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Blackpool Pleasure Beach


Dan_Rush
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How busy is it / what is the weather like?

I'm never a fan of parks cutting opening times on the day, but if they've really not got the numbers to justify their closing time, I can at least understand the decision.

It was raining on and off, however it wasn't particularly heavy rain. They were advertising an 8pm close yesterday when in fact they decided to close at 6pm and today they are advertising a 7pm close however we have left now so I don't know whether they stuck to this (although the weather was a lot nicer today!).

I reckon queues reached about 20-30 mins max yesterday. We certainly waited 20 - 25mins for red arrows and also waited about the same for infusion and avalanche. We didn't wait too long for the big one however it looked like it got to about a 15-20 min queue on 1.5 train service. Wild mouse we also probably waited around 20 mins and most other rides were between 5 - 10mins wait on average.

Something which annoyed me was the fact that they were reducing capacity of the rides while the park was open! It always bugs me at thorpe park when they open up their rides on minimum capacity and then have to close them to add an extra train to the service, but here instead they closed avalanche halfway through the day to remove a train to reduce capacity to a one train op(we rode it in the morning on two then in the afternoon on one) and on grand national where they reduced the capacity at 11 am from a two train (on either side) to a one train service. They also opened up steeplechase on two lanes, increased capacity to three, then after no more than a couple of hours, reduced it back to one. I would love an explanation as to why they are doing this. It's just crazy!?

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It was raining on and off, however it wasn't particularly heavy rain. They were advertising an 8pm close yesterday when in fact they decided to close at 6pm and today they are advertising a 7pm close however we have left now so I don't know whether they stuck to this (although the weather was a lot nicer today!).

I reckon queues reached about 20-30 mins max yesterday. We certainly waited 20 - 25mins for red arrows and also waited about the same for infusion and avalanche. We didn't wait too long for the big one however it looked like it got to about a 15-20 min queue on 1.5 train service. Wild mouse we also probably waited around 20 mins and most other rides were between 5 - 10mins wait on average.

Something which annoyed me was the fact that they were reducing capacity of the rides while the park was open! It always bugs me at thorpe park when they open up their rides on minimum capacity and then have to close them to add an extra train to the service, but here instead they closed avalanche halfway through the day to remove a train to reduce capacity to a one train op(we rode it in the morning on two then in the afternoon on one) and on grand national where they reduced the capacity at 11 am from a two train (on either side) to a one train service. They also opened up steeplechase on two lanes, increased capacity to three, then after no more than a couple of hours, reduced it back to one. I would love an explanation as to why they are doing this. It's just crazy!?

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Reducing capacity happens on Steeplechase based on the queue, if the queue is short then they will only run two lanes - I agree it can be frustrating at times.

 

In the case of the other rides, I imagine they were expecting the park to be busier and therefore reduced capacity after they realised that it was going to be a quieter day.  That doesn't excuse it however, and when you are already having park time reduced by two hours it is unacceptable to then reduce ride capacity as well.

 

It also shows that they can change ride capacity when they want to, which begs the question - why don't they increase capacity when the queues are longer than they expected?

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Don't know if any of you know BPB was in the Daily Mail (Daily Fail) with the headline : Moment passengers are stranded on a roller coaster in Blackpool for 20 minutes after The Big One broke down.

 

Source Daily Mail : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3521748/Moment-passengers-stranded-roller-coaster-Blackpool-20-minutes-Big-One-broke-down.html

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Don't know if any of you know BPB was in the Daily Mail (Daily Fail) with the headline : Moment passengers are stranded on a roller coaster in Blackpool for 20 minutes after The Big One broke down.

 

Source Daily Mail : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3521748/Moment-passengers-stranded-roller-coaster-Blackpool-20-minutes-Big-One-broke-down.html

I'm jealous, I'd love to have an evac from the MCBR!

 

How the hell does that make the news though?!

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Okay, different kind of question here but does steeplechase count as three credits if you do all three lanes? Just wondering as I'm doing a bit of a tally up.

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I'd say not. Others may say yes.

Is the layout largely the same for all 3 lanes? If it is then I'd only count it as one credit, as it's basically riding a racing roller coaster which, in my opinion, only counts as one credit.

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A combination of the two I think, and the fact that slow capacity + long queues = Sp££dy Pass sales.

Increasing capacity requires getting the train ready which is a process that takes a lot of time. Not only that putting them away at the end of the day takes hours. If it's expected to be quiet then they will not have as many engineers on site so will not have the capability to add more trains.

While speedy passes do seem the reason they will not generate a huge sum of money compared to not hiring engineers for more hours.

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Increasing capacity requires getting the train ready which is a process that takes a lot of time. Not only that putting them away at the end of the day takes hours. If it's expected to be quiet then they will not have as many engineers on site so will not have the capability to add more trains.

While speedy passes do seem the reason they will not generate a huge sum of money compared to not hiring engineers for more hours.

I fully understand that, but it is still unacceptable to run rides on low capacity when the queues are long, and they have proven that they can reduce capacity when required.  Whilst some rides (especially PMBO due to the transfer track setup) take a long time to add/remove a train, rides such as Big Dipper can add or remove a train in less than 5 minutes thanks to a very fast transfer track system.

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I was present at BPB during the weekend, and as on previous visits, the Big One team started loading sandbag/ballast on the rear of one train, gradually reducing the capacity of it to about half. At the end of the day, they always load the bags in anticipation of the next morning's tests. I would say, that this is the staff trying to save themselves from having a late departure, nothing else. Really annoying when one is waiting in a queue and a sandbag is given priority.

 

Mid morning and they took a train off (contusion/) Infusion, again. I'd have thought it easier to just buckle all seats on one and leave it running empty.

 

One of the team on Sky Force became confused somewhat when I suggested they take two planes off to speed up loading, and April Fools had passed.

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Thanks. I am off to the park Wednesday and it's forecast to be 20mph and westerly which I've heard is the direction that affects it the most.

So the forecast for Wednesday is now 50mph gusts, typical. Looks like Thursday will be a better option and that's the only other day I can do.

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Taking a train off early means engineers can start on it's checks early so they don't have to at the end of the day. It will also save the ride team a small amount of time at the end of the day.

Not defending them by any means just trying to explain there side of the story. Reducing capacity during the day is annoying and shouldn't be done.

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  • 3 weeks later...

An interesting interview with Amanda Thompson:

Quote

After my interview with Pleasure Beach boss Amanda Thompson, I feel like I have just stepped off one of the high-adrenaline rides the park is famous for.

The 90 minutes has sped by, my brain is buzzing from all the ideas she bounces across the table and at every turn in the conversation her enthusiasm for Blackpool brims forth.

From tales of how her forbears swapped designs for rides with Walt Disney to plans for the next multi-million pound investment at the attraction, it is a whirlwind insight into the success of one of the town’s tourism gems.


This year the Pleasure Beach marks its 120th anniversary, always in the ownership of the Thompson family, while the Hot Ice Show will celebrate its 80th production.

Amanda herself has been producing Hot Ice since 1991, but is as passionate as ever about the extravaganza that boasts former Olympic skaters from around the globe, flying in from as far away as Japan, Russia, Mexico and America.

She said: “It is the longest running ice show in the world, and this year will be particularly amazing because so many people want the skaters I have got.

“It is known to be hard and they have to be super fit, and the skaters say being in Hot Ice is as hard as training for the Olympics.

“It is like having a degree from Oxford, if you have skated in Hot Ice you are guaranteed a job in ice skating anywhere in the world.


“There is a cast of 31 people in the show and they are all hired because they are brilliant at what they do.

“They are always challenging themselves. I don’t have a problem if they fall because they are trying to do something more challenging.”

This year there will be eight shows at the Pleasure Beach, including the Evolution of Magic which sees magician Craig Christian return to Blackpool after performing in Miami.

“I think the Harry Potter influence has created a lot of new interest in magic and bought it all back again,” says Amanda.


“The Evolution of Magic is a really cool and laid back show. Craig Christian really wanted to come back to Blackpool and he said the Horseshoe here was the home of magic.

“Mystique had to close because of the smoking ban, but it was such a great show, sexy and fun, and it will definitely be back.” There is very much a global influence on everything that happens at the Pleasure Beach, and Amanda is on the board of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), as well as chairman of the IAAPA European, Middle East and Africa committee.

She said: “I am working with the heads of Disney, Universal Studios and Europa Park and Blackpool Pleasure Beach is very highly regarded in the international world because of our history and because we are family owned. It is a sort of one-off that something has been in one family for such a long time.

“It is not always easy because everyone has different values within a family, but everything has to be excellent quality and we have worked hard to make sure our audience believe the Pleasure Beach is great and different from everywhere else. We think about the rides we put in very carefully, and everything is done for the long term, and we want Blackpool Pleasure Beach to be the brand that other people want to work with. “Nickelodeon is a massive global brand and they chose Blackpool Pleasure Beach as a partner when they could have worked anywhere in the world.”

As well as Nickelodeon Land, recent additions have included the Wallace and Gromit Thrill-O-Matic ride and the Red Arrows Skyforce Ride - all proving big names want to be part of the attraction.


There was much criticism when a £5 entry charge was introduced to the park a few years ago, but this has created a safer, more family-friendly atmosphere which is why these organisations have been willing to come on board.

On the surface it means visitor figures appear to have dropped, but Amanda suggests more folk used the park as a “short cut” home in the pre-charging days, rather than a tourist destination.

Now there are formal admission gates meaning numbers can be properly counted which helps in managing the park better.

This year there is a focus on events - from a display by the Red Arrows on May 21, to ‘Summer Time Games’ and six nights of fireworks.

The attraction was also one of the first to embrace the Resort Pass, happy to link up with other key destinations in the town to give visitors more to do, at better value, and hopefully ensuring they stay overnight.

“I think it is a good value product and excellent for families and local people,” says Amanda.

“Hopefully it brings more business to the town. Everything we create here, we reinvest. We don’t take the money out of Blackpool, we keep it in the resort.

“And that’s part of our goal, that Blackpool remains top of the British resorts.

“It upsets me when I hear about people going to Brighton, but we do need to entice people with better restaurants and more boutiques. We need 75 amazing restaurants in town and then there will be something for everyone.

“I also think if we had a big conference centre, that would be great for the town. I would have preferred the airport to stay open, but it hasn’t, and they could develop an amazing conference centre on that site.”

Amanda’s own plans include a multi-million pound new ride, although details are still under wraps, which will launch in 2018. But she is prepared to spill the beans on her hopes of opening a museum at the Pleasure Beach one day.

“I want to turn Noah’s Ark into a heritage museum. We have such a lovely archive here, with designs of rides, photographs, pictures of the designs for the first ice show.

“It would also be great for schools and I would make it free for the people of Blackpool. We have an amazing story to tell.”

And it is a story which Amanda hopes will continue for many years to come, but one which she urges us all to be part of.

“Everybody who lives in Blackpool is an ambassador for the resort,” she believes.

And she adds: “We should all be proud and waving flags about Blackpool. We have a great beach, great sea and we can walk for miles up the Promenade. It takes a lot to change a town, it might not happen as quickly as we would like, but the more positive we can be, the more people will come here and keep coming back three or four times a year.”

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/amanda-we-have-an-amazing-story-to-tell-1-7876786

This particular quote confirms that a major new ride will open in 2018; :)

Quote

Amanda’s own plans include a multi-million pound new ride, although details are still under wraps, which will launch in 2018. But she is prepared to spill the beans on her hopes of opening a museum at the Pleasure Beach one day.

 

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"But she is prepared to spill the beans on her hopes of opening a museum at the Pleasure Beach one day.

“I want to turn Noah’s Ark into a heritage museum. We have such a lovely archive here, with designs of rides, photographs, pictures of the designs for the first ice show.""

 

So she wants to destroy one of the most historic little attractions on site...to celebrate their historic attractions?

 

Well done her. 

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Just now, pluk said:

"But she is prepared to spill the beans on her hopes of opening a museum at the Pleasure Beach one day.

“I want to turn Noah’s Ark into a heritage museum. We have such a lovely archive here, with designs of rides, photographs, pictures of the designs for the first ice show.""

 

So she wants to destroy one of the most historic little attractions on site...to celebrate their historic attractions?

 

Well done her. 

Noah's Ark has been SBNO for years, I'd rather they used it for something rather than just leaving it there doing nothing.

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9 hours ago, pluk said:

It shouldn't be SBNO or a museum. It was a charming little thing and exactly the sort of heritage they should be saving, not destroying.

I agree that it shouldn't have ever been closed - I can't comment on what it was like as I never went in it :(

However, given the fact that it has been sat idol for years now, it would probably require significant work to get it reopen as the Ark (would it pass H&S regulations these days?)

I like the idea of a heritage museum at BPB and, as much as I would like to see the Ark reopen as it was, if it won't happen then I would rather they used the interior for a museum rather than nothing.

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Latest rumour on Screamscape:

Quote

According to the latest rumors sent to Screamscape, the project is a Mack made launched coaster that could feature two launch sections along the route, one needed to shoot the train up and over a large "top hat" element. Other rumored elements include inclined loops, interlocking corkscrews and high speed helix spins. More as we find out.

http://www.screamscape.com/html/blackpool_pleasure_beach.htm

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