Let's see if I can get my review of Air in first 🙂
I hadn't been to Alton Towers since the early 80s – at that point, it had a few small rides, but on a 'pay as you ride' basis. It's very different now – most of it is now rides, rides, rides.
Let's review the rides I did yesterday in reverse order…
Enterprise is a series of small cabins that end up being spun quickly around vertically. Very short queue, quite fun, leaves you feeling a bit dizzy. 3/5.
Submission is a pair of platforms that are slowly rotated as they go around vertically. Very short queue, fun. 4/5.
Oblivion is one of the park's big rides. A 'high vertical drop into a dark tunnel' coaster. And that's it – you stop at the edge, tilted over, get told not to look down and then whee… down you go. You're soon out of the tunnel, around a bend at speed, and that's it. Ride time from the edge: about 10 seconds. Long queue (45 mins) but one of the best 'I really shouldn't have gone on this' moments on any ride anywhere as you approach the edge. 4.5/5
Nemisis was the headline ride until Air. A suspended coaster – your legs dangle close to a succession of rocks and blood-red pools and waterfalls. A couple of barrel rolls and a loop. Minimal queue time with the virtual queue tickets still available when I got there. When it was over, about 45 seconds later, I tried to sneak back onto a vacant seat but picked one that someone was coming back to after depositing their bags. Rats. Because this one is fun… especially if you've spotted earlier just how much one support wobbles! 5/5
Black Hole is an in-the-dark coaster. It's inside a dome and once you're going, you climb inside the edge of the dome in a spiral. Hmm, I can't see any drop? Where is it? Ah, it's a fake wall and down and up and down and up and… you go. Not the best in-the-dark, but worth the 15 min queue. 3.5/5
Hex is a good rotating room illusion. Neat, no queue. 4/5.
Corkscrew is a medium size metal coaster that looks like a wooden one – some of the smallest supports ever – but includes a double barrel roll. Short queue, quite fun. 3.5/5
Air. Ah, the new headline ride. Uniquely, you ride in 'Superman' position. An hour after opening time, all the virtual queue tickets had gone (gasp!) so it was 'face the queue time'. Now, I don't like queuing at theme parks, so it was with heavy heart that I faced a 50 minute wait.
Doing some BiCon stuff made it pass not too badly, along with chatting to some students (end of term = much busier than I was expecting for a Monday in school term time…) Note to self – next time take a long stick to turn off the Cadbury's Heroes advertising along the way.
So onto the ride.There's a separate queue for the four front 'seats', but that would have meant waiting another 15 mins at a guess, so I went for what's usually the best place on a gravity powered coaster, the rear.
OK, in the seat, strapped in, the floor drops away and you're rotated into a horizontal position. Up the drop, down, a couple of rolls, a tunnel, a few dips and turns… and was that it???
I think the problem is that, for once, you really do want to be in the front – everyone else sees the soles of the person in front of them. It's also a slow coaster – I'd be interested to discover the top speed – and the only good point is the ride position.
It's… OK I suppose. But it's a sign of how disappointed I was that there was the opportunity to sneak on with the next lot out… and I didn't take it.
By the time I got off, the queue time was 120 minutes and stayed within ten minutes of that for the rest of the day. Utterly insane. Next time, I'm going at opening time, doing it once at the front, and then getting a virtual queue ticket to sell later in the day… Someone will pay to avoid two hours of queuing.
Rides I didn't do… the log flume (much lower than ones elsewhere) or the river ride (one good section) or the mine train (small coaster) as all of them had 30 min queues. Ripsaw is like Rameses at Chessington, except everyone gets wet, and every park has a swinging boat ride like The Blade.
So… what did H-L et al think?