Had a really good weekend, celebrating two birthdays of two great people. As a result I am exhausted. Today's blog post will therefore consist of a slightly edited copy of an email I sent to Blackpool Tower via their contact-us form. It's miserable old man complainy, cos I was grumpy, hungry and tired when I got in. At some point soon I'll redress the balance, because there is a lot of fun to be had at Blackpool:
After leaving the Tower Eye we were asked to use the "tell us what you think" survey machine to offer feedback (as it has just re-opened after the Council bought and renovated it). My first feedback would be that the touch screen on the machine was next to unusable, so I was unable to type my comments. I'd tap R and nothing; repeatedly tap R and then eventually a 4 would pop up on the screen. I gave the whole affair up as pointless, assuming the same survey would be available on the website. If it is there, it's well hidden.
The comments I wanted to make are as follows:
The cost of £12 per adult was extortionate, and actually reaching the top of the tower required standing in seven or eight queues (lift to 5th floor, queue to buy ticket, queue to hand over ticket, queue to sit on a girder (compulsory!), queue to get into a holding pen, queue in the holding pen, and finally queue to get up the last lift).
The holding pen (waiting room to get into the 4D cinema) was an offence to human dignity. There were no seats or toilets (children audibly worrying to their parents about their inability to hold it in, and elderly people in need of a rest. Some people even made jokes about Zyklon-B gas being pumped into the room - that's how much of a nasty surprise the holding pen was!).
There was nothing to do in this room save stare at the TVs mostly showing thinly-veiled adverts for Blackpool attractions. There is plenty of boasting about the rich history of the tower (lots of facts, figures, photos, and film) yet no actual artefacts. The holding pen would have been an ideal space for a mini-museum with display cabinets showing interesting Blackpool or Tower-related memorabilia.
By the time we were let out of the holding pen we were primed for the 4D experience to be dreadful. Fortunately it was not; the 3D was exciting and the extra 4th D was a surprise. However ; must one be subjected to that annoying kid in the helmet every time one wants to enjoy the beautiful view? I fail to see the logical connection. £2-3 seems like a reasonable price to go directly to the top, without the rest of the nonsense. Essentially the film was a compulsory advert for the Towers' other attractions, badly disguised as an "experience".
Finally the £6 cost of the keyrings and magnets (featuring the photos of us sat on the girder) is disgraceful. The cost of these novelty items at privately-owned theme parks is bad enough, but at an attraction owned by the Council it is a disgrace. I have never understand why one cannot pay a couple of pounds to have the picture emailed (or I could apply for it under freedom of information!).
On a positive note, the renovation of the Top of the Tower (the Walk of Faith) is marvellous, and were it not for the cost and the subjection to the 4D cinema, I would be a regular visitor.