Coaster Kingdom


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[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 cigarretes!

[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 feel. 

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 skywards.

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 behind.

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 operation.

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.

Cosmo Jenkins


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Spin Doctor

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