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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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I rode it today and thought it was amazing, in the queue buiding there is one of those electrical things which emits sparks, wasn't operational though.

 

The ride in general was awesome though with some great airtime in the park, would also get airtime in the front but the trims do stop that and are the only bad thing I have to say about the ride.

 

The music is great and in the queue the girl counts to 13 but screams when she gets there etc. Station is well themed. The roller coaster part of the ride isn't as intense as it's made out to be but the "Secret" section is and really does make you jump with "things" closing around you. Apparently this part still hasn't be perfected yet and is still not running with anywhere near the number of effects it has.

 

The ride does have 5 trains and has a really quick moving queue, as well as a single rider line which is great. I counted and even with 3 trains, dispatches were like 30/40 seconds apart.

 

Honestly loved the ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Personally I think it looks fun. I'm not sure what people were expecting really, as soon as I saw it was an Intamin 'family' coaster I thought it would be a pretty dull coaster with a good theme. Yeah sure the coaster doesn't look that great from a thrillseeker point of view, but it looks FUN. I'm quite looking forward to riding it

 

I totally agree with you.

 

The thing is that this coaster was so hyped that maybe some coaster enthusiast were expecting a lot more than it was supposed from the beggining.

 

Further proof that many in the coaster enthusiast community are fickle complainers that can never be satisfied.

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Was also at Alton towers today, had a fantastic day even though it rained for most of the day.

I did like Th13teen but felt it still needed some more theming in the crypt like a smoke machine to make it more scary.The tunnel was very good with the way it got colder the deeper you went .

I also managed to get stopped by the local press for a interview and lots of photos, so 15 mins of fame here we go.

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I also went to the towers today,the whole dark forest area looks fantastic,and has loads of atmosphere

loved the wraiths walking round,as for the ride,really enjoyed the ride,and if as posted earlier all the effects aren't working it can only get better.

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I popped down for the opening today and arrived about 7:50. We walked from the hotels to the main entrance plaza where we first saw the Corkscrews now they ahve been fully erected there. They look brilliant, great place to put them and they look stunning in bright purple. We queued at the turnstiles and at 9.00 they let us through and everyone ran quickly in 3 different directions over to the Dark Forest where staff members said that we all had to wait at the entrance to the Dark Forest until 10.00 It was absolute mayhem and the group of people waiting was about 25 people wide and seemed like many hundreds standing (pushing) behind us. The staff members trying to hold everyone back kept moving forward so people pushing from behind made us end up standing quite a way into the Dark Forest. At around 9.15, Johnathon Ross sort of made his way through the crowd to the front and over to Th13teen and as we walked down everyone starting booing at him, was pretty funny to be honest. A few games of mexican waves later at around 9:55 the staff pretty much gave in trying to deter everyone for any longer and quickly moved out of the way and the mad dash towards the queueline entrance started. Most people ended up loosing their groups and just went full pelt at the entrance until they were safely inside the queueline fences. After what seemed like countless switchback fences and narrow paths we ended up waiting for Johnathon to finish his several ride and they let us move forward into the staion queueline where you hand in your baggage in receipt for a wristband and climb the stairs (under the unlucky ladder carefully positioned above the main queueline segments) just at the top of the stairs the main queues goes around the left and the fastrack and single rider lines go towards the right. In the centre is a large metal cage will a Tesla Coil in (wasn't operational today but should be pretty spectacular when it is!) The line is well themed and has a persons scrawl on the walls in very crooked writing stating "If you go down to the woods today, you better not go alone!". Along with this was a woman's creepy voice slowly saying the numbers from 1 through to 13 (I guess this is when the tesla coil will activate. You then move down some steps into the main station which is heavily themed and has statues of large wraiths on the walls and many tree vines and branches covering everything. The loading is quick and well done. I'll stop here and won't explain the ride as i'm sure you all know what it's like by now. I thought it was a great ride overall. If you expect it to be a Nemesis or Oblivion then you will be highly disapointed but if you look at it as a good, solid family ride with a spookier atmosphere then you'll have a whale of a time!

 

Thanks

 

Neil

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I rode Th13teen 3 times today and must admit that its a decent family coaster. Its not a thrill coaster and this is where the problem is. Its been marketed as the "Ultimate" coaster and with words such as "most technology ever on one ride", it has a lot to live up to. Yes it has this drop section, but thats it. There are no projection screens or animatronics in the crypt at all.

 

You have to ride it with the knowledge that its a UK version of Expedition Everest, without the height and the massive Disney budget.

 

I rode Nemesis later on in the day and it was great to be on a thrilling coaster.

 

Th13teen is a good ride for the park and will no doubt be a success for them. However, is it in my top ten? Nope, not a chance..

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So is it safe to say that this IS a family coaster?

 

I seem to remember Alton attempting to marketing this thing with, "waivers to sign before riding" promo campaigns. Sounds more like a bungy jump off a crane, not very "family." But, if the ride experience is "meh", maybe the publicity and ad campaign was a bit over the top?

 

Then again, since Nemesis - how many of Alton's rides have been duds (using the definition of heavy, overexcited advertising, but delivering dissapointing ride experiences?)

 

Oblivion - short, one trick pony, but a prototype.

Air - Mundane, but the prototype for things to come.

Rita - again, short with no substance.

 

This of course, coming from someone who's never been to Alton Towers, let alone on a flight over 6.5 hours...so take my observations with a grain of salt.

 

Seriously...I can already hear the UK hate mail flooding in.

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^I think they were marketing it as a scary ride from a psychological point of view, more so than the ride layout being thrilling. The theme does seem quite dark. I'd agree the marketing was very over the top though, but then it gets people talking about it and sections in the national press, which I guess is the point of it.

 

Just wondering for those who have been this weekend if there has been much downtime?

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I wonder with the hype alton has put in whether they have over excelled themselves at marketing, however, I do a quick search online and see how many forums are talking about it, I realise it has worked an absolute dream. The idea is to make the ride a talkable point in all media outlets, whether it's viral marketing, tv spots, forums and youtube, they want people to go to the park as they generally spend money! That's it!

 

As for whether the ride finally lives up to the hype - has anyone ridden this with the full SFX on yet? Is it running with the full SFX programme active?

 

I know people have mentioned the cold in the helix and the drop, but there was also talk of pitch black in the inside section, fog effects and green lights, which would match with the pictures on the main website.

 

All I can say, and remind people is, let's keep our fingers crossed that there;s finally a ride that actually works most of the time at the launch date - AT have had some really bad time with some of the other rides - how long is Air down for, even now!!!

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Th13teen is a cracking family/thrill coaster. It is not Nemesis. Or Rita. Or Oblivion. However, it is certainly one of the best family/thrill coasters in the UK (that is, a coaster which appeals to both children and adults alike).

 

Alton have been completely out of touch with much of the marketing for Th13teen, claiming it as the "ultimate", "most thrilling" rollercoaster etc. however, it is really not.

 

The theming (for the UK) is exceptional, with a great soundtrack. Trains are comfortable, and the throughput is very good. There are only 3 trains which have been numbered 3,4 and 5 just to be a little silly. The ride is silk smooth, but the outdoor section is really rather slow and uninspired. Trim breaks reduce possible airtime opportunities although in the rear carriages it is pretty decent. The first drop on the front is not very good at all.

 

The indoor section is unique, I won't go into detail - and most enjoyable. It does create some sense of alarm and brief shrieks from riders! The theming in here is also very good, and the end section is also good.

 

Overall, a good ride but not a thrill ride.

 

The way the ride operates is so slick - there is no hanging around at any stage, the switchbacks and everything work like clockwork. Fantastic work from Intamin there. It also didn't break down much at all - just a couple of brief periods over the weekend. Lots more SFX to be added to the latter stages of the queue and the Crypt section too.

 

Just speed up the outdoor section, get the trims off and market it as a decent family coaster with an eerie storyline. It's like the new Vampire at Chessington - but marketed as the next Oblivion.

 

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Thank you for the nice coverage, Dan.

 

I really appreciate you reviews, cause I have the impression, that you really try to describe things in an objective way, which is great.

 

So, please do this everywhere around the globe. Thanks..ähäm...I mean MORE !

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Just got back from doing the whole opening weekend shebang, which was awesome, and Th13teen was a definite highlight. I agree that it's on-par with Vampire - and, for me, that's a MASSIVE plus. Great, fun ride, and the first drop got me every time. Speaking of which, 4 times ridden on opening weekend says a lot about Alton's operations, good on them.

 

Mike 'and meeting John Wardley in the bar later wasn't bad either' Moody

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Just curious, has there been any GP blow-back yet? I kind of expected some small outrage when people found out this ride isn't quite the world's scariest ride as it's billed to be. I think if this kind of thing had gone down pretty much anywhere but AT it wouldn't have gone over so well with guests.

 

I can't wait to see what the next coaster to use this tech. looks like though. Kudos to AT for leading the way with a prototype again.

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With all the recent TV coverage, I had prepared myself for a fun and exciting ride, but the reality blew me away.

 

Starting at the queue (which is always a good place to start), the theming placed around the queue is simple but is quite effective in producing a good atmosphere, especially when combined with the music that plays throughout the area, which features a very spooky version of Teddy Bears Picnic and In the Hall of the Mountain King. The theming around the queue is mainly broken trees scattered about, but also includes an old Alton Towers van which has tree roots wrapped all around it, and also an arm reaching out of a grave, which again has roots wrapping around it.

 

The station building looks amazing, the first area up the stairs is very creepy, with the scrawled writing on the wall and girl's voice filling the area, I imagine it will look even better when the tesla coil is operational. The station again looks amazing, with lots of stonework, arches and overgrown vines. It's also worth mentioning at this point that, the throughput is phenomenal, they were running three trains and there was no waiting about at all, the queue moves constantly, and on our second ride when we queued from fairly close to the entrance, it didn't take much more than 30 mins to get through, and it's a very long queue.

 

The ride itself ticks so many boxes it's unreal. The trains are comfy, and the lap bars do not restrict you in the slightest. The speed at which you exit the station into the pre lift drop is very surprising, thecoaster section is silky smooth and can pack in a tonne of air time, especially at the rear of the train down the first drop, I don't think I touched my seat from the top to bottom of the drop. The indoor section is obviously the main feature of the ride, and it's pulled off superbly. The effects that are present, including the lighting, sound and air blasts, really make it an exciting experiance. One of the most astounding features of the ride for me, is how quick you are launched backwards after the drop, there is literally no waiting for tracks to align, the split second the drop stops, you are heading backwards at surprising speed. The backwards wobbly helix, is an exciting and fun way to end the ride, before you are literally launched back into the station.

 

While as a coaster it doesn't match up to the likes of Nemesis (but it's not supposed to) the whole ride experiance is fantastic, and for me isn't beaten by any other ride. When Alton Towers proclaimed that Thirteen was going to be the "Ultimate Rollercoaster", I was slightly dubious, but classifying it as a rollercoaster is selling it short, in my opinion, as it is so much more. I think the title of "Ultimate Ride ", would be more fitting.

 

I know this post will have me labelled as a fanboi, pouncing upon the newest ride, but Thirteen is the first ride that I can remember, that's made me want to run straight back round and ride again, the experience for me is second to none.

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Again, many thanks to those who voted. I had a great time over boot camp, many of us got back together on opening day too. Here's my 1st TPRTR!

 

THE CONTEST

During the 18-month marketing campaign for their new ride, Alton received hundreds of requests from people wanting to be the first to ride... Some would just be after the bragging right - coaster geeks sometimes think there's kudos for crap like that... we often like to show off and be the smart arse! But for many true fans of Alton Towers, the anticipation was unbearable, we just wanted to ride ASAP!

Alton decided to hold a contest and in late 2009, they brought cage fighter Alex Reid along to launch the search for 'The Ultimate Fan'. Thrillseekers were invited to make a 1 minute video, stating something weird and wonderful about themselves, and why they deserved to be the first to ride Th13teen. Videos were to be open for public discussion though... but I really wanted to ride. I knew many enthusiasts would not rise to the challenge, credibility means a lot in these social circles! So despite reservations, I decided to make a video and enter. A few days later I was delighted when Alton selected my video and made me a contestant, then astounded at the suppport I received. I badgered some friends into voting for me, but most of the comments came from complete strangers. And yeah, the public could be cruel when they wanted to be, I had a small minority of nasty comments, but noticed some of the girls who entered were getting particularly bitchy feedback?! Another who attracted a lot of attention was Mobz Q with his tongue in cheek humour, which clearly went right over the heads of the many haters leaving him comments! LOL

My friends on Facebook really did me proud. I'll never be able to thank them enough for the kind words of support.

In the final days of the contest, more and more videos started appearing as the deadline got closer. Then came the day Alton were to announce the winners... I refreshed my emails every 10 minutes all day, until late afternoon when it seemed I hadn't been selected, then it appeared - an invitation from Alton Towers, to attend their Boot Camp.

 

THE RUN - UP

The date was set, 27 finalists set up a group on Facebook, all anticipating the day of Bootcamp, just over a week away. In the last few days, disaster struck! - there was a problem with the new ride, bootcamp was postponed and we were 'to be notified' when Alton could reschedule, which they couldn't do until the problem was solved and they didn't know how long that would be! So the anticipation was prolonged... things started getting tense as the days went by with no news as to how the repairs were going. Alton were forced to cancel a preview weekend planned for the ride. It looked as though bootcamp might not happen at all... with just a few days to go before the ride's scheduled opening date, Alton gave word, and bootcamp was re-organised.

 

Alton generously offered to accommodate us in one of their hotels the night beforehand, I checked in and was greeted by some of Alton's representatives.

Then I made my way down to the bar where I met up with the other campers. The excitement and anticipation ensured that the group had plenty to talk about, I spoke with Alton's PR guys who were also in the bar who said "it was like watching a re-union". The whole group instantly bonded as close friends, and throughout the next couple of days I witnessed no bad vibes from anyone, toward anyone else, even when some of the tasks were designed with great potential for argument!

Nobody stopped up too late as we were aware we had a full day of strenuous activities ahead, but I was so excited I could hardly sleep anyway!

 

BOOT CAMP

After breakfast, bootcamp got under way with a warm welcome from Morwenna Angove. She's the lady often associated with Alton's sillier publicity stunts - which, work wonders in terms of Alton's 'talkability'... Its the kind of role requiring shrewd and clever thinking, while sometimes risking your credibility! Much respect, and it was an absolute pleasure to meet her.

We knew Alton planned to do psychometric testing on us, but only a few people knew what that meant! It transpired to be a group activity, looking into ourselves, discovering traits about our own personalities. It came as no surprise the group largely consisted of thrill seekers! Our next activity was borrowed from the 'corporate training course' mentality of getting people to think outside the box. Both fairly tame things for thrill seekers to be doing, but which enabled the group to work together, and strengthen the bonds forming. Lunch was then served in the Secret Garden restaurant.

 

Just after lunch... came our roller coaster endurance test! - An hour on Air, which surprisingly resulted in only one vomiter. Nicholas Merrick received a great cheer from fellow boot campers as he hurled his guts over the ride and a nearby wall, although I suspect this is probably what cost him his place on the winning ride.

Following our ride, Alton marched us back to the hotel, where they explained our next challenges, which included some orienteering around the park, archery, and a mine sweep. Mine Sweep was a bit of an 'Its a Knockout' game, involving planks of wood, rope and water bombs, all were great fun!

After an evening meal back in the hotel, we spotted John Wardley in the bar,

who was pleased to chat, pose with us for photos and sign Matt Aspinall's legendary 'Alton Towers Monopoly' game.

I was thrilled to chat with him for five minutes, I asked him about his involvement with Barry Island and mentioned its recent demise, but we were quickly dragged away as we were about to be advised of our evening's activities.

The first was another challenge using juggling balls, borrowed from the training course ice-breaker school of thought. Another involved tie-ing large knots in ropes, and a Japanese conundrum puzzle using large wooden jigsaw pieces. Then things started to get a bit scarier. We were lead blindfolded into the woods, our hands placed on guide strings tied around trees, and told to follow the path. Of course the terrain was tricky, and we were being followed, and having leaves and dirt thrown at us... Eventually told we could remove the blindfolds, we were then taken by bus over to the Dark Forest.

 

Split into teams (was my pleasure to work with John Burton) we were given our bags and sleeping mats and told to erect our tents, one person blindfolded, the other was three metres away calling instructions. John's done Duke of Edinburgh, and I used to sell tents so despite the handicap we did well. Once up, we were in for the night, with a puzzle to take our minds away from the spooky location. Of course, it wasn't long before we heard grunting noises... the Wraiths were here.

 

Then things got serious, boot campers were being dragged out of their tents by panic stricken ramblers or zombies covered in blood, who then ran off... The boot camp officials arrived and told us it was too dangerous to stay out, we were going to have to spend the rest of the night in the hotel! LOL

 

THE BIG DAY

The following day was an early start - yet I was so hyped up from the experience thus far, and the night in the Dark Forest I couldn't sleep again! After breakfast we performed another outdoor challenge involving blindfolds & ropes, before returning to the hotel to build our own roller coaster. By now we had all made really good friends of one another, & it amazed me the way 27 strangers could work in harmony to create a highly impressive marble roller coaster (reaching 7ft high) in under an hour! Lewis made an excellent project manager, we split into teams to build various sections of the bamboo, pipe & sticky tape ride, and were all very proud of 'Pipe Dream'!

 

THE SELECTION

We all knew that not all of us were going to go through to the final ride. Judges & cameras had been following us throughout boot camp, they considered the video applications, the voting, and the interaction throughout boot camp. With everyone getting so passionately involved with boot camp, it must have been a real task to choose the winners. But it HAD to be done. Everyone was in the bar, with the judges in the next room. We were taken by groups of 4, to hear whether we were through, or whether we were going home. EVERYONE wanted to be the 1st to ride Th13teen, everyone at boot camp deserved to ride Th13teen, but only 20, could go on to ride.

I wasn't in the 1st group to meet the judges. The doors closed, there was silence, then we heard a cheer - they obviously had a 'yes'. The next group were lead through, we heard another cheer. I wasn't in the 3rd group, or the next, or the next. We heard more cheers, we heard faint applause when we guessed there'd been a 'no'. I was among the final group to be lead though... the anticipation at this point had been dragged out unbearably. So I was a tad emotional when it was a 'yes'!!!

 

However, while some of us had received the great news that we were the first people to ride on Th13teen, some of our (by now, close) friends had just received some VERY disappointing news. A bitter-sweet feeling, you have to contain your excitement when consoling several friends, now in tears. The 2 couples within the group were broken up, with 1 going through, the other not. Winners were to be bussed over to the ride immediately, so there was no time for goodbyes. Boot camp was over for some, for others it was about to become a dream come true. I guess Alton would call this 'The Emotional Roller Coaster'!

 

THE RIDE

We arrived at the Dark Forest to find work on Th13teen a long way from 'finished'! The area was such a construction site we were escorted onto the ride wearing hi-vis & hard hats. The film crew were in place, I was comfortably settled with Melissa, when I got wraithed! This later appeared (rather embarrassingly) as part of the ITV Central News coverage of the boot campers first ride! With John Wardley in the control box, we cheered with delight as the train pulled out of the building. The lift is quick... looking over the sides the ride looks quite high. The drop down into the woods was great, your picture is taken at the bottom of the hill before you find yourself racing through the woods (the trees have been cut back but still come close). There's some G's to be felt, not as many as Nemesis, but they're there. Quite a lot of tilting, the ride keeps up this pace for about 30 seconds or so, before entering the building. It all goes dark... (there will be effects, although they were NOT switched on for today's rides). Alton had got us up early so we would miss GMTV! None of us had confirmed info as to what happens inside the building. Then came the 1st drop - it confirmed what I believed the secret element was, and then the 2nd drop. You DO experience free fall & complete airtime, its just as effective as the tower drop rides. Then the backward section, after the drop the coaster does a 'screwed-up helix', the like of which I've never seen before. Its like a normal helix, but the track has undulations in it, it feels like a boat rocking about on the waves...! Its also freezing cold down in that tunnel! The ride stops, the track switches, then the train shoots back into the station. JW came over after our 9th ride (some with the lights 'on' for the film crew) and asked if we would like to know what the effects were. It was a golden opportunity to talk with him some more, but I hope I didn't offend him by declining... half of the thrill of any roller coaster is the anticipation, the waiting, the NOT knowing... a feeling I'm going to miss.

 

THANKYOU ALTON TOWERS

After our rides, we made our way back to the hotel, where there was just enough time for photos & goodbyes among the winners.

Why was it, after only 3 days with these guys I was so upset about leaving them all? The answer lies somewhere within the magic of Alton Towers. Its a place which has provided many thrill seekers with their adrenalin fix for 30 years, its no wonder we're so fond. Boot Camp was something like the X Factor for enthusiasts! It provided a unique opportunity for Alton to entertain some of their biggest fans in a unique way. This was an Alton experience which no thrill ride can ever match, its been an absolute honour and a privilage. My sincerest thanks go to Alton Towers, their marketing & PR team who organised this fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime event for us.

Me with Chris:

 

 

Boot Camp in the press:

www.thesun.co.uk

 

www.timesonline.co.uk

 

OPENING DAY

Ride count & wait times:

Th13teen (wait times around an hour during the opening rush)

Hex - 5 mins

Oblivion - 10 mins

Charlie & the waste of time - 5 mins

Skyride - 5 mins

Duel - 2 mins

Riverbank Eye Spy - walk on

Squirrel Nutty - walk on

Sonic Spinball x 3 (was in 'wet' mode = 3 adults max, so using single rider Q - 2 mins)

Sharkbait Reef - walk-in

RMT - 1 cycle

Nemmy - 20 mins

Air - 20 mins

Rita - 5 mins

& another 2 rides on 13 - 20 mins

 

Shortly before gates open:

boot campers get priority passes YAY!

ready, set, GO!

the line stretched back beyond Hex!

 

Boot campers at the front of the line!

Skyride's OPEN, here's its new station - lets see how long it lasts this time!

After Hex, Charlie, Duel & Sharkbait Reef we were running out of rides to stay dry on...

5 grown men on Riverbank Eye Spy?!

Yo Sonic!

grabbed some beers & ice creams (?) in the undercover courtyard, until the pirate show got on my nerves!

JW after a Th13teen's 1st day:

 

So they've distressed Rita's paint scheme, & put some branches over it... Rita never really fitted in with Ugland, & doesn;t really fit in with Dark Forest either!

What used to be Bronco Bites etc...

 

 

Over & out (finally!)

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^^ Can I just say that was fantastic! Thanks for typing up such a detailed report on it. Hopefully something similar is run in a few years at a time I'll be able to make it.

 

 

In the Thirteen Queue I got talking to one of the people at the Boot Camp and she had a similar opinion of how amazing it was. Really nice person

 

Anyway thanks again!

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Just curious, has there been any GP blow-back yet? I kind of expected some small outrage when people found out this ride isn't quite the world's scariest ride as it's billed to be. I think if this kind of thing had gone down pretty much anywhere but AT it wouldn't have gone over so well with guests.

 

I can't wait to see what the next coaster to use this tech. looks like though. Kudos to AT for leading the way with a prototype again.

 

I would laugh if some crazy enthusiast tried to sue them.

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I rode the coaster twice at the weekend, the 1st time the drop did not work properly and just lowered us the 2nd time it worked.

 

There are 2 ways of looking at this coaster, 1st I will go by what Alton sell it as and thats the Ultimate coaster. It is know where near that. The coaster section is very lame and just well does nothing much really. I was at the front and all I could feel was the trim going down the hill and then the trim going up the hill, yes you really can feel it pull the train back.

 

The theming inside the building, I failed to notice much other than green lights. At no point is the story told so you really have no idea what the coaster or the building is really about. The coaster then drops once and then again, both times worse than a Frog Hopper tbh.

 

The backwards part is ok, but again no theming and not on par with the Mummy or Everest.

 

As the Ultimate Coaster it simply does not work, it ticks no boxes for me.

 

As a family coaster, its the best in the UK by some way. Alton should have sold this as a family coaster and cut out all the rubbish it has been coming out with. Had they done that people I think would think higher of it.

 

So overall I feel very let down by the coaster, but mainly let down but Alton Towers and their stupid advertising.

 

Good coaster for the park and a good family coaster, thats if younger kids have not been put off by the adverts and some have been.

 

The public seemed to be mixed on it as well, some came off and loved it some said it was to short and done nothing. Our views were very mixed as well, some liked it and some like me that did not see what the hype was about. I can think of at least 10 family coasters off the top of my head which are better around the world.

 

The throughput on the coaster was outstanding though, we were told they were getting 1,200 through an hour. We queued 70 mins and that was from outside the main queue the 1st time and 20 the 2nd time at 3pm, the park was empty.

 

If you go with an open mind and not seen the video and like family coasters you will like it, if like me you like larger coasters with force you will feel let down. Oh if you want a small amount of airtime sit at the back so I have been told

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