Dreamland will open eight rides from July 10 but others, including the Scenic Railway, will not return until next year.
A collection of eight specially selected amusement park rides have been commissioned for visitors to the Dreamland Summer Social programme to enjoy from July 10 and throughout the summer holidays.
Joining established classics such as the Waltzer, Scrambler Twist and Gallopers will be a new attraction — The Ghost Train. Originally built in the 1960s the ride has been lovingly restored.
The Toytown Carousel and Austin Cars will be ready for younger riders while all the family can enjoy The Rocking Tug and a new Giant Dodgem Track with 20 superfast cars.
Rides for this summer will be available on a pay-per-ride basis with prices starting from £2.
A blog from Dreamland says: “Now that Government lockdown restrictions have eased, we are delighted to be able to announce the reopening of Dreamland from May27 and will be hosting a six-month event program until the end of 2021, with eight specially selected amusement park rides for our Dreamland Summer Social to enjoy from Saturday 10th July and throughout the summer holidays. Other rides including the Scenic Railway will return to operation as usual in 2022.
“Due to the pandemic, things have to operate a little differently in 2021. Although Dreamland is so much more than just an amusement park and whilst the decision to stagger the reopening of Dreamland attractions will delight many, it may disappoint those of our members and guests who want to visit exclusively for rides in 2021.
“This wasn’t an easy decision to make, especially as the full detail of post lockdown Government guidelines for visitor attractions, are still unknown. However, it is now clear that if we were to open all our amusement park rides in 2021 as we do in usual years, due to post pandemic Government guidelines the park would have to operate in such a way that the visitor experience would be greatly diminished and generate too great a loss.
“Adhering to the NHS on-going Test and Trace system, would mean the amusement park would no longer be open to all and we would be forced to adopt a ticketed entry system. This effectively means returning to a ‘pre-book’, ‘no re-admission’ business model which we know is deeply unpopular with our visitors. “The amusement park’s atmosphere is at its best and Dreamland thrives when the site is busy with high volumes of guests, freely coming and going back and forth to the beach and the Old Town.
“Even after social distancing regulations are due to lift on June 21, further regulations will probably be enforced and could restrict the capacity of large visitor attractions by up to 50%.
“Unlike other large scale theme parks, the Dreamland estate has a very limited acreage, and does not allow guests to spread out adequately. Hosting events is the right decision for Dreamland in 2021 because capacity is easier to manage, and we can know who’s on site when.
“We treasure our vintage rides but maintaining and operating the larger ones is an expensive labour of love. The cost of certifying the rides to adhere to modern health and safety regulations as well as rehiring and training hundreds of ride operators, is one that requires significant financial commitment long, long before reopening. Making such an outlay at a time of such uncertainty and accepting this level of loss would be a poor business decision for any organisation, but especially so for an independent business that has largely been without revenue since the start of the pandemic, and one not in receipt of any COVID-19 Government grants.”
The blog says the Dreamland team is busy with plans to raise significant funds to open up more areas in the future including the Dreamland Cinema building and the development of the seafront hotel.
The car park formerly owned by Thanet council but bought by Dreamland as part of a ‘whole estate’ deal will be reopened with Smart Parking Limited managing the operation.
The rates will match the Arlington Car Park prices, meaning the Dreamland Car Park will be cheaper than it was previously.
Dreamland has been chosen as one of the projects to receive money from the Margate Town Deal with £4million earmarked for use to refurbish the cinema, bingo hall, and café spaces to provide locations for new visitor exhibitions, dining and cultural experiences.