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Alton Towers + Rollercoaster Restaurant September 2016


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I have just come back from no doubt one of the best parks in Europe, and no questions asked the best park in the UK. I won this trip through an Alton Towers Facebook competition which included 4 tickets and lunch at the rollercoaster restaurant. Not only are the rides excellent and well rounded, but also the whole park is as picturesque as a lake-district postcard. The greenery and hills and canyons, more than make up for the slight lack of scenery, seen on all rides. All in all I had an amazing day and it was not too busy at all.

I arrived half an hour early, and was pleased to see that the staff at the turnstiles allowed me in with my friend for early ride time (ERT!) even though I was the only one with an annual pass. Very nice and friendly staff at the entrance. Sadly I cannot say so much for the rest of the staff within the park. They were mostly jobsworth, miserable and rude, making me feel quite uncomfortable at times. I started my half an hour ERT on a new coaster which was not there before. It was the Octonaughts rolleroaster in the new Cbeebies area of the park. It is great to see the park has some really nice attractions for younger people, and the rollercoaster is decent and has a whale, which sprays water out in a plume of steam. It was my 49th coaster, so I only need one more for the landmark 50! After that, I went to the only other rollercoaster open for ERT, and that was Oblivion. We managed two rides on it, before the park officially opened, and we went to try out some other rides. The great thing about ERT, is that there are no queues. They were only filling up the front of the carriage, and even then they were struggling to fill all the seats. After our first go, I asked the staff if we could get on the next train, instead of walking all the way around the exit, through the shop, back down to the queue, and through the long queue. On not very busy days at other parks like Thorpe Park, they have allowed and encouraged this to be done, especially on rides where you have to walk a long way to get back on the ride. However, the staff rudely said no, even though they were fulling up only half a row on a train. Anyway, exercise is good, right?

 

The Rides (In no particular order)

 

Oblivion: An amazing sustained free fall experience, which feels like you are jumping off the top of a building, into a hole. The queue line is nice, and the station area gets your heart beating fast, building up to ride. Yes, the ride is very short, however for about five seconds, it is one of the most intense things around. The hole was filled with smoke, darkness and insane G-Forces, making it disorientating but really fun. Three rides 7/10(I am strict with rankings, so 7 is really good)

 

Nemesis: What a beast! One of the best rides ever created on this planet. Although it was the oldest ride I went on that day, it was the smoothest and the best by far. The fact that they had to build a whole crater in the rocks in order to house this gargantuan ride, in order to allow this ride to be built, is a feat in itself, however then putting the most intense ride I have ever been on in that crater is something else. I took my first ride in the front row just after it had been raining, and it was like I was flying through the rocks, in the clutches of some kind of flying animal. In the front, all you can see is near miss after near miss. You start off by going up the lift hill, at the same gradient as the ground beneath you, so you gain no height. You then turn a corner, and start rolling back down the hillside, following a waterfall as you do, until you are pulled and turned around, into a mid air corkscrew, with the ground seemingly miles below you. Then you plummet out of the inversion, gaining more speed every millisecond, getting closer to a fence, and a corner which looks far to steep to be physically possible. The track banks 90 degrees, and you have a near miss with the fence. The steep corner turns into a helix, curling downwards, into a trough pulling constant and increasing g-forces. Then many things happen at once. You feel like you are almost going to hit a rock face, then the train pulls upwards suddenly, narrowly missing the eye of the Nemesis beast. As if an omen, once you see the eye, you roll through a fast paced and intense zero G roll right over the well themed station building. Then there is a corner, where you can catch your breath for a second, as you soar only a couple of meters above rocks and shrubs, a short moment of bliss, before you thunder back down into the crater in the rocks. In the front row, you feel the speed, and see a rock face, and it appears the track has disappeared. Only a few meters from a death, the ride hits its vertical loop. One moment, it looks like you are going to smash into a rock face, the next, sky. This is an insane near miss, and is the best part of the front row. However, it is not over. After the loop, the ride blasts through a tunnel, with another near miss affect, and yet again many g-forces. The coaster then gains height, only to use it for the final part of the ride. Yet again there is a drop into the canyon, through another tunnel, and into a corkscrew, so close to the ground I wanted to lift my feet up, so they did not hit the ground or plants, however, the relentless G-force said no, pinning my body to the seat and forcing my legs down to the ground at all times. One more corner and you hit the breaks. WOW. After this I hit the back row. I thought a ride could not be any more intense than what I had experienced in the front, but I was so, SO wrong. Even some of the less intense corners were pulling positive G. I will not go through another step by step of what happened, but it was totally insane. and left me wanting more. Three rides 9/10

 

Thirteen: Meh, it was nothing special. I rode in the back wanting some airtime (finally some nice staff) and I got nothing. The ride was on the same thrill level as the kiddy coaster in Cbeebies land. The theming was of a low quality, and what I previously thought was some temporary scaffolding while they finish off the ride was still there and looked poor. The fake rocks were as hollow as the head of the person who chose the theme a family ride like this. The drop was nice, and the backwards section was fun, but everything else was meh. One ride 3/10

 

Galactica: This was the very first time I had put on a VR head set, and bu that respect, it was nice to be able to try it on and see what it was like to be in a virtual world. As a concept to put on a rollercoaster though, I was not amazed. It required one member of staff on each row of the train, meaning there had to be 14 in the station at all times just dedicated to the headset. This did mean that dispatch times were actually pretty impressive. I did not see a train waiting on the brake run for more than a minute at any time. Although the mass of staff, it is a very "do it yourself unless you ask and wave your hands in the air" system. Anyway, once the ride got going, the darkness melted away to a space station filled with noises, and it was very impressive. I was able to look around and up the lift hill, it was a very pleasant thing. Then the actual ride started. and all you seemed to do was fly around space. It was hard to look around, and there was not much to see. There was a part in the ice planet, which was the best executed section. I think that the worse things is that it simply feels that you are on a motion simulator with a headset on, which I feel is where this technology belongs in parks, not on the rollercoasters. The headset itself had a very poor resolution, and the frame-rate was a similar story, along with the graphics, meaning you had to have a lot of imagination to feel you were in space, and not on Air. Don't get me wrong though, it is still a very nice thing, however I personally came of half impressed and half let down. It is a very hard thing to review, and is something you need to try for yourself to understand. I have been on nothing like it to compare itOne ride "I honestly have no clue"/10

 

Rita: A nice Intamin launch ride, with some nice forces, and two airtime moments. Not a bad ride at all, however you do need to brace yourself in order to not bash your head. Also there are some nice near misses with the trees, which adds to the ride. One ride 5/10

 

The Smiler: I had only been on it once before and hated it. This time I went on it front row and thought it was a nice ride. There is little theming until you enter the ominous building, where sounds and optical illusions hit you left right and center. The front is supposed to be the smoothest row, and it was quite smooth. This was not Nemesis smooth, but I could put my hands up and only knock my head a gained the harness. It is like getting two rides in one with this ride and the fact it is a world beater with 14 inversions is impressive, however there is nothing special about it and I did not come off thinking that it was insanely good. I mean, it sounds very bland, but it was just a nice rollercoaster. One ride 6/10

 

The Rollercoaster Restaurant

 

Awful. Thank God I was not paying due to the competition. I do feel that my experience there was an almost one off as I have heard many good reviews, however it was chaotic and the food was not very nice at all. Their slogan "loopy dining" sums it all up. There was an hour delay between the first meal that arrived and everything else, and due to technical issues, our food kept going to the wrong tables, then it when it came to us, we got incorrect things and too much of it. We had meal after meal thrown at us through the chute that gave us food, to the point we had simply had enough. Bad.

 

On to the pictures:

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We are here!

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Classic View of the entrance to an amazing place

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It is a fun area for small people

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Memories for me...

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This was my 49 th coaster and you can see the whale

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No way! This ride always makes me feel ill. It is just spinney and jolts a lot.

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I much prefer Dragons Fury at Chessington.

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The Smiler

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It is intimidating and creates a really good atmosphere. I see you Oblivion.

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Testing, but not available for ERT

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ERT on Oblivion.

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This ride makes a colossal sound as it enters the hole, resembling an explosion, which echos for ages after. It cannot be good for the track, but is sounds awesome.

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The drop. They were playing the old black hole soundtrack around this area, which was very nice.

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Don't...Look...Down!

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Half full for ERT.

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i love how the queues at Alton Towers are not bland, and they do not zig-zag in cattle pens. it is like a journey to the ride.

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The station.

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The park is really nice, and the towers are still there.

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SW8.

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I am exited to see the wooden coaster.

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CHIAPAS!!! Nah, not quite!

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The SW8 sight.

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Waterfalls and greenery everywhere.

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Sadly this was closed. I hope it is open next year.

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Oh yes, the main reason for my trip.

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This thing was there.

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It looked really good and pointed in the direction of...

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...Nemesis!

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This ride is insanely good.

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Galactica, looking suspiciously like Air. Hmmm

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I had no clue this was a near miss on the ride.

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But this ride is sheer awesomeness.

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I have no idea why all rides cannot be this good. It just takes effort, which parks just don't do these days.

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this loop was forceful and fast in the wet.

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The eye. You actually see the eye as you fly past, which is creepy/

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A nice staion

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In the morning they had two trains running, but were only loading one of them. I have never seen this happen before, but it seemed to work.

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There was practically no queue all day.

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Whoosh!

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Looping.

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Before you pull up into the loop, you seriously fear for your life that you will hit a rock wall.

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And breath.

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The repaint is looking good.

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Only half the staion has been done, but the gore still looks nice.

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The re painted part of the station is a work of art.

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What is real, and what is not?

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A classic view of a classic ride. There are no words which can praise this enough.

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That corkscrew is the real start.

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These people think they are going to collide with me.

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Duel was a really fun shooting dark ride, and it had proper guns.

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It has a nice facade.

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Choo! Choo! Next up is the runaway mine train.

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And the rapids.

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Both were really good rides, and had great layouts, especially the train.

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Some good rapid sections on this.

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Damn Pokemon Go!

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there were quite a few Poke-stops and gyms.

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Smiler

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It is a cool mess of steel track twisted around.

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Upside down over and over again. If you like dive loops, you will love the Smiler.

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One more ride on Oblivion.

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Airtime Machine.

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It is nice to see there is no more of the tacky Fanta stuff anymore.

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Oblivion logos.

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The queue cages, there is no escape!

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Almost there.

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Then on the way to the forbidden valley, I took a short cut and ended up in a really beautiful place.

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I mean, compare this to Six Flags or Thorpe Park!

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I could not see nor hear any rides and ended up forgetting I was in a theme park.

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So pretty.

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A Lilly pond, in the middle of the park. WHAT IS GOING ON!!!

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I really hope the park never loose this crazy random area.

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There was even an old tunnel.

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More lake.

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A random ancient building.

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I like this picture.

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Another foot path.

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Former Rip Saw sight. I heard a kid ask her father as I passed "Is that that ride which burned down killing people?" I felt like saying back "Yes, it was destroyed by the raging fire of Merlin's cost savings."

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After a long walk up and down hills and through the countryside, we arrived back at the forbidden Valley, where i would have an awful lunch and go on a ride which I have no clue what to think of.

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It looked nice inside.

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it was seriously hard to photograph. You can see the loops in the background.

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The chute.

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Shame no food came down it for an hour.

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Some nice concept art on the wall.

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It was well decorated.

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It worked for some people.

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But not for others.

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The lighting was modern.

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Can you see the food?

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Out table's food did not go through the loop, but it was fun to watch.

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Now for another walk through the countryside to the Dark forest.

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So...Long. The park is absolutely huge.

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I mean, massive. It took about half an hour to get from one side of the park to the other. I walked from the Forbidden valley all the way to Dark forest, in order to ride Thirteen and Rita. It was annoying walking all the way over there and then Thirteen was closed. I needed to get on it because I had fastrack for it.

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There were quite a few abandoned houses around the random rural part of the park. It was really weird just coming across them. I have hit the maximum amount of pictures, but I have more to share from this incredible park, stay tuned!

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Some more pictures. After I made the trek down the valley, past some more random houses, sculptures and lakes, I poked my head around the corner and saw Intamin land! It was only when I was standing less than five meters from the supports. All the rides are so well hidden with them being under tree height.

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This was taken as soon as I could actually see Rita.

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This ride is OK, and there are some good forces. However I still really wish the original plans to have Stealth and Rita joined together would have made an incredible coaster. Sadly the LIM technology was not quite there yet.

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So instead we have two different coasters.

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It is a fast ride, but the launch is nothing compared to that of Stealth. Out of the three Intamin launch coasters I have been on, Kanonen is the best, then it is Stealth, then it is Rita.

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This ride is also badly themed.

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Oh sky ride, why oh WHY did I not use you???

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Closed.

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After some down time during the day, the Smiler is back.

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The ride does look impressive, and the constant flips are good fun.

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This ride is also really good when you see the other train above and below you. It is strange, but awesome.

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The weird spider thing created a nice near miss with the fluffy fluffy things.

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A blur of yellow and black.

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This ride is intense, but only slightly. It is more disorientating. I don't get why people queue for this when there is no queue at all on Nemesis.

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Number 6 inversion on my favorite element of the ride, but I have no clue what the name is.

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Corkscrew. Really most of the inversions added nothing to the ride, like this one. I would have preferred an airtime moment here.

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The indoor part of the queue is strange, but I like it.

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Optical illusions look better in real life, than the pictures, but it really pretty messed up in a good way in this bit.

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Are you seeing thins correctly ... or have you been corrected.

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After you exit the ride, you walk through this long hallway with lots of twists and turns and eery music. It creeped me out, as there was nobody else there.

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HA HA HA...HA HA HA. This was an accident, but I will take the fact that it actually is a nice picture and represents the smiler in all its 'glory'.

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Short but very sweet.

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It is such an intimidating ride, and the sound is insane. The dual station meant that the throughput was relentless. There was constantly a train moving through the track. You can see only half a train of happy riders.

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I then went back to ride Thirteen as it opened up again, but it is a hard ride to take pictures of, so you will have to be satisfied with Rita for now.

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Airtime!

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Final corner.

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This time I took the Skyride back across the Valley, for my final ride on Nemesis. As I was travelling I managed to get an aerial shot of the train going past.

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Back again to the best.

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I believe I am the first person to get this picture. This one may be going on my bedroom wall, because the ride is so near perfect. It just needs to be longer, and the rivers re dyed red.

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As you are always so close to the terrain, you feel like you are going much faster than you are. Nemesis feels faster then Rita.

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More of some modern art ... I mean the station.

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I see no difference between Tate Modern and this!

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Look at how close the track is to everything. It looks like the train cannot fit through. The track looks like it has to roll, in order to get the train through. Where else can you see a corkscrew where it follows the terrain like this?

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So close. I feared I would smash my leg on so many things, and this picture shows why. Look at how close peoples legs are. It is great!

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I will end off with a picture of a very small ride in the pirate area. It is pretty dead at the moment, and I did not even know Alton Towers had a tea cups ride, however in 2018, that should change with SW8.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading, and don't forget to leave some feedback!

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Wow! What a beautiful park! I am officially jealous of anyone who gets to visit this park. The theming and atmosphere look amazing!! I had no idea how immersive the park actually is. Thanks for the great photos, and the great trip report!! This park has now become a #BucketList park!!

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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that almost nobody said anything about the Smiler accident. Only my friend said stupid things. However I will admit I did feel nervous going front row, in exactly the same position they were in. It is a nice ish ride. Nothing special, but it is sad when people are calling for it to be scrapped.

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