Oblivion, Alton Towers

If you ask me which is my favourite theme park in the UK, my answer would always be Alton Towers. However, our most recent visit has left me very disappointed and thinking that Alton Towers has a serious maintenance problem. Here is our experience of Scarefest 2023.

Firstly, a little background information. I have grown up going to Alton Towers on family holidays as a teenager and will never forget my first ride on the Corkscrew and Nemesis. Since being an adult, me and my husband would take every opportunity to visit Alton Towers although we live approximately a 4-hour drive away.  With young children this has been more difficult in recent years but we have enjoyed a number of visits to ride The Wicker Man and Thirteen.

Alton Towers Scarefest
Image: Alton Towers

Our oldest son is absolutely obsessed with roller coasters and has been eagerly awaiting the time when he reached the magic 1.4m height mark. Just before the October half term he achieved his goal so we excitedly headed to Scarefest on Monday October 23, for his first experience of the thrill rides, Alton Towers is renown for.

I am writing this piece because having not experienced Scarefest for the last three years, I was completely shocked at the experience we had.

Now, I am not naive to the fact that Alton Towers would be very busy during their top event of the year, Scarefest. But having arrived at 9:15AM ready to give ourselves the best opportunity to get a ride without a huge wait we found that the monorail wasn't running.

Okay, annoying but we pushed on with the 15 minute walk to get to the gate. The Smiler was top on my son's list so we headed there and he got in the queue at 9:50AM with his grandparents.

The Smiler Alton Towers
Image: Theme Park Tourist

I took our youngest to The Wicker Man as he is not tall enough to ride The Smiler just yet. It was 10:00AM and we were told that the queue was 50 minutes but the ride wasn't opening yet.

So far, not the best start. At approximately 10:40AM The Wicker Man opened. Keeping in touch with my son, we discovered that The Smiler had also not opened until late and then closed again shortly after. After a huge amount of time, they finally managed to ride The Smiler at 12:30PM. It took them 150 minutes!

Keeping up with the latest queue times it became instantly apparent that majority of the major roller coasters were struggling with closures being reported frequently on The Smiler, The Wicker Man, Oblivion, Spinball Whizzer and Galactica.

Wicker Man, Alton Towers
Image: Alton Towers

Our friends queued for 120minutes for The Wicker Man only to have to leave the queue because it closed due to technical reasons. We queued for Oblivion for 30 minutes and it broke down, although they advised us to go to another ride, we waited and it did reopen about 20 minutes later.

Oblivion Alton Towers
Image: Theme Park Tourist

My son queued for 80 mins for Galactica only to be told he had to leave the queue for technical reasons. Queues for the main thrill rides were at 70-80mins for most of the day and The Smiler hit 115mins in early afternoon.

So, what are the main problems and what does Alton Towers need to do about them?


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