I don’t know what’s brought this about, maybe it’s the nicer weather or maybe it’s because Master J is easier to take out and about these days, but I’ve been craving fun. So when it came to planning my birthday I wanted just that; fun fun more FUN! That’s when I happened upon an advert for Alton Towers. It’s almost like facebook could read my mind as it popped up at just the right time!
So I had a nosey and lo and behold they have, what they call, a mid week special offer. I asked Mr D if we could go, arranged sleepovers for Master J, booked the days off work and booked the tickets!
So what exactly is the mid-week special offer?
First and foremost, the price seems to change. I think we paid £120, but in July it’s only £109 so worth keeping an eye on!
The offer is valid Sunday – Thursday and is based on 2 adults with under 3’s going free.
The price may change but the package doesn’t. Here’s what you get:
- Theme park tickets for 2 days as they do a 2nd day free offer. You’d have to check out of your accomodation by 10am still but you could just keep your stuff in the car.
- If you are much more organised than we were, you can actually access the park an hour before it opens to everyone else. So we could have missed out on the queuing if we’d got there super early. But we didn’t…so we didn’t!
- Overnight stay in a woodland lodge in the Enchanted Village which you can’t check in to properly until 3pm but if you take your bags to the reception desk, with your printed confirmation and ID you can leave your bags there at any time and they’ll magically appear in your room once you do get to it! More about the lodges later!
- Free parking! If you’re just going to the park for a day it’s £6 to park. But there’s a big car park a short walk or grassed parking right by the lodges.
- Entertainment for the kids which appeared to be in every hotel as well as the Enchanted Vilage although with not having J we didn’t check it out.
- Buffet all you can eat breakfast the following morning.
Considering on the day park tickets are £52.80 per adult (or £32 if you book 5 days in advance) it’s a good deal.
*Few things to note*
If you want to eat at the rollercoaster restaurant you need to book it as soon as possible. I thought we’d be able to book it when we arrived but the next free table was 5 days later! Lunch time its a first come first served service.
If we’d have taken J it would have been an additional £35. But it’s still the cheapest way to get 2 days theme park access and an overnight stay, which is what we needed after walking round for 6 miles.
Download the Alton Towers app before you arrive. If you put your bluetooth on you can check ride waiting times!
There’s a little shop in the Enchanted Village that’s open until 9pm and stocks snacks, drinks and some other basic supplies.
Now you know about the deal itself, let’s get into my actual birthday…
Birthday wake up
Master J woke up and instead of wishing me happy birthday he insisted it was, in fact, daddy’s birthday. After finally being convinced it was MY birthday he screamed “happy birthday to you” several times in my face before we all headed downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast consisted of cake because you’re only 31 once!
As you can see, J loved it! Although not as much as me as it’s been a sore point for years that I never get a birthday cake from Mr D.
We then got all of our stuff together, got ready, dropped J with Grandma and headed to Alton Towers.
We decided to head for the woodland lodges first to get checked in.
It wasn’t difficult to find as everything is signposted. Reception is really easy to find. To check in all you need is your booking confirmation and some photo ID.
The staff were lovely and we utilised their offer to drop off our bags with them there and then and then have them delivered to our lodge when we could check in at after 3pm. As the park closes at 5pm that was fine.
So we headed to the park for our day of fun.
Our day at the theme park
There is a bit of a walk to the main hotel where the monorail is to get to the main theme park entrance. And don’t put your booking confirmation and ID too far away as you’ll need them to get your tickets.
What was really frustrating was that the queue for the pre-booked tickets was actually longer than every other queue. Seemed some people were having problems which was holding everything up.
Once we eventually got our tickets and got in through the gates, we headed to Costa. I know that once you’re inside they have the monopoly and I know we could have taken our own lunch but Mr D was a bit amazed at having to pay £15 for 2 pies, a latte and a hot chocolate. If you go as a family and not just a couple these kinds of costs can add up. One thing they do provide, which is good, is a refillable cup on a lanyard that you pay £7 for at the beginning of the day and just top up as and when you need to for that one fixed cost.
After checking out the map in the drizzling rain we set decided to head to the X sector first and work our way back round to the entrance from there.
We hadn’t been for at least 8 years and it was a different experience to any previous visit for me. Maybe it’s because I have a stronger stomach since having a kid but there were no butterflies, no twisted stomach, no fear. Yes I screamed but not because I was scared but because it was fun. Seriously fun.
We were a bit disappointed that Galactica wasn’t running as that’s the one we were looking forward to trying. But we still had an amazing day and Mr D found me to be a great source of enteetainment.
The hour long wait for Oblivion turned out to be worth it as we ended up on the front row. And I did what I always do and screamed until I ran out of breath. Mr D was perplexed as to why I didn’t just breath in again but laughed all the same.
On Enterprise he laughed at me for saying that my knees felt weird.
On Th13teen he had to be my guide dog as you leave your bags then have to walk to the ride.
On Nemesis however it was Mr D who was funny. Mainly because he was attempting to do the David Tennant eyebrow for the camera but it came out like this
And on Hex we laughed at a grown man whose mind was obviously blown by the room spinning!
I’m not sure why we went on Duel as I’m rubbish at it so of course Mr D beat me.
But it was nice to see the cable cars had been upgraded and I managed to hit a pokestop from up there!
As we were coming to the end of our day we decided to have a stroll around the sea life centre which I was really impressed with. It’s deceptively big and I loved the aquarium tunnel. We got to see starfish up close and personal for the first time. There’s lots of information about all the different fish and the staff were really engaging with younger visitors.
The last thing we did before the park closed and we trudged back to the lodge was have a go on the Maurauders Mayhem – think grown up tea cups. Except as well the ride spinning round you have a wheel in the middle which spins the actual cart as well. We were pulling at it so hard that we kept sliding round inside the cart. Never laughed so hard!
It was a great way to finish our day!
The Woodland Lodge
We got to the Woodland Lodge at 5:30pm and were suitably shattered. We’d made reservations for Flambo Jambos at 7pm so had just enough time for a quick snooze.
So this is what the lodges look like from the outside. Super cute and kooky. There’s also little bits of play equipment for kids dotted about.
We were then greeted with this lovely room.
With lots of cute features.
Like the chair with the towels and the freebie bathroom stuff
The separate bedroom with bunkbeds (and a mattress underneath so you could easily fit 3 kids in here).
Which had this beautiful tree on the whole opposite wall.
There was a lovely book that you could read to the kids before bed.
But my favourite feature was this cute little fairy door which doubled up as a night light!
So after we had a nap and a freshen up we headed to Flambo Jambos.
The food was nice but at £21.50 per adult for all you can eat we were both expecting a littlw bit…more. We had refillable soft drinks so all in it was £50 for the two of us. Maybe we’re skint flints but it seemed a lot for what it was.
By the time we got back the mild flu that mr D had been fighting all week hit him hard for all the fun and walking we’d done. So we curled up into bed and watched some programme about driverless cars then passed out!
After booking a table at 9am at the Crooked Spoon for breakfast we woke up at 8, had a shower and a quick tidy before heading over.
There was lots of choice; typical hot breakfast help yourself food (bacon, eggs, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns), bread and a toaster, cereals, fruit, yoghurt and pastries.
We ate so much we didn’t eat again until tea time!
We checked out just before 10am and headed home.
Did we have fun? Yes, lots.
Was it value for money? When you consider the prices of theme parks in general then yes. It’s the cost of food and drinks that bump it up but when there’s no competition it’s hardly surprising and is the same at any theme park.
Would we do it again? DEFINITELY