Alton Tower’s 2023 event season has kicked off with the celebration of the world’s first 14-looping rollercoaster, The Smiler, in its 10th year. So, what is Festival of Thrills all about? We were lucky enough to visit the park this weekend to find out.

From April 17th to May 9th, The Festive of Thrills event will see the Ministry of Joy - The Smiler’s secretive organisation, taking over the park with live shows, themed decorations and the chance to win an overnight stay at the Resort, all whilst enjoying all the usual exhilirating rides and attractions.

Tickets can be booked directly through the Alton Towers site before visiting.

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The takeover begins as soon as you enter the park on Towers Street, where guests can collect their Ministry of Joy identity card, a challenge which puts you in the running to win an overnight stay at the Alton Towers Resort.

At each of the major coasters around the park, there is a stand for you to collect a stamp once your ride each coaster. After collecting your six stamps, all you need to do is simply take a selfie with the stamped card, tag Alton Towers and use the #FestivalOfThrills hashtag to enter.

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Once we were done running around collecting all of our stamps, it was time to check out some of the event-specific shows located over in X-Sector, the area in which The Smiler is located.

I'm not a fan of audience participation, so I watched from afar after noticing the wording 'volunteer advocates are required' on the time board, but they were all great fun to watch and a real draw for families attending the park. 

Shows available include:


Meet the personnel behind the Marmalisers' mind manipulations. Let our twisted balloon modeller and magical tickle your fancy. The Hyptoniser will mesmerise your mind with body bending delights.


It’s the annual office gathering at the Ministry of Joy, the secret organisation behind The Smiler. Take your tie off and put your grin on as you meet your Ministry of Joy colleague – happy host, Felix E.Lated, in your flamboyant attire for a series of joyful singalongs.


MOJ Fear agents invite you to push your fear limit. Can you pass the ultimate test or risk the ultimate consequence…failure! An interactive show where you are subjected to your worst fears.

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We loved the addition of The Smiler-themed decorations across the park. Despite this being much more evident in the area of The Smiler, The X-Sector, there were banners, stickers, ride-based props and themed audio across the park, which were all nice touches to tie the event together.

At Visit Birmingham, we never need an excuse to visit Alton Towers. The rides, the entertainment, the atmosphere and the beautiful gardens make it one of our favourite days out in the region. Alton Towers know how to throw a great event, and we can’t wait to return to the park for the next.