Fantasy Island opens for new season

Fantasy Island theme park family resort in Ingoldmells opened for the new season on Saturday, (March 14) with a spectacular opening season extravaganza which saw thousands of people flock to the resort.

After being placed in administation on August 4 last year, Fantassy Island’s Director of Finance, Claire Draper was optimistic for the forthcoming season and the future of the park, owned by Conduit Skegness Ltd.

Staff at Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells launch their 'Ride for Ryan' campaign fundraiser at their Opening Season Extravaganza with special guest Ryan Smith and  father Mark Smith and family.

Staff at Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells launch their 'Ride for Ryan' campaign fundraiser at their Opening Season Extravaganza with special guest Ryan Smith and father Mark Smith and family.

She explained that ironically, being placed in administration had been a ‘good thing’ for the park, by providing it with a clean-slate to improve the park with a new vigour and strategy.

From March to November around 80 new jobs had been created out of around 120 staff, made up mainly of local people and providing new roles such as ‘meet and greet’ staff to enhance visitors’ experience.

Claire said: “ We are in administration and intend to stay trading throughout the season and beyond and hope this will be our best seson yet.”

“Each year we expect to attract around three million visitors and intend to increase that number. Today has been a good start as it has been the busiest and most successful opening season party’s to date,” she added.

The opening season event also introduced the park’s charity of the year, the Ryan Smith Foundation which promotes cycle safety and has campaigned for the compulsary wearing of bike helmets and all staff on the park proudly wore a bike helmet throught the day to support this message.

“”Ryan is extremely well known in the local community and we can help the foundation spread the cycle safety message to all our visitors,” said Claire.

The park will open at weekends until opening for business full-time from Easter.

While in the close season, the park has seen significant t6echnological improvements to the rides, ensuring that they are in good working order for the season and different areas of the park have seen face-lifts with resurfacing of car parks, and refurbishment of toilet facilities.

Under the administration of Duff and Phelps the resort has been able to restructure financially and the park has also introduced a number of new initiatives to help the family theme park provide its customers with a memorable visitor experience.

Attractions Manager Sean Knott said: “ The park has introduced a major focus on customer service and through conducting various surveys we have listened to what our customers have said.”

“Of course the safety of our customers at a theme park is paramount, however, we are making sure that all staff realise that the customer comes first and oyur job is to make them feel special.This seasonwe are also introducinga new schme, the ‘Wet Weather Guarantee’ which means that if two or more of our rides close because of the weather conditions we will give them a free day’s voucher to come back.”

Assistant Entertainment Manager Ruth Brennan, introduced the new entertainment staff on the day and declared the entertainment on the park will be “bigger and better.”

Sharing an entertainment team with nearby partrners Coastfield Leisure the entertainment team, including dancers Bethan Williams, Jenna Shaw, Tamzin Croot and Beth Warwick will entertain visitors with pantomimes, UV light shows, variety shows with lots of comedy and the Fantasy Island’s filly-voiced resident mascots, twin brothers Pirate Jake and Jimbob as well as cabaret shows in the bars and tributes to acts such as The BlackEyed Peas.

The bars on the resort will vbe managed and run in conjunction with Coastfields Leisure LTD.

Fantasy Island opening extravaganza

The opening season extravaganza delivered a full day and evening of entertainment for all ages with wristbands for rides on the park on sale for just £5.

Special guest for the day Ryan Smith and representatives from the Ryan Smith Foundation were present on the day to declare the park officially open and oversee some of the fundraising cycle competitions taking place such as the one run by by New Era Gym

With plenty of live entertainment on offer all over the resort, including music from star of BBC One’s The Voice, Moni Tivony and free prize draws and giveaways the finale of the opening season event saw a spectacular firework display.

Special guest Ryan Smith said: “It’s been a great day raising awareness, I’ve been on all the rides like the Volcano ride and tired myself out.”

Ryan’s father Mark Smith said: “ A big thankyou to fantasy Island , all the staff and everyone for supporting the foundation and helping us spread the Ryan’s story and the importance of cycle safety. I just don’t want anyone else to go through what our family has had to.”

Operations Diector at Fantasy Island, James Parker was similarly delighted with how the opening event had gone as his colleague Claire Drapere.

He said” There has been some intensive work going on at the park to bring it up to standard, with the key to provide a good time for our customers. Staff morale at the park is fantastic and everyone is now pulling in the right direction, following the initial shock of entering administration, we now have a committed workforce taking ownership of the challenge to becoming a better business and we’ve really hammered the imprtance of customer service home.”

“The aim is to continue to trade for the rest of the season, until at some point the business will be marketed for sale, until a buyer is found.”