Here in the UK, we don’t have a strong night-time theme park culture, which means we have very few opportunities to enjoy rides in the dark. Usually, the only time Alton Towers fans are guaranteed a taste of night-time Nemmy or a wilder-than-usual ride on Wicker Man is during the Scarefest and fireworks events at the tail end of the season. That means, from March until September, the only way to ride our favourite coasters in the dark is by closing our eyes – until now.

On 25th January 2024, with less than two months to go until the start of the season, Alton Towers announced Alton After Dark, which is when theme park hours will be extended until 8pm – at least two hours later than usual operations.

Yes, on the first three Saturdays of the 2024 season (16th, 23rd and 30th March) Alton Towers will be open for a whopping 10 hours, from 10am until 8pm. So, if you fancy plunging into an even darker tunnel on Oblivion or careening through the eerie woods on Thirteen, it’s something you’re going to want to check out.

Prepping to show off their new toy

There’s also speculation that there’s an ulterior motive afoot. It’s no major secret that Nemesis Reborn will make its debut this year, featuring plenty of theming upgrades around the ride area and across Forbidden Valley. Could part of that reimagining include brand-new lighting, including onboard lighting? If so, then there’s no surprise that Alton Towers doesn’t want to wait until the end of the season to show it off.

Another stab in the dark

Later openings are something Alton Towers has attempted before, but during the summer months – this is the first time they’ve done so at the start of the season. It may well be a hint at what’s to come as the park seeks to establish itself as a year-round destination. Hopefully, it’s more than just enthusiasts who see value in staying at the park after dark and it’s a roaring success for Alton Towers. If so, we could see similar events in the future, which might encourage the park to invest in more permanent lighting so we don’t have to endure the constant smell of generator fumes like we do during Scarefest.