A space themed Galactica inspired fireworks show brought Alton Towers' 2016 season to a close.
Alton Towers' 2016 end of season fireworks will be remembered by many as less than spectacular. The signs were not great from the outset, with a reduction to two nights instead of the previously traditional Friday to Sunday long weekend run. Visitors had stayed away from the park en-masse all season following the previous year's Smiler accident, and Alton was clearly not expecting the numbers of people who turned up for the fireworks event. Queuelines were long and everywhere felt overcrowded. A lot of food places were shut, and those that were open started to run out of food as queues grew to well over an hour for simple things like a hot dog.
Unfortunately the park wasn't saved by the fireworks show itself. Although they had splashed out on a fancy circular video screen on the front lawns, the show was a lot smaller in scale than previous years. If you were being kind, you might describe it as "intimate", although that didn't fit the theme of the vastness of space.
The show's story centered around Galactica, with the audience being passengers aboard an intergalactic space cruiser en-route to Delta 5. However, things quickly go wrong as the Captain's daughter, Luna, accidently starts the launch system after her father leaves the bridge. Soon Luna and the audience are blasting off into deep space. After some reassurance from her Dad, Luna starts to enjoy the experience, playing the passengers some music and becoming a Space DJ.
However, things take a turn for the worse when the space cruiser comes into contact with an alien spacecraft that is intent on destroying them. The Captain takes control remotely, attempting to pilot everyone out of trouble. As the aliens fire on the Galactica craft, the shields fail and it is up to Luna to save everyone as the connection to Earth goes down. But how? She's never flown a real spaceship before ... but she has in a game. And so she puts on her virtual reality headset, and the game is on!
Luna manages to successfully fly through a portal before the aliens can destroy it, bringing the audience safely home to Earth. She tells her Dad of the epic adventure she has had, and in return he tells her how proud he is of her.
The display finished in Alton Towers tradition, with an 8-bit remix of In the Hall of the Mountain King. This was by far the best bit of the 25 minute show, which otherwise felt like a laborious advert for Galactica and virtual reality. The storylines for Alton Towers' firework displays are not always very strong, but this one was particularly weak. Add that to the average to poor music selection (with the exception of a tribute to David Bowie), and it failed to spark the imagination of the crowd whose general level of excitement seemed fairly lacklustre. Maybe though that was because they were all hungry.
Alton Towers clearly learned many lessons from their 2016 Fireworks event. For the Fireworks Spectacular in 2017, guests were encouraged to prebook tickets in advance and overall numbers were capped much lower than the real park capacity, and all food outlets were open and well stocked!
Crowds pour in at the beginning of the day
The Towers as darkness falls
Long queues at all the food outlets
An engineer fixing the show before it starts
This year's show took Galactica as its theme
Fireworks in the night sky
Guests packed in on the front lawns to watch the show
Luna has a chat with her Dad
Oh no, it's all gone wrong!
Fireworks over Alton Towers
Fireworks and video games
In the Hall of the Mountain King finale
The Alton Towers Fireworks logo
The Towers lit up after the display
Looking back on Towers Street
Another season is over