It’s April 2008. Margate’s Dreamland amusement park has been closed for two years. The Scenic Railway, The UK’s oldest roller coaster, has just been the victim of an arson attack that encapsulates how far the dilapidated Kent theme park has fallen. The Thanet council leader of the time, Sandy Ezekiel, proclaimed to the Kent Messenger “This is not the end of the road for Dreamland.”
Fast-forward seven years and you will find that Sandy has served jail time (for misconduct, not arson!) and Dreamland has made a triumphant return. Relaunched in 2015, the amusement park has utilised the millions received in public funding by investing in a complete refurbishment of the park and, in turn, bringing the brand back to life. With a devilishly bold style, Dreamland’s website is easily navigated and succeeds in appealing to different generations. Embracing its rich history, the theme park’s homepage guides the browser through a stylised timeline, spinning a tale of a rejuvenated amusement park.
From my perspective the park’s objective is simple – to appeal to the younger generation and allow the park’s brilliant vintage to shine. In terms of adding value to the park, Dreamland is unrelenting. From a 1920s-themed circus, to a park-wide Halloween overhaul in the form of ‘Screamland’ – Dreamland’s aggressive relaunch is inspired. All attractions are relevant, well-framed and accessible enough to rope in any audience and maximise attendance. They are also enjoying a star power presence with The Foals entertaining in early November. Oh, and since we’re in the realm of music, Marina and the Diamond’s filmed their recent music video “Blue” in Margate’s favourite theme park.
The future promises to be diverse for Dreamland. While we are months from the much anticipated reintroduction of The Scenic Railway, the park is still focusing on developing their range of attractions. Wisely, Dreamland is not sitting still. Work has already begun on the Dreamland Arcade and Bingo Hall, expected to open in 2016. Unashamedly, the theme park continues to aim to draw in different demographics but as it does so it is further cementing its return as an extraordinary Kent landmark. Welcome back, Dreamland.