Whilst Alton Towers Resort’s theme park season is not far away, the recent February half-term saw the return of the ‘Pirate and Princess Takeover’ at the Resort.

Since 2016, February half-term has not seen the Resort open the main theme park, with attention instead being focused over at the Resort’s hotels with the continuation of the Pirate and Princess Takeover short breaks. This year’s event ran for one week (15th – 24th February) in a change to previous years, due to the alignment of schools’ Spring half-term holidays. Each year has seen improvements to the event and 2019’s adventure is no exception, returning with a packed programme of activities and shows that’s sure to keep families entertained. TowersTimes was given exclusive access to look at the latest swashbuckling adventure.

February half-term has become the next big offering in Resort entertainment after the magical Santa Sleepovers; the Resort’s Christmas short-breaks, which sees entertainment running until 11pm. During the day, guests could visit Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE (between 10am and 2pm) as well as play a round of Extraordinary Golf on one of the 9-hole courses, whilst on the second day of the stay, guests were able to enjoy themselves in the Waterpark with admission included as part of their package.

With construction underway on the Stargazing Pods, the Enchanted Tipi, used in 2018’s event, did not return, with focus instead returning to the Splash Landings Hotel for the pirate-themed entertainment, whilst the Alton Towers Hotel received a much clearer princess identity.

The Alton Towers Hotel saw the addition of stone turrets and pirate treasure, as well as being adorned with blue and pink ribbons, which hung all around the main Atrium staircases, as well as decorating Sir Algenon’s ship.

With the return of the Splash Landings Hotel for this event, the existing stage in Ma Garrita’s Bar was upgraded with a brand new facade, which provided a backdrop to a range of shows throughout the evening, as well as being able to display flags won as the Pirates took on the Princesses in a range of challenges over the course of the night.

During the day Sir Algenon’s Bar, part of the Alton Towers Conference Centre, hosted a colouring competition with tables set up for little ones to get creative with the chance of winning a prize. Also in the Conference Centre was a small cinema, with a choice of six films starting throughout the day for guests to drop by and enjoy.

At set times throughout the afternoon, both Splash Landings and the Alton Towers Hotel hosted meet-and-greet sessions, which gave guests the chance to meet and pose for photos with some familiar characters in a more personal setting. Throughout the day, guests might meet the beautiful princesses or mutinous pirates, as well as classic Alton Towers Hotel characters; Eric the Yeti and Darwin the Dodo.

The State Room, also part of the Resort’s Conference Centre, saw the return of the Pirates of Mutiny Bay, characters much-missed from the theme park. With a dedicated stage and detailed set, the Pirates had a great setting for their buccaneering adventures. Like the Christmas Panto, guests were given a timed slot to watch the shows, with the pirates offering three performances of High Sea and Hijinx: A Pirate Adventure, which consisted of two back-to-back adventures lasting an hour, including the return of the classic Pirates of Mutiny Bay: The Kidnap of Lady Victoria Sponge. The show featured a cast of familiar faces, who put on superb, energetic performances that had great pace and comedy. The gang also returned later in the evening for the Pirate Take Over, which featured even more songs, dancing and laughter, before being followed by a final photo opportunity.

During the evening, Ma Garrita’s Bar hosted a back-to-back entertainments programme, which started off with Captain Finn’s Training Camp; where budding adventurers could learn those all-important pirate skills. The pirate theme also included the Pirate Apprentice Show and the Pirate Ringo Show, before making way for the Fancy Dress Parade. This year also saw the pirates go head-to-head with the princesses in a set of games and challenges, with each side competing to win the most flags during the Pirates vs Princesses Dance Challenge and Family Gameshow. The evening’s entertainment concluded with the victors hosting the final Celebration show, before closing with the Pirates vs Princesses Disco.

Within the Alton Towers Hotel’s atrium, Sir Algenon’s ship also hosted a package evening of entertainment, starting with the Princess School, which saw Princess Adelaide helping Princess Ariana remember how to be a princess. The evening also saw a set of children’s entertainment as well as multiple vocal sets.

The Resort is continuing to deliver very good experiences at its two key winter short-breaks, with the half-term adventure following on from the strong Christmas event. This year’s event once more boasts incredibly energetic performances by a hard-working team and has again shown the Resort has the ability to provide strong guest experiences. However, the return of the excellent Pirates of Mutiny Bay does continue to highlight their lack of presence on the theme park, with much of the entertainment being focused within CBeebies Land in recent years. Whilst CBeebies Land does provide a good range of entertainment for youngsters, the lack of family entertainment elsewhere on the park is still noticeable and remains a much-missed part of the atmosphere by guests.

The event offered a very impressive bundle, that was guaranteed to keep families busy with lots of entertainment options across the multiple venues. Overall this year provided excellent value for money, due to the range of activities, comprehensive line up of live entertainment, entry to Sharkbait Reef by SEALIFE, 9 holes of Extraordinary Golf, and Waterpark access all included in the price.

Have you experienced the Pirates and Princess Takeover at Alton Towers Resort this year? Make sure you share your experience over on the TowersTimes and SouthParks Forum.

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