Newest Review: ... but absolutely delicious. There is a Pizza Hut and various shops along Ocean Boulevard too. ~Conclusion~ We enjoyed our trip to ... more
A Family Friendly Theme Park..
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Member Name: angelboouk
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Date: 15/05/13, updated on 15/05/13 (148 review reads)
Advantages: lots to do, family friendly, clean and tidy, all you can eat deal, location
Disadvantages: expensive, I miss Beaver Creek! some staff quite rude, short opening times
Having visited Blackpool on several occasions since I was a child, I am very familiar with Blackpool Pleasure Beach. We visited here with our five year old son on Saturday the 11th of May and this review discusses our experience as a young family. As you would expect, this will be a long review but I would like to get my opinion across on the different facilities.
~Blackpool Pleasure Beach - Essential Information~
525 Ocean Boulevard
Blackpool Pleasure Beach (BPB for short) is around 1.5miles from the shopping centre of Blackpool and a few minutes walk from the Sandcastle and South Pier. BPB is promoted as being 'Britain's favourite amusement park' and is set across 42 acres of land. It is home to 10 thrill rides and 17 noted family rides though the website does state over 125 rides in total. BPB is also home to Nickelodeon Land which offers a further 12 rides.
BPB is open from March to November but you should check the times as they change depending on when you plan on visit. We visited on a Saturday and the park was open from 10.00-18.00 but if we had visited the previous day, it was only open from 11.00-17.00. Tickets can be booked online or purchased at the entrance on your arrival. We chose to book online and received a confirmation letter to print out. This was a simple process and we were given our wristbands at the ticket office.
BPB has five car parks and room to accommodate over 1000 cars. They are pre-pay car parks. Alternatively, you can arrive on foot or by tram. BPB offer tickets for rides but it is best to purchase a wristband. They also charge for entry to the park if you aren't using the rides - £6.00 to be exact which I don't consider fare but I suppose it stops people from going in to loiter or cause trouble like they do at my local theme park. Prices vary and it is worth looking out for a special deal especially if you book online.
The gate price is around £35.00 per adult and £30.00 per children but this is due to be reduced next month I believe. The current online prices are as follows :
*Adult full park wristband - £25.50
*Nickelodeon Land wristband - £18.70
*Childrens full park wristband - £22.94
*Family wristband - £86.00
*Big Value Pass - £50.00
Speedy passes are available at an additional cost.
Once booked, tickets cannot be refunded if the weather is bad. BPB recently introduced a rainy day offer which means that if it rains for three 'consecutive' hours during your visit, you get a voucher to come back the next day. There are various shows than can be booked in the park including Hot Ice. Full details can be found on the website.
~Arriving At The Park~
As we were staying just outside the park, we got there as it opened and it was already very busy despite the weather being pretty awful. I had booked online and paid just under £75.00 for our tickets and an additional cost for food which I will discuss later on. The security and reception staff are quite abrupt and not particularly friendly but efficient. The lady who put our wristbands on is in my sons bad books for putting his on too tight. Let's just say we had tears at trying to remove it! We had to go through security at the park and they search your bags to ensure you aren't taking and food or weapons in to the park. Security is very tight and we noticed police in the park during our visit. We were given a range of discount vouchers and a map after receiving our wrist bands.
The park hasn't ever really changed in layout - only the rides. It is quite a big amusement park and they have made great use of the space that they have. BPB is fairly well maintained and appeared to be clean and tidy. The flat and spacious pavements make it suitable for wheelchairs and those with pushchairs. Disability information is available from the website should you need assistance. We found the park easy to walk around and the map was very useful in helping us locate the entrance to the various rides. There are the typical teddy win stalls dotted around the park at £2.00 a pop. There is a few amusement arcades within the park too if you want a break from the rides. We bought ponchos (around £7.50 for three) as it was very wet when we arrived.
There is a really good selection of rides at BPB and whilst there are a few bigger rides for thrill seekers, there is plenty for families to experience. Some rides have height restrictions so our son wasn't able to ride them all but he was far from being bored. We took it in turns to take him on the more suitable rides whilst the other parent went on the bigger rides. A few of the rides have been painted and they have been maintained well but I was disappointed to see that Space Invader 2 and a few others are no longer in the park. Safety on the rides is paramount and they are quite strict.
The Big One (formally the Pepsi Max and opened in 1994) is the main attraction within the park. This 213ft high (above ground level) rollercoaster dominates the Blackpool sky line is absolutely massive! I've been on it at a few times over the years but can't face it now as I'm terrified of the high drop. It really is an epic ride and not one for those who get scared easily. During our visit, it didn't open until 2pm due to high winds. The queue once opened was quite long but not like it was when it first opened. I remember my Dad and sister waiting 3hours to get on it!
Ice Blast is located at the entrance of the park and is one of my favourite rides. At 180feet in height, it isn't for the faint hearted. You are shot up into the air at some speed and it is really thrilling. Avalanche is another good ride which is like a bobsled within a Swiss cabin. If you are a fan of under track rollercoasters, you will love Infusion which is built over water. The two oldest rides in the park are showing age but are worth going on. Grand National is a dual-track rollercoaster with many dips and fun to ride. I highly recommend a ride on the Big Dipper which was opened in 1923 and is an old fashioned, wooden rollercoaster.
Opened in 1958. the Wild Mouse is another wooden ride but the last time I went on this, I didn't feel right at all as it is very rough and bumpy. Revolution (formally Irn Bru Revolution) is a fab ride and one which I always go on when I visit. It is classed as being a 'steel shuttle' rollercoaster which sends you forward through a loop and then back again. Our favourite thrill ride in the park is by far Valhalla! This opened in 2000 and is an indoor water ride in the dark. It is amazing and it is hard to believe that there is so much to it by looking at the outside of the ride. Be prepared to get very wet but well worth it!
Our son wasn't disappointed by the rides on offer. The family friendly rides are dotted around the park and there is plenty to try out. Most involved him having to ride with an adult so we took it in turns to avoid either parent being left out. Our first family ride was Alice in Wonderland which is just lovely. Opened in 1961, this partial indoor ride shows the story of Alice and the other characters. It is lovely but could be doing with being maintained a bit better and it does go a little fast to be able to enjoy it properly.
I was a bit wary of going on the Derby Racer with our son. This carousel features 56 horses and is super fast compared to a regular carousel. He loved it though and I settled knowing Daddy was hanging on to him tightly! We went on the Flying Machines at just the wrong time as it started to hailstone. The Flying Machines is the oldest ride in the park - 109 years old to be exact. We enjoyed the other family rides including the Eddie Stobart trucks, the Tetley Teacups, the Grand Prix, River Caves and Vintage Carousel. The rides were fun and the operators were friendly enough. We didn't really need to wait to go on any of these rides.
We went on the new ride - Wallace and Gromit Thrill-O-Matic which only opened in April. I would say that the ride was okay but nothing particularly special given how much it was promoted. It wasn't exactly thrilling and was a little too dark for my son who had no idea who Wallace or Gromit was. I feel they could have done a little more to make it more worthwhile to go on as there was a lot of spaces in the ride which could have been filled better. I would recommend a quick walk through of Impossible as you learn some interesting facts but don't be fooled by the swing ride at the back!
We were disappointed that the Monorail was no longer in operation as I always enjoyed going around the park on it. We did go on the Pleasure Beach Express train which departs every 20minutes from the centre of the park. This train used to stop at the opposite end of the park but this station is no longer open which is a shame. The Chinese Puzzle maze is free to enter if you have a pass or wristband and is a fun way to spend 10 minutes or an hour like myself and fiance a few years ago!
Our wristband included access to Nickelodeon Land which was opened in 2011. Despite our last visit being as a couple with no children, we previously enjoyed going on some of the childrens rides. This area of the park used to be called Beaver Creek and it has been completely taken over by Nickelodeon Land. BPB aren't daft - they have converted the two rollercoasters here to Nickelodeon rollercoasters as opposed to building anything new.
To be fair, we are more keen on Disney than Nickelodeon but we really enjoyed this area of the park and found it to be very family friendly. My son was too small to ride the Nickelodeon Streaker so we made do with the Blue Flyer. The Blue Flyer was originally known as the Zipper Dipper and has been renovated. It is a small, wooden rollercoaster which my five year old loved going on. We also enjoyed Dora's World Voyage which is a small water ride with fun things to observe. The best ride in this area was SpongeBob's Splash Bash which involved us soaking other people with water guns!
During our time in Nickelodeon Land, we also went on various other rides including the Bikini Bottom Bus Tour, Taxi Spin, Rugrats Lost River and Krusty Krab order up. My son thoroughly enjoyed all the rides and so much so that we returned later in the day to try them all out again! Both myself and my fiance took it in turns to go on the Avatar Airbender which was simply amazing but I had to close my eyes on it! This ride involved sitting on a disk with a back support holding you in. It spins half circle up a track and is soooo cool!
We were pleased to meet some characters during our time here and we could have our pictures taken with them or take our own which is what I chose to do. My fiance was delighted to learn that the Turtles would be there and insisted on both him and our son getting their picture taken with his hereos! As my son isn't a huge fan of SpongeBob and Dora, he didn't wish to buy anything from the merchandise shop - it looked expensive as you would expect.
~Food on Offer and Shops~
As you aren't allowed to bring a picnic, you may need to purchase food within the park. There is a lot of food on offer. If you are just after a snack, the shacks near Infusion offer donuts, crepes, fish and chips, ice cream and drinks. You can also relax with a proper meal in Coasters, Big Pizza Kitchen etc. We opted to take advantage of the 'all you can eat' deal which is discounted if booked online. I figured this would stop us from having to take much cash into the park. I paid £17.50 per adult and £12.50 for our son and we received an additional wristband which needed scanned at each outlet.
The all you can eat allows you to make return visits to six different outlets and order meals, cakes and drinks. Ice cream, sweets and alcohol aren't provided. As we spent 8 hours in the park, we did make use of the dining facilities and had a bit of everything really. Our first stop was to Emberton's which is a little cafe. We ordered a cupcake each and a draught drink and found it to be really nice. They also offer baguettes and hot food which is included. I returned later in the day for a slice of cheesecake as it looked delicious!
We got peckish a little while later so visited Beach Burger across from Alice in Wonderland and ordered a hot dog and drink which we found to be really nice. My son asked for another hot dog at dinner time! Later in the day, we made a visit to Coasters. My fiance had a burger, I had fajitas and our son had chicken and chips. Including drinks, this would have came to over £25.00 but we got it included which saved us quite a bit.The food was nice enough but not amazing. We also visited Big Pizza Kitchen for a pit stop. Our son doesn't like pizza or pasta so had some garlic bread and a drink whilst we helped ourselves to a slice of pizza and some tomato based pasta. It was lovely and I would recommend here as it is a buffet service (around £8.00 at full price).
As we were due to leave the park at 6pm, we decided to have dinner in here and opted for The Plaice. We were told we could only have fish and chips or just chips rather than anything else. We ordered fish and sat outside. The fish and chips was nice but not as good as the chip shops on the promenade. It was a bit too crispy but we ate it as we were leaving the park. I do think that if you are going to be in the park all day, the all you can eat does offer good value for money. We hardly spent any additional money on food except for an ice cream cone (which was a ridiculous £1.95). There are other food outlets if you want something more fancy including seafood and champagne.
There are a few shops within the park which offer BPB merchandise. We had planned on buying a few bits but lost track of time and aside from the ponchos, we didn't get to purchase anything. I did notice shops selling teddies, jumpers, sweets etc but they are likely to be less expensive outside of the park.
~Outside The Park~
There is a lot to do in the vicinity of the park. I recommend a visit to Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Pasaje del Terror is said to be really scary. It is an interactive walk through experience with live actors but as we had a little one with us, we couldn't go in! I recommend The Grill which is attatched to the Pleasure Beach. The food is a little expensive but absolutely delicious. There is a Pizza Hut and various shops along Ocean Boulevard too.
We enjoyed our trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. We thought we would get around it all very quickly but it does take a while to experience everything that it has to offer. Once you are in, all the rides except for one or two, non manned rides are including in your wristband. During our visit, the Steeplechase ride was out of service but this was already noted on the BPB website. Some rides could do with a revamp but nothing major. We visited a few toilets during our visit and had mixed experiences. The toilets at Alice in Wonderland were immaculate as were the toilets at the exit of the maze but the downstairs toilet underneath Coasters was horrible and didn't work properly.
Thankfully the weather perked up and we were able to experience the park without being soaked. I find it to be a family friendly park with a wide selection of rides to suit everyone. It doesn't have the same impact or thrill as Alton Towers or other big parks but it is worth a visit. It is expensive but you get a lot for your money if you are there the full day. I do feel they could extend their opening hours though as I remember the park used to be open until 10pm at night when I was younger!
We will return - thanks for reading :)
Summary: we will return..