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Dan_Rush

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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4 hours ago, Marhelorpe said:

Once Icon gave up, we quite literally had nothing!

Just to clarify, once Icon broke down for the day there was zero rides open?

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Okay Icon is their new ride but there is 9 other coasters at the park and a good supporting lineup, there is other things to do at the park.

If Icon was shut I would just lap Big Dipper and Revolution. Sure Icon probably is the best ride there but technical issues happen.

Technical issues on rides happens at every park. Well, bar Europa.

 

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1 hour ago, JoshuaA said:

Okay Icon is their new ride but there is 9 other coasters at the park and a good supporting lineup, there is other things to do at the park.

If Icon was shut I would just lap Big Dipper and Revolution. Sure Icon probably is the best ride there but technical issues happen.

Technical issues on rides happens at every park. Well, bar Europa.

 

Icon being closed was, from what I've seen and been told, the tip of the iceberg.

 

Coasters and flats/other rides were going down left right and centre, the only coaster on full capacity was Dipper, catering sounds like it was a nightmare and a staff member in a managerial position was heard telling guests to "deal with it" and calling them "tits" due to them complaining about being evacuated out of Icon's queue, just after it had opened (mid afternoon!)

 

It sounds like one of the worst weekends in the park's history, and due to many more factors than just Icon being down for the majority of the time.

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Sounds like BPB isn't fully ready yet but it's good there was a big crowd willing to visit at this time of year. I didn't like the way BPB dealt with breakdowns when I visited last year though. They're going to have to change their attitude in that regard.

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17 hours ago, Stuntman707 said:

 it's good there was a big crowd willing to visit at this time of year.

Fanboys will literally go on Christmas Day if they had the chance. Ratio of fanboys vs actual normal guests would be 100:1

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I’m one of the few enthusiasts whom didn’t visit this weekend. I was debating the Sunday and decided not to after the Saturday reviews.

 

As others have said the park is a total mess. Being from Blackpool, I’ve seen and heard legitimate people being turned down for work this year, even with theme park experience and having worked for the park previously; yet I also have a friend who finished around May last year who got phoned on Thursday asking if he’d like to work for them again as ‘they are short’. Allegedly certain rides (Skyforce for example) didn’t open simply due to lack of staff although this is just a murmur.

 

The Park had it right years ago when it was half a park running into November, and the opposite running in February; but now with more rides (Icon, Skyforce etc) alongside the woodie’s requiring the strong maintenance the park is just pushing itself too far. Allegedly PMBO was handed back for testing and training less than a week before reopening; and it was merely the end of January when PMBO and Revolution trains were seen in pieces in the North car park - they’ve ran on far too tight timeframes this year.

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1 hour ago, Flipper said:

I’m one of the few enthusiasts whom didn’t visit this weekend. I was debating the Sunday and decided not to after the Saturday reviews.

 

As others have said the park is a total mess. Being from Blackpool, I’ve seen and heard legitimate people being turned down for work this year, even with theme park experience and having worked for the park previously; yet I also have a friend who finished around May last year who got phoned on Thursday asking if he’d like to work for them again as ‘they are short’. Allegedly certain rides (Skyforce for example) didn’t open simply due to lack of staff although this is just a murmur.

 

The Park had it right years ago when it was half a park running into November, and the opposite running in February; but now with more rides (Icon, Skyforce etc) alongside the woodie’s requiring the strong maintenance the park is just pushing itself too far. Allegedly PMBO was handed back for testing and training less than a week before reopening; and it was merely the end of January when PMBO and Revolution trains were seen in pieces in the North car park - they’ve ran on far too tight timeframes this year.

One of the biggest issues with ride operations is that they've lost virtually all the experienced staff who had been at the park for years, mainly due to awful, awful management who treat both their staff and guests with disdain.

 

The Big One for example, a very complex ride to run and with no-one there who knows what they're doing now it's a complete shambles.  Compare that to three/four years ago when they'd have it running two trains in 40 mph winds because they knew exactly what the operating limits and optimum wind directions were!

 

The second issue is the engineering department, the team themselves are fantastic and dedicated people but when their hours are being cut a week before opening when the park is nowhere near ready, their job becomes impossible.  Good old Amanda eh?

 

The staffing at the park is an absolute mess and turning away staff with experience whilst keeping certain members of management on is, quite simply, lunacy.

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4 hours ago, Coaster said:

One of the biggest issues with ride operations is that they've lost virtually all the experienced staff who had been at the park for years, mainly due to awful, awful management who treat both their staff and guests with disdain.

I can’t comment; a lot of their reasoning on rejections amongst what I’ve heard have been that they’ve allegedly got a “high rate of returners” - which we all know isn’t the case. That said, I know Revolution for example is the same ride team as the last few years.

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2 hours ago, Flipper said:

I can’t comment; a lot of their reasoning on rejections amongst what I’ve heard have been that they’ve allegedly got a “high rate of returners” - which we all know isn’t the case. That said, I know Revolution for example is the same ride team as the last few years.

The Big One is one of the worst, it's lost all its team from two/three years ago and the operations have plummeted to absolutely unbelievable low standards as a result.

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It's excellent to hear that the park appear to have improved since last weekend.

 

In my opinion, there is one key issue with PB that needs resolving now.

 

Speedy Pass needs to be removed from PMBO, it's absolutely ludicrous that PB have allowed it to drag the throughput of their signature ride down for so long, on 2 trains without stacking it can shift a queue well but once you factor in an additional 2 minutes to load Speedy Pass holders and stacking on the brake run it becomes a complete farce.

 

Instead of being able to open the airgates as people start to leave the train, therefore being able to fill and check a train in a minute, they have to wait until everyone has passed the exit rope (30 - 45 seconds), then scan and load the speedy pass holders (I've seen this take over 2 minutes but I'd suggest on average it probably takes 60 seconds), then open the airgates and load the rest of the train from the main queue (another 60 seconds), then get onto the belt checks.  By this point the second train will have got back, stacked and the riders probably fallen asleep waiting.

 

This has been an issue for years now and I've never seen other parks allow their fast pass system to jeapordise the physical operations of their coasters to such an extent, it's insane that it's allowed to happen at PB to be frank.  They either need to adjust the station to run the system properly or scrap it from the ride, IMO.  Footage on Saturday showed the queue past the cans (outside the extension), yet they allow the operations to be dragged down by a fast pass system?

 

Avalanche is much the same, though arguably even worse considering the ride already has a low throughput on 2 trains even when it doesn't stack.

 

The park could choose not to run Speedy Pass on these rides and improve guest experience for everyone.  Instead they prioritise short-term money and allow their main queues to become unbearable.  They simply do not care.

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Seeing people moaning about lots of closed rides at Chessie due to high winds when Blackpool only had 3 rides down all day (Big One, Flying Machines & Ice Blast) is fairly amusing...

 

Icon in the hail is not fun though...

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We really enjoyed going on Valhalla quite a few times this weekend. Such an epic water ride. Waterproof trouser covers and boots make it so much more enjoyable during the day with hardly any queues. 

 

 

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I gotta say, the weekend over the 6th/7th April when I visited again was vastly better compared to opening weekend back in February. Had a fantastic time! Everything running near-full capacity for Saturday, short queue for everything, plenty of re-rides on Icon and lovely sunny weather. Couldn’t have been a better day! :)

 

As for Valhalla, I’ve never been a huge fan of it since my first ride on it earlier in 2018, and especially after being evacuated off it back in February. But it was performing pretty damn well on the Saturday with more effects working which I hadn’t seen before, and the water vortex tunnel was absolutely brutal. Go so wet going through it that it made Tidal Wave look like nothing in comparison. Really good run on it!

 

Oh, and Icon of course was as great as ever. :wub:

 

The only room for improvement they could do is to get the ride opening times on their entrance boards accurate, because a fair few rides opened at 10am, but their boards said 11am, Nickelodeon Streak being the prime example where we didn’t know it was open until asking a staff member in the station.

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Here's a few thoughts from my first visit to Pleasure Beach in 2019, this is based on visits over a few days.

 

The new pre-opening show is a good idea to keep people entertained whilst waiting for the gates to open.

 

Areas of the park look and feel dismal at the moment.  The entire FY4 from the back of Alice in Wonderland’s warehouse, empty Mouse site and the monstrosity that is the newly reopened arcade feels like you’re walking through an abandoned theme park that closed 20 years ago.  It’s very sad considering the area looked mostly fine up until 2018 and with Icon tidying up south park considerably, they’ve now let north park get worse than south park ever was.  It leaves a horrendous first impression on guests entering the park that way, too.

 

The place was fairly busy over Easter, with moderate crowds (and then very busy on the Saturday).  Ride availability seemed pretty good (aside from Sunday morning) with Icon and Valhalla being the only rides having significant downtime, even then it wasn't too bad.  Extension to 6pm on Monday was nice.

 

Sunday morning was poor with The Big One, Big Dipper and Revolution on (very) late opening whilst Infusion also broke down.  Icon also took 25 minutes to transfer a third train on?

 

We managed a ride-count of 17 on Saturday with the park open 10am - 10pm, however this was with us making sure to do the low capacity rides first.  For first-time visitors trying to get on Nickelodeon Streak or Avalanche in the middle of the day it would have been miserable.

 

The fireworks were great but I wasn’t keen on the music choices… they’re missing a trick by not using Icon’s score for at least part of the display.  The new location was much better from a viewpoint perspective as they weren’t blocked by Icon’s station, but I still disagree with closing rides over an hour early on a “late night riding” event to put on some fireworks.

 

Operations were very mixed.  Big Dipper and Grand National were running very well, or in the case of Nash, as well as the system will allow it to.  On Saturday we queued 20 minutes for Dipper from outside the queue entrance, and 25 for National from well past the entrance to the steps.  Very impressed!  Valhalla’s queue shifted very fast on Saturday, but was extremely slow every other day despite having the same number of boats on… weird.

 

Continuing from the end of last year, The Big One’s operations remain dreadful.  Dispatch times were very slow, largely caused by Speedy Pass but also the lack of management watching the operations.  There were instances when they took 10 minutes to load a full Speedy Pass train, and out of every 10 trains I’d say that 7/8 of them stacked for a considerable amount of time.  For a ride that lasts over 2 minutes, that’s just not acceptable.

 

The staff were holding the queue outside the station which I assume was to prevent it from getting too hot, which I thought was a good idea.  On Monday however, a quieter day, they were running one of the trains with only two carriages open until late afternoon.  With the queue being held outside the station in the morning (meaning it’s more visible on the ramp) and then not in the afternoon, it definitely felt as if this was being done to increase Speedy Pass sales.  With crowds on this level it would have previously taken 10 minutes to wait, as by lunch time it’d have shifted the queue to the final two switchbacks.  It took us 40 minutes purely down to slow operations, it’s just a complete and utter mess.

 

Pleasure Beach have really taken their eye off the rest of the park since Icon opened and The Big One has suffered hugely, operations have got to rock bottom and Speedy Pass continues to make queueing in the main queue a misery.  It isn’t the ride staff’s fault; they try their best.  It’s poor management and upselling of a fast pass system which the park knows will have an adverse effect on the operations of their signature ride.

 

On a positive note, PMBO was absolutely flying on Friday and Saturday, reaffirming why I love it so much and still regard it as my absolute favourite coaster by quite some distance.  Amazing.

 

Valhalla continues to be an absolute mess.  Here’s a brief status report of effects from 3 rides over Easter.

 

- Water curtain over skull entrance worked for 1/3 rides

- Trommels not working

- Projection audio (Odin voice) on lift 1 slightly louder but still not audible

- Projection looks like it needs a new filter/replacing (wire hanging down, picture not clear)

- Green popup face not working

- Waterfall corridor not working

- Blackout doors after backwards drop not closing meaning light leaks in and exposes the workings

- Lots of torn and/or missing blackout curtains throughout entire ride exposing maintenance areas

- Ice room half-frozen, no ceiling misters

- Water vortex soaking the boat

- Light on waterfall following vortex switching off too early so effect is missed

- Water geysers on either side of the track after water vortex not working

- Light leaking into this area as fire exit left open

- Maintenance lights left on

- Chandelier not swinging

- Crow animatronics not fully functioning

- No ring of fire

- Fireballs in first room following final drop not working (room in pitch darkness)

- Only one small explosion in final room

- Ride soundtrack loop cutting out and jumping

 

River Caves has also had CCTV put in thoughtlessly over elements of theming as well as awfully implemented emergency lighting.  Dark rides are supposed to provide seamless experiences with the back-end hardware hidden away, so it’s a disgrace that Pleasure Beach are so careless and clumsy with implementing these things.  They did the same with new CCTV cameras in Valhalla last year.

 

Lots of effects broken in Ghost Train.

 

Alice and W&G were in decent condition overall.

 

Overall, I had an enjoyable time at Pleasure Beach.

 

Some areas had a nice atmosphere on Saturday, with the live music and busy crowds.  With that said, the park has lost its buzz for me and the overall impression I got was that it feels like it’s missing something.  The vibrance, the classic PB feel, it’s all gone.

 

The park still houses some of my favourite coasters, but on reflection I don’t rate Icon very highly at all.  The ride has lost its “new factor” and I’m already growing tired of it.  It just feels too sluggish and there are so many places where you *nearly* get force or airtime, but it doesn’t quite have the speed to deliver.  A shame.

 

Two of the best assets at the park are still missing for me… Wild Mouse, and Valhalla.  I include the latter because with the ride experience offered at the moment, it may as well just be a log flume in the dark.

 

Steeplechase was very good as always.

 

It was nice to be back on some of my favourite rides and seeing people, but I’m not in any rush to return to the park.  My enthusiasm for the place is gone.

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