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Chuck's Shameless Nostalgia TR: TPR's 2006 UK Trip


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Shudders at memories of both visits to LV. Food didn't change one bit. Ugh.

LV was where I ate one of the worst "burgers" ever. It was like those odd ones they servedin my old high-school cafeteria that seemed to be made of no recognizable meat product.

 

I still remember Big Mike feeding a hot dog to a duck there, too.

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^ Sad.

 

I had the (I-think-it's) chicken burger. Took for - e - ver. And ended up being

a flat ovalish patty (pattie?) on a white bun. Condiments were not worth getting.

 

Yum.

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Shudders at memories of both visits to LV. Food didn't change one bit. Ugh.

LV was where I ate one of the worst "burgers" ever. It was like those odd ones they servedin my old high-school cafeteria that seemed to be made of no recognizable meat product.

 

I still remember Big Mike feeding a hot dog to a duck there, too.

 

I got the burger and fries, looked at the burger and tossed it. I ate one fry and threw them out. Then I bought an ice cream cone.

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Apocalypse was amazing. But I know it was ever more awesome, doing it with others

like yourself Chuck. Solo riding is so...meh. I can do it now, like I do at Playland on

Hellevator. But still, doing it on the tours with others, is so much more fun.

 

So this one (My Very First, that's why I was nervous, lol), and the one at Southport

(that one I got to share with Ryan) are still warmly remembered.

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Sharing my "first time" on this kind of tower ride with Ryan, at Southport.

(Thanks for the photo, Robb)

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Time for our next stop on the TPR Nostalgia Trail: historic Pleasureland Southport. Yes, this park was, indeed, "historic" for two reasons:

 

1. It had a number of old, classic attractions, complete with historic plaques.

2. It's now "history" as it no longer exists in the same form as it did in 2006.

 

I understand that Southport is now just a collection of random, ever-changing traveling carnival rides. But during TPR's visit, it was an enjoyable, if somewhat beat looking "permanent" seaside amusement park. I guess you could call it a credit whore's dream, as it operated not only an old-school woodie (Cyclone) and a rare wooden wild mouse with mine cars (King Solomon's Mines), but also an SLC, a Zyklon, and a Big Apple kiddie coaster. Well, when we were there, three of those credits were running. The SLC, with the no-doubt appropriate name of Traumatizer, had been down for the count for some time, and the Zyklon (Wildcat) looked like it could collapse at any second. Hell, even the Cyclone had a crooked lift hill, but at least it was running.

 

But the real attraction at Southport was its classic old fun house, where we enjoyed a great ERT session spinning around on the Wheel of Death (not its actual name, but a close approximation) and generally risking great bodily injury. The wheel destroyed my old Seiko wristwatch, and left more than a few of us with some pretty good bruises.

 

The park had two ghost trains, one of which was themed to dinosaurs, a number of flats, and some rather funky smelling walk-through attractions. And quite a few historic plaques.

 

Let's take a step back into amusement-park history for a look at the Pleasureland Southport that was.

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This was the main reason to visit Southport.

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These people were spun so quickly that they were churned into butter. True story.

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Behold the Wheel of Wristwatch Destruction.

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King Solomon must've been mining for air, as not once did this ride venture underground.

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Fun, but terrifying (and a little rough).

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Who do you think enjoyed this ride more: Jeff or Lou?

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At this point, you're reciting the Lord's Prayer and wishing that you had your affairs in order.

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As usual, Robb suffers for his art.

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The Big Apple was not quite as historic as King Solomon's Mine.

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You know, this inn certainly smelled like it could've been haunted inside.

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"I've always been more of a 'leg man.' Ha! 'Leg man'! Get it! You'd damn well better get it!"

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"Nah, I didn't get it either."

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What ever you do, do not pour vinegar and baking soda into that papier mache volcano! You'll kill us all! (The Lost Dinosaurs of the Sahara ride was like a giant-sized diorama made for a science fair by an eight year old.)

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I forget what happened on the ghost train, but it obviously traumatized Eric.

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I'm sure these distorting mirrors did a lot to restore Eric's peace of mind.

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The park also had one of those bizarre chairlifts to nowhere, but it gave you a good view. Behind Eric is the Wildcat, which was closed--probably for the best.

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King Solomon's Mine leaves people both shaken and stirred, in addition to rattled.

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If you want a look at a nonfunctional, and hence painless, SLC, here's you chance. This ride was moved to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, painted blue, given a bunch of fountains, and renamed "Infusion."

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The big stack of wood in the background is the Cyclone. As I recall from reading on TPR, the coaster was simply bulldozed when the park shut down--but you can ride its cousin in India.

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It was a fun old coaster, but hardly top-ten material. The trains just sort of lumbered through the course. ("Lumbered"! Ha!)

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And there's the town of Southport itself.

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Eric and I boarded this ride, thinking it was just an old Himalaya. We had no idea what a Caterpillar was, or that we'd be covered by a filthy, musty-smelling old canopy. That damn canopy startled us when if flopped over our heads after the ride started.

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Fun day, but I'm beat. That's all for now.

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The Wheel of Doom was AMAZING! I think I only got about 6 wood burns from that damn wheel. And then I think it was the next day I got more wood burns from a damn slide...they were pretty cool battle scars when I got back to the states though.

 

Great pictures Chuck! It's fun looking through this now and it brings back lots of memories.

 

Jimmy "Who can forget 'Row, Row, Row' on Cyclone?" Bo

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^Yes, we were all wondering if the Cyclone train was going to make it around that first big curve. I really think the "rowing" helped.

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Wow this TR is bringing back great memories. Seems like yesterday! I loved our time at Southport, except for the awful smell when the Caterpillar tent roof came up over the ride, nasty! LOVED the funhouse and Wacky Shack, so glad we got to check these out and the other interesting dark rides at the park. Can't wait to see more of your report!

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^Yes, we were all wondering if the Cyclone train was going to make it around that first big curve. I really think the "rowing" helped.

 

This is/was true.

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach is very much a park for all tastes. If you're a coaster enthusiast, it has a slew of 'em, both wood and steel. If you're into old-school dark rides, welcome to Nirvana. If you're into British kitsch at its all-out kitschiest, look no further.

 

But look out as you walk the streets, as you may step in dog crap. Just a precaution.

 

I'd been wanting to visit Blackpool for years, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself there--particularly the funky dark rides and walk-through attractions. But I understand that it's changed quite a bit since 2006. For example, Southport's SLC was relocated here and redubbed Infusion, and I've heard that the old Magic Mountain dark ride (where they WELCOME YOU TO THEIR WORLD OF TOYS) is no more; plus, the rather Knott's Berry Farmish Gold Mine ride is gone--have Wallace and Gromit taken over that space? (Truth be told, that's probably an improvement, as the Gold Mine was looking a bit threadbare eight years ago.) And Nicklodeon took over the park's kids area (which is probably a step up). The old Trauma Towers walk through, with its surprise ride ending, is gone, too.

 

But you can still ride the Steeplechase (best coaster in the park), wooden Wild Mouse (probably the most terrifying coaster in the park), and, of course the Big One. Yes, there's still plenty of the 2006 Blackpool there, including the classic Ghost Train and the only mildly offensive River Caves. And let's not forget Valhalla--the best water ride anywhere (especially if you like being soaked and frozen).

 

Let's visit this classic British seaside park.

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Welcome to the inspiring tourist strip of Blackpool.

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Virginia Beach wishes that it looked like this. (Well, maybe we do here at TPR.)

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Blackpool where, in theory, you do not have to watch your step. (Remember, this is only a theory.)

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Now how's that for a view? That's how close my room at the Big Blue Hotel was to the park.

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Remember kids: Keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times.

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First up--ERT on Steeplechase. Suck it, Knott's! This ride is unique and a hell of a lot of fun.

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Who's having more fun here?

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It's also a little terrifying, but that's OK.

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It's safety first at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

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Look! I found a long-lost relative.

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Big One has all the clunkiness of Cedar Point's Magnum.

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Word to the wise: Do not sit in the back row.

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Avalanche was the most insane Mack Bobsled I'd ever ridden.

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It just kept getting faster and faster and faster until it hit the brakes at the end.

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That's "Blue Flyer" for all you Nickelodeon fans.

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"If you're a whore, slap my hand."

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Phew! What a relief.

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"WELCOME TO OUR WORLD OF TOYS!" You know, this song makes "It's a Small World" sound pretty good by comparison.

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"Oh boy! This is gonna be great!"

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"Yeah, if you say so."

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My god! That bunny is strangling that poor bird!"

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Say, you can welcome me to your world of toys any day.

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"Hot damn! There's nekkid women on this ride! Yee freakin' haw!" More to come.

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How about more dark-ride photos that you can shake a stick at? With maybe some more coaster pics thrown in?

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I swear to you honey, that naked mermaid on the Magic Mountain ride meant nothing to me.

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"You mean that nekkid mermaid is available? Yeehaw! Where's my hair gel?"

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Yes, in the Gold Mine ride, you will believe a donkey can balance a little green ball on its head.

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We seem to have stumbled into a zombie-miner wedding.

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The Gold Mine passed through this dining area back in the day.

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This is when we discovered how close Robb and Dan really were. The near-death experience of the Wild Mouse often forces feelings out into the open.

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Getting decapitated is a possibility on this ride--and you don't have to be as tall as Carl, either.

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The River Caves: Welcome to Our World of Political Incorrectness.

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"Hey, what's a hard-workin' caveman gotta do to get a beer in this place?"

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"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree."

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I don't think the Khan anticipated that someone would try to rape a dolphin in his pleasure dome--or did he?

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"Yeah, those ponchos are a good investment, guys . . .

"They are so doomed--poor dopes!"

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"Bah! Vikings care not for ponchos or ice or fire!"

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"Aghh! The ponchos do nothing!"

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As you've probably guessed from this photo, Blackpool has an "Alice in Wonderland" ride. I imagine the rabbit with the watch is a bit of a giveaway.

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It is a seriously hallucinogenic experience.

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No, this photo is not "flopped."

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I live for stuff like this.

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The cage is for your protection--not his.

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You know, some guys should always wear a shirt when they're out in public.

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"OK! I'm sorry! I will never go out and about in a mesh tank top ever again!"

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"Hello, sailor!"

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"Hello, yourself."

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Andrew was very excited, as this was his first Noah's Ark. The attraction itself is long gone, but I understand that the ark still decorates one of the park's entrances.

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Sigh! I liked Trauma Towers. It was a walk-through with a "Tagada" like ride at the end.

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And the people who lived there were so mellow.

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Grand National (sometimes called "Grand Nash") is one of those moebius coasters. (Firefox's spell checked would call this an "amoebic" coaster.)

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That is, the trains switch places over the course of the ride.

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Left becomes right, and right becomes left. (Boy, would that screw up the U.S. Congress.)

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How many of these Arrow shuttle loops are still in operation? This is the only one I've ever ridden.

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Alas, this credit was closed, and this was a close as we got to riding it.

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No comment necessary.

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And I'll end this portion with a dog trying to eat my hand. That's all for now.

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This first time at Blackpool was really a Bucket List thing for myself.

I was so thrilled to see it up close and experience this truly unique park.

In hindsight, I now compare other "stacked parks" to this one, like

Grona Lund. And was totally overblown by their newest attraction that year...

Valhalla, "the Viking Experience" (that's my extro)

And very very wet probably during and at the end of this amazing indoor

hot/cold/wet flume ride experience. I was truly overwhelmed at how great

this was - and rode it three more times thru our visit there, lol!

 

And actually, that was the first TAGADA I had ever ridden in my life. Before the China ones!

It was a total surprise at the end of the walk-through, and I remember being totally unprepared

for no seat belts, but we had seats in it so it wasn't a (ahem) "floor model", heh. But it got

freeky and wild as it kept picking up speed. Nothing bouncy like the "floor model," but still

an unexpected surpirse for the day. I missed it in the 2010 tour. Now it's a photo-op spot.

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My shot of the Valhalla front facade - stupid trees got in the way....grrrr.

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I really liked their Alice in Wonderland ride and the full effects of Noah's Ark. I didn't even know how to define the end of Trauma Towers. I remember another walk through had a some haunted swing at the end.

 

Lastly, I remember making it the the brake run of Space Invaders and being evaced. Even though I never made it back to the station, I still count the credit.

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The Alice ride was a good one. I think my group got to Space Invaders soon after it went down. Such is life.

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Virginia Beach wishes it looked like this.

 

What, and let people see the ocean without having to stand on the beach? Without an endless line of high rise hotels there'd be a risk of being in the sun on the beach! Next I suppose you want there to be more than 1 arcade on the street that tries to fill the role of a proper boardwalk but has entirely too many pancake restaurants!

 

Thanks for posting this report- I made it to Blackpool in 2010 but don't remember seeing a lot of this- I think the only dark ride I got on was Alice (and I stupidly missed Valhalla- I was already soaked to the bone from the weather, so it wouldn't have made a difference)...

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Nice Blackpool report Chuck. Blackpool is definitely home to the British classic rides. Steeplechase is excellent as you said, and the Revolution is really really good now they sandblasted and repainted it the other year.

 

Yep, The Gold Mine really needed a makeover and Wallace and Gromit is a much better ride. I heard that the ride was overhauled over two years. First year they ripped the ride system out, cleaned it up did maintenance and re fitted and the next year they gave all the themeing a revamp so Blackpool did really well there.

 

River Caves is one of my favourite attractions at Blackpool, it's sooo tacky and funny. I really miss Noah's Ark, was great to wander around it but at least it's still sitting there above the park entrance.

 

Beaver Creek turning into Nick Land has now totally refreshed the area and it's a much more pleasant and up to date area to be in. It's basically an outdoors Nick Universe! I only got to ride Magic Mountain once and from that ride i'm glad it went!

 

Might try to get to Blackpool again but later in the year.

 

Can't wait to see what's up next?

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^I'd forgotten that the kids area was named "Beaver Creek," which I'm sure led to many a bad joke on the 2006 trip.

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