Over the years we have been regular visitors to Alton Towers but we thought it would be interesting to see how the theme park has changed as a result of COVID-19. The other big thing that’s changed since we last visited is the arrival of our 3 year-old son, so we knew this trip was going to be different on a number of levels.
The big thing to remember if you are planning to visit Alton Towers, is always buy your tickets in advance. Never buy at the gate on the day and shop around for a good deal at places like GetYourGuide: Alton Towers Tickets
There are two big things you’ll notice before you even enter the park. Firstly, the monorails are not operating which means you need to walk to the main gate. If you’ve never dove this before, it will take you a while and if you have people in your party who may struggle, take advantage of the drop off area. The second thing you’ll notice is the arrow-like markings on the pavement, signifying 2 meters social distance. You’ll need to get familiar with standing on these markings as they are in place for all queues throughout the park.
On arrival at the entrance plaza you will have your temperature checked before you are allowed to proceed to the gates. We thought the friendly and efficient way in which this was done was good. There is plenty of hand-sanitiser as you enter and throughout the park.
On previous visits, we would head first for the biggest unmissable attraction which undoubtedly would have been the impressive ‘Wicker Man’ wooden rollercoaster (pictured above). Now we’re parents, it was the bright colours and happy tunes of CBeebies Land that was top of our agenda.
Our little boy was in his element with the characters he loves from TV. In particular, he loved the Octonauts roller-coaster, flying the Vroomster on the Go-Jetters ride and pretending he was Postman Pat out on his deliveries. They are also still doing regular outdoor socially distanced shows with characters like Bing.
All the queues are correctly socially distanced with the pavement arrows mentioned earlier. The problem was that it only takes a couple of people not to understand that they need to stand on the arrow and only move on when the next one is free, for the whole system to collapse. We found ourselves too close to other groups on several occasions simply because people either didn’t realise this or didn’t care.
The queue times were lengthy but not prohibitive. The longest we waited for a ride was 60 minutes. The queue times are helpfully displayed on information boards at the start of each ride. Some of the rides we were interested in quietened down significantly in the afternoon.
Away from CBeebies Land we were impressed with Sharkbait Reef, which is a sort of mini Sea Life centre. It was slow to go around, but being up close and personal with sharks and rays was a real treat.
We’d also recommend the Skyride cable car, which our little boy said was the best ride of the day! The cable cars are a simple way to get to the other side of the park but the views along the way over the historic gardens are lovely.
When you get to the final station, you’re right by Rita, Queen of Speed (pictured below) which is still a terrific roller-coaster years after it was first installed. This area also has the new Alton Towers Dungeon attraction which is advance booking only at the moment.
All in all, we felt safe at Alton Towers and the park was less busy than normal. It’s fairly easy to stay away from other families apart from in the queues. A few more announcements about the how the queuing system works would make this even better. Whilst the UK has relatively low rates of infection, you can enjoy a day out at Alton Towers Resort with confidence.