Here we have a few of the highlights from the Alton Towers 2003 season…
This season has seen a massive investment in the park and hotels, with three new family attractions and a new themed hotel with integrated Water Park. In 2002 we followed the construction of Calypso Springs, the original name for the new hotel, it was the name which was the first of many hiccups in 2003. Because the name is already in use at another theme park, Alton Towers had to rename the project Splash Landings and the Water Park became Cariba Creek. Not a bad thing, but considering the park had already heavily invested in marketing campaigns using the name ‘Calypso Springs’ it was quite unfortunate.
Before the park even opened for the season a planning application was put in for a new wooden roller coaster in the park, stretching from the UG Land area to the Forbidden Valley area of the park. The plans looked promising for the coaster enthusiast and faces were lighting up all over the world saying “we must make a trip to Alton when this beast opens!” Strong opposition from local residents and those worried about the effects on the environment have however lead to the plans being withdrawn for the time being, but rest assure we’ll be seeing further applications in the future!
On April 4th the park re-opened, guests were invited to try Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back – a revamp of the famous Haunted House ride in Gloomy Wood. The ride opened with mixed reviews with some people saying it is a fabulous revamp encouraging repeat rides, whilst others thinking that the added guns and lasers have diminished the ride.
For families with younger children, Ribena Berry Bish Bash opened on Old Macdonald’s farm, a fun house filled with hundreds of coloured balls, which can be fired, thrown, bounced and dropped. The Tweenies moved into Cred Street, performing 3 sing-a-long shows daily, with their own playground and theatre.
On the 1st June Splash Landings, the new hotel was due to open, but due to bad weather the project fell behind schedule, hotel guests who had pre-booked tickets were faced with a half complete hotel and water park which was unfinished. The park decided the best idea was to close the hotel so that it could be properly finished. Guests were compensated and the end result was a smart hotel and water park, which are a credit to the theme park, in its first season it has already been nominated for and won awards.
In July half of Adventure Land was closed off and construction began on 2004’s family roller coaster ‘Spinball Whizzer’, a Maurer spinning mouse roller coaster which is themed around a pinball machine. Construction progressed at a rapid pace and by the end of the season the main lift hill was in place, during the closed season we have seen more track go up and this ride is looking better by the day.
October saw the annual special events; Spooky Halloween and the famous Alton Towers end of season firework display. Halloween was celebrated with the return of Terror Of The Towers and a fabulous Halloween on ice show “Cirque de Halloween” in Webmasters ice rink. Terror Of The Towers was a fantastic attraction, a great improvement on the previous year, the theming, story line, actors and whole atmosphere were phenomenal. We were greeted at the door of the towers “you’re late, the master has been expecting you!” Daring guests then had to make their way through the servants’ quarters, edge around the masters table and then escape through horrific atmospheric scenes. As always the fireworks did not disappoint either, themed around Halloween and Terror Of Towers, we see a professor trying to banish evil zombies from the towers, only a combination of ‘flame hypnosis’ and laser lights could do the trick!
Now we have next season to look forward to, Spinball Whizzer being the main attraction, with other rethemings happening around the park such as the Log Flume, new shows and pay per ride attractions to entertain the whole family. In the meantime we have several winter weekends to enjoy in the park during the closed season.