Day Out at Alton Towers

Home to such thrill rides as Oblivion, Rita and their newest 'Pyschoaster' Th13teen; Alton Towers is the 2nd most visited theme park in the UK.

It's been a few years since I last visited Alton Towers, so I thought it was about time to enjoy myself again.

Based in Staffordshire, this has to be one of the best theme parks for the thrill-seeker. It's home to some of the most unique rides inlcuding Oblivion, the world's first vertial drop roller coaster; Nemesis, Europe's first inverted roller coaster and Rita Queen of Speed which accelerates you to 60mph in approximately 2.2 seconds!

The ride I was really interested in was Th13teen. Planning began for the ride in 2008 to replace the classic Corkscrew. Promoted as a 'Psychoaster' with a feature never ever seen before. I don't want to give away what that feature is, but riders coming off were all saying "I never expected THAT!". Definitely worth the 60 minute wait.

Because it wasn't the school holidays anymore the queues weren't too bad. The longest time we had to wait was one hour, but it seems to fly by.

I'm a big fan of 'setting the scene' with rides and Alton Towers seem to do this in the right way - not as good as the Americans, but it's getting there. The best scene-setting ride is Hex - The Legend of the Towers. It actually takes you through the ruins of the Towers themselves and the build up includes videos explaining why the main element of the ride is Hexed. It works really well and the ride itself plays with your mind!

I'll be honest, my favourite ride at Alton Towers used to be the Haunted House. Amazingly set out, great build up and visually spectacular. However, they've now turned it into a laser gun ride where you fire at the animatronic zombies. It's now a ride I refuse to go on as I'm loyal to the original.

We managed to get on around 8 rides throughout the day, which actually isn't that bad with it being a weekend, stopping for lunch, etc.

Getting the monorail back to the car park was cool... We got to ride in the driver's cabin! Ray (the driver) showed us the controls and I think my friends were more excited about that than the whole day!

Another clever thing about the park is when you enter, you're given a wristband which you wear all day and sensors in cameras dotted around films your day at Alton Towers - including certain rides. You get to see a preview at the end and decide whether you want to buy a DVD or not. Modern technology eh?!

All in all, a fantastic day, the weather wasn't too bad and the main highlight for me was Th13teen. I've heard a bit of criticism about it, but on a personal level, it's a fantastic ride, especially with that 'secret feature'.

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