The 1922 season saw the introduction of two iconic rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – Noah’s Ark and the much-missed Virginia Reel.
A century later, the park has introduced a new experience that is somewhat reminiscent of that curious spinning rollercoaster that thrilled millions until its eventual removal in 1982.
New for this season is Ensō, an upcharge experience that allows guests to experience the park’s Icon rollercoaster with literally a new twist, via a pair of seats that are able to free spin through the nearly 4,000 feet of Icon’s twisted steel track.
When riding alone, the seats do spin considerably and totally unpredictably, which does provide a completely out of control feeling and makes it feel like a whole new ride.
When riding with a companion, the spinning does seem to be somewhat dampened, more so when the weight of the riders is similar.
Some of the less-frantic elements of the original ride are massively enhanced by the new seating, especially if you are lucky enough to be spinning as you navigate through one of the two inversions.
A highlight of our ride was launching backwards into the Junior Immelmann, highlighting that even when the seats are not spinning, moving in an unconventional direction is just as fun.
Ensō has two pricing options. A standard booking – at £15 per person – provides a virtual queue for the ride, whilst a £25 VIP booking provides almost instantaneous access to the ride.
Overall, the new experience is a triumph. It enhances Icon and its unpredictable nature makes it extremely re-rideable, a factor complicated somewhat by the not insignificant upcharge.