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Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Member Name: SusanLesley
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Date: 28/12/00, updated on 27/06/01 (1376 review reads)
Advantages: You can pay for the rides you want, You can walk around for free and just watch
Disadvantages: Gets very busy in the summer
I have recently revisited Blackpool Pleasure Beach and now have all the current information about the rides – so I have decided to update this opinion again to give the most up to date information available.
I have left the main body of the opinion as it was – as this contained a lot of the historical background to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I have now rearranged this information into a full list of rides, together with prices, height restrictions etc.
The Pleasure Beach is easily accessible by public transport. Both the trams and the buses stop outside the main gates. There is also a large car park adjoining the Pleasure Beach and another about five minutes walk inland.
There has been some form of funfair at the south end of Blackpool promenade since the middle of 1890’s. Some of the rides in operation at The Pleasure Beach today date back to the early 1900’s. The older rides actually have national heritage status and bear plaques, which explain who built them, when they were opened and any other relevant information.
White Knuckle Rides - £4.50 per go (2 x A tickets)
Valhalla – height restriction 46 inches
The new ride opened in 2000 was Valhalla, where you ride in a Viking Long Boat on a water ride with a backward drop (only a small one), and two forward drops, one of which has a bump halfway down. There are extremes of temperature from fire to ice and a section with lightening flashing within the safety of a faraday cage I hasten to add. You will get VERY wet on this one.
As an aside I must mention that my partner and I were lucky enough to win a competition in The Daily Star to be amongst the first to ride Valhalla. Due to teething troubles, which have now been sorted, the ride stopped half way round and we had to be led out to safety by a member of staff. Now that WAS scary!
The Pepsi Max Big One – height restriction 52 inches
The Pepsi Max was opene
d in 1994 to compete with the opening of Disneyland Paris. You climb to a height of 235 feet, before plummeting down a near sheer drop at speeds of up to 85 m.p.h. I was brave enough to try this one once, as I am extremely scared of heights. The sensation wasn’t nearly as good as that on The Grand National. I won’t be trying it again either - once was quite enough for me!
White Knuckle Rides - £2.25 per go (1 x A ticket)
Avalanche – height restriction 44 inches.
This consists of about ten cars each seating a maximum of two people one behind the other all joined together in a line. The line of cars is hauled up to the top of the ride and then released to descend using the force of gravity alone. The ‘track’ is a huge white chute, which twists and turns its way down to the end giving you the feeling of being on a bob sleigh. It is the only ride I have ever been on that actually gets faster as it goes along. I am always petrified that the cars will come of the chute!!!
Big Dipper – height restriction 46 inches
The Big Dipper dates from 1923 and is a traditional wooden roller coaster, and a very good one at that! It was the stage for a world breaking roller coaster ride in the year 2000, when an American rode for 2000 hours non-stop, raising money for children’s charities. We rode a couple of circuits with him, as the ride was open to the public during his record attempt.
Grand National – height restriction 46 inches
The Grand National is the main wooden roller coaster and was originally opened in 1935 and is only one of only three moben loop roller coasters in the world, the other two being in America. It consists of two carriages each containing about 20 people, which begin their journey from opposite sides of the boarding platform. The two carriages loop under the boarding stage and come out on tracks side by side where they proceed to ‘race’ each oth
er around an impressive set of dips, the ‘winner’ is dependant on the number and weight of passengers in each carriage. When the ride returns to the boarding platform you will be on the opposite side of the platform to where you got on. I must just say that, if you like the wooden coasters, this is a MUST! For me the sensation on this ride beats the Pepsi Max every time.
Grand Prix – height restriction 50 inches
This ride consists of racing cars seating a maximum of two people powered by an engine in the back. They go round a circuit held in place on a single metal track, but the driver has an accelerator with which to control the speed of the car (obviously!)
Log Flume – no height restriction
This is a decent log flume, but isn’t in the same league as the ones at either Alton Towers or The American Adventure Park. It has two drops and you do get very wet!
Ice Blast (formerly The Playstation) – height restriction 52 inches
This ride gives an interesting sensation if that’s what I can call it! The ride consists of a square, vertical column with three seats on each of the four sides. You sit down and are harnessed in and the ride begins with the seats shooting vertically up the column and then free falling back down again. You then bounce up and down a couple of times before coming to a halt to get off. I have only tried this one once and I almost passed out so I decided that it’s not for me!
Revolution – height restriction 50 inches
This is one large 360-degree loop. To ride The Revolution you must first climb six flights of stairs to the top of the ride. There are a series of cars seating two people side by side, which are joined together in one long chain. The ride begins with a voice telling you that you are about to take the ride of your life and the line of cars is then catapulted off the end of the horizontal track to travel round the complete loop to arr
ive on the horizontal track on the other side. The voice then tells you that you are about to experience the ride of your life but this time backwards and the whole thing happens in reverse!
Although the climb to the top of the ride gets me breathless I would rather do this than get on at the bottom and be haled up mechanically. The first part of the ride is great but the second half going backwards always frightens me to death!
Space Invader – height restriction 47 inches
This one is basically a roller coaster in the dark and has an added restriction that riders must be at least 18 years old. This is because a young boy was killed on this ride a little while ago but, taking into account the stringent safety procedures, he must have been misbehaving to fall out of the car. The only problem I find with this ride is that, because of the dips and banked turns in the track, it does tend to snap your head back and forth a fair bit so it can make your neck ache.
Steeplechase – height restriction 50 inches
For this ride you sit astride a ‘racehorse’ which seats one or two people and travel around a track going over small jumps. I found this ride very frightening, as I am terrified of heights unless I am securely strapped in. The restraint on this ride is just a lap belt, which did not give me any feeling of security at all!
Swamp Buggies – no height restriction
These are basically bumper boats for one person and they are situated in the pool below the Log Flume. Riders have to wear the life jackets provided in order to ride.
Trauma Towers – height restriction 46 inches
This is a walk through haunted house, which is really quite scary as things are moving around you, and there are weird noises. The final part of the walk takes you to a door where you go into a room set out like an old fashioned dining room. You sit round a circular bench seat, which is at a slight angle, and it spin
s extremely fast! This used to be a ride in it’s own right situated next to Trauma Towers, but the two rides have now been merged into one as part of a refurbishment.
Wild Mouse – height restriction 52 inches
This is the last ‘woodie’ to be built at The Pleasure Beach, and it was completed in 1958. This is not one for the faint hearted! It consists of small cars seating either one or two people, which travel to the top of the ride and then zig zag back down with dips as well. Wheels under the centre of the car hold it on to the track so the rider gets the feeling that the car is going to fly off the edge before it is jerked round the hairpin bend to ‘safety’.
Pink Knuckle Rides - £1.75 per go (1 x B ticket)
Alpine Golf – no height restriction
This is just a crazy golf course, pretty much the same as any other.
The Black Hole – height restriction 50 inches
This ride is a good, old fashioned set of Waltzers, which you ride in semi darkness. There are strobe lights and a glitter ball and part of the ride will also be in complete darkness. This is brilliant providing you get a car which really spins, but I’m afraid that’s down to pot luck and whether your car catches the bumps at the right angle as you go round.
Dodgems – no height restriction
A set of ordinary fairground Dodgems, nothing more to say on that one really!
Ghost Train – no height restriction
This one has been at the Pleasure Beach ever since I can remember and is an old-fashioned ghost train for one or two people per car. There is a good effect inside where the car travels through a revolving drum making it appear that the track is sloping up the side of the wall. I’m afraid it’s not very scary at all!
Monorail – no height restriction
This is a monorail ride around the whole of the Pleasure Beach, which lasts about 5 minutes.
In summer you travel in open sided carriages and in winter you travel in enclosed carriages. It’s a great ride if you just want a sit down to calm yourself before going on the next white-knuckle ride.
River Caves – no height restriction
This is another of the heritage rides and consists of a boat journey through over a mile of caves, which contain various scenes depicting the countries of the world. There is also a pre historic scene with dinosaurs too.
Rollercoaster – height restriction 46 inches
This is another wooden coaster, which also dates back to 1923, but I have to say this is a very mild ride, reflected in fact that it is only classed as a Pink Knuckle rather than White Knuckle ride.
Superbowl – height restriction 46 inches
This is another set of Dodgems for one or two people per car. If you can avoid hitting anyone the speed picks up quite well.
Children’s and ‘milder’ rides - £1.25 per go (1 x C ticket)
Alice in Wonderland – no height restriction
The cars seat one or two people and travel along a track past a series of tableaux depicting scenes and characters from Alice in Wonderland. When we were in Blackpool last year my partner convinced me to go on this ride with him as I could remember enjoying it as a youngster. Much to my embarrassment, the ride broke down whilst we were in there (nothing to do with us I might add!) and we had to be escorted to safety by a member of staff!
Chinese Puzzle Maze – no height restriction
This is a maze made of hedges with a few vantage points in the form of bridges and towers. This one is strictly for the children! Mind you – you do exit through the beer garden of the pub!
Derby Racer – no height restriction
This ride, which was built in 1950’s, is another one of the older rides and is a set of three rows of horses in running pose, which spin (fast) around a
central point. Although this is a C class ride, allegedly one of the mildest, the centrifugal force is quite strong and can be scary. My dad took me on this when I was a little girl and he was terrified that he wouldn’t be able to hold me on as the ride picked up speed. They have since fitted metal stirrups to the horses which make it feel a bit safer but it is still pretty hair raising as you’re quite high off the ground.
The Flying Machine – no height restriction
This is the huge structure in the centre of the Pleasure Beach, which turns swinging out bullet shaped carriages suspended on chains using centrifugal force, was opened in 1904. There is room for six people per carriage (I think) and it is a lovely ride to do on a clear day at sunset, as the views across the sea are beautiful.
Gallopers – no height restriction
This is a good old-fashioned set of fairground gallopers with horses and carriages and a fairground organ to complete the effect.
Goldmine – no height restriction
On this one you travel in a carriage, which seats up to four people, around a set of underground passages past tableaux depicting scenes from the early days of mining.
Haunted Swing – no height restriction
This is an excellent ride for trying out the theory of mind over matter. You sit in a huge swing like structure seating about 20 people at a time. It is set in a small room and fixed to the wall at either end. A member of staff checks that all is well and asks you to remain seated at all times. He then leaves the room and the swing begins to move back and forth until it rotates through 360 degrees, and you are not strapped in at all. But I lie – what is actually happening is that the room is rotating whilst the swing remains completely motionless. It is amazing that you still end up hanging on as thought you’re about to fall off even thought you’re not moving, as your mind can’
;t cope with the idea that it is the room that is moving.
Noah’s Ark – no height restriction
This is the only remaining fun house at the Pleasure Beach, since the large fun house was destroyed by fire some years ago. Noah’s Ark dates from 1923 and here you walk though a series of corridors aboard the Ark, where there are various amusing things such as cake walks, distorting mirrors, floors that move underneath your feet etc. The whole structure tips slightly backwards and forwards the whole time so it gives the feeling of being at sea, well sort of!
Turtle Chase – height restriction 40 inches
This is another heritage ride and consists of a row of circular carriages shaped like turtles all joined together in a line. You sit in the carriage holding a central handrail and the turtles race round a circular track with slight dips in it.
1001 Mirrors – no height restriction
This is a maze of glass panels, which ultimately leads you into a hall of distorting mirrors. It’s not particularly exciting but it’s a good place to shelter if it rains!
All Beaver Creek Rides – few height restrictions
There is a special section of the Pleasure Beach especially for the children, which is called Beaver Creek. Here they have small versions of some of the adult favourites. There is a mini log flume, a little roller coaster and numerous roundabouts.
There are numerous ways to pay for the rides here at The Pleasure Beach. You can buy individual tickets, or you can buy a wristband for the day at a cost of £25 or you can buy books of tickets of varying denominations. With the books of tickets and the wristbands you also get discount tickets for the ice show or the other shows at the Pleasure Beach theatre. Look out for special offers to get free tickets or buy one get one free books. It all helps to make the day better value for money. We had got a voucher for two wristbands for th
e price of one and we worked out that we would have had to pay £74 for the rides that we went on for £25. See what I mean about saving?
By paying for the rides rather than having an entrance fee it also means that people are free to walk around and just watch the rest of us being turned upside down, getting wet and generally being scared witless!
One more thing - the Pleasure Beach is open during the weekends in March and the rides are only 80p a go!
There are quite a few shops and amusement arcades at the Pleasure Beach too, together with quite a few bank cash machines in case the money runs out! There are also plenty of food outlets ranging from sweets and snacks to sit down meals and the prices aren’t too bad either. There is a pub next to the Space Invader, which is done out like an old mill and has a very pleasant family room as well as a beer garden. The biggest Burger King in the country is also located at the top end of the Pleasure Beach next to the Steeplechase.
There are toilets situated opposite the River Caves, and more opposite the Alice in Wonderland ride both of which are kept very clean. The ones on the Pleasure Beach Car Park are also very clean and look out for the hairdryers at 20p per go if Valhalla got you!
The entertainment is provided by the Pleasure Beach’s own Kit Kat Radio station and there’s an open invite to go and say hello to the DJ and request a dedication.