Theme Park Season is over for another year and we have had a wonderful time made even better with saving money with our Premium Merlin Annual Passes* Which of the fabulous Merlin Theme Parks you visit I think will largely depend on the age (and height) of those of you going, plus what kind of thing you are after.
We have previously visited LEGOLAND Windsor for Halloween and the Fireworks. This was perfect for when our children were younger and we even treated them to a night in the LEGOLAND Hotel – which also really helped cater for our son’s sensory needs. The best thing about going to LEGOLAND Windsor for the end of season is that you get the added benefit of Halloween and Fireworks at the same time (if you time it right). We had covered Halloween when visiting Warwick Castle, Shrek and The Sea Life London Aquarium this year but had previously been to Alton Towers for Scarefest. With our youngest finally reaching 1.4m (he was 1.39 ½ when we went to the Home Education Workshop at Alton Towers) and desperate to ride the other 5 of the big 6 (he had been on Thirteen as it is a 1.3m) it made sense to visit Alton Towers again but this time for the fireworks.
Fireworks at Alton Towers
As a member of the Merlin Annual Pass group I was aware that the fireworks at Alton Towers are World Class. It seems obvious then that they would sell out and therefore it would be a bit much of a risk to turn up on the day without prebooking tickets. As it was I think the prebooked tickets sold out on about the Tuesday before the Saturday we went. I paid for each of us but apparently carers do not have to (I was offered to have my money back) – that and under 3s. Some people were really lucky and got in regardless but this was not a risk I was about to take.
Alton Towers full to Capacity for Fireworks
As the park was full to capacity you can imagine it was very busy but I feel it was all handled very well. We did not arrive until after lunch but easily parked (on the field) and it did not take us long to enter the park (although we decided to walk rather than wait for the monorail). The queues for the rides were naturally long – with The Smiler being around 2 hours and Oblivion around an hour for example. Alton Towers was open until 9pm that night (Saturday) but both X Sector and the Dark Forest were closed from 5pm to make sure everyone is safe from the Fireworks (they opened up again after the areas were checked for firework debris after the firework display had finished).
About the Fireworks at Alton Towers
There was a brilliant story told by actors/actresses, with obviously an amazing display of fireworks mixed in with lights and other effects (such as fire for the Wickerman ride) in front of the Towers. I do think that the fireworks were really good and I am glad that we have experienced them. A lot of money and thought had obviously gone into them. The Wickerman was notably good and recognisable with the use of fire – as well as the head being formed within the fireworks.
I am disappointed that there wasn’t more information on entering the park about the areas closing and the way we could get around – as something could have been planned whilst it was still light rather than stumbling around through crowds in the dark. I am not sure I would want to go through that again but with better preparation I think I would be ok. Most people were stood on the lawns and surrounding areas to watch the fireworks, it is just a shame, considering that it was a nice day, that people did not remain sitting on the grass but stood up – blocking the views of those behind (especially children). I did feel really anxious about the crowds but we had a plan to move straight to a nearest tree and let people leave before moving. The amount of rubbish left behind was astounding but there were plenty of Alton Towers staff at hand quickly picking it up.
Alton Towers remained open after the fireworks and the gate by Galatica was also opened with people directing people around depending on where they wanted to get to – which felt very organised and efficient. We left the park very quickly and easily once the rides had closed too.
For us the addition of the fireworks gave us another good reason to visit Alton Towers again – much to the delight of our youngest who had not previously been able to ride the big rides. Our 11 year old also loved the opportunity to try the rides in the dark. The fireworks were good and in my opinion worth the £5 each we paid to ensure we gained entry into the park.
Have you seen the fireworks at Alton Towers? How was it for you?
Alton Towers, Farley Lane, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST10 4DB
*We were gifted Premium Merlin Annual Passes which not only saved us money on our entry and parking but also gave us discount on things such as food and merchandise. All opinions, however, are honest and my own.