After travelling through the fire and the flames onboard the Wicker Man ride at Alton Towers only a few weeks ago, I had caught the bug. I’ve never been to Blackpool Pleasure Beach so in the rare british sunshine with a buddy of mine we headed off to the beach to check out ICON, the brand new £16m rollercoaster at the resort.
I’ll start off by saying that when reading this review if you haven’t been on the coaster you may find some of what I’m about to say hard to believe. But rest assured the second you get on there you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Photo credit – Sean Evans Back to the Movies (www.bttm.co.uk)
First and foremost the styling of the ride is beautiful, we thankfully attended the park on a day so quiet it was basically empty. There were no queues for any of the rides so we walked right up to ICON, went straight inside and straight on the ride for the first time. The ride was so incredible that we rode it again two more times including a ride at the front.
The UK’s first ‘double launch rollercoaster’ accelerates you out of the station as fast as a Formula 1 racing car reaching over 50mph in 2.25 seconds with heights of 88.5ft and with drops of up to 82ft. The cart instantly hits a steep climb straight out of the station with an equally steep descent as the ride rolls, loops and spins its way through surrounding attractions at the resort. I loved how the track just flowed so beautifully through the park as we passed over and under other rides in operation.
Just when you think the ride is over the second launch catapults you towards a loop. Loops in many rollercoasters send you flying through them so fast you don’t even realise you’ve been upside down. ICON takes this cinematic moment and puts it in a slow-motion movement but at the same time you don’t feel like you’re ever upside down, everything feels so, majestic.
The entire track is so smooth, the restraints don’t come over your shoulders they are sat between your legs and you feel so secure, so comfortable and everything feels so flawless through every section of track. I can’t compare the feeling to any other ride I’ve ever experienced. You feel carefree, weightless. Almost as if you’re flying rather than restrained in any shape or form.
I’m not a big fan of roller coasters and I loved it! I have a medical condition that causes constant dizziness and just looking at the coaster was enough to put some serious doubt in my mind of going on it and making things worse. The second I was on there, gliding through every swoop and turn it didn’t make my dizziness any worse that’s for sure. Later in the day, I went on the very unstable feeling Infusion. A ride similar to Nemesis at Alton Towers but it just didn’t feel safe. The restraints were far away from my body and with every loop and corkscrew my head was banging against the restraints like crazy. It wasn’t fun whatsoever. ICON, however, made everything feel so effortless, a feeling similar to what all those mattress adverts try to sell you with flying comfy beds as you dream. Yes, it really was that comfy!
With all the above you’d think I’d be falling asleep in such a relaxing experience but don’t misunderstand me. You’re still on a rollercoaster, you’re still dropping and looping and going through some insane G-forces but it’s just, great. Once again, you may find what I’m saying hard to believe as I’m essentially saying a crazy thrill seeking rollercoaster is relaxing and comfortable but I just can’t word it any other way. You end the ride feeling satisfied yet relaxed, at peace with the world. You come off the rollercoaster, look at the crazy twisting and looping track and question if that is the ride you’ve just been on.
ICON was built by Mack Rides of Walkirch and is made of world-class steel transported from Germany. ICON opened to the public on May 25 and it really is a work of art that needs to be experienced by all. One of the smoothest coasters I think I will ever experience and its incorporation into its nostalgic surroundings is a testament to all those involved. So smooth, so effortless. You don’t just ride on ICON, you float, glide and caress every loop, roll and turn. Truly a wonderful, wonderful coaster.