Coaster review: Wild Mouse

Wild MouseThe Wild Mouse is a bit of an unusual roller coaster.

More of a genre than a specific coaster, the Wild Mouse (or Crazy Mouse, depending on the translation – there are many of them all over the world) is a tightly confined coaster, occupying a small physical space, and typically taking the form of a cuboid.

This review is specifically about the Wild Mouse at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It’s the kind of thing legend, or at least folklore is made of. It’s been there since 1958, albeit with some modifications sincem but that makes it over 50 years old! And still running.

The picture really doesn’t do it justice. True, it doesn’t look like all the fancy new-world coasters. In fact it looks a bit drab. But looks can be very deceiving…

It’s probably the ride that made me a coaster-fanatic many, many years ago. I remember as a boy going on this particular ride, and going back on again, and again, and again. I’ve been back to Blackpool at various points in my life, and always make a point of having another go.

Wild Mouse (Blackpool) Coaster Vital Statistics

  • Type of ride: Wooden coaster
  • Top speed: 35 mph
  • Track length: 1266 feet
  • Riders: 2 in-line
  • Ride time: 1:30 minutes
  • Inversions: 0
  • Height requirement: 52 inches
  • Opened: 1958
  • Manufacturer: Frank Wright

In this incantation of the Wild mouse, you sit in a two-seat in-line car. Apparently this is unusual for the genre, but I think it really makes the ride. The car is very narrow and your knees are against the side of the car, especially if you are the rear-seat rider.

The continuing attraction of thisfor me is the sheer violence of the ride. This one really is not for the faint-hearted or the infirm of joint.

Just about every coaster in the world sells itself in an almost comical fashion; “Do not ride if you have Heart Problems, Neck Problems, Seizures… like anything, Split Ends or a Cold.” There are so many times I’ve looked at these warnings and thought, “Yeah right!”

Not so with the ‘Mouse.

DO NOT go on this if you have back/neck problems or probably any of the other things they talk about in the warning. In fact, probably best you just don’t go on it. You almost certainly won’t be able to handle it and probably won’t come out walking straight, if at all.

OK, with the warning over, what actually happens? Let me tell you.

The compactness of the track is the key to this ride. The drops are not huge, but the majority of the turns are solid, right angle corners which give the impression you’re going off the side of the coaster and then throw you hard into the side of the car as it takes the bend. Hard = pain. The proximity to the other rides and the compactness of the track structure give the impression of speed; even though it’s not in the same league as other, more modern coaters – you can see from the picture, it’s not got the height to get the momentum of something like the “Big One”, and it has no other propulsion methods.

We start by coming out of the station on a little incline with a couple of right angle corners into the chain lift, to get some height for what is to come.  At the top of the incline, we have a quick 90o bringing us close to the neighbouring ride, followed by a drop, and a quick zig-zag, building up the impression of speed. Then a couple sharp turns and  drops, followed by a quick jaunt over the queuing future-riders.

As if your bones and joints were not already sufficiently pummeled, your masochistic trip still has a tad to go. Another mini chain-lift leads you into a couple of violent twists and a final semi-hidden dip, where you leave your seat momentarily, before ‘almost crashing’ into the structure again and a final right-angle, neck-snapping turn brings us back to base.

Verdict?

Old skool coaster – rockin’!

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