Attraction Review: Icon, Blackpool Pleasure Beach


Yesterday had no business being as good as it was. Honestly one of the best days I've ever had at a theme park - from the red carpet rolled out by Amanda herself inviting us lowly enthusiast peasants to bask in the glory of her new coaster to hob-nobbing and bacon rolling with IAPPA elite as we waited for the presentation to begin, the day was pure class from start to finish. And I of course use the word class in a purely Blackpool sense of the word (which is by no means a bad thing!). I gush, of course, about the fabulous press preview event put on by Blackpool Pleasure Beach to celebrate the launch of their brand new for 2018 Mack multi-launch coaster Icon.


I...don't really know how to write this review, so I'm basically just letting my fingers tap away and see what flows out onto this page. I think I'll start with my experience with other Mack multi-launchers. Not including Icon, I've done five others:

blue fire Megacoaster at Europa Park
Velociraptor at IMG Worlds of Adventure
Helix at Liseberg
Capitol Bullet Train at Motiongate
Star Trek: Operation Enterprise at Movie Park Germany

That's a weird list for me to look at. How can one coaster type be so damn varied? It literally goes from fucking glorious (Helix) to solid fun (Star Trek) to meh (Capitol Bullet Train). So I guess what I'm saying is I had zero idea of what to expect from Icon. To tell you the truth, I haven't paid a ton of attention to it during construction - I overdosed on updates as every single UK enthusiast group covered every inch of it and so my brain switched off a little.



But I was excited to receive that press invite. And once I'd confirmed my attendance my attention perked up again. And the layout is weird - it's got those Taron looking transitions and what could potentially be one mother of an airtime hill and DOUBLE LAUNCH?! On paper it's bloody glorious.

Then came the videos of it testing. Oh...it looks a little slow? That's a shame. But we all know coasters look slow when they test - hell, I remember people saying TARON looked slow during testing, and look how that banshee rides! Nope, I refuse for my optimism to be dampened, there's only one thing for it and that's to ride it and see for myself.



The day was exactly how you'd expect a Blackpool Pleasure Beach press launch to run, we all cheered and clapped as we made our way down the entrance (stylised by Amanda herself based on a lucid dream she had once - I shit you not), past a moving-way-too-sexily-for-a-family-theme-park saxophonist grooving away on his bejazzled instrument and down into the Ikea boudoir that is Icon's station. I was so. Damn. Pumped.

The score is EPIC. I was soooo hyped listening to that thing, I could feel my heart racing and I couldn't stand still as we made our way into the airgates. Back row, of course, as Pleasure Beach Experience had advised. Did the standard shoving myself forward to minimise stapling of the restraint and maximise airtime madness. We wait a bit whilst press faff with GoPros, and then we're rolling out. Ohhhh yeah here we go...

"Icon."

Boom, launch! And...oh, that was confusing because I expected the exhilaration of the thrill of the launch but it didn't come. Hmm. OK, what about this then, airtime hill. I braced myself to be flung Helix style from my seat, but again nothing. Ah. Oh, what about some sexy transitions? Well actually the speed we were going at meant it was more of a frolic around Steeplechase than anything. Oh...

AH, here we go, dive down into the misty tunnel with a fabulous punch of airtime immediately followed by the chug of the second launch. There's the exhilaration I was after. Yes! And then ooh hang-timey inversion - not for me but cool for those who like that kind of thing. And what's this? Sideways airtime hill? I'll have some of that thank you very much! And then...oh, OK, more pootling. And brake run. Damn.



Guys, I was so disappointed with my first ride on Icon. And yet everybody else around me was running around with massive smiles on their faces gagging for round two. What the hell was I missing?

We rode twice more, this time opting for a seat closer to the front and when the thing had had a chance to warm up a little. And it definitely improves as it warms up. The launch had more of a kick, the airtime was more powerful, the transitions racier, the hang time less hang-timey. But I could not for the life of me shake that shadow of gutting disappointment cast by my initial ride. It wiped the enthusiastically optimistic smile clean off my face, and no matter how I tried I could not find joy.



So it's a bit of a non-review for me I'm afraid. For the time being anyway. I'm heading back to the Pleasure Beach for the CoasterForce/Pleasure Beach Experience event in June and I'm saving my final judgements for then. And this time I'll be sure to hit as close to the front as I can, and give it a minute to warm up before jumping on board.

That's not to say the buzz wasn't absolutely palpable. There really is nothing like the collective joy in the air when you treat coaster enthusiasts to a brand new massive coaster in a park we all adore. I'm so excited to see what the public make of Icon: the alien airtime (let's face it - it's non-existent in the UK), the lapbars (again, not something we really do here), the craziness of the layout and everything else in between.

I'm happy Icon exists, and I'm hoping that my visit next month will treat me to a more thrilling ride than that of my first. And my advice to you is to go ride it, there really is nothing else like it in the UK!

Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

9 comments:

  1. theo brigham24/05/2018, 12:59

    I was kind of expecting something like this, mixed reviews everywhere. I was worried after doing Helix (my no.1 aswell) that i'd be very disapointed in comparison and well it looks like that will be the case! Can't wait for Wednesday anyway! :)

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  2. My advice would be leave it to ride later in the day and get as close to the front as possible!

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    1. theo brigham31/05/2018, 13:11

      It was actually pretty awesome, my new number one in the country, 4th overall! First ride was 3rd row after being assigned it, was pretty disappointed but later on we rode back row for the second ride at like 3pm and like wow, it was so much better great airtime throughout! Also did Valhalla, but only the final fireball was on which was a bummer however I did get my final steeplechase credit so it wasn't all a loss!

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  3. Iv been really hyped for icon ad it would be my first ever Mack Mega coaster and my first double lunch coaster Stealth is my bae by the way. But I’m 8-10 hours away and can’t decide if it’s worth going encase my ride isn’t an amazing one. Also Iv got a YouTube channel called Theme Park extreme so I have to feature icon but I needs to be featured in an iconic and insane way. Anyways what’s your thoughts?

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  4. Wow, really really shocked to read this, it is by far my favourite coaster in the UK, try it again with an open mind, maybe at the end of the day when it's warmed up a bit :)

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    1. I tried it the first time with an open mind haha! Going back in June, so hopefully we get a better ride :)

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  5. You have to take into account Christine that you are lucky to ride all the coasters you ride. However the majority of families and general riders will probably find it a nice ride and thrilling/enjoyable enough. I'm probably one of then (he says remembering slipping a disc on oblivion ). Not to say your review isn't on the money, I value your opinion immensely.
    Sooo do you think after a year or two they might 'turn it up' a bit if some people find it a bit meh. Do you think there is even an option to turn it up.

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    1. My name isn’t Christine it’s Jordan ;) and I’m not ‘lucky’, I work very hard and save for years to do the trips I do. Nothing more frustrating than somebody trying to erase that hard work by labelling it as ‘luck’.

      And I literally say that at the end of the post haha so please don’t patronise me - I know my opinion is warped because of my experience, and I’m excited to see what the public think. I think it’ll go down spectacularly.

      I don’t think they’ll turn it up. I think they have exactly be Coaster they paid for and wanted.

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  6. This is very understandable. To a certain extent, I agree. I would like more of a kick to icon. The best thing I did was not overhype it and it came out to be an enjoyable coaster. Hopefully it will warm up throughout the year. :)

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