Large Family Gathering at Alton Towers Resort
We recently returned from our second family trip to the Alton Towers Resort. On this trip, we used the resort as a mid-point for a family gathering, with people travelling from the North East and the South; worked well at around 3 hours journey time each. There were 13 of us in total, including 7 kids ranging from 11 months to 14 years.
Firstly, I was very happy with the service from the bookings and check-in team. They made sure our party was in adjoining rooms and sorted us out with a booking for dinner.
We arrived at the resort at lunchtime, left our bags in the hotel room and headed straight into the theme park. I had expected there to be queues for the rides since it was the weekend but apart from the new ride Galactica and a bit of a wait for the Octonauts rollercoaster, most rides we just walked straight on.
The babies enjoyed the Tree Top and Postman Pat rides and the carousel, plus a walk around the sensory garden. The whole of CBeebies Land is perfectly done for the pre-school crowd and if we didn’t have the older ones, I think my small ones would be happy to spend a few hours wandering around in there and watching the shows.
My eight year old is a bit old for CBeebies but too small for the big adrenaline rides, but he was happy with Thirteen, Spinball, Enterprise and the runaway train among others. And of course, the Rapids is good old family fun until someone gets very wet jeans!!
The older kids and adults went on all of the big rides. Smiler was the definite favourite, but Nemesis and Oblivion still have the wow-factor too. There were mixed reviews for Galactica, the first virtual reality coaster. Some of us loved it but it made me feel a bit nauseous (and I’m an adrenaline-junkie!)
We had a walk through the Sea Life area too. The smaller ones loved it and got to stroke the starfish. Nice little addition and place to chill out for a few minutes between rides.
Within the park, the grounds are beautiful and a ride in the cable car is a lovely way to get around while admiring the views. In terms of the practical stuff, there are plenty of toilets and baby change facilities (all clean that I saw) and plenty of places to grab a drink and snack. Easy to get a buggy around and plenty of places to park them while on rides too.
We used the ‘swap pass’ when riding Galactica due to the size of the queue. The first group of us went on and got a card stamped which meant that the ones who’d waited with the kids could enter the queue further along. I’d imagine this is invaluable in the school holidays when the queues are longer.
After a fun-packed afternoon, we got the monorail back to the hotel and went to the Secret Garden Restaurant in the Alton Towers Hotel for dinner. The service was great, food was fantastic and prices were comparable to city centre dining. There was plenty of choice for the kids too. We went from dinner into the bar at our hotel where there was entertainment on for the kids. Meant time for a drink and chat for the grown ups before bedtime!
The hotel itself is good (we were in Splash Landings), the little touches such as the music in the lifts and talking mirrors make for a great fun family break. The rooms are clean and functional, comprising of a double bed and bunks. The buffet breakfast is included and there was plenty of choice (cooked and continental) and no complaints from our table! Arriving early to breakfast is recommended if you don’t want to wait in a queue.
We packed up, checked out and headed back into the theme park to do it all again. Happy faces from the grandparents to the babies so we will definitely be back!
NB: Emily and her family paid for their tickets and this post has not been sponsored in any way.