My first Dreamland visit (trip report)

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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My first Dreamland visit (trip report)

Postby vann98 » 22 Aug 2015, 20:51

Hello all! Today was my first visit to Dreamland since it reopened so I thought I would share my thoughts.

Firstly, the weather was absolutely fantastic. Sunshine all round and the beach looked packed; something I had not seen personally in many a year.

The park itself has been redone beautifully. Everywhere you looked there seemed to be something going on and what's more, there is colour! Dare I say alot more of it than there ever was during the Godden/Bembom eras. In regards to landscaping, I was a little dissapointed there wasn't many grassy areas though I can sympathise that in these early years, flexibility is key as rides may need to move locations etc. Nevertheless, the plotted plants/bushes that were there definitely helped break up all that brickwork.

While I was originally a bit subdued about the ride lineup, the inclusion of hired rides like the Rotor, Top Spin and Speedway are a much welcome addition and in my opinion, more than make up for this. While permanent, fixed rides will be needed, hiring these extra rides really keeps things fresh and provides a different experience on each visit. While it seems some real jewels like the Wooden Mouse and Cableway are lost forever, I still hold hope that others like the Ghost Train/River Caves/Whip will show up eventually.

The staff were great. Most were very friendly and some quite whacky, highfiving and joking with people as they left the ride exit. A refreshing change from some of the people I have had the displeasure of meeting at various parks and funfairs in the past.

Throughput was generally slow however I respect this is due to the vintage nature of some of these rides. I also imagine things will speed up a little as the operators come to grips with things. Something that surprised me was how much time you actually spend on the rides. The Caterpillar is a good example of this.

Now for a slightly touchy subject; the pay per entry system. While I originally expressed my distaste at this method, I think all things considered, they have made the right choice. Worth reemphasizing that those wishing to buy food/look round the shop/arcade or roller rink, can all still do so in the cinema building without needing a ticket. In regards to being good value for money, if you plan to spend a day at the park, it is certainly worth the £15.00/£18.00. We got on all the rides we wanted too, many of which usually cost about £4.00+ each at a fairground setup. This is not even including the side attractions like circus and dive show which we did not even have time to see. I can't speak for people who have been on days where many major rides are down but for me today, I definitely got my moneys worth.

I could go on but I think I have written enough for now. A really superb day, and that was without the Scenic Railway and Wild Mouse running; which by the way looks the best it has in years. I truly can't wait to see what they have in store over the winter months and beyond!

A few photos from my trip. Anyone who has not been and wants to be surprised, look away now.

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A packed carpark before everybody went mad and started parking on pavements, grass and honestly anywhere that didn't already have a car on in. Getting out could have been easier...

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Such a shame they had to block one of the most striking views of the Scenic railway with the Astro Glide. Oddly it also blocks the Power House viewing window.

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However I can't tell you how good it felt to see this back in business (almost), after so many years. Cracking job!

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No more suspended ceilings!

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The mall area looked like a massive improvement to the dark arcade it once was. Will be even better once the Ballroom, Education space and Hall by the Sea are open.

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Speaking of which, I managed to get a cheeky glimpse at the soon to be ballroom. Shocking how much a lick of paint can do.
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Re: My first Dreamland visit (trip report)

Postby Busheyfields » 23 Aug 2015, 05:40

You mentioned wishing to see a Ghost Train, have a look at David Littleboys Facebook page, he is restoring a Ghost Train at present which I understand will debut at Screamland in October and he appears to indicate it will be here for the next summer season
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Re: My first Dreamland visit (trip report)

Postby David Littleboy » 24 Aug 2015, 13:09

Busheyfields wrote:You mentioned wishing to see a Ghost Train, have a look at David Littleboys Facebook page, he is restoring a Ghost Train at present which I understand will debut at Screamland in October and he appears to indicate it will be here for the next summer season


I can confirm that we are indeed restoring a vintage Ghost train which will be incorporated into Screamland in October after which it will become a permanent fixture in the park. The Ghost train is a traditional build up ride so can be moved around the park to suit.

In terms of the Speedway which has proved to be hugely popular, it is safe to assume this ride will return next season after some winter work to make sure it can continue to run all day each day.

We are working with Sands Heritage on a few other surprises for 2016 and beyond so watch this space :-)
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Re: My first Dreamland visit (trip report)

Postby EAS » 25 Aug 2015, 10:35

Good to have a mainly positive report, great pics, and look forward to seeing what will be new 'old' stuff for Dreamland in 2016!
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Re: My first Dreamland visit (trip report)

Postby Jim Douglas Jr. » 08 Sep 2015, 19:20

Thanks for the great interior shots. Everything looks nice and fresh.
Can't wait until next year. Finally got my passport back.
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