I was first in line for Alton Towers’ Nemesis Reborn – it’s intense and emotional

My heart flutters and I’m surprised to feel slightly emotional as a train carrying eight rows of thrill seekers sets off with a cheer for one of the first rides on Nemesis Reborn at Alton Towers Resort. 

Nemesis Reborn is the much-anticipated return of the Staffordshire theme park’s iconic rollercoaster. The transformation has seen the entire 250-tonne, 716-metre-long track of the original Nemesis rollercoaster replaced. And as a theme park enthusiast, I’m excited – and a little nervous – to try the new version of this legendary ride.

Nemesis is the rollercoaster that sparked my love for theme parks. I first rode it 20 years ago, screaming with delight for the whole 80 seconds. I already enjoyed theme parks – the escapism, the fun, the adrenaline rush – but it was riding Nemesis when I was 11 with my sister and dad that started my obsession. 

Fans experience one of the first rides of the day at the opening of Nemesis Reborn at Alton Towers Resort (Photo: James Speakman/PA Wire)
Fans experience one of the first rides of the day at the opening of Nemesis Reborn at Alton Towers Resort (Photo: James Speakman/PA Wire)

So naturally, I couldn’t wait to try this reimagining of the ride. The original Nemesis opened in 1994, to the tune of £10m, and has had a cult following ever since. It closed on 6 November 2022 so that the entire track could be replaced.

And this weekend, on 16 March it reopened to the public as Nemesis Reborn. I was lucky to be one of the first riders at a preview the night before. 

Smoke drifted in the darkness and the ride’s foreboding theme music played as I walked into Forbidden Valley, the apocalyptic wasteland-styled area of the park home to Nemesis Reborn. My husband and I grinned at each other as we approached the ride entrance.

Riders on the opening day of Nemesis Reborn (Photo: James Speakman/PA Wire)
Riders on the opening day of Nemesis Reborn (Photo: James Speakman/PA Wire)

The new track is black, with striking red veins snaking across it. The back story is that a secret organisation called The Phalanx has been keeping the Nemesis beast – the creature from another dimension at the heart of the ride – under control since 1994, pinned down by the twisting steel track. The new theme includes a crashed helicopter and the beast’s red tentacles. These additions make it more immersive than before, with a sense that something unearthly is lurking. The vivid, 3D animated red eye outside the Nemesis station, blinking and staring, and surrounded by gnarly teeth, gets the adrenalin pumping.

I loved the original Nemesis, so I was curious and apprehensive to see how Reborn would compare. Would it be as intense? As exciting? 

We eagerly took our seats in the front row of the inverted coaster, our legs swinging beneath us. Securely strapped in, the ride started up the lift hill, which is the only piece of original track that remains. Then we were off. 

The new track follows the same layout as before, so fans still experience the ride’s legendary elements. As we roared around at top speeds of 50mph, we were flipped upside down four times – my favourite being the weightless zero-g roll over the station. I couldn’t help but scream pretty much the whole way. 

One of the reasons it’s such a unique experience is how it interacts with the landscape. The ride is built in a pit, which makes for lots of thrilling near-misses as we darted through the dark. Dangling beneath the track adds to its intensity.

I was laughing from the thrill as the train pulled back into the station. I was so glad that it was as good as the original I’d first ridden 20 years ago. It’s just as intense, and even feels faster. I liked that it seemed smoother – my ears didn’t get bashed into the over-the-shoulder restraints like they used to. And I’m pleased to say that the distinctive “Nemesis roar” – the sound the train makes as it rushes along the track – is still present. 

As the ride opened to the public the next morning, the queue was already showing as 275 minutes, testament to its popularity. There was a great atmosphere, with actors roaming through the crowds. Even the new shop for Nemesis Reborn – Supply Store Bunker 94 – had a long queue for those eager to snap up some merch.

Long queues are testament to the ride's popularity (Photo: James Speakman/PA Wire)
Long queues are testament to the ride’s popularity (Photo: James Speakman/PA Wire)

Everyone I spoke to said how much they enjoyed it, even if they were shaking after they’d got off. People seemed okay with the long queue – I think most realised getting to experience the ride on open day would mean waiting, and those in the queue were smiling and laughing, even when they still had hours left to go.

It was worth the wait to ride this legendary ride. Even if the queues stay long, I’ll be back again.

Day passes to Alton Towers cost from £35pp, two-day passes from £48pp. Fast Track Platinum ticket is an additional £120, reducing waiting times for Nemesis Reborn and several more rides. Alton Towers After Dark takes place on 23 and 30 March when opening is extended to 8pm