By Brady MacDonald
Los Angeles Times staff writer
5:30 AM PDT, September 7, 2012
Wallace & Gromit are heading to the beach for a grand day out filled with cracking contraptions, Wensleydale cheese and family-friendly thrills.
Set to open in 2013, the $7.8 million Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic dark ride at the United Kingdom's Blackpool Pleasure Beach will whisk visitors through the world of the eccentric cheese-eating inventor and his anthropomorphic dog.
The 4-minute ride will feature a dozen scenes inspired by the animated short films starring the beloved British claymation characters, including "A Grand Day Out," "The Wrong Trousers," "A Close Shave" and "A Matter of Loaf and Death."
Aardman Animations, which produces the stop motion clay animation films, will work with the design and engineering team at the family-run seaside amusement park to build the world's first Wallace & Gromit ride.
Nick Park, the Oscar-winning animator who created Wallace & Gromit, visited Pleasure Beach with his family as a child and still lives about 20 minutes from the park in Northwest England.
"It's not a hair-raising, terrifying ride but a family-friendly ride," Park told BBC Radio after turning down offers from other theme parks wanting to build Wallace & Gromit rides.
The new Wallace & Gromit dark ride continues a shift from roller coasters and thrill rides to branded family attractions at the 42-acre Pleasure Beach, which opened in 1896.
Thrill-O-Matic will replace the Gold Mine dark ride, which closed at the end of the 2011 season after 40 years in operation.
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