19 February 2005

Alton Towers (Alton, England)
RollerCoaster film exclusive cinema showing

 

Andy Rathe
I recently returned from an extremely enjoyable day at Alton.

Highlights included a pretty good buffet and details on forthcoming trips that look fantastic, but best was probably the park tour. Rita was a lot larger than I imagined, and looks a cracker of a ride. The park let us scramble all over the inside of the Black Hole (including the workshops and up the lift hill), we were allowed around the tunnel, lift hill and station of Air, and generally see the place in its undressed state. The staff were also floating about to chat too as well.

It was interesting to see the inside of the Black Hole, especially as it is closing in a couple of weeks. Seeing some mock boulders adjacent to the track for the first time was a surprise given the umpteen rides I have experienced on it; I heard plenty of other people say that they’d never noticed them either!

The film Rollercoaster would have got a mention too, but I didn’t see that as I was one of the people who volunteered to have a camera pushed in my face at regular intervals as part of the Inside Out TV programme filming, and so had to be at the park a tad earlier!

Finally, as always, thanks to everyone involved in organising the trip; myself and Marie enjoyed it immensely.

James Lloyd
Thanks to all who were involved in making today’s AGM a success – especially James Paulding from Alton Towers who provided the Park Tour.

I used to work at Alton Towers, so the “inner workings” of the Valley rides are old hat to me – however the AGM was worth attending for the Black Hole walkabout alone for me (it was the first “big” ride I went on – before Black Hole I was an “Apple Coaster” rider.) Had I not been dragged onto the Black Hole years ago, I probably would not be typing this now. I can imagine that the majority of attendees really enjoyed the “behind the scenes” access to the rides.

The “boulders” on the Black Hole that Andrew mentioned are, I think, a “relic” from one of the previous versions of the rides theme. Cannot remember if it was the “original” with the huge astronaut hanging in the middle of the spiral or the one that followed it.

One thing that was notable today were the number of improvements that were both seen on the park and also mentioned. Things like the en-masse arrival of single riders queues, along with the removal of Hotel guest priority access to Spinball – which should help the queue situation no end there. I also noticed a lot of re-painting had been done around the park – including the psychedelic Nemesis station – hope that paint fades a bit before opening day or sunglasses will sell well in the shops on-park! Rita looked great today too – roll on 1st April!

I am sure I will see some of you on park at Alton in the next month or so.

Tom Marshall
Indeed – it was a great trip, and a lot of praise has to go to James Paulding and his team at Alton for making so many things possible – including the backstage tour of the BH, and a brief look at Rita…

Not much to add to what has already been said, except that the staff were all friendly, and seemed happy to answer all kinds of weird and wonderful questions – especially about the Black Hole!

I always enjoy to see “behind the scenes” and gain access to normally off-limits areas in parks – I’m generally fascinated by the technology of rides – so although I declined to go down Air‘s tunnel, I instead had a good look around the station and trains – something it’s not possible to look at in detail when the ride is running.

Anyway, good to see everyone again – and put some faces to a few email addresses (and apologies to everyone who I’d met before and name I couldn’t remember)

Richard Foster
Great to see everyone – what a superb day 🙂

David & Susan Ellis
We had a great day today. As always it was good to meet up with friends for a gathering, and a real bonus to get rides on both the Black Hole and Oblivion. The behind the scenes tour was the highlight. To get inside the Black Hole and see it with the lights on was great, especially as it will close in two weeks… Rita looked very good (looking forward to that launch into the valley – not too literally we hope!), and walking through Air’s tunnel and up the lifthill was brilliant – but it was seriously cold…shame with all the coffee drunk and the cold temperatures that the toilets were closed that side of the park! (guess where the biggest queue of the day was when we got back to the Hospitality Suite!!). At least we must have been warm compared to Richard Jones, who was on his first ECC Trip…he spent the day wearing just a couple of T-shirts! I reminded him that although he and I have been used to not wearing much at Alton Towers, it was the middle of February and not August (Richard was another of the naked riders last summer!). Excellent news about all the single-rider queues too…I can see a few visits to the park this year to try the new queues out!

It was nice seeing Rollercoaster on a big screen instead of the TV (despite the occasional technical problem) and the seats in the cinema were very comfy… it was just so odd seeing 20-30 people in an auditorium that could easily seat several hundred people!

All in all an excellent day. Thanks to everyone that made it happen, especially the staff at Alton Towers for being genuinely superb!

Rich Holmes
Thanks to everybody who made yesterday possible, All the Team and all the Towers staff, it was a great day! Good to see a few of you again, and was good to get Emma on her first trip

Greg Pearn
BIG thank you to Justin and the ECC team involved in organising the AGM event.

I was unsure about seeing ‘Rollercoaster’ at the cinema having watched the film many times before on DVD & TV, but was pleased I made the effort to go (you miss so much of the film on the small screen!).

The Alton Towers part was excellent with the tour being the obvious highlight. I thought we’d only get to see Rita but to be allowed all over the Black Hole was a bonus I’ll not forget that for a while – I could have happily spent hours in there – thank you AT!

A very positive start to the season indeed 🙂

Dan Ketteringham
Just wanted to add a comment about the trip. I want to thank everybody involved in making the day what it was – it was my first trip as an ECCer and I was made to feel very welcome by everyone, so thank you very much for that. 🙂 I look forward to seeing you all again on a trip this year!

Simon Baynham
Just arrived home and I’m absolutely pooped after a great time at the AGM which is fast becoming a highlight of my year! The day kicked off with a private screening of ‘Rollercoaster’ the movie, with extra gory bits! Then it was over to Alton and a ride or two on Oblivion and The Black Hole. We had a look around the interior of the Black Hole’s tent and maintenance area with the lights on – of course! I enjoyed a buffet lunch and a welcome cup of coffee and after this, once all the hotel guests had left the park, we had a good snoop around AIR; the tunnel and the operations kiosk. We also got to see the current state of Rita – Queen of Speed. The track layout and cars look mightily impressive, but as always the proof is in the pudding.

Thanks to the Trips’ team for their dedication in making this sort of thing possible.

 

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