UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Vik
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Pleasure Beach Blackpool 29/10/11

Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:24 pm

Myself, John, and Johns brother took a trip up to Blackpool to sample the delights of Mandy's Pleasure Beach.

Weather wise, it was rather cold and windy, with some light rain early on, and some quite heavy rain late evening. Was fairly busy, and by late afternoon, some queues were fairly long. Thankfully most rides were running at full capacity, so the likes of Pepsi Max & Dipper, for example, the queues moved quite quickly. Once the rain set in quite heavily around 6.30ish, within about 30 minutes the park went from being fairly busy to practically deserted. At one point, 40 minutes before closing, we were the only 3 people in one area.

Was very impressed with Nick Land, and like how they have given a modern look to rides such as Nick Streak, Blue Flyer (aka RollerCoaster & Zipper Dipper).

One thing Pleasure Beach often gets criticised for is their Staff, though in the last couple of seasons they have improved greatly. Whilst they may not match the level expected of staff at Alton Towers, it is good to see they are allowed some freedom in how they interact with guests, rather than the robotic stance seen at Merlin Parks. There are quite a few who love to have a great deal of banter with the guests, especially those staff on Big Dipper & Rev. One member of staff on Dipper taking a ride on back row near the end of the day to 'check out a noise' :P , was quite funny.

Only took on photo all day, it was too cold to take my hands out of my pockets. That was of Rev, which had somehow managed to stop with the front car over the edge of the drop. I can only assume it had been returning to the station from the opposite side and didn't have the momentum to quite get back up the other side, but just enough to ensure it didn't roll back in to the loop?

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As far as ride performances go, I though Nick Streak seemed rather tame. Dipper seemed to be much better than on previous visits. The ride in the rain late on was quite good, not so good on the back though. :shock:
Grand National was rather slow in the morning, though we were on the purple car, which is very very slow, lost by a country mile, even though it was on the shorter side of the circuit. Later on racing it on the blue train, the blue train was flying round, much more like the Nash that I expect. When we arrived in the station, the purple was still making it's way down the home straight :lol:. Please fix the purple train Mandy :D

Pepsi Max was running fairly well, despite it being quite windy at times. It really is an experience to behold in the rain. Never knew rain could be so painful. Mouse seemed rather lacklustre, even more so in the rain. Was expecting to be battered and bruised, but it just kind of ambled around the circuit. Avalanche is still by far the best Bob Sled coaster. Shame it is just a tad too short.

Infusion seems to of settled in well now. Rather than being slow, boring and headbanging, it now seems much better. Certainly feels faster, though still not very intense, the first drop is really quite good now, and, for me at least, matches that of Kumali, which I have always rated the better SLC.

I avoided Valhalla, didn't fancy getting wet. However, with the rather prolonged heavy rain and the ensuing coaster riding in it, I ended up at the end of the day soaked to the skin anyway. :(

One downside was that Mouse and Nash had both shut up shop by 7.45. Did manage a go on The Big One though to make up for it, also getting last train of the day.

The other is the Speedy Pass. It needs to be tweaked slightly for next season, so that whenever there are speedy pass holders at the exit, the air gates to a couple of rows on the trains can be chained off for the following train. As it stands now, you wait behind the air gates to on a ride, only to find speedy pass holders have taken your seat, and you then have to wait. Not a major issue waiting an extra few minutes of course, but does cause problems when there's a few people wishing to ride together, and have their seats suddenly occupied, and also, looks rather unprofessional. If a couple of rows of air gates were chained off, preventing guests from waiting in those rows, it would be much better.

Excellent day all round. Last visit now until some time next year. Hopefully with all those coins in the Infusion lake, Mandy has enough for a new fountain for next season.
Sent from my ZX81 via Time Travel

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John
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Re: Pleasure Beach Blackpool 29/10/11

Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:45 pm

Had a great day in Blackpool on Saturday despite the rubbish weather towards the end. The park was fairly busy but not packed and most rides were on high capacity (Valhalla on 8 boats and Ghost Train on 11 cars being the exceptions). It was also my brother's first visit in over 5 years, so I was interested to hear his thoughts.

Vik covered most of the bases, so here's my review in bullet form:

Positives:

+ High ride count (30+)
+ PBB at night
+ Forced re-rides on Revolution in the back row
+ Getting a 3-way race on Steeplechase - we didn't even have to let anyone past us in the queue.
+ Getting a solo ride on mouse and feeling even more vulnerable than usual
+ Dipper running better than in summer, it seems faster yet still pain-free
+ Great staff

Neutral:

* ECC were on park and had ERT on Streak (morning) and Nash (evening), in both cases this meant we were unable to ride when we had wanted to, but we got on both at other times so it's wasn't a major issue.
* Very fittingly, Patience was playing on Holiday Rock FM whilst we were sat on Flying Machines waiting ages for the ride to start - the op even wandered off and left the ride at one point...
* The seat covers on Bling were removed in the early evening, leading people to think it was going to open. Whilst on PMBO we even saw a small queue had formed for it, but obviously it wasn't to be.

Negatives:

- Weather at night being miserable (though at least it helped us get a few more night rides in as everyone left)
- Speedy pass holding up the ride operations by increasing loading times
- Throughput on Nash is an absolute joke, not helped by speedy pass. 620 an hour on 4 trains is shocking
- Nash and Mouse closing early. The staff had left by 7.45 - I've no idea when the queues were closed

Chris' thoughts:

New entrance is good, security OTT. Impressed by other cosmetic improvements
Bring back Noah's Ark
Alice ride: WTF?
Steeplechase and Mouse not as bad (i.e.: dangerous) as expected
Diego's Rainforest Rescue and Avatar Airbender both great
PMBO needs it's lift hill chaser lights fixing (see - it's not just enthusiasts who notice this sort of thing!)
Highlights were PMBO, Dipper and Rev

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