This Page is an Archive of all news items featured on the Joyland Books News Page between 1 January 2001 and 31 July 2001.
For the latest news, click here.

Lightwater Valley Arrest [26/6/01]

Following the roller coaster crash last week that resulted in the death of a student, police have revealed that a worker at the Lightwater Valley Theme Park has been arrested in connection with the incident. The man arrested is reportedly a maintenance worker at the park and has been released on police bail. More news here as it breaks.

Visitors Trapped on Corkscrew [24/6/01]

Twenty-eight thrill-seekers had to be rescued from Alton Towers' famous Corkscrew roller coaster today after the ride failed to complete a full circuit. This is the second time the ride has failed, although the public were not involved in the first failure in 1997 when four members of staff were trapped on the ride during tests.The train stopped at a low point of the ride, trapping visitors approximately 10 to 12 feet from the ground. A spokesperson from the park has confirmed that no-one was injured, and all passengers were brought down by ladders within 90 minutes of the ride braking down. The visitors were all given passes to queue jump other rides or to visit the park on an alternative day. The Corkscrew was installed in 1980 and was once the park's signature ride. It was refurbished recently to fit into the dinosaur-themed Ug Land. corkscrew1.jpg (12642 bytes)

Above: The Corkscrew, now part of 'Ug Land'

Planning Permission Refused for New Carousel at Bridlington [24/6/01]

Planning permission has been refused by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council for a new carousel at Carousel Fun Park, Bridlington. The park's operators, Carousel Park Leisure Ltd, had applied for a new carousel ride to replace the vintage gallopers that were sold at the end of the last season. The refusal now means that the park is without its centrepiece attraction. New rides for 2001 include a junior Roller Coaster and a Meteorite.

Right: Gallopers at Carousel Fun Park, pictured before their removal in 2000.

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Tragedy at Lightwater Valley [21/6/01]

A woman has died and three others have been injured in a roller coaster crash at Lightwater Valley Theme Park near Ripon in North Yorkshire. The accident happened on the Treetop Twister, a spinning wild mouse roller coaster, which only opened at Spring Bank Holiday. The accident happened when two cars shunted into each other, injuring four people (two in each car). The most seriously injured, a 20-year-old student, was airlifted to Leeds Infirmary, but later died. Two of the other injured passengers were discharged and a third was detained overnight. The park was closed today to allow the Health and Safety Executive to carry out its inspections unhindered. This is the third accident to occur at Lightwater Valley. The first was in 1991, shortly after The Ultimate, the world's longest roller coaster, opened. On this occasion, two trains collided. The second accident was in 1994, when an axle snapped on The Ultimate, injuring several riders. The park was fined 25,000. This week's accident is the first to result in a fatality. It is not known when the ride will reopen.

Pleasure Beach Cleared in Court Case [16/6/01]

A county court has cleared Blackpool Pleasure Beach of any liability in a court battle against a woman who claimed she had been injured whilst riding the Pepsi Max Big One roller coaster. Ruth Fawcett had made a claim for up to 100,000 from the park after breaking her two front teeth on the ride. She claimed she was thrown forward and hit her teeth on an un-padded metal bar, and said that if the ride had been fitted with over-the-shoulder restraints the accident would have been prevented. District Judge, Ralph Jones, has dismissed her claim and awarded costs to the Pleasure Beach, ruling that the Pleasure Beach had carried out its duty to ensure riders of the Big One are safe. It was also revealed in the hearing that Miss Fawcett had not held the grab rail with both hands as instructed. bpb3.jpg (6270 bytes)

Above: The Big One, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

In a separate incident this week, police and ambulance crews were called to the Pleasure Beach after reports that a man had climbed to the top of a ride. On arriving at the scene, the emergency services found a man standing at the top of the Big One threatening to jump off. The police eventually persuaded the man to come down.

New Ride for Cleveleys Amusement Park [16/6/01]

Children's Corner Amusement Park at Cleveleys, Lancashire, has unveiled its new ride for 2001: a 15-ft high Jumping Star ride. This is the first white knuckle ride to be introduced at the seafront funfair, which has been operated by the Mason family since 1962. The Italian-manufactured ride is suitable for children up to 11, but has seats specially designed for accompanying parents.

Metroland Rollercoaster Drama [16/6/01]

More than 20 people were stranded 30 feet above the ground when Metroland's main attraction, The New Rollercoaster, broke down. The ride stopped at one of its highest points, leaving children stranded at angles of up to 45 degrees. Fire-fighters from the Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade attended the scene, and within an hour all passengers were rescued. The ride was closed for an investigation by health and safety officers, but was reopened within 24 hours of the incident. metroland1.jpg (9698 bytes)

Protesters Target Flamingo Land [16/6/01]

Animal rights protesters from the North Yorkshire Animal Preservation Society (NYAPS) have targeted leading theme park Flamingo Land, protesting against what they describe as the "abject misery" caused to animals displayed in the park's zoo. Protesters have been handing leaflets out to park visitors at the site entrance. Flamingo Land has responded by handing out a leaflet showing press cuttings commending the zoo. The NYAPS believes that Flamingo Land should close its zoo and concentrate solely on the theme park attractions. In a statement, Flamingo Land has admitted that the theme park is the most profitable part of the operation, but pointed to the glowing report received from zoo inspectors when the park recently renewed its licensee.

Right: Magnum Force at Flamingo Land Theme Park

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Second New Coaster Announced for Thorpe Park [4/6/01]

Only a matter of months after Thorpe Park announced its forthcoming 10-inversion, Intamin-built, coaster 'Atlantis', comes news of another major coaster heading to the revitalised Surrey theme park. With building works barely underway on Atlantis, which is set for a 2002 opening, Tussauds has already announced that another new coaster will open at the Park in the following year, 2003. This ride will be designed by B&M, builders of  Alton Towers' Nemesis and Oblivion rides. It is likely to be a multi-inversion ride and may feature a launched start, the first of its kind in the UK. The coaster will be built on an island in the Thorpe Park lake, and is expected to reach heights of up to 90 feet. The site is currently disused and was formerly the home of the Treasure Island adventure playground. More news as it breaks.

Brighton Pier Owners Attack Rival Attraction [1/6/01]

The Noble Organisation, owners of Brighton Pier, Britain's largest pier amusement park, is threatening to launch an appeal against the West Pier's right to the Heritage Lottery Fund's granting of 15 million funding. The Grade 1 Listed West Pier, which has been closed since the 1970s, has managed to secure funding for its refurbishment, but Noble claims that lottery funding should not be used to subsidise a commercial organisation which would be a direct tompetitor to Brighton Pier. Brighton Pier, Britain's most-visited pier featuring rides such as roller costers and a log flume, is Grade II* listed and has not received any grant funding. Lawyers have now been instructed by the Noble Organisation.

Fantasy Island to Follow in Blackpool's Footsteps [29/5/01]

Blue Anchor Leisure, the owner of Ingoldmells' Fantasy Island amusement park, are to follow in the steps of Blackpool with the opening of a new casino. Whilst the north west resort is putting its future hopes on the construction of several multi-million pound Las Vegas-style resort casino attractions, the millionaire owner of Fantasy Island, John Woodward, plans a smaller version for his new acquisition, Malkinson's Caravan Park. The 10-acre park, which is opposite Fantasy Island, will be upgraded by converting an existing bingo hall on the site into a supermarket, casino and night-club. The development is expected to create more than 50 jobs.

Theme Parks a Big Hit in 2001 [29/5/01]

Whilst many rural businesses are suffering, many of Britain's theme parks are reporting that levels of business for the first part of 2001 are up on the same time last year. Both Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Fantasy Island, the leading amusement parks of the west and east coasts respectively, have announced that figures are up over the same period last year. And Camelot Theme Park, near Chorley, has reported that its big new attraction for 2001, Excaliber 2, has been a major hit with visitors. Camelot's owners, Prime Resorts Limited, have also added three other new attractions for 2001 as part of a continued investment in the attraction it purchased in 1998. Cats of the Round Table is an animatronic fantasy attraction, Jousting Knights is an all-new dodgems, and The Gauntlet is a looping roller coaster moved to Camelot from Margate's Dreamland Fun Park.

Pleasure Beach Fails in Plans to Control Blackpool Sandcastle [19/5/01]

After much-publicised attempts to take over Blackpool's ailing Sandcastle indoor water complex, Joyland Books can confirm that the plans have failed to come to fruition. Instead, The Grosvenor Casino, currently located on Station Road, will move into the Sandcastle as part of a 3.5 million investment. The new Casino, which will be owned by the Rank Group, is due to open in August, and will take up the space vacated by the former World of Coronation Street.

Camelot Theme Park to Expand [19/5/01]

Camelot Theme Park at Chorley in Lancashire is to become a major resort destination with the announcement that planning permission has been granted for a 75-unit holiday village on a site adjoining the theme park. The village, which will follow the succesful timeshare format, will be located on land next to the existing Park Hall Hotel and the existing Spanish Village holiday village. This Green Belt development is expected to bring much-needed jobs to the vicinity of the park, and will increase visitor numbers to the theme park. This is a major boost for Prime Resorts Ltd, the park's owners, after planning permission was refused last year for a major new inverted roller coaster.

Water Rides Featured on eDreams [14/5/01]

The UK Theme Park Travel Guide, eDreams, has a whole host of new features. Heading the line-up is the 'Top 10 Dreamiest Water Rides': log flumes, white water rapids, even tidal waves are featured in this list of best water rides in the UK. The new 'Dream Day' is a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. And following the success of the 'Photo Album of Roller Coasters', eDreams now presents the sequel. 'Photo Album of Roller Coasters (2)' features a selection of major thrillers supported by smaller family coasters, many of which are surprisingly little-known. All the other usual eDreams features are present and correct, including an updated 'Travel Ideas and Links' page. Click here to go straight to the eDreams UK Theme Parks Pages. album2-14.jpg (72155 bytes)

The Hornet at Flambards Theme Park. Just one of the rides featured in the Photo Album of Roller Coasters (2) on eDreams

Clarence Pier Puts All Its Children's Rides Up For Sale [12/5/01]

Clarence Pier Fun Park, Southsea, is currently advertising all its children's rides for sale. The rides are the Zamperla Jumping Star, Zamperla Magic Ring, Mannings Toon Town, Falgas Jungle Train and Minari Mini Octopus Polyp. The park plans to operate these rides throughout 2001 and remove them at the end of the season. Also for sale are the park's Miami Trip, and its dark ride, Jurassic 3000, a dinosaur themed attraction installed in 1995. The park is still awaiting the arrival of its big new attraction for 2001, The Tower, Europe's tallest Spring Tower ride.

Spanish City Demolished [10/5/01]

One of Britain's most famous amusements parks is no more. Bulldozers moved in to the legendary Spanish City amusement park today to start removing the buildings. This is all part of a planned multi-million pound redevelopment of the site, which is likely to see the fun park replaced with housing and two schools, and the entire site severed by a new road. A few rides had been operating at the park over the Bank Holiday weekend, but all rides were closed for the last time on Tuesday. The first building to be demolished today was the Willow Cafe in Park Terrace, but the bulldozers will make their way around the entire site over the coming weeks. Only the Dome building will remain. spanish3.jpg (34858 bytes)

Spanish City Dome to remain

Spanish City opened in 1909, and through the years has seen several popular attractions, including the River Caves, Figure Eight roller coaster, Water Chute and, more recently, the Corkscrew roller coaster (now at Flamingo Land). The name Spanish City is now owned by former Spanish City operator Keith Turner. He intends to keep the name alive with a series of travelling fairs held on an adjacent site, the first of which was over the Easter period.

Seaburn Fun Park Reopens [10/5/01]

Just a few miles down the coast from Spanish City is another park which also closed its doors last year: Seaburn Fun Park. Although the permanent amusement park has closed its gates for the last time, rides are to reappear on the site of the Seaburn Fun Park briefly as Sunderland City Council has granted a license to Colin Noble to present amusements on the park on three occasions in 2001. The fair has been permitted to operate over Easter, Whitsuntide and August Bank Holidays, and initial reports on the Easter fair in trade paper World's Fair are that it has been a modest success.

M&D's Theme Park Takes Delivery of New Ride [6/5/01]

M&D's, Scotland's Theme Park, has taken delivery of a new ride, the first of its kind in the UK. The Strathclyde park has become the first in the UK to buy Fabbri's new Turbo Prop ride, which they have named the Bomber. The ride hoists riders 40 metres into the air at speeds of up to 60mph in a propeller-like motion, similar to the old dive-bomber fairground ride, with riders seated in a contraption similar to tower rides. The ride has now opened at the theme park, although it is often away from the park at travelling engagements. Initial reaction to the ride is reportedly very positive.

Hastings Pier Reopens [6/5/01]

Hastings Pier reopened to the public yesterday, branded as "a Covent Garden by the sea". The Pier, which has featured a variety of fairground rides over the years, was acquired in August 2000 by Hampshire-based company Something Different. The acquisition followed the Pier's closure in October 1999 after structural damage had made it unsafe. The Pier's official opening is in August this year, but visitors to the South Coast landmark can see the restoration work in progress, and can enjoy a limited range of attractions. There are not believed to be any plans to reintroduce rides to the Pier at the present time, but Joyland Books will make an announcement should the situation change.

New Fairground Books Available Now! [5/5/01]

Joyland Books has added two new books on British fairground history to the Bookshop. A Fair Fight is an illustrated review of boxing on British fairgrounds in the first half of the 20th Century. Hull Fair - Fun for All is a pictorial history of what has become Europe's largest fun fair in the 20th century. The book features many highlights from the fair's 700 year history. Both books are written by leading fairground historian Dr Vanessa Toulmin. Relive the golden age of the fairground now with the help of Joyland Books.

Roller Coaster Fire in Germany [1/5/01]

A fire at the Phantasialand amusement park in Germany has partially destroyed the Grand Canyon roller coaster and damaged the Bobbahn coaster. The fire started at approximately 1.45pm (1145 GMT) and took over an hour to bring under control, damaging a number of buildings in the park. According to international news reports, 36 people have been injured, but these are not believed to be serious. There are no reports of deaths.

Golden Oldies Exhibition Now Open [1/5/01]

The long-awaited Golden Oldies Exhibition is now open at the Joyland Books Virtual Exhibition Hall. This photographic exhibition pays tribute to those vintage rides at British amusement parks which are still drawing the crowds. With contributions from several leading amusement park photographers, the exhibition will run until 30 June 2001. Click here to go straight to the Exhibition.

Frontierland Flume For Sale [22/4/01]

Frontierland's Log Flume, which was expected to be part of the line-up at the new Frontierland park, is up for sale. The Arrow/Huss ride, which was one of the most popular attractions at the former Western Theme Park is advertised on the ITAL Used Rides website.

Hemmings Heads Up Times Rich List [22/4/01]

Trevor Hemmings, the millionaire owner of Blackpool Tower and Piers, is the wealthiest amusement park owner in Britain. The 65-year-old owner of Leisure Parcs has a personal fortune of 600 million and ranks at No 44 in the Times Rich List 2001. The list of attractions owned by Hemmings also includes Blackpool's Winter Gardens, Pontins and a stake in the American Adventure Theme Park. As reported elsewhere on Joyland Books, Hemmings plans to turn Blackpool into Vegas-by-the-sea, with the development of up to six casinos. Elsewhere on the Rich List, amusement park owners are few and far between, with only one other operator present. At number 562 in the list is John Woodward, the owner of Fantasy Island, Lincolnshire. His fortune is estimated at 60 million. Blackpool Pleasure Beach owners, the Thompson family, who have featured in the Rich List for a number of years have now dropped out of the 2001 list.

New Ride Coming Soon to Clarence Pier [21/4/01]

Clarence Pier's latest ride for 2001 is due to arrive in four to six week's time. The Spring Tower, which will shoot riders high in the air and then drop them back down to earth, is set to become a new feature on the Southsea skyline, and is being delivered direct from the manufacturers in Italy. The ride replaces one of Southsea's most famous attractions, the Big Wheel, which was removed over the winter period. Also new for 2001 at Clarence Pier is a KT Enterprises-manufactured Twister, which is on hire from Yorkshire showman Albert John Evans until the park closes in mid-September. The park's old Eli Bridge Twist, which last operated at the park in 2000, was sold to the Scarrott family, a fairground operator in Wales. (With thanks to Martin Cooper)

New Rides at Welsh Amusement Parks [19/4/01]

A new Twist has been added to the attractions at Porthcawl's Coney Beach Amusement Park. The new ride (ex Manning's) is up and running now, and replaces the park's previous 'grasscutter' Twist, which is believed to have been scrapped. The Skymaster ride has been removed from the park. Further east, Barry Island Pleasure Park has opened a Farfabbri Evolution ride. The ex-Shaw Ramba Zamba is currently at the rear of the park packed up. This ride suffered numerous breakdowns last season, and wether it will run again at the park is not known. (With thanks to Keith Hamilton)

The History of Needles Pleasure Park Available Now [18/4/01]

The story of one of the UK's most famous tourist attractions, Alum Bay and the Needles, is available now. Written by John C. Medland, the book tells the full story of this national landmark from its beginnings as a fashionable Victorian resort, its decline through most of the twentieth century, to its rebirth as a modern amusement park in the 1970s. This Isle of Wight attraction hasn't only been used for tourism purposes: in the 1950s it was used for rocket testing, and before that it was the site of the world's first radio broadcast by Marconi, which was from the Needles. Also included in this fascinating book is the background to the park's most famous attraction: the Chairlift over the cliffs! Click here for more information.

Spanish City Returns [16/4/01]

Spanish City Amusement Park, which closed its doors for the last time in 2000, has made a triumphant return over the past few days as a travelling fair. Located on the Links, in front of the famous Spanish City Dome, the fair was organised by former Spanish City boss, Keith Turner. Among the attractions featured on the Links this year are the Inverter, the Tornado, and the Jungle Jim mini-roller coaster. Turner left the 60-year-old amusement park last year after its owner, South Tyneside Council, sold it for 3 million for development. Turner hopes that the funfair can now become a twice yearly event.

Morrison's Supermarket Being Built at Dreamland [16/4/01]

Part of Margate's famous Dreamland amusement park is currently being redeveloped as a Morrison's Supermarket, although the remainder of the site will remain open. The site's owner, Dreamland Leisure, sold the land for redevelopment as the park was considered to be oversized for its current level of business. However, several new rides have opened at the park, including a Frisbee and the former Tower of Terror roller coaster from Camelot, now renamed Looping Star. This is only the latest in several Morrison's developments at seaside amusement parks. Morrison's are also currently developing a shopping centre on the site of Frontierland, Morecambe.

Conservationists Object to Scarborough Amusement Park Expansion [16/4/01]

Conservationists are trying to block plans for the expansion of a Scarborough Amusement Park. With the demise of Marvel's Amusement Park, at North Bay, the town's only remaining park is Luna Park at the Harbour in South Bay. The funfair owner, George Tuby, put forward plans last year for the demolition of the existing buildings and the extension of the park into the sea. The cost of the works would be 2 million. However, Government conservation body English Heritage has expressed concerns over the proposals due to its potential effect on the listed harbour piers, although the site's owner, Scarborough Borough Council, supports the proposal. The proposal is also included in the Council's Harbour Development Plan. The Council has already considered the complete removal of the amusement park, but the idea was rejected.
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Mr Tuby's plans for the site include the replacement of the existing buildings with new rides and amusement arcades. The work would be undertaken in two phases, Phase 1 being the demolition of the existing buildings and the filling in of the Harbour. Luna Park would then be fully paved, with new boundary walling and lighting (the park is currently on a small pier). Phase 2 would see the construction of new buildings on site to house the Dodgems and amusement arcade. No planning application has yet been submitted.

EastEnders Returns to Brighton Pier [16/4/01]

Popular BBC soap EastEnders is returning to the amusement park on Brighton Pier. The soap is no stranger to amusement parks, having visited the Pier last year and also recently visited Southend's Adventure Island and Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The scenes, at what is one of Britain's most popular parks, will feature heartthrob Jamie Mitchell (Jack Ryder) and Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan).

The photograph on the right shows part of the Pier's Amusement Park, which includes roller coasters, a Log Flume, and numerous other fairground attractions.

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Joyland Books Launches New Amusement Park Message Board [12/4/01]

As part of the current programme of site expansion, Joyland Books is happy to announce that after many requests for a message board, we have finally launched one! This is a message board to discuss anything and everything about amusement parks, theme parks, roller coasters and fairgrounds. Joyland Books spokesperson Nicola Laister says that this Message Board should stand out from the crowd: "The Internet is full of roller coaster message boards, theme park message boards and fairground message boards. The difference with the Joyland Message Board is that we want to try and cover all these subjects equally, but at the end of the day we will leave that to our guests to decide. We welcome posts of news items, rumours and opinions; you can even use it to post updates to your own websites. Unlike many other boards, which use remote hosts, the Joyland Board is hosted by Joyland Books, and at the moment, we don't even require you to sign up for a password." To visit the Internet's newest amusement park, theme park and fairground community, click here.

New Blackpool Casino/Theme Park Proposals Move a Step Closer to Reality [10/4/01]

Plans to turn Blackpool into the Las Vegas of Europe have moved a step closer. The results of a consultation in the town have revealed that 71 per cent of local residents support the proposals. The multi-million pound plan, which is estimated to draw 30 million visitors a year to the resort, were put forward last year by Blackpool Tower owners Leisure Parcs (see News Archive). The first phase of the proposal would be a huge Casino, followed by further hotel/casinos, one of which is proposed to include a large roller coaster and other theme park attractions. But before the vision can become reality, a change in the current gaming legislation is required, allowing the introduction of resort casino hotels into the UK. The proposal is seen as the most likely lifeline for the resort, which has seen visitor numbers decline by a quarter over the past ten years.

Joyland Books Moves [7/4/01]

Joyland Books has a new home on the World Wide Web. As part of our ongoing expansion programme, the Internet's biggest source of amusement park, theme park and fairground books, has been formally renamed JoylandBooks.com. This is just the first of a number of changes planned for the coming weeks and months. Soon to be introduced is a secure shopping cart system, allowing you to order books completely on-line. Other features will include an increased range of amusement park books and, following many requests, we will launch an amusement park message board. Despite all these changes, Joyland Books will continue to provide you with a fast and friendly service, and all our other popular features, such as the News Page, Directory and Virtual Exhibition Hall are here to stay. Our telephone number and postal address are also unchanged. Click here for details of how to contact us. Update your bookmarks now: Joyland Books can be found at www.joylandbooks.com.

Wild New Attractions Unveiled at Pettitts [6/4/01]

Pettitts Adventure Park, Norfolk, has unveiled its new themed rides and attractions created by the APW Group. This Norfolk animal and rides attraction, aimed at the under-10s, was bought last summer as a going concern by Family Amusements Limited, the owner's of Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth. Part of the Company's expansion program for Pettitts is a completely new, purpose-built, Reptile World attraction, including an exploratory journey through natural themed caves inhabited by real life lizards and snakes, and walk-through display areas explaining fascinating facts about the environment, dinosaurs and evolution. This season will also see the arrival of two new heavily themed fantasy rides, also designed and built by the APW Group, 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Toad of Toad Hall' rides.

APW Group is also responsible for several other new themed attractions for 2001, including the new 3.3 million Sea Life Aquarium at Disneyland Paris and the Edinburgh Dungeon (pictured).

Edinburgh Dungeon

Beside the Seaside Book Available Now [24/3/01]

A superb collection of evocative images of of British seaside resorts, Beside the Seaside is available from Joyland Books now. This lavishly illustrated hardback book features an entire chapter devoted to seaside amusement parks, with photographs of parks such as Southend's Kursaal, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Hunstanton's Rainbow Amusement Park. Click here to find out more about Beside the Seaside.

For those interested in the culture of the British seaside resort, The Coasts of Britain is available from our Secondhand Bookshop. This is a photographic tour of the diverse coastline of Britain.

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Frontierland Polo Tower to Stay [23/3/01]

Morrison's Supermarkets, the owners of the section of the former Frontrierland Western Theme Park in which the famous Polo Tower stands, have announced that the ride is to stay. After much speculation that the ride was to be removed, Morrison's now plan to keep and refurbish the ride, which will become an integral feature of their new retail development on the site. The multi-million pound retail leisure complex has now been given the go-ahead by Lancaster planners, and is now waiting to see if Secretary of State John Prescott will 'call-in' the development for his determination. The development, which is contrary to the town's adopted development plan, will see a factory outlet centre with a landscaped plaza replacing the bulk of the former theme park site.

The small area of Frontierland which remains in the ownership of Blackpool Pleasure Beach will be redeveloped as a family entertainment centre (FEC), similar to the FEC recently developed by the Company at its Southport Pleasureland site. The Log Flume is expected to remain.

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Foot and Mouth Boost for Blackpool [23/3/01]

Joyland Books can reveal that there has been one positive side effect of the damaging spread of foot and mouth disease across the United Kingdom. Blackpool Pleasure Beach has reported a significant increase in visitors compared with the same time last year, and foot and mouth disease is thought to be the reason. Head of public relations for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Sarah Dornford-May, said: "We were expecting to be busy because of our 80p ride weekends, but we have had two very, very good weekends and it has to be said that with the foot and mouth crisis people aren't giving up their days out, but they are being responsible about where they travel to and coming to Blackpool."

Alton Towers Protest Planned [22/3/01]

Staffordshire farmers plan to disrupt the opening of Alton Towers by blocking roads and splattering the visitor's entrance with mud. Many farmers believe that the planned opening of the park on 31 March will put their livelihoods at risk by bringing the infection into the area. Both the Police and National Farmers Union have warned farmers not to put road users' lives in danger by spreading muck onto the road. The Union is currently in talks with the theme park to try and persuade it to delay its opening. Alton Towers has responded by saying it has consulted with MAFF, and has been given the all-clear.

Several theme park openings have now been delayed due to the foot and mouth outbreak. Joyland Books is regularly updating the situation at rural theme parks on our Foot and Mouth Watch page.

Foot and Mouth Watch Launched [19/3/01]

With several theme parks now taking precautions over the spread of foot and mouth disease, Joyland Books will keep theme park visitors updated via the Foot and Mouth Watch page. As we receive information from parks about changes to opening times or the removal of attractions, we will post the information on this page. Joyland Books does, however, advise anyone who is planning a visit to any tourist attraction to check with the park before travelling. Click here for the foot and mouth update.

Drayton Manor Slams Alton Towers Over Animal Slaughter [18/3/01]

Drayton Manor Family Theme Park has slammed Staffordshire neighbour Alton Towers for its decision two weeks ago to cull the animals in its Old MacDonald's Farm. In a press statement, Drayton Manor stated that it was "surprised to learn of the cull of animals at Alton Towers", and that it will delay its planned opening for the 2001 season by one week rather than destroy any of its cloven-hoofed animals. Although there is currently no disease at Drayton Manor, the owners have delayed the opening as a precaution against the further spread of Foot and Mouth desease, which has swept across the United Kingdom. The park was to have opened on 24th March, but will not now reopen until 31st March at the earliest. The situation will be reviewed on Thursday 29th March. Joyland Books will keep visitors informed should the situation change.

Joyland Books Teams Up With TheGalloper.com [17/3/01]

Joyland Books is delighted to announce that it has teamed up with the internet's leading website for old-time fairgrounds in the UK and Europe, TheGalloper.com. TheGalloper.com, which launched in October 2000, features monthly articles on the subject of gallopers, switchbacks, scenic railways, anything fairground related that was/still is powered by steam. It also includes regular articles on other vintage fairground attractions, such as roller coasters. Thegalloper.com is associated with the well-established carousels.com web site, which is based in the USA. TheGalloper joins Joyland Books' other associated web site, eDreams, the UK theme parks travel guide.

To celebrate this new partnership, Joyland Books has been updated with a new look and we have also added a new way to buy amusement park, theme park and fairground books. Now, to help you find the book you are searching for more easily, we have introduced a "Browse by Category" option.

Legoland Windsor in Trouble [8/3/01]

Legoland Theme Park, Windsor, has been partly blamed for huge losses in its parent company, Lego. The Danish toy maker is to sack 500 of its staff and close three factories following a loss of 85m. Lego has stated that the British theme park, built on the site of the famous Windsor Safari Park, has been a major drain of cash, and this poor performance will mean that the company will not now launch its planned fifth theme park for the foreseeable future. Lego will, however, press ahead with the launch of its fourth park at Gunzburg in Germany. Development of this park, which is scheduled to open in 2002, is believed to be too far advanced to put on hold. Despite the current financial losses, the future of Legoland Windsor is believed to be safe for the time being, but Joyland Books will report any further developments. Legoland's Dragon Roller Coaster is featured in the new Photo Album of Roller Coasters which can be found in the UK Theme Parks Pages of eDreams.com, the international travel web site.

Alton Towers Condemned for Animal Slaughter [7/3/01]

Alton Towers has been condemned by animal groups for the slaughter of eighteen animals in its Old MacDonald's Farm attraction. But the Staffordshire theme park has defended its decision as a precaution against the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. A park spokesperson stated that the number of staff entering and leaving the park would pose a threat to the local farming community, and the risk would increase following the park's opening to the general public on 31 March. The RSPCA has criticised the park for taking this drastic step, especially when none of the animals were believed to be infected. Several other groups have now joined the condemnation, including some members of the influential Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, who have pledged to boycott the park. alton1.jpg (20759 bytes)

Folly Farm Buys Part of Millennium Dome [28/2/01]

Folly Farm, Britain's largest permanent vintage fairground attraction, has surprised bidders at the first day of auction of the Millennium Dome's contents by paying the highest price of the day. Glyn Williams, the owner of the farm-to-fairground tourist attraction, paid 15,000 for the Dome's 500-seat mobile theatre. Folly Farm, which draws 210,000 visitors a year, includes a range of fairground attractions including a set of Gallopers, a Ghost Train and a Speedway. Mr Williams said, "I think I've got a bargain".

Redevelopment of Marvel's Amusement Park Delayed [28/2/01]

The redevelopment of Scarborough's biggest amusement park has been delayed. Scarborough Borough Council has dropped developer Grayling Sports and Leisure, which had preferred bidder status for the project. Marvel's Amusement Park is to be replaced by the Zenith Project, which will include a hotel, shops and dry ski slope. The 40-acre amusement park site was earmarked for development in 1995, but the project has only moved forward slowly ever since, and the Council has removed preferred developer status from Grayling due to concerns over its financial backing and delays in submitting a planning application. The Council will now consider offers from other developers. The opening date for Zenith has already been moved back from 2003 to 2004, and this latest blow could delay the project further. Most of Marvel's original rides were sold at the end of the 1999 season, including its Pinfari roller coaster, which was sold to Knowsley Safari Park.

More New Rides Announced for 2001 Season [24/2/01]

Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire is to add two new rides for the 2001 season: the Treetops Twister (spinning wild mouse) and Black Widows Web (an enterprise ride). Also adding a new ride this year is Pleasure Island Family Theme Park at Cleethorpes. This park has announced Alakazam, about which the park states: "Hold on tight as the colossal wheel of steel rockets you into the sky at a G-Force of 2.5, then hurtles you around 360 degrees, sending riders into orbit and giving the sensation of complete weightlesness." Alakazam at Pleasure Island

Alakazam at Pleasure Island

Pleasureland Looks For New Boss [24/2/01]

Pleasureland Amusement Park at Southport is looking for a new General Mager and Director. The park, which is part of the Blackpool Pleasure Beach Group, has a turnover of 5m and employs 350 staff in the peak season. Recent significant investment has included the 6m Traumatizer suspended looping coaster and the 2m Casablanca family entertainment centre. The new Director will take overall charge of the park, including its future development.

Dreamland Rides For Sale [24/2/01]

Dreamland Leisure, the owner of Margate's Dreamland Amusement Park, and Folkestone's Rotunda Amusement Park, has advertised a number of its rides in trade paper the World's Fair. The rides listed include the ARM Skymaster, Huss Tri-Star, Maxwell 10-car Waltzer and Savage 3-abreast Gallopers. Dreamland Leisure is owned by showman Jimmy Godden.

Exhibition of Vintage Rides Announced [24/2/01]

Joyland Books has announced a new exhibition for its popular Virtual Exhibition Hall. Golden Oldies will be a celebration of vintage rides currently operating at amusement parks around the UK. Joyland Books spokesperson Nicola Laister said this is the first exhibition of its kind: "There have been books written about vintage rides, but many of the rides featured have long since disappeared. To qualify to feature in this exhibition, the rides must still be operating in an amusement park, and they must still be pulling in the crowds. I hope that this exhibition shows our visitors just how many excellently preserved vintage machines are still earning a living in this country." The Exhibition will run from 1 May to 30 June 2001. If our visitors have photographs of rides that could qualify for this Exhibition, please contact us, and you will receive a credit in the Exhibition.

New Rides for Adventure Island [17/2/001]

Adventure Island Theme Park at Southend-on-Sea has announced its new rides for the 2001 season. Heading the list of new attractions is Dragon's Claw (an AmTech Spin-Out), described by the park as "a brand new white knuckle thriller". This ride replaces a Southend favourite, the Looping Barracuda. Also arriving for the 2001 season is "an exciting, stomach churning" ride with "a sting in the tail" called The Scorpion (an AmTech Scorpion), and The Vortex (an AmTech Orbiter), a "fly on the wall experience". Adventure Island now has more rides and attractions than any other theme park in the South of England. (With thanks to Graeme Cassidy)

Alton Towers Owner Enters Race for the Dome [16/2/01]

The Tussaud's Group, owner of Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, has reportedly joined forces with the BBC to mount a bid for London's Millennium Dome, following the removal of preferred bidder status from the Legacy Consortium. The plan is to create a theme park-style visitor attraction based on BBC output, with zones based around such BBC legends as EastEnders, Doctor Who and the Teletubbies. Tussaud's Group is not a stranger to the idea of a theme park in that part of London. Long before they purchased Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, Tussaud's put forward a proposal for a theme park in Greenwich, a proposal which never got off the drawing board. Tussaud's also operates the other major Millennium attraction in London: the London Eye.

eDreams UK Theme Park Page Updated [4/2/01]

The UK Theme Parks Web Site, part of the eDreams on-line travel site, has been updated with new articles and features. Heading up the new line-up is a 'Feature Article' looking at some of the best rides and attractions in the UK that you didn't even know existed. This article on hidden gems is aimed at showing theme park visitors that there is more to the UK than just Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Alton Towers. The new site also features the first part of 'Photo Album', a series of photographs of many of the different roller coasters around the UK. 'Dream Days' is the ultimate survival guide to Alton Towers, and '10 Dreamiest Theme Parks' shows you the best that the UK has to offer. To see these features and more, click here. greensceam.jpg (17954 bytes)
The Green Scream roller coaster at Southend's Adventure Island. One of the many rides featured at eDreams.com

Chessington to Focus on Zoo [3/2/01]

Surrey-based theme park Chessington World of Adventures is to focus on its zoo for the 2001 season. The park is promoting new themed animal experiences as its major new attraction and the line-up is headed by the new Trail of the Kings, a jungle-themed experience, where visitors can experience jungle animals up-close, such as gorillas and big cats. New viewing windows have also been installed in the zoo to enhance the experience. This is a major turnaround for the park, which was previously Chessington Zoo, and has become one of Britain's most popular theme parks. Industry insiders believe that the park's owners, Tussauds Group, are now concentrating their investment in nearby Thorpe Park, which has a major roller coaster planned for 2002. Chessington's role is likely to be as a family park, with less of an emphasis on thrill rides. The future of Chessington's signature ride, the Vampire, is also believed to be threatened, but the park has not confirmed this. Other new attractions for 2001 are aimed mainly at the junior market, with Toadie's Crazy Cars and Berry Bouncer rides.

New Fairground For Morecambe [28/1/01]

Lancaster City Council has announced that a new amusement park, to replace Frontierland which closed last year, is to open on Morecambe's sea front. The attraction, which will feature mainly children's rides, will be located on the site of the Bubbles leisure complex, which has also closed. The fairground will, however, only be a temporary attraction. The Council is currently searching for potential new attractions for the site. Local traders fear that with the loss of the illuminations, the pier, Frontierland and Bubbles, that there is nothing left for visitors to do in the town. This year's holiday brochure concentrates mainly on the attractions of nearby Lancaster.

Hastings Pier to Reopen [28/1/01]

Hastings Pier, which over the years has featured a wide range of rides and attractions, is to reopen in May. The Pier had been in difficulty for the last few years, but finally closed down after going into receivership during the 1999 season. The Grade II listed Pier has been purchased by millionaire Ian Stewart, who has announced that major refurbishment work, which has been taking place through the winter, should be finished in time for a spring opening. Not all the attractions have yet been announced, but it has been confirmed that the Pier will include a helicopter landing pad, boat landing stage, night-club, 30 shops and coffee shop. hastings1.jpg (14873 bytes)
Hastings Pier pictured in May 2000, before a new owner had been found

Frontierland Exhibition Extended [28/1/01]

Joyland Books is happy to announce that the Frontierland Remembered Exhibition, which has been running since 1 December 2000, is to be extended for a further month. Since the exhibition's launch, Joyland Books has been inundated with emails commending the exhibition, which traces the history of Morecambe's Western Theme Park, and asking for it to be extended. Whilst the purpose of the Virtual Exhibition Hall is to maintain a constantly changing programme of events, the popularity of the exhibition has been such that it has been decided that a further month would be well received by visitors. A further development since the opening of the exhibition has been the announcement of a book on the history of the amusement park. No firm details of the book are yet available, but as information is announced, it will be covered in full on this News page. To visit the exhibition, click here. To read some of the comments that we have received, or to add your own comments, click here. If you have any ideas for future exhibitions, please email us by clicking here.

Major Parks Announce 2001 Opening Times [28/1/01]

Some of Britain's major parks have announced their 2001 line-up. First of the big parks to open is the huge Blackpool Pleasure Beach complex in Lancashire, which boasts more rides than any other amusement park in the world, plus bars, restaurants, shows and shopping. The park opens its gates on 3 March 2001 for the first of the SuperSaver Weekends, where all ride tickets cost 80p. Britain's biggest theme park, Alton Towers, has announced it will reopen on 31 March 2001, and is celebrating with a new-look Web site. New for this year is Submission, a fairground-style ride which is described on the Web site as "two carriages, balanced on steel arms and seating 24 people each, begin to revolve vertically in opposite directions. At their highest point, they hover briefly, suddenly inverting 360 degrees, only to plunge 15 metres." For information on other parks, visit the Joyland Books Directory, the Web's biggest guide to amusement parks and theme parks in the UK.

Clarence Pier Sells Big Wheel [28/1/01]

Clarence Pier Amusement Park at Southsea has sold its Big Wheel. A feature of the Southsea skyline for over 40 years, the Wheel has been bought by the Manager of the Blackpool Illuminations, Richard Ryan. Speaking to Joyland Books, Mr Ryan said that he has no idea where he is going to put it, but he knew he just had to have it when he saw it advertised in trade paper the World's Fair. He had previously operated the ride as a student at Portsmouth Polytechnic in the 1970s, long before his career took him to the greatest free light show on earth. The Wheel is currently stored at a farm in Derbyshire, but Mr Ryan hopes to find a temporary home for the ride for the 2001 season. Following this season, work will start to repair the ride's most unique feature: the Wheel does not only revolve in the normal way, it also revolves on its base, offering a unique ride experience. Mr Ryan is currently in talks with a number of amusement parks about the 2001 season. Most of the other rides which were advertised for sale at Clarence Pier have now been sold, with the exception of the Paratrooper, which the park is now expected to retain. clarence1.jpg (36062 bytes)

Work Finally Starts on Europe's Biggest Roller Coaster [26/1/01]

After a short delay, partly caused by the discovery of archaeological finds under the site, work has now started on the construction of Odyssey, Europe's biggest roller coaster, at Fantasy Island, Ingoldmells. Built by top European coaster designers Vekoma, the ride will be a suspended looping coaster, similar in concept to the hugely popular TraumaTizer at Southport's Pleasureland, but significantly larger (for the statistics, see our News 2000 Archive). Ground work on the ride is extensive, with over 1000 bore piles sunk to depths of over 30 metres. By the time the park reopens on 3 March 2001 the first phase of construction will be complete. Following the closure of the park at the end of the 2001 season, the ride structure is expected to be constructed over a short period of time. The coaster is scheduled to open at Easter 2002. fantasyislandlogo.gif (16914 bytes)

Morecambe Crisis Deepens [21/1/01]

Following the sad closure of Frontierland Western Theme Park last year, comes the news that one of Morecambe's other leading attractions, the Bubbles water-based leisure complex, is to be demolished. The attraction has been closed for the last few years, whilst the Council tried to find the necessary funds for its continued operation. After much pressure from local businesses, and from Blackpool Pleasure Beach (the owners of Frontierland) to reopen the attraction, the Council has finally been forced to admit defeat. An 11th hour bid to save the ailing complex was mounted by Blackpool-based company Manor House Inns, but the deal fell through. The Council is now moving quickly to demolition so that plans can be drawn up for the redevelopment of the site. With the demolition of Bubbles following so closely behind the bulldozing of Frontierland, which is to be turned into a shopping complex and small fairground, many now fear that the town lacks any major tourism attraction, and this will only worsen the resort's decline.

News has also reached Joyland Books that one of the few attractions still standing at Frontierland, the Haunted Silver Mine ride, has burnt down in a fire that may have been started deliberately. Fire spread quickly around the timber structure, but firefighters managed to bring the fire under control before it spread to the adjacent Morrisons Supermarket, which only suffered minor smoke damage. Joyland Books will continue to bring news on the future of Frontierland as it breaks. Until the end of January, an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia of Frontierland can be seen in the Joyland Books Virtual Exhibition Hall.

Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach Launches Poll [14/1/01}

gyscenic2.jpg (19250 bytes) East Anglia's leading amusement park, Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, has introduced a poll on its web site to find out which are its most popular rides. The launch of the poll coincides with the release of the Pleasure Beach's visitor numbers for the Year 2000. With 1.5 million visitors, the Pleasure Beach holds its position in the Top Ten UK amusement and theme parks in the country, and remains East Anglia's leading tourist attraction. Rides include the 1932-built Roller Coaster, the traditional Gallopers, and the Log Flume. Click here to vote in the Poll.

The photographs (left and right) show the park's biggest attraction, the Scenic Railway.

gyscenic.jpg (19623 bytes)

Year 2000 Theme Park Visitor Numbers Released [4/1/00]

Unconfirmed visitor numbers to the UK's major amusement park and theme park attractions for the year 2000 have been announced. In a year in which bad weather and the fuel crisis undoubtedly damaged attendance figures at leading visitor attractions, Joyland Books can reveal that Blackpool Pleasure Beach has held its position at the top of the pile, with 6.8 million visitors, down slightly from last year. This drop in visitor numbers is despite the park's installation of the much-acclaimed Valhalla dark ride, at a cost of 15m. In second place was the Millennium Dome, which achieved 6.5 million visitors, well below its estimated 12 million. It is believed that Alton Towers this year holds third place, with 2.5 million visitors. As soon as confirmed figures are released, they will be announced on the Joyland Books News page.

Tussauds Boss Gets CBE [4/1/01]

Michael Jolly, Chairman of the Tussauds Group, has been awarded a CBE for services to the leisure and entertainment industry. Jolly has been with Tussauds since 1983, and has been involved with the Group's acquisition of Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, and the development of Chessington World of Adventures.

Armed Robbery at London's Trocadero [4/1/01]

London's Trocadero entertainment park was attacked by armed robbers two days ago. Two security guards were bound and locked in an office while the robbers, who are still on the run, took 1,000 from the huge Funland games and rides complex. The alarm was raised when one of the security guards escaped. The Trocadero is billed as one of Europe's largest indoor theme parks, with high-tech amusmeent games, rides, multi-screen cinema and Planet Hollywood restaurant.

Happy New Year From Joyland Books [4/1/01]

The team at Joyland Books wishes our customers and visitors a very Happy New Year for 2001. The News page was not updated over the Christmas and New Year period as Joyland Books was closed. Check back regularly throughout 2001 for all the latest amusement park, theme park and fairground news. Click here to view our News Archive of the Year 2000.

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