I went to Alton Towers for the first time recently and I couldn’t help but compare it to Thorpe Park. The reason I’d never been before was because it’s 5 hours away by public transport but some of my Towers Watson colleagues were going and I thought it would be a good way to get to know them better. I went with such random people, most of whom I’d only known for a day and some of them I’d never seen before. I’m surprised I went at all. Moreover I’m surprised my parents let me.
That aside, I ended up having a great time!
Onto the comparisons!
Size of the Park
Alton Towers is mahoosive. It’s spaced out; there are ponds and castles and greenery everywhere so it’s a beautiful location. However that also means the rides are far apart so you feel like a lot of time is being wasted just walking to the next ride let alone waiting in the queues. I should add that they do have ‘Sky Rides’ which transport you from one section of the park to another which is helpful. If you don’t take the Sky Ride however, there’s a good chance you’ll get lost in the meandering paths through the trees.
Meanwhile Thorpe Park isn’t small but the rides are much closer together- you can run to them even if you’re fitness challenged like I am. The natural consequence is that there is less scenery.
Alton Towers definitely caters better for families; they’ve got more rides for the the little ones and stalls where you can win fluffy teddy bears and whatnot. As a university student I’m not fully appreciative of this but it’s a huge plus for children.
This is not really a big issue for me. I’m there to have fun- as long as there’s something to keep the hunger at bay I’m good. Both Alton Towers and Thorpe Park fulfil this basic requirement.
This is the big one really. Alton Park definitely used to have edge what with its rollercoasters but Thorpe Park has responded strongly in recent years with the arrival of The Swarm, Saw: The Ride and Stealth. Even with the arrival of Smiler (the world’s first 14 loop rollercoaster) at Alton Towers, I think Thorpe Park still has the edge.
These are some of the best rides at Alton Towers (in my opinion):
- Air– This was a great ride. It felt smooth and I really did feel like I was flying. This is quite similar to The Swarm at Thorpe Park and though you’re not in ‘flying’ position (you lie on your stomach with your legs up during ‘Air’), I thought it was just as good.
- Nemesis– Thorpe Park has the Nemesis Inferno rollercoaster which is very similar but the Alton Towers’ version was longer and you go upside down more so I liked it better.
- Rita– You get catapulted from 0 to 100 kmph in 2.5 seconds! Sound good? Yeah not as good as going 0 to 128 kmph in under 2 seconds as you do on Stealth. There’s no competition. In fact if you’ve survived Stealth and go on Rita, you might be a little disappointed.
- Oblivion– Not gonna lie I was crapping myself at the top when they hang you and all you can see is the ground way down below you. However I really enjoyed it- definitely one of the best rides at Alton Towers. Valid comparisons can be made to Saw: The Ride at Thorpe which is similarly awesome.
- Smiler– I haven’t been on this (BECAUSE IT WAS CLOSED DAMMIT) which is a huge shame. I really hope it lives up to the hype but if it doesn’t there’s still Colossus at Thorpe Park which is a mere 4 loops less.
Basically this whole long convoluted blog post is saying I like Thorpe Park better. All of the best rides at Alton Towers can be matched by something at Thorpe Park and that’s not even considering rides like Rush, Samurai and Tidal Wave. Smiler is a huge plus point for Alton Towers but not enough to sway me.
[Aside: I felt most sick when I was being driven from Alton Towers to the station by some cray cray taxi driver. That guy’s driving license needs to be revoked. He was doing 80mph on a 40mph road. Da eff?!]
Over and Out!