This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
The “three Nicks” (left to right): Nick Farmer, Nick Park and Nick Thompsn

Blackpool’s riveting new dark ride! W

The world’s first amusement ride dedicated to

“claymation” heroes Wallace & Gromit has opened at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, England. Owen Ralph reports

allace & Gromit’s Thrill-O-Matic represents a £5.25 million ($8.2m/€6.2m) renovation of the British park’s former Goldmine attraction, introducing over 20 scenes inspired by various Wallace & Gromit films. Added details and gags include a holiday brochure to the moon and special effects that bring Wallace’s “cracking” contraptions to life. The complete journey lasts two minutes and 45 seconds, including several sections in which the ride vehicles change speed. Originally developed as clay models by local animator Nick Park, “Wallace & Gromit have a special place in many people’s hearts,” notes the park's managing director Amanda Thompson OBE. “We thought it would be an ideal fit to have their first ride here at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.” “I grew up down the road in Preston,” explains

Left to right: Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, Pleasure Beach deputy managing director Nick Thompson, managing director Amanda Thompson OBE and Aardman Animations’ Merlin Crossingham


Park, “so Blackpool feels like a natural home for Wallace & Gromit. It has been a great experience working with the Thompson family to create this family ride that sits right in the heart of the park.” Working closely with the creative team at Aardman Animations, Thrill-O-Matic was produced by an all- British team of suppliers headed by Nick Farmer of Farmer Attraction Development. Scenic work was competed by KD Theming Technologies and Paragon Creative, with WGH Transportation Engineering taking care of the ride system. Only the 275m-long (900ft) track and the basic shell of the building remain from its days as the Goldmine. All indoor and outdoor scenery, including some 2m-high Wallace & Gromit heads on the facade, the control system and the comical slipper-themed ride vehicles are new. Thrill-O-Matic is the latest of a rich selection of

dark rides offered to Pleasure Beach guests. There’s also the ambitious Valhalla dark boat ride, a large two-tier Ghost Train, the River Caves complete with its Tunnel of Love, and Alice’s Wonderland, based on the original Disney blueprint. Dora’s World Voyage in the park’s Nickelodeon Land kids area is an open-air Small World-style boat ride that replaces the Pleasure Beach’s former Magic Mountain dark ride. Until recently, visitors could also enjoy the Space Invader coaster-in-the-dark. The Goldmine, alas, was showing its age (if you’re feeling nostalgic, head to “We’d been wondering what to do with it for about six years,” confesses park deputy managing director Nick Thompson – one of the “three Nicks” that worked on Thrill-O-Matic. “As were developing Nickelodeon Land [opened in 2011] we started looking at what other brands were out there that we could bring into the Pleasure Beach. Wallace & Gromit is very different to the various Nickelodeon brands, but it chimes perfectly with everyone on the park. As soon as we announced it to our team, I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t ‘get’ it.”

Intimate Attraction “When we started conversations with the Pleasure Beach a few years back, it just seemed to work for all the reasons a number of earlier attraction opportunities hadn’t,” notes Merlin Crossingham, creative director for Wallace & Gromit at Aardman. “We liked the nature of the park, the type of ride they envisaged; there was enthusiasm from both parties. There’s a sort of intimacy with Wallace & Gromit that I hope comes through on the ride, and wouldn’t, say, on a white-knuckle rollercoaster.”

MAY 2013

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44