UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Tom170499
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:20 pm

I agree, the state of BPB is appalling at the moment, for example, when you ride The Big One, all you see is warehouses and old theming from Beaver Creek. And a you say, the roughness of the rides is really bad especially the woodies (which I suppose is understandable... to a certain degree). There needs to either be a decrease in prices or a drastic overhaul of the entire park.
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Musicmidgie
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:17 pm

I do love the place but wonder how they can get repeat business with their pricing.  If we had been there for a week we coul only have gone a maximum two times - even the Sandcastle swimming pool (not a BPB attraction) is £45 for a family of 4! For a swimming pool!!  I want Blackpool to thrive but they need to consider value for money for people.  The park has so much potential, nickelodeon land is great and I love the old wooden coasters but the new Wallace and Gromit ride was a little disappointing.  Bigger rides? In fact, any new rides?  Cheaper prices?  I dont know which way they would go...
 
Kirsty25

Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:28 pm

cheaper prices won't happen due to the debt the park is in... they had to borrow money to build Wallace & Gromit.
 
Musicmidgie
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:57 pm

I had heard about them borrowing for the ride.  I'm hopeful that with this good spell of weather things might be good for the park this year, I just wish they would launch either a major new attraction or offer a special price for visiting a second consecutive day.  Don't know quite how they'll do either with their current financial position though :(
 
Danny

Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:33 pm

Starting to feel rough? Most of the rides have always been rough  :lol:

With regards to losing appeal, I have to say no. Even without investment upon investment each year, it still appears as a cheaper day out to the eyes of most people compared to Alton Towers. I feel the value for money is literally perfect [if you book online ;)].

With regards to them borrowing money for W&G, they did the same with Nick Land too. Although this was a much needed investment as the area was looking horrible. It now looks much smarter, cleaner and more presentable compared to the previous incarnation of the area. Mandy seems to be spending money on keeping the park looking nice and fresh and I'm happy with that, as it looks much better than it did in the early 2000s. It's worth mentioning that Mandy didn't have much of a say put in to W&G, hence why it probably isn't up to everyone's expectations [word is she had a massive strop when she saw the ride cars for the first time].

But it's far from losing its appeal. As long as the balance between adding a new attraction and then smartening an old one/area up is perfected, then the park will run quite happily for a long forseeable future. Something I'm beginning to doubt with certain UK Merlin parks in this day and age....
 
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RCandrew
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:54 pm

I think the park is brilliant but needs newer rides...
But what and where could they put?!
 
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DavidRock
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:03 pm

used to go to blackpool every year until I split with my partner in 2009 so found it tough going back there.....anyway that's another story.....

We used to pay £50 for a 2 day pass and that included 2 shows which we always did Hot Ice and Eclipse/Forbidden.Things started to go downhill when they introduced the £5 fee to get into the park.

We always had a week at Blackpool and always stopped in the Big Blue Hotel so when we were back from Sea Life/Zoo/Sandcastle we always used to walk around the Pleasure beach but I wouldn't pay £5.

Blackpool will always have a spot in my heart and that wont change I just think Amanda Thompson has tried her best but I don't approve of the charge to just have a walk around is all.
 
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Themeparksandy1981
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Sat Jul 13, 2013 9:21 am

I read the reason why they charge £5 to get in so it will help to keep the trouble makers out and it pays for the security around the park and on the gates
 
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Sun Jul 14, 2013 2:03 am

Kirsty25 wrote:
cheaper prices won't happen due to the debt the park is in... they had to borrow money to build Wallace & Gromit.


Not true, they've lowered their prices this year quite considerably (especially when compared to other parks), although their single-ride pricing structure is awful (Wallace and Gromit is £7).

As for the topic; meh. I've been twice, about ten years apart, and unless they add a world-beating coaster (they won't) I have no reason nor desire to visit the park nor the town again any time soon.

It's a shame the quality of the rides is somewhat lacking (unless you manage to hit the park on a fabled ''good day'') as it's atmosphere and charm is pretty much unmatched. It still offers an enjoyable day out, it's just not what people seem to want lately; they want modern, steel rides with inversions. Or at least that's what Merlin would have us believe.
 
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Themeparksandy1981
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:10 am

Every year Feb/Mar from 2004 to 2010 we would go to Blackpool for the WOW weekends. When we first started going the wristbands started at £10 each and over the years went up a £1 a year but when it got to £15 in the 2011 the price jumped to £20 and when you add a night in a cheap B&B,Petrol&food. A 1 night stay would cost nearly £150 for 2 in 2011 so I guest now it be close to £200. For example I'm staying at Butlins Minehead with breakfast and Dinner for 3 nights in September and it's only cost me £153 for the 2 of us.
 
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:13 am

I'd love to see them introduce a 2 or 3 day pass that offers value for money and encourages return visits - people will spend money in the park once they're in.  A new attraction would raise the profile but I love the rides that are there, again agreeing with other posts that some TLC is needed on older rides.  It is unique as a park and I want it to stay that way, we're just finding that as a (now) family of 4 a one day visit is about all the budget allows...and our 5 year old daughter loooooves the place!
 
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A
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:35 am

Well put it this way...
The last coaster they built was infusion and even still that had already been open since 1999 at pleasure land southport, so because of the age of the rides they're going to feel a bit rough. Also, note the fact that they are next to the sea and so they're not going to age well due to the salty sea air meaning that they're going to be rougher in the first place.

However, the wrist bands are better value that the likes of AT so it's still going to draw customers :)
Last edited by A on Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Jubby
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:14 pm

I love Blackpool and think it gives good value for money - theme parks in general have a reputation for bad value but people forget that it is a whole day out, not just a couple of hours. It cost me £18 for me and the missus to go to the cinema at the weekend with a coke - thats bad value.

Blackpool has lots of old rides but thats what gives it its charm and makes it one of the most unique parks in the world. Some areas need a bit of doing up, but its a lot better than it was.

I actually can't put my finger on what the issue is with the lack of visitors. Maybe most people don't see the charm that I do? Maybe Blackpool and Britian in general are struggling? Not sure TBH.

A big new ride would help, but they have a large line up of rides already and I don't think new rides add as much as people think to the money in the tills.
Perhaps they could change a few smaller things - improve the food, clean up a few other areas, stop the games people annoying me by asking to play everytime I walk past, doing the 2nd day return offer mentoined etc.
 
rosco1982uk
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:54 pm

Firstly - let me start by saying that Blackpool - not just the pleasure beach - is one of my favourite places on earth.

I'm 30 and from Glasgow - so 'back in the day' there was a mass exodus round about this time every year to Blackpool. Spain? Stuff Spain, we were loaded into the car to go and stay at a wee Blackpool boarding house every year.

I now take my wife 2 or 3 weekends a year and she also loves the place.

But the Pleasure Beach is struggling financially - continuous losses have been made the last few years - as the British public chases after the sun. Look on Ryanair, Jet2, Easyjet - myself and the wife can be on the Costa Del Sol this weekend for around £400. The Premier Inn in Blackpool this weekend is £85 a night - so £170 for two nights and petrol is £80. £250, when for £150 more the weather is guaranteed. Yet we personally still choose Blackpool.

Tussaud's have done a wonderful job of revitalising the Tower, creating the Dungeon and transforming the waxworks. Yet if you[re honest - what's changed in the pleasure beach in the last ten(ish) years?

Nickelodeonland - fine if you have young kids.
Wallace & Gromit - effectively the Mine Train with an overhaul.
Infusion - moving an old coaster up the coast and getting rid of the much loved log flume.

Let's look at Alton Towers:

Rita.
Thi3teen - a first 'drop' rollercoaster.
Air - world's first flying coaster.
Smiler - world's first 14 loop coaster.

Thorpe:
Saw the Ride
Stealth
Swarm

All of these rides at Alton and Thorpe are reasons to go.

BPB hasn't had a 'must do' ride opening since the Big One. That grabbed headlines, got people's attention and got them through the front door.

As you can see from the additions to BPB above, they haven't had a headline setter in a long time.


And they can't afford one now.


Without being overly dramatic (yet somehow being over dramatic) - I fear for the future of BPB. Tussaud's bought the Tower. They own Sealife. They own the waxworks. They own the dungeon. I expect Ms Thompson to eventually have to sell to them as well.
 
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:52 pm

I've been to pleasure beach twice, last year and last month.

I think they do have some quirky rides and Valhalla is amazing but it has to be said, the pleasure beach itself is just truly unpleasant to walk around and in my opinion is a complete and utter dump, nothing pleasing at all really.

Aesthetically it isn't great, sure there's nostalgia but surely some paint jobs need to be done and a whole deep clean of the whole park needs doing.

I fail to see (Valhalla aside) how this park is pleasing at all! It has an identity crisis, you go to collect your wristbands and all the staff are smartly dressed and its quite pleasant...get out the other side then BAM... Tack central!

I don't know why people rave about this place, I really don't!
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Danny

Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:35 am

It's not as tacky as it used to be by a long shot! If anything, Mandy has done a brilliant job of slowly making the place look better. Yes, there's still some rather grubby areas [looking at you here, Bowl-a-drome and Trauma Towers exterior], but these will inevitably be attended to. And  just to compare:

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Just one of the amazing transformations that has occurred and made the park look brighter, cleaner and smarter!

I apologise for not being able to find a decent picture of the Superbowl dodgems in place, but you still get the picture:

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I feel it's perfectly suitable to walk around [although the removal of Holiday Rock FM has really killed the fun and vibrant atmosphere the park had] minus the ramp up from River Caves to the Big Dipper.

I don't want to come across as a fan boy who will defend the park at the drop of a penny, I have several criticisms when it comes to it, but they are highly outweighed by the positives. Valhalla is by far the best water ride in the UK and there's parts of Pleasure Beach [Nick Land and FY4 inparticular] that aesthetically make areas of Towers look a shamble to be called the number one park of the country.
 
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:44 pm

I think part of the problem now is blackpool itself, with most people seeing it as a British version of bennidorm. Take for example the bad press they've been getting for the beaches. That alone will repel visitors as who wants to swim in dirty water. Plus there is the view (which is in a way correct) that blackpool is an old run down Victorian resort that has seen it's day. One other thing that will repel people is it's family friendliness. Parents often don't want their kids near the arcades and joke shops and for good reason too, since I came across novelties such as a porn kit in a joke shop on my last visit there in 2012.

For this reason I think that whilst the pleasure beach needs an overhaul to draw back customers, so does blackpool itself since many people simply don't want to go there.
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Michelle
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:07 pm

I've been following this thread and eagerly reading the arguments for and against so now I want to add my opinion to the pile.

Personally I have a soft spot for the town in general, I've had several family holidays there - the last one being a good 12 years ago, that being the case I find it difficult to understand why people would be put off from visiting with children (the numerous hen parties aside, they really are dreadful and obnoxious but nowhere is immune to that these days!)
Parents often don't want their kids near the arcades and joke shops

While I take your point of some of the unsavory items that are on display occasionally, my parents managed to shield me from it and I was always more interested in collecting tickets from the games in the arcades and buying sugar dummies! It'd be nice of more kids were like that still to be honest!

I visited again for the first time since then about 2 years ago, on a very cold day in October where the queues were a bit longer than I would have liked and I have to say that even on a day when the weather wasn't great the improvements made to the park were vast and noticeable. Nickelodeon land may well be aimed at children but it's an excellent addition to the park, and being a big kid I am more than happy to wander round and go on some of the rides. We also got talking to a BPPB annual pass holder who was happy to talk animatedly about the park and it's improvements and amusingly was very anti Alton Towers ;)

I have since visited twice more on a couple of gorgeous sunny days last summer and did the whole Blackpool experience over the two days with a group of my friends (a mix of 25-27 year olds) we made the most of the weather with walks along the beach (not in bad condition at all, no scum on the water and minimal rubbish to be seen) we did all the Merlin attractions and The Sandcastle water park (if we're talking overpriced there's your ideal subject!) which was a great way to spend a few hours.

BPPB provided us with a full day's entertainment with many re-rides due to the surprising lack of queues. The people I visited with are real adrenaline junkies who found plenty to love on park, with the older rides providing a bit of a thrill from seeming slightly less safe than the rides at AT and Thorpe, so I would completely dispute the idea that it no longer holds any charm or excitement. If anything the slightly old fashioned feeling mixed with the modern improvements that have been made are part of the draw for me and certainly from an enthusiasts point of view I love going on rides with such history.

I do believe it holds a fantastic value for money looking at BP and AT walk up gate prices side by side, but you'd be daft to go without finding a deal online as they are so frequently available.

We're planning a return trip this year and I can genuinely say I can't wait.
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Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:34 pm

Now, I realise my next comment is going to cause uproar, but....

...I wish Merlin would buy BPB. There, I've said it!

Now before all the Merlin haters start shouting at me, let me explain myself.

Being a fair bit older than the majority of people on this forum, I've been visiting BPB for a loooong time. I have huge affection for it and the town, after all, it was where I found my love of coasters.
I've seen the many changes that have been made over the years, some better than others. But on my last visit (last year), one final trip on the monorail had to be the least scenic it had ever been. We got to see all the dirty, scruffy, unloved bits of the park, which is probably why they were closing the ride. It made me sad to see it that way.
That, together with the £5 entrance fee, the early closing times and the rides slowly disappearing (anyone remember the Spin Doctor or Bling?) mean it's starting to lose it's appeal. Let's just say my rose tinted glasses are starting to wear thin!
There are still plenty of good rides there, but value for money compared to Alton Towers is very low, especially  when you take BOGOF's into account.

Others have mentioned that the park needs more investment. This is true, but not easy for a company in financial difficulties. More investment and lowering prices rarely go well together in business. This is where Merlin come in. For all their faults, they are not afraid of investment and know how to run a theme park successfully, and more importantly, profitably.
I've been impressed with the way they've updated the other Blackpool attractions, and to tell the truth, I'd rather Merlin got their hands on BPB, than it go the way of Morecambe and Southport.  :(

Right, I'm braced for the shouting  ;)
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Danny

Re: BPB - losing appeal?

Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:54 pm

Early closing times? Merlin wanted to shut Towers at 4pm on days in September, whereas last year the Pleasure Beach actually extended the opening hours to 9pm on some days :P That's 12 hours of rides! So that's one reason I wouldn't want them to purchase the Pleasure Beach, as despite them being able to invest in it, they'd make cuts here, there and everywhere.

Yes, the park may not be in the most suitable financial situation, but the council are more than happy to provide money when needed as Mandy is incredibly keen on bringing people back to Blackpool and the Pleasure Beach.

Merlin may not be afraid of investment, but it doesn't always go smoothly. You just have to look at The Swarm and the associated planning document to install the billboard this year to realise Merlin knew they cocked up with it. In my eyes, they know the bare basics of running a theme park, but they can't run them with the whole feeling of escapism which is what theme parks are designed for. Whilst Pleasure Beach certainly doesn't offer escapism, it's not supposed to as it's an amusement park rather than a theme park.

I think I can safely say the Pleasure Beach will last for many more years to come without Merlin sticking their paws on it.

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