So we had a recent trip to Alton Towers. Another episode of days out with a disability.
Starting with prices we have a merlin pass so we can go any time we want. I imagine prices vary depending on the time of year, however we decided that we would save money and get a pass each year. This way it enables us to go to places like Alton Towers and Sea Life Centre often with the boys and despite their age gap between the boys we all enjoy going to these places.
As for parking, parking is brilliant, they have a huge car parking availability and it’s all labelled so you can find your car at the end of the day. They also have a monorail that you can jump on to avoid or much walking through the car parks.
If like me you have a disabled badge, there is parking right at the front of Alton Towers. Which is great because my battery on my scooter only lasts for a certain length of time! It also provides a lot more space for me and my scooter to be able to get in and out of the car.
Getting through the gates is very good. It was easy for my scooter to get through, they have security as well so everyone had their bag searched upon arrival. Which I think is a bloody brilliant safety feature to be honest! They have lots of lockers at the front, we have never used them as we have always had my scooter or a pram with us. However I do think this is a great idea, especially if you are taking your lunch with you and snacks, you can easily pop it on their and come back for it later. Or you could leave spare clothes in there and collect later. It’s a great idea, just be aware you will have a long way to walk for your stuff if you are on the other side of the park!
Now something else I want to mention, if you have a disabled badge, go to the information centre on the right hand side. In here you can get a wrist band which enables you to get on the rides via disabled access path. You can’t get a scooter or wheelchair down many of the regular paths and if your able to walk you may not be able to stand for long – like myself. So this band is a must. It also enables three other people in your party to come with you but you must sit with someone who is 14 and over in case you need help off the ride, this meant I sat with William and Ste had to sit with Alfie. You also can’t go on a ride alone, this is just for safety reasons.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels to get around you can hire one from the park but I do believe it’s first come first serve.
The only complaint I have is the shop to the left. Now I went in with Ste and Alfie whilst William went somewhere else for something. There are 3/4 stages to this shop, I could only access the top and the bottom part but I couldn’t get to the middle because of steps. The only way to the top section was to go back out of the shop and go up the street and back in again. I won’t lie of Ste wasn’t with my I would have left, for two reasons, I can’t exactly go out of the shop without paying to go back up the street to go to the tip section to pay. This is really really terrible if I am honest and put me off straight away. Also just the fact that they haven’t considered disabled guests makes me not want to shop there lol! Bad form Alton Towers.
Now before you arrive at Alton Towers, if you have a smart phone I really really recommend you downloading their app. Not only does it tell you where you are in relation to everywhere else, it helps you with directions to where you want to go, more importantly it tells you of any ride closures and waiting times which I think is just amazing! It meant we had a quick access to ride waiting times in such a huge park – amazing, it also means you can prioritise where you want to go next. You can also purchase tickets from the app, get directions to the resort and find out opening times.
Let’s talk about CBeebies land first. If you haven’t guessed by it’s name and didn’t already know, this is the place for young children. They have many rides for them from Peter Rabbit ride, tree top challenge, in the night garden to a merry go round type of ride for any age and size child. They also have places to go for children that isn’t a ride, such as Justin’s House (flying balls everywhere and yes it can hurt, approach with caution), Furchester Hotel ( this is a little show and me and Alfie loved it) and Charlie and Lola’s House (which Alfie really enjoyed, I think we went here about 3 times!)
Alfie’s favourites where, Charlie and Lola’s house, Peter Rabbit ride, octonaughts, tree top ride and go jetters. He absolutely loved them
Alfie and I stayed here on our own for a good hour whilst Ste and William went on a few big rides. I was nervous as I am not as able bodied as I used to be it makes me nervous having Alfie in a place like Alton Towers and me not being able to manage him well enough.
However the staff are incredible and helped me in and out of places and one lady even recognised us, I commented on how lovely this was and her reply was it’s my job to recognise children just in case they get lost or something. This made my day, that someone takes their time to make note of children and who they are with, ensuring the child’s safety.
The staff also helped Alfie to get on a few rides that I wasn’t able to help him on to. He was able to go on the ride on his own, however the Peter Rabbit ride for example, I could drive in to help him sit on the ride but he wasn’t tall enough to jump on. So they helped him up, it really made my life a lot easier.
They also have a play area which is great. I mean I know they children are having fun on rides etc but we all know those wold child toddlers of you have one need a good run around to let off more steam. So the park area was also a huge hit for us.
There are plenty of toilets through CBeebies and the whole park, including baby changing, adult changing facilities and disabled toilets. It was never an issue for me to find an accessible toilet. Bonus!
CBeebies land also has a tent area where they have shows on through the day at certain times which you can check at the entrance. There are more toilets and changing facilities, a huge area for children to run about then smaller tents around the outside which had things like bowling in and stacking bricks. Alfie loved it but my only concern was that I couldn’t always keep up with Alfie and with him still being young, I don’t feel able to leave him to wander off safely and come back to me. Call me over possessive or untrustworthy of my son but with my circumstances in my disability the fact is I have to be careful. I can’t run after him so I need to make sure he’s safe and I am able to follow him. So due to this I felt a little bit worried about being at the big top tent but Alfie loved it which is what matters most I guess.
Alfie was able to go on a few rides outside of CBeebies land which where the runway train – this was brilliant even though I was a little scared but as I said I am a wuss! We also took him on a pirate ship ride in the pirate section of the resort.
The actual ground of the resort park, really are beautiful. They have some stunning views and the castle is so pretty.
They actually have the fireworks at the castle over the lake on bonfire night which if you get the opportunity to go is incredible. The display they put on is phenomenal and they even open some rides up again after the show which means you can go on some rides in complete darkness. Not for me but Ste and William enjoy it.
Eating. Now we always take some lunch with us but if you want to eat there there is absolutely loads of places to choose from be it sit in or to take away, there’s also many places you can sit and eat.
You can buy drinks to in many varieties, slushes, juice or a brew, You can buy a brew in a travel mug and get refills through the day for just £1.
We have never eaten at the resort but the food always smells amazing, the only thing I do recommenced that we have had is the hot donuts they sell! They are bloody gorgeous and you really need to try them!
Now the other thing I will say is that you can stay at over at Alton Towers but it does come at a price. We haven’t stayed over before but it isn’t that far for us to go so we have no need to. They also have a swimming section to the resort which is a separate entry fee. We went before my disability really kicked in, it was fabulous though with loads of slides etc, fun for all the family and a few where all of you can go on and enjoy it. I can’t swim at the moment due to my FND but I’m hoping we can go back one day where I am better.
Now finally lets chat about the big rides, I am personally not a fan. I’ve done some of them once but it isn’t my thing and I am a complete wuss so I asked Ste about them and his response is to do them all and get to the popular ones first. So the popular ones are Wickerman, Smiler, Nemesis, Galactica, Oblivion, Rita and Thirteen.
All really good but they do have long waiting times so pick which one you want to try first and go and soon ad the park opens. That’s our advise. Plan your trip before you go and have an idea what you want to do when. We decided on but rides first and CBeebies later. Then Ste and William revisited some later whilst Alfie and I did some shows.
Have you ever been to Alton Towers? If so what’s your favourite ride?
One last bit of advise. Take spare clothes for all of you. You never know! We have been caught before being soaked through!!