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Brighton Pier. Formerly Brighton Palace Pier. A little historical background information about piers. On my recent trip to Brighton we went as per usual to promenade along the pier. The piers around the UK are mostly of Victorian origin and they were built at a time without the powerful equipment that we have today and are testament to the wonderful engineers of the time and we can still enjoy these wonders today. At the turn of the century in 1900 there were over 100 hundred such piers in existence however sadly there are now less than fifty of these piers left today. The original pier in Brighton was in fact a chain pier and at one time Brighton pier was the busiest passenger terminal in England at the time of steam ships that used to ply the channel between Brighton and Dieppe in France. The chain pier was suspended at stages from pylons set at short distances on pylons structures sunk into the bedrock of the sea. Some of the original oak pylons can still be seen when there are severe low tides. As better ports were built around the country where the trains terminated for example the line from London terminated in nearby Newhaven and a port was built here. Some of these piers fell into disuse and disrepair the wood rotting or iron corroding eventually most piers falling into the sea during particularly bad storms after receiving a battering from the high winds and crashing and crushing waves. The Victorians jumped at the opportunity to charge an entrance fee for pedestrians to walk along the pier to take the sea air charging 2d (1P) which was quite a lot of money in those days. Many people from London used to come to Brighton to take the sea air as it was supposedly much cleaner air and deemed very healthy compared to the smoke filled city of London. This tradition has continued over the years and many people continue to walk to the end of the piers dotted around the coastal areas of the UK. On many of the piers theatres and band stands were built to entertain the public. Later fun fairs and shops were added to keep the tradition of the piers alive. From the pier you can still see the remains of the West pier the iron structure left defiantly standing in the sea and rotting away following a disastrous fire in 2003 which finally destroyed that had been abandoned and neglected prior to the fire. The Pier. Approaching the pier from either the town centre or from either side of the pier along the promenade you cannot fail to admire the entrance to the pier. The Pier proudly announces that it is Brighton Pier with the sign over the entrance and the appearance is of a Victorian design. There is a small clock tower above the entrance similar looking to Big Ben displaying the time on the four faces of the mini tower. In front of the entrance there is a small semi circular parade of 8 little kiosks selling seaside fare such as candy floss, sticks of rock and other rock sweets, honeycomb, fudge, pink and white striped nougat, burgers, hotdogs, fish and chips and kiss me quick hats and such other seaside tat. Lets walk along the 1722 foot grade 2 listed pier. Walking under the clock tower entrance you finally get to stand on the pier proper. At this point you are still standing above the shingle beach. The pier structure is iron and the floor boards are wood. There are small gaps between the floorboards which allows you see the sea below as you walk along the promenade deck. The purpose of the small gaps is to allow any rain water fall back into the sea. The current owners have also put down an aluminium pathway all along the pier to help those who are pushing a pushchair or wheelchair. At a couple of spots along the pier there are some coin operated telescopes so you can look out to sea at the passing ships or back inland and along the coast. There is a small cast iron shelter running along the centre of the pier promenade where you can sit and rest and enjoy the sea air. It can be quite windy at times during the year so you can either sit there and be blown to bits or move to the other side to be shielded from the elements or soak up a few rays of sunshine. It is part of the original structure of the pier and requires constant maintenance to prevent the destruction by the salty water that would corrode the iron. The pier is painted white taking three months every year to paint in order to protect it. The first major building you come across is the original ballroom and concert hall where afternoon tea dances, plays, bands and such like would perform each day. It is a very large wooden structure with a massive glass dome on the top. It is built with a combination of wood and iron supports. What is particularly interesting is the ornate Victorian iron work around the building. At the end of the pier I noticed that some of the wood has now been replaced by white PVC cladding. It is currently being used as a giant arcade. You do not have to walk through the arcade you can walk around either side. There are hundreds of machines inside clunking away with flashing lights, very loud music drowning out the sounds of the machines all waiting for the gullible to be relieved of their hard earned cash. There are machines you can sit on and pretend to be a racing driver or ace pilot, a variety of games where you have to hit popping crocodiles and other animals as the pop their heads up from the machine. Drop the penny machines, pin ball machines and the infamous slot machines. Flashing lights and noises from the machine add to the mayhem and hustle and bustle inside. Passing through the arcade you come across a small parade of shops on either side of the pier selling souvenirs, post cards, tattoos and costume jewellery and other tat. The Palm Court restaurant. Continuing to walk along the pier you next reach the palm court fish and chip restaurant. Inside the restaurant is the original band stand where free concerts used to be given. The fish and chips here are absolutely gorgeous. You can either buy a takeaway portion or sit in the elegant dining room to enjoy your fish and chips. The menu is mainly fish based but there are various meat dishes you can have. The menu is quite extensive and you can have starters, mains, side dishes and desserts but who in their right mind would have meat when you are in one of the best fish and chip restaurants in the land. Although it was 3PM by time we got there we were obviously quite peckish by this time. We were seated quite quickly and presented with the menu. The waitress left us for a few moments but we knew already what we wanted, she took our order and then brought us our pot of tea before the tea was finished being poured we were served quite quickly with our fish and chips. For a pot of tea each, bread and butter, cod, chips and garden peas and haddock chips and mushy peas. The portions were good and were served piping hot and by Jove they tasted delicious but there is something special about eating fish and chips out of paper I don't know if it is just me but they do seem to taste better. I am of a certain age where I and probably many other members can remember the days of eating fish and chips that had been wrapped in newspaper with lashings of salt and vinegar but health and safety took over and that is why they are no longer served that way. The bill came to just a tad over £25. Should you wish you can also have an alcoholic drink there was a variety of beers available and wine either by the glass or whole bottle. The toilet facilities are very clean and are regularly checked by the staff who seem to be on the go all the time, taking orders, bringing food, clearing tables etc etc. The waiting staff are smartly dressed the ladies in smart black skirts, white blouses and a small white apron and the men are wearing white shirts, black trousers. It is markedly cheaper to have a take away and less than half that price but the Palm Court really is a delightful setting to sit and enjoy your fish and chips. I have promised that next time we visit I will get a takeaway portion of fish and chips as I would love to sit on the pier to eat and enjoy them. The queue for fish and chips was out of the door of the palm court and there must have been at least 20 odd people in the queue with people joining it as fast as people were being served. It certainly is very popular and where else can you enjoy one of our Best British foods it would almost be sinful not to try them. On the other side of the Palm Court restaurant building is the pub which has a small fenced off seating area where you can enjoy a nice pint or bottle of wine and sit out in the sun and take in the sea air. The fun fare at the end of the pier. After our little sojourn whilst we stuffed our faces we then went onto the end of the pier where you will find the fun fare. There are traditional rides available. They operate a cashless ride system where you prepay for your ride tickets and present your tickets depending on which rides you wish to go on. The rides consist of traditional rides such as the helter-skelter, a lovely carousel with beautifully painted horses, a horror hotel train ride and the bumper cars. There is a waltzer and loop the loop rail ride, a water plume and you will get a little wet on this ride, the booster ride where you are sat in a group of four people and swung up to over 120 odd feet over the side of the pier coming down at an incredible speed of 3.6G at 180 degrees. There are also a couple of big dipper rail rides. There are of course a couple of rides exclusively for very young children. There are also some side show stalls including a racing game where you can roll balls up a board where the balls drop through holes in order to make the dolphins move along a race track. There is even a bucking bronco ride where you can try to hold on for dear life but most people are bucked off within a few bucks! There are crane machines placed along the pier at different places in order for you to part with your hard earned cash where the toys or other prizes such as mini iPods, watches or sun glasses are stuffed in so tightly in such a way it is nigh on impossible to win a prize. There is a coconut shy, and along the pier there are costumed boards where you can pose for your photo, have your palm read by a palm reader who will let you cross her hand with a fiver as opposed to silver in a small caravan next to the Palm Court Restaurant which is still very popular. There are three bars on the pier and 30 eateries and little shop outlets. Overall it is a fantastic British traditional pier with an up to date feel to it with clean and efficient facilities and one of our pastimes we should all aim to preserve and cherish. I thoroughly recommend a visit to the pier which incidentally is free entry. Who can resist eating freshly cooked and hot mini sugar donuts or teeth rotting candy floss (I can give this one a miss along with the stick of rock) or best of all a portion of fish and chips with lashings of salt and vinegar. The pier is open all year round with the exception of Christmas day and is open from early morning til late at night. There are different closing times depending on the time of the year but generally it is very late. Entrance is currently free. The pier is lit up at night with over 30,000 light bulbs which make it an even prettier sight. The whole of the pier is disabled friendly with the exception of some of the rides at the end of the pier. I thoroughly recommend visiting the pier and we as a nation should be proud of this tradition of perambulating along the piers like the Victorians did and supporting the piers dotted around the coasts of our country. You cannot fail to miss the pier as it is right at the end of the A23 so if you don't stop you will end up in the sea. It is more or less in the centre of Brighton along the coastal road. It's about 10-15 minute walk from the railway station, five minutes from Brighton Pavilion and 2 minutes from the bus station and the lanes. The Address if ever there was a need for it is:- Brighton Pier. Madeira Drive, Brighton. East Sussex. BN2 1TN.
It's a dying breed, that's what a pier is!! Fact is along the south coast of England there seem to be very few these days that aren't damaged by fire or vandalism with the pier in Hastings being the most recent casualty of arsonists. It's a shame really as the seaside piers are a great place to be on a summer's day as they give an old fashioned feel to a modern day attraction. Brighton used to have three piers; a chain suspension pier that was destroyed in a storm in the late 1800's then the West pier that was destroyed in suspicious circumstances and finally the Palace Pier that was the initial replacement for the chain suspension pier. Built in 1891 and opened to the public in 1899, the appearance of the Palace Pier hasn't changed that much over the years, apart from the fact that it used to have a theatre at the end where stars of the golden age used to perform, however the theatre was partially destroyed as when a barge that was moored to the pier broke loose. Safe to say that the pier was never used as a mooring point again! These days it's a hub of Brighton seafront and from the end you can get a splendid view west of coast line up to Worthing and east to Newhaven and Seaford taking in the white cliffs of Sussex as well. The pier is open all year round and only seems to be closed on Christmas Day, and throughout the year the pier is very busy with tourists and day trippers all taking the pier as a visitors attraction and its something given its history that Brighton can be proud of as well as it boasts free entry and a plethora of attractions that you immediately associate with the seaside. In the past the landmark has been the host to exhibitions such as the Doctor Who Experience that generated a lot of interest from fans of the show as props and costumes were on display. The entrance to the pier is basically at the bottom of the A23 where it meets the A259 coast road, the A23 is the main thoroughfare into Brighton from London and when you reach the coast this is the first thing that you'll see with its grandiose entrance gate and kiosks adorning either sides of the giant archway. It is Victorian design to the maximum and gives you an idea as to when the pier was built, as modern styles would flatly refuse anything like this to be there and would in essence simply have a gated fence instead. Here is also where security resides and since Brighton has had a number of attempts by the IRA back in the eighties as well as the main hub for Conferences by the main political parties and they are very sharp to pick up on things which I personally find to be positive, especially given the amount of people that come here. Once you've passed here the pier is your own, on the left is the boarded walkway that allows prams, wheelchairs or people with high heels to walk so they don't get stuck in the slats. I always look down at the sea which is clearly visible between the slatted walkway and when the sea is rough its not unusual to feel the waves splash up between these as well!! With little independent shops selling trinkets and belt buckles as you walk up to the first main area, its here where the fun really starts as this is the amusement area that houses all the games and fruit machines. Its easily the busiest area on the pier and offers all the most up to date games presented in one building, and now with jackpots as high as £70 on the fruit machines is a place that you can spend a lot of time as well as money in too. Its never quiet here and you can see why as soon as you enter, its interesting to note that some games are more of a challenge. For example other than the usual racing games that you either sit in a full size car or mount a bike, that allows four or eight players to race against each other you also have the simulators that charge £2 a go to land a 747, the scope of what's available is simply diverse to say the least, although the dancing games with people jumping around in time to the music always grabs the attention with a group watching the participants and generally having fun, also the same goes for the giant mechanical grab where the stuffed toy in question is over three feet high, this gives some idea of how big the grab is!! With a small Coffee shop at the back the first part of the pier caters for the livelier side. Prices arent too bad considering the location, however seating can only be described as seventies design with the fixed back chairs. Walk out the back doors and you come across the more old style sideshow attraction, simply knock all the cans off the shelf to win a prize or simply score under 10 with three darts to win a toy. I call these the fun fair games as they are simply old fashioned in nature and far more entertaining watching a person throw a ball at a pile of cans, and to be honest these require some strength and skill to do. This area is under cover and the games change quite regularly depending upon the season as in the summer they may be football based and in the winter something else. Again the crowds do tend to gather to watch the participants and on most occasions these can be quite funny to watch. After this comes the end of the pier fun fare, rides including a Helter Skelter, Ghost Train and a small Rollercoaster take centre stage on the right, with the usual mixture of Dodgems and the eccentric yet stomach churning Mousetrap overlooking the end of the pier. It's a cashless method that is the preferred way of paying as you purchase tokens for the rides which can only be purchased from a kiosk, so every ride has a defined level of tokens that you surrender to go on. For a family it could work out expensive, even though there are height restrictions in place for some rides, as the Dodgems could be three tokens that equate to something in the region of £2 per person. There is plenty to go here including an old style Wurlitzer that in peak season always seems to be busy. In the last few year s there has also been a Bungee Catapult built at the end of the pier and this can be seen from quite a way off. This is also where the second dome is as well, here there is always something different. Whether it is a Ice Rink or an exhibition there is always something going on. Of course with it being Brighton on a summer's weekend it's inevitable that there is going to be groups of Hens and Stag do's. Brighton is a magnet for these and while the door policy in the town is adhered to the letter the pier thrives on the fact they are welcome in the Karaoke bar and in the past I've seen male strippers springing their surprise on the less than impressed bride to be. This states to be the furthest south Karaoke bar in the country and as its some 600 metres out at sea it cannot be beaten. The vibe in here is always good and on a weekend is very busy. Although next to here is a rather subdued bar in comparison that has bands on mid-week and at the weekend. Again this is busy as well as you would expect, but this one has a seated area outside so all you have to worry about is the unloveable and rather giant sized seagulls. This is a relaxing place to be yet since the smoking ban has slowly become the designated smoking area. This isn't the only bar either, about halfway along the pier is the Victoria Bar. With quite a nice white washed fenced off area outside the bar provides a resting place to have a beer and relax. Although I have to say that I think the quality of lager provided does seem to be watered down as the taste is different and weaker than what you would get in land. Food is heavily catered for with a Fish and Chip restaurant and various Coffee shops littered along the route with various world cuisines such as Chinese at the far end, there are specialist kiosks that sell Seaside Rock and Candy Floss. Also opposite the side stall there are a couple of old fashioned Gift shops that sell some hard to get sweets such as Coconut Ice or Nougat, not to mention some rather decent Turkish Delight. I do have to say that the lavatories are clean throughout the pier and on my visit found that due to the fact these are quite large and in a central location allows someone to be in and out quickly. I like the fact the fun hasn't been taken away from the pier, as you walk down you see the infamous picture postcard scenes with holes cut out for people to put there heads through for photo opportunities, also at various places are plaques giving the history of the structure and what can be seen from this point and did I mention they have a resident Fortune Teller as well? From one end to the other there are an expanse of deckchairs rolled out that get taken up very quickly for the sun worshippers to use. There is also bench seating as well and you tend to see couples cuddling up watching the sun go down together, this is quite a romantic place and for me it's a simple place that gives me what I want and that is just to get away from everything, basically I could call this my happy place! Add in an area that is used as a stage for a small sized concert that was originally the Go-Kart track and you have everything in one place. It is nice to see that there are events such as the end of season Fireworks display that takes place with people lining the sides of the pier; this is usually in late August/ early September when the evenings draw in. It does seem a lot of thought goes into what the pier has to offer and the events surrounding the summer season. As I said earlier the pier is open all throughout the year for the public to enter and even in the harsh coldness of an autumnal day it is refreshing to walk to the end of the pier and back, both the domes that contain amusements are open and even then the small Coffee shops are busy, mainly with people warming up, and the arcades are still as loud as in the summer. Outside it can be quite desolate at that time of year and this makes it all the more fun and compared to the summer season it does turn the whole place into something that is far more personal to be within as on some days you feel that you have the whole place to yourself. With the pier open till midnight from 9am every morning, the length of time and the number of people that go here every day are impressive to say the least. At night the whole length of the pier is illuminated and while this is quite an awesome sight to see, it does make you wonder as to what the future holds for this structure as they do seem to be a dying breed. It is traditional, yet what is inside the various domed buildings are modern in nature and represent what people want at the seaside, I do hold Brighton as a spiritual place for me as the whole city seems to always have a positive vibe to it all the time and for me is one place that I don't have any bad memories to which I use Brighton as my escape place, especially with a large Latte overlooking the beach below. Simply glorious! Okay I know its been renamed to Brighton Pier as it has no competition... but it will always be Palace Pier to me!
Questionable safety on the water raft ride. Watch out! There were some rafts grinding to a halt at the very top, as a result of which our raft caught up with the one ahead at the bottom of the chute, travelling at maximum speed, and collided hard.
Brighton Palace Pier is commonly known as Brighton Pier, as it is the only functioning pier Brighton now has to offer. It is the biggest pier I have ever been on, reaching a massive 58m in width and over 524m in length. In comparison to other notable piers, it is bigger than Bournmouth Pier and Blackpool Pier, but smaller than Southend Pier. The far end of the pier is equipped with a variety of rides. I feel that to properly inform the reader, I should make the following point: Rides in theme parks are safe because they subjected to daily, rigorous safety checks. By contrast, travelling fairground rides are not safe, as they are constructed days before people go on them, and are often loosely put together. Brighton Pier is not a theme park, but has permanant rides, so presumably fits somewhere between the two. I mention this because the pier has a couple of very big rides. People have been killed, recently and in this country, by being thrown off huge fairground rides... so be careful! Safety concerns aside, the rides are generally excellent, and cater for everyone from the adrenaline junkies to very small children. They include a log flume, two rollercoasters, (one of which has a loop,) two "tall pole" rides, (which spin with people on either end,) a haunted hotel ride, a carousel, a helterskelter and several other small rides. If the rides are not to your liking, there are many other activities, ranging from Dodgems, to getting Henna tattoos, to having your fortune told. The arcade is huge and there are a few interesting shops aswell. The rides operate on a system of purchasing counters from a central kiosk. £20 buys you thirty counters, which sounds painful, but you can trade them back for money if you do not use all of them, or simply buy less in the first place. The log flume costs four counters per ride, which is approximately £2.67. This is not a bad price when you consider that entry onto the pier is free, and theme parks can charge £30 per ticket. I was also impressed by the variety of food and drink available. Gone are the days of choosing between donuts, icecreams, and fish and chips, (although these are available.) Food eaten out of a box with a plastic fork now includes seafood and Chinese food. There are also cafes and bars on the pier itself. You may well wonder how all of this entertainment fits on a pier. And yet despite the sheer amount of things to do, Brighton Pier manages to retain a comfortable amount of open space for sitting in deckchairs or walking. However, it is advisable to avoid visiting at the height of the holiday season, unless you particularly like wading through children.
Seaside piers seem to be a very British tradition and there are many different examples to be found in England and Wales, although oddly none exist north of the border in Scotland. Brighton's pier is one of the most famous of them all. Officially known as The Brighton Marine Palace Pier or the Palace Pier for short it officially opened in the May of 1899. By this date the Victorians and their predecessors had already built many other piers, including two earlier ones at Brighton. Brighton's first pier was constructed in 1823. This was known as The Royal Suspension Chain Pier and still existed in 1891 when construction of the Palace Pier began. At this time the Chain Pier was considered to be unsafe and was in a state of disrepair so one of the conditions attached to the construction of the new pier was that this old one was demolished. By the time the Palace Pier was completed it had cost £137,000, a new record for the cost of a British Pier. Today the pier is a hub of activity with an impressive dome shaped amusement arcade and several roller coaster rides. Unlike many other piers it is possible to walk down it without having to walk through the amusement arcades, as there are walkways down both the left and right hand side of the pier. Since it is perfectly flat and these walkways are quite wide it is especially suited for wheelchair users and pushchairs and for there are plenty of benches to sit on too along the way as well as free deck chairs. Since 2000 the pier has been owned by the Noble Organisation who unofficially renamed the pier "Brighton Pier" adding a sign at the entrance. This name is not however recognised by the National Piers Association and the town's local newspaper, The Argus still refer to it as the Palace Pier. Having walked along about a dozen different piers in the last year it would be easy to become complacent and think that they are all pretty much the same. In some respects this is true but I must say that I was rather impressed with The Palace Pier. It is very clean and whilst there are numerous gift shops and ice cream parlours it didn't feel cheap and tacky. I visited here during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the place was heaving, yet despite the miserable wet weather it is the sort of place that still manages to put a smile on everyone's face. The outdoor thrill rides might not have been nearly as much fun in the rain as they would have been in the sunshine but people were still queuing to get on them. One of the best things about this pier is that there is plenty to do undercover so when it is raining, everyone it seems heads for the pier. Around the entrance to the pier there are gift shops and food stalls that line both sides and when I visited there was a balloon seller here too, selling helium balloons of all shapes and sizes. The pier isn't accessible 24 hours a day and just beyond this point there is a set of gates that restrict entrance onto the pier when it is closed. At Easter it was open from 10am until 10pm but remained illuminated until midnight. I understand that during the summer months it is open from 9am until midnight and that during the month of August a firework display takes place each Saturday evening. Just beyond the entrance gates there is the first of two large amusement arcades. Entry is free but the philosophy of course is that few people will be able to resist dropping a few pennies into one of the shove penny machines or resisting the noisy, flashing lights of the other slot machines as they walk by. As I mentioned earlier it is possible to avoid this arcade completely and enter the pier via either side of it but the main route on to the pier does tend to try and channel you into the arcade, through its wide doors and into the warmth inside. It's not all fruit machines and shove penny machines though there are a range of things for all ages inside, including ten pin bowling and video machines and there are food outlets too selling burgers, hot dogs, crepes etc and I even spotted a noodle bar. At the far end of this arcade another set of doors takes you on to the main part of the pier where there are more gift shops and stalls selling rock and other sweets including of course candy floss. The pier has two different family oriented bars on it each of which allow children up until 7pm and they both have outdoor terrace areas for when the weather is fine too. There's also a restaurant, a fish and chip outlet and an adult only karaoke bar. The very end of the pier is set aside as an amusement park with roller coaster rides, waltzes and dodgem cars. Some of the rides will catapult you high into the sky where I am sure you will have a wonderful bird's eye view of Brighton whilst others will suspend you precariously over the sea. I watched with interest but decided to give them a miss. For the less adventurous there are things like a log flume and carousels. Tokens need to be purchased from one of the kiosks on the pier to go on the rides. These cost £1 a time with most rides costing between one and three tokens a time although the main rides can set you back as much as a whopping 7 tokens so it's not a cheap day out for the family. All along the pier there are placards that tell the visitor about interesting facts and trivia relating to the pier. For example did you know that the pier holds a licence for weddings and civil partnerships and is now a popular venue for such things. Personally I thought the Palace Pier was great fun. If you wish to participate in all of the fun then you will need to have plenty of money in your wallet but I was happy enough just to watch others having fun and making fools of themselves. No pleasure pier would be complete without a coconut shy or hook a duck and this one doesn't disappoint. However there seemed to be plenty more on offer too like face painting for children or stalls where you could have your portrait drawn or a photo taken that was then superimposed in front of some world famous landmark like the Great Pyramid or the Taj Mahal. In summary this is a great place and if you are in Brighton then it's a place you really can't miss.
I last visited Brighton Pier about 3 weeks ago whilst visiting for the weekend with my girlfriend. It's a fascinating if slightly depressing place. It's a throwback to the glory days of the English Seaside and at the height of summer can be so much fun. The beginning of October in the rain however has it's own unique charms and lack of them too. For those who don't know the pier, it is in the heart of Brighton off the main seafront promenade and is home to numerous (or should I say countless) arcade games, slot machines and other devices for robbing you of your valuable pennies. At the end of the pier are the serious amusements and rides including a rickety looking roller coaster precariously perched on the edge of the pier, a ghost house lacking in frights and a number of carousels for the more feint hearted amongst us. Sadly, although I have used these in the distant past when I feared for my life less often than I do now, the rides were shut due to the rain when we went so we couldn't go on them. You can imagine my disappointment. What is open year round come rain or snow and until midnight in the winter (2am in the summer) is the arcade. Here you can lose all your money however you wish. They have arcade games of all varieties for all ages through to your standard 2p slots and those machines that give you an opportunity to literally grab a cuddly bear or ipod mini. I was foolish enough to attempt (yes, it was in a lacklustre romantic gesture) and was fleeced for many pounds in my futile attempts. Don't bother with these; I'm sure you can't win and you'll only succeed in looking foolish in your attempts. Once bored of losing money, you can get yourself a greasy fish and chips and stare out to the ocean or visit one of 2 of the most miserable looking pubs you'll ever have the misfortune to encounter. Fine cuisine this ain't so to avoid further being fleeced, stick with the candy-floss and donuts and you'll be fine. These are reassuringly expensive. This place can be an entertaining day out but you can't help feeling slightly depressed afterwards when thinking back to the glory days of the seaside pier. This one is in need of an overhaul, or maybe not, perhaps it's just fine as it is. Go see for yourself.
I maybe shot down in flames but I was somewhat disappointed with Brighton Pier. I visited Brighton with my mother and my two small children for a mini break recently and had high hopes for the holiday. The weather as usual let us down, but the pier even more so. As we entered the pier the first thing that hit me was the incredibly strong smell of deep fried food combined with sickly sweet doughnuts. For some people that description may be enough to start them salivating but it just left me with a horrid taste in my mouth. The pier was busy and which gave it atmosphere but not the kind of atmosphere i enjoyed, lots of pushing and bumping. At the time my little girl was asleep in her pram so tried to stick to the smoother track on the pier, dedicated to wheel chairs and buggies but was constantly forced off onto the bumpy boards by rude pedestrians. The staff were not forthcoming with their enthusiasm either, i can't imagine that working there is the best job in the world, but if you are facing the public, especially in a tourist hot spot the odd smile isn't frowned upon, maybe even encouraged. I witnessed one girl who was running the carousel having an argument with a member of the public and two minutes later having another!!! The rides were quite expensive i had to pay four pounds for my almost three year old to go on the carousel which lasted approximately 2 minutes. She was 1/2 inch too small to travel unaccompanied so i had to travel to, hence four pounds! All the rides required tokens which you buy from machines... which don't give change!!! Very frustrating especially when the staff also refused to help. To conlcude; its the kind of place that i felt i should keep my hand bag close to my side but my little girl loved it.
Brighton Palace Pier is one of the most famous symbols of Brighton, in conjunction with the Pavilion. It is a true pleasure pier and has some amazing fun fair rides for all the family. It is free to enter the pier, so if all you want to do is have a wander and enjoy the cool breezes, its not going to cost you anything. There are two family bars on the pier which allow children up until around 7.00 pm, so you can relax over a drink while your kids have fun on the rides. To go on rides you need to purchase tokens which cost £1 each and rides vary in price from 3 tokens to 7, depending on what kind of ride you want to go on. There are attractions for everyone, such as the Waltzers and the Carousel, others for smaller children and the true thrillseeker rides which are not for the faint hearted! If you go on the Booster, or Super Booster for example you will find yourself being hurled "out to sea" - definitely not something I would enjoy but it always seems busy! There is also a large amusement arcade with lots of slot games for you to try out and they give out tickets which you can cash in for prizes if you get enough of them! There is even a karaoke bar on the pier, although sadly this is for adults only - its my only complaint about the pier as I feel its a missed opportunity to add to the family fun by not being open during the day for everyone to enjoy. A family day out at the pier isn't cheap, but then again whenever were attractions such as this, but it is guaranteed to be fun and have something to please everyone, especially on a rainy day.
Having recently visited Brighton Pier I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed. The Pier is the main focas of Brighton seafront with all the main attractions on board this wonderful stretch. The Pier is, unlike some piers, free of charge to enter and there is definatly fun for all the family to be had here. It is open all year round from 9am with attractions closing around 11pm. There are plenty of things to do and plenty of seats to take the weight off your feet when you've finished. (Free deckchairs also!) Whats There? The Palace of Fun Arcade is jam packed with video games, slot machines, cranes and a whole host of other fun arcade attractions. Pennies can easily slip away here so it's best to put a limit on how much you're willing to spend. The Funfair has a mix of thrilling, fun (and heart stopping!) rides such as the waltzers (don't get in car 10 unless you're willing to sacrifice your life like I was!), a rollercoster, a log flume, dodgems and much more. Payments for these rides are by tokens available from the token stand or token machines near the rides. Tokens are 50p each and a ride usually costs between 4-6 tokens. Side Stalls - the Piers fun fair side stalls are a place to try and win prizes in games such as tin can alley, hook a bag & basketball. Prizes range from small to gigantic sized cuddly toys. Please note: Skill and persistance is needed along with a big wallet full of cash. Food - snack stalls are a plenty on the pier. But the best place to eat a meal is the Palm Court Restaurant serving the best fish and chips you will ever taste. The cod seems as though it's just been caught by staff fishing over the side of the pier and thrown in with a bit of batter. The chips are amazingly fresh and tasty also. And for £3.95 for cod and chips to takeaway you can't complain. You can also dine in for a little bit more, but take away is just as good (and cheaper) as you can sit at the tables outside. On the opposite side of the restaurant is a nice friendly pub where you can get a refreshing drink to wash your meal down with. On the snack stalls there are burgers, hot dogs, pizza, crepes, chinese, and donuts - you're never far from the smell of donutty goodness! There is also a small gift shop selling little novelties and the Rock Shop - selling, believe it or not rock. Rock in every colour and flavour you can imagine. Think Charlie and the Rockolate Factory. They also do delicious fudge (starwberry & cream flavour!) and there is always special deals on offer. During the month of August there is a firework display every Saturday from 9.30pm at the end of the pier. All in all Brighton Pier is great fun and has some great views of the pebble beach and sea, definatly some kodak moments about! The Pier can even be used for functions such as birthday parties and weddings. National Express coaches from London to Brighton start at £1 each way, so why wait?
Think English seaside resort, think sand, sea and ice creams and, of course, the good old pier! People who have never visited Brighton may not have even heard of the Pavilion, Clock Tower or Preston Manor, however I would lay odds on the fact that they would be able to tell you that Brighton has two piers and probably even that one of them is falling into the sea. Without the aid of a time machine, I am unable to deliver to you a review on the West Pier that would be of any value, so instead this review is of the one that is still very much alive and kicking Brighton Pier! Now as some of you may know, I am a born and bread Brightonion and, as it happens, increasingly proud of it. However, I am also of such an advanced age that I still catch myself referring to this construction as The Palace Pier sometimes, forgetting that for the last decade and a half it has been renamed simply as Brighton Pier. Due to my upbringing, my parents moved to this town in the mid 1950s from London, several years before I was born, in my childhood days, Brighton sea front, the two piers and even the Royal Pavilion were regarded strictly as the preserve of tourists. Of course these people that came to our town tourists were regarded as a lower order, under no circumstances to be mixed with. Good job my parents were not employed in the tourist industry then I guess! Fortunately, in adulthood, I have, I hope, taken a more enlightened view of the City in which I live, indeed Mrs R. and I regularly play the role of tourists in our own town. One may also take the view that, after all, the facilities and attractions are here, we pay Brighton & Hove City Council substantial rates each year and therefore might just as well make best use of just what is on offer in this colourful city. The above statement is not actually intended to imply that the architecturally listed Grade 2 Brighton Pier is owned or managed by Brighton & Hove Council. Since 1984 it has been in the very successful ownership of the Noble (amusements) Organisation. You will probably laugh at this, but as this is a fun attraction review anyway, why not?! I discovered The Palace Pier as it was then, not by walking to the bottom of the A23 and thus to Brighton sea front, but by walking into the local library and borrowing a book all about British Piers! At nineteen years old, ok I was a freak; my interest was not in the amusement side of these things, but in the wonderful Victorian, design, engineering and construction. The book about piers informed me, that right here in my home town (City status only came with the dawning of a new millennium!), was situated one of the most notable of all pier constructions, designed by one George Moore. In all it took eight years to construct this magnificent iron pier. It opened to the public on 20th May, 1899. During the course of the following years the pier underwent continuous development as its popularity increased. From a historical point of view it is interesting to have a look at the facilities then provided prior to the First World War. Foreign holidays in those days were very strictly the preserve of the elite and nobility, pleasures for the masses being much simpler then, than in our modern electronic age. From an aesthetic and constructional point of view, by 1914 the pier, apart from the latest fun fair rides on the sea end, looked pretty much as it does now. How then do I describe to you how it looks? Well the photographs below will of course help, but for those of you having this review read to you by Aladdin, I will give you as brief a description as I can. Brighton Pier is constructed of very intricate black Victorian iron framework, rising from the sea bed to support teak decking, bounded by superbly ornate wrought iron balustrades. The various constructions on top of the pier, halls, domes and kiosks are again constructed from an iron framework and then clad in white painted wooden barge boarding. Of late some of the wood has started to be replaced with UPVC, bearing in mind the battering it takes from the wind and sea, this would appear to be an eminently sensible use of a modern material, preserving the smart overall appearance of the palatial white structures. Apart from the much smaller sea end structures, which are replicas, the main deck halls date from 1901. These are very large, tall and ornate buildings, originally used as theatres, cafés and a concert hall. The central Pavilion is the largest construction on the pier, indeed there is still a small café to be found inside toilets upstairs too. The primary function of this particular building now is as an amusements arcade. The design of this structure was very clearly influenced by the Royal Pavilion, the grounds of which are in sight from certain points on the pier, the design themes both in the ironwork and in the building itself are primarily Oriental. What is not strictly oriental though are the stained glass circular windows let into both sides of this building at a high level. They show local scenes, for example: Beachy Head, the Downs, sailing and early motoring holidays, and thus date from the art deco period in the 1920s. Strangely these port-hole windows, not even noticed my so many promenaders are probably my favourite feature on the whole pier. The sea end of the pier, since 1932, when the first big wheel was installed, has played host to an ever more sophisticated permanent fun fair. This is now one of the most comprehensive of its kind outside of Blackpool. Whilst both admission to the pier and deckchairs are free, here lays (and in the amusement halls) the answer as to how this splendid attraction is funded. Rather than, as would have been the case originally, paying attendants at each ride, now you exchange pounds for tokens and either hand them to a ride attendant or place them in a slot. Each ride is allocated a token value (50p per token), it is very easy to go through a lot of cash in a very short period of time here especially with children in tow! Few of the rides are less than £2.50. There are two distinct categories of ride adult and childrens, also trampolines which are supervised. I am not going to go into great detail on the rides, because for me they, along with the amusements arcades, pay for the pier, but are far from its most interesting feature. My 11 year old sister in law Klaudia has assisted us in test driving a lot of the rides over the course of her last 4 summer visits to England (she is Polish), and I am glad to say that her favourite is probably the same as mine the good old fashioned helter skelter! She has grown up from the revolving tea cups and tiny car / train rides through the wonderful 100 year old prancers on the carousel (a favourite ride for all ages) to even trying out the white water rapid ride. There are a couple of big dippers, a traditional (recently restored) ghost train and the fearsome swinging hammer that people, not me(!) are strapped into and hurled high up in the air and over the top ..makes me feel ill just trying to explain it to you! As we have found ourselves somehow at the sea end, it had been my intention to, rather more logically, walk you there from the entrance, we will take a stroll back to dry land, taking a look at some of the various features and attractions along the way. Here, we are standing on the end of the pier, regrettably due to the big dipper ride - unable to look straight out to sea due south, 1722 ft (525 metres) away from the land end. The Victorians were fascinated with statistics of such things, the bigger the better Brighton Pier varies in width from 45ft (13.7 meters) to 189ft (57.6 meters) at the sea end. Until the 1960s there was an operational landing stage here where pleasure steamers the last of which, the Waverly, still plies the Clyde in Scotland, used to call en route as it travelled along the south coast. Ignoring, if you can, the rides here, the end of the pier on a clear day offers the finest views of this part of the south coast. An extraordinarily contrasting view from east to west in fact. Looking to your right (east) the town runs out with the elegant white terraces flowing into white cliffs and the much more modern development of Brighton Marina below, the view then stretching into the distance with more chalk cliffs topped with rolling green downs. Walk to the left side i.e the west and all you can see is coastal city scape, Brighton and Hove, City by the sea! Replacing the Marina as main man made protuberance into the sea on this side is the now forlornly desolate twisted, burned out structure of the once glorious West Pier. The various fun fair attractions are semi-permanent, each winter they tend to be moved around a little to make way for new ones to be added, there are two new rides planned for 2006. The first permanent building you will see is circular and entitled The Offshore Entertainment Arcade. It is not a large building and this summer season plaid host to a Doctor Who exhibition. I am unable to tell you what you will find housed in here next summer. Set around this building are an interesting array of fast food franchises thanks Noble for actually keeping the likes of McDonuts and Cholesterol King off of your pier, here you will find a Chinaman selling noodles, an Italian Pizzas etc, much more atmospheric. There are further fast food franchised outlets set into the wind break running down the centre of the pier, selling exactly what you would expect to find in such a location, candy floss and American burgers! To the east side is the, all year round, very popular Horatios Bar, most popular locally for stag and hen parties, it is a large traditional English Pub but in a unique setting and enjoying stunning sea views. Horatios provide live entertainment free of charge on Saturday evenings. In the centre of the pier, near to Horatios is a very ornate (still operational but modernised from the plumbing point of view!) Victorian ornamental wrought iron public toilet Ladies east, Gents west! Time to take a few steps towards dry land! Leaving the sea end we have a short promenade, divided by a wind screen down the centre of the pier. Here, if you are like us and enjoy people watching, you can take a bench seat and while away the time seeing the cities very colourful society pass you buy as people for over 100 years have done before you! In the very last years of the Victorian era you would have seen gracious ladies in balloon skirts accompanied (always) by men in full morning dress wafting by, taking in the sea air. Now in the early years of a new millennium you can see the whole gamut of modern English society shuffle by, an almost non ending freak show, devils horns, tiny micro-mini skirts yes Brighton is a very colourful city and here you sit in the best place to observe it in all its glory! You have rested enough now, time for a short stroll and here in front of us, situated in the middle of the piers span is another watering hole, a traditional English pub, but of a different flavour to Horatios. Victorias Bar is more of a daytime venue and is the area on the pier licensed for civil wedding ceremonies. You are probably all aware of this, but due to a strict letter of the law a venue can only actually be licensed in this way if it is undercover hence in England a registrar is unable to marry you on a golden beach or at the top of Mt Snowdon. Brighton Pier and the nearby Royal Pavilion are extremely popular UK wedding venues both offering a unique choice of setting. If you are about to take the plunge and looking for somewhere unusual to tie the knot, details can be found on Brighton Piers very good website. Backing on to Victorias Bar is the very old fashioned and extremely popular 250 seat Palm Court Fish & Chip Restaurant. Good fresh fish well cooked, but at a price, is available either to take away or to eat in. Id eat in and savour the 1960s atmosphere with parlour palms, big white ceiling fans and those wipe clean, white a green checked gingham table cloths. We are in the centre of the pier now, approaching the main Palace of Fun. The decking narrows here but allows you to walk either side of this main building. This, for me I think, is the main attraction of Brighton Pier if you wish to avoid the noise and cost of modern day electronic gaming and slot machines and enjoy a good old fashioned promenade taking in the views and sea air, then you are free to do so. Again, not being a gamer I am going to avoid a detailed description of the attractions available inside this very large building. Just about the full gamut is covered: from simulators, rally driving machines to the traditional fruit and pick up a teddy with a toy crane type machines are here something for everyone if you are so inclined which regrettably I am not! Incidentally if you are wishing to indulge in some gaming, or eating and drinking come to that, and are caught short (financially) there are cash machines located both in the main hall described above and in Horatios Bar. OK, side stepping the main amusements hall, to the east or west, the choice is yours, you will now find a couple of those wonderful seaside postcard stands where you place your head through the wooden cut outs and pose as mermaid or the famous Just Married on Brighton Pier one. Yes we all have photographs of ourselves taken behind these things! Whilst still on the main part of the pier we are now reaching the land end and therefore entrance you will find an excellent gift and souvenir shop. On first visiting this with my wife over four years ago, I was surprised at how reasonably priced the items were a tip, if you are looking for London items, they are a fraction of the price that I have seen them in any such shop in the capital. A huge range of post cards obviously, but also items of clothing, memorabilia and the usual cuddly toys and pencils etc are all packed into this shop. Adjacent to it is the old fashioned Fudge Shop, the products of which are fairly obvious from the title! Last in this little parade is a very good coffee bar, again, bearing in mind its situation, the prices charged could be much higher. There are various other little unit outlets palm readers, cheap jewellery, Secrets in your Signature and the like, but these tend to be rather transient in nature and may well not be there if you are planning a visit in summer 2006 or beyond. Currently, according to their website, the Pier organisation is seeking a franchisee for the Gypsy Caravan if there are any budding Dooyooers out there who fancy giving palmistry or fortune telling a go (I do have one or two suitable names in mind!) then you can apply for the franchise on the piers website! And so we alight on terra firma, through the Victorian iron gates and now redundant turnstiles admission is completely free, and to the frankly rather unsavoury forecourt area. Here you will find ice cream bars and fast food outlets, none of which with due respect I would be inclined to risk eating from. Before running away from the smell of onion and fat frying, do spare time to look above your head and at the very attractive clock tower mounted over the entrance way. Brighton Pier is a huge asset to our city, one of the most visited visitor attractions in the whole country, and justifiably so. The fact that it offers free entry we very rarely spend a single penny there and visit often, several times a week sometimes in the summer, as well as free deck chair loan, means that it is popular even with locals. I cannot really end this review without commenting that it is by dusk and in darkness that aesthetically at least, Brighton Pier is really at its magical best. The silhouette of the pier is picked out in white lights, the only non white lights being the colourful ones on the funfair at the sea end and the red Brighton Pier signs at the entrance and to both sides of the palace of Fun. A further free attraction, provided by the pier throughout the month of August, is the spectacular Saturday night fireworks display. These are not actually on the pier but launched from a barge adjacent to it. The display starts at 9.30 and is well worth seeing either from the pier itself, or as we usually do from the main coast road above. These displays are lavish, lasting around 20 minutes, using the beautifully lit pier as a backdrop. No this city certainly would not be the place that it is without the pier, probably a greater attraction even for the majority than the Royal Pavilion. Brighton Pier is open every day of the year: July to Sept.: 09.00 to Late Sep. to June: 10.00 to 22.30
“Palace Pier” now just the “Brighton Pier”, I know this name change seems sudden but with uncertainty over the “west pier” the “palace pier” wanted to stamp their dominance upon the new city. Brighton has been a seaside attraction for many years, about 100-200 years but whom cares. The south is very expensive and its makes a good relief to have something that is free. Well free to enter if you want have any fun you are going to pay through the nose. With arcades being anything from 30p to £2 per go plus food being over normal pricing due to not much competition in the immediate area. As you first head toward the pier you are faced with a big clock on top of the entrance gates which have shops coming off to the left and right offering everything from coffee, to ice cream, to fish and chips. Many stalls are situated outside on the pier including a picture shop, having your palm read, signature read, fortuneteller, and food outlets The arcades are arranged into 2 building the first one being a very more modern set of arcades with the latest releases, dance mats are normally situated here. As you head towards the back of this building you are faced with a lot of “fruities” on the right and left, I have personally never seen the attraction to them but my mates seem to be addicted to them and if they are your type of thing you will enjoy this. In the first building still there is a mini café place if you wish to have a sit down inside. Between the two buildings you come across two very instinctive sets. First one being a set of games to one those cute big cuddly toys, you know the type you see on films as the big hunky lad wins his little girl a prize. These stalls include basketball games, knocking over the tins, throwing balls into the milk jugs, and darts. After this comes the fish and chips stall, a bit on the pricier side but if you’re in Brighton everyt hing is. The quality of these fish and chips is also very nice with a wide range available to you both with the choices of sitting in and out. I do not know what it is but there is something to sitting outside eating fish and chips in the salt ridden air. Just before you get into the next building you are faced on the right side with the “dolphin derby” blasting out music you cannot miss it. It’s a £1 entry and you race against other people by throwing the balls into the holes some holes are better then others moving along your dolphin a lot quicker then other holes. The second building as a few more of the retro games including a lot of racing ones and crane games, this building as a rule of thumb normally proves to have cheaper arcades. As you push your way pass the arcades there is another mini café at the back a lot less quiet then the one at the front, appealing normally to the lot younger people. This is also where you can hire out a pool table, there is not a lot of tables and are not big at all but can prove a good laugh. Just pass the arcade building you are faced with rides, the water flume, the waltz, 2 roller coasters, and some spinning ones. The water flume is over very quickly but if it’s hot sometimes its nice to get wet. The waltz is my favourite basically you go around in a circle while spinning in a circle in your own carriage. One roller coaster is just up and down, up and down, loop-a-loop, up and down, up and down then over. The other one is a lot slower but spins around while taking you around, not very fast and very jerky. One of the spinning ones in like a huge circle with carriages spaced around it starts to spin around then goes vertical large a large loop-a-loop and you just go around and around. The one you can see from the coast at night because it is well lit. So in short if you are in Brighton you have to see the pier it’s very long and big for a pier, with things appealing t o every age and habit.
Brighton, is I suppose, one of the best known British seaside resorts. Recently I had a two day stay in the town and put up at the New Steine Hotel, which is very convenient for Brighton;s attractions. I guess the big attractions are the Royal Pavillion, the Brighton Marina, the Lanes and,of course, that piece of Victoriana that goes by the name of the Palace Pier. The Palace Pier is alive and well and attracts countless day trippers and visitors to the Sussex seaside resort. It is open from 9 am in the morning until 2.00 am in the summer and from 10 am to 12 pm during the winter months. One thing that accounts for its popularity among visitors is that entrance is free, Brighton is an expensive place so having an attraction that is free is a good bonus. It is quite a lengthy pier and at night is well lit which gives a vibrant,lively look. During day light it really looks less impressive. Once on the pier what can you do ? Well you can gaze back at Brighton's sea front. You can sun yourself in an arm chair. You can partake of an ice cream, sip a coffee or go for a pint of beer. If you like rock, you will find several outlets selling Brighton Rock and there are the usual Candy Floss stalls. Into gambling ? Well there is a veritable plethora of fruit machines in which to try your arm. Therre are a host of games including rifle shooting, FormulaI simulated racing and the usual array of rather tacky prizes to be won. If that is not for you how about a ride on the exciting,exhilirating, Ghost Train. You can also enjoy yourself people watching on the Palace Pier. After a while you can get a bit bored with all the frenetic activit,noise, and crowds. Still if it is raining it is a good place to shelter and relive your youth on a very Victorian structure. Thanks for reading and rating my review.
Although the Palace Pier has had a few problems as of late in the form of fires, my recent visit to it proved that it is still up and running and unlike it's rather sorry sister (the West Pier) is still carrying visitors in their thousands. There is no getting away from the fact that the pier is tacky, and although entrance is free, a lot of the attractions are a little over priced. There are the typical faire ground stalls, which offer a prize every time and boast giant oversized and gaudy soft toys as a reward. There is also an arcade with plenty of fruit machines and those machines that have a cunning way of making you put 2p in to see if it can knock the other two pences off. Why you would want a load of coppers in your bag is another question. There are also the other British seaside attractions such as deckchairs, complete with old women sitting on them, rock shops and candy floss stalls. If you are after food, don't expect anything gormet. Think greasy fish and chips and crepes. Now, my favourite part of the pier is the Ghost Train (which is in the rides bit at the end of the pier). I am not one for rides generally, but I always used to take visitors to this part, as there was something mildy humourous about the old Ghost Train. Anyway, I believe this is what caught fire so I am not sure if it is still in operation. The advantages of the pier, is it is a fun place wonder around and observe the sea and soak up the atmosphere. However, it is noisy, and there are numerous kids and teenagers so don't come here if you are a tranquil time. It is so quintessentially Brighton though, so you shouldn't ignore it all together. The image of the pier immediately tells you that you are in Brighton. What I would say, is if you are planning a trip to Brighton, DO stroll down it, but don't make it the highlight of your trip as you may well be disappointed.
The Palace pier (free entry) is best visited at night, although it's fun to visit in the daytime and get a good view of Brighton and the sea, it looks really good lit up at night. It is full of the usual fairground type of games and rides, which aren't cheap at £1-£2 each, a family could end up spending rather a lot of money. The rides are also very short, so you don't really get good value for money either. There are 2 mini rollercoasters, a couple of rides which involve goind upside down (no thanks!), trampolines, go-karts, dogems and lots of rides for small children. There are also deckchairs, souvenir shops, sweet shops (Brighton Rock), a bar and various snack facilites for those who just want a walk on the pier - you can't be guaranteed any peace though - the fairground rides and slot machines are VERY noisy, which is OK if you're playing on them, but if you just want to sit down and relax a while the noise can be a bit irritating! I took my 5-month-old baby there at night and he loved all the noise & bright flashing lights - I think he thought that it was an extension of his Fisher-Price baby gym! Anyway, this is definitely a must if you're visiting Brighton with a family, it will keep everyone entertained for hours from Granny to the youngest child, but be prepared to be a little out of pocket if you go on all the rides!