New ride’s magical million

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park with Amanda and Nick Thompson and Aardman 'Creative director Merlin Crossingham on board the  Thrill-o-Matic at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park with Amanda and Nick Thompson and Aardman 'Creative director Merlin Crossingham on board the Thrill-o-Matic at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
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A million extra visitors are set to flock to Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach this summer thanks to its latest attraction, boss Amanda Thompson has predicted.

Wallace and Gromit’s Thrill-o-Matic ride is the latest addition to the resort’s theme park and is expected to provide a timely boost to the town’s tourism aspirations.

The family-orientated experience comes almost two years after Nickelodeon Land was opened in a bid to bring in more families and provide more than just white knuckle rollercoasters.

A bumper crowd of VIPs were among the first to experience Blackpool’s exclusive new ride. And bullish resort bosses today predicted a major boost for Blackpool’s summer season.

Mrs Thompson, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, said: “I hope it’s going to bring in another million people to Blackpool this year 
because there’s a part of Wallace and Gromit in everyone.

“Everyone knows who they are and will want to experience this.

“It adds an awful lot to the town because it’s a new attraction.

“To continue to bring in new attractions to the town year on year means a huge amount and we really want people to understand the investment that goes on in the Pleasure Beach and in Blackpool.

“One hopes it will really drive visitor numbers in the town because it will help to continue the thrills of Blackpool and maintain it as the greatest seaside resort.

“We can only hope the season kicks off in Blackpool and people really do remain loyal to Wallace and Gromit.”

The £5.25m ride takes visitors through the animated world of the lovable pair and was created by Nick Park’s Aardman Animations team, which first introduced audiences to the daring duo in 1989.

Mr Park, 54, grew up near Preston and Mrs Thompson says the ride can be seen as a homecoming for the legendary filmmaker.

She added: “It’s so exciting to see Wallace and Gromit come home to Lancashire and having Nick Park as part of this has been a huge thrill.

“To have this in Blackpool is absolutely fantastic.

“We are a Blackpool company investing in Blackpool and employing local people.

“I’m so proud because to have so many attractions over the last 10 years is amazing.”

Thrill-O-Matic is the culmination of two years’ work between the Thompson family and Aardman Animations.

Visitors are transported into the world of Wallace and his dog Gromit in a giant slipper as they are taken through scenes from all of the stories, including A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave.

And Nick Thompson, deputy managing director of the Pleasure Beach, has also backed the new ride to provide a spike in the town’s economy.

He added: “We hope to attract a lot of visitors to experience something they can’t experience somewhere else. A few years ago we opened Nickelodeon Land and we have now invested in the town again and we need others to do the same because it’s good when the town gets something new.

“It’s a fantastic brand and a national treasure, which is one of the reasons we picked it because it’s going to be around forever.”

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