EuroOd 1.5 & 1.6.1 -- Alton Towers (July 17 & 18)

Associated parks:
None

Wednesday, July 24, 2002 3:58 PM

Ok, this is the report I've actually been dreading writing. Why? Because as good as the park was, it was a major letdown compared to expectations. The park contains two of the best steel coasters anywhere, but was also unbelievably crowded, and dirty.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After checking out of Pontins ("and there was much rejoycing...") we loaded up and headed out to Alton. The bus driver for the Week One coach, Tony, took the lead for this drive, as we were headed into his home area. The drive up to Alton was long and twisted, and very narrow at parks, but Tony flew along with ease. In fact, we had to pull over and wait a few times for the other (admittedly larger) buses to catch up to us. Tony was also happily pointing out sights and telling us stories along the way, which made the relatively long drive pass quickly. After picking up our tickets and leaving our luggage at the Alton Towers Hotel (a nice place and a VAST improvement over the rather sparse Pontins), we were off to the park.

We had the remainder of this Wednesday and evening ERT time on Air, as well as Thursday morning (with ERT on Air and Nemesis) at this park. The first thing we noticed after taking the monorail to the front was the ride wait signs. 140 minutes for Air. 120 for Nemesis. 90 for Oblivion. Ye gods. Fortunately, much like the other parks, crowds would begin to dissipate before closing time.

We determined that the best thing to do would be to hit the four coasters that were NOT part of the ERT, and any other attractions that interested us, saving Air and Nemesis for the ERTs only.

Beastie (1 lap) -- A small junior steel coaster, with a mercifully short line (we hit it first before most of ACE got there ;) )

The Black Hole (1 lap) -- An indoor, 2-in-line-seating coaster. The "2 per seat" rule was erratically enforced -- my roomate and I were forced to sit in the same car even though we BARELY fit, while we observed kids riding solo. The sign had said 30 minutes, but our wait ended up being an hour. It was a credit, but I wouldn't wait an hour for it again.

Corkscrew (1 lap, front seat) -- Another Vekoma corkscrew, in UG Land. Why they didn't give it some caveman-themed name to go with the region it was in is beyond me.

Oblivion (2 laps, both front row) -- By the time we worked our way over to this ride, the line had shrunk considerably. We waited about 20 minutes for our first ride, and even less for the second. I'm sorry to say that Oblivion was a letdown. When this ride first opened, I'm sure it was interesting. The hold just before the "vertical" drop, and the drop straight underground, IS interesting. However, there is NOTHING else to this ride. Slow lift, hold, drop, and then enough track to get you back to the station. That's it. Hypersonic is a more thrilling ride in my personal opinion -- more action between the launch, several good airtime pops, and a vertical drop. I liked Oblivion, but like Black Hole wouldn't wait for a long time at all.

However, the other two B&M gems at this park completely made up for all the other coasters.

Air (4 laps; 2 front, 1 back) -- Forget the Vekoma rides, THIS is a true flying coaster. I found the restraints to be FAR more comfortable, the loading system made a lot more sense, and the ride itself is very well paced. I haven't ridden Superman at SFoG yet, but I will. In the meantime, Air just amazed. From the subtle details in the station (like the whispering voice before dispatch. When the ops give the ready signal, a voice says "Prepare for Air." While the trains are lifted, it says "Assume the position." Then when the train is rolling out, "Now Fly..." Nice touch) to the close ground flybys, Air impressed me. This ride by itself made the trip to Alton worthwhile, and the best was yet to come.

Nemesis (4 laps; 1 front, 3 back) -- Saved this one for the morning ERT. Probably my new favorite inverted, beating such previous favorites as Montu and Fire. The visuals on this ride are just amazing in the front, and the forces in the back (and enough visuals to add to the ride, like an effective footchopper in the back right seat) put this ride very high on my list indeed.

And what about the other attractions? The park is built around an old castle. Part of this castle contains another modern "ghost swing" style ride, Hex, which is probably THE best such ride I've ever been on, beating out Houdini at Great Adventure. We walked around the castle itself for a while, taking pictures from the top of the Towers. The castle is pretty run down in parts, and a lot of windows are broken, but it's still a very interesting setting.

Other than checking out the Towers, we also rode the Haunted House, a good spooky dark ride with a tilted-floor queue, the Runaway Train (a powered "coaster" that gave a pretty good ride), and finally the Sky Ride (on Thursday morning to carry us to the front of the park to get on the bus)

I really wanted to love Alton. And, for the most part, I did -- Air, Nemesis, and Hex were certainly worth the stay, and the hotel was very nice. However, the immense crowds, and the trash, detracted from the experience in the park. It's not like Alton didn't have trash cans, there were plenty of them. And it's not like those cans were full, they weren't. But apparently the people going to Alton are too lazy to actually USE the cans -- there were literally piles of trash not 5 feet from an empty can! Very disappointing.

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--Greg
"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
My page

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 4:06 PM
Nice tR! My friend recently visited AT and waited 2 hours for Oblivion 40min for Nemisis and din't get to ride Air That park is crowded a lot though. Also I am riding Hypersonic this Monday so I am very excited about that.

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Sean

*** This post was edited by SFgadvMAN on 7/24/2002. ***

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 4:16 PM
While you commented on the little "details" of AIR, you didn't say a thing about the stuff on Oblivion. The excellent capacity system, the mist in the tunnel, the creepy voice at the top that says "Don't look down." I had ONE ride in the 2nd row, and I still think the drop is more incredible than any other first drop on a coaster. It's kind of sad that the rest of the coaster could have been so much more...
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TOGO!

*** This post was edited by PT300 on 7/24/2002. ***

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 4:20 PM

Actually, I wasn't that impressed with the capacity on Oblivion. True, it tries (2 trains are loaded simultaneously, at up to 16 people per train), but the line still crawls. The mist and the "don't look down" ARE nice touches, and I should have mentioned them, but Oblivion just didn't leave the same "wow" impression that Air did. (In fact, I WROTE "WOW" in big bold letters in my little notebook next to Air :) )

These trip reports ARE MY impressions, after all... :) Oblivion just didn't wow me, and while it's a welcome addition to my track record isn't anything that's calling me back.

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--Greg
"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
My page

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002 6:55 PM
Good TR, Nice to see someone who doesn't think AIR is a family coaster.

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Steel: 1)MF, 2)Goliath, 3)Magnum
Wood: 1)Villain, 2)Beast, 3)Roar(SFMW)

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Thursday, July 25, 2002 5:38 AM

PT300 said:
While you commented on the little "details" of AIR, you didn't say a thing about the stuff on Oblivion. The excellent capacity system, the mist in the tunnel, the creepy voice at the top that says "Don't look down." I had ONE ride in the 2nd row, and I still think the drop is more incredible than any other first drop on a coaster. It's kind of sad that the rest of the coaster could have been so much more...
-------------
TOGO!

*** This post was edited by PT300 on 7/24/2002. ***



The worst thing about Oblivion is the queue. With the 2 sided, wide queue, it just encourages line jumping. Luckily we waited until the line was short so we didn't have much of a problem, but I wouldn't want to imagine what it was like for those of us who waited 2 hours for it.

I'm another one who loved Air. Personally, I even liked it better than Nemesis. Nemesis is good, but I definitely prefer Montu.

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Sue Barry
CoasterSue@aol.com

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Thursday, July 25, 2002 1:51 PM

The worst thing about Oblivion is the queue. With the 2 sided, wide queue, it just encourages line jumping

How is it encouraging Queue Jumping, The Ride has 2 Queue Lines Side by side, and you are expected to use them both to reduce your queueing time, If alot of people decide to only queue up on one side, and you simply use the other side of the queue line, then you have actually done nothing wrong because you are still using the normal queue. I always find it hilarious why people use only one side of the queue line because I always use the other side and normally just walk on the ride rather than queueing up.
Also, its a shame you never knew about the Loose Harness Trick for Oblivion Greg because it makes the ride 100 times better ;) Quite simply if you can get in your seat, quickly pull the harness down, make sure it quite loose, and then push forwards with your shoulders to prevent the ops pushing it right down, you can get a very insane ride, because when you go down the drop, you actually FLOAT out of your seat and get some great airtime, certaintly makes it a lot more fun.

Glad you liked the Park in General though, however I sometimes wished that Alton would do a lot more work in collecting up rubbish, and putting it in bins because it can be very disgraceful sometimes. I never seem to see any rubbish collectors when I go and sadly some people just have to be lazy and leave it on the ground etc. I assure you its not like it all the time though, and some days seem to be better than others, Its just a shame it cant be every day though.

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Thursday, July 25, 2002 2:00 PM


PaulD said:
Also, its a shame you never knew about the Loose Harness Trick for Oblivion Greg because it makes the ride 100 times better

Standard B&M trick, and I did do such on the second ride :)

Like I said, it's not a BAD ride, it's just that it's SO short and there are other rides that do the same thing with more tricks. If I'd ridden Oblivion when it first opened, I probably would have LOVED it.

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--Greg
"Are you justified in taking life to save life?" -- The Great Debate, Dream Theater
My page

*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 7/25/2002. ***

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Friday, July 26, 2002 6:20 AM

There's nothing wrong with them having 2 sides. I certainly didn't mean that if one side was shorter and someone went up that side that they would be line jumping--I meant that the "meeting up with my friends" line jumpers have too many ways to get by you. The reason I said it encourages line jumping is because it's so wide, making it hard to block them from getting by.

PaulD said:


The worst thing about Oblivion is the queue. With the 2 sided, wide queue, it just encourages line jumping

How is it encouraging Queue Jumping, The Ride has 2 Queue Lines Side by side, and you are expected to use them both to reduce your queueing time, If alot of people decide to only queue up on one side, and you simply use the other side of the queue line, then you have actually done nothing wrong because you are still using the normal queue. I always find it hilarious why people use only one side of the queue line because I always use the other side and normally just walk on the ride rather than queueing up.


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Sue Barry
CoasterSue@aol.com

*** This post was edited by Sue on 7/26/2002. ***

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