Alton Towers The Curse at Alton Manor: I tried the resort’s new haunted house ride and it was terrifying
Let me preface this by saying, I am a wimp. I am an adrenaline junkie and I love big rides, but the slightest jump scare makes me want to weep.
So when the opportunity to be one of the first to ride Alton Towers’ brand new ride was offered, I was a tad apprehensive. I’ve been going to the theme park regularly for most of my life and Duel has been a staple favourite ride as part of our visit for the last 20 years - I was even a dab hand with the laser gun by the end!
But seeing the adverts (and the creepy dolls being sent to my door!) for The Curse at Alton Manor, it was pretty obvious that the newest dark ride was going to be a challenge for me. Described as “haunting and immersive”, The Curse at Alton Manor tells the story of Emily Alton, the troubled daughter of Victorian high society figures who prefer partying to parenting.
The Alton Towers website describes the ride like so: “Left alone in the attic with nothing but her dolls house, Emily’s hatred grew, fuelled by bitterness and frustration and dark forces began to surround her.” So you can imagine what you’re likely to encounter when it comes to the ride itself!
Fast forward to the park’s opening weekend and it was time to face my fear. We headed down to Gloomy Wood in the dark along with some of the very creepy roaming actors who kept squealing “Happy New Year” on repeat. Once in front of Alton Manor there were more actors, one holding a RIP Snowy box and another whose head appeared to be facing the wrong way on his body.
The actors were all brilliant and really added to the creepy atmosphere. I’m not usually a big fan of the interactions but they were all really easy going and good fun, without being forced.
After nearly being run over by a runaway pram with a doll inside, we headed over to the queue line which has been given a little makeover and features plenty of tombstones and creepy dolls. Once inside the ride, the queue line has been redecorated and there’s a section which resembles a dusty child’s playroom with a dolls house, teddies and other toys.
We particularly liked the attention to detail with the crayon on the sides where Emily was asking people to play with her. There’s a rolling pre-show as well while you’re in the queue waiting to go on the ride.
The Curse at Alton Manor - the ride
Boarding the ride itself hasn’t changed except there’s no longer laser guns (RIP my distraction tactic) and the ride hosts have a new script which includes “You’ll be fine as long as Emily stays on her swing”; cue me turning white as a ghost. Once on the ride, the track is pretty much the same as Duel but obviously with a new storyline, new scenery and special effects which are a first for a UK theme park.
I can confirm there are plenty of jump scares as you twist and turn around the abandoned Alton Manor and once you get over the heart attack, you can really appreciate the advanced special effects and detailed models. For those of you who have been on Duel, you’ll remember the tunnel which is supposed to make you feel like you’re twizzing round (but never really did) - well the tunnel remains and it actually does turn your stomach now.
I think what particularly scared me was the prolonged periods of darkness and the anticipation of what might be in front of me when it did eventually go light again. That and some very clever mirror trickery meant I came off the ride having screamed so much I had a tear or two rolling down my face - I maintain that I did not cry but that’s not the story my fiance is telling everyone!
The Curse at Alton Manor - the verdict
The ride has a height restriction of 0.9m and is recommended for brave youngsters aged 7+ and I would emphasise the ‘brave’. If your child (or you for that matter) isn’t a fan of creepy dolls and all that comes with that then this isn’t the ride for them, at least not yet.
That being said, if you’re brave enough it’s a really good ride and a great addition to Alton Towers. We both agreed it’s probably the best haunted house in the UK and much scarier than the Haunted Mansion at Disney World or Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.
The ride feels much more modern and the special effects really set it apart from the rest. I’m just going to need a while before I dare go back on it again!
How to book tickets to Alton Towers
If you fancy giving yourself a fright then you’ll need to book your tickets on the Alton Towers website. You can get an advance one day pass from £36 per person or if you fancy a last minute trip it’ll cost you £68 per person on the day.