We arrived at Alton Towers, got our tickets and queued up with the rest of the early birds to wait for the park to open. Even though the weather was pretty cold, we were all excited! Not only do I get to take photos and document Jenny & Jamie’s Theme Park day but I LOVE roller coasters and I hadn’t been to one for a good few years – Emily isn’t a fan of them so I just hadn’t been to one for ages! For me, roller coasters are awesome. The more insane the better! The ones that most people look at and think “Ha! No Chance!” are the ones I’m first in the queue for. On top of the roller coasters was the Ultimate Firework Spectacular that evening which was set to be the biggest display the Resort had ever done!
I’ve been on most of the big roller coasters in the UK as well as having been to theme parks in the Europe and the US including Phantasialand in Brühl (Germany), Walibi in Belgium, Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida with MONTU – an inverted roller coaster, like Nemesis, but much higher, longer and more loops (specifically: 7 inversions, 150ft height, 128 ft drop, 65mph, 3minutes long pulling 3.8g’s) and many others.
We thought we’d start the day off easily and headed right towards the Gloomy Wood and Forbidden Valley where NEMESIS and GALACTICA (formally known as AIR) awaited! First we walked right on to Duel, which is the Haunted House with a difference. You get on the ride in the semi-dark, pick up your laser gun and start shooting zombies, trying to out-do your mates on the ride. Good laugh!
We then headed to Nemesis. This is probably one of the most famous rollercoasters in the UK, a steel inverted roller coaster, 43ft high which drops 104ft (yes, that’s right, it goes underground and that bit gets you the first time you ride it as you might not be expecting it), travelling at 50mph with 4 inversions putting you through 4g’s!
Luckily, getting there so early meant we walked right on to Duel, Nemesis and AIR. I spotted a unique photo op with Galactica flying overhead of Jenny and Jamie and used a slower than normal shutter speed to get the roller coaster blurry. We then headed into the entrance to the ride. This is a new take on a roller coaster for me. Firstly it is the world’s first “flying” roller coaster, meaning you sit into it and when you’re all locked in place it then rolls you back into the “prone” position. As well as this, with the rebranding from Air to Galactica, they have incorporated the use of VR (Virtual Reality) Goggles (if you want to use them) to immerse you in a sci-fi spaceship launch from a space station and it really works! It’s awesome taking you to 47mph and through 3.5g’s! I wanted to go right back on a 2nd time but the queue by this point was 90minutes so we headed to other rides and hoped to get back to it later in the day (spoiler alert…we didn’t…so I NEED to go back!).
We took the cable car across the gardens to “The Dark Forest” where RITA and Th13teen are. We had to queue for about 20minutes at RITA but it was incredible! 0 to 61.1 mph in 2.5 seconds. Now I’ve been in some fast cars from a standstill to….well, let’s just say “fast” but this was like nothing else. It literally rockets you from a standstill to face melting and then a lil flick of a turn at the end of the launch which takes your already melted face and slides it completely off!
Suffice to say I wasn’t truly prepared for RITA. I loved it and even though it’s a ridiculously short ride, it’s my 2nd favourite roller coaster at Alton Towers. We didn’t have time to go on Th13teen as the queue was crazy (2 hours) but I want to go back to get on it as it sounds pretty ace. Jamie and Jenny have been on it but they wouldn’t tell me what it does as they didn’t want to spoil the ride. However, after reading about it for researching this blogpost I do like drop rides (The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror) so it sounds pretty nuts.
After deciding Th13teen was too long a queue we grabbed some lunch and then walked around to Hex, in The Towers. It was undergoing refurbishment unfortunately so I guess we’ll just have to go back again when it re-opens (and go on Th13teen too!). By the time we got to The Smiler (shown below) it was a long wait but one we were prepared to suffer even though the temperatures had dropped quite a bit (hence the cold looking Jenny). WOW! What a crazy, crazy ride. Easily the best one at Alton Towers… scratch that…the UK for sure and the best roller coaster I’ve been on. It’s 2minutes of pure crazy with about 45 seconds break in the middle while it climbs to the second part of the track while you catch your breath and look at your mates in bewilderment at what you just put your body through! Utterly breathtaking. It features 14 inversions; loops, drops, corkscrews, dives, sidewinders and reverse sidewinders and holds the record for the most inversions on a roller coaster at up to 52.8mph and taking you through 4.5g’s. It’s an absolute monster!
The ride I was most apprehensive about, not in the queue, but when I was already in the seat and going up the track (bit late by this point) was Oblivion (shown above)…hanging over that edge was nuts and really did leave my stomach at the top! It’s the world’s first dive roller coaster. At 68mph it’s the third fastest roller coaster in the UK, fastest being Stealth at Thorpe Park and the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
The sun was starting to set at this point and whilst we were outside the front of The Towers I took the opportunity to grab some more shots of Jamie and Jenny.
Spinball Whizzer was the last roller coaster we came past on our way back towards the entrance to the park as we wanted to find a good place to watch the Fireworks Spectacular that evening. The roller coaster ride is totally unpredictable. It spins you around in a cart which travels along the track. You’re moving forwards, down, up and also spinning round which is crazy and a bit unnerving. You can see the track to some extent but you don’t know which way it’s going to spin around or how fast the spin is going to be and sometimes you’re entering corners with your backs to them so you can’t prepare or brace yourself for it….and it had gotten dark by this point!
After the last ride we headed back to the main street area to hopefully stake out a decent position to setup the tripod for the Ultimate Firework Spectacular. I really did want to try and get photos of Jenny and Jamie with the fireworks in the background but anyone who knows how many people are in the park for these events (ask Jamie as he knows the numbers) knows that this was never going to be easy. Then there’s the fact that Jenny overheard the woman from the family in front of us say to her partner that we had been there for ages, set up with the tripod and camera, ready for the fireworks, and that she was going to purposely stand in front of the camera for the whole fireworks. Well, she’s immortalised now and everyone can see how pointlessly spiteful some people can be, hopefully she’ll see this post… Anyhow, not to put a dampener on the day the Ultimate Firework Spectacular was utterly amazing!
The firework show had a space theme and the interstellar display featured an astonishing amount of fireworks, striking special effects and incredible lasers that lit up the sky! With the famous Towers as the backdrop the fireworks spectacular was set to be the Resort’s biggest and best fireworks display ever, lasting for over 20 minutes!
Jenny and Jamie said they had a great day, a proper laugh and they love the photos which portray a fun day out which I’m really happy about! Their wedding at The Deer Park near Honiton, Devon next year is going to be great fun and we can’t wait to see you again and capture it!