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Astrid
05-04-2002, 03:54 PM
I'm contemplating taking the kids to Alton Towers during the Summer holidays as we've never been.

After picking myself up from the floor after finding out the cost of a room at the Alton Towers Hotel would be 160 (not including passes!), I've found a Travel Inn nearby for less than a third of the cost!

However, before booking anything up (and also knowing how used to WDW and what it offers we are!) I'd be interested in hearing anyones comments on Alton Towers. Is it worth it? what's good to do? best way to get tickets? etc etc. :)

Any help and information would be much appreciated - ta :D

Astrid

WDWfan,uk
05-05-2002, 10:02 AM
Hi Astrid :)
We first visited Alton Towers when the boys were the same age as Bryn an Carys - we went with another family and got a good deal from the Posthouse Hotel in Newcastle-Under-Lyme just off the M6 ........ it was between this hotel and the Derby Posthouse - they are roughly the same distance I think from Alton Towers - but the Derby hotel was booked up.
It did take us a while to drive there - it's 17miles away and the small windy roads near Alton can be quite slow.
The hotel we stayed in has now become a Holiday Inn but you could check them out for room prices - they did discounts on park tickets too - the Derby Posthouse still does.

http://www.posthouse-hotels.com/

Looks like you may have to call the hotels for rates - I couldn't locate rates but there are phone numbers.
We had a really good time and we had great weather which makes things more enjoyable anyway. There are some big rides at this park, as you probably know, with minimum height requirements but there is plenty there for those of us who don't ride the big'uns.

kirstenjet
05-05-2002, 10:40 AM
There are some cheap ways to get tickets at the moment as Corn Flakes boxes are dong buy one get one free. You can also get annual passes(includes Chessington,Thorpe Park, Madame Tassauds and Planetariun) from Tescos with your vouchers if you shop there. I'm not sure if you still can but if you shop at Sainsburys you can get a ticket for nothing in exchange for either four or five of their 2.50 vouchers.

I've never been to Florida (yet!) so I can't compare, but I absolutely love it there! I's say you need 2 days to get everything done once, especailly suring the summer holidays as it does get busy.

Also don't forget to take plenty of anti-wasp spray, there's normally lots there.

This is my first post on these boards so I hope it's of some help!

Zoe

Dimplenose
05-05-2002, 11:21 AM
We stayed at Alton Towers Hotel about 3 years ago. We were very disappointed after staying at All STars in WDW the year before.

We love the theme park but found the hotel very restictive. We had to book a time for breakfast and dinner and even had to book if we wanted to use theswimming pool - which of course was very busy except during the park opening hours (we never did get a swim). The quality and service at the hotel were faultless but these restictions spoilt our time there. The secret pathway into the park was also a bit of a hike.

We also expected to be able to go to the park in the evening but all the rides shut down at 6pm and this was in August.

Last year we rented a cottage for a week near Uttoxeter (10minutes drive away) and were able to visit a couple of times using our Tussauds season tickets (we live near Thorpe Park)

I also know that there is a Travel Lodge next to the Little Chef in Uttoxeter so that may be worth a try.

If you do go this year without staying at the hotel be aware that they now charge for car parking - not on the way in but on the way out so you need to keep 2 change to buy a token from a machine (if it's working) to put in another machine to get out again!!! (WE went at Easter and it was chaos to leave as no one knew what they were doing!!)

Tartan Tigger
05-05-2002, 01:53 PM
We went to Alton Towers in May last year. I enjoyed the park but didnt get to ride everything I wanted. We had left home at 5.30am and arrived at 11.20am. The park closed at 6pm.
We stayed at a Travel Lodge but I cant remember where it was.

Dimplenose
05-05-2002, 02:04 PM
I've just reread my message and it sounds very negative. I must repeat I LOVE Alton Towers, I go every year it's by far the best theme park I've been to in this country. It's just I didn't feel that the hotel was worth the money.

rob@rar.org.uk
05-05-2002, 03:27 PM
We really enjoy Alton Towers. Parts of the park are very nicely themed, and some of the rides are world leaders - way better than anything Disney has to offer. We've found that the queues for the main attractions can get very, very long. Make sure that you are able to visit the park from opening time so that you can get to the main rides before the queues get unreasonably long.

We stayed in a little B&B on a farm just about a mile from the park. Reasonably priced, and the biggest cooked breakfast you've ever seen. Just what you need before riding Nemesis!

Regards

Rob

Dimplenose
05-06-2002, 07:07 AM
Another thought on Alton Towers -


we found the season tickets very good value for money. Last year we paid 210 for a family of four (bound to be a bit more expensive this year).

I know we live near Thorpe Park so we can get to there and Chessington fairly easily, but I think four visits to any of the attractions and the tickets have paid for themselves.

We did the theme parks during the summer and Warick Castle, Madame Tussauds and the London planetarium during the winter.

If you buy the tickets late this summer, say August, then you will also be able to use them next summer, up to July, as they are valid for 12 months. Thus you effectively get to use them for 2 summers. Just a thought, but it also gave us early entry to Alton Towes 9am instad of 10 I think. Certainly DH and DS got the 3 of the big rides done before the crowds built up.

Astrid
05-06-2002, 01:09 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice it's been really helpful - I'll keep you posted as to my plans.

Dimplenose - I'd be interested in knowing more about the annual pass. We're not that far from Chessington or Thorpe Park. Could you let me know more details, ie. where you can get in to etc.

Thanks, Astrid :)

kirstenjet
05-06-2002, 02:02 PM
Astrid,
There's details about it here
tescos and annual pass (http://www.tesco.com/clubcard/clubcard/deals/deal_tussauds.htm) gives you all the details on the pass and a cheap way of getting it. Otherwise you can buy it online from any of the parks websites or from the parks themselves, here's the linkThorpe Park annual pass (http://www.thorpepark.co.uk/tickets/annual_passes.asp) .
They also get you into Thorpe Parkand Alton towers half an hour before the crowds , but only on Colossus at TP and Oblivion and Nemisis at AT. The other rides open normal time. Also at AT you go to the exit on the mono rail so you don't have to queue.

Zoe
edit - Can get in to Chessington early now as well.

kazzie
05-06-2002, 05:03 PM
Astrid,

I know the Alton Towers hotel is expensive,but it is great fun for children.I think the age your two are they'd love it.

If you're going all that way why not splurge out and stay 'onsite'!

Mazzy
05-07-2002, 06:36 AM
Hi Astrid :wave:

We live only an hour and a quarter from Alton Towers and have stayed at the hotel 3 times, which obviously means we love it there!

The children really enjoy it as they have a lot of freedom in the hotel, they especially love the lifts which 'talk', the entertainment every evening (held in a boat in the lobby!), everyone enjoys it and ends up singing along, the buffet breakfast which is MUCH better imho than the buffet at Disneyland Paris, the themed rooms with bunk beds, duck hairdryer and 'hidden treasure' which they have to find, which has games and lots of interesting stuff for them.

I would definitely stay the night at the hotel if you can possibly afford it, it makes all the difference. How long will the journey take you? If you set off earlyish and arrive to check in at the hotel for 2pm you will have no trouble getting a swim in the lovely pool at 3pm, a nice relaxing evening in the hotel (the restaurant is great, pricey but very nice!), lovely gardens with fountains, ducks strolling round, plenty of hills for the kids to run up and down and let off steam, entertainment laid on for the kids including characters (Baby Bear is so CUTE!), great cocktails at the bar (including kids ones), then early morning rise for brekkie and your day in the parks, you just take a short walk to the monorail to the park entrance. We found this the best way to get the most out of our hotel stay when staying only one night. You will only need one day in the park if you aren't going to do the 'big' rides, those are the ones which take up the most time due to the queues.

The kids club is great, they do things like face painting, discos etc but bear in mind it is not a creche and they can't actually stop children from walking out, how old are your kids?

If you have something to celebrate you can arrange for birthday cake, flowers or balloons to be in the room waiting on your arrival, I had a surprise choccy box and flowers last year for my birthday :D You can ask them to send you a brochure with all the details.

Sorry for rambling on so, hope this is helpful to you, if you need any more info let me know :D

Dimplenose
05-07-2002, 10:38 AM
I was glad someone could give you a more positive view of the hotel. We're not great joiners in and never use kids clubs. We booked because of the pool and quick access to the park in the evening which is probably part of the reason for our disappointment.

Where ever you decide to stay I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun at the park.

Thanks for the TESCO link Zoe I hadn't realised I could get a good deal on the season tickets. Let's hope it's still in place when we need new ones as DS will be 12 by then and considered an adult (280 total instead of 219 !!!!!)

.

kirstenjet
05-07-2002, 06:28 PM
The Tescos things been there for 2 years that I know of so it seems like it's permanent! You do need to do lots of shipping there though:)

Zoe

neilybealy
05-10-2002, 03:56 AM
Originally posted by Dimplenose
We love the theme park but found the hotel very restictive. We had to book a time for breakfast and dinner and even had to book if we wanted to use theswimming pool - which of course was very busy except during the park opening hours (we never did get a swim). The quality and service at the hotel were faultless but these restictions spoilt our time there. The secret pathway into the park was also a bit of a hike.


i've been to alton towers twice - the first time staying in a hotel near stoke (which had a good deal inc. tickets ) and the last time in the alton towers hotel.......

we stayed in a basic (garden) room and it was like any other hotel room - we too were annoyed when we strolled down to enjoy a swim to be told you had to "book" a swim.....

the girls in our group weren't impressed with the "hike" in the morning to gain early entry into the park as it had been raining all night and was extremely muddy......

we had a good time in the park though but that night in the hotel they had a big group of tussards managers (from all over the uk) staying at the hotel and they were getting pretty drunk in the bar and 1 clown decided to set off the fire alarm at about 1am - the hotel did a full evacuation and we stood outside in thunderstorms whilst they checked it out.....

i must say though the hotel staff were great and handed out those foil wraps to keep warm

enough of me rambling

hope that helps

neil

:D