Rides and more

The Save Dreamland Campaign was launched by Joyland Books in January 2003 and is now supported by several thousand people. This is the place to discuss all aspects of saving Margate's famous amusement park and its iconic , Grade II listed Scenic Railway, Britain's oldest roller coaster.

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Rides and more

Postby David Littleboy » 17 Aug 2015, 13:25

Having been at Dreamland on and off for the last few weeks and been busy ensuring that the rides we supplied (Jets, dodgems, double decker, Austin cars, galloper & Speedway ) have worked reliably I'm afraid I have not visited this forum for quite a while. There are various topics which concern me but rather than answer them individually I thought it might be useful to make a single post which may answer some of the questions raised.

I am sure you will appreciate I am not the park operator and therefore cannot speak for them however, I can say that given the complexity of getting this project off the ground it is nothing short of a miracle what has been achieved and in such a short time. I am not going to waste time addressing the points made by trolls and outright opponents of Dreamland as there is no point. What I will say is reading the online comments and actually speaking to visitors the reaction to the park would seem to be overwhelmingly positive with the exception of two things:

No 1 The comments that in the old days people could wander around and pay per ride. I am afraid the world and every theme park in it has changed and the only viable policy is the one in place and with the advent of the cheaper evening tickets this complaint should really be at an end. This is not the old days, this is not the old Dreamland, this is a new park starting from scratch and it will take time to iron out the problems in every area of operation.

No 2 relates to rides not working.

This is a very complex issue but its safe to say the team at the park have worked like dogs to overcome a mixture of things which include ride suppliers being late / problems with new rides / and the strains of having all the teething problems of a new park to deal with.

Even the vintage rides supplied by us have suffered the occasional teething problems for example the Jets ride had a couple of jets out of action for a couple of days due to new seals sticking. We also had a problem with the speedway relating to wheels / tyres and bearings and like the park maintenance crew we are also learning that rides like the speedway have probably never worked this hard in their lives so this winter even the recently restored speedway will be returned to base and changes made to improve it and make it more robust and reliable.

It is very easy from the comfort of your armchair or even as a visitor to make observations and suggestions, but we are not asleep here and we cannot be expected to spend all day on internet forums & social media explaining every problem and every resolution to it. We simply ask that you make a working assumption that where a problem exists we are not sat on our backsides we are actively working on it. I will give you an example. Last Friday night we had a problem with speedway tyres and as the spares on order had not arrived one of our team who was on site drove four hours each way to Lincolnshire on Saturday in order to ensure the ride was open on Sunday which it was. Visitors on Saturday would have been disappointed but in reality it was impossible to do anymore than was done so perhaps rather than complaining about people who are already doing everything humanly possible a little latitude would be nice!

As a business man I could make a list of 100 things which could be improved but could I have done any better? no ! There are also a great many things right with this park including a fantastic team of young staff who everyone seems to agree make a huge difference to the visitor experience. They are doing a great job but have been doing this job weeks not years so again a little latitude would be welcome.

Now, lets talk about rides, The park has a core of rides which have been well advertised and this list of rides has been added to using hired in rides for the first few months of operation. This means there have been change over periods when poor performing rides have come out and this will continue this season. I am pleased to tell you that the vintage rides we have hired to the operator will almost certainly return next year including the Speedway etc and in addition we are working on the Ex Coles / Chipperfield's caterpillar which be ready for the start of next season and which I suspect will replace the modern caterpillar.

It is glaringly obvious that the most popular rides in Dreamland are the vintage rides so I believe it is a safe assumption the number of vintage rides will increase over time in fact because we respect Sands as an operator and the young team who have been running our rides we have agreed to make the crown jewels of vintage fairground available to them on an on going basis so expect to see some other fantastic rides appearing / coming and going each year. Don't expect the line up to remain static as nobody wants it to become stale.

That's pretty much all I can tell you for now so just enjoy the fact that a new Dreamland exists which even this week includes a circus / high diving / a great selection of rides / fantastic staff & entertainers and there is so much more to come. If you are determined to be negative then maybe go find a mirror and take a look at yourself because no one wants to hear you whinging and certainly not the people of Margate and the staff and suppliers of Dreamland who are busting a gut to deliver the memories of tomorrow.

At the risk of being stereotyped as a blunt Yorkshireman please just bugger off and leave the rest of us to do our best and have some fun!

PS Make sure you come to Scream land later in the year as we are currently restoring a vintage Ghost Train which will form part of Scream land after which it will become a full time feature in the park.
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Re: Rides and more

Postby Jim Douglas Jr. » 17 Aug 2015, 23:11

Amen! You've reiterated exactly what I've been posting here.
Thank you for taking the time as an insider to address these issues.
All of this should be common sense, but I guess we live in a instant gratification world, and fewer and fewer people these days have any clue about the nature of large machines, not to mention antique machines, or how an entity like a new amusement park is an amalgamation of different teams of people up against the virtual unknown.

I bet few people understand that parts for these things are pretty much unavailable. They have to be made by hand.
You can't simply text someone and have it appear the next day, and eve when parts arrive, dis-assembly and fitting take time.

You go knowing your money is being spent on improvements and to support the cause.
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Re: Rides and more

Postby AJ » 18 Aug 2015, 09:35

Wow that was rather blunt David and I take that was aimed at myself as well as a couple of other members that dare ask questions. I have followed your work over on AtFotF and on your sites for a while, in fact I was just looking at your Ghost Train pictures.

I don't want to sound negative but as a supporter who has been involved in the campaign from the beginning and gave over a lot of time and money in over a decade of fighting for the park I think some of us campaigners feel a bit frustrated & disappointed at being cast to one side so quickly. I love this place and want it to succeed so much.

All of us on this forum have a bond with Dreamland otherwise we wouldn't have fought for her for all this time. The trouble is the people we need to visit don't care whether the park is having teething trouble they don't follow the in's and out's of the park. As our Government keeps telling us its all about 'value for money' and if the general public see rides not operating or laying idle in peak season they are going to feel cheated. We on the other hand know what's happening and the grand scheme unlike a day tripper who has wandered in off the beach. You hit the nail on the head Jim about maintaining these great vintage rides and if you think involved forum members don't understand things like parts are hard to source then do you think the general public will?

On the pay on entry we will just never agree. With the current system you'll only ever attract day trippers or people to visit once if they are on a break unless they offer a discount on returning within a period of days. Most seaside parks work on a free entry policy and it has worked well for many years at Adventure Island in Southend.

The things I have heard about next season really excite me. Just a shame we hear nothing from the Park and that it takes a contractor like you David to tell us about all the great plans. Use us to sell your dreams, ideas and plans. I will gladly tell people how amazing Dreamland is in person, online, in a tweet, hell give a sandwich board and I'll march up and down the street.

As for now David I wish you luck with your work, I have enjoyed following everything you've got going on and also being part of the community on here over the years. But I think I will now 'bugger off' from the forum. I've made some great friends on here and have met some of you over the past 12/13 years. Wish you all the luck in the world and hope for a great future for Dreamland and hopefully bump into some of you down in Margate.
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Re: Rides and more

Postby vann98 » 18 Aug 2015, 11:12

Thanks for taking the time to clear that up David, and for reminding people, including myself the nature of these more historic rides. It is fantastic they are back in business and it looks like both you and Team Dreamland are doing their utmost to keep things running smoothly. I don't doubt that for a second.

Nevertheless I think if I may use this expression, "you are barking up the wrong tree". While a nice chunk of the public are loving what Dreamland has become, the park is definitely not without its share of critics. While a lot of us members can appreciate that things take time to get up and running, what about those first timers who have no emotional connection to Dreamland yet. They have gone there expecting a service and if half of the major rides are down, of course they are going to feel slightly ripped off. I know it can't be helped, but you can't blame them for feeling like that.

On a final note. Like AJ said, we are all here (with one or two exceptions), because we want Dreamland to succeed, even if some of you can't see that. I know there is a limit but surely people should be able to express their views/thoughts without being shunned or told to "bugger off"?
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Re: Rides and more

Postby stuart » 18 Aug 2015, 22:05

I get what you're saying re negativity, I think that when I read the things people post on their Facebook ranting. For example, when they know the scenic will be ready they will announce it, don't keep publicly flogging them! But here it's a little more constructive and the people really care it succeeds.

Firstly, I was originally shocked when it was pay on entry but I've now been three times and think it's the right way. Opening night, local discount and twilight visits so far and now with the annual single/joint anytime memberships being so cheap I really think the pricing is spot on.

Secondly, David, I imagine Dreamland will be very happy when you're caterpillar takes over that from that bloody ride. I bet they wish they'd never set eyes on it. All lit up beautifully but not working again after a few days, such a shame.

Back to the scenic, a little PR communication is required from the council. As I understand it, the delay is caused by health and safety and English heritage differences of agreement and the council are managing the build. Why don't they just say that? The operator is taking the flack for something out of their control.
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Re: Rides and more

Postby David Littleboy » 18 Aug 2015, 22:18

stuart wrote:I get what you're saying re negativity, I think that when I read the things people post on their Facebook ranting. For example, when they know the scenic will be ready they will announce it, don't keep publicly flogging them! But here it's a little more constructive and the people really care it succeeds.

Firstly, I was originally shocked when it was pay on entry but I've now been three times and think it's the right way. Opening night, local discount and twilight visits so far and now with the annual single/joint anytime memberships being so cheap I really think the pricing is spot on.

Secondly, David, I imagine Dreamland will be very happy when you're caterpillar takes over that from that bloody ride. I bet they wish they'd never set eyes on it. All lit up beautifully but not working again after a few days, such a shame.

Back to the scenic, a little PR communication is required from the council. As I understand it, the delay is caused by health and safety and English heritage differences of agreement and the council are managing the build. Why don't they just say that? The operator is taking the flack for something out of their control.


I agree totally. I can tell you the modern catterpilar is only waiting for tyres which I think arrive on Thursday.
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Re: Rides and more

Postby David Littleboy » 01 Sep 2015, 14:15

We popped into Dreamland on Saturday to find it packed out and all rides working well :-)

Back at it today, the team are working on the Ghost Train and we look forward to seeing it in place for Screamland.

Once we have that done we are bringing the Austin cars and Speedway home for winter servicing and our focus will be on the vintage Caterpillar ride.

As the Dreamland rides progress, we are making progress with our own vintage rides including the two Orton & Spooner Speedway / Arks, our vintage waltzer & our latest purchase the fantastic Studt's Brooklands Speedway. Lots of fun to be had :-)
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Re: Rides and more

Postby Jim Douglas Jr. » 08 Sep 2015, 19:14

Great to hear.
Sounds like the teething problems are being addressed and conquered.

Bob must hate this. Must suck to be 100% wrong.
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Re: Rides and more

Postby David Littleboy » 08 Oct 2015, 07:01

Just a quick update on rides for Dreamland, We are delivering the Ghost train to the park on Monday October 12th and will be handing it over on Tuesday ready for Screamland.

The following Monday will see a big tidy up in our workshops and later that week work will being fully on the restoration of the vintage Caterpillar ride which will be completed this winter.

One other thing we are doing is collecting the Ex Blackpool Mini Whip and returning it to our workshops to afford it safe dry storage pending its eventual restoration. We are unable to store the adult whip or wheel as we don't have the space.

Regards

David
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Re: Rides and more

Postby David Littleboy » 15 Oct 2015, 15:20

Ghost Train in Dreamland
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Re: Rides and more

Postby EAS » 15 Oct 2015, 19:34

Great news... and the Ghost Train looks so 'vintage'. Bound to be a hit!
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