(Not going to) Alton Towers

My husband loves Alton Towers. Loves it. He’s obsessed with it.

But here’s the weird thing.

We’ve only been once since the kids were born. That was four years ago and my younger son hadn’t reached 1.4 metres and my daughter hadn’t reached 1.2. The crying and moaning because she couldn’t go on Sonic Spinball!

Never again we said. Not until the kids had all reached the magical 1.4.

And a few weeks ago, with her shoes on, my daughter hit it. Just in time for Daddy’s birthday. That was it. We were going to Alton Towers!

Now here’s the other thing. I quite liked Alton Towers back in the day, but I’ve gone off it. And all theme parks. The thought of them just makes me feel sick – the rides, the noise, the smell, the crowds, the crap food, the money chucked down the drain… They really aren’t for me. But it was my husband’s birthday and the kids really wanted to go. I wasn’t going to stand in their way and spoil their fun.

We were going to Alton Towers!

But then, a few days before we were due to go, THAT incident with The Smiler happened. My husband remained upbeat. It would be fine. We would still go.

The park remained closed, then the full nature of the victim’s injuries came out on the news. Absolutely horrific. It didn’t bear thinking about. That poor girl. With all her life ahead of her. Went out to have some fun with her friends and ended up losing a leg. Her life will NEVER be the same again. Yes, she’ll get the best compensation possible, but all the money in the world isn’t going to make up for losing a limb at any age. Least of all at 17.

And how would her parents be feeling? They probably encouraged her to go for a nice day out. Or maybe they didn’t want her to go? Either way, they expected her to come home in one piece. Tired, but happy. Maybe feeling a bit queasy from too many rides, too many fizzy drinks and too much crap food.

Suddenly, the gloss had worn off Alton Towers. Not just for me, but for my husband and the kids too.

It was my husband’s birthday. He had to be the one to make the decision. I would never force him to change his mind.

But he decided. We weren’t going to Alton Towers. Not now, not for his birthday. Maybe in a few years or maybe even a few months, I’m sure we will. But not right now.

I get that right now it’s probably the safest it’s ever been. But it just doesn’t feel right.

What do you think? Will you go to Alton Towers this summer? Has the Smiler accident put you off?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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22 Comments

  1. We were there a few days before for a CBeebies Land thing! I had a chat with my hub and he said he would go on Smiler tomorrow if he could. I for one? Would’t!!! Poor people. Must have been horrible! x

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    • It really must have been! Even though he decided not to go, I think my husband would still go on Smiler tomorrow. The kids wouldn’t though and nor would I! x

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  2. Such a horrible thing to happen, those poor people. I’d still go but my children are much younger so we only go on the little rides.x

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    • It was really horrible! I’d love it if we could just go on the small rides! x

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  3. I’m not a fan of theme parks to be honest. I suffer from vertigo and can feel unwell even on the kids’ rides. My daughters, however, absolutely love them and nothing would stop them from going.

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    • Yuk, theme parks must be horrible with vertigo! Your daughters are probably just like my husband was in his younger days!

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  4. Theme parks aren’t usually for me, I don’t like the queueing and the expense of it all. Plus with a baby it is difficult to go on all the rides, eldest is tall enough to go on a few rides. A few days before the accident we went with some friends & all the kids (our friends have VIP merlin passes so it was a free day out & all rides were fast pass) we went on smiler, more than once, us girls even sat on the front. We’ve had the discussion since about whether we’d go on it again & in all honesty we all said the accident hasn’t put us off. It was an awful, awful accident.
    I can understand your reluctance to go at the moment, it’s still very raw isn’t it x

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    • It is very raw. It must be weird knowing you went on The Smiler only a few days before. My husband would love a Merlin pass like that! The one thing he hates is the queues – he wouldn’t go unless he could get fast passes for the main rides. x

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  5. I love theme parks and rollercoasters, this hasn’t put me off, but I get going just after it might. My work colleague went last week and had no qualms about it. But there is a difference going on it on your own, to letting your child go on it. I know these accidents happen so rarely, but really feel for the girl that this happened too. Hope he has a lovely birthday xx

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    • I think it’s easier for me to be put off as I’m not a fan of theme parks anyway! I was surprised my husband decided not to go as he loves them so much. It was such a terrible thing to happen. x

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  6. Up until last year we had Merlin cards and as we are only an hour away from Alton Towers we used to go a lot. If we still had the cards its difficult to say. I would probably be the one doing the worrying, whilst the kids and husband would be like ‘everything will be fine’. It was such a terrible accident and I have no doubt that we will return in the future (probably next year) xx

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    • It was a terrible accident. I’m sure we will go at some point and was actually quite surprised my husband decided not to go as he had really been looking forward to it. x

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  7. I absolutely love Alton Towers to bits and used to love white knuckle rides so much. But then about 9 years ago something clicked inside and I just felt sick every time I sat on them. I now don’t like them one bit but still love wandering about in the park. I wouldn’t sit on smiler but I reckon my hubby would!

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    • You sound a bit like me! The change in me wasn’t quite as extreme, but there is definitely something about them which now makes me feel sick almost instantly! If they open Smiler again, I’m sure my husband will go on it, I’m not so sure about the kids!

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  8. I love theme parks but I am no longer allowed to go any of the rides so I, obviously, don’t go any more. If it wasn’t for my conditions I would still want to go to Alton Towers myself, accidents happen, but I can absolutely understand your hesitation.

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    • I think it was just too soon afterwards. If it had been a couple of months earlier, maybe we would have felt happier about going.

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  9. We were going in July, (free sun tickets just kids to buy). Would still have gone had the Octonaught ride not needed evacuating days later. We’re going to give it a miss and see how the next year goes for them.

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    • Sensible decision! You have to do what feels right for your family. I suspect we may go later this year, but I’m not going to be the one to suggest it!

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  10. Nope, I would feel exactly the same as you. Couldn’t imagine wanting to go there after that had happened. Not sure I will want to go any time in the near future, to any theme parks. You think they’re so safe but this proves that they’re not infallible. Poor girl 🙁

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    • It really does prove it! Poor girl. I don’t want to go to any, but I never really did anyway! I suspect some time this summer I will have no choice but to go.

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  11. We have been to Alton Towers LOADS this past year. My 10 year old son has been on the Smiler 4 or 5 times. He wanted to go on again. Before the accident we were planning to go THAT weekend. We’d promised the boys that before our Merlin Passes ran out we’d go, but then it happened.

    Like you said it’s probably the safest theme park in the world right now but it just didn’t feel right.

    It was such a terrible accident but it was just that, an accident. No one could’ve predicted it.

    I hope you get to have that great day at Alton Towers at some point. xx

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  12. We were there the week before the accident and rode The Smiler several times as well as all the other coasters. This was a really tragic accident but it was an accident. You could end up with similar or worse injuries from a car accident but it doesn’t put me off driving. We’ll be going back to Alton Towers later in the year and are really looking forward to it. IF, and I think it’s a big ‘if’, The Smiler is open again we’ll be back on it.

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