Dining With a Twist
You may well have been unfortunate enough to see the odd (in many ways) video of people trying to eat and drink on a roller coaster, or the Big Dipper as us oldies used to call it. These things rarely, if ever ended well, usually resulting in the poor coaster-riders behind the protagonist being covered in various combinations of food, drink and vomit.
It was then, with some trepidation that we learnt Alton Towers was launching their very own Roller Coaster Restaurant.
Luckily this isn’t some crazed idea dreamt up by Beelzebub himself, but in fact by those clever marketing people at The Towers. This idea is to seat the diners at a stationary table and use the roller coaster to bring them the food to them. Genius! What could possibly go wrong? To find out, we skipped along the Golden Pathway from parking zone F to the brand new sparkly restaurant. As it turns out, there’s a huge amount that could go wrong. But did it..?
Having been shown to our table by one of the friendly staff we were introduced to the iPad thingy on which we could order our food and drink. The whole menu is split up into different sections, giving descriptions, photos, prices and main ingredients of the dishes. This allows you to make an informed choice, at your leisure before you order anything.
The real beauty of this ‘self-service’ approach is that you order your food when you want it. There is no waiting ages for a waiter to turn up because they’re too busy serving other customers, which means you don’t have to engage in that trying-to-attract-someone’s-attention-without-clicking-your-fingers charade. Equally, there’s no hassle if you want to chat amongst yourselves for half an hour between courses.
The proof of the pudding, of course, is in the eating. Or in this case, not so much the eating, but the arrival. Once you’ve made your selection via the iPad thingy, you just have to sit back, relax and wait for the magic to happen, whilst all the techno-wizardry happens in the background. We say relax, but it does seem at times as though you’ve stumbled onto the set of Jurassic Park with the soundtrack of Walt Disney’s Fantasia being blasted out in the background.
This may of course just be the fact that we’re old and boring, so judge for yourself by enjoying the delectation that is the following video. During this cinegraphic triumph, watch out for a couple of meals being delivered overhead to their salivating diners via the coaster that rolls.
One of my personal favourite things about this dining experience was the loop-the-loop part of the food delivery track. This was surrounded by a shield of perspex, no doubt put in place to protect the diners below, just in case someone was adventurous enough to order the soup. It did remind me however of the Hotwheels track my brother and I had way back in the early ’70s, complete with the Motorised Booster, which would propel your tiny toy car against the forces of gravity, so it could enjoy another go around the orange plastic tack.
The real beauty of our particular Hotwheels set was that it came in exchange for a collection of Heinz Baked Beans tin labels and, if I remember rightly, a small number of stamps. Oh, the joy when it arrived!
Still, we digress. The Roller Coaster Restaurant. A tad noisy for oldies and not exactly cheap, but surprisingly good food and fun experience that most are sure to enjoy.
Treat yourself and the kiddies by making a booking today.