Blackpool Pleasure Beach: General Discussion

Discussion in 'European Parks and Attractions' started by John, 13th Jun 2012.

  1. TakeYourMedicine

    TakeYourMedicine TowersStreet Member

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    Absolutely love Blackpool Pleasure Beach's screwed up kaleidescope layers as each new ride was added.
     
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  2. ScottishChris

    ScottishChris TowersStreet Member

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    I go to BPB almost every other week (it helps that I live a 10 -15min drive away!) and I normally go on 3 or 4 rides - I always start with The Big One (as close to the front as possible), then Icon (Front or back), if the queue is short - the Big Dipper and the Nash.

    This is the first year I have lived down here (previously I was 4 hrs away) and I have noticed several things:
    1. The Big One is still THE ride in the park. People talk about it, people want to ride it. As enthusiasts we see it's failings, but ultimately it's big, fast and intimidating - that's what 95% or people want and most love it.
    2. Pleasure Beach operations are alright - just inconsistent. The team they have on Icon are very good, the Guys on Nash - not so much.
    3. The park suffers massively from weather related apathy. It can either be packed or empty - it must be an absolute nightmare to make profitable.
    4. If the park is open they will try to open all rides - and I mean this to be a massive compliment. If I were running the place I would only open Valhalla and the Flume for a couple of hours on colder days and would stagger kids ride openings on school days... but credit to BPB for keeping things open.
    5. The customer service is generally great. Some staff look miserable, but are happy to chat. I find the staff on the security gates to be the most friendly and welcoming in the UK

    In terms of the future, I think a master-stroke for the park would be to develop an indoor park on the site - and they do have the space on the car park behind the Globe. A few flats, a small coaster and an alternative kids area could allow the park to operate year-round and deal with the weather apathy.

    If you look at Arrow coasters (The Big One), the general shelf-life is circa 30 years - so we are about 5 - 10 years away from the Beach having to do something major to keep the ride operational - or retire it. And to be fair, they are starting to have problems - they are having to reset the control system more often (that's what happens when you seem to be stuck on the brakes for ages, or are sitting in the station for way too long), they are working on track more than they should. I suppose they have three options:
    1. New track and new trains
    2. Remove the ride and replace it with a new gigga/ hyper
    3. Remove it and install something completely different

    As mentioned before, Pleasure Beach needs the Big One, and the structure is now iconic to the park and the coast. Add in getting planning permission for an equally large structure - I would guess that at the end of its operating life there will be a re-profiled new track and trains... and going by Amanda's relationship with the Mack family an educated guess would be that it will be Mack Trains and track.
     
    Last edited: 6th Oct 2019
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  3. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @ScottishChris I think that's a fair assessment. I agree on the weather apathy, but that's a problem of their own making with so many indoor rides and attractions having been cut.

    Also, when it does come time to fix/renew The Big One I'm not convinced it'll be Mack, but who knows at this stage.
     
  4. ScottishChris

    ScottishChris TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah, the Mack thing is a guess, but it would make sense. Having two Mack coasters with similar train design and control systems would be handy for spares storage. Also, a Hyper with inversions (which Mack do) would be a wonderful novelty!

    In terms of weather I actually think we have changed - which is the problem. I remember being a kid at BPB in all sorts of weather and it being busy. Maybe we have all just gone soft!
     
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  5. Plastic Person

    Plastic Person TowersStreet Member

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    In the past, Blackpool had an in-built audience of holidaymakers who would help fill the park. BPB's audience is now much more focused on day trips, stays in the two hotels aside. The park's reach in terms of accessibility is pretty massive, albeit, less than Thorpe or Alton. But much of that audience would need to choose the decision to head down the M55 or hop on a train. Arguably not worth the risk if showers are forecast.
     
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  6. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    I think that's part of it but as @Plastic Person mentioned, the visitor profile has changed hugely - people aren't on tap locally, you have to attract them from afar - typically for a full day.

    Around 2000 with the Friday night "we now do wristbands" promotions we'd often head down and be faced with rain. Some nights you'd suck it up, but if it was particularly miserable you could make the most of the evening with the Ark, Whip, Space Invader, Millennium Bug, Black Hole, Trauma Towers, Magic Mountain, Monorail, two sets of dodgems etc etc. Not so much now.

    I'm certainly less tolerant of the rain these days, but I'll quite happily skip a water ride on a nice day too.
     
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  7. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    They should look at there WOW weekends prices for Feb and March and look to charging the same for off peak days. I not been to Blackpool for the WOW weekends since 2010 but the £10-£15 wristband/entry price was good value for money and the park was busy.
     
  8. ScottishChris

    ScottishChris TowersStreet Member

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    I'm always in two minds about low entry prices (and not just at BPB). If you look at many of the European parks, they charge a higher entry price, but on-park prices are lower, and consumables are generally better quality.

    The rides have high overheads and to cover these the park sells high-price, low-quality food, fast track etc.

    I think we are at a stage that entry prices are devaluing a good product - at all major UK parks. I would be happy to pay £30-£40 for entry if food was better quality and lower cost, fast track wasn't a thing and the park was invested in.

    To make a £15 entry economically realistic they would have to pack-out the park and sell a heck of a lot of add one. The early WOW weekends massively backfired this season. They packed out the park but didn't have the staff trained and in place and then rides started to go Tech. The whole idea of WOW weekends was to get people in the park to allow staff training, fault finding etc.

    Perhaps a certain number of WOW bands - a few hundred each day to get people booked in advance could work?

    I also would love BPB on a couple quiet days (such as overcast days when few people are in the park) to do an on-the-day mail-out/ tweet to offer £10 wristbands to locals - just to get them on park.
     
  9. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    Wow weekends are worth it economically, the numbers work for the early season because the park is busy.
    Off peak the park is pretty dead, so charging even less would lose more money...there is simply no market at this time of year.
    Heard that economically, the Beach should only be open weekends until half term in the autumn, the weekday illumination market has pretty much vanished.
    There is simply no money to be made during the week in term time.
    I will be expecting more weekday closures in term time next year sadly.
    Edit...sorry, I thought I posted this yesterday...
    Free beer in Crevettes at 2 today for the rain soaked.
     
  10. TheBolt

    TheBolt TowersStreet Member

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    You can thank Merlin for years of aggressive marketing with BOGOF deals and annual passes that offer a huge range of attractions. I've probably done about 20 Merlin gates on the pass this year, great for me, but Merlin must lose money overall, before any sundry spending I make.
    People have been taught to expect low gate prices by the market leader.

    Paultons seem to be an exception. They believe in the quality of their product, and charge more than typicaal for that.
     
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  11. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    @TheBolt Most of the independent parks have pretty good pricing integrity really, comparatively so anyway. There's definitely something in it though, when I walk into a Merlin attraction with my MAP I spend far more liberally than I would do had I spent £30 to get into Flamingo Land. That's not to say it's not good value, it's just a mindset thing.

    Six Flags pioneered the 'give the gate away and fleece them when they're inside' model. There's a lot that's different about the Six Flags of today vs. the Six Flags of old, but pricing has remained similar.

    Other regional operators are just as guilty, Cedar Point's 2020 pass is 'Just $99, or 10 easy payments of $8 after initial payment' with unlimited access for the remainder of 2019 included. That's an absolute steal.
     
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  12. pj

    pj TowersStreet Member

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    I dunno they have wooden coasters too


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  13. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Against my better judgement, we headed west this evening for a trip through the lights, we thought we'd drive through having only cycled on Ride the Lights. What a completely joyless experience. The way the traffic (doesn't) flow along the prom makes it a really tough gig, on all but the quietest of evenings.

    I don't think it's a case of me harking back to childhood as I certainly enjoyed them way into adulthood in years gone by but the amount of lights has certainly been reduced, the odd bit of a new stuff is all LED chaser lights and there are miles of festoon where there was once 'things'.

    Anyway, Pleasure Beach... - all lit up, the work on Ocean Boulevard is continuing, some new signage - not exactly sure what it is. Whilst the road was rammed, there were very few people on foot, by the time you got near the park there was hardly anyone.
     
  14. Doublethink

    Doublethink TowersStreet Member

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    When Shawn is saying it's terrible you know it's absolutely awful with how generally positive he is....

     
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  15. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    I went Saturday night for the fireworks that didn't happen.
    Resorted to a speedypass as the queues were pretty poor...no Big One either due to the wind.
    The queue for icon was back to the laughing clown, and due to the speedypassers, the queue was very slow compared to its normal rapid pace.
    Looked every minute of a two hour shuffle.
    I left the park for a wander on the front between each ride, kebab, pint in spoons and a wander on the pier...traffic completely stopped and you even had to queue to walk on the prom..
    Strange to think that it will all be completely dead in a week.

    And what are you doing going through the lights at half term weekend Rick?
    You will be able to drive through doing thirty, north to south, tonight.
     
  16. shakey

    shakey TowersStreet Member

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    Shawn very rarely criticises parks these days and he even claimed to have a good day on the shambolic opening Saturday of the season, so his freak night experience must have been horrific for all the wrong reasons !!


    It's the same old story unfortunately, the way the pleasure beach currently operates means it simply cannot cope with big crowds.

    Speedypass is an abomination and significantly increases the virtual crowd numbers because people can effectively be stood in 2 queues at once, and the busier the park gets the more people buy speedypass (and who can blame them)

    On top of that their ride operations are average to poor most of the time, and when you take into account the total ride line up has diminished substantially over the last 15 years, it becomes a perfect storm on busy days and you have a recipe for a miserable day out.
     
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  17. bluesonichd

    bluesonichd TowersStreet Member

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    So glad I didn’t book tickets for
    Journey To Hell Freak Nights
    Press event latest month was a complete shambles but was still kinda hoping it would be a good event
    But after reading many reports of tonight opening ... :eek:
    Feel sorry for those that paid and had to experience it all
     
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  18. Poopoohead

    Poopoohead TowersStreet Member

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    It was an absolute mess. Good idea terribly executed and massively over sold, spent most the night just stood about queuing. Will be trying to get some of my £29 back!
     
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  19. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Working away most of the week so was last night or not, I fear. I made the extra effort to sit through the traffic up to Bispham to drive North > South, but that was our downfall as it would have been much quicker to drive South > North.

    Sad to hear on the Halloween front. I didn't even know it was on - the messaging in terms of the events was incredibly confusing - despite the really cool posters.
     
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  20. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    I love the pleasure Beach for the rides and nostalgia etc but I have never been greatly impressed with the management of the place tbh.

    Not the least bit surprised they have messed the Halloween event up. As it's our local park we thought about booking but always had it in my mind they'd probably mess it up so waited to hear reviews first. Glad we didn't book now.
     
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