We are really loving having a Merlin Annual Pass this Summer. The thing it gives is freedom. Usually, you have to plan days out so long in advance. With young children, that isn’t the best thing. We have so many disappointing days out because the children were ill in the night so couldn’t go or they are in a grumpy mood or its pouring with rain. With an Annual Pass. you get to wake up in the morning and go. We knew we were going to go to Alton Towers this week but hadn’t decided which day. We woke up and the weather looked perfect and the kids had all had a brilliant sleep so we knew it was the best day to go.
I can honestly say this was our best ever family day out. The children are aged 9 and 6 now and so are old enough to enjoy the rides and to have the stamina to cope with the day. I loved the fact that Alton Towers is so beautiful. I don’t really expect that from a theme park and it’s not really something I’ve seen when I’ve read reviews as they tend to focus on the thrills. The rides are spread out and there is a lot of greenery and trees in between. It makes the whole day feel a lot more relaxed. I also found it much less noisy as the rides are not so close together.
I think the theme park has been planned really well. It is split into several different areas. All the big rides are together so if you are a thrill seeker you can head straight to them and have a small distance to walk to get on your favourite rides. Our children are still young so we headed for Cbeebies Land. here the rides are all appropriate for younger children and are themed around their favourite TV shows.
We started with a lovely walk around Mr Tumble’s sensory garden. I think this is a brilliant way to begin a day out for young children. It can feel very scary and overwhelming being in such a large unfamiliar place. One of our twins get very anxious and a walk through the garden looking for the things in Mr Tumble’s spotty bag really helped to calm her and she was able to enjoy the rest of the day without feeling at all nervous.
After that, we watched a show at the Big Fun showtime stage. The twins were so excited as they love the show Hey Duggee. There was a really big screen and I thought it was just a cartoon so they were so excited when a real life Duggee came out. Jo the presenter got the children up and dancing in a fun, interactive show which the whole family enjoyed.
After the show, the girls even got to meet Duggee. He was very cuddly apparently.
There is a good range of indoor and outdoor activities in the Cbeebies area. There are also a lot without a queue. We had a fantastic time shooting balls at Justin’s House. It was very loud in there, though, if you have a little one who hates noise then they might struggle. My daughter isn’t usually too bad with noise, although she does struggle with other sensory inputs but she did find waiting outside while it was so noisy very challenging. We didn’t actually have long to wait but she needed me to hold her ears while we did to block the noise. Once inside, they all had an amazing time, firing balls and sliding down slides to fetch more. It was great fun and a really unique experience.
After the noise, we went on the lovely night garden boat ride. No holiday is complete without a boat ride. The girls haven’t actually watched In the Night garden for a long time but they still enjoyed going on the little boat.
Again i was surprised and delighted by how beautiful the ride was. It really felt like we were in the night garden. We saw all the familiar characters in lovely surroundings. There are lots of other rides in this area. You could spend all day just in the Cbeebies area. we enjoyed the new Tree Fu Tom play park. This was a traditional adventure park with no waiting times, great for active children.
We headed out of the Cbeebies area and across the park. One of their favourite things of the day was the arcade. Usually they don’t win anything and I try to avoid arcade games. Here they were amazed when they played the 2p slot machines and won lots of tickets. We spent around £2.50 and yet they got about 50 tickets each. They were thrilled to get their prizes even though they were only bouncy balls, a yoyo and lollies.
After this we split into two groups, as the twins didn’t want to go on the big rides. My elder daughter loved the runaway train. this is an exciting ride for children who want a thrill but not ready to be terrified with the larger rides. I can’t believe I actually took the twins on the runaway train on our last visit to Alton Towers two years ago. It’s funny how they are more scared of things now than when they were younger.
While they were enjoying the ride we had a lovely walk through the gardens. It was hard to believe we were in a UK theme park. The garden area was so lovely and felt like we were in a beautiful garden in the Mediterranean.
You also get a lovely view across the park.
The Skyride goes across the lake. What you can’t see from the ride is that the lake is packed full of fish. There are also some friendly ducks who followed us the whole way along, much to the twins’ delight.
From the ground you can see how high the sky ride is.
This is a fantastic way to get around the park as you can see everything and it saves your legs.
We finished our day in Cloud Cuckoo Land, with the fun Twirling Toadstool ride, which made me feel dizzy even when I was on the ground. The twins had a lovely ride on the carousel, perfect for their age. I liked the fact that in every area of the park there were clearly marked toilets as well as plenty of places you could get something to eat and drink. It also felt like there was a good mix of activities for older and younger children.
We rested our legs with watching the Ice Age 4D experience. The film was really funny, great for kids and adults with a lot of fun 4D effects which had the children laughing and shrieking in equal measure. It was a brilliant end to the day.
As we left there was a glimpse of the Halloween event with a spooky car parked at the exit. We were left wishing we could go back the next day. There was still so much we wanted to do.
If you love fun then a Merlin Annual Pass is brilliant value for money. You get 32 worlds starting at £129 per person. That’s 12 months of fun! We can’t wait for our next adventure.
Disclaimer: I was given a Merlin Annual Pass as part of the Merlin AP Ambassador scheme.