Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
|Slogan||"See It, Feel It, Love It"|
|Location||Blackpool, Lancashire, England|
|Owner||The Thompson Family|
|Operating season||2014 season:
8 February to 9 November
(Main: 29 March – 2 November)
|Area||42 acres (170,000 m2)|
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an amusement park and resort situated along the Fylde coast in Blackpool, Lancashire, England. It is the most visited tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, and one of the top twenty most-visited amusement parks in the world with an estimate of 5.5 million visitors in 2007. The park is privately owned by the Thompson family. The whole business is managed and directed by Amanda Thompson, OBE and her brother Nicholas Thompson acts as a deputy managing director. In 2003 the park opened the Big Blue Hotel, a four star hotel, making the park part of an official resort. It also includes a miniature golf course just outside the grounds of the main park. The Pleasure Beach opened a rethemed children's area in the park called Nickelodeon Land in 2011.
- 1 History of the Pleasure Beach
- 2 Current park
- 3 Rides
- 4 Park Awards
- 5 Park Entertainment
- 6 The Big Blue Hotel
- 7 Damaging Incidents
- 8 Television series
- 9 In popular culture
- 10 Gallery
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
History of the Pleasure Beach
Pleasure Beach was founded 1896 by Alderman William George Bean after he failed in his attempt to become an advertising man on New York's Madison Avenue. He returned to the UK in 1897 and opened two separate amusement parks; one adjacent to Euston Road in Great Yarmouth and another in Blackpool, opposite the tram terminus. The Great Yarmouth amusement park consisted simply of a switchback railway and bicycle railway called the Hotchkiss's Patented Railroad. Bean stayed in Great Yarmouth until the end of the century before moving to Blackpool full-time.
In 1903, Bean, along with businessman John Outhwaite, purchased 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land known as the "Watson Estate" which was used to expand the amusement park in Blackpool. Bean and Outhwaite aimed to create a park similar to Coney Island in the USA, that would make adults feel like children again and inspire gaiety of a primarily innocent character and used inspiration from a small manually operated fair ground found at London's Earls Court. The first major attraction to open at Pleasure Beach was the "Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machine" in 1904. The next attraction, a water ride similar to a Mill Chute was opened in 1905 under the name "The River Caves of the World." The same year the name "Blackpool Pleasure Beach" was founded. Outhwaite died in 1911, leaving the initial business to Bean, however the Outhwaite family still had ownership in shares of the park, and would occasionally have input into the park's growth. Over the next few years, the park developed, with frequent large scale investments including the Virginia Reel, Whip, Noah's Ark, Big Dipper and Dodgems. In the 1920s Bean invested in the "Casino Building" which remains to this day.
In 1923, land was reclaimed from the sea front. It was at this period that the park moved to its 44-acre (180,000 m2) current location above what became Watson Road, which was built under the Pleasure Beach in 1932. In 1929, Bean died suddenly of pneumonia leaving the park to his daughter, Lillian 'Doris' Bean, who had previously married a young businessman, Leonard Thompson, in 1928. Thompson was an Oxford natural sciences graduate who after Bean's death immediately took over the Pleasure Beach business alongside his wife. The park came under full control of the Thompson family after the remaining Outhwaite family sold their share of the park. During this time Joseph Emberton, an architect famous for his work in the amusement trade was brought in to redesign the architectural style of the Pleasure Beach rides, working on the "Grand National" roller coaster, "Noah's Ark" and the Casino building to name a few. Emberton continued to design for the Pleasure Beach up to his death in 1956, after which Jack Ratcliffe, who had been involved in the Festival of Britain, was brought in to continue the work. Ratcliffed worked for many years at the park, until the death of Leonard Thompson in 1976. Following Thompson's death, Lillian Doris Thompson was appointed chairman of the business. Their only son, Geoffrey Thompson became the new managing director.
Geoffrey Thompson era
William "Geoffrey" Thompson was born in Manchester in 1936. He had previously administered the New Era Laundries in London before returning to the Pleasure Beach as head of catering at the Casino Building. He married his wife, Barbara Thompson (née Foxcroft) in 1962 and shortly afterwards they had three children, Amanda, Nicholas and Fiona. After Leonard's death, Geoffrey and his mother steadily extended the Pleasure Beach business. After his father's death, Thompson hired Keith Ingham to make extensive alterations to the Casino building which later became the "Wonderful World" building. Since then the building has reverted to its original name. Under Thompson's reign, the Pleasure Beach business expanded quite dramatically. He bought two separate amusement parks Pleasureland Southport and Frontierland, Morecambe and invested into food-and-ride trade at the Pleasure Beach. He saw the opening of the Steeplechase, Avalanche, Revolution, Big One, Ice Blast: The Ride and Valhalla.
His reputation in Blackpool earned him a highly positive status amongst other businessman in the amusement trade. He was often regarded as the front man to the steady growth of amusement parks globally and he was often involved in promoting tourism. He sat on almost all the relevant agencies, such as the English Tourist Board and the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, and was awarded an OBE for this work. In 1986, Pleasure Beach became one of the first companies in the UK to register with the Government Profit Related Pay Unit. Under this scheme the company agreed that, where profits exceeded £1 million, 10 per cent would be distributed among the permanent staff according to their length of service. Geoffrey was often in dispute with Blackpool Council over their decision to allow private traders to use land opposite the Pleasure Beach. He won his appeal to clear the land of all trading attractions and the Pleasure Beach has remained unaffected by the situation. Geoffrey Thompson died at Blackpool Pleasure Beach on 12 June 2004, while attending his daughters wedding.
Amanda Thompson era
After her father's death and the death of Pleasure Beach chairman, Mrs L.D. Thompson, OBE nine days later, on 23 June 2004, Amanda Thompson took over the whole Pleasure Beach business. Nicholas Thompson became the Deputy managing director and Fiona Gilje (née Thompson), a fundamental architect (she has been praised over her work on both the Big One's station and the Infusion station) became a co director and initial designer.
Amanda Thompson has overseen the transformation of the park to a modern, aesthetically pleasing amusement park. However, her reign has seen the removal of some rides including the Whip, Log Flume, Space Invader 2, Turtle Chase, Black Hole and Super Bowl. In 2007, she introduced Infusion (relocated from the now revitalised Pleasureland Southport) and in 2009 transformed the north end of the park by introducing a new area, Bean Street FY4, which houses numerous catering outlets and bars and the Spectacular Dancing Water Show which was a seven hundred and fifty thousand pound investment.
In 2010 she further developed the north end of the park by re-designing the area which formerly housed the old dodgems ride. The site is now a garden area with numerous water features and fanciful sculptures. The same year, Amanda brought a new dodgems ride to the park (which is now situated under the Revolution attraction in the old Whip building.) Throughout late 2010 and early 2011 a new Children's theme park was constructed. On 4 May 2011, Nickelodeon Land debuted replacing the entire Beaver Creek area of the park.
Amanda has focused on the historically important aspects of the park, the overall look of the park, the park branding; taking the park from Blackpool Pleasure Beach to Pleasure Beach Blackpool and its current marketing name, Pleasure Beach Resort. Amanda has attempted to monetonise the park all year round by introducing ice skating at the Arena, she also introduced Adventure Golf in 2008, all of which are available to the public when the initial park is closed. Amanda produces the parks show Hot Ice, designed the Big Blue Hotel and the new ticket centre which open on the ground floor of the Casino building in 2009. The park is now focusing on franchise sponsoring after signing deals with Nickelodeon and Aardman Animations
During the 2011 season, Bling was sold to Germany's Skyline Park and was removed just before the 2012 season began. The Goldmine was also closed permanently. During the 2012 season, Valhalla and Revolution both received major refurbishments, overhauling both rides to have a modern look to them. Valhalla's facade was replaced due to the old one rotting and becoming unsafe. New for 2013 is Wallace and Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic. Located on the former site of the Goldmine it features some of the original components however the majority of it is completely new. The official opening date for this ride was 24 April 2013, though it was operating during the preceding Easter Holidays for visitors. The Monorail is SBNO (Standing But Not Operating) for the 2013 season.
|Managing Director||Years Active||Year|
|William G. Bean||33||1896–1929|
Pleasure Beach is situated along the South Shore area of Blackpool along the Fylde coast, adjacent to the promenade, opposite South along Ocean Boulevard and directly above Watson road. The main entrance is to the front of the initial park and approximately 38 metres (125 ft) from the Pleasure Beach Casino. The ticket sales is opposite the entrance (below the Noah's Ark attraction) and is adjacent to the Globe Theatre. The main car park is to the left side of the White Tower restaurant, behind Valhalla and to the right of the Grand National station. The additional coach park is to the back of the park adjacent to the trim brake section of the Pepsi Max Big One and in front of Nickelodeon Streak. Some catering and retail kiosks are situated near to the entrance of the park. The entrance plaza is directly behind the Casino building and is themed to correspond with the Noah's Ark ride which site on top of the structure. The park is lined with tall metal gates that connect to the entrance building and the main gift shop, underneath the Noah's Ark ride. The staff entrance is towards the back of the park, behind the Grand National. Blackpool Pleasure Beach railway station is nearby.
The park is currently home to nearly 40 rides and attractions, including ten roller coasters, of which five are wooden – the Grand National, Big Dipper, Nickelodeon Streak, Wild Mouse and Blue Flyer. The newest roller coaster, 'Infusion' opened in 2007 (having been re-located from the Pleasure Beach's erstwhile sister-park, Pleasureland Southport, where it was known as TraumaTizer). When it opened in 1994, Pepsi Max Big One was the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster of any park in the world. It was also substantially one of the longest, measuring 5,497 feet (1,675 m) long. Currently, the ride holds the crown as the tallest in the UK, measuring 213 ft (65 m), (235 ft above sea level.) and features a drop of 205 ft (62 m). The Pleasure Beach is one of the few parks left in the world to operate a traditional wooden Wild Mouse coaster. The ride was built entirely in house, post-World War II and is still in complete working order. It was also the first park in Europe to introduce a full inverting steel coaster (Irn-Bru Revolution) and the first to install a Space Shot ride (Tango Ice Blast) which was manufactured by S&S Sports of Utah. The park went on to launch Valhalla, which was designed by Sarner, a UK based theme park design company. Valhalla is sponsored by the Daily Star and remains prominently the 'biggest and most spectacular dark ride in the world.' At a cost of £15 million it is also the most expensive in-house attraction in the world. Later, the Pleasure Beach opened Bling, a Zierer Star Shape spin ride of which only two are operated in the world. The latest record is taken by Infusion which is the world's first suspended looping coaster entirely over water. The park has a wide variety of modern and classic-age rides and operates a separate family-themed section called Nickelodeon Land, towards the back of the park. This section of the park includes numerous small attractions suitably aimed at younger children and teens, including a Log Flume-type attraction, two 1,099 feet (335 m) long junior wooden coasters and various small carousel-type attractions. The park also has its own costumed mascots which follows on from Disney's theory of character costuming regarding entertainment for younger guests.
The park has numerous food stalls, restaurants and cafés including the 'Italian Job' Italian themed restaurant, and the UK's largest Burger King chain restaurant, with two levels. It also owns the 'White Tower Restaurant' a tall white building near the front of the park, which became private at the end of 2008. Pleasure Beach also owns and operates The Grill, a Brasserie style restaurant in the Casino building.
The newest ride, opened in 2013, is Wallace and Gromit's 'Thrill O Matic', an indoor train ride which takes passengers through various scenes from the famous Aardman Animation films.
||Avalanche is a steel bobsled roller coaster. It was the first Bobsled style roller coaster to be built in the UK.|
|2||Big Dipper||John Miller, Charles Paige, Joe Emberton||Wooden||
||Big Dipper is a traditional wooden roller coaster which was built in 1923 by John Miller, and extended in 1936 by Charles Paige and Joe Emberton.|
|3||Big One||Arrow Dynamics||Steel Hypercoaster||
||The Big One is a hyper coaster with a highest point of 71.6 m (235 ft) above sea level or 65 m (213 ft) above the ground. It reaches speeds of up to 119 km/h (74 mph). It was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1994, and was designed by Ron Toomer.|
|4||Grand National||Charles Paige||Wooden Racing roller coaster||
||Grand National is a wooden dual-track racing roller coaster. It is themed around the Grand National horse-racing event and is one of only three Möbius Loop roller coasters still in existence.|
||Infusion is a steel inverted roller coaster. It is the first of its kind to be build entirely over water, and was relocated to Pleasure Beach from Pleasureland Southport.|
||Revolution is a steel shuttle roller coaster that launches from an elevated station, through and loop before stopping and doing the same backwards, it reaches up to speeds of 40 mph and a g force level of 4.0. It was named "Irn Bru Revolution" until 2011 when it reverted to its original name.|
|7||Nickelodeon Streak||Charles Paige||Wooden||
||A classic wooden coaster found in Nickelodeon Land. From 1933 to 2010 it was known simply as Rollercoaster however in 2011 was renamed Nickelodeon Streak. It was built using the lift hill from the Velvet Coaster, which was built in 1909.|
|8||Steeplechase||Arrow Dynamics||Three-tracked racing coaster||
||An Arrow Development three-tracked racing steel roller coaster and the last of its kind in existence.|
|9||Wild Mouse||Frank Wright||Wooden Wild Mouse||
||One of only three operating wooden wild mouse roller coasters in the world. It is known to be one of the most intense Wild Mouse roller coasters in existence.|
|10||Blue Flyer||Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters||Wooden||
||A children’s wooden coaster composed of bunny hills and a tunnel. Originally known as Zipper Dipper then renamed to Blue Flyer and re-painted in 2011.|
||An S&S Power Space Shot which stands at 210 ft (64 m) above sea level, although is actually 180 ft (55 m) tall.|
|12||Dora’s World Voyage||
||A mini boat tub ride located in Nickelodeon Land, opened June 2011.|
|13||The Rugrats Lost River||
||A semi-themed one-hill log chute originally in the park's previous Beaver Creek, now located in Nickelodeon Land.|
||Classic river caves dark ride, visiting displays of "around the world".|
|15||SpongeBob's Splash Bash||
||Located in Nickelodeon Land.|
||Viking-themed dark flume ride, laden with special effects.|
|17||Alice's Wonderland||1961||Children's dark ride featuring scenes from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. The cars are big Cheshire cats.|
|18||Chinese Puzzle Maze||1997||A traditional maze with interactive features, scenery, and water traps.|
|19||Derby Racer||1959||One of only three in the world, the ride is essentially a large carousel of 56 horses in four rows, the outside row being the fastest.|
|20||Dodgems||2010||Standard dodgems attraction.|
|21||Eddie Stobart Convoy||2002||All trucks are painted in Eddie Stobart Ltd. colours including names.|
|22||Flying Machines||1904||The oldest attraction in the park. Original flying experience attraction.|
|23||Gallopers||1919||Ornate traditional English carousel.|
|24||Ghost Train||1930||A dark ride. This ghost train was the first in the world and is where the ride name "Ghost Train" originates. It was built by Mr Joseph Emberton.|
|25||Grand Prix||1960s||Electrical powered auto-mobile ride. Travels down a spiral and under The Avalanche Rollercoaster.|
|26||Impossible||2002||(Previously 1001 Troubles and The Haunted Swing) A mirror maze, followed by displays of optical illusions, and a haunted swing ride.|
|27||Pleasure Beach Express||1934||A miniature railway featuring Scenery of Wild life in a jungle to Dangerous Dinosaur from the Jurrasic Era also includes interactive effects.|
|28||Tetley Tea Cups Ride||1990s||Spinning Tea Cups Ride themed on Tetley, After Beaver Creek closed the ride relocated to underneath the Irn Bru Revolution.|
|29||Alpine Rallye||1990s||A children's automobile track ride similar to the Convoy. After the park's Beaver Creek closed the ride was renamed from Thor's Turnpike and relocated.|
|30||Vintage Carousel||1990s||A Mini carousel ride. After Beaver Creek closed the ride was relocated to under the Avalanche lift hill, and renamed from Veteran Carousel.|
|31||Wallace & Gromit: The Thrill-O-Matic||2013||New dark ride for 2013 featuring Wallace and Gromit.|
|32||Avatar Airbender||2011||Opened 2011.|
|33||The Backyardians' Pirate Treasure||2011||Retheme of the previous 'Bradley Beaver's Pirate Ship Ride'|
|34||Bikini Bottom Bus Tour||2011||Opened 2011.|
|35||Diego’s Rainforest Rescue||2011||Opened 2011.|
|36||Fairy World Taxi Spin||2011||Opened 2011.|
|37||Krusty Krab Order Up||2011||Retheme of the previous 'The Shoot' ride.|
|38||Wonder Pets! Big Circus Bounce||2011||Opened 2011|
Extra Charge attractions
- Pasaje Del Terror – Opened in 1998. Interactive horror attraction within the Casino.
- Horror Crypt – Attraction themed around a haunted residence.
- Ripley's Believe It Or Not! – A PPR attraction which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims.
- Go Karts – First opened opposite River Caves in 1977, but relocated to under Steeplechase.
- Pleasure Beach Arena – An ice rink open all year round.
- Spectacular Dancing Water Show – Fountain opened in 2009. Every twenty minutes it performs a dancing water show.
- Numerous pay-2-play arcades and sideshows
Past Rides & Attractions
||This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (February 2014)|
|1||Virginia Reel||1922||1982||A spinning wooden coaster replaced by Ranger.|
|2||Scenic Railway||1907||1933||A wooden coaster replaced by Grand National.|
|3||Switchback Railway||1891||1922||Out And Back wooden coaster. Replaced by the Big Dipper.|
|4||Velvet Coaster||1909||1932||A wooden coaster replaced by Roller Coaster/Nickelodeon Streak.|
|5||Space Invader||1984||2008||Indoor roller coaster, it was relocated to Brean Leisure Park in 2011.|
|6||Tokaydo Express||1980||1997||A figure eight coaster, it was relocated to Brean Leisure Park.|
|7||Drench Falls Log Flume||1967||2006||A log flume replaced by Infusion.|
|8||Gold Mine||1971||2011||A dark ride has been replaced by Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic.|
|9||Magic Mountain||1932||2010||Junior dark ride replaced by Dora's World Voyage.|
|10||Funhouse||1934||1991||An indoor walkthrough, it was destroyed by a fire & replaced by Valhalla.|
|11||Spin Doctor||2002||2006||A dive booster ride.|
|12||Bling||2004||2011||A Zierer Star Shape ride.|
|13||Cyclone||1974||1987||A pinfari coaster replaced by The Avalanche.|
|14||Observation Tower||1970s||1992||A slow spinning bird eye view tower replaced by Pepsi Max Big One.|
|15||1st Water Chute||1907||1939|
|16||2nd Water Chute||1979||2003|
|17||The Greatest Show on Earth||1990||1997||A suspended dark ride replaced by Burger King.|
|18||Trauma Towers||1980||2008||Indoor haunted walkthrough attraction. SBNO.|
|19||Noah's Ark||1922||2008||Indoor walkthrough attraction.|
|21||Turtle Chase||1935||2006||A tumble bug ride.|
|22||Astro Swirl||1969||2003||A gravitron ride|
|23||Cableway||1960||2000||A chair lift ride.|
|24||Hotchkiss' Bicycle Railway||1896||1900s||Remnants of this attraction are held in the Pleasure Beach archive|
|25||Clown Coaster||1995||2008||A junior coaster, relocated to Wicksteed Park|
|27||Monster||1968||1995||An octopus ride replaced by Ice Blast.|
|29||Speedboat||1960s||1978||A slow boat ride|
|31||Ranger||1983||1986||A black pearl ride replaced by Rainbow.|
|32||Rainbow||1987||1990s||A thrill ride|
|33||Calypso||1960s||1960s||A spinning ride|
|34||Tidal Wave||1980||1997||Pirate ship was relocated to Pleasureland Southport,then relocated to M&D's.|
|35||Sidewinder||1939||1961||A Dive Bomber ride.|
|36||Black Hole||1970s||2006||A waltzer in a dark replaced by 4D Cinema.|
|37||4D Cinema||2007||2008||Extra-charge theatre attraction. Replaced by puppet/magic show.|
|36||Monorail||1967||2012||Opened as an aerial transport system with three stations, but closed as a non-stop scenic ride.|
|37||Ben Hur||1970s||1980s||Similar to the Whip, however with a pedal to help start motion.|
|38||Swamp Buggies||1989||2011||An extra-charge bumper boat ride. Replaced by plant pots.|
|39||Astro Liner||1970s||1980s||A simulator ride|
|40||The Twist||1980s||1996||A spinning ride|
|41||Alpine Golf||1970s||2009||Swiss-themed miniature golf, previously located under Avalanche. Replaced by flower beds.|
|42||Bobslay||1982||1982||A superbob ride|
|43||Paratrooper||1981||1980s||spinning funfair ride|
|44||Safari Bugs||1970s||2002||Animal vehicle roundabout has been relocated to Pleasureland Southport and then relocated to Lightwater Valley in 2007.|
|45||Phantom Chase||1980s||1980s||A spinning thrill ride|
|46||Astroglide||1960s||1990s||A giant slide|
|48||Tom Sawyer Raft Ride||1974||1993||A boat ride|
|49||Big Apple||2003||2004||A caterpillar roller coaster.|
|50||The Beast||unknown||unknown||A simulator ride of the wooden rollercoaster at Kings Island.|
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (December 2010)|
- 2007: Best brand for leisure and tourism – North West top 100 brands
- 2007: Best large tourist attraction – North West in bloom
- 2007: Pleasure Beach training team: best practice in tourism training – LETTS awards
- 2007: Fifth best amusement park in the world – Amusement today golden ticket awards
- 2007: Best seaside park award – Amusement today golden ticket awards
- 2007: Best radio commercial – IAAPA Brass ring awards
- 2007: Pleasure beach website – distinguished excellence – IAAPA Brass ring awards
- 2007: Valhalla: 2nd best water ride in the world – Amusement today golden ticket awards
- 2007: Best north west brand for leisure and tourism – Hill Dickinson
- 2007: revitalised brand of the year – Leisure report awards
- 2008: North west brand for leisure and tourism – Hill Dickinson
- 2008: Ripleys believe it or not: Franchise of the year and Guest service award – Ripleys executive board
- 2009: Big Blue Hotel – 5 star award – Loo of the year
- 2009: Forbidden: Best overall production – IAAPA Big E awards
- 2009: Hot Ice: best overall production – IAAPA Big E awards 
- 2011: Top Ten Best Theme Parks – Golden Ticket Awards
The Hot Ice Show
Hot Ice Show is a skating extravaganza show which was created by Stageworks Worldwide Productions, a Blackpool and West End based company owned by Amanda Thompson, the managing director of Pleasure Beach. The show has been running for many years and stars Olympic ice skaters and dancers. The show is performed in an auditorium in the Arena, a large skating rink in the centre of the park. The Arena is also open to the public when matinee performances of Hot Ice are not featured.
The Globe Theatre is currently used to house the 'Big One Talent Show'. New for 2012 is the La Quebrada High Diving Show. Other shows at the park include Beyond Belief, and Ken Webster Comedy Hypnotist.
Ken Webster's show at the Pleasure Beach is the longest running hypnotism show in the world having played there for over 25 years. Richard De Vere ran shows for 21 consecutive seasons, until his death in 2014.
The Big Blue Hotel
The Big Blue Hotel is a four star family hotel, owned by Pleasure Beach Blackpool and is situated within the outskirts of the park adjacent to Blackpool Pleasure Beach railway station. The hotel opened in Spring 2003.
In the summer season 1997, the Avalanche ride was involved in an accident when the first carriage's braking system automatically engaged, causing the following carriages to collide into one another in a rapid stop. 14 people were on the ride at the time, an 11-year old boy suffered bruised ribs. The ride was out of commission for 5 weeks of repairs.
On 11 August 2009, two trains carrying a total of 32 guests collided, resulting in 21 guests requiring treatment at a nearby hospital for injuries ranging from whiplash and broken noses, to cuts and bruises. A similar incident occurred on the ride in June 2010, when a train's rear wheels derailed, causing the ride to stop near the Big Blue Hotel.
On 16 December 1991, the Fun House attraction (first opened in 1934) was completely destroyed by a fire caused by vandals. Valhalla (opened in 2000) was built in its place.
On 20 May 2004 the Grand National’s station was destroyed by a fire that also damaged Alice’s Wonderland and Trauma Towers. The Grand National was repaired and re-opened five months later on 28 October 2004. Not long after, a large restaurant caught fire, the restaurant was almost completely destroyed leaving only the shell of the building. The building was demolished and replaced with the Big One Stage.
In July 1994, only a week after the ride's opening, 26 people were injured when the computer system failed to completely stop a train returning to the station. The result of this brake failure was a collision with a waiting train at the ride's station. The injuries were all only minor but the incident was widely publicised by the media. On 14 June 2011 the train stopped, causing minor injuries.
On 31 August 2000, 23 people were injured, when two ride vehicles collided due to a failure of the ride's braking system. Of those injured, 21 were taken to the hospital.
Space Invader 2
On 21 July 2000, an 11-year-old boy died after he 'fell' out of the ride vehicle. Reports say that he may have panicked on the dark ride and unfastened his seatbelt. The ride reopened after that but the actual cause for the ride closure is unknown.
In May 2011, it was reported in the media that the park had banned outside food or drink from being brought into the park, specifically picnics. This was met with criticism from the public, even though the rule was a decade old. Staff defended the decade-old rule, and commented that it was in place as the "ride-intensive nature" of the park meant that there was little space for families to eat food inside the park. Other theme parks such as nearby Camelot (now closed) or Alton Towers, have allowed guests to bring food into the park traditionally.
Pay to enter
Since it first opened the site had allowed free access to the park. However, in 2009 an admission fee was introduced for all members of the public entering the site who had not purchased a wristband. This policy has been heavily criticised locally and on travel advice sites like Tripadvisor in case visitors do not wish to pay to go in. However a number of promotions exist to counteract this.
In 1997 the Pleasure Beach featured in a six-part BBC documentary, which followed the day to day running of the park. It was mainly focused on the rides and the park managers, Jim Rowland and Keith Allen. The film crews also spoke to Geoffrey Thompson and Amanda Thompson, the director and producer of Stageworks Worldwide Productions (which directs, produces and choreographs the shows within the park.)
In popular culture
- The Pepsi Max Big One is featured in the 2001 film The Parole Officer and in one episode of A Touch of Frost
- Pleasure Beach is featured in the promotional segment for the "Little Britain Live" DVD.
- The music video for Simply Red's song "Fairground", The Killers' "Here With Me" and the 5 Seconds of Summer's Try Hard music video were shot here.
- ITV show "Soapstars" featured Pleasure Beach in its made-for-TV drama sequence.
- The Infusion rollercoaster featured in a 2009 edition of Specsavers advertising campaign.
- Pleasure Beach was originally referenced in the Doctor Who television episode "Revelation of the Daleks" but the reference was removed when the series was put on hiatus. Pleasure Beach was to be featured as the setting of the next unmade story "The Nightmare Fair."
- Pleasure Beach, Blackpool appears within a scenario of the very successful game Rollercoaster Tycoon, which features most of the rides within the park that existed at the time of the game's release.
- The Laughing man was briefly portrayed as a psychotic French clown in Jamie H Scrutton's: "His Haunted Laughter" short film in 2010. The artist performed in the role of the character.
- The park was included in the hit drama Waterloo Road. Finn Sharkey (Jack McMullen), Lauren Andrews (Darcy Isa), Sambuca Kelly (Holly Kenny) and Tom Clarkson (Jason Done) visit the park.
- Professional Wrestler Darren Kenneth Matthews, most commonly known as William Regal began his wrestling career at the park at aged 15.
- British boy band JLS rode on the Big Dipper in early 2012, singing their hit Everybody in Love as they did so. Their ride was filmed and posted on line via their official Facebook page.
- Kevin Bacon rode the Big One with a young child to advertise EE 4G The advertisement was then aired on National Television in May 2014.
- Incidents at European amusement parks
- Pleasureland Southport
- Frontierland, Morecambe
- Minirail, a monorail at Expo 67 that shares track and rolling stock with Blackpool, both acquired from the 1964 Swiss National Exhibition.
- A Close Shave
- The Wrong Trousers
- A Grand Day Out
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- "Grand National (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- "Infusion (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- "Irn-Bru Revolution (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- "Steeplechase (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- "Wild Mouse (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- "Zipper Dipper (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool)". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- "Switchback (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)". Coasterpedia.
- "Welcome to the Big Blue Hotel". Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
- 'Pleasure Beach' (BBC MCMXCVII) Ep. 1
- Malvern, Jack (11 August 2009). "Big Dipper accident leaves thrill-seekers injured". London: The Times. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
- "Rollercoaster 'one of the world's best'". BBC. 1 September 2000. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Gray, Chris (1 September 2000). "23 injured as roller coaster carriages collide". London: The Independent. Retrieved 5 January 2007.
- "Four hurt in fairground fall". bbc.co.uk. 30 July 2000. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
- "Blackpool Pleasure Beach picnic ban". bbc.co.uk. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- Beesley, Paul (4 July 2008). "Behind the scenes – A closer look at Blackpools Monorail". Ridemad. Retrieved 9 October 2008. "Pleasure Beach Blackpool bought the monorail in 1964 from the Lausanne expo in Switzerland and it was opened in Pleasure Beach in 1966."
- Walton, John K. (2007). Riding on Rainbows: Blackpool Pleasure Beach and its Place in British Popular Culture. St. Albans: Skelter Publishing. ISBN 0-9544573-6-6.
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