[queue the "It's Waterless Cookware"
voice so popular of grade-school videotapes]
Let's all look at the lovely ride manufacturers of
Fabbri. They have produced a fantastic drop ride, a cheap Breakdance
"spinoff" [pause for laughter], but they have also produced the
horrific Space Loop. But, after several years of failiure and success,
they struck gold- no, Platinum, with their wonderful Booster. It wasn't
original, but it was a hit. And remember children- smoke Lucky brand
[video voice end]
In the early two-k's, I had the pleasure of riding
the first Booster from Fabbri. I was incredibly impressed with it, from
the floorless seats to the lowering floor, it all ran smoothly. The ride
was fabulous, as well. So, when Pleasure Beach Blackpool announced the
arrival of two Fabbri Boosters, I decided to take a trip to the park. So,
a month or so later, I was standing on the bridge in front of a horrific
bottleneck, people standing round on either side of the bridge and
clumping up like a blood clot. There must have been a miscalculation on
PBB's part, for part of the bridge has been blocked off, apparently
because of a safety clearance thing or another, and the queue entrance on
the other side. Nonplussed about this and the fact that the ride had not
actually moved more than once since I was in the car park, I joined the
queue. It shuffled sloth-like down into the loading area, which has a kind
of "secluded-on-the-swamp-in-Tennessee-restaurant" type of
I patiently waited as the arm turned slowly and
inched into the station, and the floor slid into position, replacing the
much-easier dropping floor with a kind of daft sliding mechanism.
The whole area is incredibly cramped, a kind of
island in the centre of the queue where the operators sit. Adverts on the
wall make lame jokes about "finding your soft spot". "We'll
find your soft spot!" "Find your soft spot at 120 feet!"
Without the lovely wristband, one is expected to
pay seven quid to ride, which is roughly 13 dollars for you in the States.
I was surprised to find floors on this ride;
normally there is just the seats. A simple over the shoulder restraint and
a seatbelt are secured, and the floor pulls away, and the arm inched us
away. I was disappointed to find out that the arms operated separately;
both operating opposite each other would be a grand sight. However, we
finally stopped at the top, and were permitted to gaze at the view of a
Big One train clattering up the lift, and another, and another, before the
arm began to slowly gain speed. At this point I saw what the car was
affixed to- a kind of question-mark-shaped hook, which comes frighteningly
close to your feet, an enormous design flaw.
It gathered more and more speed, the car rocking
back and forth. I couldn't help but laugh as the bridge whirred by and the
arm swept us up again. After three turns, the car stuck, and we tumbled
over, screaming and laughing, looking up at the sky, then diving down, a bizarre
moment where the bridge zips past at close quarters and a lot of fountains
are just out of your reach, then the car flipping upright and whirring
Then, it went in reverse, which was weird. You
stick, and face down at the top, successfully floating over and tumbling,
and see the loading station, the fountains, and the bridge leave you
Finally, though, we came to a stop, stunned and
wind-blasted, and I took a long look at the ride, savouring the rush, the
dazzlement that no funfair Booster can provide.
I loved Spin Doctor more than its travelling
counterpart for the visuals, and the visuals alone. It was great fun, and
very long. It isn't as sickening as you may first think, and though it
appears to be a weird version of the Top Spin, it is no-where near that.
However, the whole ride appears to have been
rushed badly, the idea scribbled on a serviette in a cafe and being
approved and built with no actual thought put into it. The queue is badly
cramped, and the whole thing creates a massive bottleneck on the bridge.
It was a good idea for two to be built, but overall it failed miserably,
for the queue is so slow that only if there were a dozen of the rides that
you wouldn't collect dust whilst waiting to ride.
John Phillips put it best: "Spin Doctor is an
excellent ride, surrounded by a series of silly problems."
That is certainly true. It is exciting and fun,
and the visuals are fantastic, but the niggles overwhelm the whole
I'll give it a solid four-star review.
-Smooth and fun
-Fast and long, nice views
-Not too intense for people who don't like spin rides
-Looks much worse than it is
Spin Doctor is a lovely addition to PBB. It's not
the kind of ride you get excited about and talk in the "Oh wow
waterless cookware" squeal of game-show contestants. Each problem is
another little drop in the cliff of faults it suffers.