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Lewis Cox December 2001

lewis@reride.net

Is it December already? Doesn't feel like it should be Christmas. It felt like Christmas back in September when all the shops started selling Chrismas decoratins, THEN it felt like Christmas. But I have got bored of it now. Mind you, I am hoping to find a shop already stocking Summer clothes for my Florida Trip from the 23rd December to 13th January - so the New Year column will be a bit late.

Anyway, one place in the UK which is no stranger to broken bulbs and illumintations flying off in the wind is Blackpool. Also home to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. In todays article, I will bang on about it for a bit. But first, some feedback from yourselves after last months coloumn:

Dear Lewis, can you name me something interesting to do at Chessington?.

Yes I can. No, really I can. Why are you looking at me in that disbeliveing way? Of course there is something interesting to do at Chessington! Err, NEXT....

Dear Lewis, I would like to complain in the strongest sense about your last coloumn. The words AIR were only featured 3 times. You call yourself a theme park enthusiast? It is disgraceful. It should be featured AT LEAST 8926 times in a 500 word article.

And, I am afraid to report, that was all I got this week. One wonders what dreadful rubbish I am to get this time round... Anyway, if you want an eternal theme park question answered by yours truly, email lewis@reride.net

So, Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I visited for the very first time this summer. I have visited lots of theme parks, but not so much, amusement parks. So blackpool was an eye opener. Yes you can dwell on the dirty stinking and dreafully under-maintained people who usually hang around there... but after these yobs have pelted you with expletives that Jim Royel would be proud of, you can get down to riding the mostly excellent rides.

Actually, I have to be honest, I didn't meet many, if any undesirables on my visits, even during the evenings. Although, according to some, I am in a minority...

Whilst the park is packed in and, to an extent, cramped it does take on an air of beauty and is genreally kept clean and tidy. Blackpool is home to many unique rides. So name but a few:

Steeplechase: There can be no better way to permanently damage Male Reproductory organs for life.

Magic Mountain: A place to disturb even the bravest Child. And intrestingly, it is apparantly supposed to be good fun.

Derby Racer: The feeling that if you move one more inch to the right, you WILL be flung all the way to the Winter Gardens.

Space Invader: Whoever knew that a queue would be such a crowd puller. Oh sorry - was there a ride at the end of it?

But the classic woodies are not to be missed. Grand National (Oh the Theming), Rollercoaster (Suicidals Galore) and the Wild Mouse (Have a St Johns man standing by)

How about the Gold Mine. What I first thought was a wonderfully cleber effct of rushing down burrowed tunnels in the ride is apparantly only there coz it had to dodge the log flume on its way. Also, disney style Pie and Chips cafe with Mine and Flumes floating through it. Great fun!

There are certain theme park websites around on the net who regularly discuss what park is better: Alton Towers, or Blackpool. So what do I think?\par
It really depends what you go expecting. To put it simply: Blackpool Pleasure Beach is not about the park. It's about the rides.

Alton Towers may try to fob us off with all this "Magic" lark, and yes, its setting is indeed impressive, but for a truly rollercoaster of a day out, give me Blackpool any day.

Planned Future Coloumn Subjects:

• The Florida Parks

• Music at UK Theme Parks

• Ride Types - a series of coloumns looking at the best and worst examples of:

1) Dark Rides

2) Roller Coasters

3) Spin Rides

Plus, in April, the definative guide to the wacky rumours for 2002's new rides which later proved to be false, as well as the most interesting news bites and trip reports.