Let’s take a trip back in time. Perhaps not so far as Medieval times, but to the early 90s when Tussauds aimed to recreate the olde worlde in Alton Towers. Aqualand was now in the past and from 1992 the majority of its rides had become classed as part of Towers Street. As this wasn’t considered a suitable solution, the park, using the courtyard at the centre of the area, created Merrie England. The new area opened in 1994, but you’d be forgiven for not recognising it from the concept images below.
The park originally had much grander plans for the area which would have seen the area take on a style much more similar to the Fabulous Toy Shop in The Land of Make Believe (now the photo point for Driving School). These plans were dramatically scaled back to produce the area which eventually opened in 1994, no doubt to conserve funds for Nemesis and Toyland Tours which were under development at the same time.
The first image of Aqualand is more recognisable than the Merrie England concepts as to what exists today in Mutiny Bay. From left to right we can see Pirates Quest Arcade, Eastern Express, Pirate’s Galley (The Burger Kitchen) and the Stable Buildings (housing Mutiny Bay Donuts and various games). Interestingly it seems like these concepts may have been revisited when designing Mutiny Bay, as the jousting tent shown is on the same site as is occupied today by Feathers McClaw.
The idea at the other end of the area was to reduce the dominance of the Skyride by building along the edge of the area. In front of the Skyride can be seen the radio model track neighbouring the gap where until recently had been the entrance to the Big Top. Needless to say these building never got built, leaving the site free for Heave Ho to eventually be built. Instead the free standing games units were built in the open area in front.