Reviewed by DT (note – initials used for reasons of my childrens’ privacy)
As a mum of twins aged 9 and a daughter aged 16, it can be hard to find family outings which all of my children will enjoy. I wanted to do something extra special for my daughter’s 16th birthday this year. I was over the moon to have the opportunity of doing a review of Alton Towers. Alton Towers is approximately 1.5 hours away from our home. I popped onto the Planning Your Visit section of their website here which I found really useful. In the end we decided to book a taxi from door to door. I also found the opening times on the website.
All of my children and my daughter’s two teenage friends who we took with us were so excited beforehand. I have disabilities and had some accessibility related queries beforehand. Staff were helpful, knowledgeable and approachable. They sorted us out Ride Access Pass wise promptly and efficiently. A ride access pass works like a virtual queue. You have a card which lasts for 2 years and a leaflet for on the day of your visit. You can go straight onto your first ride. Staff on the various rides then may or may not mark on your ride access leaflet a time (taking into account the length of the queue for the ride you are at) when you can get onto your next ride. I think that this is a great idea and allows those with mobility problems, for example, or those with children who struggle to wait in queues to wait elsewhere (and perhaps sit down) in between rides. For more information on accessibility please see here.
Now for the day of the visit. The taxi arrived at around 7.30am and 6 very excited people got into it. After a pleasant journey of around 1.5 hours we arrived at Alton Towers. We got dropped off in the drop-off area which I was happy to see was just a short walk from the main entrance of the theme park. On the way we spotted a lounge for coach drivers, just one of the fantastic well thought out facilities which are available at the resort. I do want to mention at this point that there was disabled parking available right by the entrance and a generous amount of car parking overall. Whilst some of the car parking spaces are quite a walk from the main entrance of the theme park, a Monorail service is available to save theme park visitors the walk.
We walked from the drop-off area to the entrance of the theme park in no time. After a quick visit to the clean and spacious toilet facilities we were let into the park. I think that it is great in these times of living with coronavirus that the attraction monitors queues and lets people in early in some circumstances. After security checked our bags our tickets were scanned and after what felt like no time at all we were in the park ready to experience what it had to offer. I did wish to mention at this point that I felt safe in the theme park due to the things put in place coronavirus wise like direction arrows and hand sanitiser.
There is a useful page of the website here which provides info on height restrictions. There is also a handy know before you go page of the website here.
At this point the teenage girls in our party headed off to enjoy their day together. There was a shop open near to the entrance to the theme park where I purchased some drinks for my sons and I. I think that the price of the drinks was reasonable and around what you would expect when out on a day out.
We headed into CBeebies Land to check out the available rides and decide which ride we wanted to head to first. After having a walk around and using the clean, spacious toilet facilities we decided that The Get Set Go Treetop Adventure would be our first ride. We had a walk through the Something Special – Sensory Garden on the way to the ride. This was great and had a good variety of things to keep the little humans in your life amused and busy. The first ride we had chosen, The Get Set Go Treetop Adventure opened promptly at 10am. The ride access entrance was, as with other rides, clearly marked. We had a short wait and then some friendly and helpful members of staff showed us into the monorail type carriage. There was enough room for both myself and both of my sons. I like rides where we can all sit together. We chatted excitedly whilst on the ride. We loved both the view of the theme park from the ride as well as the things you see that are part of the ride itself. We enjoyed the ride so much that we did go on it again later in the day.
The next ride that we went on was Postman Pat Parcel Post. We actually went on this ride more than once because of it being so enjoyable. You ride around in Postman Pat’s van. Children can choose to sit into the front where there are two seats, two steering wheels and a set of buttons to press at various points of the ride. I think that having the tasks to do whilst on the ride kept my sons really well engaged.
One of the other rides my sons went on was the Peter Rabbit™ Hippity Hop ride. This was great fun. The ride started at the top and then did what I would describe as little bunny hops to get down to the bottom. One of my twins in particular was a bit apprehensive before he got on the ride but grinned from ear to ear when on it and came off absolutely buzzing and so proud of himself. That was another ride that my sons went on more than once.
Another ride that we all went on in CBeebies Land was the In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride. You take a ride in a boat and see various In The Night Garden characters. There is a running commentary as you ride around. This ride was really enjoyable for all of us. We did this more than once.
Whilst in CBeebies Land we spent some time in the outdoor play area, the Tree Fu Tom Training Camp. My sons enjoyed this and I had a well needed sit down. There was plenty of play equipment in the area. A firm favourite seemed to be the zip wire and slide.
My favourite ride in CBeebies Land (yes, a 47 year old mum of 3!) was the Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride. This was another ride that one of my twins was a bit apprehensive about, but by his second time on it he was sat in the front operating the lever which makes the car we were sat in go up and down whilst going round and round. This ride was so much fun. We had a great view of CBeebies Land from this particular ride too.
We didn’t watch the Big Fun Showtime show in CBeebies Land or queue to meet any characters, but it’s nice to see that such events are available.
Whilst in CBeebies Land, we did pay a visit to the Furchester Hotel and sat on the floor while we watched an interactive show. I won’t give away what happens, but it was so much fun and kept both of my sons engaged.
Another highlight of CBeebies Land was Justin’s Pie-O-Matic Factory. This was in a two story building. Upon going in we were given a bag of soft balls. Several pieces of equipment that you can use the balls with/in were on both floors of the building. I have to admit that at one point I seemed to be a target for many of the soft balls, but this all added to our enjoyment of the experience. There was even a slide to get from the top floor of the building to the ground floor. From what I understand the red soft balls represented the cherries for the pies.
Later in the day, my sons did go on the Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure with the three teenagers in our party. They had such a great time and were both so proud of themselves for going on a roller coaster.
We did pop out of CBeebies Land for some lunch. My sons had a chocolate covered waffle and I opted for sausage, chips and curry sauce. These were purchased at a reasonable cost from two different catering vans in the green picnic area of the theme park, near the main entrance. For more information about the available shops and restaurants, please see here.
Whilst we did spend most of the day in CBeebies Land, we did venture out into the main park for a couple of hours. I was delighted to see that it’s possible to download the Alton Towers app. This app helps you plan your way around the theme park. We didn’t use this app ourselves. I used my phone and looked on the attractions website to see where to go at some points during our visit.
The first ride which we went on in the main park was Battle Galleons. We all enjoyed this so much because we got to shoot water at people. We did get a bit wet, but reasonably priced dryers were available close to the ride. I like the fact that the theme park is split up into areas.
The other ride we went on in the main area of the theme park was the new David Walliams themed ride Gangsta Granny: The Ride. This was such a run and interactive ride. We came off of this ride gushing about it.
I then decided to rest my weary legs by taking the Skyride one stop across to nearer the park entrance. We then enjoyed a lovely lakeside walk back to near the Battle Galleons ride. We used various toilet facilities throughout the day. All were clean and clearly well checked.
So, what did the teenage girls in our party get up to while we were off on separate rides? They went on Smiler three times, Oblivian twice, Rita once, Thirteen twice, Galactica twice, Nemesis once, Blade once and Roller Disco once. When asked the teenage girls said that their favourite four rides were Smiler, Galactica, Oblivian and Thirteen. All of these rides are what I would describe as Thrill rides. I must admit that I thought the Roller Disco ride looked fun when I saw a picture of it on the Alton Towers website. The girls had such a good day and I don’t think they would hesitate to return to Alton Towers should the opportunity arise. For lunch they purchased a sharer bucket of chicken from one of the catering vans which they said tasted great. My sons and I actually popped to the viewing area of Oblivion for a sit down and got to see the girls enjoying that particular ride. It was lovely for my sons to be able to watch their big sister having so much fun on a ride. I think I can safety say that all three teenage girls in our party are huge fans of roller coasters.
As I am sat writing this review I am being asked by my twin sons when we will be going again. This has been a regular question since our visit. Because we enjoyed our visit so much, I am considering purchasing a Merlin Annual Pass so that we can go several times each year to this and other attractions. You can find information about the various passes here.
Alton Towers even has its own online shop here. Having had a quick look I was happy to see that there are prices to suit a wide range of budgets. I think that this online shop is great because you can avoid carrying your purchases home by getting them delivered.
The resort also has a CBeebies Land Hotel, as well as a water park. You can even stay in a Stargazing Pod. Please see here and here for more info. I have been eyeing up the festive theme park plus hotel packages as they look reasonably priced. They even do Santa Sleepovers. I love the idea of that. There is even a spa for those who fancy a relaxing break with friends.
To summarise, we all had a fantastic day and I don’t think it’ll be long before some of our party visit again. I think that it was the perfect way to celebrate my daughter’s 16th birthday. So many precious memories were made that day. I think that Alton Towers really suited everyone, which as I mentioned earlier can be a hard task with the age gap between my children.
Rating: 5/5 and I would give it more if I could
The price of a day pass starts from £34.00 To book you can click on book now at the top right hand side of the website here.