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Alton Towers - Retro Trip Report, August 1st 1987

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[Apologies if in this is in the wrong thread - please move if need be!]


Wow! Just got back from a brilliant day at Alton Towers and thought I'd write up a trip report. I'm a pretty slow typer, so apologies if anything's changed since I got back. We were initialy going to go to Thorpe Park, but that place is just too family-based (even though the new Thunder River Rapids look great - apart from that kid losing their ear), so we went to the nation's favourite thrill park instead.


To celebrate having recently turned 15 (I know - I'm really old now!) my cousin, his friend and I took a coach trip to Alton Towers from Penzance, Cornwall. After leaving Penzance at midnight, we eventually arrived at Alton Towers around 9am. We were all really excited about trying out the exciting new addition for 1987 - the Kodak Skyride - all £6m worth!


I know you're all dying to hear about the new ride, so I won't wait any longer. The Kodak Skyride is a great new addition. It's basically an extended version of the old Cable Car that now travels over the Gardens to Festival Park. All I can say is wow! It's like a million miles high and passes right over the Pagoda Fountain on it's way to Talbot Street. Great views and really scary!


Next is the UK's best coaster - Corkscrew. This ride has to be ridden to be understood. It's so fast that if you don't zip up your orange 80s ski jacket, it'll very gently flap about! I've heard that it reaches speeds of nearly 35mph and if you don't like spoilers then look away for the next sentence. It turns you upside down - TWICE! The airtime on the first drop is amazing and the themeing is phenomenal - it's themed as the world's first unthemed Vekoma Corkscrew and it's done really well - I was knocked out by the unthemed theme. The ride could benefit from some brakes on the first drop - everyone loves them right? Maybe one day they'll replace it with a kiddie coaster that does just that.


Next was 1001 Nights. This is one of my favourite rides on the park although it's restraints are a tad too tight (hey - I hope to have a wife and family sometime!), it has great views and makes me really look forward to the day when Alton Towers build even taller rides - hey, maybe one day they'll add one of those Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop rides *prays*.


Next was Doom and Sons the scary 2 minute walk through thingy with actual skeletons, followed by Around the World in 80 days. It was a bit like It's a Small World, but not crap and it's a ride with actual character. I really hope they don't one day make it even better and theme it around a toy factory, then destroy it by spending £9m on the world's worst dark ride. Nah, that'll never happen.


Enterprise, Waveswinger and the Dragon Rollercoaster were great fun, but I didn't have the courage to ride the Spider. Next stop was 4 man Bob a very intense coaster in Talbot Street that sets future technology by ensuring that the cars have to be pushed by hand in order to reach the station. This is gonna really take hold, I swear!


Now it was time to walk over to Fantasy Land to ride the park's main attraction, Black Hole. This huge ride never fails to deliver and everyone says it has a vertical drop. I don't believe that as - a vertical drop? - that'll never be possible, but it was really scary and apart from suffering a minor skull fracture on the front of the ride in the brakes, I loved it. Maybe one day in the future they'll replace it with a ride that goes upside down like three times. Now that would be a world-beater! Turbo Star is by far the most intense ride on the park and I had to sit down and have a can of Quatro afer - or was it 'New Coke'? I can't quite remember. Next was Pirate Ship. This is my favourite ride at Alton Towers and unlike anything anywhere else (apart from that new one at Chessington Zoo). It's like a big ship that swings back and forth but goes like really high. Everyone says you can fall out of it and quite frankly I believe them - I felt my arse lift a bit, so I can well believe all that. I didn't ride the Cine 2000 as that's just so far into the future as to not matter.


We then went over to ride Sonic Spinball, but instead were greeted by a member of staff telling us it wouldn't open until 2004. We did the Cookie Mountain, Amazing Maze and Fireman's Pole instead. There was something about the Fireman's pole I loved, can't quite put my finger on it though.


After doing some shopping in the diverse Towers Street and marvelling at the new Medical Centre and Car Park, we rode the Log Flume. Great ride and apparantly it's the world's longest. Something's missing though - it could really be improved by a retheme, something that suits it's woodland theme. I just hope no-one screws it up by making the boats red bath tubs or something awful like that!


Next was the Grand Canyon Rapids. So much better than that boring family-based Thorpe Park's version. It even has a grass theme this year. Truly the best-themed ride in the UK.


Now it was time for the biggies, so we headed over to the path that leads through Katanga Canyon and Gloomy Wood to Forbidden Valley. Upon arrival, none of them had even been built - shame on Alton. Eventually we found the path, only to discover that the park ended at the entrance to the rapids and that we'd need to come back five years later for Katanga and seven years later for some ride where instead of making it high, they're going to build it below ground and have the coaster travel below the track. Sounds awful - no-one will ever like that sort of ride. Apparantly it's going to be called SW3, or so some guy with a full head of hair told us, called John? What was SW1, or SW2? Who cares, we've got the Kodak Skyride and the Swan Boats.


Anyway, we then went back via the new Monorail, (see - I hid that from you!) which was awesome!


Here are some photos, taken on my brand new Kodak Star 110 camera!


1001 Nights


Black Hole


More Black Hole


Onride Black Hole


The brilliant new Black Hole stage




Two loops!


Lift Hill






The new Skyride!


Turbo Star


My friend on the Log Flume


The Pagoda Fountain from the new Skyride!


Skyride over the gardens


By the lake


Log Flume


More Log Flume


]Fantasy World


The scary Turbo Star


1001 Nights


Grand Canyon Rapids






4 Man Bob


More 4 man bob


The themeing on the rapids is amazing!


Log Flume


More Log Flume


Onride photo on the Log Flume


Mississippi Showboat


Pirate Ship


More Pirate Ship


Kodak Skyride


More Kodak Skyride


Even more skyride


The Swanboat ride


Talbot Street


More Fantasy World


The scary Waveswinger!


Thanks for reading, hope to see some of you in 26 years.

Edited by marky.com
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Nice report. The park looks a little different today. Wonder how many people will start reading this and go WTF? lol


I did


All types of awesomeness, thanks for taking the time to create and share. I wish the photos were on the TPR server.

Edited by larrygator
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This would have been the year after my first trip there - Mum and dad had told us "we were going somewhere" butg wouldn't say where, and the neighbour gave it away a few days before.


Amongst the now closed rides we did were:

Black hole - one of the attractions I was really looking forward too


Corkscrew - My first upside down coaster - YAY!


4 man bob - didn't know about this one before going, but liked it!


Alpine Bobsleigh - the predecessor of the wiegand rides - http://old.towerstimes.co.uk/history/oldrides/alpine.htm


1001 knights - my first experience of the gut crushing restraint!


the original skyride!


I'm sure we did the cine 360 or cinema 2000

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Love seeing trip reports like this! My first visit to Alton was 1994 when Nemesis was built and there were some sections of the park that still looked like this!


Cheers fella. The sad thing for me is that the park has both gained and lost a lot since 1994. Endless chasing of 'world's firsts' in an attempt to grab headlines on the cheap has resulted in just that - world's firsts that are forgotten within 6 months. Yet, they lost touch with the very thing that created what is arguably one of the best rides on the planet - Nemesis. It wasn't about a world's first -it was simply an attempt to bring an already-existing ride to the park, within their limitations. I've been to many parks across the world and Alton really is one of the most unique an beautiful. The Smiler really is great, though no Nemesis. It's like Fahrenheight twice - and it's surprisingly large. I just wish they would take advantage of that unique scenery and do something truly great again. They really can, but they have to ditch this 'world's first' [read world's worst] mentality...

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That was really cool. I loved the sarcasm. I find it odd that all the major coasters back then that everyone was scared to go on are either scrapped or relocated.

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I was there in 1986. I was 12 and although the rides fascinated me I was a total coward then. I eventually plucked up the courage to go on the Log Flume. Regretted not going on more and strangely have a recurring dream of being there and not having enough time to go on everything.


PS great report!

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AMAZING! I was born a few months after these were taken so dont remember it exactly like that, the main street has changed so much, weird to see so much undeveloped land in the photographs.


Black Hole brings back memories, Corkscrew was awesome for a violent coaster. Remember a few headaches after riding that beast.


Thanks for the cool report.

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