And so, as night follows day, the 2007/2008 closed season rolled around, which would see a new area rise from the dust that was Merrie England. While pictures of Battle Galleons can be found in the construction archive, the rest of Mutiny Bay’s construction is documented below. Other notable features of this closed season would be one of The Blade’s “Big Ol’ Refurbishments” we see every now and again, as well as significant restoration work on the Towers themselves. After the fire at the end of the 2007 season, the Skyride also saw some TLC over the closed season and McDonald’s departed from the park after ten years.
Over in Forbidden Valley, the husk that was once the Skyride station still stands, with the damage to its roof plain to see. In Katanga Canyon, the Congo River Rapids were of course now closed for the season although the channel was yet to be fully drained, with all the boats still sitting at the lowest point, waiting to be hoisted onto dry land (as happens every closed season).
In Merrie England, change was afoot with 2007 the last year for the teacups as they would be rethemed to Marauder’s Mayhem for the following year. Furthermore, with the McDonald’s contract coming to an end, Jester’s Court would become a Burger King in 2008. Meanwhile, in Merrie Market an end of season stock take was happening and, next door, Eastern Express had been cleared ready for a retheme in keeping with Mutiny Bay – it didn’t look like anything too drastic would be happening to the restaurant, with the furniture just piled to one end. The Flume was closed for Adrenalin Week and the bath tubs were already in their winter storage behind Duel. Furthermore, the remote control ducks which had graced The Flume’s lake since 2004 would not be returning in 2008 – all that remained of the sideshow was a slightly dilapidated piece of theming which had somewhat sunk into the lake.
Elsewhere behind Duel was a slight blast from the past with the old Ribena Berry from Berry Bish Bash still in storage, while, over at the far end of the park, Berry Bish Bash itself had closed for the season, along with the rest of Old MacDonald’s Farm. The tractors had already been removed from Old MacDonald’s Tractor Ride and some of the ride’s theming was being stored inside for the winter. However, the boats were still waiting to be removed from Riverbank Eye Spy. Meanwhile, the Dung Heap was beginning its first closed season in the park.
Over in Cred Street, McDonald’s was looking rather closed and The Cred Street Diner would also become a Burger King in the new year. Cred Street also had one of the few remaining hints of Scarefest, with the Pumpkin Patch Playground still in place, while, on the other side of the Cred Street Theatre, Bouncing Bugs had been entirely dismantled, with only a few pieces remaining on site.
Making our way into the theme park along the Woodland Walk, the first ride to come into sight was Air, followed closely by Ripsaw – seen here clad in scaffolding during its winter maintenance. Once in Forbidden Valley, we could see the dismantled elements of The Blade, which was having one of its semi-regular refurbishments ahead of the 2008 season. Looking down into the excessively empty pit, we could see a few remnants of the ride were still in place. Nearby, we could see that all of the McDonald’s signage had now been removed from The Generator ready for its transformation into Burger King. Elsewhere in the area, the Forbidden Valley Skyride station was now surrounded by scaffolding ready for the station’s reconstruction while some charred remains of the roof could still be seen. A pile of the burnt wood already stripped from the station lied nearby ready to be disposed of.
As we made our way into the rest of the park, we captured a misty look out across the lake towards the eerily deserted Haunted Hollow. The Towers were also encompassed by the mist, although it was still possible to make out the scaffolding on the Round Tower which was finally receiving some stabilising work. Since the Round Tower was in a part of the Towers inaccessible to the public, tours continued over the winter. Also pictured is X-Sector and Oblivion, which wouldn’t be opening for Half Term Hullabaloo.
This update focused on what was happening around the hotels. Over by Splash Landings Hotel, most of the Christmas rides were already gone – only the park’s own rides were left to remove, Bouncing Bugs and Frog Hopper. Above the entrance to Alton Towers Hotel sat the remains of an Easter Egg left over from Chocolate Towers. Finally, we took a look at what was left of Field of 1000 Screams – two cabins and a lot of mud!