ALTON Towers Resort is loved by adrenalin-seekers and families alike.
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Although the crowds aren’t allowed in until tomorrow, I was given a sneak peek of what the “new normal” will mean at the Staffordshire theme park.
To find out more about how guests will be kept safe, I was trained up as a Covid-safe ride operator on one of Alton Towers Resort’s biggest rollercoasters, Oblivion.
Before I could make my way through the turnstiles, my temperature was taken to check I didn’t have a fever.
Although the experience was painless, there was something unnerving about knowing a reading over 37.8 degrees would have me heading back home before even setting foot in the park.
I was then kitted out in personal protective equipment including a park-branded uniform, face mask, gloves and visor.
Social distancing markers, spaced at 2.7 metres, have been added to every queue and there are hand sanitiser stations at each and every ride.
Masks are optional for visitors, but if you want to ride on the park’s biggest attractions — including all eight white-knuckle rollercoasters — you are required to cover your face.
Learning to clean Oblivion, I could feel the pressure staff are under to keep things moving while putting safety first.
Each rider must have an empty seat between them and visitors are required to turn their face away from operators when they approach to check the harness is secure before a ride begins.
The entire ride area will be cleaned three times a day and the hot points — places touched most by visitors and staff — will be sanitised every 30 minutes.
With training complete, I jump into one of Oblivion’s cars. There is nothing natural about riding a rollercoaster wearing a face mask and screams are certainly more muffled. But once the ride started, all my thoughts of warning signs, social distancing and hand gels seemed to wash away.
Alton Towers may not be quite the same as before but, with a few tweaks, it is (almost) business as usual.
You too can enjoy an action-packed day out at Alton Towers Resort thanks to Sun Superdays.
Starting Saturday, every reader can grab two FREE tickets to the attraction — worth over £110! Just collect SEVEN Sun Savers codes from the 13 printed daily in the paper from tomorrow. Or collect EIGHT printed tokens and book using the form inside Saturday’s paper.
Collect with Sun Savers to get priority booking, plus the chance to pick the date you visit Alton Towers Resort from the best availability.
Grab Saturday’s Sun for our special eight-page Alton Towers Resort pullout.
In the meantime, download the Sun Savers app or sign up at sunsavers.co.uk so you are ready to start collecting.
READY TO BRING YOU FUN
By NICK VARNEY Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments
AFTER months of social distancing, many families are planning a summer staycation.
Merlin Entertainments offers exciting, magical experiences shared with family and friends that we need more than ever. And the good news is that from tomorrow, we will be back!
You will already be familiar with many of the safety features introduced at our attractions from your trips to the shops.
There will be staff in personal…
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