Sunday, September 25, 2005

Alton Towers and Drayton Manor

First weekend back from Japan and it's off to 2 more parks and 2 new rides; Rita: Queen of Speed at Alton and G-Force at Drayton Manor.

To be honest I was quite happy to spend both days taking pictures rather than running around to make sure I got on all the rides. I guess I was just coastered out after the Japan trip, or perhaps it's that I've been to these parks so many times that they no longer offer me the excitement they used to do.

Alton was extremely busy and the longest wait was just over an hour for Air. Fortunately I ended up getting a front row seat which was a bonus. Nemesis is benefiting this year from a newly installed Single Rider Queue. The girl running this was really nice too ;) All the more reason to go back from more than one ride. They've fixed Hex which was missing a key lightbulb for the last couple of years. As for Rita? Well it's not a bad little ride and it seemed to be really popular with the general public. Apparently recent surveys have shown Rita to be more popular than Nemesis. Perhaps it's too intense for some riders, Rita certainly isn't. The best bit of the ride is the launch but having been fortunate enough to ride Dodonpa a week earlier I didn't get the oooomph factor that everyone else was getting. The ride in the dark was a lot more fun than daytime riding. It really benefits from taking the visibility away from the riders.

Drayton's new ride is a twisty mass of steel called G-Force, not X-Factor as I kept mistakingly calling it. Like Rita it's best bit is at the start with a drop into a lift hill that takes you up then back over yourself before dropping into the ride properly. The fact that this ride has not should restraints really adds to the feeling that you're going to fall out of the ride as it slowly takes you upside down. The ride is quite noisy which the management have admitted is because the manufacturer has let them down as if the ride was running with the correct wheels it wouldn't complete the circuit. Noisier epoxy ones are being used instead. The ride also needs a second train as throughput is quite slow with just the one. The ride does have a nice queue line though with 2 screens showing Soundspectrum's G-Force visualisation and a teslar coil electrical effect to entertain you. If the park could remove the queue line fences they could easily hold parties in the structure. The rest of the park looked a bit run down. Their Excalibur attraction that opened a couple of years ago is already showing signs of disrepair.

All in all a nice weekend to just chill and catch up with friends. I think I was just tired of coasters (blasphemy I know)
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