Pontin’s new owner said he plans to bring a touch of Disney-style magic to the traditional UK holiday resorts as part of a £25 million makeover.
Britannia Hotel Group, which owns the famous Adelphi hotel in Liverpool, bought Pontin’s out of administration for a reported £20 million last week, safeguarding 850 jobs.
Britannia owner Alex Langsam told The Observer that he wants to reinvent the parks as themed seaside destinations for pre-teens, although he plans to keep the famous ‘bluecoat’ entertainers.
Mr Langsam said Pontin’s five resorts – in Brean Sands in Somerset, Camber Sands in Sussex, Pakefield in Suffolk, Southport in Merseyside and the Welsh resort of Prestatyn Sands – are in “wonderful” locations but he plans to introduce Disney-style cartoon costumes and attractions alongside the famous “bluecoat” entertainers.
He told the newspaper: “The most important thing for me is getting some of the kiddie generation in, getting the kind of stuff kiddies like into parks on a large scale.
“The bluecoats will stay, because if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. But there will be people dressed up in all sorts of different ways, too.”
He said he would try to emulate some of the things that are done so well at Walt Disney World in Florida.
He added: “If I go to the Disney site in Florida, I’m back to being a child. It’s the adults that enjoy it as much as the kids.”
Pontin’s called in the administrators in November after a drastic fall in bookings, despite the UK holiday market being boosted by the weak pound, which encouraged more people to holiday in their own country.
Pontin’s was started when Fred Pontin opened the park in Brean Sands in 1946. At one point, the Pontin’s empire stretched to 30 parks.