Park Review

8

 
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Alice in Wonderland
Avalanche
Avatar Airbender
The Big Dipper
The Big One
Blue Flyer
Chinese Puzzle Maze
Derby Racer
Dora's World Voyage
Flying Machine
Ghost Train
The Grand National
The Ice Blast
Impossible
Infusion
Nickelodeon Streak
Revolution
River Caves
Spongebob's Splash Bash
Steeplechase
Valhalla
Wild Mouse

Living on the South coast I don't get to visit Blackpool as much as I'd ideally like. Theoretically a day trip is possible, but realistically it's a place I need several days off work to visit. This put me in the position of hearing some worrying stories of the parks decline.

One worrying trend I noticed even before my visit is the the reduction in the number of rides. Even excluding rides removed to make room for a new attraction, there has still been a notable drop in the number of rides.

One of the most notable absences was Noah's Ark. A ride that the closure of caused some commotion among enthusiasts due to the rides historical links. I myself did have a soft spot for this ride. I know it was looking shabby, and wasn't that popular, but if Adventure Island can makeover it's crooked house to increase it's popularity, without health and safety issues forcing the rides closure, I find it hard to believe the same couldn't be done with Noah's Ark.

 

Sentimentality aside the loss of rides does make this park feel more like a one day park than a two day one. It would still be a bit of a push to do absolutely everything in one day, but if you didn't mind missing some of the lower tier attractions, and don't plan on doing that many repeat rides, paying for two days at the park doesn't feel as essential a purchase as it once did.

This leaves the question of how worth it is the one day visit? I would still say it is well worth it. The park still pays host to a great selection of rides. There are some classic coasters like the Grand National, the Wild Mouse and Steeplechase. Lets also not forget the Big One. It may not be as big a deal on the worldwide stage as it once was, now we have coasters topping the 400ft mark, but it's still a great thrilling ride. After you've done the coasters there's still a great collection of classic dark rides to give a go, and a world class water ride in the form of Valhalla. The only weaker link is the thrill rides. With Ice Blast, The Flying Machine and some family rides it's not an unrespectable collection, but it does feel like there is potential for this area to be improved.

So the ride collection although not as fresh and competitive as it used to be is still great. One of the big concerns I'd heard, which applied to all of Blackpool, and the Pleasure Beach by association was the loss of a lot of the family appeal due to the increase in the number of rowdy, hen and stag party style, visitors. This was noticeable on Blackpool promenade on Saturday evening, but apart from a bad choice of a new coaster (Infusion with 4 inversions is not a family ride) has done a lot to counter this. Abolishing free entrance, and some aesthetic enhancements have helped a lot. The introduction of Nickelodeon land has also gone a long way to project a good family village. It's hard to give a full assessment as I can't visit that often, but on my visit it did all have a very friendly atmosphere.

The good news seems to be things are starting to look promising for the park. Visitor numbers have started to increase, so hopefully this will be a park that continues to thrill and entertain for many years to come. I think to get back to it's former glory it does need another few good rides, including a fresh signature attractions. Even as it stands though this is one of the UK's must visit parks.