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Blackpool Pleasure Beach - 16/09/20

Anthony K

New Member
Hello everyone. I'll use this to introduce myself a little then move swiftly on to the trip report.

I've been into coasters and theme parks since I was very young but didn't really pursue the interest for most of my twenties for lack of like-minded company or, more accurately, the courage to attend meets. I played RCT3 a lot and had occasional visits to parks, mostly Alton Towers and Drayton Manor. I've also managed to get to Parc Asterix and PortAventura as excursions whilst in Paris and Barcelona but never really travelled with the express purpose of going to parks as I would've liked.

So, to cut a long story short, intent on changing that, I decided to bite the bullet and take my first solo trip to a park this week. I'll also be going to the USA for the first time with Pleasure Beach Experience next year which I'm very excited about!

Apologies for not having photos. I missed the chance for a great one of the Big One emerging from the morning fog as I'd left my phone in my room.

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I hadn't been to Blackpool since I was about five years old but it all came flooding back pretty quickly as I got through security and passed the Alice in Wonderland ride which was almost certainly my first ever dark ride. Glimpsing the Ghost Train I was too scared to ride back then, and seeing it was closed, I vowed to return later and conquer my fear.

Not knowing the layout of the park, I headed for the bottom of the Big One's lift hill and got my first ride of the day with a walk-on in the middle of the train. It might sound silly to some who have always pursued this interest but it was such a great feeling as the train rolled around the corner and it sunk in that I was finally on that coaster I had looked up at in awe all those years ago. I turn 30 in February, for reference, so it had probably only just lost the world record a couple of months prior to that visit.

I would go on to ride it five times, including front and back rows, and I loved it. There are some rough spots for sure and it meanders a bit but that first drop was fantastic every time, especially at the front! It was also really nice to see that it's still got that iconic status here and to see others have their first rides, clearly bricking it on the way up, come off beaming or cursing whoever had dragged them aboard. On one ride, I was seated in front of a much braver little kid than I ever was who screamed the whole way around but basked in the praise from her family once we hit the final brakes.

Next up, I was thinking I should pace myself, so went to ride Revolution. For some reason I thought this was a Schwarzkopf so was quite surprised when I actually saw the track. This was decent for what it is and I had the whole train to myself for my first ride. I can't say I would bother with it if there was a queue even reaching the top of the stairs, mind. I did have a re-ride before leaving as it was by no means unpleasant, which I can't say about some of the rides I was yet to endure.

I can't help but feel the naming of Icon was a bit of wishful thinking compared with the stroke of genius which is the Big One's name. The ride itself was great and whilst the launch was not intense the way Intamin accelerators, my only point of reference, are, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride the whole way around. I did manage to get a back row ride which I found considerably more intense but, honestly, a little less enjoyable for it. Overall though, this is my new favourite coaster. I'm sure I saw a red waterfall and pool like Nemesis, my previous favourite, used to have but I can't remember if this was visible from Icon or the Big One. The only minor complaint, as I alluded to, is that it is a bit bland looking to my eyes and blends in so it's not exactly iconic. Still, that is a very minor complaint. I had five rides on this as well but unfortunately didn't manage to get a front row ride.

For a long time, I've just been happy to get on a coaster full stop. However, I took my being alone as a chance to try and be a bit more critical about the actual ride experience. I have, in the past, generally just enjoyed the thrill of any ride relative to standing still on the adjacent pavement.

Being alone and spending the time queueing feeling slightly awkward allowed me to actually ask myself 'was that actually an enjoyable experience?' and for the parks two bigger woodies the answer was, unfortunately, a resounding 'no'. Had Grand National and Big Dipper been walk-ons, or had I had a companion to slate it with afterward, I might have given them another chance and tried different seats but they just weren't fun. I will say I was a fan of the Big Dipper's station building and that my being on the back row and fairly long-legged may have contributed to my bad experience.

The main thing besides the rides that I did especially like is the quintessential British seasidiness of it all. Blackpool generally had a quintessential British seediness to it all but that's another thing altogether.

There's a quirkiness to the Pleasure Beach that I don't think can ever really be engineered deliberately. It's in the mish-mash of overlapping rides and odd bits of scenery that have no consistency theme-wise with their surroundings that I found a certain charm.

I think that's part of the reason I found Icon a bit bland or maybe sterile. It's similar to why I didn't think much of the Nickelodeon area either. I understand it's a business at the end of the day but there's a cleanliness to the clearly more recent additions to the park that detract from that charm for me. I appreciate distinct themed areas in other parks though so maybe it's just that I hadn't been to a British seaside in so many years I was revelling in those aspects which tickled my nostalgic parts.

As for the rest, Avalanche was a lot of fun. Steeplechase is a waste of space. Blue Flyer was mortifying and Nickelodeon Streak was closed. The Ghost Train was surprisingly good but no Terror Castle in Brean. I did enjoy it more than Duel at Alton Towers though because it's unpretentious. Also, I was right, it probably would have made me cry when I was five. Then again, the river rapids at American Adventure and having baked beans on my plate made me cry back then so that's not saying much.

Speaking of not saying much, I've said far too much so I'll wrap this up. As a lapsed enthusiast I might not have a whole lot to say but I look forward to contributing where I can and hopefully getting to some meets next year!

Oh right, yeah, Infusion was there too.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
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Hi Anthony - welcome to the forums!

Don't worry about rambling on. If you've seen any of my trip reports over the years you'll see you're not the worst at this! ;)

Sounds like a pretty good day out. I had slightly neglected Blackpool for many years, but we had a great time there last year and I may try to squeeze in a few more visits over the coming years.
 
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