This was a closed season not quite like any other that had been seen in the previous few years. For the first time since the 90s, the park itself was open for the resort’s Winter Season, although only in a limited capacity with Towers Street, Mutiny Bay, Storybook Land and Old MacDonald’s Farmyard open for hotel guests. The big news for the 2009/2010 closed season was the construction of TH13TEEN, which saw the transformation of Ug Land into the Dark Forest. Alongside this the Cloud Cuckoo Land Skyride station was rebuilt after 2009’s fire. Elsewhere Spinball Whizzer received a repaint ready to become Sonic Spinball in time for February Half Term 2010 and the Corkscrew’s famous inversions were installed in the entrance plaza as a testament to the iconic ride.

We start this first update at the hotels, with a look at Extraordinary Golf at the end of its third season. The Monorail was operating in a limited capacity to ferry guests to and from the park’s Christmas event, which was understandable given there was much fewer guests that during the main season, with the car parks deserted.

In the theme park, the The Towers are pictured sitting beyond a very wintry looking lake. The Battle Galleons lake was only filled for the weekend openings to prevent ice damage. In the distance, Oblivion can be seen biding its time until February Half Term 2010.

This update focused on Spinball Whizzer, whose supports had begun to be painted a darker shade of blue, fuelling rumours of a retheme.

Where else would we start this update, other than a very festive looking entrance plaza! This would of course soon become home to the iconic Corkscrews. While the maps inside the theme park had been updated for the winter season, the 2009 map was still being shown on signage in the entrance plaza – note also the sign advertising SW6. Towers Street’s decorations looked even more magical surrounded by snow, and the frogs were still in residence (of a frozen pond). At the bottom of Towers Street, lighting had been installed for the Christmas season. The weather had been so cold that even the main lake had frozen over! Beyond the like were wintry views of the Towers and Oblivion.

We captured a last look at Spinball Whizzer, as Sonic the Hedgehog prepared to return to the theme park, previously having lived in Toyland Tours.

There was little activity in Old Macdonald’s Farmyard and Storybook Land, with all attractions very much snow-covered, and indeed frozen over in the case of Riverbank Eye Spy. The shoreline of Mutiny Bay, along with the rest of the area, was also looking rather snowy. The Flume was of course closed for the winter, and Mutiny Bay was practically deserted despite being open for the winter season. Finally, after leaving the theme park, we caught a glimpse of Air across the car park.

Here we captured the return of some of Corkscrew’s track, along with supports, to one of the overflow car parks, near to the theme park’s entrance. This was in preparation for it to be installed as a new featured on the entrance plaza for the 2010 season. Whilst looking a little worse for wear currently, it would soon be looking resplendent in purple and gold!

Once again we returned to a snowy Alton Towers. In the coach parks, the (now cleaner looking) Corkscrew track and supports were still waiting to be installed. On the entrance plaza, work was continuing quickly in preparation for the Corkscrews to arrive.

The theme park itself was now closed after a successful winter season. It could be seen that Towers Street had been cleared of Christmas decorations. On the walk back to the hotels, we could capture glimpses of Nemesis and Air, as well as see Ripsaw, which was in the middle of its usual winter refurbishment.

In the backstage storage area behind Duel, the boats for The Flume and Congo River Rapids were being held. The track for the retired Splash Kart Challenge could also be spotted in front of the remains of the old Rapids boats and the area was now also home to the last Swan Boat to reside at the resort.

This update revealed that Her Ladyship’s Oratory was apparently victim to a falling tree over the closed season. Also pictured is Rita’s Chicken and Ribs, which had a full closed season due to the nearby construction of Dark Forest. On the roof of the Towers, some of the chimneys were receiving some work and we took a look down towards Fountain Square.

We started our February Half Term update in Mutiny Bay, where the ladder game was unavailable during the event. Eastern Express also remained closed during February Half Term, along with Battle Galleons as per usual. The Flume too was expectedly drained and bathtubless. The Portrait Gallery was another thing that was closed.

In Katanga Canyon, the Congo River Rapids were fairly dry. Over in Forbidden Valley, Ripsaw was also closed with its winter maintenance ongoing. While not involving water, the King 6 trampolines in Fountain Square were closed, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was also shuttered until March. There was evidence of some tree felling in Cloud Cuckoo Land, while the nearby Burger King is pictured as being closed.

Oblivion was open for February Half Term with its queueline having received some attention. However, the rest of X-Sector, including Submission, sat dormant, with Enterprise in the middle of an extensive rehab. The ride’s arms sat off to one side while the cars were nowhere to be seen. It looked as though maintenance were using the Black Hole tent as a base.

To finish we took a peek backstage featuring everyone’s favourite Ribena Berry but not a Splash Kart in sight.

This final update provided another look at Corkscrew’s track, most of which had now been painted with only a hint of the trademark yellow left. Although some track had been painted its final purple colour, some had only received the grey primer coat.