The 2006/2007 Closed Season was a very active one at the Towers. Two new restaurants were built, one in Fountain Square and one in Forbidden Valley. It also saw the Dung Heap and Haunted Hollow arrive at the park, and the Extraordinary Golf built at the hotels – head over to their respective pages in our construction archive to see our updates for these. Not only that but both Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and the Riverbank Eye-Spy received revamps, as did many of the game units when HB Leisure arrived at the park. This was also the year the park adopted the new YourDay souvenir option, where guests could buy a DVD of their day.
We start this update over at the hotels, where the Alton Towers Hotel’s gardens are still looking rather white thanks to the fake snow from the Winter Wonderland. Theming from Room 13 could also be seen sitting outside the Emperor Suite. As we make our way over to the theme park, it was possible to see into Forbidden Valley where a new restaurant building was under construction. In the backstage storage area we could spot The Flume’s bathtubs as well as the Vintage Cars which were stored here after their departure from Cred Street.
On Towers Street, the frogs have already returned from their annual refresh ready for the ‘Towers, Treats and Trails’ event. Elsewhere, a construction fence was up around Mad Hatters – the future site of the YourDay Shop. In Old Macdonald’s Farm, the shell of a Squirrel Nutty Car was in storage alongside Berry Bish Bash. The Singing Barn remained closed with it not due to open till the start of the new season, while The Education Centre was also all closed up, which had been for quite some time. All was also quiet in Adventure Land – look closely and you’ll be able to spot Spinball Whizzer’s cars under covers and a rare glimpse of the Beastie off its track. ‘Not so Forbidden’ Tattoos was taking a winter holiday at the hospitality suite, while down by the lake we found a chicken looking a little like a piece of Riverbank Eye Spy theming gone astray. In X-Sector, Black Hole was looking very much abandoned, with its track still lying around the yard outside of the tent. Enterprise and Submission were also undergoing their winter maintenance. Oblivion’s storage shed was full, with only four cars on track for ‘Towers, Treats and Trails’.
Also included are some closed season views of the Towers themselves. Notable features include being able to see from above the remains of the original tiles from one of the Towers’ kitchens and also the most photographed wheelbarrow ever, sitting abandoned in the West Wing. Over towards Fountain Square, it was possible to see the frame of the new Hogs Head restaurant going up.
In the gardens, a fallen tree ripped up the water supply to the Corkscrew Fountain – a near miss for this historic water feature! Just above the the Corkscrew fountain was one end of pathway which was being transformed into the Haunted Hollow. Alongside Merrie England, work on the Haunted Hollow had begun with the demolition of the old train tunnel – just behind The Flume it was still possible to see the remnants of the old park railway station.
On Towers Street, the new YourDay shop was still under construction and a closer look at the frogs revealed what looked to be brand new lily pads. In Merrie England, all the Splash Karts were back in their lake ready for the new season. At the Flume, the controls for the remote controls ducks were positioned under the Fastrack canopy, with the ducks themselves in The Flume’s queue line. Also pictured are some of the game booths in Merrie England which would be operated by HB Leisure from 2007. Katanga Canyon was closed off for ‘Towers, Treats and Trails’, but the waterfalls were still running. Looking over The Flume lake, it was possible to see the Congo River Rapids boats lined up along the service road.
In the Towers’ Chapel, the old ticket booth for the Model Railway sits by the door and a coffin sits by the Star Garden as a reminder of Halloweens gone by. From the roof, it was possible to see construction continuing on the new restaurant in Fountain Square. In X-Sector, all the carriages were now reattached to Enterprise and some work was being carried out on the picnic area by Oblivion. Over in Adventure Land, The Beastie was now back on its track after receiving winter maintenance. Also featured is a sign in Old Macdonald’s Farm which would be a bit out of date in the 2007 season.
We start this update in Old Macdonald’s Farm where Ribena Berry Bish Bash is pictured, with questions over how long the sponsorship would remain. More importantly, however, the chicken game in Old Macdonald’s Farm was working once again! Over in Adventure Land, Spinball Whizzer was receiving some maintenance, seemingly focused on the block brakes, and the Space Adventures play area was also getting some closed season attention. In X-Sector, work continued on Oblivion’s queue line buildings and the path was up in front of Re-Hydrator as part of the area’s path relaying programme. The X-Cite arcade was open for ‘Towers, Treats and Trails’, although Submission remained under cover for maintenance. Elsewhere, the bath tubs had returned to the Flume, and Forbidden Tattoos has now up and left the area outside the Hospitality Suite (although it hadn’t gone too far). A solitary games stand entertained the punters (and Bob the Builder made his return). From the top of the Towers, it could be seen that the restaurant in Fountain Square looked much the same as the previous update, as well as the Driving School receiving some TLC during its first closed season. Finally, YourDay construction continued with The Mad Hatter having now left his shop, ready for its conversion for the 2007 season.
By way of update on observations from previous visits, Forbidden Tattoos was back outside the Hospitality Suite for ‘Towers, Treats and Trails’, and the solitary Squirrel Nutty car had departed from behind Berry Bish Bash. In X-Sector, the kiosk in the Black Hole queue still had flags outside as reminders of past times, although Black Hole’s track was now gone, with only a few ride supports remaining. Elsewhere, the pathway was now re-laid outside the Re-Hydrator and the scaffolding was starting to disappear from around Submission.
Looking from the Towers to Fountain Square, it could be seen that walls have started to be added to the new restaurant. Another view provided a look across the roofs behind Cred Street with Cred Street Theatre in the distance, and nestled amongst the trees was the Nemesis Utility Vehicle which was removed for construction of the new restaurant. A so-called ‘utilidor’ runs alongside the Conservatories – when viewed from above, the individual slabs show its route. The entrance to this tunnel is by the exit of Hex which itself was part of the utilidor system to bring coal into the heart of the Towers. Near the Towers it looked like new signage would be appearing for the 2007 season. In the gardens, Jacob’s Ladder was still closed to the public (it had been “temporarily closed” since 2005).
The Congo River Rapids’ boats could still be seen on dry land. The queue board pictured was still advertising the previous Adrenalin Week. In Merrie England some of the old games have been replaced by new HB Leisure units – The Witches Cauldron replaced Ye Olde Churns and Rasputin’s Ricochet replaced Ye Old Goblets (which replaced Ye Old Tin Cans). On Towers Street, the former Mad Hatter shop was filled with scaffolding ready to start its conversion. At the theme park entrance, the wonky entrance sign had gone AWOL.
Ribena was confirmed to be leaving Old Macdonald’s Farm for the 2007 season, with the giant berry which sat outside the attraction now seen in the ride graveyard. While some of The Flume’s bathtubs were still being stored in this area, a number could now be seen on the ride’s lift hill – although there was one escapee in the car parks! On the way over to the hotels, we took another peek into Forbidden Valley, where, in the middle of Nemesis, the blue umbrellas outside the new restaurant building could be seen. In another photo, you should also be able to see the Towers silhouetted alongside Nemesis. Carpark K is pictured as it was expected to be the location of the Haunted Cornfield this Halloween. In the hotel car parks was a ‘VIP’ car valet service.