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WTF BPB?

RevolutionRuleZ

Mega Poster
It seems a recent interview with Amanda Thompson has caused a fair amount of feathers to be ruffled.

'Director of English amusement park not happy with critical season ticket holders

The director and owner of the English amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach is lashing out at complaining annual pass holders. In an interview, Amanda Thompson says that she is regularly annoyed by subscribers who criticize the park. If it were up to Thompson, regular guests would just be nice and positive.

"Subscriptions are nice if you want to go every week, but honestly it would be nice if all those people with season passes were a little more positive about everything," says the frustrated boss in conversation with the podcast How to Freizeitpark. "These people go so often that they take everything for granted. They act as if they own part of the park. That can be objectionable."

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a family business, opened in 1896. Tickets cost £50 per person, more than €57. For an annual ticket for the 2024 season, you have to pay 214 pounds, more than 245 euros.

Lick of paint
“I don't want people walking around the park tearing down areas that might need a new coat of paint,” Thompson said. “We don't have the money or time to deal with things like that all the time.”

Fans simply expect too much, the director believes. "They compare us to Disney, where they come every year. That's just difficult for family businesses that do their best to create something fun for many people. It's difficult." Thompson admits in the podcast that fans also occasionally provide helpful comments. “Sometimes I listen to it, sometimes I don't'


Erm, I'm not actually sure how to respond to this. Being a long standing pass holder, I will admit to being rather vocal at times about one thing or another but at the same time I was always until recently amongst the first to leap to the parks defence if I thought they were being criticised too harshly. I must admit now I don't bother because the fire i once had has long since burned out, basically because the park seems to no longer give a **** about most things, please excuse my French.

This is a park a genuinely care a lot about, and have given thousands of pounds over the years, all I want is a good day out, where I can have fun with my family. However, obstacles are constantly being put in the way, ridiculous things like staggering the opening times, even more irritating is the staggered closing of some rides and the lack of flexibility that comes with that. For example on a 6pm close, the wind may pick up, taking the Big One and Flyers down, Valhalla could randomly brake down and the Revolution dip for some unknown reason, yet with 3 major rides down, the Streak would still close at 5 for no good reason.

Opening times are all over the place, did the park even operate in the dark this season before the clocks changed and almost forced them to?

Rather than blaming season pass holders for not being nice all the time, why not read trip advisor, or obtain some feedback from actually people both those in the park, and those on the sea front and find out why they aren't in the park.

At the end of the day, no person gets better at their job by being told they are marvelous all the time, and no business improves by being told they do everything correctly. BPB should embrace feedback, enjoy the positive but take on board the negative and seek ways to improve if its a genuine, consistent complaint.

BPB has thrown a lot of **** at season pass holders over the years, removal of historic, significant or just fun rides, questionable replacements for some, none for others. Bizarre Halloween events that don't include the whole park, ever shorter opening hours and the almost complete removal of night time operation, yet we still stick with them, maybe we are mad!
 

Rob Coasters

Hyper Poster
Here's the podcast where this was said:

Allegedly from those who've listened to the podcast, the whole interview was very well balanced and that the whole article was one quote taken significantly out of context (something that Looopings is notorious for doing). I haven't heard this podcast personally, but I recommend someone checks it out.
 

RevolutionRuleZ

Mega Poster
Cheers for the link, I will listen to it when I have more time. I do hope it has been somewhat taken out of context, I love BPB and thinknits ride line up is still the best in the country, but they do make feeling that way a very hard task at times.
 

Trax

Mega Poster
I mean… she’s got a point. Many annual pass holders really seem to be a little bit arrogant, acting as if they were VIPs in some way or another. That is something that seemingly just comes with someone being in a park many times a year.
A surprising amount of annual pass holders even seem to expect a special treatment.
Being there often will of course make it easier to spot potential of renovation. You just develop a different view and can look past the theming.

There was an interview with Joel Löffelhardt (the daughter of Phantasialand‘s owner) were she mentioned that this behaviour is one of the reasons they got rid of annual passes all together.

BUT there is also a large amount of annual pass holders who mean no harm when criticising the park, quite contrary. They enjoy the park and want it to thrive, they want to help the park to improve. Yes, sometimes they miss the mark and some people mean it a little bit to well.

Annual pass holders also secure a basic amount of guests for the park. Phantasialand is a again a great example. It used to be one of those parks which is never really empty. Now, without the annual passes and even with tickets sold for 24€, there are quite a lot days per year were everything is walk-on. It also feels like the park is getting more and more desperate to get guests inside. The ticket discoungs are more and more frequent, they even launched a separate discount offer during the holiday season this summer. The one season where any park should be crowded as hell, and they felt the need to sell tickets with a 40% discount. The amount of advertising I see easily more than doubled compared to „the good old times“.

Also, the restaurants appear less crowded without annual passes. Phantasialand has amazing food for a theme park (and some of their restaurants are easily comparable to good restaurants outside of parks), and I, as well as many of my friends, often times just went to the park spontaneously, grab something to eat or drink and simply enjoy the atmosphere. We probably financed the „Humpenbude“ in Klugheim by ourselves.

On one hand, this is great. I might have to visit the park less frequently, but I can still go there 4 times a year while paying half as much as I paid for the annual pass. The crowds on my visits are usually low- non existent, and I also save a lot of money by not visiting their restaurants 4 times per week. But on the other hand, I know that a park needs to earn money. Seeing it more or less empty in the summer is not good for business.

Sorry for bringing up Phantasialand a lot, but it is a popular park that got rid of annual passes; it’s just a great example what could happen.
 

RevolutionRuleZ

Mega Poster
I have just listened to the entire thing, its actually not as offensive as is being made out in fairness.

I do stand by my personal gripes;

Far too many rides have been removed in the last two decades.

The capacity on what is left has been crippled cause queue that needn't be there.

The opening times are a joke, and thie staggered opening/closing is nonsensical.

Scanning on the rides needs to either be removed or bring back a PPR system that runs along side the entry fee to actually make it worth while.

Catering across the park needs addressing, choice and speed of service is an issue, however personally I have no problem with the quality.

And I know others with have there own reasons for moaning, those, along with the good awful lap bars on the National are about all I have major beef with. Its a good park, with a brilliant ride line up. With a few small changes it could be leading park once again.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Amanda’s comments have generated a lot of outrage, but I think they were taken out of context a tad, and I’m not sure that she’s necessarily entirely wrong.

Yes, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea for her to be so openly critical of passholders. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” and all that.

However, I do think that die-hard fans can have a tendency to complain a lot, take things for granted and feel a certain degree of ownership over the park. Theme park fans absolutely can be opinionated at times (and I include myself in that statement), and feel that the park are “doing it wrong” because they aren’t bending to their personal view of what the park should be. I do feel that it’s fair to say that, and to say that these criticisms are not always the most constructively put. We don’t have an insight into how the park is actually run, and I think that not having that insight can make us want certain things without the economic or practical perspective. As I say, I’m not criticising anybody, and indeed, I would say I myself fall into the same boat at times. However, I do feel that what Amanda says about theme park fans sometimes being overly critical and resistant to change is not entirely wrong.

With that being said, I’m sure I speak for everyone on here when I say that any criticisms and wishes I express come from a place of care for the park and a deep-rooted desire for it to do well rather than actual hatred and just wanting to moan. We all want Blackpool Pleasure Beach (and any other park) to thrive and do well, and I’m sure none of us make criticisms of the park and express wishes about what we’d personally do with it to be difficult or just to be negative for the sake of it. We make criticisms and express wishes because we care so deeply about it. Fans of something will always be its harshest critics, and that comes from a place of deep-rooted care and passion.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
Merged with the existing thread for stuff like this.
 

Sandman

Giga Poster
At the end of the day, there's right and wrong on both sides of the argument.

If I had an array of criticism for Pleasure Beach (which I suppose I do at times) then I would certainly not be dipping into my wallet to buy a season pass each consecutive year.

It's quite amusing really. To moan about a wide range of issues but in the same instance, pay for a season pass and continue to financially support what is effectively the status quo.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
At the end of the day, there's right and wrong on both sides of the argument.

If I had an array of criticism for Pleasure Beach (which I suppose I do at times) then I would certainly not be dipping into my wallet to buy a season pass each consecutive year.

It's quite amusing really. To moan about a wide range of issues but in the same instance, pay for a season pass and continue to financially support what is effectively the status quo.
"Often, your biggest critics are critics because they're also the ones who care the most"

- Me
Just now, 2023


In all seriousness, I watched a PBE (or whatever they're calling themselves now) video earlier, in which Scott was saying basically the same thing. They know they're guilty of moaning a lot, but it's because they've seen BPB at the best of times and the worst, and whilst they love the place unconditionally, they still want what's best for the place and have a right to be vocal. Kind of like how a football fan can slate his own team, but turn up week in week out and get behind them.

Made sense to me...
 

Sandman

Giga Poster
"Often, your biggest critics are critics because they're also the ones who care the most"

- Me
Just now, 2023


In all seriousness, I watched a PBE (or whatever they're calling themselves now) video earlier, in which Scott was saying basically the same thing. They know they're guilty of moaning a lot, but it's because they've seen BPB at the best of times and the worst, and whilst they love the place unconditionally, they still want what's best for the place and have a right to be vocal. Kind of like how a football fan can slate his own team, but turn up week in week out and get behind them.

Made sense to me...

That's fine but realistically they're not going to implement changes based on passholder feedback if they're getting your money regardless 😉

People can do what they want of course, I'm simply saying it's amusing when people endlessly slate something yet pour money into it despite this. I love BPB and have as much nostalgia and history with it as the next person, but I personally won't be visiting regularly nowadays until there's something new that piques my interest, whether it's a ride, better opening hours or whatever.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
That's fine but realistically they're not going to implement changes based on passholder feedback if they're getting your money regardless 😉

People can do what they want of course, I'm simply saying it's amusing when people endlessly slate something yet pour money into it despite this. I love BPB and have as much nostalgia and history with it as the next person, but I personally won't be visiting regularly nowadays until there's something new that piques my interest, whether it's a ride, better opening hours or whatever.
Equally they won’t be in a position to change if people just stop supporting them… BPB is not a profitable company as it is, each season is a struggle, if a good chunk of their funding was suddenly pulled, that would spell the end for the park these pass holders love. They aren’t investing much because they do not have much money to invest.

You clearly don’t have any emotional attachment to the park, (maybe you’re not the type to be emotionally attached to any park?) Otherwise you’d understand this point of view. And that’s fine. But some people do love the park enough to have an emotional attachment to it, despite being able to see (and voice their concerns about) it’s flaws. And that’s fine too.

I can talk for days about what’s wrong with Alton Towers, isn’t going to stop me visiting… I’m not going to cancel my direct debit… The joy I get out of the place far outweighs the negatives. That doesn’t mean I’m blind to the negatives, or that I shouldn’t voice my opinion on them…
 

Sandman

Giga Poster
Equally they won’t be in a position to change if people just stop supporting them… BPB is not a profitable company as it is, each season is a struggle, if a good chunk of their funding was suddenly pulled, that would spell the end for the park these pass holders love. They aren’t investing much because they do not have much money to invest.

Whilst I don't entirely disagree with your sentiments, I don't think that if some passholders withdraw from their annual purchase of a season pass, the park will go under. BPB have a lot of advantages and its one of the most accessible parks in the UK. Christ, if Lightwater and Oakwood are still around then it'll take a lot more to reshape Pleasure Beach.

The point I am making in this regard is also taking into consideration the wider context. Cost of living crisis, inflation etc etc.

You clearly don’t have any emotional attachment to the park, (maybe you’re not the type to be emotionally attached to any park?) Otherwise you’d understand this point of view. And that’s fine. But some people do love the park enough to have an emotional attachment to it, despite being able to see (and voice their concerns about) it’s flaws. And that’s fine too.

I have an affection for Pleasure Beach. It's my local park, my most visited park and the first park I ever visited. I wouldn't consider myself a fanboy in that I don't visit regularly these days (I used to year on year) but I have to draw the line somewhere. I tend to visit much less now, but for me that is the best way for me to actually enjoy being in the park. I like having the space to want to go back. Each to their own of course. Maybe that's why all of the micro issues people bang on about don't affect me quite as egregiously as they do others.

Again, let me emphasise; I'm specifically talking about pass holders that regularly cite a barrage of issues and find themselves complaining about a huge number of things on a regular basis. The sort that message the park on socials, tweet Amanda with it. It's a bit weird, obsessive almost. Surely, just don't bother with the season pass?

I'm sure BPB management are savvy enough to pick up on trends. If they saw a drop in numbers there, they'd have to reflect on why, and that's where they'd probably ask for feedback (surveys, comment forms etc) and possibly make some of the changes people ask for.

I dunno, it's worked in other businesses, industries etc. But when you keep throwing your hard earned money at them yet continue to constantly moan, you can't expect the changes you ask for. There's no incentive.
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Whilst I don't entirely disagree with your sentiments, I don't think that if some passholders withdraw from their annual purchase of a season pass, the park will go under. BPB have a lot of advantages and its one of the most accessible parks in the UK. Christ, if Lightwater and Oakwood are still around then it'll take a lot more to reshape Pleasure Beach.

The point I am making in this regard is also taking into consideration the wider context. Cost of living crisis, inflation etc etc.



I have an affection for Pleasure Beach. It's my local park, my most visited park and the first park I ever visited. I wouldn't consider myself a fanboy in that I don't visit regularly these days (I used to year on year) but I have to draw the line somewhere. I tend to visit much less now, but for me that is the best way for me to actually enjoy being in the park. I like having the space to want to go back. Each to their own of course. Maybe that's why all of the micro issues people bang on about don't affect me quite as egregiously as they do others.

Again, let me emphasise; I'm specifically talking about pass holders that regularly cite a barrage of issues and find themselves complaining about a huge number of things on a regular basis. The sort that message the park on socials, tweet Amanda with it. It's a bit weird, obsessive almost. Surely, just don't bother with the season pass?

I'm sure BPB management are savvy enough to pick up on trends. If they saw a drop in numbers there, they'd have to reflect on why, and that's where they'd probably ask for feedback (surveys, comment forms etc) and possibly make some of the changes people ask for.

I dunno, it's worked in other businesses, industries etc. But when you keep throwing your hard earned money at them yet continue to constantly moan, you can't expect the changes you ask for. There's no incentive.
Didn’t Amanda make general sweeping remarks about all pass holders? Not just the tiny minority who take it to extremes, and borderline stalk her with their concerns? She used phrases like ‘all those people with season passes’ and ‘these people.’

I took it from that that we were talking about all pass holders, including the majority, who love the park, and go so often that they a) notice more imperfections and b) care so much about the park that they want to see them do better.

The minority you speak of, the twatter stalkers, they’re just plain weird, and definitely not the majority of fans. But all parks, celebrities and other public entities have them. Bloody weirdos they are.

I have to concede on their profitability though, I hadn’t checked for a while, and I was wrong. Their most recent accounts show record turnover and not just profit, but £6.5m profit, in a year!!! For the first time in years they’re a profitable company again. Their turnover was £39m vs just £16.5m the year before and £28m the year before that. So actually, despite all the moaning from pass holders, and the snide remarks from Amanda, things are looking up.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
I have to concede on their profitability though, I hadn’t checked for a while, and I was wrong. Their most recent accounts show record turnover and not just profit, but £6.5m profit, in a year!!! For the first time in years they’re a profitable company again. Their turnover was £39m vs just £16.5m the year before and £28m the year before that. So actually, despite all the moaning from pass holders, and the snide remarks from Amanda, things are looking up.
It's worth noting that the most recent set of accounts cover the 2021 season, where COVID restrictions ended, nobody could go abroad, most parks were rammed over the summer, and the park were also benefitting from government subsidy such as reduced VAT.

While the profitability of 2021 is certainly promising, I think we need to at least wait for 2022's figures before we can conclude a long-term trend.
 

Sandman

Giga Poster
Amanda's public comments are always a potential banana skin moment, let's be honest. Someone needs keep her away from Twitter and microphones. She'd be so much better dedicating herself to shows and the performing arts stuff.

I think that a lot of the fanboys and die hard BPB guys raise some good points though. I just reckon in simple business terms, often the only time feedback is taken seriously is when there is a financial impact. I could be wrong, it's just how I see it.

If people wanna have a moan but still enjoy visiting the park then all power to them.

We've seen BPB's level of investment and Amanda's approach to running the park over the last 18-19 years. It should be no surprise that we're not getting RMC's, Michelin restaurants and midnight closes, sorry guys. Expect more grey facades and astroturf and you won't be disappointed.

*On that last note, it's quite terrifying to think that Icon will be 6 next year. Where has that time gone? Only 15 more years until the next new cred 🤞
 

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
It's worth noting that the most recent set of accounts cover the 2021 season, where COVID restrictions ended, nobody could go abroad, most parks were rammed over the summer, and the park were also benefitting from government subsidy such as reduced VAT.

While the profitability of 2021 is certainly promising, I think we need to at least wait for 2022's figures before we can conclude a long-term trend.
Yep, good point worth mentioning. BPBLTD will have already had an idea of their 2022 figures when they submitted, (most accounting is done real time now due to RTI,) and they very clearly state that 2022 will not be as good.

Amanda's public comments are always a potential banana skin moment, let's be honest. Someone needs keep her away from Twitter and microphones. She'd be so much better dedicating herself to shows and the performing arts stuff.

I think that a lot of the fanboys and die hard BPB guys raise some good points though. I just reckon in simple business terms, often the only time feedback is taken seriously is when there is a financial impact. I could be wrong, it's just how I see it.

If people wanna have a moan but still enjoy visiting the park then all power to them.

We've seen BPB's level of investment and Amanda's approach to running the park over the last 18-19 years. It should be no surprise that we're not getting RMC's, Michelin restaurants and midnight closes, sorry guys. Expect more grey facades and astroturf and you won't be disappointed.

*On that last note, it's quite terrifying to think that Icon will be 6 next year. Where has that time gone? Only 15 more years until the next new cred 🤞
It’s insane to think isn’t it, doesn’t feel like yesterday that we were excited for it. 2018 was the last real cause for any excitement in the UK, and that wasn’t all that huge… I can’t frikkin wait for next year!!! Calling it now… The Uk’s 2 best coasters are opening / reopening in the same year. (And BPB will be left further behind.)
 
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Matt N

CF Legend
*On that last note, it's quite terrifying to think that Icon will be 6 next year. Where has that time gone? Only 15 more years until the next new cred 🤞
That’s insane… on an even more terrifying note, that means that next year will mark half a decade since I last went to Blackpool. Last time I went, the dust was still settling on Icon, and old Valhalla was still open!

I probably need a revisit to Blackpool some time soon…
 

RevolutionRuleZ

Mega Poster
I cant speak for others, but I know plenty of people are of the same opinion as me, and that is we genuinely love BPB. The thought of the place going under or even closing certain rides would be like a personal loss. This is not Morrisons has stopped selling something I like so I will start shopping at Asda, BPB is the only place you can ride those 3 amazing wooden coasters, the Flyers, ect ect. I simply can't and won't turn my back on them.

I am aware I sound like a nutter, but that park has got me through some tough times, from relationship break ups, family bereavement, tough days at work, things where most people would hit the bottle, I loved lapping the Wild Mouse and National. Those 2 rides really take you out of the real world and make you forget your troubles. Spending days there with friends gets you past pretty much anything, its done it plenty of times over the years for me, to suggest I should simply stop going because I have a few gripes is like saying I should walk away from a sick family member instead of helping them seek treatment.

That doesn't make me oblivious to the faults the park has, things are in decline, I am not afraid to say that. I'd love the management to put a stop to that and start to turn things around but they themselves don't actually seem to see it.


As Scott has said in his recent video, since Amanda took over the only coaster installations have been Icon and Infusion, compare that to investment in Towers in the same period. Sure, Nickland has arrived but all thats done is caused the Streaks throughput to drop, its popularity to increase, and it to close an hour before the park does, so thats not really a good thing for me so forgive me for not jumping for joy about it.
 
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