Blackpool Pleasure Beach has confirmed long-standing rumours that it will open a ride based on the popular animated duo Wallace & Gromit.
Dubbed Wallace & Gromit's Thrill-O-Matic, the £5.25 million attraction is due to open at the park in 2013. It will replace the classic Gold Mine ride, which closed in 2011, and its construction will be funded by a government-backed loan from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
The seaside amusement park has promised that a range of well-known characters from Wallace & Gromit's animated adventures will feature in Thrill-O-Matic. Riders are set to traverse the dark ride in around four minutes, witnessing key moments from award-winning classics such as A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. They will then disembark into a new shop that will sell Wallace and Gromit merchandise.
The Gold Mine closed to the public on September 25, 2011, with construction work having been ongoing since. The ride had been in place since 1971, and saw riders board mine car vehicles before travelling through a series of scenes depicting a gold rush era mine. Its track is expected to be reused for Thrill-O-Matic, with the scenes being replaced by ones populated by animatronic Wallace & Gromit characters.
Describing the park's new addition, Blackpool Pleasure Beach's managing director Amanda Thompson said: "We are delighted to be welcoming Wallace & Gromit to Pleasure Beach. Thrill-O-Matic represents a significant investment in the park and we know the characters will be a huge hit with the families who come and visit Pleasure Beach. Wallace and Gromit are national treasures and to have them here re-affirms our commitment to attracting families back to the resort for what we hope will be A Grand Day Out!”
Nick Park, the Oscar-winning animator behind the series, had previously let slip that a ride base on Wallace & Gromit was in the works back in 2010. With the plans now confirmed, he said: "We are really enjoying working with the Pleasure Beach team on this new ride and new format for Wallace & Gromit and can’t wait to get started on building all the props and set pieces.”
The new attraction continues a significant shift from Blackpool Pleasure Beach away from major thrill rides and rollercoasters towards family experiences based on licensed properties. The park opened the £10 million Nickelodeon Land in 2011, as it seeks to draw in younger guests.
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