Alton Towers is full of white-knuckle rides and this guide will ensure that you hit all the best rides in one day!
Alton Towers can be covered in one day if you plan your day wisely and hit all the rides at the right time.
Before you read on, it's important that you know that this is a guide for thrill-seekers and it will cover all the biggest rides in the park - no teacups or tractor rides are allowed here!
We arrived at Alton Towers just after 10am and we quickly realised that this was just a bit too late. We did manage to easily get tickets, but I think it's wise to arrive just after 9am so that you are the first in the queue for tickets and an early arrival also means that you don't have to queue for ages for the monorail that will take you from the car park to the main entrance. You can walk to the main entrance, but it is a bit of a trek when you are only just at the beginning of your day. You need all your energy at Alton Towers, so save it!
We bought our tickets on the day, but you can also buy tickets online at www.altontowers.com and these are actually cheaper than on-the-day tickets (and will also give you an earlier entry time) unless you have a voucher e.g. 2 for 1. For example, a one-day ticket on the day costs £38, but it is £30.40 online at the moment. Luckily, we had vouchers from Tesco (these can't be used online) that were 2 for 1 and these vouchers seem to be in wide circulation at the moment e.g. WH Smith are also offering this deal if you buy certain items and Facebook fans can also get money off, so add yourself as an Alton Towers fan as soon as you can.
Whilst buying our tickets, we also bought a Fast Pass Scream ticket for £9 (this can also be bought online for £8) that would give us priority access to Nemesis, Oblivion and Air - three of the biggest rides in the park.
Also, make sure you buy your car park ticket when you enter the park as you won't have to wait in the massive queues for the machines at the end of the day!
Where did we go first? Nemesis - one of the best rides in the world and on a definite par with even the biggest rollercoasters in the USA. Believe me, I've been on most of them and Nemesis makes me scream every time!
In order to let you know about the rest of my time at the park, I'm going to break my visit down into easy-to-read tips that will cover everything you need to know:
1. Visit all the rides in one area before moving to the next area as this will save valuable time as there can be long walks between the areas unless you take the cable cars e.g. visit Nemesis and Air in Forbidden Valley before moving on.
2. We used our Scream fastpass for Nemesis, Air and Oblivion and then became single riders for the rest of the day. The fastpass allows you to sit together, but a single rider means you have to ride alone. However, do not be worried by the thought of riding alone - riding as a single passenger can cut your waiting time down by an hour and the rides are so fast that it's not as if you'll be chatting about lunch or the latest films during the ride anyway. Be brave! We entered Rita and 13 as single riders and we went straight to the front of the queue in approximately 15 minutes. When we were there, the waiting time for 13 was approximately two hours, so this saved us a great deal of time.
3. It is important to make sure that you ride all of the big rides as early as you can in the day as this means you won't be missing out on them as you might not be able to make your way around them all at the end of the day. We'd managed to ride on Nemesis, Air, Obilvion, Rita and 13 by approximately 2pm and then made time for Hex, Duel, Runaway Mine Train and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory later in the day - do your essentials first and then fit in what you can at the end of the day.
4. Save your souvenirs until the end of the day as massive teddies, medals and oversized mugs will only be more to leave behind as you board each ride (there are cages to store your bags) and there is a handy store at the main entrance.
There is no way that we could have crammed in all the major rides without buying a Fastpass ticket and deciding to brave certain rides as a single rider. Yes, my brain might have been rattling around at the end of the day, but it was worth it!
Ride ratings for my own personal favourites (the higher the rating, the more thrilling the ride!):
1. Air: 6/10. Air is all about the experience of flying and it wasn't exactly built for speed. Yes, it is amazing to be in a position where you are Superman for a minute, but I prefer speed and terror!
2. Nemesis: 10/10. I've been to Alton Towers on five occasions and I believe that Nemesis is still the best. From the suspense of the climb at the start to the loop near the end, it's definitely a screamathon.
3. 13: 7/10. 13 was impressive, but it wasn't as good as the adverts on TV had led us to believe. The best bit is definitely riding in the dark, but it would have been more terrifying if the drop was more deadly!
4.Rita: 9/10. Rita is amazing! It's so fast and you don't even have time to take it in before you are at the end - make sure you keep your head back against the headrest as Rita is a bit of a rattler...
5.Oblivion: 8/10. Before you even ride Oblivion, you're nervous! You can watch the drop before you embark and in my opinion, the worst part is definitely hanging over the drop at the top before you plunge into swirling fog!
We tried to stick to a budget as much as we could, so we stayed at two Travelodges (www.travelodge.co.uk) that were under an hour away from Alton Towers. Each Travelodge was clean and comfortable and not far from restaurants serving tasty food, so they made the perfect crash pad:
Travelodge Crewe (20 miles from Alton Towers)
Travelodge Stafford Central (22.7 miles from Alton Towers)
Book in advance to get good deals - we paid £19 for our first night and £29 for our second night. There are usually deals online and an Autumn deal is starting soon.