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It’s that time of year again and summer holidays are in full swing. From the dreaded activity search, days out to plan, and various family members to organize, to packing up the car, travel entertainment and ‘are we there yet’, Jurys Inn understands that organizing a weekend away is tough. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination and chaos ensue, especially when visiting theme parks.
Busy theme parks involve huge queues for rides and for food, and there’s generally people everywhere - a parent’s nightmare, especially in a large park like Alton Towers. In light of this yearly parental challenge, Jurys Inn has put together The Ultimate Alton Towers Guide for parents. Take a look at our top tips, where to go, when and where to eat- pretty much everything you might want to know but may not have crossed your mind. And as an added bonus to our handy parent guide, Jurys Inn Derby has a fantastic deal running for families visiting Alton Towers.
There are plenty of things you can do before going that will ensure your trip run smoothly:
Pick up a waterproof Poncho for water rides or for if, in true British weather style, it decides to rain - these can be picked up easily for a couple of pounds.
If your children are too young for mobile phones, a great alternative is to buy Walkie Talkies - you can stay in contact should you become separated.
Take a look at the park map before you go and plan out which rides you’d like to go on, which rides your children want to go on and which ones are suitable (height restriction etc.). This way you can plan out your day and avoid being pulled in four directions on arrival! If you’re eating lunch at the park it’s a good idea to pinpoint the places you might like to eat. It is also worth familiarising yourself with the location of the toilets and the medical centre.
Agree on a spending limit for the youngsters or strike up an ‘earn it’ deal with them - this way you can avoid tantrums or sulky children on the day and they can find a souvenir they know they are allowed to buy.
Essentials to pack
- Swimsuits (If you’re headed to the water park)
- Water bottles
- Waterproof Poncho
- Sun cream
- Zip-lock sandwich bags for electronics
- Wear comfortable shoes (don’t pack these!)
- Packed lunch (if you don’t want to eat at the park )
Don’t lose the car! A great tip is to take a picture of your location sign - this way you have documented aid at the end of the day.
parking tip to save hassle at the end of the day is to pick up your parking token on arrival - this way you avoid queues and tired crying children.
Choose a place to meet if you become separated - even with mobiles or radios it’s always good to have a general base if someone becomes lost.
If your children are too young for mobiles and Walkie Talkies, or generally like to wander off, hit guest services first thing for a wrist band that you can put your name and number on. If your child is found unattended they will be taken to the lost children centre and you will be called.
Pick up hard copy maps for everyone so they can find their way back to the meeting place.
If you have quite a few belongings with you or bulky ones, it may be worth using one of the lockers around the park.
Refer back to your ride list. We recommend starting at the back of the park and working your way forward anti-clockwise to avoid hitting big queues straight away. If you have young children too small for the bigger rides, we recommend starting at Cloud Cuckoo Land and working forwards. The Congo River Rapids is also good family ride in Katanga Canyon but prepare to get wet!
There are also electronic queue boards throughout the park so if one of your chosen rides is likely to get busy, take the opportunity while it’s quiet.
Plan when you are going to eat. Places tend to get busy between 11 and 1, so it may be worth taking/buying a mid-morning snack and going for a later lunch.
If you want a sit-down lunch, we recommend The Burger Kitchen which is available in three locations across the park so you have some flexibility if your plan changes. They also offer a kids menu and a vegetarian option.
If you want something lighter to take away to a quiet spot, we recommend Pirates Pastys/Hotdogs and Pancakes. The pancakes are available sweet and savoury and the pasty menu also offers a cheese and onion pasty for vegetarians. You can also catch the pirate show while lunching as The Pirates Pasty is located at Mutiny Bay.
It’s also a good idea to plan the popular rides around the lunch hour - they will be quieter while everyone is eating.
Bear in mind that, especially with kids, you don’t want to get on any jolty rides after lunch - we recommend seeking out the park mascots (if your children are quite young) or checking out the gift shops. If you want to buy something but don’t want to carry it around all day, we recommend buying it and using the collection service rather than coming back later - this avoids getting caught up in the end of the day queues.
Water rides are best avoided late afternoon as you won’t have time to dry out before leaving - cold wet children make for some unhappy parents!
Queuing and Height Restrictions
Parent Queue Share - On busy days, parents with small children can get a special swap pass which allows one parent to queue while the other stays with the children. Once the first parent has been on the ride, the second parent can go on it without queuing again.
Height Restrictions - When planning out rides with the family - it’s worth checking out the height restrictions to avoid disappointment and tears on the day. Here is a breakdown of the restrictions:
- Minimum Height 1.4m - Air, Nemesis, Nemesis Sub-Terra, Oblivion, Ripsaw, Rita
- Minimum Height 1.2m - Thirteen, Sonic Spinball, Submission, The Flume, Twirling Toadstool
- Minimum Height 1.1m - Marauder's Mayhem
- Minimum Height 1.0m - Bouncing Bugs, Driving School
- Minimum Height 0.9m - Battle Galleons, Berry Bish Bash, Blade, Congo River Rapids, Enterprise, Heave Ho, Hex, Marauder's Mayhem
Enjoy your getaway and hopefully our Jurys Inn Ultimate Alton Towers Guide for Parents will ensure a stress free, tears free and fun day out for everyone!