Alton Stories and Tips

Tips and Hints

* When buying tickets, check the on-line price first of all. They offer significant discounts if you buy in advance on-line, as opposed to buying at the gate. This is also true for the Merlin Annual Passes. As well as saving money though, you also save time because you don't have to stand in a long queue to buy the tickets (then join another queue to get into the park). I was amazed though at all the advertisements I saw throughout the park for annual passes and tickets. They did not include VAT in the prices, this is normally always included in the UK, and had the effect of making everything seem a lot cheaper. Watch out for this.

* Arrive early at the park. On our first day we got there around midday, joined a long line of cars to go in and park and found ourselves a long walk away from the monorail. On the second day we got there at opening time and had quite a different experience. We parked much closer and everything was less hectic. Also, I would advise buying the car park token when you arrive. You buy these from machines, there were huge lines at the machines at the end of the day.

* Try and not go on the last day of school holidays (like us). If you can, avoid school holidays but this may be difficult. Our first day was the last day of the holidays for most schools and it seemed like everyone was packing in this last trip. The car parks were full and the lines for all the rides were horrendous. On the next day, lots of schools were back and it was a completely different story. We barely had to queue for most rides.

* Be sure to wear very comfortable shoes. Like most theme parks, there is a lot of walking to do. You also need shoes that fasten - in case they fall off on some of the rides. Also you can't rely on the weather here - like elsewhere in the UK you can get 4 seasons in one day - we did! So you have to pack raincoats etc. and be able to shed all the layers if the sun comes out.

* Leave the wet rides until the end of the day. Our son was not happy about this, but seeing some drenched people, he soon realised it was a good idea. Unlike in Florida, where you dry off quickly, that does not tend to happen in the UK. Getting soaked on the log flume in the morning means shivering and feeling uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

* The rides have closing times listed, but you can actually join a queue for a ride right up until closing time of the ride. The queue closes at the time listed, the ride does not.

* Plan your day carefully so you fit everything in. The big, new rides tend to get really busy in the afternoon, so do these first thing in the morning and avoid the worst of the lines. Single rider queues are also a good way to save time. There are lots of electronic boards all over the park with details on queue times, we found these useful.

* At the end of the day when the park is closing the queues for the monorail look terrible. We were aghast, but actually they move really quickly and you don't have to wait long at all. So don't despair if this is the case when you visit.

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