Alton Towers Scarefest

For the past couple of years, Marie and I have gone to Thorpe Park's Fright Night for Halloween (see here and here). This Halloween, we decided to level up and visit Alton Towers for their Scarefest instead. Since Alton Towers is a three hour drive away, we thought we'd go all fancy and turn it into a short break with an overnight stay at the Alton Towers Hotel. As well as being able to take our time and make full use of our visit, we also got the benefit of free entry on our second day and free Fastrack tickets for both. Scarefest pumpkin mascot


Last time we went to Alton Towers, Marie drove so it was only fair that I took the wheel this time. I wasn't excited about driving three hours at 7am but, to my relief, the route was incredibly simple and I only took one wrong turn! When we arrived at 10am, we managed to find a space in the car park (another bonus of staying over is free parking) and were able to check in straight away, even though our room wasn't ready. The staff offered to keep hold of our bags and take them up to our room for us, and kept our key at the desk so we could pick it up when we got back in the evening, rather than trekking back. The staff were all really friendly- one of them even complimented my hair- and I think this spirit is beautifully showcased in this photo. I was just showing Marie how my new camera works but this friendly staff member couldn't resist the photo opportunity!
Alton Towers Resort Staff Alton Towers Scarefest Decorations
After walking the short distance to the monorail (which had a pretty long line at that time of morning), we arrived at the park and started walking without a plan or any idea where we were heading. The grounds at Alton Towers are sprawling so it's easy to get lost. Since our Fasttracks were only valid until midday, we'd intended to start on the big rides but of course took a wrong turn and ended up at the tame ones instead. Still, we didn't have time to track back so instead decided to just use them on the Mine Train and Rubber Dinghy Rapids. As it turned out, this was the best way we could start the day as we were in fits of giggles throughout and managed to get completely soaked as soon as we arrived! 
The Smiler Eventually we located X Sector and made a beeline straight for The Smiler. Throughout the trip, we rode The Smiler three times and by sheer coincidence, we ended up being first to board the train every time. For obvious reasons, we weren't keen on sitting in the front row so we asked to be placed in the middle and the staff were more than happy to oblige. I suspect they have company policy on this as they all had the same response so if you'd rather not be at the front, feel free to ask for a different row. This ride was doubly nervewracking for me because last year at Thorpe Park, I had to be squeezed into a harness by two members of staff. It was funny but I was a bit concerned that I might be too big for some of the rides at Alton Towers. Thankfully, I fit into every single ride with no issues whatsoever. In fact, some of the harnesses were positively roomy! Alton Towers Skyride Gondola Cable Car
Our first day was mainly spent riding as many rollercoasters as possible. Oblivion is still my favourite, even though it's way too short, and we had an amazing time on Thirteen with the most hilarious guys behind us making us cry with laughter. Throughout the day, we kept an eye on the queue time for Galactica but it didn't drop below 75 minutes so settled on using our Fastrack the next day instead. You better believe we had a lot of fun hanging out at this awesome futuristic portal though! When darkness fell, the park changed completely, in the best, spookiest way possible!
Alton Towers Galactica Galactica Ride
Dotted throughout the park were sectioned off zones where actors would prowl in costume, jumping out at you and wielding chainsaws in your face, while you struggled through the disorientating smoke and light effects. Unlike Thorpe Park, these actors were purely limited to their zones- which were also given great props to add to the effect- and each zone was very clearly marked, with signposts indicating alternative routes so you could avoid them if you didn't want to be scared. Of course I did want to be scared, but I thought this was a really sensible and thoughtful touch. Where Alton Towers doesn't meet Thorpe Park's standards, however, is in the mazes. All of the mazes at the latter are free of charge (although you can pay for Fastrack), but at Alton Towers, you need to pay to enter and it's pretty steep at £8 a pop. Needless to say, we decided against the mazes and just enjoyed the experience instead. Walking through the densely wooded areas at night was particularly fun!
Galactica Air Ride
We left about half an hour before closing time so we could beat the crowds. Although there was a bit of a queue for the monorail, it didn't take us long to board and we were back at the hotel before we knew it! Feeling a bit peckish, we asked reception if they offered room service and were told we could order pizza from the bar after 9:30pm. Awesome! By the time we'd taken our bags up and located our room (typically the furthest away from reception), it was 9:30 so we called the bar and they said they didn't deliver to rooms. Instead we'd have to go down and collect. I'd already taken my bra off but whatever. I was hungry. We padded down to the bar- shoeless and braless- only to be told that we weren't allowed to take food up to the rooms. However we could order pizza past 9:30pm. Well, yes, it's 9:35. Suddenly the lady changed her mind and said we could only order after 10:30pm. Very strange! It wasn't too bad though- we snuggled up in bed and watched Hocus Pocus for an hour and, to our relief, at 10:30, they took our order. I'd bought this awesome conjoined jumper so we thought it would be hilarious to answer the door while wearing it. The delivery guy didn't agree. Oops. 
Alton Towers Scarefest Becky Bedbug Alton Towers
Waking up bright and early on our second day, we arrived 45 minutes before opening time so that we could make full use of our Fastrack tickets. Usually, hotel guests are permitted early entry into the park but since this doesn't occur during Scarefest, we were given the Fastrack instead. Our plan was to get the Skyride straight over to Galactica and ride it before the crowds started. Unfortunately, the Skyride wasn't operating at that time so instead we got out the app and found a sneaky shortcut over. It was an incredibly scenic walk, taking us through the wooded areas and past the lake. We even found an abandoned cottage but didn't have time to explore. This isolated path gave us a headstart and we walked straight on to the ride.
Alton Towers Frankie
Galactica used to be called Air and is ridden horizontally so you are parallel to the ground. For the modern update, however, you have the option to wear a virtual reality headset. You can't wear this with glasses but it has a focus dial on the top so you adjust the image to get your vision just right. Unfortunately, Marie couldn't get hers to focus in the short amount of time you have so you need to work quick! If you prefer, you can also choose not to wear the headset. I'd recommend it though because it's a real experience! I really thought I was freefalling in space and had to close my eyes a few times because it was freaking terrifying! 
Alton Towers across valley Alton Towers Mansion
After Galactica, we headed over to Nemesis. The plan was then to get the Skyride over to Rita and Thirteen but of course it still wasn't operating. No worries- there was a direct path from the Skyride station to the Gloomy Wood where the rides are located so we'd just hop on over. Oh, God. Big mistake! What the signposts don't make clear is just how difficult a path it is. The route down is incredibly steep with approximately a million steps. Once you get to the bottom there's a nice little lake with a pagoda in the middle but then, of course, you have to hike all the way up the other side of the valley. I actually thought I was going to die. Still, we eventually made it and got a nice rest on the rides before finishing the morning with The Smiler and Oblivion. After managing all six big rides in just a couple of hours- with a massive hike in the middle-, we were pretty hungry so walked over to the Woodcutter Grill for lunch.
Alton Towers Gardens Conservatory Derelict Victorian Building Plus size Halloween bat costume
Since we'd been on all the rides we'd planned, we decided to take it easy in the afternoon, with a stroll in the gardens. Initially, I thought these were located back at the bottom of the valley and I was not down for more trekking but it turns out they're just around the corner from the Towers themselves. Phew! It's a really beautiful area, with stunning architecture that has been completely taken over by nature. It's also the perfect spot for outfit photos so Marie snapped a quick photo of me in my bat wing dress, which I got on ASOS last year, and my black skater skirt. Yes, I'm wearing Skechers. They're comfy. Deal with it.
Alton Towers Earl of Shrewsbury Statue Marie Portrait
By now, time was getting on and we wanted to leave early so we'd get home at a decent time. Taking a slow stroll back to the entrance, we passed Duel and thought we might as well give it a go. Now, this needs a little bit of a story: When I first went to Walt Disney World, Laura had to drag me onto the Haunted Mansion- literally in tears- because I was so scared. The reason I was so scared was because I'd been to Disneyland Paris as an 8 year old and the haunted house there had left me completely traumatised from terror. Laura couldn't understand why Disney would put such a scary ride in their parks but I assured her it was real because I had experienced it. There was a dollhouse with a creepy little girl hologram in the queue and everything. It was real, Goddammit! As Marie and I entered the inside queueing area for Duel, I saw, yes, this dollhouse with a creepy little girl hologram. Turns out it was the Alton Towers haunted house that traumatised me and I'd unwittingly placed myself back in its evil clutches. The good news is that because it's been transformed into a laser-shooting game, you're concentrating too much to be scared. Don't get me wrong though- I can definitely understand why I was so scared as a kid! If there hadn't been little blinking target lights on all the scary bits, I would still have been petrified. I'm a massive wimp!
Alton Towers building Scarefest Graveyard Scarefest Ghost Dancer Scarefest Ghost Dancers Alton Towers Halloween Ghost Actor
After that revelation- and a few minutes hanging out watching the dancing ghosts outside- we walked back to the entrance via the Freak Show zone. As well as actors jumping out at you, this zone had sideshow acts such as a ringmaster and strongman so that added a whole creepy Victoriana twist which I was totally into. 
Alton Towers Scarefest Ghost Bride Dancer Alton Towers Scarefest Dancing Ghosts Halloween Scarefest Ghost Dancers Alton Towers Monorail
And there concluded our trip to Alton Towers. It was so much fun that I've persuaded Rich to come with me for a short break next year, albeit one without the additional Halloween excitement. If you love theme parks, I really recommend staying in one of the three Alton Towers hotels and making a real trip of it. Having the second day allowed us to take everything more slowly and we got to see things that we never would have if we'd been rushing from ride to ride. I'm already excited to return in the spring!

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3 comments:

  1. Your photos are sooo amazing! Can't believe I've never been to Alton Towers before, sounds like you had such a great time. I'm totally freaked out by haunted mansions too, I think it must be the jump scares and having to physically step forward into the unknown. Also I'm so obsessed with your batwing dress, looks absolutely fab on you <3

    Andini xx | Adventures of an Anglophile 

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  2. That sounds like such a fun little get away (room service pizza issues aside!) I've never been to one of the big theme parks but now I really want to go to the scarefest next year! Also, your bat wing shirt is literally the most incredible thing.

    Bethany || babbleswithbeth.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. Oh wow, this looks like so much fun! I love that they put such a Halloween twist on the park - so cool! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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