For months leading up to Opening Day, Alton Towers had been putting its PR machine into overdrive hyping up Th13teen as the "ultimate rollercoaster".
Various stories were planted in tabloid newspapers suggesting the ride was so scary that people would have to sign a waiver before they were allowed to ride, and people aged under 16 or over 55 would be banned from riding entirely.
Of course this was just "clever" marketing (well somebody in Merlin's Marketing department probably thought they were being clever at least), and no such bans or waivers came into force.
Instead, the ride opened for everyone at the beginning of Alton Towers' 2010 Opening Day ... well, at least for those willing to brave the rain ...
The entrance gates were opened just before 10am and everyone was let into Towers Street
The sign said you shouldn't go alone ... I went with Margaret.
Everyone was directed down towards Storybook Land at the bottom of Towers Street
We were held there for a few minutes until the park was properly ready to open
Normal people would be indoors at home on a day like this, rather than standing in the Staffordshire rain waiting to ride a rollercoaster
Finally we were let through, and were walked the long way down towards X-Sector and then across the lawns near the Towers
Ug Land has been rethemed into the Dark Forest
We joined the end of the queue for Th13teen, which was already stretching up through the new Dark Forest area
Hundreds of people were streaming in to join the queue behind us
Our first glimpse of the Th13teen entrance in the distance
Actors dressed as wraiths were there to entertain the queueline
We're all just wraith-ing patiently in the queue
One of the managers was trying to discourage people from joining the queue, wildly claiming the queue was four or five hours long and everyone should go and ride something else.
Although he had to admit they didn't actually have any idea as they'd never measured the throughput.
Most people were undeterred by such a "convincing" line of argument.
Let's get an accurate indication of the current queuetime. Oh ...
I guess we'll just have to wraith and see
He seems like a nice friendly guy to talk to
Or maybe not!
"Excuse me Mr Wraith, could you point me in the direction of the Th13teen entrance sign?"
"Ah there it is ... many thanks."
We made it through the entrance gates and into the start of the main queueline beyond
One of the Alton Towers vans appears to have been captured by the Dark Forest
There's a shop selling drinks and snacks half way through the queue
Hopefully the newly planted trees should grow over time and make some parts of the queueline feel more like they are deep within the forest
Most of Th13teen's track is hidden from view, but you can get occasional glimpses of the trains as they race through the trees
The second lift hill
A train about to enter the vault. What's in the vault? Secrets.
Nearly at the last part of the outside queue before entering Th13teen's station building
I didn't realise it at the time, but after watching my opening day video somebody pointed out that Margaret and I had actually shared our first ride on Th13teen with John Wardley!
Despite the manager's predictions, it had taken nowhere near five hours to get on the ride - it turned out to be a much more reasonable hour and a half!
To better fit the Dark Forest, Rita: Queen of Speed has been given a darker theme and renamed simply "Rita".
Branches now cover the station, as the "forest has taken over" Rita's formerly bright and colourful theme
We left the Dark Forest with the intention of going over to Forbidden Valley, but the Sky Ride was down
Keeping with the theme of the day, we decided to "drop" in on Hex instead
It was nice to get out of the rain for a little while
Rather than the usual Hex exit route, we were sent around the edge of Her Ladyship's (and by that I don't mean Dame Margaret's) Gardens
We were sent all the way around the top of the wall
It took a while, but we finally made it out!
Th13teen was getting superb throughput, and its queue was down to only 40 minutes
Where to next? (Check out the new Dark Forest finger).
We headed for Adventureland
Taking Sonic for a spin
The Towers looked very dramatic in the mid-afternoon mist
The ducks were enjoying the weather at least
Back on plan, we took the Sky Ride over to Forbidden Valley from Towers Street
Over in the Valley, it was time for our first ride of the season on Nemesis
Back in the familiar queueline
The waterfalls are looking bright
Train in the rain
While the queue was long, we made it onto Nemesis reasonably quickly ... probably quicker than people in the giant Single Rider Queue at least!
Time for a ride on Air
Always prepare for Air
Not wanting to wait in the long Sky Ride queue, we began our long walk out of Forbidden Valley ...
... through Katanga Canyon ...
... into Mutiny Bay ...
... encountering a wraith at the entrance to Dark Forest ...
... and ending up back where our day began, for a final ride of the day on Th13teen
The queue was much shorter than in the morning, and we walked straight through the outside section and almost straight inside
It was just after 5:30pm when we got off the ride and the queuelines had closed
The new Woodcutters restaurant was still serving food, but we decided to pass
The weather had been dreadful all day, but we'd still had a fantastic time.
While Th13teen may not quite be the intense fear-filled rollercoaster that Alton Towers have been advertising it as, it is a solid entertaining family ride.
There's a secret within too, which adds to the fun and catches unsuspecting riders unaware in a thrilling and hilarious way.
In tribute to the rollercoaster which lay on the site of Th13teen and started it all, part of Corkscrew's track has been placed over the main entrance
Out with the old, in with the new ... Th13teen is the new demon of the dark forest
Video from Opening Day
More about the Park