bit10 does Alton Towers

I know I mentioned this in an earlier article, but I really thought that it merited its own post.

bit10 arranged to have a “Team Building” day at Alton Towers. Fortunately for me, I started early enough to get a ticket. The plan was to have everybody meet at the front gates by 9.30am, so I managed to arrange to get a lift with fellow developers Craig and Gareth at around 8am. Unfortunately, events conspired against us, and we didn’t make it to the park until about 10.30 (among the conspiratorial events was the failure of Craig’s satnav thingie, so we had to rely upon my directions until we started seeing road signs).

Relieved that we weren’t the last to arrive, we met Ramesh at the gate, and found out that the last few stragglers would be arriving shortly (everyone else had already gone into the park). Rob and Gemma arrived next, followed by Chris and Kiran (I don’t know if that’s spelled right, so let me know if I’ve stuffed it up, anybody).

The weather was pleasant, and I felt a bit warm in my big waterproof, but I didn’t let that deter me. First stop: Oblivion. The forecast for the day was rain, so the park was really quiet, and we ended up queueing for only about 20 minutes. Soon enough, we were near the front, and poor Ramesh was having second thoughts. We placated him, though, and we were soon on the way up. I’ll admit to screaming (it was a manly scream, I’m sure) on the way down, but since Craig claimed that someone was screaming like a girl, I have to wonder who else joined me in my ululations (do I get points for using that word?).

The temporarily wobbly-kneed group then made a bee-line for Ugland, but we got distracted by the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ride, and ended up going on that next. There was a rather rousing boat ride, the high point of which was a waterfall over the mouth of a tunnel we were going to go through. Feeling rather smug about wearing a waterproof coat, I was mildly disappointed when it switched off just in time for us to pass through. After disembarking from the boat, we got herded into the glass elevator, which I thought was quite clever. It was a simulator with TV screens lining each wall and the ceiling, as the elevator “moved”, the views on the TVs changed accordingly. Definitely for kiddies, but enjoyable all the same.

We continued on to Rita, and made a quick trip to Hex before we met up with everybody at the Bar & Grill for lunch. I thought that the food was pretty good, if overpriced. Six quid for five pieces of chicken on a skewer with chilli marinade and sauce, and a side of fries! Still, better than a McDonald’s, I suppose. There was an undressed salad, thankfully. Unfortunately, while we were eating, it began to bucket down outside. Clearly, the weather was making up for lost time. It calmed down after a while to intermittent showers with that really annoying fine drizzle.

After lunch, we ended up splitting into groups again, and we made our way to the runaway mine train, where we went around the track no fewer than three times! And then went on to haunted house. I like the Duel concept much more than I liked the original ghost train, as it gives you something to do while you’re going around. Our arms were aching by the end of the ride, though.

We continued on up to Nemesis and Air. There was almost no queue on Nemesis, and only a 20 minute one on Air. We thoroughly enjoyed Nemesis, and as we were coming off Air, we met up with Gareth, who had been separated from us shortly after lunch. We decided to go on Nemesis once more, since there was still a tiny queue, and then went to meet Chris and Kiran at the River Rapids.

With eight of us in one of those ring thingies, I really thought we were all going to get soaked, but we got off quite lightly. I got a bit wet, as did Chris and Kiran, but nobody got soaked, fortunately. There was also an interesting ride photo, but I don’t have a copy of it (un)fortunately.

It was nearing the end of the day at this point, so we decided to have a go on the Spinball Whizzer. We got there, only to be told by some obnoxious Alton Towers employee that there was a 40 minute wait (even though the ride was functioning perfectly and only had about 20 people in the queue). Rather than argue the toss, we decided to hurry back over to the other side of the park and try to get on Air (since Gareth missed it the first time, and wanted to try it). We managed to get there with 10 minutes to spare, and practically walked onto the ride, which was fantastic.

We then made our way back to the car to make our way home. All in all, I think everybody really enjoyed themselves, and it was a nice way for me to get to know everybody a bit more. Smile