Are you ready for a revelation that normally makes people look at me in disbelief and go ‘wh-aa-t??’
I’ve never been to Alton Towers.
I went to Drayton Manor a few times as a kid, because it was practically on the doorstep, and I enjoyed it, but I was never bothered enough about rides and all that jazz for my parents to think it worth the money for tickets and travel to go to Alton Towers.
They were right, it wouldn’t have been worth it back then. I suffered from motion sickness, still do a bit, but I’ve grown out of it mostly. Back then though, I didn’t enjoy spinny, upside down type things. It just wasn’t my thing.
However, hubby and I jetted off to Florida for the first time in 2016 and I discovered the wonderful worlds of Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and there was something about the combination of that carefree feeling of being on holiday and the excited atmosphere of the parks that made me throw caution to the wind. I went on pretty much everything and, it turns out, there is an adrenaline junkie in me!
So, when a couple of friends floated the idea of a trip to Thorpe Park, my hand went straight up – me, me, me. I’ll go! It took us ages to actually settle on a date, but the day finally came yesterday and off we all headed excitedly down the M40 at silly o’clock in the morning.
We made good time and we skipped in looking all around us at the mahoosive rollercoasters not long after it opened at 10am. I had a slight internal wobble at this point. What if I was only brave enough to do it when I was thousands of miles away from home when there was no one but my lovely hubby to witness it? There was no need to worry, I was fine.
The queues were really big on most rides, especially the tallest, spinniest ones, but we managed to get on most of the ones we wanted to.
We started with Swarm.
That feeling of a sudden rush of adrenaline washed over me straight away. Awesome, it really makes you feel alive. This ride takes you up to almost 100km/h and you experience G forces of 4.5. It’s the UK’s first winged rollercoaster. In practical terms this means your legs are dangling in mid air. You have an uncontrollable urge to swing your feet. I loved this one. It reminded me of the Hulk coaster in Orlando’s Islands of Adventure (which is probably my favourite all time rollercoaster).
Next we headed off to Stealth.
This one catapults you forward and then straight up, twisting as you go. The whole ride probably only lasts about twenty seconds, but wow, what a twenty seconds! You reach 80mph in 1.9 seconds! That’s just a bit quick! I actually had a bit of a pressure headache for a few minutes after this one, presumably from the force of the air.
After this we decided to take it easy for a while and we zoomed around on the dodgems crashing into each other and laughing hysterically, and we went on the Tetley Teacups where the lads spun us round and round.
I love the fact that they’re Tetley Teacups. They even had the voice of this one from the advert counting down to the start.
We decided on one more ride before lunch. This one wasn’t a rollercoaster.
It’s called Detonator: Bombs Away. You’re taken up to the top of the tower, 100ft in the air. The view was amazing. Thorpe Park isn’t far from Heathrow and I could see the planes from the top. Just as I was thinking, it’s a bit chilly up here, we suddenly dropped. You freefall for 35m reaching 50mph. There are some massive magnets at the bottom that essentially catch you!
Next up was Nemesis Inferno. I thought Nemesis was at Alton Towers but it turns out this is a sister ride. This is the only one that I don’t think I’d go on again. I felt as giddy as a love struck teenager after this one, but not in a good way! We did, however, ride this one about half an hour after lunch, so maybe that was the problem. We also had a cornetto in the queue. The estimated queue time was seventy minutes, so when we got to an ice cream stand after we’d been in the queue for half an hour we thought it’d be safe to indulge. Little did we realise but we were almost at the end of the queue. Whoops!
Nemesis had 750m of twisting track which you cover at up to 50mph and there were two corkscrews (or that’s what it felt like anyway) straight after each other. Bleurgh! Still an adrenaline shot though.
We decided to head for the park’s current signature ride next – Saw the ride. The world’s first horror movie rollercoaster. I was fully intending to sit this one out after the twists and turns of Nemesis but the queue was a million miles long and by the time we got to the front I was feeling completely back to normal and there was no way I was going to forego it after standing in the queue for so long. It must’ve been an hour and a half at least! I’m so glad I went on because it was also very similar to the feeling of the Hulk so I loved it.
The first section is indoors in the dark (but not pitch black, you can still see) and when you emerge it’s onwards and upwards, literally. In the pic above you go up the right hand side and then zoom down what they call a beyond vertical drop from a height of 100ft. Awesome!
There wasn’t much time left after this because the queue took sooooo long so we headed for the Walking Dead: the ride. This was the only really scary one! It had live actors trying to kill you! I almost wrote literally then, but of course they aren’t literally trying to kill you, but it’s easy to get caught up in it when there’s a zombie reaching out for you with bloodied hands! The first section that you walk (or run in some people’s case) to reach the actual coaster was in near darkness with zombie noises and loud bangs and screams and was pretty freaky. The actual coaster wasn’t too aggressive and the bits that were supposed to be scary were quite lo-tech but I now realise that’s to lull you into a false sense of security because when you get off, you follow the signs through ‘the cafeteria’ to the exit, and this is where the actors try to get you. I didnt take any photos of this one – think I was too relieved that I escaped with my life to remember photography!
The final ride of the day was Rush. This is a swing, seating thirty two passengers at a time. You’re swung back and forth up to 75 feet at up to 50mph. When you’re at the top of the swing facing down, you suddenly become very aware that the only thing stopping you hurtling down 75ft to a concrete floor is the bar across your waist. Think we were all quite relieved to get off this one, even though that feeling of rushing through the air is extraordinarily exhilarating.
I dread to think what happens to your internal organs when you’re being flipped and flung around the sky. It’s probably best not to ask!
My fitbit has thrown up some interesting heart rate stats though.
On the left you can see Friday, which was a normal day at work with no sudden inclines, acceleration or upside downness, and on the right is Saturday which had all of the aforementioned!
Look at all those peaks on Saturday. I had two hours and forty seven minutes at fat burning rate on Saturday as well as opposed to one hour and nine minutes on Friday.