It is now more than three years since Fantasy Island was acquired by attraction operators the Mellors Group.
Less than two years previously, the Lincolnshire amusement park went into administration, with debts of almost £49 million later revealed.
In March 2016, it was confirmed that the park had been taken over by Mellors, known for their ownership and provision of travelling rides at seasonal attractions such as Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
It wasn’t immediately clear how ownership by such an operator would affect the fortunes of the park, but three years on their ownership has delivered a remarkable turnaround.
Fantasy Island now operates reliably and consistently, and offers a quality experience to guests.
Fresh and interesting
New for 2019 is the enclosed rollercoaster Ice Mountain, a familiar feature of Winter Wonderland each December.
While it is the same travelling ride, now based around the same design as Fantasy Island’s former Fantasy Mouse ride, it adds a fresh and interesting experience to the park.
Another pleasant surprise to those familiar with the Fantasy Island of old is that the giant Odyssey suspended rollercoaster is now available more often than ever.
It is still affected by high winds, but the days of it being almost randomly closed, or closing early without warning or reason, appear to have gone.
Visiting Fantasy Island is much less of a risk than it used to be, when it was almost as if you were rolling the dice every time you planned to go there.
The new owners bring a more rotational approach, with the impressive Beast flat ride having been removed this year and transported elsewhere.
The park has already had a number of travelling rides from Mellors extensive repertoire come and go, and it is unclear what the owners’ long term views are in terms of adding any new permanent rides.
The changes to the indoor section have been transformational.
A new magic mountain show, featuring projected visual, sounds and weather effects is a notable highlight.
The well-themed prehistoric crazy golf course also forms a key part of the indoor pyramid’s remarkable atmospheric transformation.
The arcades have also received high-tech upgrades with loadable contactless cards now being used as currency for the games machines, as well as pay-as-you-go ride access.
Not all of the old issues that have tainted the park’s reputation have yet been eliminated however, and there remain some questionable items offered for sale on the park’s large outdoor market.
But the park is undoubtedly now a much more memorable and dependable day out for families and thrillseekers.
Fantasy Island has certainly changed under Mellors and all the signs are that it will continue to improve under their ownership.