PLANS have been unveiled for a new £5.25m ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
The fun park may already be a Grand Day Out, but it is set to be even more cracking thanks to the new Wallace & Gromit-themed Thrill-O-Matic adventure.
The new ride is being partially-funded by a £2m loan from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
It is set open next year and will be centred around the capers of the eccentric inventor Wallace and his loveable dog Gromit.
And Pleasure Beach managing director, Amanda Thompson says the family ride will be a great boon for the resort.
She added: “We are delighted to be welcoming Wallace and Gromit.
“Thrill-O-Matic represents a significant investment in the park and we know the characters will be a huge hit with families.
“Wallace and Gromit are national treasures and to have them here re-affirms our commitment to attracting families back to the resort.”
The four minute long ride will takes in dozens of well-loved scenes from the Wallace and Gromit films.
Thrillseekers will ride in a giant slipper through the duo’s past adventures – including A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave and A Matter of Loaf and Death – while animatronic characters act out scenes from the series.
Pleasure Beach’s design and engineering team have collaborated on the ride with the Oscar-winning creators of Wallace and Gromit, Aardman Animations.
Nick Park, who originally devised the animated series, was born and raised in Lancashire.
He told The Gazette: “We’re really enjoying working with the Pleasure Beach team on this new ride and new format for Wallace and Gromit.
“We can’t wait to get started on building all the props and set pieces.”
The Thrill-O-Matic will replace the Gold Mine, which closed in 2011.
Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Chairman Edwin Booth said: “This looks like a cracking project and the ride will be a lot of fun, I can’t wait to try it.
“There’s a serious side to our involvement as this is one of the first projects supported by a loan from our Growing Places fund, which helps projects which will benefit the economy as it gets off the ground.
“In this case the Pleasure Beach has a hugely important role in attracting visitors to the area and the new attraction will strengthen its appeal for years to come.”
Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, said the new ride would benefit everyone in the resort.
She said: “It’s fabulous news and what’s so wonderful about it is it’s a family ride.
“We have to keep reinvesting to keep people interest and coming back.
“Wallace and Gromit are a known global brand and I can imagine my son at 23 being as interested in it as I will be. We need new things to bring people back and this is really great news.”
Coun Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism on Blackpool Council, also welcomed the news another major international brand would be taking root in the town.
He said: “Any investment aimed at attracting more families to Blackpool should be welcomed.
“We’ve already seen with the success of Nickelodeon Land how international brands can provide a massive boost and attract people of all ages.
“Last year we had a number of new attractions open in Blackpool and it’s great to hear this investment will continue with Thrill-o-Matic.
“I look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”
Blackpool Airport’s Sue Kendrick said the new ride may attract more tourists from overseas, as well as domestic holidaymakers.
She said: “Anything the Pleasure Beach do to invest in new attractions is great for Blackpool and beyond. We’ve just got to keep being fresh and new to compete.”