A day at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and a verdict on rules, restrictions, queues and more

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Restrictions are in place around the whole park but queues are still packed with people excited to get on rides

 

Queues for the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Queues for the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Image: LancsLive)

As the days are now longer and weather is clearer, theme parks are now reopen for all and have visitors have flocking to their favourite parks in their thousands.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, one of the North West’s claims to fame, attracts thousands of visitors each year, but of course, like anything else, recent times have meant things are now a little different due to Covid-19.

This year will be the park’s 125th birthday and here is what visitors can expect on their next trip.

When booking-either in advance or at the door, e-tickets are now available instead of wristbands to minimise the need of physical contact between the parks staff and visitors and work well as a quick way to scan into the park and onto rides seamlessly throughout the day.

E-tickets do however, rely on smart phones to be fully charged and at a brighter setting so they can be scanned which may leave visitors with very little battery life at the end of the day. Consider a portable charger.

Immediately when entering, visitors will find members of staff wearing masks and doing their best to maintain social distancing.

Stand behind the yellow line
Stand behind the yellow line

As the park is outdoors, masks aren’t always required when walking from ride to ride or when eating, however, selected rides do require visitors to wear masks while on the rides.

This may be confusing at times for visitors who don’t know which rides require masks and which don’t, but staff monitoring the rides are always there on hand to remind people when needed.

Sanitising stations are in abundance at the park with a minimum of two for each ride. Others are dotted around at various points of the Pleasure Beach, near toilets and food areas as well as at the park’s entrance and exit.

There are also many signs displayed around the park reminding visitors of the social distancing rules, along pathways and as guides whilst queuing up.

A hand sanitising station at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
A hand sanitising station at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

One way systems are in place in areas of the park making it more of a task than usual to navigate around the park, but with members of staff dotted along pathways, there is always someone to ask for guidance if visitors find themselves struggling to find rides.

Despite the Pleasure Beach’s efforts to encourage social distancing with clear signs and markers, it’s very difficult for those wanting to maintain a distance to do so because of other visitors around the park.

Theme parks are notoriously known for long queuing times and Blackpool Pleasure Beach is no exception, though it doesn’t verge to the lengths you might see somewhere like Alton Towers on this visit.

"Keep left"
“Keep left”

Headline rollercoasters like The Big One and Iconic, attract visitors from all over the nation so it’s no surprise that queuing times in Blackpool can range from anything between 10 minutes to almost an hour for the more popular rides.

It’s also worth noting that queuing time may be lengthened if there are any technical difficulties resulting in a breakdown and resetting of the ride.

While most queues have now been pushed further outdoors to allow for more air flow, visitors may need to be wary as there is very little social distancing in queues and there is a high chance of being less than a metre apart from fellow park visitors.

Even though visitors are likely to spend more than half the time at the park queuing up than going on rides, all thrill seekers will agree that the wait worth is usually worth it.

The Big One, also known as Pepsi Max, is the park’s biggest and fastest ride as well as the UK’s tallest roller coaster reaching up to 235 ft.

It’s no surprise to see the queues stretch further and further out into the park, but looks can be deceiving as the queue for The Big One moves much faster than visitors may anticipate after a first glance of the length.

Waiting for Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Waiting for Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The ride itself is definitely one for the thrill seekers. The excitement and anticipation of the climb up to the 235 ft peak eats away at the passengers, so much so, it’s easy to miss the best view of the park from up there.

No matter how many times visitors of Blackpool Pleasure Beach ride The Big One, the thrill and fun of the ride never gets old.

Icon, the newest ride on the park, is the UK’s first double launch roller coaster with two boosts of speed and as the newest and most modern ride in the park, the queue for Icon is most likely the longest with a waiting of almost an hour.

But the comfort of the headrest along with the design of the ride makes it all the more worth it, not forgetting the thrilling twists and loops along the way.

As the queue extends further down the park, two sanitising stations are available at the end and beginning of the queue for visitors to use before getting on the ride as well as one to use once getting off the ride.

Social distancing in the Icon’s queue still remains a challenge due to it’s popularity enticing visitors to experience the newest ride at the park

Waiting for the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Waiting for the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The Big Dipper, one of the oldest rides in the park and famous for its rickety dips and bumps has one of the fastest moving queues in the park with a queuing time of about 10 minutes and 15 minutes during busier moments.

The ride is one to try for traditional roller coaster lovers.

Similar to the Big Dipper with the shortest queueing time is Ice Blast- blink and it’s over.

Because the ride itself is quick, queues are also quick to move so issues with social distancing are far less than on other rides in the park.

Like The Big One, Ice Blast has another one of the best views of the park, that is if you can bare to keep your eyes open after that heart dropping lift to the top.

Another quick, shock to the system ride, is Revolution with a 360 spin forwards and backwards, there really is no preparing yourself for the speed and thrill of this ride.

Queues to Revolution follow up a tall tower of steps and the platform where visitors wait for the carriage is more exposed to the open air than other rides allowing for more ventilation of fresh air whilst waiting for their turn.

Social distancing is slightly better within queue as the steps are wide for people to alternate which side the choose to stand on.

The queue for Revolution at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The queue for Revolution at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Similar to Icon, is Infusion with a queue time of around 35 to 40 minutes.

Full of head banging twists and turns, screams and cheers can definitely be heard from around the park.

As another outdoor queue in the park, visitors aren’t required to wear masks; however it raises questions as to whether they should be allowed to be so close to one another whilst waiting.

Avalanche, with its unique carriages allows two people per seat and is designed like bob sleds with passengers sitting in the laps of the other passenger in the cart making it an uncomfortable one in the park.

Despite the worry of head butting or crushing the friend or family member behind you, Avalanche continues it’s bobsleigh theme with the ride twisting at high speeds around ‘runs’.

The wait for Infusion at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The wait for Infusion at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Visitors may be disappointed to find that the parks popular water ride Valhalla is shut until 2022, although this has been widely reported.

Other than the sanitiser provided at various points in the queue and rides, there is very little evidence of the rides being cleaned in between groups as when one group of passengers exit the ride, the second group jump on immediately after.

A visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach has always been a fun day out for everyone, regardless of whether or not you enjoy big rides, there are plenty of others to choose from as well as arcades and food places to enjoy too.

Even during difficult times, with guidelines constantly changing, all the measures are put in place to make it a good visit for all but the measures themselves don’t seem to be enough to effectively encourage social distancing.