For today’s first ever Throwback review we revisit Dan’s experience of The Sanctuary Extreme at Alton Towers in 2013.
Entrance Ok so after my last ride of the day which was Hex, With only 4 others-great experience- I headed to the archway to be met by a small crowd, The rain was coming down and a breeze coming through added to the experience. We had our names signed off the clipboard, and tickets checked… When given the all clear a member of Sanctuary staff escorted us to the facility. Conservatory In the conservatory all 6 of us..yes 6 were told to line up against the window. And we’re told not to move for any reason. The Doors were locked and we were well and truly locked in. I looked to the left and noticed the light was on green and the gate open… No sooner did 2 patients come to greet us, getting rather close, whispering not to go downstairs and Dr will make us smile and make us better, the usual. One girl then stood in-front of the queue tv watching with great content at Dr Kelman while the other lined up next to us. The staff told the patients to get back in and they were ushered indoors and the gate shut. We then entered briefing…
Briefing The usual rules were read out with one exception and the nurses really enjoyed saying this bit… YOU MUST NOT TOUCH THE STAFF OR PATIENTS…BUT…THEY MOST DEFINITELY WILL TOUCH YOU! NOW GET UP GET IN A LINE THE DOCTORS WAITING! And off we went
Meet Dr Kelman Dr Kelman did the usual briefing however he seemed much more distant and evil this time. Especially when he shouted Now enter your EXTREME SANCTUARY! and with no more wait, hell broke loose as the door flew open and we were dragged in.
DayRoom As we were dragged in we were told to sit down, Some went to a table, 2 went to the sofa, I had a comfy chair and another lad has a wheelchair. The patients were clapping and singing DR KELMAN IN THE KITCHEN! Over and over.. We were then made to join in, Kelman walks in and gives me a look of death and then walks to the centre. Two girls rush over and sit at his feet, to which he starts calling them his children. Patients take this time to get up in your face, Kelman then ordered me and another lad to get on the floor and start bowing to the poster, chanting DR.KELMAN and WE WANT TO BE MARMALISED. Then one by one we are dragged into the kitchen.
The Kitchen During this time being made to wait as staff bang pots and the fire erupts. I was then selected by a nurse who shouts YOUR COMING WITH ME she takes my hand and pulls me away from the group and pushes me into the corridor before the ward. The Ward The girl standing at the end of the corridor runs at me full speed with greening glee, grabs me, turns me one 180 and pushes me towards the wall and then to the side into the ward. Walking down alone I enter the ward to be told by patients…BEDTIME BEDTIME, YOU GO TO BED NOW.. then a Nurse shouts GET IN THAT BED!!! to which I can now say I have laid on a hospital bed in the towers! The lights then started going out and breathing came on my neck, my arms were pulled about… The lights go out again and straight on top of me is a patient centimetres from my face, She Smiles and then Shouts…YOUR GONNA GET MARMALISED… COME HERE GET OUT OF BED! followed by more arm dragging, I am sent into Marmalisation alone.
Marmalisation Well, I believed I was alone until I turned around and had a patient hold my head back to force me to look at the screen. Being held in this position with the combination of the strobes, smoke, sounds, smells and of course the cold water spray was a truly unforgettable experience, I was in here for rather a long time and by the time I came out my hair was dripping. #marmalisationmadememoist
Stairs Not much really happened here but then again not much could Although I was followed down into the Operating Theatre
Operating Theatre Down here was Dr.Dalton who pushed me up against the wall, saying there was a lot he could do to make me smile and then stood behind me pulling on my cheeks saying a scalpel would do wonders. I was then pushed to another surgeon who pushed something rubber along the sides of my mouth before smiling at me and pushing me into the Morgue. I will note on the following year when I re-entered Extreme Sanctuary, In this area I had my head forced into the crotch and open chest cavity full of water of a very “anatomically correct” male mannequin.
The Morgue It was in here I was made to sit on the floor and pick the draw that was going to be mine if I didn’t last surgery. And was then told, well shouted at, that Dr.Kelman would make sure I would never leave. I was then pulled up and sent into The cages. Again the experience varied from my second run. In the following year, I was partially stripped, had my tie removed and shoved in my mouth, when removed I was made to use it as a dog lead as I was paraded around on all fours being commanded to bark.
The Cages/Failures In this area I went down to be told to stand next to the bars, In doing so I was held in place while another patient tried lifting my legs off the floor, I was then released and pulled towards the strobe corridor. Just as I was about to go through I was grabbed by the legs and shouted at to put my head down, to which I was then held with my head down and sent into a cage and pushed onto a mattress on the floor, Some time passed being taunted through the bars before being dragged off the floor and sent into the strobe tunnel.
Strobe Tunnel Not much happened here but doing this alone felt much for intense and a swear people were grabbing at me. In the following year, I was rugby tackled to the floor and had my boots removed.
Strobe Maze This was the finale and it did not let up, Being left to choose my route into the maze, I entered, only to be picked off the floor while another inmate had my legs they then put me down shouting that I was never going to escape, As I frantically moved around another patient grabbed me whilst another tickled me and wrestled me to the floor. I literally had to crawl out of their grasp, once back on my feet they were on the pursuit, chasing me and jumping at the bars, One grabbed my feet and another grabbed my arms while a 3rd licked my face screaming he could taste Joy coming through, I was then held on the floor being tickled again whist laughed at and screamed at before getting back to my feet and having one final nurse pull me out of The Sanctuary for the last time .
I was left shaking, smiling scared and relieved, I wanted an Extreme experience and I got one. Tickets sell out fast and £14 was well justified as was the need to sign a disclaimer before getting the ticket. This was experience was the point where the Scare Maze transitioned into a living nightmare of which at times felt there was no escape!!
A big hand to all the staff patients and everyone who made The Sanctuary what it is… If you go extreme expect the unexpected and prepare to be well and truly mentally, psychologically and physical Marmalised by the time you escape.
Looking back at this from 2019 and the experiences I’ve now endured, it is great to see what was truly one of the starting points for me to search for scares with that added extra.