My family and I were invited to be Merlin Premium Annual Pass Holders in exchange for 6 posts this year. We love Merlin and it made sense that our first visit of the Season was to the family’s current favourite park Alton Towers for the launch of their new Wickerman Ride.
Wickerman Ride at Alton Towers
The Wickerman Ride is Alton Towers Resort’s new wooden rollercoaster, the first in the United Kingdom in over twenty-one years and the first to incorporate fire. Manufactured by Great Coasters International at a cost of 16 million pounds we went along to find out what we thought.
Access to Wickerman Ride at Alton Towers
Wickerman is located near Mutiny Bay, at the site of the old log flume. There are three queues to enter the attraction (normal, disability/ride access pass and Fastrack) which all meet up together to watch the Wickerman preshow which tells you the story behind what the ride is about. It is possible to skip the pre-show for those riders who have sensory issues, cannot deal with crowds and/or are uncomfortable with the dark.
The Wickerman Ride preshow reminded me a lot of Hex – which is not surprising given the wooden theme. I loved the comical twist on the fact that the sacrifice was “Yew” (as in the tree) but obviously the idea is that “YOU” who are going to be surrendered. After the pre-show you then move on to the ride.
Riding and Riders of Wickerman Ride at Alton Towers
The most important thing to note for me is that the height restriction on the Wickerman Ride is a minimum of only 1.2m – which means that more young children get to experience a thrill ride at Alton Towers Resort. Previously the only one of the big 6 that could be experienced under 1.4m was Thirteen. As there are no loops there is no overhead restraint – it is a bar that goes between your legs and a little bit across your lap, with plenty of space before the seat in front with a bar across. Riders are arranged in pairs – two across in a single row with a total of 24 riders per train. We believe we counted three trains but due to teething difficulties these were not all running throughout the day and therefore made the wait-time more lengthy: This was actually the only negative thing I have heard about Wickerman, but let’s face it it’s going to be busy the first weekend of the season fully-open and with a brand new ride.
This is definitely where a Merlin Annual Pass is useful as you have the option to avoid Wickerman until the hype has calmed down (and the queues); or like us, you can just focus your day on it because you have plenty of opportunities to come back and experience the other rides. Plus your Premium Merlin Annual Pass Packs comes with £5 Fastrack vouchers so you do not have to wait as long – and also Share the Fun (which means you can bring a friend for only £15). Once you leave the ride, and have looked at your Wickerman Ride photos, you then exit via the Wickerman shop. There are some amazing things for sale including wood from the ride! Again there’s up to 20% off in the shops with a Merlin Annual Pass.
My Conclusions of Wickerman Ride at Alton Towers
We loved Wickerman Ride at Alton Towers Resort it was much faster than we expected (with speeds of 44 mph/71 km/h) and we also loved the drops (72.2 ft/22.m) and turns. In fact we experience this ride twice – first at the back and then at the front. I did find them to feel different, particularly at the end when you are left in darkness as it isn’t so dark at the back BUT there’s a flash of light and you do wonder if you are about to ride it backwards! The second time we got wet (assuming from the steam machine) but did not the first time. I think this is an excellent addition to Alton Towers Resort and will be visiting many times with our Merlin Annual Passes this season.
We were given a family Premium Merlin Annual Pass in order to cover attractions on my blog. All opinions are honest and my own.