Blackpool's Pleasure Beach returns with a new name but classic rides

Claire Hannah went to check out the resort as it prepared to reopen.

As one of the North West's top attractions prepares to reopen for the 2024 season the team is hard at work to make sure everything is working and ready.

But what does it take to ensure Blackpool's Pleasure Beach is prepared for opening weekend?

Ahead of it opening on Saturday 2 March, engineers have been testing all of the rides while cleaners wash down the walkways.

It's the final stretch of a busy winter, in which the Pleasure Beach team have performed repairs and maintenance on all of the rides while also adding new attractions.

Staff have been washing down the attractions in preparation for visitors returning to the Pleasure Beach.

Operations Director Andy Hygate said: "For engineering it's actually the busiest time of the year, we do work around the park that we really hope people notice.

"I will actually get to go on some of these rides before Saturday - that's part of my job which is a really cool thing!"

As well as engineers, artists work on site to design props and decorate the rides, while also repainting every sign by hand.

One ride that has got some extra care from the team is The Big One. The UK's tallest rollercoaster has been re-tracked and repainted ahead of a special birthday.

Marketing Director James Cox said: "The Big One, one of our most iconic rides is 30 this year, it’s still wowing people today 30 years on."

The attractions are all re-painted by hand every winter

Weekend visitors will also be the first to witness the controversial rebranding of the iconic attraction.

Despite being known as Blackpool Pleasure Beach for more than 125 years, in a bid to move with the times, it'll be simply called Pleasure Beach Resort.

When the decision was announced in February, fans of the theme park took to social media to express their outrage at the change.

Rides are tested in an eerily empty Pleasure Beach, ahead of the return of visitors on Saturday.

One user posted on X: "I will always be calling the park Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Because really, that's the name it's known as best."

Other users suggested the change was an attempt to distance the Pleasure Beach from Blackpool.

Another user said: "Don’t know why Blackpool has to be removed from the name like lads Blackpool is an excellent town, be proud!!!"

The Pleasure Beach's controversial new logo.

Defending the decision, James Cox said: "We are Pleasure Beach. We have been for 128 years now.

"We love our history, we love our heritage. We love Mr Funshine, we love Blackpool. We just evolve over time, and we just have to continue to evolve."

Despite losing the name, James also said the Pleasure Beach is committed to helping Blackpool grow and improve.

He said: "We’re part of the tourism bid… working with the council to drive it in the right direction.

"We want Blackpool to continue to be driven in the right direction, and we think it has been in the last few years. This is nothing to do with any negativity towards Blackpool."

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