Alton Towers Resort opened its gates for the first time in 2017 this weekend. Promising not one, but two new attractions in CBeebies Land, a whole range of changes and refreshes through the Towers Loving Care programme, and the re-opening of Hex – The Legend of the Towers, TowersTimes take a look at all the developments from opening weekend.
New for the 2017 season are two additions to CBeebies Land – Go Jetters Vroomster Zoom Ride and The Furchester Hotel Live Show. Go Jetters is a fun rotating ride which sees guests take on the role of Go Jetter Cadets as they help defeat villain Grandmaster Glitch. Using a lever located in the front of each ride vehicle, guests can make their vehicle move up and down as the ride rotates, whilst around the queuline are models of famous landmarks allowing children to learn about some of the best known places around the world. Throughout the ride area is plenty of attention to detail, from Ubercorn placed on top of the operator booth, to each ride vehicle having a different counties’ flag. In a first of its kind, The Furchester Hotel Live Show offers guests the chance to enter the doors of The Furchester Hotel and meet its residents, Fergus, Funella, Phoebe, Elmo and Cookie Monster in the fur as they prepare for the arrival of Chick Swagger. Using a combination of puppets, interactive screens, and live action, all located in a highly detailed and themed building, The Furchester Hotel Live show is a very well-crafted addition, striking the perfect balance of interactivity and humour, and is the ideal length ensuring children stay engaged throughout the show. Located between the Big Fun Show Time Arena and Tree Fu Tom Training Camp, the new additions help to open up the far end of the popular children’s area driving more traffic round towards Tree Fu Tom Training Camp and Mr Bloom’s Allotment.
One of the most anticipated elements of the first day of the 2017 season was the re-opening of Hex – The Legend of the Towers following its season long closure during 2016 as part of the Towers Loving Care programme. Having received a number of refurbishments, including a new sound system, new flooring, a re-fresh of several special effects, and a thorough deep clean and re-fresh throughout the attraction, the iconic ride is now back to its original condition and is a much improved experience compared to how it was when it closed at the end of 2015.
Another attraction to have re-opened following its closure as part of the Towers Loving Care Programme is Cuckoo Cars Driving School. Having received a complete repaint throughout the course, and new decals for all the cars, the attraction is now looking totally refreshed and forms part of a wider refresh of Cloud Cuckoo Land. Ice Age 4D has now been completely removed with all traces of its former theming having disappeared and the Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre now painted in a variety of bright colours. In front of the theatre a number of rainbow coloured tables have been set out and a mobile café unit serves food and drink options on peak days, replacing the now closed Wobble World Café. Having debuted during Scarefest 2016, the façade for House of Monsters remains with signage outside promising the family scare attraction will be returning for 2017’s event. Twirling Toadstool has been closed for the 2017 season as part of the ongoing Towers Loving Care Programme with a themed fence surrounding the area where it usually stands and only the operation booth remaining visible with the ride canopy having not been installed for the new season. At the entrance to the area the Cloud Cuckoo Land sign has been completely repainted with what was once ice now a bright orange colour instead.
Following the first phase of its refurbishment last year, the Nemesis Monster has had phase two of its refurbishment completed for this season which has seen the far side of the structure completely overhauled and re-painted, restoring the Monster to its original colours and means it now looks the best it has in many years.
Elsewhere across the park several other areas have also had work done to improve the overall aesthetic of the theme park. Rita’s train have been re-painted with the bright blue and purple now closer to how the trains looked when the ride was part of Ug Land. X-Sector has seen the Re-Hydrator returned to its original colour scheme, whilst the exterior of X-Cite has also been re-painted. At the entrance to the park the Corkscrew Monument has been given a fresh coat of paint, whilst the facades of the buildings down Towers Street are now all bright and bold colours. The Blade has had its support structure re-painted, whilst over in Gloomy Wood Duel’s sign has also received some attention. There have also been some changes to food and beverage units with Costa Coffee now being served in both The Coffee Lounge in Forbidden Valley, and Corner Coffee on Towers Street. Mutiny Bay Burger Kitchen and the games stalls at the back of Mutiny Bay have all been closed, presumably due to SW8 construction.
The site for what will be the Theme Park’s first wooden rollercoaster, Secret Weapon 8, has undergone a substantial amount of work over the winter months with all traces of the Flume’s entrance, lake, and station now completely removed. The only remnant of the former water ride is in the woodland where some of the concrete footers and supports remain. At the bottom end of the construction site, by Mutiny Bay, the concrete skeleton of what will become the ride station has been constructed, whilst up at the opposite end of the site, behind Congo River Rapids, metal rebar has been installed ready to receive the foundations which will support the first turn for the ride. Elsewhere on the site various elements of landscaping is underway to help shape the terrain for the future rollercoaster. In order to facilitate the construction of the new attraction for 2018, the path from Mutiny Bay to Katanga Canyon has been blocked and a new pathway created which makes its way along one edge of the construction site and leads up to Gloomy Wood where guests can access Katanga Canyon from the top side of the area.
Throughout the opening weekend the Theme Park enjoyed almost perfect sunny weather, meaning that the Theme Park was moderately busy throughout the weekend. However, ride availability was disappointing with The Smiler unavailable all weekend and other rides experiencing a number of periods of downtime. Galactica was also operating without its signature virtual reality element as it awaits upgraded headsets.
Did you visit the Resort over its opening weekend? What are your thoughts on the changes which have taken place over the closed season? Have your say over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum.
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