Day two at Alton Towers
Our first day at Alton Towers was a great success, albeit slightly damp from the rain. Today was going to be different on many ways: it was sunny; it was the weekend, so queues would be longer; we were meeting other people from the #DOC.
Us Winchcombes were in a bit of a rush to meet Derek’s family, forcing us to have a speedy breakfast all in a fluster and running out of the room to meet them in time.
Guest Services: to wait or not to wait
Pulling into the car park there were cars everywhere, far more than the day before…and to think we thought we were early. It took ages to get to the park entrance and by the time the we reached Guest Services there was a queue of 20 or 30 people there.
Although the Guest Services queue was long we knew that time spent here, getting the ‘special access’ pass for the people with diabetes, would be time well spent, minimising queueing time at all the rides.
Philippa and James met us in the queue and we chatted like we were old friends, not like people who had never met each other outside of Twitter before. Philippa also has Type 1 Diabetes and needed to get herself a ‘special access’ wristband.
Derek and I had been tweeting with Vanessa-Louise who was running behind time so we said we’d meet for lunch time, or sometime afterwards.
Straight to The Smiler
We headed straight to The Smiler, with the kids running, but kid-like James failed to appreciate an uneven path and tumbled head-over-heels denting more than just his pride. Philippa took him to get fixed up whilst we queued for The Smiler. It was only my family which went in, Derek’s stayed behind and unfortunately it took us ages to get through. However this “ages” was only 40 minutes and the real queue was already 2hrs long. Luckily our Smiler ride was brilliant and the ride worked well; more on this later.
By the time we met up with Derek’s family they’d managed to ride Obvlivion twice using Chloe’s special access pass.
Rides before lunch
Some of us went into Hex before we headed off to Thirteen, where the main queues were getting big already, but luckily our fast passes got us on in no time. We all loved this ride, it’s kinda cool.
It was great to chat with Philippa and James, so nice to put faces to names and they’re such a lovely couple.
Lunch time and the much-awaited BG test
We had lunch over in the Forbidden Valley (where Air and Nemesis are) with all 11 of us sat around a table.
Amy did her blood test and was 16mmol. SIXTEEN! This was her highest lunch time result on a pump and we had no idea why. We felt embarrassed as her new insulin pump was meant to stop things like this happening.
The mystery was solved a week later when I found out by looking at her pump’s data (on Diasend) that she never took any insulin to cover breakfast time.
Forbidden Valley has got to be one of the better areas of Alton Towers, with Nemesis and Air which we all really liked. After doing Air again we met up with Vanessa-Louise and partner who told us the The Smiler had got stuck, with 16 people stuck at the top of the vertical incline. Rumours were about that they were there for 30 minutes, luckily facing up not down, and I felt my desire to ride this coaster again disappear.
A rather wet Log Flume
Off to the Log Flume and the 11 of us were split across three ‘logs’ – which actually turned out to be shaped like baths, which was more apt than we knew at that point. The ride was really long and there were ample opportunities to get soaked, as Derek found out to his cost. Watch the video to see it, at about 2 minutes 56 seconds in.
The kids really wanted to go on Sonic Spinball which they’d not been on before so off went Chloe, Amy, Charlotte and Martin.
The SmilerGate incident
For the last ride we all did The Smiler, something I was a little worried about after it getting stuck during the day; but that couldn’t happen twice in a day right? Wrong!
Derek, Philippa and James went first; then Chloe, Clare, Charlotte and Martin; then my lot. The queue seemed to take forever but we knew that some people had been in the queue for 3 hours so we could hardly complain about 30-45 minutes.
Whilst waiting in the final boarding zone the ride broke down. It didn’t take Amy long to realise that Chloe was on the ride and broke into tears worried that she might be stuck up the top, without any dextrose or blood glucose meter. Eventually the ride got going again and Chloe etc returned looking not too shaken.
The ride was tested again and again and again before they were happy for people to go back on it.
Then it was our turn. It couldn’t break down a third time could it? Wrong!
Going up the first 45 degree incline and the ride stopped again.
This time Emilia got upset, worried that even if it got going again we’d get stuck at the 100% vertical lift.
After 10 minutes the ride got going and we were happy to get off.
Amy did a blood test, she’d shot up to 17mmol. No surprise there!
A brilliant couple of days
SmilerGate aside it had been a brilliant couple of days. We’d all had a lovely time and enjoyed our tweetup.
More over all the people with diabetes felt great about their special access passes and the benefits they brought.