Pinball X removal and plans for other rides to go in storage in Dreamland ‘social distancing rethink’

The Pinball X ride at Dreamland

A ride that was installed at Dreamland amusement park in 2018 is being removed.

The Pinball X, similar to its predecessor, the Magic Mouse that drew crowds throughout 2017, has been dismantled and is destined for Hastings.

Dreamland bosses say the coaster’s removal is part of changes being made due to social distancing requirements.

A spokesperson for the amusement park said: “Every year at Dreamland we examine the rides and attractions we offer and look to make changes and improvements.

“This year the pandemic has meant that Dreamland, like many other tourist, leisure and events businesses across the globe, has had to rethink its operation with new levels of safety in mind.

“The age and layout of some of rides within our amusement park make social distancing almost impossible to adhere to, so we have decided to move some rides off the park, these will mainly be going into storage for now.


“The Pinball X will be leaving us, but hopefully a similar type of ride will be back Dreamland in the near future.”

A Dreamland spokesperson previously said that until guidelines on social distancing are relaxed, the park would be unable to offer the carefree visitor experience that customers have come to expect.

Outdoor gigs are being lined up for this year including Totally Wired earmarked for July 3, The Beat July 8 and The Specials due to perform at the park on August 28.

Photo Frank Leppard

The Dreamland estate was sold by Thanet council to park operator Sands Heritage Ltd for £7million at the end of last year.

The sale, one of the biggest asset disposals in Thanet council’s history, included the amusement park, the TDC restored Dreamland cinema and Sunshine Café building and the 400 space car park.

The sale of Dreamland park, cinema, scenic railway, rides and intellectual property, completed on December 18, was for £2.3million and the exchange of contracts for the sale of the car park, which took place on the same day and should be completed this month, was for £4.7m.

Dreamland gave 52 members of staff notice of redundancy from July 1 last year due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


  1. I would be more worried about social distancing during the crowded gigs that have been booked than two persons in a bubble sitting next to each other on a ride. That doesn’t make sense, and if it’s been sold because of social distancing whoever bought it would not be able to use it either so what is the point? I guess something else will take it’s place.
    Dreamland looks so small compared to how it used to be back in it’s heyday. Less than half the area has rides now.

    • The Dreamland Park CPO cost over £5m.

      Dreamland Park was sold for £2.3m.

      TDC has had to also sell the car park that it already owned in order to make up the shortfall.

      • So, we’re all paying for TDC’s very poor business sense (for what it’s worth, I’m one of the ones who insisted that TDC shouldn’t be “rescuing” Dreamland in the first place – would’ve made more sense to build a road through it and pedestrianise the seafront).

        • What a stupid comment, dreamland is part of Margate’s history and must be kept at all costs

  2. Sorry to disappoint you Peter have you been out lately toilets are open in Margate and porta loos are up and running on Margate seafront. The lifts should be open including the one at Palm bay cliftonville. Just have to watch this space.

    • Portaloos are being hired for the third consecutive year because the Clock Tower toilets have not been repaired.

      There are no plans to reopen lifts at Broadstairs and Ramsgate.

      TDC is selling off the assets for less than it paid for them – therefore there is no money in the kitty to repair anything.

      Sands Heritage/Arrowgrass now owns all the Dreamland assets so it is free to sell them off as it choses – I don’t think there was anything in the agreement to prevent that from happening.

      Pssst ! Anybody want to buy a roller coaster – its like the PinballX only bigger . . .

      • “TDC is selling off the assets for less than it paid for them – therefore there is no money in the kitty to repair anything.”

        Yes, because central Tory government has strangleholded uk councils. It was a main point of the yellowhammer report into brexit impacts that a large number of councils would become bankrupt.

    • Brian SS, There are at least FOUR long-closed blocks of public toilets just in the stretch from Margate to Minnis Bay: Westbrook (sold off), between Westbrook & Westgate (bricked up), Beresford Gap (sold off), and the Birchington end of Minnis Bay (bricked up and replaced by a portaloo every summer). Just because most of these were closed years ago doesn’t make TDC any less responsible.

    • Brian if you read articles on this site often you will see Peter is always spouting on about the fact hes right and thinks every opinion he has is gospel or the way to go. If he had his way we’d have no leisure down here, but 10 toilets to every tourist 😄

      • I’d like to see you walk from Westbay to Minnis Bay when desperately needing a p**, but yet agai,n it is in effect yet more discrimination to the less able-bodied from our beloved council.

        Take it from someone who knows, even the otherwise fit and healthy can suffer from bladder (etc) problems, and it must be even worse for women who can’t nip behind a bush quite so easily.

      • If the toilets were deemed necessary when they were built why are they not necessary now? It’s nothing to do with numbers of people visiting it is about proximity and good public health practice.
        TDC is a shambles, lurching from one sticking plaster solution to another and preoccupied with letting developers plunder the district while the infrastructure and services are run into the ground.

  3. “Hopefully, similar, near future”. Hardly words that inspire confidence or certainty in the intention to run the park as it was.
    I stand by my prediction that Dreamland will shrink to the boundary of the “amphitheatre” and that there will be representations to lift the “no development” condition in next year or so , as the monies raised would allow investment in the park and allow its future blah blah.
    The proposed developmemt will have a large social component or even be totally social similar to the flats at the rear of the park. This’ll be waived through by the council as a triumph of badly needed “affordable housing” , but a deal will be done with a london borough / housing association and TDC only gets nomination rights for relatively few of the homes.
    All this will have been discussed and agreed on the QT already.
    Lots of hoohaa over it all , which ‘ll be placated by promises for refurbishment of arlington and nayland rock. All to be followed or possibly preceded by application for housing on the All Saints Ind. Est. Lots will happen well before the 10 year condition is up.

  4. The more social housing there is, the more people will be able to qualify for a decent rented flat or house. If Thatcher’s government, followed by all subsequent governments, had not introduced and hung on to the right to buy, council housing would not have been so reduced that it is now thought of as being almost wholly lived in by drug addicts and criminals.

    • No, the reason for the change in the mix of tenants was the move to “needs” based allocation, have a look on

      To see the costs of social housing , don’t forget to include the service charges, then remember that social housing providers pay no tax then compare the costs to the private sector.

      However my point was that my guess is that the new owners of. dreamland will be able to bypass the “no development” condition in the purchase and soon recoup lots of their cash. TDC should have retained some of the land and provided its own housing, but it would seem a botched CPO of Dreamland has forced a fire sale of assets to cover up the debacle.

      • Why did the move to “needs based allocation” have to be made if it wasn’t for the reduction in available council housing stock?

        • Martha, what do you expect from a council in shambles run by Labour (who think money grows on trees).

          It’s about time that proper control of TDC was taken back. Unacceptable that it’s been run into the ground by Labour and the coup by Thanet Independents.

          What do you have to suggest, Martha?

          • I think you will find the current mess is the product of succesive political parties and a senior management team that believes it is bullet proof and there to serve its own interests.
            The whole lot should be cleared out(of the swamp?!)and replaced by commissioners until a decent management regime can be put in place.

        • Population of England 1980 47 million, Population 2020 67 million, massive change in just 40 years , as a result the concept of social housing provision for all had to change to one where it went to those most in need. Plus those that are here that shouldn’t be. ( Grenfell offered a immigration amnesty to enable there to a true reckoning of who lived there, if social housing can’t be bothered to ensure that only legal residents benefit from tax payer funded housing there’s something wrong)

  5. The park is clearly being run into the ground, that is pretty obvious. How can every other theme park in the UK manage to not only open, but manage social distancing without any issues. And how can you then hold large scale concerts which a few thousand could attend?, absolutely ridiculous. Something very fishy going on here. Surely you’d want to re open as soon as possible to get some money coming in???.Come on dreamland, what’s really going on?

    • at one point staff at the park were convinced that TDC were actively trying to help it fail, the additional restrictions on events especially the reduction in the capacity of the hall ( which resulted in the By The Sea festival being cancelled) apparently made putting on some events very difficult in terms of being financially viable.

      • Events would be financially viable if the venue didn’t charge promoters out of the backside to put events on there.

  6. How come the ride can be sold to another park? Surely that would be exactly the same? Something fishy is going on. If you don’t have good rides in a theme park then you aren’t going to get the custom in. All other theme parks are managing to re open.

  7. Do you expect anything different from this council. If they can’t empty your bin every week there’s no chance they will do anything else ie: toilets and the selling of Dreamland, not quite sure that’s the right name for it now

  8. Its all very strange 😳
    The uk is probably on the verge of the biggest ‘staycation’ for years , with people sadly not being able to travel abroad for holidays this year.
    Up and down the country , seaside resorts are gearing up for a mega year ………. and dreamland management would prefer to have the odd pop concert once in a while 🤷‍♂️rather than open ?
    It’s hardly going to pull the the tourists into Thanet ?
    If I did have to guess what was going on , I would say they are having a clear out and will be renting out the land to a travelling fairground ……no staff worries , no ride insurances or tests ? so the showman have the worry of running it for the season ?🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️
    Just my thoughts ……..

    • Sadly? A foreign holiday is a trivial matter compared with people’s health. And pretty trivial anyway, really.

  9. Ramsgate docks, manston airport and now Dreamland. All failed by TDC but we have turner centre, what a bloody joke. Thanet is the arsehole of England, maybe they will sell to France, wouldn’t put it pass them

    • Though in respect of the Turner centre the majority of the original funding was in the form of a european union grant, which had to be used for an arts based project, so it was accept what was on offer or let the funding go elsewhere.
      That the first design ( the metal clad conning tower built in the sea) was a failure aswas the temporary structure put in place to test the coatings being suggested ( stayed upright for about a week then collapsed in the first bit of wind) is more in keeping with the performance thanet has come to expect.

  10. You could only hope that tdc would welcome the tourism this is sadly the end for thanet once dreamland goes so does everything else they are building enough housing elsewhere and music events could be held elsewhere just like Mr Godden killed Folkestone this idiot will kill Margate.

  11. The 2019 Dreamland season was the best. Family spent many great visits. Visitors came mainly for Dreamland, and now, when the whole town need visitors to help their businesses survive, we have no main tourist attraction. What right does a be council have to sell the asserts of the residents of Thanet. I think we have had our 21st century heyday and will slowly decline to a nothing there area again.I have three little boys in our family desperate to go to Dreamland, I cannot believe it is not going to open. But what can you be sure of.

  12. Outdoor Totally Wired, cool. Maybe that will help with the body odour problem most of its “top floor” clientele have?

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