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Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; overrated or underappreciated?

Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; overrated or underappreciated?

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Matt N

Strata Poster
Hi guys. Scott from Pleasure Beach Experience has made a really interesting video that I thought might be worth discussing, now that Icon has been open for nearly 3 years and has firmly embedded itself as part of the furniture at Pleasure Beach, and has really split opinion among enthusiasts:
So my question to you based on this video is; what do you think of Icon?

As for my opinion on Icon; I absolutely adore it, and I’d give Pleasure Beach an absolute 10/10 for the job they did on it!

I personally value rerideability, comfort and pure fun factor in a roller coaster, and Icon delivers this in droves for me! It’s got loads of brilliant ejector airtime pops, some really nice and snappy (yet incredibly smooth) transitions, a surprising amount of force in places, a really comfortable and rerideable ride experience, and on the whole, I’ve never come off of it without a huge grin on my face, and surely that’s the best indicator of how much you enjoy a roller coaster?

I know this is an uncommon opinion, but it’s my personal favourite roller coaster in the UK, and my #2 in the world out of 74 coasters ridden. I absolutely love it to bits! Although I should point out that I live down South, so haven’t been able to reride it loads and loads like some of you BPB regulars; I think I’ve had a total of 4 rides on it over 2 Pleasure Beach visits since it opened?

In case you’re wondering, my overall #1, and the only coaster I like more than Icon, is the wonderful Mako at SeaWorld Orlando; now that is an outstanding coaster, in my opinion!

But what are your thoughts on Icon now that it’s bedded into the UK theme park scene a little? I’d firmly agree with Scott in saying that it’s a very polarising ride, so I’d be really intrigued to know your thoughts!

Matt N

Strata Poster
Actually, I’ll do what Scott did and make it into a poll; overrated or underappreciated?

Taking into account my post above, I’m going for underappreciated.
P.S. Sorry for double posting!

Tom G

Hyper Poster
It's because it's a Mack it gets the admiration it does. If it was exactly the same experience but offered by Intamin, it would be probably widely seen as average or at least more widely disliked.


From CoasterForce
Staff member
Social Media Team
I think it’s perfect for Blackpool.

Imagine the ride in a field with nothing else around - it’s ok.

Imagine the ride at a park worshiped by fanboys - it would be the best thing ever.

Now think about it’s actual setting. It’s modern day ride type sat in amongst a collection of traditional, historical coasters, a handful of thrill rides, and a leaning to family attractions. Icon fits in perfectly.

It’s not the best example of its type, nor is it the worst. Icon has a sprinkle of thrills without being too much. It’s nicely and very lastingly “stylised” without being garish or having a theme that might get old. It’s a cred that 99% of us will ride a couple of times when we visit Blackpool, but we’re unlikely to run to ride it first thing. I didn’t watch the video because Icon is neither overrated or underrated. It’s perfect for Blackpool.


Hyper Poster
The only thing that's bad about Icon, in my opinion, are the two launches/gentle pushes. I was properly disappointed with the launches when I first rode, they're just so forceless and forgettable. I think the top speed could be a little higher, but it's mostly the lack of acceleration that kills it. I'm not saying they should be Top Thrill levels of acceleration, but at least blue fire would've been nice!

The ride itself is fun and twisty, with pops of hangtime and airtime, though it does die on its backside on the way back to the station! I really like the interaction with the queue and the paths near steeplechase. I really like the fact the top hat is slightly off-axis, it adds a lot to the fun for me. Diving over steeplechase and twisting about before diving back out again is super fun. The twist into the dive to the second launch is a great end to the first half. See first paragraph for second launch. The immelmann and its support structure is beautiful to look at and the top gives some nice hangtime, the twisty bit over turtle chase is a laugh and kinda whippy. The end does kinda feel like they did all this cool stuff in NoLimits and then had to get it back to the brakes :p

Overall I think Icon isn't what people want it to be. It certainly isn't what they needed, especially with the naff launches, to re-light the fire they had in the '90s. What it is though is a super fun roller coaster that looks cool. Sure, I don't think it's amazing or incredible, but I came off every ride either laughing or with a big smile and that's just as important.

(Ian basically said it in fewer words :p )


Hyper Poster
I'm a bit of a fence sitter here; I feel it's "a bit of both".

I adore the ride, but I'm not blind to its flaws, and whilst it's a great ride for the UK, it doesn't stack up against some of its competition worldwide. It's an incredibly fun and re-rideable coaster, and I'll easily make the trip to Blackpool at least once per year primarily for Icon, but there are definitely dead spots on the ride, and sections that feel like they should have been better than they are. I find it to be a lot more enjoyable that some enthusiasts give it credit for, but also acknowledge that it could definitely have been a better ride than it ended up being. It's definitely one of my favourites in the country, though.


Giga Poster
I agree with Andrew^, it's a bit of both.
It's the best coaster at Blackpool, that's a dead cert. In the UK I'd probably rank it around number 5, after Nemesis, The Swarm, Stealth and Oblivion.
On the world stage... or even the European stage, nah, it doesn't really get a look in.
Don't get me wrong, I like it, it's a solid all- rounder, I'd probably give it 7/10 (maybe 7.5 if it's 'warmed up') but the thing is, it came so frustratingly close to being something truly great.
It's almost brilliant, just... not quite. Longer, more powerful launches, a wee bit more speed, a tad more height, maybe another cheeky inversion somewhere and we could have had something to give Helix a run for its money.
I mean, it was clearly very expensive, and it's obvious they spent a lot of time and effort in crafting a layout that weaves in and out of existing attractions, but when you stand there and actually look at it you'll notice that there's an awful lot of empty, wasted space directly above Icon's footprint. Lots of headroom, as it were. Why did they stop at 80-odd ft tall for the top hat? 100ft, maybe 120ft and the entire ride could have had a lot more oomph. It's not like they wouldn't get planning permission either, it's not even as tall as Infusion.
If only they'd utilised more of that space for some taller elements, higher speeds and bigger drops. Imagine diving down into those tight spaces from a greater height, rather than just meandering around them.
So yeah. A good coaster, but I'll always be mildly disappointed that it wasn't something better.
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Mega Poster
The only thing that's bad about Icon, in my opinion, are the two launches/gentle pushes. I was properly disappointed with the launches when I first rode, they're just so forceless and forgettable. I think the top speed could be a little higher, but it's mostly the lack of acceleration that kills it. I'm not saying they should be Top Thrill levels of acceleration, but at least blue fire would've been nice!
Agreed. It's not a terrible coaster by any stretch, but in my book a launch coaster needs decent launches.

Then again, I was similarly underwhelmed by Helix, so what do I know? I even scored the fabled front row on the last train of the night and still didn't get the hype.


Hyper Poster
While I think it is underappreciated as it is a good coaster and a great fit for Blackpool, I feel it was a missed opportunity for a world class coaster.

The UK has some great coasters, but when it comes to world class, best of there category and known around the world I think only Nemesis falls into that for the UK.

There are not many parks here that can build a world class coaster so there are only a few chances for us to get one, Flamingo land are getting a 10 inv B clone so a good coaster but not world class and it will be a while before another investment, Thorpe we are waiting for and can they live up to the hype, Alton have a good shot but with height restrictions and space will there next coaster be more family/thrill again? Other than that you have some parks that could but are unlikely to and many parks that are focusing on family's now.

Blackpool had the chance to make a world class coaster but they didn't, they went for a great coaster with some good forces and elements but nothing that gave it a wow on the world stage personally and I think that's why people dislike it.

I went in hoping for my UK no1 and something that could be one of my favourite coasters, I came out saying that was good, nice ride, but that was it. I hope one day something can beat Nemesis for me in the UK and I hope I don't have to wait to long for it. While I think its very unlikely to happen I'm hopeful for the London resort to go ahead as they could have world class coaster but also pressure Merlin to step up there game and do the same.
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Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
As others have said its good but falls short of being great. On paper its an excellent ride and I genuinely think something as little as a 5/10 mph increase in both launches would see it become a snappy taronesque beast but currently its just too gentle and refined. That said it still sits in my top 3 UK coasters so it does a job!


Staff member
Social Media Team
@Ian couldn't have said it better. 100% agree with every word of his post.


Giga Poster
I think as others have alluded to as well, I think just because a ride is "over-rated", it doesn't mean it is "under appreciated". So those are an interesting two choices.

Icon does what it needed to do. A new, modern ride which intertwines around many other rides in the park. It compliments the park's ride line up too. And unless I'm mistaken, it is still the only inverting coaster in the UK without OTSRs. I don't think that should be overlooked when one 'appreciates' what it is.

Personally I think the ride is a bit meh. Not my cup of tea. Doesn't really offer much, does it? It launches, gives you an okay pop of airtime, meanders around, launches again, and meanders around. And there's an inversion somewhere. There's just nothing memorable for me. It's not a bad ride, and I think the fact I'd consider it one of the weakest modern launch coasters out there more speaks volumes about the quality of launch coasters these days.

And that's the crux of it: launch coasters, especially multi-launch coasters, are some of the best received rides out there currently. In a saturated market of a ride type, there ultimately will be rides which will be lower down the pecking order. And that's what Icon probably is.

Luca B

Mega Poster
Maybe it's just me, but I haven't heard much hype surrounding Icon recently, and I feel like it has become pretty fairly rated. In terms of UK coasters it's my favourite, but outside of that, it's a decent multi launch with a couple great airtime moments however it suffers from particularly weak pacing. Mack did a solid job with the land they had to work with, and it works well as a family thrill coaster, but on the whole the ride is nothing special.


Strata Poster
Yeah I think initially it was massively over-hyped (and somewhat rightly so based on both Helix/Blue Fire, and it being the first big ride in ages at BPB) and that was always going to impact on the initial reviews of it.

I think it's perfect for the park, yet not what they needed. It's a really, really good ride that adds to their offering, and provides a modern, inverting and comfortable coaster that still has all the charms that BPB has. The interactions with other rides, and how they've managed to squeeze it in, are frankly incredible and aesthetically it's gorgeous.

It didn't grab the headlines I think they needed a new ride to do, and it does feel like they played it a bit safe - but it's the first ride I'd choose to go to if I went back there.


Strata Poster
It's ok. The renders made it out to be quicker and therefore it's been a little bit of a let down among enthusiasts.
Just remember that it's a Mack, and Mack don't do forceful launches so it was never going to be up there with the Intamins or S&S's of this world.
It has done the job it needed to, best coaster in the park by quite some margin, but unfortunately that wasn't a high bar to begin with.


Hyper Poster
I think I can maybe bang this in here & yes it's certainly a very long stretch but BPB have listed 7/8 of the floor panels off the trains on the retail store which seems rather alot and they don't look worn at all could maybe could this be Mandy getting a spinning seat?
I think if it were to come true which frankly I don't think it will, I personally think this would improve the ride experience.

A normal ICON ride for me is ok, not personably my taste it's a bit too tame with the layout & launches however my favourite section is the Immelmann to the off axis airtime hill.

Don't get me wrong it absolute crawls round like a lethargic slug in the morning but when warmed up I do think it's what Blackpool needed, a more family thrill coaster with good throughputs (when they want), a silky smooth ride compared to lets be honest everything else there and some people's first introduction to a proper lap bar on an inverting coaster