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Dan_Rush

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

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1 hour ago, Coaster said:

It'll be fairly busy as they have a 10pm close on, a few tips;

 

Although the park will be busy, if you arrive early enough the first few hours will be quieter due to most people still queueing at the ticket centre to get in.  Bear in mind you'll have to arrive much earlier than 10am to take advantage of this rather than being stuck in the ludicrous queue that builds later on.

 

If you manage to be in the park by just after 10, I would recommend getting some of the lower capacity rides (which will have crazy queues later on) done in the first 90 minutes.

 

We usually start our day in the following order;

 

- Ice Blast (if there's already a queue we skip it)

- Alice Ride (as above)

- Nickelodeon Streak

- Avatar Airbender

- Avalanche (opens at 10:30, we aim to get there 10 minutes before.  This ride gets a ludicrous queue later on due to running less trains than it used to and Speedy Pass slowing ths operations down massively).

- Revolution

- Steeplechase

- Skyforce (if walk on, otherwise skip)

- Icon

- The Big One (If both trains are open we'll do this before Icon, but it seems to take longer to open with both trains full these days than it used to)

 

So many people wait for Icon to open first thing but (despite looking long) its queue is usually one of the shortest by 11/12 ish because most other rides at PB have low capacity whereas Icon shifts the queue well.  It also crawls round first thing in the morning.

 

Big Dipper is a queue shifter, you'll probably have to queue longer for Grand National/Valhalla/Infusion but at least it's a longer day.

 

Another thing to mention is that although the park is open until 10, lots of rides (such as PMBO and Icon) close their queues at 9 due to the fireworks.  Also don't trust the 9pm sign as I've seen them close the PMBO queue at half past 7 on one of these events before.

 

Hope this is somewhat helpful!

Very helpful thank you! I'll be visiting alone tomorrow, so good to know where to head first!

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It sounds fantastic and suits the retro "90's" nature of the ride perfectly, The Notable Stranger has done a fantastic job.  I can't wait to hear it around the ride.

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach was fun today after a 5 month break, I enjoyed getting back on the rides with The Big One being the highlight.

 

Even after riding many coasters elsewhere, The Big One is still very special and one of my favourite rides ever. I am still yet to find a better first drop and the ride was flying round, absolutely incredible coaster and I'll never tire of it. It was running two full trains all day, excellent.

 

Speedy Pass unfortunately continues to destroy the ride's operations by causing the trains to stack and making extra work for the platform staff which then causes the throughput to plummet. The Speedy Passes had been massively oversold today with the queue down to the bottom of the exit path from midday onwards, I saw two full trains of Speedy Passes sent as well as multiple rows in the others.

 

The new outlet in the Sky Force shop is being used to upsell Big One Speedy Passes at the expense of guest experience, it's worse than ever now. It was noticeable that on the occasions where there was a break in SP users, dispatches were much better. Disgraceful that they allow fast pass to slow down the rate at which trains are dispatched whilst also blocking the exit path. The ride isn't designed for it, total mess!

 

On the plus side, the new Big One soundtrack is excellent and the retro feel of it suits the ride perfectly. It adds a great atmosphere around the ride's queueline/station and is a brilliant improvement IMO.

 

I rode Icon once today and didn't enjoy it at all, the layout is good but it's taken much too slowly IMO. I appreciate why a lot of people enjoy the smooth nature of the ride but it's not for me, there are other far better examples of smooth coasters elsewhere.

 

In the interests of saying something positive about it, the soundtrack was nice and loud!

 

Valhalla remains dreadful, however River Caves (interior) was looking fantastic with audio levels good, scenes looking great and most of the animations working. There was some lovely new timed lighting in the first scene as well as a new sound effect and the inside felt refreshed in general whilst retaining the classic feel of the ride. Brilliant!

 

Grand National was noticeably bumpier than on my last ride in April, but I still really enjoyed it. Sat in the back row.

 

Park hours were very stingy, 6pm close on a relatively busy sunny Saturday is no good. Big Dipper and Infusion went down to one train towards the end of the day.

 

The Noah's Ark park exit is looking very tired and could do with some TLC!

 

We had a look at Boulevard Hotel and the staff were willing to take us for a look into one of the rooms, I have to say the entire hotel looks incredible.

 

The park looks and feels worse than it ever has done in my opinion, devoid of any of the character, charm and colour it used to have and many of the rides/areas look in need of TLC.

 

 Whilst the staff were fantastic throughout the park, unfortunately Speedy Pass made queueing for The Big One a misery and reiterated to me why I spent 5 months away from the place.  It's not good enough when an older Arrow hypercoaster runs 3 trains with 30 second dispatches, the SP system on Big One is an absolute joke.

 

Overall I had a good day at Pleasure Beach and it was great to get back on some of my favourite rides, but IMO there are still many issues which detract from the overall enjoyment of the park.

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32 minutes ago, JoshC. said:

Removed ride gets demolished? Shock horror.

 

Did people expect it to be taken down piece by piece like a loved Lego model?

It's the first picture of the ride's demolition that has come online so I thought it was worth sharing on here, that's all.

 

On that note though, Pleasure Beach did say it was carefully dismantled...

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If it wasn't for the glare of those lights you'd just be able to make out the figure of Mandy in that cab, laughing demonically as she swings the leavers knowing that with every swipe she is not just tearing down wood but also tearing a chunk out of the heart of geeks everywhere.

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I visited BPB with some friends this weekend for the fireworks/rides in the dark. Two things:

 

. I really like their new system for disabled guests, it's fair and mostly efficient. The only thing I'd change is that I think they need to have a clearer distinction between disabled access and speedy passes, and to prioritise disabled guests slightly more. A few times we were stuck waiting in a queue at the ride exits, even 10-15 minutes standing around can be difficult for me so I definitely struggled with that, especially towards the end of the evening. I don't think it helped that operations across most of the park were dreadful though tbf. The Big One was an absolute shambles with the disabled/speedy pass queue out of the station by the time we finally got onto the ride. 

 

. Does anyone else not find Infusion rough? I always go on wondering if this is the time it'll finally cave my skull in but I've never had that bad a ride on it. I really don't know what all the hysteria is about. I always really enjoy it. 

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While obviously not official, Rumours Attraction Images have heard say Valhalla will be SBNO for 2020 - as I said not official but at the same time it wouldn’t surprise me either.. 

 

Hopefully the rumour is rubbished quickly!

 

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Could      he     speak      any     slower.

 

Painful listen. So a 20min video to say it's shut next year with an intention to open it the year after having been renovated in some way.

 

What I don't understand is if the real problem is the running cost, which I primarily take to mean energy consumption, then how can that be meaningfully improved? Pumping that volume of water around will always be expensive and burning that volume of gas each ride cycle will always be expensive. You can't stop pumping the water and if you stop burning the gas you have lost its one real point of interest.

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Valhalla has had lots of issues this year.

 

Boats sinking with riders in on more than one occasion, there was one instance where riders had to evacuate themselves from the boat due to the water being waste deep!

 

Bumps between boats, this does happen from time to time but it shouldn't do with Valhalla's ride system, also bearing in the mind the ride hardware was designed to run 20+ boats and bumps when running 8, not good.  I have experienced a few bumps and it can be quite brutal, bearing in mind how heavy the boats are.

 

Issues with the block system around the first turntable (I experienced this first hand).

 

The ride hardware is knackered, all of the above have come from publicly posted reports/pictures and/or my own experiences on the ride.

 

Effects have been dreadful this year, most of the fire has been down all year (I have heard due to the splash from the final drop flooding the sensors), ice room not working at all, I could write an endless list of how poor it has been on my rides but I'll just say that it has essentially been a clunky oversized log flume in the dark this year.

 

I do not believe the rumour that the ride will be SBNO next year until it's confirmed reliably, but at the same time, there are reasons why it might have to be.

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13 hours ago, Kerfuffle said:

Seems Amanda Thompson herself has put the rumours to rest. :)

I wouldn't say that puts the rumour to rest. "Nothing has been decided" certainly implies it's possible that the ride could be closed next year so they can refurb it.

 

I haven't listened to the video so apologises if what I'm say is just a repeat of what was said in that, but from what I've been told:

-Valhalla costs over £1m a year to operate

-The park need to spend approx. £900k to simply fix it up and make it ready to operate again

-On top of that, the park want to spend extra money to improve the longevity of the ride (in the 20 odd years since it's opened, technology has improved, etc etc)

 

So the logic is if the park close it for a year, they immediately save enough to do all the fix ups it needs. They can then have extra funds to, as Amanda puts it, make it more sustainable, and do it as one big project.

 

For a ride like Valhalla, to hear the park want to make it more "sustainable" should ring alarm bells. That immediately sounds like they want to cut costs so it's less expensive to run. Of course, the key cost down to the water - pumping it around and making sure it's clean, so they can't cut that, but other things can be pulled I'm sure. Hopefully that's not the case and they're just planning on improve the hardware of the ride.

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I'm in two minds about the idea of closing Valhalla for a year.

 

It certainly is a problem area for the park with astronomical running costs and it hasn't been impressive enough to justify these costs for a few years IMO.  The state that thing was in this year, it may as well have been closed.

 

If the closure enables them to restore Valhalla to its former glory and reopen in 2021 with the dark ride element as impressive as it was when new, I fully support it.  Whilst the effects are costly, they could potentially make modifications to the way they operate so that they are more reliable and cost-effective without changing much of what the rider actually sees.

 

On the other hand, my concern is that making the ride more sustainable could mean taking out the impressive effects and replacing them with cheap alternatives.  We have already seen key elements of the experience broken all year, so they could be planning to make cheap replacements (e.g. timed lighting and sounds instead of fire).

 

Valhalla was my favourite ride at its best, but it was designed as a theatrical experience with the most ambitious special effects I have ever seen.  These do break from time to time, and I don't remember a time where every single effect worked at once, but in the last 2/3 years they've stopped fixing them and the general standard of scenic presentation has plummeted to rock bottom.  In its hey day it was truly the most amazing ride I've ever experienced though that is difficult to believe when riding it today.

 

The other thing to consider if Valhalla spends a year out, is that we have essentially lost two of the park's best rides (even if only temporarily in Valhalla's case) and only gained Icon.

 

Valhalla isn't the same ride anymore and a refurbishment could either restore it to its former glory or ruin it further.

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