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2008 pre-season round up

Park News
Thursday, 6th March 2008 By Dan Ketteringham

With the new open season at Alton Towers just over a week away, we take you through some of the changes happening to the resort.

The theme park is a no-smoking zone in 2008. For several years, queue lines for the park's attractions have been smoke-free, but this year that will now apply to the whole park. Fortunately for smokers, there will be many "smoking areas" where it will be permitted, and these are marked out on the new map as "S" boxes.

The Monorail is getting a facelift, though the process will probably take a few years. At the recent Half-Term Hullabaloo event, the ride had a conductor, and this will continue into the new season. Each train is also being redecorated; this season will see the introduction of a "cow" train and a "Splash Landings" train, with the insides also getting a makeover. Possible future train themes include Celebration, Mutiny Bay, Duel, Hex, Time Machine (to fit in with the Alton Towers Hotel) and generic.

The resort's new TV advert will start screening during peak shows on Saturday evening, on ITV1. As ever, the exact times will vary depending on region, but it's traditionally been in the Coronation Street advert break, and may also be on in the Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway break.

There will be a new show in the Cred Street Theatre, called The Wonders of Algenon's Attic. Sir Algenon Alton is the fictitious character who 'created' the Alton Towers Hotel.

The giant bunnies, first seen at last year's Chocolate Towers event, will be appearing as a permanent fixture in the Old MacDonald's Farmyard area. This makes them the first animals to return to the area since the Foot and Mouth crisis in 2001 led to the animals from the area tragically having to be culled.

Some of the park's facilities are getting a makeover - in particular, baby changing rooms. There will be also be mini teddy roller coaster going into Towers Trading Company, similar to the type found in Hamley's Toy Shop.

Over at the hotels, and Ma Garrita's bar is going to be yet another part of the resort getting redecorated. There will also be a new show in the Alton Towers Hotel, with the long-standing Captain William set to be joined by Sir Algenon Alton.

Finally, the park have stated that they are going to be focusing solely on the family market for the next few years, presumably meaning that we won't see many white-knuckle attractions added for a while yet.

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Take some wasp/insect repellant with you during the summer months - and suncream, too!