Let’s take a trip back to 2005 back when Rita had just been crowned Queen of Speed and to most Alton Towers fans, Merlin was just King Arthur’s kooky sidekick.

Project Dolphin was one of Tussauds’ many concepts for Alton Towers and revolved around immersive theming and ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences. Whilst the Towers didn’t aim so high as to think they could offer an actual swimming with dolphins experience within the resort, swimming with fishes was one of the ideas floated.

Another idea centred on a lost temple theme, which seems to have been an idea for the redevelopment of the Ice Arena which would close at the end of the 2005 season.

Whilst nothing initially came of the Project Dolphin concepts, some of the ideas were revisited, after Merlin took over the park, and utilised in the development of Sharkbait Reef, using Merlin’s SEA LIFE brand. Later on, the addition of Muddy Good Fun at the hotels also recalled some of the ideas which were included in Project Dolphin.