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Earlier opening confirmed and other info

Park News
Sunday, 22nd January 2006 By Dan Ketteringham

Alton Towers have now confirmed that the park will open earlier than originally planned.

The park will now definitely open to the general public on Sunday, 19th March 2006. The original idea of an Adrenaline Week-type opening have been scrapped, and it now looks like the majority of rides will be running from the outset.

The exceptions will be, ironically, the two latest rides. Rita - Queen of Speed has still not begun its drum replacement, and it is now accepted that the ride will not be ready in time. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is still scheduled to open on Saturday, 1st April, although even that might be over-ambitious.

Here's a round-up of the rest of the news:

Cred Street

Several changes here. First of all, as we reported some time ago, the Tweenies contract has ended. Two days ago, the Tweenies logo was finally removed from the Theatre and the adjacent shop. The music in Cred Street has changed accordingly - gone is the Tweenies music, returned is the original theme from pre-Barney days.
The Cred Street Carousel has been covered up, as it is almost certainly not going to run again. The same applies to Vintage Cars.
Incredible Ices is getting revamped, although it is unclear as yet what it will become. You can see from this photo that the shop's logo, the shapes on the side of the building, the large ice creams that formed the supports for the entrance, and the Wall's awnings have all been removed.

Black Hole

It is believed that the Black Hole may well have been sold. If true, then the plan is to have the ride refurbished and removed, possibly (though unlikely) before March 19th, ending up in a park in Mexico apparently.

Rita - Queen of Speed

There are some proposed changes to Rita that may or may not be made. It would involve adding an extra block section directly in front of the station, which would allow for faster dispatches and therefore a reduction in queue times. Currently, when a train launches, the other train cannot move forward from the unloading platform to the loading one until the launched train has crested the first airtime hill. This is to ensure that if there was a failed launch, and for whatever reason the train rolled back, it would not hit the other train before coming to a stop.
The idea is that by adding another block section, the second train would be able to move forward, to allow guests to board, as soon as the first train had launched. This would speed up loading by around 8 seconds per dispatch, which may not seem a huge amount, but over the course of a day this could mean a reduction in queuing time of roughly 45 minutes!
It sounds great in theory, but the work is costly and not easy to carry out, so bear in mind it might not happen.

Ice Show

There may not be an Ice Show in 2006. At the moment there is a special show performed during Winter Weekends, called "The Magic of Panto: On Ice", but the park are undecided on whether to continue any show into the new season. Already the restrictions placed on the park following the Ropers court case mean that the volume of the show's music has to be set cripplingly low, as the tent that houses it is situated near to the Ropers' property.

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