Alton Towers is introducing two new amusements – but the theme park resort’s latest additions are very different to anything we’ve seen before… as while one is a spooky dungeon, the other involves sleeping.
Alton Towers has just unveiled photos of the two new offerings: the Alton Towers Dungeon and brand new Stargazing Pods, both of which will officially open alongside the rest of the park on Saturday 23rd March 2019, ahead of the Easter holidays.
Unsurprisingly, the new dungeon ride will scare visitors silly, before they can head to the Stargazing Pods for the night.
A new ‘Glamping’ accommodation that lets families feel like they’ve never gone inside to bed, the Stargazing Pods are a unique overnight stay on the doorstep of the Alton Towers Resort.
Opening 12th April, each of the 102 pods is made from sustainably sourced timber and comes complete with a telescope – encouraging guests to spend more time outside and look up and gaze at the magic of the night sky.
Taking the place of the former Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Ride, Reach writer Steve Wollaston went to try out the new Alton Towers experiences for himself – and here’s how he got on…
The Dungeon is a series of live action rooms featuring an array of ghastly hosts that take you on a gruesome and often hilarious journey through local history.
There are five rooms to venture into, each with a different story, special effects and a few surprises.
There’s also a boat journey down the Black River which takes you to the Dungeon deep beneath the famous old Towers.
The rooms are based around local stories and characters, for example there is the cottage of the Witch of Burslem – a room packed full of spooky special effects. You get to meet the The Executioner, a lovely young lady you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley – especially due to her having a torture instrument for every occasion, and body part.
Justice is dished out in the Judge’s courtroom as the bombastic Bishop of Stafford keeps his own version of the peace.
The Welsh Harp was a known stop for the famous Highwayman – Dick Turpin, but will he pay you a visit as you stop by for a quick jug of ale? The operating theatre of the plague doctor is a festival of the macabre and not one for the squeamish as you get to grips with the guts of the bubonic plague.
Live actors, dark moments and some seriously atmospheric sound events will have you holding on tight to the person next to you.
Talking about the new sinister ride, Alton Towers Resort, Chris Carter, said: “The Dungeon brings something new and different to Alton. Guests can expect a knife-edge tour though some of Staffordshire’s darkest and most horrible stories. We have brought them to life with great storytelling and theatrics.
You’ll need to be at least ten years old to enjoy the ride, which is still a very family-orientated experience – a vital demand for the theme park.
Operations director at the park, Francis Jackson explained this to me on my visit. He said: We know we have big rides and we know how brilliant CBeebies has been for younger guests, what we are also keen to do is to make sure that there are things that families can do together. As a dad myself, I know that’s a great thing.
“The Wicker Man was a huge investment for us last season and as much as it is a huge wooden rollercoaster, it’s actually great fun for all ages. The same goes for rides like Spinball Whizzer, Th13teen and the Runaway Mine Train.”
What’s the best thing about it?
The whole experience is great, the actors genuinely make the attraction, if I was going to pick one are that it excels in and that impressed me the most – it is the attention to detail. An almost exhaustive amount of work has gone into making sure everything looks and smells how it should.
Rather than let you imagine what these environments would smell like, they use smell pods to let you experience it. The smell of burnt flesh, stale ale and various putrid stenches await you.
It’s a great touch and it marries well with the nerve-jangling audio that adds to the drama. All of the clothing worn by the actors has been distressed to make it look authentic, this was a big role of the costumes departments before the 23 actors were even enlisted and trained.
All in all, it’s a wonderfully atmospheric and authentically themed attraction with huge attention to detail, plenty of laughs, a few frights, and some great actors. It’s taken 45,000 man hours to eradicate Willy’s Wonka’s Factory, and I think they people will be pleasantly surprised.
When does it open?
The first thing to mention is that there a pre-booked extra cost of £5 online for the Dungeon, the show lasts 45 minutes so families and thrill seekers will get their money’s worth. It’s a nice change of pace from the white-knuckle thrills too, and great if it is raining!
Alton Towers Dungeon will open on March 23, 2019 – the same weekend the park opens for the 2019 season.
The Stargazing Pods
Also new for this season, the resort have created a village of new glamping accommodation pods themed around the night-sky – which are also a lot more affordable than alternative hotel stays.
The 102 pods are spread out nicely in a nice green open space and they have a really fresh and stylish design. They are based around a village green complete with telescopes to gaze at the night sky.
There are two single-beds and a double bed, all quite compact, but certainly nice and cosy.
There’s electricity and wi-fi, with a breakfast bap and hot drink included in the price of your stay which you collect from reception, although you can of course book a meal in any of the hotel restaurants too.
There’s no toilets in the pods but there is a shower block and toilet facilities in the centre of the village.
There’s also a huge big Tipi style marquee that provides somewhere undercover, but also will host live entertainment. Guests can also use the facilities and entertainment at the nearby Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings Hotel.
A similar version of this article also appears on Birmingham Live