Alton Towers & Drayton Manor
23-24th April 2002
This was the first Club outing for me and my daughter, and we were very pleased with the way the day went. We were on one of the first two or three trains out of the AIR station, before it started breaking down, so we managed to get a decent ride (without all the hanging around). I haven’t laughed that much on a ride for ages. We both loved it.
We are now no longer ECC-trip virgins! We had a very excellent day out – you lot are a fine bunch, and made me and my daughter very welcome!
Air has such a lame layout (laying on your back is the best bit), and low ride speed. Do we all put the blame at the door of B&M or Alton Towers for again buying “the first of a new generation” of coasters? I would sooner blame Alton than B&M. In a few years time, I can see this type of ride getting bigger, better, and faster, especially after it starts appearing in some US parks.
It was a shame that Air wasn’t working too well on our day, but then again, we all tried to make the most of it, and generally I think it was all still a good laugh and great fun. I felt very sorry for the Air ride ops. They took a lot of stick from customers. I saw two people go absolutely mad with the staff.
Nemesis of course, was absolutely flying as usual, and is still an awesome ride even though it’s eight years old. I was pleased at the end of the day when I managed the second last ride of the day. When we got back to the station, there were still a few people waiting, so four other ECC members and I asked if we could stay on for the final ride, and we were all shocked when they said yes! Special thanks to the Nemesis rides ops for giving us this extremely rare pleasure.
As for Drayton, I enjoyed it very much, and the Golden Nuggets ERS was great fun, and was such a good laugh. The Shockwave ERS was good, and trying it backwards was a strange experience.
Also for Drayton Manor to invite us back to try out Apocolypse’s Fifth Dimension Car for free was very impressive.
I would like to thank John, Justin, James and the rest of the team for an excellent weekend, Drayton definitely made up for Alton. The only moan I have about the trip is the food at Alton, we would have been better going to one of the fast food outlets as thats what it basically was.
Drayton’s Lunch – just like Mum’s. Especially amazing were the Dutch lads on our table, trying to get their heads round Mint Sauce, is it for dessert or main course? Quote – “You English guys put vinegar with everything” – this is good coming from people who have Mayonnaise with Chips!
My experience of Air was mixed. I only managed one ride during the day (when we went back to ride it later they had shut the queue), so it was difficult to judge it properly. I rode at the back, and enjoyed the ride. It was nowhere near as intense as the Vekoma flying coaster I had ridden (X-Flight in Ohio), but was very re-rideable. I think that when they get the problems with the restraints and sensors resolved it will be a big hit.
Saturday was fun! We found a new game to play at the end of the day – hunt the ECC- but couldn’t find any of you. It was sort of a last ditch attempt to overcome my shyness and sort out the DMP part of the trip but to no avail. Silly me, I know.
For years members had been requesting a trip to Alton Towers. We’d had several abortive attempts previously, but mainly due to the prohibitive costs it never got off the ground.
This year, thanks to the help of James Lloyd, we managed to get a good price. We planned the trip for the second weekend of the season to ride the new B&M Flying Coaster Air. Both Nemesis and Oblivion had opened on time, so we didn’t expect any problems. We arranged two ERSs; one on Air in the morning, and one on Nemesis for the evening.
Unfortunately, due to a mix up by the Alton staff, we were double booked with another corporate function and as their pay cheque was bigger than ours, we were “bumped” on to Oblivion for our evening ERS. This annoyed me a great deal because we’d had the trip booked for months and we were only told of the itinerary change a few weeks prior to the trip.
Upon arriving at the park we knew we were going to have problems. There was no one from Alton to meet us at the gate and no one there knew we were coming! Air was down so we went over to ride Nemesis with the hotel guests.
The lunchtime meal was OK, a little overpriced for what was essentially burger and chips, but the staff were very polite and courteous. Still no one from Alton to meet us.
Our evening ERS on Oblivion was enjoyable apart from the fact that we were made to run round the queue each time. We pleaded with the ride-ops to allow us to stay on the platform but they didn’t give in.
Unfortunately, Apocalypse was down for our second day at Drayton Manor so we were offered Golden Nuggets as an alternative. Thanks to Robert Harries, we instigated a sharp shooter contest with the highest score receiving a camera as a prize. The hour was a huge success.
The customary lunch was excellent and then to a great cheer in the evening Colin Bryan announced we could all come back later in the year for free because Apocalypse had been down all day. What a man, and what a park.
After the bitter taste Alton had left in my mouth from the day before, Drayton Manor certainly offered a fantastic sweetener. Drayton won hands down that weekend and you can see why we visit year after year.