2020 was the year Dreamland turned 100 years old and we had planned to celebrate in style, but sadly our centenary didn’t turn out the way we hoped. We stayed open throughout the pandemic (where Government guidelines allowed) for private hire, commercial filming and photography, but repeated lockdowns and tight COVID-19 restrictions, meant we were unable to operate our amusement park rides and indoor entertainment attractions (Octopus’s Garden or Roller Disco).
Now that Government lockdown restrictions have eased, we are delighted to be able to announce the reopening of Dreamland from 27th May 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 21st June, 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.
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. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we remain in a good position and are fully focused on a positive 2021 and beyond.”
If you are a member of Dreamland, you will already have had an email from informing you we are refunding the remaining months membership fees due to the change in operation this year. If your previous email from us happened to go into your junk mail all you need to do is complete and return a refund form link here: https://www.dreamland.co.uk/membership-refund-form. Refunds are calculated by the remaining time left on the membership from 24 March 2020.
We thank you for your support and commitment to Dreamland, your good wishes throughout the pandemic really touched us. We cannot wait to see all your smiling faces back at Dreamland where they belong.
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