The Alton Towers Resort is ten miles east of Stoke-on-Trent.
Master illusionist Andrew Van Buren was born & is still based in the area, although he is more often found performing out of the country.
The seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury was once Alton Towers until it was sold to The Tussauds Group. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_of_Shrewsbury]
Alton Towers is the flagship attraction of Merlin Entertainments [Merlin was an illusionist]
The park's promotional music is In the Hall of the Mountain King, written by Edvard Grieg which has been used in TV promotions and around the park since the early 1990s. A fantasy play written in verse, Peer Gynt tells of the adventures of the eponymous Peer. The sequence illustrated by the music of In the Hall of the Mountain King is when Peer sneaks into the Mountain King's castle. The piece then describes Peer's attempts to escape from the King and his trolls.
The estate dates back to before 1000 BC, when an iron age fort was built in the area, known as Bunbury Hill. In circa 700, the estate became the site of a fortress, for the Saxon king Ceolred of Mercia. The early Alton Towers was a hunting lodge, known as Alveton Lodge (or Alverton), which is the ancient name for Alton. The house was renamed to Alton Abbey, despite there not being any particular religious connection. The Tussauds Group was bought by Merlin Entertainments in March 2007 for over £1billion from DIC, placing Alton Towers under their control.
X-Sector is themed as if it were a sinister futuristic government facility.
Two thrill rides are located in the X Sector: Submission, which opened in 2001 and is a double swing inverter; Enterprise which has been at the park since 1984, originally located where the Dark Forest is today, and is a HUSS enterprise. A giant blue building, which once held the Black Hole roller coaster, lies disused to one side of the area. A game arcade next to Oblivion's gift shop and the 'Meltdown' restaurant, selling KFC fast food, can also be found here.
Cloud Cuckoo Land is aimed at the younger audience of Alton Towers, and is themed with bright colours incorporating oversized flowers and toadstools, as if in a fantasy garden. [Cloud Cuckoo Land refers to an unrealistically idealistic state where everything is perfect. ("You're living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.") It hints that the person referred to is naïve, unaware of reality or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_cuckoo_land].
Secret Weapon 7: The next major rollercoaster at the park was also announced at the TH13TEEN Event in June. It was described by Mowenna Angove, as the next "white-knuckle thrill ride". John Wardley, Ride Consultant for Merlin Entertainments, stated that the ride will also include a world's first feature. It will be codenamed "Secret Weapon 7" or "SW7" for short. SW7 will be the next attraction in the 'Secret Weapon' line-up. The ride is expected to open in 2013 or 2014 and will have a 1.4 metre height restriction.
The "YourDay" DVD system enables visitors who wear optional RFID wristbands during their stay at the park to be filmed on eight of the main rides and at various locations around the park. Wristbands can later then be returned to the Your Day shop; where personalized footage will be collected and inserted alongside stock footage of the rides, to produce a DVD souvenir of the visitor's day. The theme park received some press for the YourDay plan—although it is intended to be optional and used for providing personalised video of a visitor's day, the media reacted to the privacy implications and Big Brother scenario.
The Ultimate Event - Every second May, Alton Towers plays host to The Ultimate Event. It consists of "a day of fun and contemporary Christian Music." People can spend the day in the park before going to a concert at the end.
In October 2006, 15 out of 19 fast food outlets, and an independently run KFC failed local council health inspections.
Merlin Entertainments Group Ltd is a British operator of amusement parks and other attractions. It is the largest such company in Europe, and globally the second largest after Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
Merlin Entertainments is owned by Blackstone Group. Over the course of two decades, Blackstone has evolved into one of the world's largest private equity investment firms.
Blackstone was one of a handful of private equity investors capable of completing large transactions in the adverse conditions of the early 2000s recession.
Peter G. Peterson, chairman of the CFR and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that his Blackstone Group had purchased, in October 2000, the mortgage on 7 World Trade Center, the 47-story building built by Larry Silverstein in 1987. Silverstein is the person who obtained 99-year leases on the twin towers shortly before 9-11 and who insured the property and its future income against terrorism.
Peterson co-founded the Blackstone Group with Stephen A. Schwarzman, a member of the CFR and Skull and Bones. Both George W. Bush and his father are also Skull and Bones, as is John F. Kerry, a former Democrat presidential candidate.