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Dan_Rush

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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13 hours ago, Coaster said:

It looks like most of the Bowladrome's facade (or even the building, difficult to tell) has gone.  Looks like they're Making big changes.

Mack Big Dipper on the way lads there's enough space there for one if Bowladrome has gone and Wild Mouse has gone and Trauma Towers has been demolished the only things which need to happen now are impossible to be removed and the burger place to be removed and you've easily got enough space for one. At the same time you could tidy up river caves and remove the nightmarish horse thing at the end and tidy up the bin bag tunnel at the end. On the other hand, I couldn't see this happening as they would have to shut The Grand National, River Caves and possibly even the Ghost Train. Blackpool wouldn't want to close 3+ rides for the construction of a new coaster and they wouldn't want to close a major link around the park.

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On 12/9/2018 at 9:55 PM, Coaster said:

It's a bit different when you phone people up to upsell renewals, promise that it'll be the cheapest price possible for 2019 season passes and then completely go against that.

 

Just wait until we lose a few more of the unique steeple attractions, then it really will be time to stop visiting.

 

I'll believe that when I see it.

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36 minutes ago, Mark9 said:

 

I'll believe that when I see it.

They are hanging on a thread believe me... if the likes of National and Steeplechase are removed and replaced with modern coasters I won't have any reason to go back other than once to "get the credit" so to speak.

 

Steeplechase is the one to watch, I'm told it's going at some point within the next 3 seasons.  (This isn't confirmation, plans can change, this sort of information isn't always right, I'm not suggesting I know this is 100% happening but it is a possibility).

 

The appeal of BPB to me is the unique range of rides and coasters dating back to 1904, it's what makes the park different to other parks.  There's modern coasters 40 minutes away from me at Thorpe and better versions of rides like Icon abroad.

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The problem with BPB is they dont have any spare land to expand into. The bowladrome was an eye sore which doesn't have as much historical importance. Its clearly paving the way to build on Icon's success. It would be great to see another Mack attraction which I think is highly likely considering the good relationship between the Mack and Thompson families. 

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7 minutes ago, Stuntman707 said:

The problem with BPB is they dont have any spare land to expand into. The bowladrome was an eye sore which doesn't have as much historical importance. Its clearly paving the way to build on Icon's success. It would be great to see another Mack attraction which I think is highly likely considering the good relationship between the Mack and Thompson families. 

Agreed they are really good but don't come as cheap as a wacky worm.🤣🤣🤣

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55 minutes ago, Stuntman707 said:

The problem with BPB is they dont have any spare land to expand into. The bowladrome was an eye sore which doesn't have as much historical importance. Its clearly paving the way to build on Icon's success. It would be great to see another Mack attraction which I think is highly likely considering the good relationship between the Mack and Thompson families. 

Oh yeah the Bowladrome has looked terrible for years, I never understood the flinstones theme!  Glad it's finally gone tbh.

 

They showed with Icon that they can use space creatively, I think the fact they managed to build it around the PB Express without having to remove or reroute it is commendable.

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I think a Mack Big Dipper would be amazing here, I also think BPB should maybe try and pin down RMC eventually.

Sure BPB has a vast history, but every ride has a life span and they can't keep all their classics operating forever..

The park also has a lack of space so to make new investments some rides might be on the chopping block, this is not a bad thing.

 

I hope Steeplechase stays as I don't really think that they could add anything in that space due to Streak, Big One, and Icon wrapping around it,

I think maybe they could get S&S in to give it new trains and maybe re-track it if possible considering S&S are now producing a similar model.

I wouldn't be surprised though if we didn't see any big investments for a decade or so, the park did just build Icon after all..

 

 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, JoshuaA said:

I think a Mack Big Dipper would be amazing here, I also think BPB should maybe try and pin down RMC eventually.

Sure BPB has a vast history, but every ride has a life span and they can't keep all their classics operating forever..

The park also has a lack of space so to make new investments some rides might be on the chopping block, this is not a bad thing.

 

I hope Steeplechase stays as I don't really think that they could add anything in that space due to Streak, Big One, and Icon wrapping around it,

I think maybe they could get S&S in to give it new trains and maybe re-track it if possible considering S&S are now producing a similar model.

I wouldn't be surprised though if we didn't see any big investments for a decade or so, the park did just build Icon after all..

 

 

 

 

100% I totally agree ICON was a 16 million pound investment and I know 1 of these comes to the Towers every 3-5 years however The Merlin Parks sell a lot more tickets in there multiple theme parks than Blackpools 1 amusement park.

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1 hour ago, JoshuaA said:

I think a Mack Big Dipper would be amazing here, I also think BPB should maybe try and pin down RMC eventually.

Sure BPB has a vast history, but every ride has a life span and they can't keep all their classics operating forever..

The park also has a lack of space so to make new investments some rides might be on the chopping block, this is not a bad thing.

 

I hope Steeplechase stays as I don't really think that they could add anything in that space due to Streak, Big One, and Icon wrapping around it,

I think maybe they could get S&S in to give it new trains and maybe re-track it if possible considering S&S are now producing a similar model.

I wouldn't be surprised though if we didn't see any big investments for a decade or so, the park did just build Icon after all..

Icon hasn't been as successful as they hoped in terms of attracting higher gate figures, so I believe things have been put on hold in relation to another new coaster.

 

I think they need to keep hold of what makes them different, if people aren't interested in Icon (which was a huge investment) it says a lot really.  With limited space they can't really build the "best" modern coasters in the world, but they can say they have a collection of rides from all different eras, it's sort of a USP.

 

Of course they need to invest in new rides to keep the park thriving, but Icon's limited success has shown that it isn't all people come for.

 

Opening weekend for Icon saw it running 2 trains, Big One was also on 2 full trains running pretty well and had a longer queue than Icon most of the time.  Never seen anything like it really, we expected PMBO to be walk on and Icon on 2+ hours but it just didn't happen.

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2 hours ago, Stuntman707 said:

You can't judge performance on queue times. When I visited, the Big one had a longer queue as it was taking longer to dispatch. Icon was a shorter wait but the queue was moving way quicker.

Very true.  I did however state that on this occasion, Big One was running well with quick dispatches.  Considering that Icon's trains seat 16 and PMBO's seat 30, and that the duration of The Big One is only slightly longer, I'd suggest the throughputs would have been about equal.

 

Even so, Wicker Man has consistently had 1-2 hour queues even when running efficiently, yet Icon rarely has anything above 30.  Most Sundays I was there it was walk-on this season, and the overall park gate figures were down on last year (which in turn were down on the year before).  It's not right for a new coaster to be so quiet.

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It appears the park will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays off peak in May, September and October next year.

 

The earliest ride close on most Saturdays and throughout Easter and October Half Term has been reduced to 6pm.

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2 hours ago, Mattgwise said:

Sounds acceptable enough as long as they don't randomly close earlier like in 2018. 

It's terrible for a seaside amusement park.  A few years back the park was closing consistently at 8pm during the summer, half terms, illuminations and most Saturdays - none of this closing up to 2 hours early when they feel like it either.

 

Considering that they've just opened a £16+ million pound coaster the park should be going from strength to strength, but their failure is all down to their own mistakes and refusal to see that they're doing anything wrong.

 

I'd have seen the off peak closures as sensible if they were using the hours to open later during busy periods, but as it currently appears it's just another cutback.

 

They really have made a mess of the place.

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Whilst I get why you’d be disappointed I think it’s better if they promise lesser open hours with possible extensions if needed rather than ending up closing earlier than advertised.

 

Its a tough time for UK the UK theme park industry - Merlin in particular get an awful lot of slack from enthusiasts for cuts etc but as demonstrated by Blackpool - investments isn’t necessary the fix needed too - in which they’ve built pretty much the perfect coaster and had a decline in visitor numbers. 

 

Hopefully we see abit of an upturn soon - which will In turn give the people running all the parks the confidence to invest in them too.

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14 hours ago, Marc said:

Its a tough time for UK the UK theme park industry - Merlin in particular get an awful lot of slack from enthusiasts for cuts etc but as demonstrated by Blackpool - investments isn’t necessary the fix needed too - in which they’ve built pretty much the perfect coaster and had a decline in visitor numbers. 

Exactly and these parks are waking up that people won't plan a day out just for attractions and rides (that most people in the country have already done), they also want events and that "little bit extra" to make people sit up and actually book a day off to visit especially if they already visited last year. HPWW reportedly brought in ~3 mil people in 2016 over the course of a few weeks. That's just under double what Thorpe Park, one of the most well-known theme parks in the UK and also based roughly in the London area, brought in despite operating over a much longer period of time. 

 

Just food for thought.

 

This is my personal reason for why I think that Thorpe Park have already started advertising they'll be focusing on events next year as I presume they're aiming to make crowd numbers much higher through these. And honestly, I doubt anyone here would object to a good event that has a great atmosphere (like HPWW).

 

Love Island failed, I feel, because it was 1 event in one specific area of the park appealing to a specific demographic. The rest of the park didn't really feel anything "extra" or special. I feel having more than one event happening simultaneously spread out in the various themed regions across the park will appeal to a wider demographic and will hopefully pull those numbers up.

 

Making those events good is also crucial. Tulley's Farm, a small farm in the middle of nowhere, get almost as many people (give or take a couple of 10,000s roughly at the same time Thorpe Park operates their Fright Nights) as a well-recognised theme park for one major reason: their event is actually good (and they don't skimp on it either). 

 

Highlighting and improving areas that guests regularly complain about will mean certain members of the GP are more likely to return in the same year (make car parking free already, just add it on to the ticket price!). Look at Efteling or even Alton Towers to gain ideas on how to make your park have that magical touch visually.

 

BPB's coaster "Icon" didn't do as well as it should due to marketing. I haven't seen a single advert for BPB's new coaster on the TV, on social media or on billboards or anything. I only heard about it because I'm an enthusiast and actively search this stuff up which is something the GP don't do. Still, it looks like a great coaster that I can't wait to go on and I think it's more the long-term appeal they're looking for.

 

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1 hour ago, Ivsetti said:

HPWW reportedly brought in ~3 mil people in 2016 over the course of a few weeks. That's just under double what Thorpe Park, one of the most well-known theme parks in the UK and also based roughly in the London area, brought in despite operating over a much longer period of time. 

A fair point, and certainly Thorpe / Merlin should be taking note of the successes of Winter Wonderland. However, the attendances aren't really comparable. WW is a free event, with a significantly broader market, and a very different focus (Christmas).

 

Theme parks ultimately exist because of the rides. Winter Wonderland ultimately exists as a Christmas market with rides. Very different things.

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Making those events good is also crucial. Tulley's Farm, a small farm in the middle of nowhere, get almost as many people as a well-recognised theme park for one major reason: their event is actually good (and they don't skimp on it either). 

Tulley's doesn't get anywhere near any of the parks. A busy day for Shocktoberfest is in the region of 4000 people, and they get about 60k visitors across the whole event in a year. Thorpe can get that in 4 days. Towers get that many in their fireworks event (over 2 days).

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Highlighting and improving areas that guests regularly complain about will mean certain members of the GP are more likely to return in the same year (make car parking free already, just add it on to the ticket price!). 

I've never known if it's true, but one rumour which floated about when it was introduced back in 2010 was that it was an agreement with the council, to help ease traffic on public roads. Of course, that doesn't give reason for the high price or the chaos that ensues in the car park, and that's something which needs addressing.

 

Practically every major theme park charges for car park these days. It's just a thing now. Doesn't mean it's necessarily right, but that is the situation. 

 

 

 

Bringing this back to Icon / BPB.. I wonder how the park performed financially? Attendance is of course one way to measure success and popularity, but it's hard to gauge (and they never publicly release stats). But if attendance is down, it might not be all doom and gloom. If the park is making more money per person (and based off the significant amount of Icon merch I've seen about, that alone could have helped), or seeing improvements elsewhere, it's a good start. Of course, we'll never know, but I wouldn't be surprised if BPB have seen some form of a small, instant hit as a result of Icon.

 

As a general commentary though, it's funny seeing people express concern about Icon's lack of instant success. It's well known Merlin follow the thought process of 'any (major) new ride needs to be an instant hit'. And many people mock that philosophy. Yet when a different park does something which isn't an instant success, and very easily could be a long term success, people panic.

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1 hour ago, JoshC. said:

As a general commentary though, it's funny seeing people express concern about Icon's lack of instant success. It's well known Merlin follow the thought process of 'any (major) new ride needs to be an instant hit'. And many people mock that philosophy. Yet when a different park does something which isn't an instant success, and very easily could be a long term success, people panic.

It's true all major new attractions need to see a decent return, because of their huge cost if anything. But I suppose the difference is Merlin invest only for instant hits, they never invest in the value of the actual park, beyond basic maintenance.

Big money gets invested in headline rides, anything else is sidelined. So other than new rides, the state of their parks is pretty poor, including not investing in proper operations to keep queues down and generally not creating a place to be. Then their new rides are also left to decline once they've stopped serving that instant return. Even when new land is added like the Swarm's island expansion, it's just a minimal dead-end, when it had opportunity to add much needed value to the park and create more throughfare.

 

This stuff all has an impact on guests experience. But Merlin's marketing depts still think yet another quick 'rebrand' with new signs, music and logos will do the trick, instead of proper long term investment.

Icon at Blackpool was more beneficial to the park's overall value I feel, as well as a headline attraction for that year. It should have been advertised more (beyond the previs videos on BBC that made it look boring!), but it adds a modern element to the park's offering, making the Pleasure Beach a much more rounded day out.

I hope BPB sees increasing appeal from here on and gets back on track, but it won't if it lets the momentum die.

Looking at parks abroad that began the same way as Thorpe Park in the 70s/80s, you can see how they've taken a much more holistic approach over their history and today are altogether much better places to visit. But Thorpe Park has become so confused by cheap rehashes and short term investments, that I feel it doesnt deliver a solid appeal with many people anymore.  Other than Derren Brown, which was probably intended to be a long term investment in the park, but because of its bad development it ended up so esoteric, with costs so out of proportion to its actual entertainment factor.

I agree that stronger focus on good events would really help the park. Fright Nights still excites a lot of people in the region, but then why is it getting worse each year? Why is it advertised so much, but then so minimal in reality? You could have a far better Halloween event almost anywhere else, like the brilliant events at farm parks as mentioned earlier. You actually need to put the focus on entertainment for once, instead of the lazy minimal approach currently.

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I wonder if it's not as simple as Blackpool Pleasure Beach being the only ones at fault for declining or stagnating attendance. 

 

As an example, it's cheaper and quicker for me to get to Efteling for 3 nights than Blackpool for 2 nights (on the basis of like for like hotel quality and facilities) as I'm in the coastal South West of England.

 

The desire to visit the park is there for me, especially with Icon opening, and their tickets are affordable. But trains are increasing in price year on year and decreasingly reliable. 

 

Thorpe on the other hand is right near a motorway next to a capital city. For me it's quick and easy. Even Alton is more centrally located.

 

I can only speak for myself as to my reasons for not visiting, but I wouldn't be surprised if this puts people off visiting if they're not immediately in the North of the country.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, JoshC. said:

Bringing this back to Icon / BPB.. I wonder how the park performed financially? Attendance is of course one way to measure success and popularity, but it's hard to gauge (and they never publicly release stats). But if attendance is down, it might not be all doom and gloom. If the park is making more money per person (and based off the significant amount of Icon merch I've seen about, that alone could have helped), or seeing improvements elsewhere, it's a good start. Of course, we'll never know, but I wouldn't be surprised if BPB have seen some form of a small, instant hit as a result of Icon.

 

As a general commentary though, it's funny seeing people express concern about Icon's lack of instant success. It's well known Merlin follow the thought process of 'any (major) new ride needs to be an instant hit'. And many people mock that philosophy. Yet when a different park does something which isn't an instant success, and very easily could be a long term success, people panic.

Icon is a solid long term investment but it is concerning that it doesn't seem to have had any impact on the park's gate figures at all, with them actually decreasing.  It's definitely a better and more long-term investment than many of Merlin's, but even so it should have had an immediate level of success too.

 

In addition it's more concerning for PB to have spent millions on a ride that flops than Merlin because they don't have financial backing to support a huge loss in money, and considering that the park came close to closing not so long ago, it's justified IMO.

 

The drastic cutbacks to opening times are enough to show that the park is not in a good place currently, there's lots going on behind the scenes too and none of it good.  Next year will be awful, and their absolute disregard for customer service will ultimately be their downfall.

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Pleasure Beach has to face reality that Blackpool is a dying seaside town, in fact the whole leisure industry of the North has to face up the issues it will continue to face, especially with so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit for example (especially if the estimates of damaged local economies comes true).

 

I think the Pleasure Beach itself is making the right steps, in fact, I'd say its making essential steps to continue its own survival. It can't absorb losses like the Merlin parks and it certainly can't have the wide hours it has done previously. Icon is a funny one because it is clearly loved by most enthusiasts and the visitors on both my trips really enjoyed it. Maybe it will be a bit like the Swarm in which it seems unappreciated and have no effect on visitor numbers but is actually well loved by park guests. And to me, that's far more important then flash in the pan successes with no redeeming features.

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On 12/29/2018 at 12:44 PM, Coaster said:

It appears the park will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays off peak in May, September and October next year.

 

The earliest ride close on most Saturdays and throughout Easter and October Half Term has been reduced to 6pm.

Can I insult this? If this was Merlin you would be all on the offensive attach?

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