Alton Towers are no stranger to the travelling fairground ride with the park originally opening with having fairground rides in its line up way back in 1952, but in the past 20 or so years the park has transitioned away from the travelling rides in favour of more permanent rides. Add to it the park wanting more coasters and higher capacity rides, the humble fairground and flat ride has become a ride of myth and legend at the park. That was until recently when rumours first started circulating of fairground rides making a return to the park. Images started to appear of a paratrooper ride in the space of Ripsaw and suddenly social media erupted. Its since been learnt the park is actually getting at least 4 fairground rides. These are Collins’ Waltzer (Location TBA), Stokes Jumper Jumper (Location X-Sector, Submission old site), Irwins Supertrooper (Location, Forbidden Valley, Ripsaw old site) and Burrow’s Twist (Location TBA). There is also a rumour the park is also getting a dodgems ride. But with all this talk of fairground rides, are they actually going to be a positive or negative for the park?
There is one obvious negative about these rides and that is the fact they will stick out like a sore thumb. Their flamboyant and over the top graphics which nearly all fairground rides has is, well, garish. The park has built itself up as a theme park and as such this comes with the idea of theming, which these rides don’t have. Add to that the music that is associated with fun far rides and you pretty much have a ride that Alton Towers enthusiasts will automatically hate on because its so far from the classic theme park they are so used to. And we can see their point. Travelling rides are there to attract people to their location and will do whatever they can to get guests to pay for the rides. This isn’t needed in a theme park setting as people are there already to ride the rides. Another area that people are unsure about is whether or not these rides will be an upcharge or will be included in the ticket price. Some guests are even worried that these rides could potentially devalue the experience of visiting a theme park especially when Alton Towers has this reputation of offering a better quality of experience.
On the other side, these rides do have a few positives going for them the first of which is its adding much needed flat rides to a park that has been moaned about for years for not having flat rides. Theme park enthusiasts have been screaming out for more flat rides and now the park has got them (albeit temporary) they are the wrong kind. I personally think Alton Towers have done the perfect thing. They are offering a larger ride line up and it gives them the chance the see first hand if flat rides will actually work at the park. If they work, we could see more flat rides in the parks future. The fairground rides also help solve an issue Merlin created for the park. As they removed over half of the parks flat rides they reduced the parks capacity and in these times of the pandemic, capacity is everything and adding these rides will help add capacity which means more guests in the park spending money. i know this might not seem a positive, but from a business view point its everything.
There are points on both sides of the fence with regards to these fairground rides but only time will tell if they work or not. Personally we feel that Carter’s Steam Fair would have been a better choice foe park, especially on the lawns, but obviously they need that space. Maybe in the future, who knows. As for now, the park is doing this and its something we’ve got to accept for better or worst for the first half of the season at least.