On my first ride, I was amazed by it since it was the first of its kind i had been on. The launch is good, with the audio
commentary building tension before the launch, but really, the launch is the only thing the ride has going for it. Too much time in line, too little time riding.
A good ride to start off with, but as it
says on the main review - don't expect it to inspire you as much a second
time. The main part of the ride that stands out to be fantastic is the
launch, which thrills me as much every time,-apart from that it all really
gets the same after a while and gets less and less interesting.-There are
better rides around like Nemesis or air.
As you walk past Hex and look into the
distance into Ug Land you will see it, standing surprisingly tall over
But from the front of Ug Land there is
just something not right. Rita is in a messy place and now makes Ug Land
look out-of-place. Corkscrew is now hidden by Rita and both entrances are
quite hard to find for first timers.
Queue line is well under par for such a
coaster at Alton Towers. The main part is positioned under the first turn
and then moves away towards the station. The Station is quite plain and
nothing really bold stands out as the theme of the ride, main problem is
that theming is sparse.
Fantastic Trains, I love them. Well
themed front and reminds you about the main theme for the ride. Like the
restraints as well.
The only part of the ride worth talking
about is the Launch Because personally I think it is the only part of the
ride with and intensity. The Launch is powerful which keeps the speed up throughout
Overall it is way too short and lacks any
major Elements, the brake run is smooth and lowers you down nicely to the
I've given Rita - QoS 4 Stars because i
love launch coasters and the launch made the ride for me.
Rita - Queen of Speed was supposed to be one of the
park's main attractions. Throughout the end of 2004, I tracked the
construction of Alton Tower's new ride, excited about riding it the next
I had heard mixed reviews about Rita, but most
people I spoke to had said it was a good ride.
You would have thought that with the size of
queues Alton Towers gets, they would have had a bit of mercy on those who
are faced with the inevitably long wait for Rita - Queen of Speed by
having a queue line with at least some form of mild entertainment. No such
luck. Instead, Alton have herded it's visitors willing to wait for an extraordinary
amount of time into a bog standard cattle pen queue line. Surely the UK's
no.1 theme park could afford a better queue line, after all, the way Alton
Towers seem to try and steal your money from you at every corner, you
would have thought a slightly more bearable queue line would be in order.
Oh well, it's the ride that counts, I suppose.
Upon reaching Rita's loading station and boarding
your reasonably comfy seats, things seem to be looking up. And at least
for now, they are. The lights turn green, and you're off!
The launch feels just as impressive as it looks,
and the speed is truly felt as you accelerate down the track at 100kmph.
From then on, there isn't anything else worth
mentioning. The rest of Rita's track layout is pretty boring and
unoriginal, lacking any real thrill that Launch coasters usually offer.
Some call Oblivion a one trick pony - but with such a short layout - most
people know that the drop is the only thing to Oblivion. However, with
Rita winding it's way around Ug Land, you would have hoped for more than
just the launch to this ride.
And with the speed the train hits the brakes, it's
obvious that it was capable of doing so much more.
I remember when Rita was first announced the controversy
surrounding the issue of it being built in prehistoric Ug Land.
It just doesn't go. At all. Before Rita was built,
Ug Land was a nice area of the park - not too busy - but still offering
the likes of Corkscrew and Ug Swinger to keep people entertained. Ug Land
was a family area of the park, with quite a bit of room. Now, it feels so
cramped and small in there, it makes Forbidden Valley feel empty. Even
near by X Sector seems big in comparison to this new version of Ug Land.
The Rita theme does not fit in with Ug Land's theme one bit.
All in all, Rita is worth riding if the queue
isn't too long, however once you've been on it once, queuing for hours on
end for Rita - Queen of Speed is just a waste of time which could be spent
on some of the park's much better rides.
What a let down - I have ridden it once and can
find just few words to describe my disappointment afterwards. It's ugly,
lacking and a horrible waste of what could have been a spectacular ride. I
find this insulting, especially when you consider it's AT. Look at Nemesis
etc. they're fantastic!
What can you say about Rita, It fast yes and
very unique and any new coaster is a lucky and great addition to Alton
Towers. When I first saw this coaster for the first time I felt like a
child again, not even Air did that. After a typical towers wait I sat down
ready for the launch, except nothing could prepare you for this launch.
The lights went green and I was sat in the break run, wow I thought as I
closed my mouth.
I stood outside the ride getting my head
together. Then the cynical thoughts started to creep forward. I put them
to the back of mind and told myself "I have to like this ride."
After a couple more rerides its problems
really came to the front of my mind. When you go to Alton Towers you enter
another world of fun and adventures from the Flume to Nemesis. When you
walk into UG land its theming just seems now tacky out of place, with this
red steel thing plonked on top.
It makes you wonder if Alton Towers don't
care anymore and are resting on good press from Nemesis and Oblivion, you
expect so much more from the park that has Nemesis. Although I like the
name Rita Queen of speed and rides music, the queue line is so jumbled up
with corkscrew it leaves you lost. All becomes clear however with lots of
downtime you need that size of queue line even on a off peak day. Through
put is very low on this ride and nearly as bad as Spinball Whizzer. The
trains are really nice and look the part, I say trains but since 2 train
operation seems to be more of special feature then normal operation.
I had really high hopes for Rita and the
thought of being launched at Alton Towers again was great. The only thing
is, although they are two different rides I can't but help compare it to
Thunder Looper. About 12 years ago I was sat ready to be launched through
a loop up a climb to do it all again backwards with a lap bar. Which
brings me to the overhead restraints on Rita, why...ok it goes about 8mph
faster then Thunder Looper.
All I'm saying is 12 years ago we had in
my view a much better launched coaster. Alton Towers should have done so
much more with Rita but it didn't. I do want to love Rita, but it leaves a
bitter taste in my mouth of low budget, rush job. I planned another trip
to visit the park again this year, only to get there to find it closed. It
didn't upset or spoil my day the fact I couldn't ride it, no coaster at
Alton Towers has ever had that effect on me. With Thorpe Parks rocket
coaster on the way, Rita is going to be forgotten and it might teach the
park a lesson.
Ahhhh! This could have been
Alton Tower's best ride. I was one of the first 50 to ride this and boy,
it was at least 4 stars, but that was when I didn't have to stand in the queue
and look at all off its faults (I correct myself by saying Alton Tower's
It is a respectable ride
in itself but yet again, Alton Towers have crapped it up with something
completely unnecessary. The radio. ARGH. The music really is brilliant,
White Wedding, Don't Stop Me Now etc, but by god, that stupid TW*T (the *
stands for i) that does the broadcasting, does the voice for the Spinball
Whizzer thingy at the end. It is NOT funny and it is as if it is aimed for
kids: A ride that does 0-60 faster than any supercar on the market today,
with a radio aimed for kids; Why??? The theming does not go with the
prehistoric UG land and the onride photo cover is (excuse the inappropriate
use of English) is just plain Gay. Buy a keyring, not a photo.
They should have put RITA
in an area behind UG land and make it a thrilling 50's American area that
RITA races through the woods and there should be diners. They should have
kept UG-land a children's area. Having said that, should is a harsh word
so my final moan is that the whole area feels claustrophobic with the
Corkscrew crammed into one corner. It has been neglected.
RITA itself takes your
breath away, and people complain that it doesn't go high, like stupid Yankees
that think that higher is better, and that presentation of rides doesn't
matter. These people annoy me because in their ignorance, they do not
recognise that RITA can't go high and there is nothing Alton Towers can do
Here is a tip, eat lunch
in the queue and buy an Ice cream halfway round, because the queue seems
shorter. Also, ride it with friends from school, it is much more enjoyable
watching their reactions.
BRILLIANT, were the words I was thinking of when I was travelling to Rita
QOS but my expectations were short lived. Although Rita is brilliant for
the first 2.5 seconds of the ride, the rest of the ride is sadly appalling.
With no loops or inversions its hardly a roller coaster. I think that
Nemesis is still the best ride at Alton Towers as it is fast like Rita,
has loops and inversions, and has an element of the worrying anticipation
of the Oblivion.
The year is 1994 and
Alton Towers has just opened Nemesis, one of the most ground breaking
rides of the time- literally. They then stayed a bit quieter over the next
few years, just installing the likes of Ripsaw until once more in 1998
they opened the world’s first (almost) vertical drop roller coaster-
Oblivion. Once more 4 years later they opened the world’s first flying
coaster (at this point in time we’re pretending Stealth was never built)
Air. So then it comes to 2004 and all the Alton Fan-boys are
Shocked to hear that yet
another ground breaking coaster is coming- but only three years after Air.
It was announced as a launched coaster with an acceleration of 0-100 in
2.5 seconds, which really got the Alton Fan-boys excited, until they
realised it was 0-100 km/h, which is just over 60mph.
So September comes and
Ug-Land is closed to make way for this new coaster, which was being
advertised as being called Rita- Queen of Speed on park posters. This
worried the Fan-boys, had their precious Towers really made a ride with a
girl’s name? Yes, in a word. So construction came and went and theming
was added, a very original racing theme, so unlike all the other rockets
its unbelievable…… *cough*. Although to be fair to Alton, they have
merged the theming with the Stone Age surroundings very well, although
most other enthusiasts will have a hissy fit for me saying that.
Entering the Ride:
Coming up in front of the
Towers heading to Ug Land, you can barely even notice Rita at all. In fact
it wouldn’t take a lot of convincing before you think you have the wrong
park. Advertising in the park itself is very low key, with just a tiny
sign on the map being all I noticed. For most people their first glimpse
of Rita will be either from the side of it, coming from Hex, or from
directly above, whilst on the sky ride. For maximum impact I would suggest
you take the Sky Ride, the way the ride is revealed to you from above has
a lot of visual impact on a first time rider.
Once you are in the area,
it is impossible not to be in awe of Rita’s speed. The launch takes
place above a busy path, and the rest of the ride sweeps over Ug Land and
the queue. While you work your way to the queue you can’t miss some of
the ways that they’ve tried to make it fit in with the rest of Ug Land,
the brightly coloured hydraulics shed has a Stone Age pattern on it, as
well as the normal black-and-white racing strip pattern. The queue
entrance is a large half tire with the word “Rita” across the top,
shaped to look like a woman.
You enter the queue and
are just hit by a huge maze of queues, wood poles surround you and people
are everywhere, packed into cattle pens. There is really no way of knowing
which way the queue winds round itself, so anyone who wants a good vantage
point may not know until that time comes. The queue is OK; it moves quite
well and has an opportunity for anyone with a sweet tooth to buy an ice
cream. The ride’s first hill leers over most of the queue, and that can
really drum up the anticipation for any first time riders. After surviving
the horrible cattle pens (which are the reason some people have lovingly
nicknamed the area Queue Land) you follow the queue across the front of
corkscrew, giving some great views of the ancient bone crusher.
The queue then enters its
final moments, and my personal favourite moments. The queue snakes its way
under the launch track, so close that if you jumped up you could touch it.
You pass some signs which say- “Please deposit gum here” but actually
have no bins under, so they’re covered in people’s gum. You follow the
queue to a point where you can queue for the front, but for those who want
to experience the best seat in the house, the back, you just follow the
queue across the length of the station, and then up some final stairs
until you reach the station floor. You and 17 others (the front 2 will
have already taken their spot) enter the station and get to choose
whichever of the remaining 9 rows you please. You can then turn your head
to the right and view your now empty train coming down from the unloading
station, ready for you to board.
If you’re sitting in
the farther of the two seats, you’ll have to attempt a feat of
contortion to reach your spot, but you will get the better photo. The
restraints are then lowered. I have heard a lot of negativity about the
restraints on Rita, but I personally think they are among the best OTSRs
around. They consist of a rather cosy bar that fits snugly around the
waist, and two rather flimsy bars that move when you lean onto them. The
bars are more often then not above you and barely ever touch your shoulder
or mid-drift. The belt is clipped into its home and the thumbs up sign is
given. You’re ready to go. The sounds change to a countdown and the
train rolls forwards a little. A man yells- “The lights are on”, the
train rolls back a bit and the fear starts to drum itself up in the pit of
your stomach. “We’re counting down”. A lump forms in your throat and
you suddenly want to get off. “Get those engines ready”, followed by
revving sounds. Hands clasp the bars and start to turn sweaty.
The copper fins drop down
either side of the track and you know there is no time left. This is it.
Then the voice speaks one last time. “GO, GO, GO!!!” The launch is
breathtaking. The train is thrown out of the station with immense power;
the whole world instantly becomes a blur. Hands are now firmly placed on
the bar and you can’t help but be in awe. You can barely move the
g-force is so strong. Your eyes begin to water and your heart feels like
it’s going to explode. The camera flashes on the right but you don’t
notice it; you’re going too fast, your head is too focused on other
Before you can get to
terms with what just happened the car severely banks and hits the fast of
the large sweeping turns. The g-force pins you down and you can’t move
as you navigate your way through what I think is the most intense corner
around. The world is a blur of colour, people are below but you don’t
notice them and before you know it you are whipped skywards in an awe
It feels as if the whole
world has flipped over, the whole hill is a mess of awesome banking. The
airtime at the top is among the best I’ve ever felt and it leads right
into another amazing turn. You fly over the queue, corkscrew’s station
and corkscrew’s on-ride photo booth. The g-force is once again huge and
if your legs aren’t jelly now, they never will be. Once more you hit an
airtime hill; once more you are literally ripped out of the seat and sent
into the restraint. What follows next is very similar to the first corner,
once more you are lost, disorientated and once more the g-force is there
by the bucket load.
Another, yet smaller,
hill follows once more ripping you skyward from the airtime. Then another
massively airtime filled hill into the brakes and you’re done. The
brakes are fast and effective, smooth and quick. The buzz is huge; you
want nothing more then to ride again and again. A rather slow banked curve
takes you gracefully into the unloading station and you’re free to
I’ve only been on Rita
4 times, but I have yet to see a single person come off it less then
impressed. My Dad, who spent his whole ride on Nemesis bored stiff,
demanded that the next time we went together we go on it, despite how long
the queue may be. The thoughts of how awesome it is stayed with me for a
week before I could get over how good it was. You are left shaking, hungry
for more, which is why I think that if it was longer it would lose some of
its charm, the fact you crave another go so much is why I think it’s
brilliant. It’s my number one coaster after all.
Very fast launch and g
filled ride through out, with great speed.
1. Launch is incredible
2. Good enough theme
3. Never loses much speed
4. Huge airtime and positive g-force
1. Some find it rough
2. Some find restraints bad
yo-yo's, football stickers, the list goes on. When we are children there
was always some new craze that everyone had to be part of. You felt as
though you were being left out if you weren't a part of the last 'fad'.
Theme parks seem to have
adopted a similar mentality. Not only is there a continual one-up-manship
over who has the tallest/fastest/steepest ride, but if one park has a new
ride then the others must have it too. Looking back to 2004 you can see
that everyone wanted in on the spinning coaster. Here in the UK, Tussauds
ordered two Maurer's for both Alton Towers and Chessington.
More followed suit,
Waldameer and Seabreeze both constructed their versions ready for 2004.
Xtreme will now remained at Drievliet Family Park after being hired out by
Maurer to travelling fairs. Reverchon built Crazy Mouse at Delgrosso's,
along with the Ragin' Cajun at SF Great America. Mack's Wild Maus, was
from the Busch Gardens in Williamsburg to its sister park in Tampa and
renamed Cheetah Chase, Legoland Windsor receives their Jungle Coaster from
Mack this year too, although these were regular mice.
Down at World's of Fun,
Gerstlauer put up the replacement for the interlocking loops of Orient
Express and installed a spinning wild mouse in its place, named Spinning
Dragons. Meisho also installed a couple of spinning coasters in the East.
All that was in one year. Looking further back there is the S&S tower
ride that sprang up at any amusement park you can think of.
Xcelerator dawned the era
of the rocket coaster. Since which we have seen a plethora of different
sizes and layouts all over the world. As such, it didn't take Alton
Tower's new management too long to cotton on to what was the hottest new
coaster this season. Initially there had been rumours of immense wooden
coasters traversing Churnet Valley, but after these faded away enthusiasts
didn't really expect much for 2005.
It came as a surprise
then when late in the season Ug Land was closed off and work begun on a
new Intamin Accelerator coaster. Compared to other coasters of this type,
it didn't really seem like much. It did not have the height of rides like
Kingda Ka, Top Thrill Dragster or Xcelerator, neither did have the unique
layout and inversions of Storm Runner or Kanonen. Essentially Rita was a
figure eight layout with three 'airtime' hills.
Of course, even if this
was what appeared to be quite a boring layout, the Alton Tower's publicity
machine swung into action and had an over-excitable fan base drooling. So
when 1 April rolled around we saw a storm of publicity (although less than
normal for a ride of this magnitude at Alton) and queues to match.
There is an underlying
problem with Rita. Alton Towers is probably the UK's best themed park.
During the installation of Rita, whoever is in charge of theming at the
Tussauds park must have either left their job or their senses. Some argue
that Ug Land is the worst themed area in the park, I disagree. The theming
was consistent and the rides fitted in well, even Corkscrew's track has a
skeletal dinosaur-like look about it.
How then were Alton to
fit a launched coaster into this theme? Answer: they weren't. In fact,
rather than being themed into Ug Land it seems as Ug Land was as much
changed to suit Rita.
Its name is no longer Ug Land,
but Ug Land WITH Thunder Rock Rally. Thunder Rock Rally seems to be the
prehistoric sounding name for a drag race. After all Fred Flintstone is
famous for his 'faster than a Ferrari' acceleration. Although Rita's
surroundings have been painted with a stone effect and the control booth
themed as 'race control', the ride and its cars are pure twenty first
Well actually Rita's cars
are themed like a 1950s cadillac. So let's review, prehistoric control
booth, 1950s cars and music and 21st century bright red track. The
themeing is something other than a seemless cohesion. Adding to the
already poor themeing, the queue line is Alton Tower's run-of-the-mill
picket style fencing. It doesn't seem necessary to tell you this just
doesn't tie in. To make matters worse the huge queues that Rita attracts
means that the queue is just as big. These picket fences now adorn half of
Ug Land leaving little space left. The finishing touch is the addition of
prehistoric bunting between the supports.
After waiting for a
considerable length of time to be priviledged enough to climb aboard the
car in the open air station you'll notice the restraints of Rita are
nothing if not unusual. It looks like an over-designed OTSR, why a 420
foot high Top Thrill Dragster only requires lap bars, whilst we are left
with a cocoon-like restraint system is probably something to do with
paranoia after numerous incidents on Intamin rides.
Once seated, we are
played the voice we have heard well over twenty times in the queue.
"Go, go ,go" and we are launched directly from the station,
pulling considerable G-forces, as the launch finishes the train lunges to
the right and around a huge banked turn, which eveolves into the first
hill. As you crest the top there is variable amounts of airtime depending
where you sit, suffice to say the pretty much every seat will feel some
weightlessness. The train dives back down to the left and makes a
turnaround over the queue.
The forces here are quite
admirable as we are again pulled up into the next hill. lower than the
first and as such directly underneath it. The airtime here is a little
less, but the OTSRs don't seem to impede your enjoyment that much.
Completing the circuit we dive down towards the end of the launch and
follow the first corner before being ripped up across the last, considerably
smaller hill, this is reflected in the airtime sustained. The train then
hits the breaks and meanders, snake-like and at quite a pace back to the
The Queen of Speed seems
to be quite an appropriate name. The launch took me completely by
surprise, having ridden Top Thrill Dragster I was expecting something
rather more tame. No such thing, it may have been my imagination, but the
acceleration on this baby is not to be sneered at. The airtime hills
deliver reasonable amounts of that weightless feeling, although the
restraints make you feel somewhat enclosed, rather than being more
vulnerable like the T-bars produce.
There are also some
pretty decent spells of force in the corners, notabley the second.
Unfortunately all this doesn't add up to a star-studded coaster. The
layout has no suprises and although being liberal with her G-forces, it
just doesn't have anything different about it. If there is anything that
this ride does excel on it is the launch and it will probably come as a
surprise to most.
Rita's downfalls are in a
mediocre ride, that is intolerably short and its 'theming' is something to
be seen. It appears as if the ride layout, position and theme has not been
thought through at all. Alton is renowned for its original coasters that
seem to work so well with their surrounding. Rita has taken the park a
step backwards to the days when Corkscrew was built and the land fitted in
the ride, rather than the ride embracing and seamlessly integrating with
its surroundings. What could have been an excellent coaster if thought
through has been rushed and essentially ruined.