A special fireworks show to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Alton Towers...
In 2020, Alton Towers celebrated its 40th anniversary year, although sadly the end of season Fireworks event which should have been the culmination of the celebrations had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Thankfully the situation has improved and Alton Towers' Fireworks are back for 2021, with the park choosing to stage a spectacular show capturing the magic of the last 40 years of Alton Towers by taking visitors on a time travelling adventure.
The event was less busy than in previous years, with remaining Covid-precautions leading the park to sell only a limited number of tickets. While they claimed all three nights were sold out, Friday was quiet with an estimated 11000 people attending. As usual the Saturday was busiest with 18000 in the crowd, and there were 13000 visitors for the final day of the season on Sunday.
Unfortunately ride availability was very poor. The Smiler, Hex, Congo River Rapids and Sky Ride were down for the entire event. Th13teen had major problems leading to it closing whenever rain threatened, which was far from ideal and led to a lot of downtime over the warm but damp weekend.
The show itself was superb, and one of the best displays Alton Towers has ever put on. The audience was encouraged to stand on the Front Lawns - something made much more pleasant than the usual mudbath as special plastic matting had been laid. Those who did as suggested were well rewarded, with the show seemingly surrounding them. Six large towers, each supporting three display screens plus lights, lasers and CO2 cannons sat around the perimeter.
Although he was not explicitly named, the voice of Sir Algenon narrated the story and led the audience on a journey through time using the Power of the Towers to celebrate the park's 40th anniversary. The first section, set in 1850 as the Alton Towers mansion was completed, featured an orchestral rock soundtrack. Sir Algenon had only been intending to take us back to 1980, but the Towers had produced more energy than expected.
A second attempt successfully landed everyone in 1980, confirmed by some eighties hits and Sir Algenon's checklist: "Perms: check. Shoulder pads: check. Spandex: check." The highlight of this part of the show was The Power of Love accompanied by heart shaped fireworks.
Travelling forward in time, we arrived in the 1990s - both "the era that introduced the magic that never ends" and "the birth of thrill". The Nemesis theme was used to great effect here, and sounded amazing echoing around the Lawns. Controversially perhaps, Oblivion's theme was not used but Darude's Sandstorm provided the perfect substitute and the infamous "Don't Look Down" message was played loud and clear once more.
As the final time travel journey brought us back to the present day, there was a beautiful emotion-filled reflective moment as the audience were invited to look back on the incredible memories we have created together over the last four decades. This though was interrupted by The Smiler, complete with its annoying soundtrack. Notable in its absence was Wicker Man which, aside from some exploding balls of flame, has yet to feature prominently in any Alton Towers Fireworks display.
Introducing the final section of the show, Sir Algenon thanked us for joining in the 40 year adventure and signed off with "Now Alton Towers, let's rewind!" This led into a megamix of songs from the last forty years, before the finale featuring a magnificent version of In the Hall of the Mountain King.
It may have come a year later than it should have, but Alton Towers' 40th Anniversary Fireworks Show was astounding!
More: Trip report and photos
The fireworks setup
The grass covered over
New live entertainment before the fireworks
Fireworks merchandise for sale
Food stalls setting up
From Mutiny Bay
Set and ready
Fireworks along the bridge
Fireworks by the lake
Over the lake
From the Towers
Testing the screens
Some people take their positions early
Food stalls open
On the Lawns
The bridge lit up
The Towers before the show
Fireworks are back
It's the 1980s
Power of Love
Blue and red
Don't look down
Fireworks in front of The Towers
Alton Towers: rewind!
After the show
Towers Street crowds
The Towers over the lake
The crowds have dispersed
The newly restored Banqueting Hall window lit up