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Ice Age 4D – Reviewed

Ice Age 4D – Reviewed

Along with Nemesis Sub-Terra, 2012 sees the introduction of another attraction at Alton Towers Resort; Ice Age 4D, following wide speculation throughout the early part of 2011 where rumours stated there was to be a 4D attraction added to the park. At the time it was believed to be themed around the Shrek movies. Aimed at the family market – “Ice Age” is a now Household name ever since the launch of the first movie back in 2002, through to the latest release for 2012 entitled “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, which no doubt spurred the choice to introduce Intellectual Property of this brand into the park.

Note: There will be major spoilers ahead, detailing the complete attraction experience. If you wish to experience Ice-Age 4D, unaware of what is in store, then please discontinue reading and return after riding to share your thoughts!

Ice Age 4D

Entrance to Cloud Cuckoo Land

Entrance to Cloud Cuckoo Land

The attraction replaces the 2011 “Go Go Go Show”, housed in the old “Barney’s” theatre in Cloud Cuckoo Land – an area of the park dedicated to smaller children and families. For many seasons the theatre has been home to live shows including Barney The Dinosaur, Snorlix the Dragon and the aforementioned Go Go Go Show in 2011 which was a popular live action musical show which included guests taking part by hurling socks onto the stage!  The theatre has been completely gutted and re-themed both inside and out with the entrance trying to imitate a scene from the movie. The whole area is ice blue with icicles hanging from the theatre roof. The benches and musical trumpets that once stood in front of the theatre have been replaced with even more themeing elements from the movie, and there is now a dedicated queue line/entrance in place due to the expected  increased popularity of the attraction.

Guests are required to walk through a very well painted queue line – the fences are a combination of ice blue and white which do look really smart.

The queue line leads to the old entrance of the theatre where there is a Chroma Key (Green Screen)

Entrance Themeing

Entrance Themeing

photo opportunity where guests can immerse themselves into a scene from the movie. The queue line also has multiple TV screens dotted around playing a loop of “Scrat” the Sabre Tooth Squirrel chasing his beloved acorn in an attempt to keep guests amused while waiting. In theory this is a great idea but the loop is simply too short and we managed to view it about 3-4 times while we waited, which became quite tedious. The exterior does look good and is themed really nicely, though we can’t help thinking it really does look out of place in the corner of Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Guests are handed their 3D glasses as they enter the theatre, however for the first time at a Merlin Park, Alton Towers have opted for paper/disposable glasses, which seems a little out of place and an unnecessary reoccurring cost. They also don’t fit too well, especially on smaller children. The whole theatre has been completely re-themed and re-worked. It appears to be much more spacious; presumably due to the old stage being removed and the screen being much further back. Themeing is plentiful and complimented by atmospheric ice blue lighting – the seating is all arranged centrally so there are no longer any seats placed behind/near the supporting columns, which have also been themed to look like ice stacks.

Inside the Theatre

Inside the Theatre

We were a little disappointed by the seating arrangements – if we’re honest, we were expecting Merlin to have re-used the seats from the now closed “Time Voyages” 4D attraction at Thorpe Park, but as it happens guests are asked to sit on uncomfortable wooden benches. Whilst these are an easy-access option and surely easy to keep clean and maintain, it gives quite a cheap feel to the experience.

The movie itself is really quite entertaining, following a similar plot to the original 3rd movie as Sid (a ground Sloth) acquires three eggs which hatch and emerge to be dinosaurs who think Sid is their mummy. Multiple effects are used including seat vibrations, leg ticklers, snow, wind fans, bubbles and effective lighting which all add to a rather pleasant attraction experience. The movie soundtrack however did seem to be awfully loud – we as adults thought it was too loud and we also heard complaints from younger guests saying the same.

Once the show is over, guests are directed via the same exit as before the re-theme and through to a brand new Ice Age merchandise store where fans can purchase their previously taken photo, or a cuddly ice age toy, amongst other official merchandise. Overall, we think it’s a valued addition to the park. The Ice Age brand remains strong amongst families with small children, though we would question the longevity of its popularity/appeal.

 

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