SW8: Alton Towers’ not so Secret Weapon

Alton Towers SW8

The internet has relentlessly dented the aspirations of many a theme park for keeping new ride projects under wraps until they open.

Gone are the days when the first sniff of a major new ride was an elusive sign or mysterious signs of marketing activity by the parks.

But that is hardly a recent thing.

Planning applications have been visible on local authority websites for many years now.

However, other than Staffordshire Moorlands residents with understandable interests, the main groups looking at plans for new rides at Alton Towers would be enthusiasts of the park, plus of course the ride fanatic generally.

But as planning documents for the codenamed Secret Weapon 8 (SW8) wooden rollercoaster went online this week, the usual almost instant detection by enthusiasts was quickly followed by the mainstream press.

Public awareness

The usual culprits such as the Daily Mirror have gone with the factually flawed slant that the park is planning a new ride on the anniversary of the Smiler accident.

Alton Towers of course has not announced anything, nor has it acknowledged any questions raised about the nature of the new ride.

The online plans give away as much as they generally do – quite a lot – but the prospect of a surprise or two on opening day always remains a strong possibility.

The difference is that this time, with the tabloids and mainstream media widely reporting what is planned, more of the general public than ever before will know what is coming.

And ironically, for what appears to be a mid-height family ride, this exposed eighth ‘secret’ weapon could prove to be least grand of all those that went before it.