The thrill of being spun head over heels upside down is enough to whet the appetite of any thrill seeker. But what if the restraints were taken away and your body was left to defy the laws of gravity through physics? As one of Alton Towers’ longest operating attractions, this white knuckle thrill ride had the answer…
- Location: Festival Park / X-Sector
- Manufacturer: HUSS Rides
- Ride Type: Enterprise
- Diameter of Wheel: 18m
- Time per Revolution: 4.5 secs
- Mass per Car: 200kg
- Passengers per Car: 2
- Number of Cars: 20
- Passengers per Wheel: 40
- Capacity: 1400 riders per hour
- Duration: 1 min 45 secs
- Opening Year: 1984 (31st March)
- Rethemed: 1998 (14th March)
- Closing Year: 2021 (14th November)
Riders were presented with 20 gondolas, each circling around the centre of a giant arm. A maximum of two guests could occupy a gondola and after seating yourself, you would notice something strange – there was no restraint! No lap bar, over the shoulder harness or even a simple seat belt! Your forthcoming battle against gravity would be a real test of physics, and once the sliding cage door was closed and locked, it was time to be taken on the spin of your life.
Enterprise began by rotating riders and gathering speed, slowly tilting the gondolas outwards away from the centre of the wheel. After gradually reaching a rather fast pace, the arm in the centre would begin to elevate the 20 gondolas and guests inside skywards, hurtling riders upside down at dizzying speeds whilst pinning you into your seat. You were truly inverting with nothing holding you in place!
After several moments of being hurtled skywards and plunging back down to the earth in a repeated momentum, the wheel would slowly begin to descend and lose speed, bringing riders back to a standstill on the ground.
Before the Ministry of Joy and X-Sector were even a concept for Alton Towers, Enterprise began operating at the park in 1984. The original location it stood in was alongside the Corkscrew in Festival Park (now known as Dark Forest).
With the introduction of Oblivion and X-Sector in 1998, Enterprise proved to be an ideal candidate to be a support ride in the brand new area, and sat perfectly inside the vertical drop rollercoaster’s banked turn.
Enterprise was always subject to noticeable maintenance work over the closed season, with the entire ride system being removed from its space, leaving an empty pit. Alongside the introduction of The Smiler in 2013, the majority of X-Sector was given a fresh breath of life. Enterprise was extensively worked on, with many brand new components being installed to keep the ride operating for the foreseeable future.
Enterprise last operated in 2021, during the Run Alton Towers event held on the weekend after the end of the main theme park season. Throughout the 2022 season, Enterprise remained out of operation and partially dismantled, with the Resort confirming in October 2022 via a reply on Twitter that the ride was ‘not at our resort anymore’. Over the course of the 2022/23 closed season, the ride was fully removed from X-Sector, with its pit filled in and covered over, bringing to an end its life at Alton Towers of almost 40 years.