Alton Towers Roller Coaster Restaurant…
by Mike Curtis
A gimmick or the future of dining?
Last year Alton Towers became the home to Britain’s First Roller Coaster Restaurant. Set amongst some of the biggest roller coasters in the park, the restaurant has been built using 400 metres of spiralling steel track, but this track is not for the customers….. It is for the food and drink!
The dishes which are ordered via an iPad, are prepared by chefs in a kitchen upstairs, sealed in metal dishes and then attached to a contraption with wheels which then brings the food down a winding roller coaster direct to the customers table with gravity making sure that everything stays in tact. (Don’t be fooled by the posters, like a member of my family, the food doesn’t appear on a plate with nothing holding it in place… it wasn’t my kids!).
The food accelerates at speeds as fast as Mo Farah, up to 13.5 miles per hour as it drops nearly 8 metres to each table, and can do up to two loop-the-loops before reaching diners.
There is no doubt that it is a unique dining experience. I visited the restaurant earlier on this year to see for my own eyes how this really worked. I was pleasantly surprised to see my Peroni come down the rollercoaster just seconds after I had ordered it on my tablet, and after unstrapping it and opening with the bottle opener which was at the centre of the table, along with a supply of plates, cutlery, glasses and condiments, I sat back to pick from the menu.
We were advised to order the food one course at a time, as it comes down the rollercoaster as soon as it is ready. The majority of the food survived the journey intact, but it was a very odd experience plating up your own meal from metal dishes and rebuilding my burger.
My children enjoyed watching the dishes arrive and guessing what was in each one, but it was probably the quickest meal that we have ever had as a family and I felt that we were paying a premium for the experience rather than the food.
Trip Adviser reviews have given it a rating of 3.5 out of 5 with most customers enjoying the atmosphere and experience but a lot see it as a bit pricey and would probably only visit once and I am no different.