Alton Towers Resort have this week opened The World of David Walliams, a colourful area inspired by David Walliams’ popular children’s books that includes flagship attraction Gangsta Granny: The Ride.
Following the postponement of its original Spring 2020 opening, Gangsta Granny: The Ride opened to much anticipation over the experience this new family dark ride would offer. Although located in the building formerly home to Wobble World, as well as House of Monsters during Scarefest, its exterior has been updated to transform it into the Royal Alton Hall, home to The Crown Jewels Tour. To cope with larger crowds, an external queue line has been installed, with guests eventually moving to queue inside where the hallways are lined with a number of quirky portraits, some of which are accompanied by audio. There is also a group photo opportunity in a section of the interior queue.
Upon arriving in the loading station, guests are shown into a carriage which can seat up to 8 persons, with the ride system being manufactured by Garmendale Engineering. Once safely seated, the tour commences, voiced by David Walliams himself, however guests soon encounter Granny and Ben and find themselves enlisted in the greatest jewel heist in history! Through a combination of themed sets, integrated video screens, 4D effects and some other surprises along the way, the adventure is magically brought to life.
Guests disembark from the ride in a separate unload station, emerging into a crime scene where police are on the lookout for suspects in the theft of the Crown Jewels. Unfortunately, guests may just find it is their mug shots which are on display! In our opinion, Gangsta Granny: The Ride perfectly fills a gap in the theme park’s line-up between its kiddie rides and the potentially more scary rides of Hex and Duel. The combination of screens and sets make it easy for guests to follow the story, which provides an adventure sure to be enjoyed by both the adults and children in the family. A remarkable number of scenes have been packed into a relatively small footprint, but, as a result of this, sounds (like the burglar alarm in one scene) can be heard throughout the attraction, suggesting more insulation is needed to separate the sets. The ride also has relatively low capacity, exacerbated by individual parties currently being given their own carriage to aid social distancing, meaning guests should expect to wait over an hour if the queue is filled.
Upon exiting Gangsta Granny: The Ride, guests are directed through Raj’s shop, where a range of merchandise is available, including exclusive branded items, printed novels, children’s practical jokes, and other novelty gifts. Raj’s Assistant is on hand to make sure guests are aware of all the special deals on offer, even if guests may take some convincing that they are just quite the ‘steal’ they’re claimed to be.
Initially thought to be part of the Retro Squad collection of rides, but opening as part of The World of David Walliams, is Flavio’s Fabulous Fandango, a PWS Sizzler model which provides a modern take on the classic Twist spinning ride. Based on another character from the Gangsta Granny book, this ride brings a touch of fabulous to the area with its many disco balls and lighting package.
The area is further brought to life by a number of roaming Beefeaters and Royal Guards, who are on-hand to provide guests with playful interactions whilst venturing through the area and queuing for its attractions. As well as spontaneous interactions, these characters also partake in periodic choreographed sequences.