Formerly known as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and lying in 42 acres of land, the park was founded in 1896 by Alderman William George Bean and had just one ride. His main aim was to create an American Style Amusement Park with the basic principle “to make adults feel like children again”. Since its inception, it has remained family run, with the latest managing director being Amanda Thompson who is also the managing director of Stageworks Worldwide Productions, who produce the shows at the park.
In September 2007, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool was judged to be the joint fifth best amusement park in the world. Another feather in the parks’ cap, it was voted to be the second best seaside park in the world. You will find Pleasure Beach is included as a playable scenario in the theme park game Rollercoaster Tycoon. It is the highest ranked European park.
Pleasure Beach, Blackpool attracts about 6 million visitors each year which is joint with Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, which also attracts 6 million visitors each year. Only 10 parks worldwide beat this attendance figure. 6 million being approximately 1/10th of the UK’s population.
Pleasure Beach, Blackpool has a mixture of traditional wooden rides, modern steel roller-coasters and small family rides. It also has highly advanced thrill rides along with classic, older rides still in their original working order. The older rides have been there for generations. The other major attractions include shows and productions which are suitable for the whole family. The park also has ice shows which include Eclipse and Hot Ice hosted at the Pleasure Beach Arena.
The roller coasters at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool are some of the best in Europe with the Pepsi Max Big One being the second tallest roller coaster in Europe, the highest point being 235 feet (72 m) above sea level and 213 feet from the floor. This coaster reaches speeds of up to 87 mph (140 km/h). It has a drop of 205 feet (62.5 m) and the entire length is 5,497 feet (1,675.5 m). When the Pepsi Max Big One first opened in May 1994, it was the tallest, fastest and steepest roller coaster in the world and was built at a cost of £12 m.
The Big Dipper Roller Coaster at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, first opened in 1923 and was extended in 1936. This is a traditional wooden roller coaster and very much a classic with roller coaster enthusiasts. In 1998 Richard Rodriguez set a world record by riding the Big Dipper for 1000 hours. It has a has a maximum height of 60 feet (18.3 m) and a maximum speed of 50 mph (80.5 km/h). 3 trains holding 20 people career around 3,300 feet of track with a 50 foot drop and a maximum G force of 3.7.
Another roller coaster classic at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, is the Grand National roller coaster. A wooden racing roller coaster which was opened in 1935. There are only three types of this roller coaster in existence in the world and the only one in Europe. This one was lucky, however, as it was almost destroyed by fire in 2004. Standing at 62 feet (18.9 m) high and 3300 feet (1,006.4 m) long, it has an uneven number of turns so that racing riders will exit from different stations. The Grand National has a maximum speed of 40 mph (64.4 km/h).
As great as it may be having older rides at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, there has to come a time when more up-to-date rides are introduced. And they were. The newest ride, which opened in May 2007, is the Infusion and is the first inverted roller coaster to be suspended entirely over water. At a cost of £8 million, Infusion has received an overwhelming amount of hype. The directors believe this ride will attract well over the current 6 million guest numbers. The Infusion stands 109 feet (33.2 m) high and has a track length of 2,260 ft (688.8 m) with a top speed of 49.7 mph (80 km/h) with varying twists, helixs and loops.
One of the last Wild Mouse wooden roller coasters is housed at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool. Opened in 1958, the park’s Wild Mouse coaster is held in very high regard as being one of the finest and extreme examples of a coaster of this type. Filled with “near miss” turns which result in extremely high lateral G-forces throwing the riders against their seats and each other, Wild Mouse has an overall length of 1,266 feet (385.9 m) packed into a small area. It reaches speeds of up to 35 mph (56.3 km/h).
As with all great amusement and theme parks, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool has many rides for the smaller person. The park has an enormous array of rides, which are by far too many to mention in just a single article.
Eating and refreshment is not a problem at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool because there are over 35 restaurants and cafes, not to mention a pub and a hotel.
Pleasure Beach, Blackpool is free to enter, but of course, the rides have to be paid for and a wristband scheme is in operation. Costing about £25 each, these will allow you unlimited rides. If you buy the wristbands online, they are cheaper, but you must book at least 12 hours in advance. You can purchase individual ride tickets, but some rides require more than one ticket. Height restrictions are in place at Pleasure Beach, Blackpool.