Coaster, Pleasure Beach Blackpool
at Pleasure Beach Blackpool:
“I want to go on the Roller Coaster”
Parent: “Which one?”
Kid: “No, I want to go on
the Roller Coaster”
Parent: “Yes, which
Kid: “THE ROLLER
Parent: “Fine. If
you’re going to be silly, then next time we’ll just leave you at
home shall we? I knew we shouldn’t have come today, right from the
moment that you broke that vase this morning…”
the Pleasure Beach, it’s not always obvious what ride is what. And
which bit of track belongs to which. And whether the one you are looking
at is one that you have already been on or not. Ask a random visitor in
the park how many roller coasters there are in total, and you stand a
good chance of either getting a wrong answer or a strange look. It may
be fine enough for those of us acquainted with the park and its rides,
but to everyone else it can be confusing.
is the unique beauty of the place though that means that you can follow
non-descript narrow paths, and stumble across truly iconic rides that
feel like great discoveries. The Roller Coaster fits into the category
with ease, the entrance being located halfway down a stairwell, next to
a road and with very little presence. However, those who venture in will
be greeted with one of the best rides at the park.
start at the beginning, the red and white striped station building may
hint at a male barber shop of epic proportions, but is in fact one of
the largest coaster stations at the Pleasure Beach.
a fit of irony though, despite the gargantuan space, you will still find
yourself squeezing sideways through narrow queue grids and turnstiles as
the majority of the building is taken up storing trains that are not
running with a very small corner housing the queue and boarding
you are through the turnstile, the platform gets thinner still.
There’s no air gates or row dividers, mainly because there is simply
no space for them. This means that everyone is encouraged to move as far
down as they can so as they prevent empty seats and does result in an
inability to choose your row.
the amount of people the train can accommodate do not fit on the
platform, and when the train rolls in and everyone takes their seats,
the gaps are filled up by the operator.
cars hold eight people in four rows, though it’s a tight fit. In front
of you, another obscure path follows the track round to the left. To
your right is the miniature platform you have just come from, and to
your left is an old 1920s coaster carriage from the Velvet Coaster,
which burnt down in 1932. The Roller Coaster uses the old ride’s lift
hill, but from there-on follows its own course and plan.
since the ride opened in 1933, we have had the pleasure of riding the
Roller Coaster without any form of restraint, relying on guests to
choose not to be indescribably stupid during the ride. Sadly, the modern
world has now caught up with this blip in history, and 2006 has seen the
introduction of one seatbelt for each row.
the cars are furnished simply with a deep cushion for both riders, two
grab handles and a reminder plaque to remain seated that is annoying
located right where your knee should go. Even the armrests on each side
are padded, giving the impression that we are going to be rolling around
in our own personal armchair.
though there are no middle dividers, two adults will find it a squeeze
and on quieter days, separate rows would be recommended. The exterior of
the train is decorated in a rather dated red, yellow and white livery
that makes them appear distinctly retro.
the thrust of the brake handle, we are released down the slope and round
to the left passing a tree and Beaver Creek and the Narrowest House In
The World on the right. Engaging on the lift, the legendary clank of the
chain hauls us up to the top where we duck down to our right to begin
a quick straight section, the first drop pulls the train down a shallow
dip, and we whiz past the supports of the return leg before climbing
again for the next dip. These dips are not packed with forces, but offer
an entertaining acceleration downward, and a pleasant whip in the
drops and climbs continue past the Zipper Dipper and Space Invader 2,
where the latter’s building masks a sharp swooping drop to the right
and the resulting zoom past a beer and fountain garden in what is surely
the highlight of the ride. We then pay our regards to the Chinese Maze
and the Steeplechase, both of which pass beneath us during the elevated
stretch back to the start runs parallel with our outgoing journey, but
consists of some smaller bumps and hops that provide the short bursts of
thrills for the kids. Still with plenty of speed, we spring into a long
dark tunnel, where we are sharply slowed down by a set of breaks, before
we turn ninety degrees to our left and re-enter the station, where the
operator grapples with the lever to bring us to a smooth halt by the
exit path disappears down a tunnel before reconnecting near the entrance
of the ride, the scene where our adventure begun. The Roller Coaster has
an enviable position in the Blackpool ride hierarchy, as it does not
need to have any delusions of grandeur. It’s not the signature ride by
a long stretch, and its only real remit is to entertain those who ride,
and this it achieves with distinction.
really not surprising that it went for so long without restraints.
Whilst it offers a brilliant sensation of speed, this is actually mainly
to do with the fact that we are constantly passing buildings, other
rides or even another part of the Roller Coaster itself in close
drops are not enough to send anyone into a flight of fear, but strangely
manage to meet the needs of the younger riders who are not yet brave
enough to sample the bigger rides such as the Grand National or the Big
Dipper and those bigger kids among us who appreciate the atmosphere and
sense of fun that they provide.
my view, the new seatbelts do not harm the ride experience. Whilst they
are checked, it seems to be left to rider discretion about whether they
tighten them up with kids, or have them worn mainly as a reminder not to
stand up. And yes, you can still enjoy the unique sensation of sitting
facing sideways should you wish to do so.
may view the layout (or what can be seen of it) as plain vanilla, but
out of view to most spectators and even the riders before the last
minute, is the wonderful drop entrance to the turn around and again into
the final straight.
Passing over the maze offers not only a brief
respite to those who need it, but an enjoyable glance over two separate
attractions, and even the possibility of memorising the maze layout
should with to try your luck in it later on.
single visitor who finds the Roller Coaster and chooses to ride will be
rewarded with an entertaining jolly around the back of the Pleasure
Beach. As the ride does not claim to do anything other then entertain,
there is nothing to criticise it for (bar perhaps the cramped waiting
platform) and therefore means that the suggestion to “ride the Roller
Coaster” is probably the most sensible comment made in the day.
LC 19 November 2006
do not use our ratings to compare rides head-to-head. They rate only how well
this ride meets its own objectives using criteria that may not necessarily be
relevant with similar reviews. More...
fast-paced nostalgia trip offering views of many other rid
enough for grown-ups without scaring the kids
fantastic step between the Zipper Dipper and the Big Dipper
waiting area and narrow entrance platform
choice of seats due to loading procedures