On 1st June I got to go to Alton Towers for free – for work!
Alex and I went up the day before and stayed at the Splash Landings Hotel. My cousin Abby was right – it looks and smells like a giant swimming pool – but the smell of chlorine aside, it was a very fun and cheery place. There were ducks waddling around on the patio! And cocktails! And a free all-you-can-eat breakfast!
On Saturday morning, after my free all-you-can-eat breakfast, I headed over to the conference centre for some presentations about Merlin partnerships and their hospitality areas (the work part of this trip) and my second free breakfast! Alex grabbed his free ticket and went straight to the park, then started texting me about all the amazing rides he was going on (with no queue time because the park wasn’t even open to the public yet!). The Merlin team were kind enough to keep their presentations short, so before long I was standing under the Sonic Spinball ride, waiting for Alex to finish spinning so we could explore the park together!
First of all we hit the brand new ride, The Smiler. It was supposed to have opened a few days before but was broken (eeek!), so we were among the first people to try it out. The queue was enormous – about 3 hours long – but we opted for the single rider queue and walked straight on with no wait at all! I screamed my way around all 14 loops, and then went on again straight afterwards like some crazy loon. I ended up sitting next to a teenage boy who worked at Alton Towers and had come in on his day off specially to ride The Smiler. When I spoke to him he was on his 6th go!
We then went on a multitude of other rides, including Oblivion, Air, Hex, Ripsaw, Nemesis and Nemesis Sub-Terra. Even though it was a Saturday we were very lucky with the queue times. We even got front row seats on the Runaway Mine Train, but were kind enough to give them up to a small child and his dad – making the little boy’s day and ensuring good karma for the rest of our lives I would think.
By the end of the day I was exhausted (and dreading the long drive home) but very happy that my first trip to Alton Towers had been such a blast – and free of course!