Alton Towers is set to bring back horror maze The Sanctuary for the start of the 2013 season, to tie-in with the debut of the new SW7 roller coaster in the X-Sector area.
The Sanctuary was originally installed as a temporary attraction for the Scarefest 2012 Halloween events, and is hosted inside the Alton Towers mansion itself. The maze's plot is believed to have been designed to complement the backstory for SW7, focusing on the mysterious "Ministry of Joy", which undertook experiments on humans during the early 20th century.
The news of the maze's return was broken in the park's staff newsletter, and subsequently repeated on fan sites including Towers Street. It is not clear whether the maze will return for the full 2013 season, or whether the decision to bring it back has been made in order to compensate for the rumored delayed opening of SW7 itself.
As had been widely expected, the ageing X-Sector area will receive an overhaul ahead of the new coaster's debut. Oblivion, the vertical drop coaster that first opened in 1998, will be repainted ahead of the new season. Its colour scheme will be identical that used on SW7, which is set to feature black-gray track and supports.
Manufactured by Gerstlauer, the £18 million SW7 is claimed to be the "first coaster of its kind in the world". Its circuit will feature at least 8 inversions and 2 lift hills, and will be located on the site of the former Black Hole roller coaster. Alton Towers has previously claimed that the ride will feature a "world's first" element, and while several rumours are circulating on the web, the park has yet to confirm the nature of this.
For more details of Alton Towers' new addition for 2013, see Theme Park Tourist's detailed breakdown of the SW7 plans.
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