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The first riders will experience the newly-rethemed Sonic Spinball rollercoaster at Alton Towers this weekend, as the park begins its half-term opening period.

The event precedes the official start of the 2010 season, with the park open daily from 10am to 4pm for the week of February 13-21. The majority of the park's rides will be operating, although the eagerly-anticipated Thirteen rollercoaster will not open until March.

However, Sonic Spinball - previously known as Spinball Whizzer - will make its debut during the half-term period. It has been rethemed around Sega's iconic Sonic the Hedgehog videogame character, after the company signed a deal with Alton Towers giving it "exclusive videogame rights" at the park.

The opening of Sonic Spinball will tie in well with the recent UK release of Sonic's Ultimate Mega Drive Collection. This features a selection of classic Sonic titles, including one also titled Sonic Spinball which was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive (also known as the Sega Genesis) in 1993.

Annual Passes are valid for Alton Towers' half-term event, with reduced entry fees being offered for day guests for previous February opening periods. Although Alton Towers has recently raised ticket prices for the second time in a year, Tescos shoppers can purchase tickets using Clubcard reward vouchers to save money.

The full list of attractions which will be operating next week is given below:

  • Sharkbait Reef by SEA LIFE
  • Old Macdonald's Singing Barn
  • Squirrel Nutty Ride
  • Hex: The Legend of the Towers
  • Giant Rabbits & Miniature Donkeys
  • Old Maconald's Tractor Ride
  • Berry Bish Bash
  • Riverbank Eye Spy
  • There's Something in the Dung Heap
  • Doodle Doo Derby
  • Peugeot Driving School
  • Frog Hopper
  • Gallopers Carousel
  • Wobble World
  • Twirling Toadstool
  • Marauders Mayhem
  • Heave Ho!
  • Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back!
  • Runaway Mine Train
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Oblivion
  • Blade
  • Air
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