Rides line-up change at Dreamland as Dreamcatcher and Jumping Star appear listed for sale?

The Dreamcatcher ride at Dreamland

A number of Dreamland rides – including the Dreamcatcher which was named by the public in 2018 – are understood to be for sale or already sold – with park bosses saying there will be some new rides for 2022 with the full line-up to be announced in January.

Rides made by Zamperla and installed at the Margate amusement park in 2018 appear to be those listed on specialist website Interlink.

Among those rides is the Endeavour – named Dreamcatcher following a public competition- which had more than 2,900 entries. Riders are transported 60 feet through the air at 25 miles per hour. It seats 24 people, two per gondola. The ride is listed as available on the Interlink website.

Also listed as available is the Zamperla Jumping Star.

Rides already sold are understood to be the Air Race, the Pendulum, Up Up and Away and Soaring Seagulls,

Previously confirmed as sold earlier this year was the Zamperla Twister Coaster  (Pinball X)  which was relocated to Flamingo Park in Hastings.

The Pinball X ride at Dreamland

The vintage Caterpillar ride and the Brooklands Speedway are said to be in storage.

The park hosted eight rides this summer including the Waltzer, Scrambler Twist, Gallopers and The Ghost Train. Some of these are understood to have been hired in travelling funfair rides.

Seagull ride

Since reopening in May this year Dreamland has concentrated on live music events with big names such as UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro, Billy Ocean, The Specials and Kaiser Chiefs. 

A previous statement from Dreamland said: ““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.

“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.”

Ride engineering staff were among the 52 people made redundant from Dreamland last year.

Park bosses have previously said that rides including the Scenic Railway will return to operation as usual in 2022.

Asked about the sale of rides and plans for next year, a Dreamland spokesperson declined to confirm which rides had been sold or were being marketed but said: “Through the winter months we are carrying out essential maintenance works across the park and reviewing our ride line up for our reopening in 2022.

“Some rides are leaving and some will be coming, but we are not in a position just yet to announce what visitors can expect.  We will be confirming our full line up in the new year.”

Planning for 2022 already includes some large-scale performance with The Beat, Craig David, Paul Weller, Sister Sledge and others booked in.

The Dreamland website is also advertising rides as reopening in 2022,

Dreamland’s blog says: “Dreamland’s future is bright and exciting, and we have recently made significant investments in the wider Dreamland estate, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. The team is busy with major 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.”

Margate Estates Dreamland hotel image

Other expansion plans include using a  £4million allocation from the Margate Town Deal fund towards the renovation and reopening the cinema building which has been empty for more than a decade. The site will be turned into an entertainment and conference centre with space allocated to community use.

The stage/production space being created for the Sam Mendes movie Photo Jamie Horton

The park is also hosting a stage/filming area for the latest Sam Mendes movie which will remain in place until June.

The Dreamland site was sold by Thanet council to park operator Sands Heritage Ltd last year for £7million – £2.3 million for the Dreamland estate and £4.7million to buy the car park area

Documents submitted to Companies House by Sands Heritage for accounts up to December 2020 say: “The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in quarter 1 2020, has had a detrimental impact across the leisure and hospitality sector throughout the 20p0 financial year. The Dreamland park operation has been no exception and a decision was made early into the pandemic not to open the Park for the 2020 season.

“The company was able to benefit from the Government furlough scheme which enabled it to maintain employment for a number of employees for as long as feasible, however, with no expectation of trading within the year, the management team progressed a full restructuring exercise to mitigate long term cost exposure. A total of 52 positions have been made redundant since January 2020 with an associated redundancy cost of £53,000. These redundancies will deliver a full year equivalent employment cost saving of approximately £1.67m.

“COVID-19 Business Rates relief and applicable Government lockdown and tier grants were also received, in line with government guidance.

Photo Frank Leppard

“Revenues for the year were £0.36M, down from £5.7M in 2019. A total of £3.585M was raised via a share issue of ordinary shares in order to fund the first part of the acquisition of the freehold of the Dreamland site and to provide working capital for ongoing operations.

“Despite the impact of COVID-19, the business strategy and goals remain focussed on long term growth, with further investment planned for the park and associated assets.

“The core park operating business is inherently seasonal and very much weather dependent. Similarly, events which are programmed outside either on the Scenic Stage or events area are open to the elements, but to a certain extent are less weather dependent due to the majority of tickets being purchased in advance. Dreamland does have optionality to move some of these events inside to our undercover venues; Hall by the Sea, Roller Room and Ballroom. Strategically, the company plans to mitigate this risk by an extensive redevelopment of its undercover areas in order to reduce the seasonality and weather risk.

“As a result of a high court ruling on 15 January 2021 relating to business interruption insurance, Sands Heritage Limited were successful in making a claim for business interruption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sands Heritage Limited received insurance proceeds of £250,000 post year end.

“Following the announcement by Arrowgrass Master Fund Limited (the ultimate controlling party) of its intention to instigate an orderly close of its fund operations, The board of Margate Estates Limited (the immediate parent company of Sands Heritage Limited) appointed an agent in March 2021 to manage the sale process for Margate Estates Limited and its subsidiary companies.”

Dreamland Photo TDC

The real estate and leisure company which owns Dreamland was put on the market, being offered for ‘acquisition’ through property specialists Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL).

It means the entire Dreamland estate, including the Dreamland car park purchased from TDC, parcels of land surrounding the site inclusive of the plot secured for a new 124-bed hotel, and the option to purchase Arlington House, multi-storey and land, was being offered as assets of the company.

The brochure issued by JLL earlier this year said: ““The subject sites provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved with a catalytic resort regeneration scheme in one of Kent’s most treasured locations and to develop and grow the creative movement that currently thrives in Margate.”

Sale of Dreamland owning company means entire assets – park estate, hotel plot, car park, land – and option on Arlington on market