Thea Blog

22 August 2021

Britain's Blackpool Pleasure Beach Celebrates 125 Years: 27th Thea Awards Digital Case Studies Episode 2

Shared with permission from Theme Park Insider.

Britain's Blackpool Pleasure Beach Celebrates 125 Years

by Robert Niles

Britain's Blackpool Pleasure Beach won this year's Thea Classic Award from the Themed Entertainment Association, honoring 125 years and four generations of family ownership at "Europe's first and greatest American-style amusement park."

Earlier this month, the TEA hosted a Digital Case Study presentation of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's award.

"The founding of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and its development at the turn of the 20th century, is one of the great success stories of the British entertainment industry," Director of Marketing Robert Owen said. "Pleasure Beach has always been designed to reflect the latest innovations in ride and leisure technology. Since its early years, the family has constantly harnessed and hired the latest designers in the fields of architecture and international exposition design influenced as far back as the Chicago 1893 World's Fair."

Photo courtesy Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the Themed Entertainment Association


Today, the seaside amusement park offers a collection of dozens of heritage and modern rides, with some interwinding. The park's attractions include rare, last-of-its-kind rides along with modern record-setters, including The Big One, an Arrow hyper that was the tallest and steepest coaster in the world when it opened in 1994, and 2018's Icon, a Mack Rides production that was the first multi-launch coaster in the United Kingdom.

The park's other coasters include:

  • Big Dipper - a 1923 wooden coaster
  • Nickelodeon Streak - a Charles Paige wooden coaster opened as "Rollercoaster" in 1933
  • Blue Flyer - a 1934 family coaster formerly known as "Zipper Dipper"
  • Grand National - a 1935 dual wooden track racing coaster
  • Steeplechase - a three-track 1977 Arrow Dynamics racing coaster with horse-shaped vehicles
  • Revolution - a 1978 Arrow vertical loop shuttle coaster
  • Avalanche - a 1988 Mack Rides bobsled
  • Infusion - a 2007 Vekoma SLC

Pleasure Beach's other rides include the original Ghost Train, Nickelodeon Land, Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic, and Valhalla - a Norse-themed indoor water ride that is being "reimagined" for a return next year.

Rides are not the only notable attractions at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which this year has 14 live productions in its venues this year, led by the long-running Hot Ice show, which are welcoming fans after the pandemic closure.

"Amusement parks shouldn't be empty. They're designed to have people in them, people having fun," Director of Operations Andy Hygate said. "Blackpool Pleasure Beach comes alive for me particularly when we do our late night ridings in the evenings in the summer, and all the lights flicker on at dusk and it's a beautiful, magical place."

"All of that stuff has been missing and I'm so pleased that we should be able to come back properly this year."

You can buy tickets via the TEA's website to watch the complete session on demand, as well as future sessions in the series.

Previous Thea Award 2021 Digital Case Studies: 'Midnight Ride' Brings The Twilight Saga to Life

Posted by Josephine Gilmore



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