|Pleasure Beach Blackpool|
Blackpool, England, United Kingdom
The Thompson Family
42 acres (17 hectares)
Pleasure Beach Blackpool is a family owned amusement park located along the Fylde coast in Blackpool, England. It is the most visited amusement park in the United Kingdom, and one of the top twenty most-visited amusement parks in the world. The park is a privately funded business and is owned, managed and directed by the Thompson family. It was formerly known as Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
In Blackpool, England, on the coast of the Irish Sea, a man named William Bean opened a small amusement park for the summer of 1896 that he named Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Situated on a 42-acre site just across from the beach, Bean commenced to expand the Pleasure Beach's volume of attractions in the start of the 1900s and, and even the founder could have never imagined what the park would become over the next century.
The first appearance of a rollercoaster happened in 1906, the year that Henry Iles was brought in to build the Scenic Railway. The L.A. Thompson-designed Railway brought the wooden rollercoaster to northern England for the first time and would instill the seeds of major interest in the park. Three years later, Blackpool pulled the wraps from a second, largest wooden ride - John Miller's out & back Velvet Coaster.
1922 brought Virginia Reel, one of the latest international ride fads and a predecessor to the wild mouse. But the major addition of the '20s came the next season, when John Miller's Big Dipper opened that July. The Big Dipper became one of the largest coasters of its time, at 60 feet in height and with a track length of 3,300 feet.
Throughout the 1930s, Blackpool updated its collection of rides starting with the closure of the Velvet Coaster and debut of a new woodie known as Roller Coaster using various track portions of the former ride for 1932, the dismantling of the Scenic Railway coming the next year. That was only the beginning, however - the following season, Zipper Dipper arrived from Charlie Paige as the Pleasure Beach collection's fourth wooden coaster. And finally, 1935 would bring Harry Traver's racer called the Grand National. Modeled after Traver's Cyclone Racer overseas, Grand National became the star attraction of Blackpool for many years to come.
In the years that followed, several smaller new rides were installed, but any major additions would have to wait until after World War II. Finally, in 1958, a new coaster landed at the park with the opening of the Wild Mouse, one of the world's few wood-tracked mice rides. And with the rising of the steel coaster the next year, Blackpool's coasters were about to head in a new direction.
The 1970s became the next big decade of coaster additions, kicked off with a compact steel twister Cyclone, the first steel coaster in the region. With 1977 came Arrow Dynamics' triple-racing single-rail Steeplechase steelie with a modern design playing off of the similar rides of the '20s. And then, Blackpool Pleasure Beach introduced the first inversion on a steel coaster to Europe with 1979's Irn Bru Revolution, a modified Arrow Dynamics launched shuttle-looping design sending riders through a vertical loop twice.
The aged Virginia Reel finally left Blackpool in 1982, but the ride loss was compensated for in 1984 by Space Invader, an enclosed themed steel coaster. Then, in 1988 came Avalanche, a twisting bobsled coaster from Mack.
In the mid-1990s, construction began on a new coaster to become taller than any other thrillride on earth. And in 1994, Arrow's £12 million Pepsi Max Big One was opened to the world, towering over all other steel megacoasters at a then-unprecedented 235 feet high and spanning nearly the entire length and breadth of the Pleasure Beach with 5,497 feet of red track. A new kiddie coaster, Circus Clown, was opened up the next year.
And the major thrill rides kept coming throughout the end of the twentieth century with a 21-story air-powered S&S Power freefall tower, Play Station: the Ride (later renamed Ice Blast), in 1997. Tokaydo Express was removed the same year, rounding off the coaster track count to twelve. For the year 2000, Valhalla arrived, coming from Intamin AG as a themed enclosed flume attraction.
Today, Blackpool Pleasure Beach has one of the largest and most dense collections of rides of any amusement park in the world, and the road goes ever on with new rides and attractions just around the corner.
Present Roller Coasters (10) Edit
|Big Dipper||John A. Miller||Wooden||1923||Open|
|Grand National||Charles Paige||Racing||1935||Open|
|Nickelodeon Streak||Charles Paige||Wooden||1933||Open|
|Pepsi Max Big One||Arrow Dynamics||Hyper Coaster||1994||Open|
|Wild Mouse||Unknown||Wild Mouse||1958||Open|
Past Roller Coasters (9)Edit
|Cyclone||Pinfari||Sit-Down||1974||1987||Frontierland Family Theme Park|
|Scenic Railway||L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company||Wooden||1907||1933||No|
|Space Invader 2||Zierer||Indoor||1984||2010||Brean Leisure Park|
|Tokaydo Express||Pinfari||Family||1980||1997||Brean Leisure Park|
|Velvet Coaster||William Strickler||Wooden||1909||1932||No|
|Virginia Reel||William Strickler||Wooden||1922||1982||No|