Today marked the first day of the new season at Alton Towers, with the new area Mutiny Bay opening to the public.
With the finishing touches having been applied within half an hour of the park opening, guests were able to experience the new 'splash battle' water ride, Battle Galleons, for the first time.
The ride had few technical hitches during the course of the day, and proved to be very popular with guests. Despite this, the queue never seemed to be too long - perhaps due to the less-than-perfect British weather! The ride certainly looks the part, with a fantastically themed queue-line and a fun ride experience - although, we should warn you, if you ride Battle Galleons, you will get absolutely drenched!
The rest of Mutiny Bay was also looking good, with all the shop signs and buildings redecorated to match the new theme. Marauder's Mayhem looks great and sports new music, plus smoke effects. Unfortunately, Heave Ho was only delivered this morning, and so was still being installed when guests started to arrive. The current targeted opening date for the ride is Thursday.
Speaking of pirates, the World Record attempt managed to attract a large amount of guests in fancy dress. Sadly, the record of 1,140 wasn't broken in the end - just over 500 pirates turned up in the end - but it was a nice bit of PR for the park and certainly made the day that little bit more fun.
Elsewhere, the park was generally looking clean and refreshed, with a myriad of small changes all adding to an overall big step. A few rides had some tweaks - the Runaway Mine Train sported some new ropes on the structure over the entrance, and Ripsaw's water pool has been repainted blood red, to match Nemesis' water colour. We're told the "Splash Landings" Monorail train is ready to go, and will hopefully be put onto the main system shortly.
Two new shows made their debut today - we caught the very first public performance of the Mutiny Bay show, and it was very entertaining. The other new show was in the Cred Street Theatre - The Wonders of Algenon's Attic. We thought this show was excellent, and an improvement over last year's ATTV show. If you get the chance, do go and see it at some point during the day.
To sum up, today was an incredibly promising start to the new season. It's clear that a lot of work has gone on over the winter period to improve the "little things" that cumulatively make the day a lot better. Here's hoping it will continue!