We tried the David Walliams Gangsta Granny tour at Alton Towers … and it was amazing – Gemma Jaleel
It’s been two years, but finally, on a cloudy morning in Alton Towers, the park’s new Gangsta Granny ride was unveiled.
From the pages of David Walliams’ book of the same title, the story of schoolboy Ben who discovers that his grandmother is secretly an international jewelry thief comes to life before your eyes.
My seven-year-old daughter is an avid reader and has read a few of the comedian’s picture books, including The Slightly Boring Elephant and the Queen’s Orangutan.
As I got older I bought other Walliams novels including Gangsta Granny but I have to admit we haven’t had time to read it yet, although we did watch the TV adaptation starring the actor himself and whom we loved.
When we arrived we were greeted by the comedic Beefeaters who joked that we better not be there to steal the Crown Jewels and were in line to go up the expectations were high. The ride was originally scheduled to be launched in the spring of 2020 – but the coronavirus pandemic has paid for it.
Following the lifting of government restrictions on outdoor attractions and accommodation, this was the first weekend the theme park was open to the public after the lockdown.
But it’s certainly not business as usual – things are very different with a lot of security measures in place. Masks must be worn on all rides by visitors, unless they are under the age of 11 or medically exempt.
There are also temperature checks on arrival for customers and employees, along with improved cleaning, a range of hygiene stations throughout the resort, and the use of PPE in place. There are also restrictions on the number to ensure social distancing is respected.
However, these Covid measures certainly made my family and I feel safe throughout our visit.
During the ride, we walked through the Royal Corridor, comments from David Walliams booming down the hall, welcoming us for ‘a nine hour nonstop tour of the Crown Jewels’.
The Ride is, according to Walliams, a condensed version of the book with all the exciting elements and anticipation increased as we studied portraits of an unknown royal family, including a suspicious-looking lady Davinia Wallibums.
We boarded the red and gold Royal Carriage and set off for a Crown Jewels tour. Immediately we were thrown right in the middle of Ben and Gangsta Granny’s adventure.
The ride takes you around through a series of scenes. First of all they go down the drain and you even get a damp smell that smelled like cabbage soup!
My daughter held her nose and said, “It even smells like sewage!”
The story continues as Ben and Granny are chased through the streets of London and even run into the Queen herself.
The special effects which include smoke, pyrotechnics and even bubbles as well as 3D projection mapping really provide a completely immersive adventure and I love how the images by Tony Ross, the book’s illustrator, are so integrated. transparent in the animations.
Even though the ride is five minutes, it really felt longer (but not nine hours) and it really is a full sensory experience that younger kids can find a little overwhelming at times. My two year old son was a little scared of some of the effects and loud noises.
As the ride stopped, my daughter shouted, “That was amazing mom!” and to his delight, it conveniently concluded inside Raj’s Shop, filled to the brim with books, games and Walliams candy that take some resistance to buying when you have a little one asking. a souvenir to take home.
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In addition to the Gangsta Granny ride, there’s also a World of David Walliams themed area with more rides and attractions, including the Royal Carousel, Raj’s Bouncy Bottom Burp ride plus Flavio’s fabulous Fandango, a rotating tower which is probably best to avoid after a full English Breakfast.
It is very smart to see how all the eccentric parts of David Walliams’ imagination came together to create a unique and fun family experience, even as an adult I could appreciate how much this tale of this crazy adventure can appeal to all generations.
All the way home my daughter told me she couldn’t wait to start reading her copy of Gangsta Granny, so if this ride can inspire more kids to pick up a book and read, what more could you ask for. more?
The Gangsta Granny Ride is now open to the public. For more details or to book tickets, visit altontowers.com.