What are Alopecia UK doing at Alton Towers? Simply facilitating a large group of people to go and do an activity that is typically avoided by those with alopecia, i.e. going on rollercoasters. We find that having plenty of us there gives a confidence boost!
When will the event take place? Saturday 8th April 2017. Opening and closing times are still to be confirmed by Alton Towers although we anticipate it will open at 10am with ride queues closing at 5pm. Alton Towers have confirmed that they will be open that day (despite their website not yet showing this).
Why? Theme parks and rollercoasters can typically be an activity that people with alopecia either avoid or donít enjoy as much as they should due to worrying over concerns about wearing wigs and hats on rollercoasters. Alopecia UK organised an Alton Towers day out for the first time in 2014. It was a fantastic day that was enjoyed by everyone, so much so that we decided to make it an annual event so that more people affected by alopecia can enjoy the experience.
How does it work?
Volunteers wait at the entrance in the morning from about 9:15am (and pray it doesnít rain!) while attendees arrive and collect their tickets & goody bags.
Attendees can then either just go through in their own little group with their friends/family or hang back to go through with an Alopecia UK group at 10am.
We will offer groups to go around the park with based on height and rides.
We will also arrange two meet ups throughout the day (this will all be communicated ahead of the day)
More information about timings and groups can be found here.
What else do I need to know? We ask those who attend this Alopecia UK event to wear a blue Alopecia UK t-shirt and/or jacket/hoodie which we sell at a discount price for this event (when purchased at the same time as buying tickets). Wearing the blue Alopecia UK clothing is quite a crucial part of the event. It raises awareness in the park but it also means we can easily spot each other which is a nice part of the day as then you realise how many of us are in the park and it creates a friendly supportive atmosphere. It can be a bit daunting wearing your t-shirt at first but as the day goes on you start to see everyone else around the park and you know that the general public in the park know what youíre doing as they will have spotted everyone as well (we're hard to miss!).
Do I have to buy a blue Alopecia UK t-shirt and/or jacket/hoodie? It is not compulsory however we would recommend that you do as it will help you to feel included and a part of the event on the day. Everyone wearing the blue tops is what creates the supportive atmospherein the park and everyone has fun spotting the blue tops as they make their way around the park (particularly the children! So please do make the effort if you can!).If it is someone's first time and they feel a bit nervous about standing out as having alopecia, then it is perfectly understandable that they may not feel entirely comfortable wearing the blue tops. But trust us when we say they might feel differently on the day which is why we recommend getting a top just in case!
I've bought an Alopecia UK t-shirt/jacket/hoodie. When will it arrive? If you buy your t-shirt/hoodie at discount price as part of your Eventbrite registration (when you buy your tickets) you will receive them at the beginning of April in the post. We would usually give them out at the event however 2017 will be the first time we post them out, namely because Jen's car is no longer big enough to fit everything in! If you buy your t-shirts/hoodies at full price through the Charity eBay store they will arrive up to a week after you have placed your order.
Is everyone going to be showing their alopecia and removing wigs/hats to go on the rides? It is about personal choice and whatever you feel comfortable doing. There will be lots of us around doing some awareness raising and taking wigs/hats off to go on the rides. We have found in previous years that lots of people actually want to remove their headwear and felt quite empowered doing so, particularly because it was amongst a large group of others with alopecia. Some people wear wigs and hats, others don't, and some just take it off in the queue for rides. The nice thing is that people feel free to choose. It can be quite a nerve wracking thing to do if you don't normally show anyone your alopecia, if this is the case for you we would encourage you to join an Alopecia UK group just in case you do decide you want to remove headwear for going on rides. You certainly do not have to and you will be respected, as well as supported, in what you choose to wear or not wear. While many may have wigs/headcoverings that stay on when going on rollercoasters, we want to create an environment where people feel comfortable to have the choice in what they do! (Weather permitting - it can be quite chilly in April!).
Do we have the whole park to ourselves? No unfortunately not. Alton Towers is a huge theme park! But we will organise for everybody to meet up so that you can go round the park in a group if you want to (see 'How does it work?').
Can I meet other attendees beforehand? We will set up a private Facebook group at least two weeks before the event and invite attendees to join so they can meet others before the day. We do this with most of our events as we find it helps to break the ice and reduce any nerves. People also find it useful for information and advice.
How can I get there? It is your own responsibility to get to Alton Towers and collect your tickets in time.
For any ID requirements for the park, age limits for rides, transport/parking questions or questions about disability, please refer to the Alton Towers website.
What about accommodation? It is up to yourself to arrange accommodation if you want to stay over at all. Most Alopecia UK volunteers will be staying in the Travelodge at Ashbourne if anyone wants to stay in the same place.
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions? You can
contact Alopecia UK Events Manager, Jen Chambers, via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07763293687 (we will also have
this phone with us on the day should you need to contact us).