Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach With a Young Child

There is no denying that Blackpool Pleasure Beach is renowned for it's huge range of experiences for thrill-seekers. As the UK's most ride intensive theme park, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is home to legendary rides such as The Big One and Valhalla and absolute classics such as The Grand National and the Big Dipper. It truly is my all time favourite theme park in the UK and now we have a family of our own, i'm pleased to say that a day out at the Pleasure Beach is just as exciting for young children too!

If you are currently planning a trip to the Pleasure Beach and you're wondering if there will be enough to do for little ones then today I hope that I can put your mind at rest because there is literally SO MUCH.... honestly, I don't know where to start! From opportunities to meet favourite characters to riding a roller-coaster for the first time; a day out at the Pleasure Beach is something that truly the whole family can enjoy.

Today I wanted to share five reasons that Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a perfect day out for a toddler or preschooler! Here we go....

Rides galore!

We have visited the Pleasure Beach with kiddo numerous times now and we have always been consistently impressed with the amount of rides and attractions that we can access as a family, even when Miss E was a baby. Children under the age of two visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach can get a free Pleasure Beach Pass for park entry and this includes unlimited access to the Pleasure Beach Express (a lovely little steam locomotive ride that transports you around the park on a 21 inch gauge track), the Chinese Puzzle Maze, Bradley & Bella's Learning Garden and the spectacular Dancing Water Show. Although the Pleasure Beach Pass does not gain you access to any rides, you still have access to character meets, park entertainment and all facilities. Not bad for free! Using one of these passes will get small children used to the sights and sounds of a theme park too!

Once your child reaches the age of two, they can get their own ride wristband and this is where the real fun begins! There are a whopping 17 rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach that have no height restrictions and are accessible to young children as long as they meet a few criteria (IE, they can walk unaided). There are also plenty of rides that children can ride with an adult, as long as they meet the height requirements! Every time we visit we find that there are even more rides we can go on together as a family. Kiddo loves pushing herself to try out new things and here is where she rode her first roller coaster.... the Blue Flyer. This fun little coaster is now one of her favourites!

Nickelodeon Land is one of our favourite areas in the park. Home to 12 amazing themed rides, you'll have so much fun exploring and meeting your child's favourite Nickelodeon characters! Dora's World Voyage is a firm favourite with Miss E. It's a peaceful boat ride which reminds me of Disney's It's a Small World complete with Dora the Explorer who visits various countries across the world teaching you how to say "hello" in different languages along the way! I think she would happily ride it all day if we let her!

Nickelodeon Land is packed full of rides in a relatively small area that all offer a different experience so it won't be hard to find something here that your child really loves! From the Rugrats Lost River which is a perfect first log flume to the faster-than-it-looks Backyardigan's Pirate Treasure, you'll find yourself riding some of these over and over as they are so good. I promise!

Outside of Nickelodeon Land you'll find a huge mix rides suitable for young children dotted across the park. Our absolute favourite is the Alice Ride which remains mostly unchanged since my own childhood. It's a bonkers fluorescent dark ride adventure through Wonderland complete with a gorgeous sickly-sweet scent, moving animals and smiling flowers that you get to view whilst riding in an oversized Cheshire cat. It's brilliant!

Other favourites include River Caves, a classic boat ride which takes you through the tunnel of love on a journey through time, the traditional Thompson Carousel, the faster paced Derby Racer and, of course, Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic. If you visited the park before 2013 then you'll remember this ride fondly as the Gold Mine. It was one of my favourites as a child, for sure! I love that this ride has been completely revamped for the modern visitor yet still retains the charm of the original ride. This is something I really love about the Pleasure Beach, they cling on to that nostalgia and magic like no other park in the UK. Their mix of new and old across the park gives me hints of my own childhood yet there's always something new to try each time we visit. Honestly, it's magic like no other!

Small queues and a compact park

If you are planning on visiting Blackpool Pleasure Beach with a child under 5 and can take advantage of visiting on a weekday or in a quieter period then do it! We find that if you do this then you will most likely be able to walk straight onto any ride, meaning you can cover the whole park with time to spare. September weekdays are brilliant as older children have all gone back to school, we did this in previous years and did the whole park a few times over before lunch. Super if you need to schedule your day around nap times.

Saying this though, if you need to visit in the holidays then I still think you will be pleasantly surprised by queue times. We recently visited on one of the hottest and busiest days in August and we didn't have to wait more than 20 minutes for anything, even the bigger rides!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is one of those theme parks that is packed into a relatively small space. It's super for small children who have legs that tire easily as all of the rides are close to each other. We like making use of the Pleasure Beach Express for down time when kiddo gets tired, it also has a couple of stops meaning you can use it to get from one part of the park to another. Super!

Meeting Characters

Miss E loves meeting her favourite characters and Blackpool Pleasure Beach certainly has plenty to choose from, especially in Nickelodeon Land. From Paw Patrol favourites to Spongebob Squarepants, there's always someone out ready to meet and greet visitors! There are plenty of photo opportunities dotted across the park too so don't miss out on them!

Shows and entertainment

As well as boasting more rides than you can shake a stick at, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is also home to a whole range of incredible entertainment suitable for the whole family! Depending on what time of year you visit, there'll always be something on!

This August we took Miss E to Hot Ice for the first time and my goodness, she loved it more than I could have ever hoped for! This show runs twice daily through the summer months and is well worth seeing. Also worth knowing is you can buy tickets for this separately, you don't need a ride wristband as the arena can be accessed from the side of the park.

Miss E is 3 years old and for her the highlights were the beautiful costumes, the music, the interaction with the performers (she got plenty of high fives, kisses blown and waves from the skaters!), getting to meet one of the beautiful performers, getting to stay up late (the evening show starts at 7pm) and having sweet treats in the interval. Hot Ice was one of our favourite experiences of our most recent trip and we will definitely make sure this something we do every year from now on, just as I did when I was little!


Finally, let's talk about accommodation. Blackpool Pleasure Beach has it's own hotel, the 4 star Big Blue Hotel and honestly it is my favourite hotel for so many reasons but mostly because it is perfectly family friendly. We wouldn't stay anywhere else for our Blackpool visits, we love all the little touches that make all the difference to a family holiday. From bunk beds and children's entertainment areas in bedrooms complete with games, tv's and Playstation consoles to perfectly designed creative children's menu's, no detail has been left out.

Everything is spotless, the food is incredible, the views from the bedrooms are unbeatable (make sure you request a Pleasure Beach view if you want to see the rides whizzing past your window!).... ah, we love it there!

What's more, guests of the Big Blue Hotel are able to access the Pleasure Beach through a VIP entrance at the side of the hotel. You can also pick up your ride wristbands and show tickets at the hotel reception meaning no queues in the morning. Pretty much straight out of the hotel and onto the rides! Perfect if you are visiting with small children!

Have you visited Blackpool Pleasure Beach before with a young child? Let me know what their favourite rides or experiences are in the comments below! 

If you'd like to find out more about Blackpool Pleasure Beach then pop over to the Visit Blackpool website for more information and plenty more ideas for things to do in Blackpool! Also, if you're visiting more than one attraction in Blackpool then it might we worth looking at the Blackpool Resort Pass which will gain you entry into all the top attractions for one great price! We have used these before and I highly recommend them if you're staying for a few days!

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