Alton Towers is arguably our premier theme park. Obviously it's not up there with anything in Florida or even EuroDisney but it's still a good size with a lot packed into it. I fear for it's future though unless it can find a better balance between expense and queueing times. It's OK telling people they should visit when it's less busy, that isn't always practical for many people. But to go at peak times is to simply not be able to enjoy the park to the full. Especially if you're of mixed age as my family is.
Like any theme park you've ever been to, Alton Towers has a habit of charging for EVERYTHING. It might be off the beaten track but try parking your car for free, NO CHANCE. And if you want to get nearer if you're less fit or have small children, that'll cost you more as well. In fact they wanted an astonishing £16 off us for a relatively small car.
Then there's the admission plus the dreaded Fast Track tickets. If you haven't secured a 2 for 1 offer you're going to be over the £200 mark here. The dilemma of course is that if you don't stump up for fast track you're going to spend one hour in a queue each time you want to go a particularly popular ride. So take out a stroll round the gardens, ANOTHER queue for food and time for the younger members to enjoy the less white knuckle of rides, and you'll be lucky to get on three or four of the show stealers. BTW, the food itself is again on the pricey side and picnics are strongly recommended from a time and money saving point of view.
So my view is Alton Towers needs a lot of forethought to really enjoy it. Get those offers sorted well in advance and make sure they're acceptable. AT can be funny about when and how they can be used. Be prepared to park a long way away and be ready for a bit of hike in crowded surroundings, the premium parking is a rip off. Take a picnic, it saves time and money as I said. DON'T GO AT PEAK TIMES IF YOU CAN AVOID IT. It's a totally different experience midweek (unless you've got much more patience than me and enjoy a bit of banter while you're waiting. No thank you).
Pricey, but which theme park isn't these days.