Monday, 11 March 2013

Sonic appearance at old Toyland ride at Alton Towers!

The Sonic Spinball ride currently residing at Alton Towers here in England is not the first time Sonic has appeared in a ride at the theme park! As brought to my attention by Tracker on Tumblr, there was a ride called Toyland Tours which had a Sonic dedicated section! He posted this photo above and shared his fuzzy memories of the discovery from ten years ago:
Sonic was at Alton Towers BEFORE Sonic Spinball! The Willy Wonka ride used to be called ‘Toyland Tours,’ and in one part this charismatic animatronic of Classic Sonic showed up! Thankfully my mum caught it on camera-this photo is around 10 years old! *and it still sits beneath my desk, next to my Game Gear and MDII and with my Sonic comics*
Also the game in the background is Sonic CD, the Special Stages particularly. I thought it was SA2 when I first saw it, but that was effectively the only Sonic game I’d played! No idea what happened to the animatronic after the ride was converted, sadly.
We found more of this ride cameo, including more photos, a video and even music after the jump!

A video of the ride is on Youtube via a channel dedicated to Alton Towers, and you can see the Sonic section at the 3:10 mark. Sure enough there is Sonic CD footage playing and the Sonic animatronic appears to have two mouths? Maybe you're only supposed to see one at a time? Either way it is an odd design choice. There is another video here which is better quality but the Sonic section is darker and a bit harder to see.

According to all the sites that have info on the ride, it opened in 1994 and was open until 2005 when it was replaced with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ride. I has never been to Alton Towers until 2010 so I never got to see this! Below are some more photos of the Sonic statue sourced from other sites (which you can go to if you click em):

 This one is from the site Theme Park Junkies.
Yep, he has two mouths alright..weird!

This one from a topic on Sonic Retro. How did I miss this again?

Notice in some of these pics how he appears to be standing on top of a large Master System controller, of all things!

The real diamond of the content on this online however is at a fan site called Towers Nerd, who have somehow got their hands on the music from the section of the ride and put it up as an MP3 download! I have uploaded it to Tumblr so I don't link you to their download and trash their bandwidth. It's a unique remix of Green Hill zone! Go have a listen!

I feel a bit gutted for missing out on this as a kid, as small of a thing in part of a ride as this is. Sonic was there for 11 years and after vanishing with Toyland Tours returned there five years later! Pretty crazy. If anyone else has even better photos or videos of this, please send them over!

1 comment:

Jonathan Dixon said...

A couple of other things to note about Sonic in Toyland Tours as well. Firstly, his head is meant to turn from left to right (as well as him moving the joystick around) which is likely explains the '2 mouth' thing. Another thing you can just make out in the video is that he's also tapping his foot. One more thing as well... The ride TVs in that section also featured footage from Sonic 3 as well.