First of all we want to say a massive thank you to Dreamland team for their time and been apart of this series. I hope you all enjoy this blog post.
First of all let’s talk about Dreamlands history. How many years has this amusement park been operational for?
We turn 100 years old in 2020! There has been a leisure venue on this site since the 1870s, but it officially opened as Dreamland pleasure garden and amusement park in 1920. We’ve had a long and exciting history – people flocked here for decades and we have some incredible old pics of people laughing and squealing on our rides. Sadly, the park declined in the 1980s and 1990s when more people started going abroad for their beach hols. After falling into disrepair in the 2000s, the park was the subject of a huge community campaign to save the site, and plans were finally green lit to bring Dreamland back to life. The Grade II listed Scenic Railway was completely restored, new rides and features were added, and Dreamland reopened in 2015. We’ve been going for nearly 5 years now, and things are looking fabulous as always!
• What was the first attraction to open? Is it still operational today?
The iconic Scenic Railway opened at Dreamland in 1920 – and yes it’s still open today! It’s our most famous feature, and reputedly the oldest wooden rollercoaster in the country. It is now Grade II listed, and has survived two fires in its lifetime. When we reopened Dreamland in 2015 it took us a long time to rebuild this unique vintage ride, but we’re thrilled that she has been restored to her former glory. We have people from all over the country coming to Dreamland just to see her – many of whom are grandparents who remember Dreamland from their childhood!
• We recently visited for the first time during your fab Halloween event. Personally we found your Screamland, one of the strongest events we attended. What is the process and details that go into planning such an event?
Thank you! We’re very proud of Screamland and all the work that goes into creating events like this. It’s one of the biggest events of the year so it takes a lot of planning.
We have an in-house creative events designer who works on the maze concepts, including characters, costumes, story and sets. This year, we unveiled an entirely new experience, Hammer House of Horror maze, which was really exciting – it’s an iconic film brand! The set build begins in September, and everyone in the company gets involved with painting and set dressing (it’s good fun!). People frequently comment on the level of detail in each maze and in the performances of our actors. And then there’s the marketing!
The event is promoted by a huge advertising and social media campaigns, and press activity to generate buzz. We create teaser trailers, animated graphics, high concept maze videos, GIFs, press releases, competitions, posters and digital adverts to drive ticket sales and launch a great product. There’s also a big press night each year, with around 200 people trying out the mazes for us.
• In regardsI to our previous question regarding your Screamland event. How in advance does planning begin and how do you know when the project is perfect?
It takes almost 12months of planning – when we finish, there’s very little time to rest before we start planning next year’s event! We test everything rigorously throughout the year and right up to the event itself.
We never stop and say an event is ‘perfect’ – and that’s what keeps standard high. We are always testing, tweaking and listening to feedback so we can make Screamland bigger and better for our customers. We were are proud of what we achieved at Screamland in 2019. It felt like the culmination of a great deal of hard work and experience, and it makes us doubly excited about what’s possible in 2020.
• Are there any fun facts you can share with us in regards to Dreamland itself or/& Rides?
We used to lions and bears in the park! The old menagerie cages can still be seen today in the park, and they used to house exotic beasts back in the early 20th century. The best stories are always from our customers – they have so many precious memories and stories about visiting Dreamland in the past. You just need to have chat with people when you visit!
• Your amusement park offers various types of attractions. What is the most complicated to annually maintain and operate on a daily basis?
The rides have a rigorous maintenance and safety checks schedule – daily, weekly, monthly, everything is checked and tuned up and checked again. As we have a beautiful collection of vintage rides, these can be challenging to maintain but our engineers are used to them now. The key is having a great team to manage all the little jobs in good time so it doesn’t disrupt our open days.
• Following on from our other Screamland related questions. Is there anything your able to tell us in regards to what we can expect next season?
We’ll be building on the success of 2019, and taking the most popular scares and characters to the next level. We will look at new partnerships for mazes, and will no doubt have a Dreamland 100 twist for the events – maybe we can bring in a few horrors and ghost stories from our history?
We’re also hoping to allow families access to the mazes during the day for half term – but with far less scares for the little ones!
• What can we expect for the 2020 season?
As it’s our 100th birthday, we’re pulling together a thrilling programme of events for 2020. We’ve already announce our first run of music events for 2020, including DJ sets from Mike Skinner and Sister Bliss from Faithless, DJ Spoony and we will be hosting the Soundcrash Funk and Soul Weekender over the late May bank holiday.
But there’s much more to come. Visitors can expect big celebrations, big events and big names to top the events programme down by the sea – all with our trade mark cheeky twist! We’ll be revealing more very soon, but check our website for the latest information. www.dreamland.co.uk
• Finally, what can we expect for the nearby future of Dreamland? Is there any exciting investments or events ahead?
We have been granted planning permission to build a brand new seafront hotel, and we are also in negotiations to obtain the freehold of the stunning old cinema building so we can bring it back into leisure use for people to enjoy. Hopefully we’ll keep people smiling for another 100 years!
Thank you for reading..