We went to experience Mardi Gras at Alton Towers, the latest parkwide event that focuses on the food and party atmosphere that is generally associated with New Orleans celebration of Mardi Gras. The event is running until the 20th June and is included in your park ticket.
Most of the park areas have been taken over (albeit with little care to the long standing area themes themself) with stages and performers each with a different "Krewe" from Voodoo to X-Sector and many others. Towers Street has been decked out in the Mardi Gras event colours with green, purple and yellow banners and bunting plus a giant cake. Throughout various times of the day the different krewes burst into song and dance at their respective locations and around their floats and a social distanced meet and greets. whilst Its great to see entertainment return to the park there is a problem that we noticed when we visited. These flashmob style routines draw the crowds and therefore can create social distancing problems. Yes they are outside but it can provide an uncomfortable situation.
The festivities don't just stay in park areas but rather spill out into food options too with the new for the event Food Street. Located outside the Towers with a mix of dining from many nations. From Chinese to Pizzas and even Yorkshire Pudding Wraps there is something for everyone to enjoy. The food options even go as far as Woodcutters Grill with a Mardi Gras section on the menu which even has the Party Gras, a colourful cocktail exclusively for the event. What does have to be mentioned with Food Street is a lack of thought to social distancing, which at busy times resembles something closer to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park.
Although the rides seem less affected by the theme changes, if you catch yourself on Oblivion or other rides when the performers start all you will hear is loud singing and shouting which, from our perspective, did become a little obnoxious at times taking much away from the immersion of the themed areas we have all come to know and love. After all, when has the Ministry of Joy been known for festival parties.
I think these events are fine for regular guests but from a seasoned visitor and self proclaimed lover of the park perspective more care and attention to detail to correspond with the backstories of each area would be appreciated. That being said it is nice to see Towers putting so much effort into a park-wide experience which raises the bar now for what to expect for Oktoberfest and Scarefest, which in recent years has been more linked to set areas rather than feeling like a park-wide event. But if this is the effort that can be put in for Mardi Gras let's hope it's a step in the right direction for the future.
Until next time Dan & Dane Signing out.