wandered to the dolphins however there was something going on down by the pool, maybe a 'swim with' experience so it was very busy and a huge queue was forming. We did get to see them swimming around and doing little tricks but it would have been nicer to get closer to them but unfortunately that wasn't an option for us on this trip as it's quite costly.

Boy looking at a lizard
On our way to see the Manatees little J found a little creature wandering around, a lizard.

SeaWorld Rescue Centre
Boy looking at a lake
It was nice to see the Manatee's in rehabilitation. Some of them were huge and I had no idea that they eat cabbages, how strange. The Manatee Rehabilitation gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of the  five acre Rescue Center used for rehabilitating wildlife that have been ill, injured or orphaned – including manatees, sea turtles, birds and other marine animals. While a guided tour of the entire facility has been available for years, the park has now opened up one portion of the area for complimentary viewing to all park guests. This gives you the chance to see firsthand some of the top problems Manatee populations are facing and simple actions we can all take to help, through interactive displays and rescue footage straight from the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team.

Boy looking at Flamingos
While John and big J headed to queue for the Manta ride, little J and I stumbled upon some pretty birds.

Penguins at SeaWorld
Our first family ride was Antartica - Empire Of The Penguin. The ride is a motion based simulator ride that takes you on the journey of a little penguin. When we were near the front of the queue we were offered wild or mild spinning. We opted for mild however we did see 'wild' once inside and it didn't look too bad. Once we had finished the ride we were surrounded by penguins and it was so cold. Some of the penguins were motionless so we thought they were not real at first however we soon realised they were. It was lovely to see them swimming around in the waters.

Like I said earlier SeaWorld is much more than animals it is also a theme park which if I am honest appeals to us as a family more that seeing animals and shows.

Kraken Ride
Kraken Ride

View of Seaworld
Boys on Manta ride
Kraken, Manta and Mako are three of the best thrill rides we have actually ever been on. We love rollercoasters and if I am honest I didn't think the rollercoasters at SeaWorld would be any good but I was so wrong. Each ride had no waiting time at all, we just walked on them which is crazy as if these rides were in Disney, Universal or UK theme parks the wait would be over an hour, possibly two. I'm not sure why they had no queues as they are amazing, I am guessing people head to SeaWorld with their families to see the animals and not for rides.

Both big J and I loved Mako. It's so strange to have a thrill ride that does not secure you in over your shoulders, there is just a bar by your stomach. It reaches up to 73mph and goes up to 200ft high. It's actually Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest rollercoaster and we loved it.

Manta was John's favourite and is very similar to Air, at Alton Towers however it has a loop and seemed a lot faster.

Kraken was also lots of fun and we all enjoyed it.

As well as the rides, attractions and animals there were two attractions that were not included in your ticket price. You can pay $6 per person to go on a Pink Flamingo Boat Ride or $5 per person to go on The Iconic Sky Tower. To be honest I wasn't happy that if you want to go on these two attractions you have to pay. We actually didn't realise and we had already said we were going to on on the Iconic Sky Tower so it cost us $20.

We did all enjoy soaring 400ft feet into the air and the views of Orlando were amazing.

Sesame Street
Cookie Drop
Sesame Street Rides
Sesame Street Rides
Sesame Street Rides
There were rides for little J too in Sesame Street Land. New to SeaWorld this year, Sesame Street has lots of fun rides and attractions for little ones and little J really enjoyed the time we spent there. It was a really hot day and there was very little shade in this area but there were no queues for the rides so we managed to do everything quite quickly before it was time to head home.

We all really enjoyed our day at SeaWorld and it was nice to visit a different theme park that wasn't Disney for a day. I think if we had visited some of the shows and talks our day would have been longer however due to the heat we did call it a day just around 4pm but we did manage to go on all the rides, and the thrill rides twice each.

The best value ticket for visiting SeaWorld Parks in Florida is the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package, which includes a one-day reservation at Discovery Cove (with 30-minute dolphin swim experience and all meals and snacks included) plus 14-days unlimited entry to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica Orlando, with free parking included at all parks. Prices start from £192 per person.

For more information, visit

Would we visit again? Absolutely. There is so much to see and do and like I said earlier we are a family that loves rides and the three thrill rides here are amazing, so they alone will bring us to SeaWorld on our next visit to Orlando.


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