Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome to the Wild, Wild West End!

We at NPN have been telling you about it for months, but the good folks at Wonderland Park have been preparing for it for years. Without further ado, they present to you....(drumroll please)....The West End!

This major expansion was a project some 3+ years in the making, and the Wonderland staff couldn't be prouder about declaring the newest section of the park open for business. An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held yesterday to commemorate the occasion.

Paul Borchardt (left), Park President, said a few words to the flocks of reporters and guests who came to witness this historic event in Wonderland's history. He was joined at the podium by (from left to right) his wife Paula Borchardt, Vice President and daughter of founders Paul and Alethea Roads; Alethea Roads herself; the Borchardts' daughter Rebecca Parker, Controller; Rebecca's husband Randy; and the Parkers' daughters Rachel and Sabrina. [Editor's Note: What a lovely name!]

Zoom in on this shot to get a close-up look at that super sweet Hornet tee that the Parker girls are showing off. Even Mom has one!

The actual ribbon cutting honors were appropriately bestowed upon Mrs. Roads, who probably never imagined that she would someday see a 200-foot tall ride installed at her park. (They must have learned from Six Flags' mistake, as I don't see any havoc-wreaking streamers floating through the air!)

As well all know, it takes good people to keep a park's attractions running like well-oiled machines, and this crew was up to the task. Pictured above is the West End's opening day staff, along with a couple members of the office staff. They were energized! The park mascot looks pretty pumped too, although I imagine he must have been pretty bummed out when he discovered that he didn't meet the height requirement for the new rides...

If you've been following our West End construction updates (which were made possible by all the great photos that the park has been kind enough to send us), you already know that this brand new area features three rides. And it just so happens that two of them are transplants from the now defunct Six Flags AstroWorld.

First we have the Hornet, whose previous lives as an enclosed coaster at both Boblo Island (Nightmare) and AstroWorld (Mayan Mindbender) are now a distant memory. This zippy little coaster is now exposed for all the world to see, and loving every minute of it. (And so are its riders, based on their smiles!)

Next we have the Yo-Yo formerly known as "Gunslinger" at AstroWorld. Wonderland has rechristened it "Fiesta Swing", and these riders look ready to party! The last time we saw this guy, he had no seats. But now Wonderland's little baby is all grown up!

Wonderland office staffers (from left to right) Rebecca Parker (Controller), Paula Borchardt (VP), Matt Martinez (Secretary), and Danielle Baeza (Office Manager)

The third and final ride to debut with the West End did not come from AstroWorld, but it's exciting in its own right! Drop of Fear, which has forever changed the skyline of Wonderland, hauls its riders 200 feet up in the air before mercilessly releasing them into the hands of gravity. Looks like some staffers enjoyed the adrenaline rush more than others, MATT!

What else might the future hold for the West End? Well for starters, an article published in a local Amarillo newspaper a couple months ago reported that the park hopes to add a mini bumper car attraction by 2010. But any way you slice it, this was a great addition to Wonderland and its enthusiastic staff members have every right to be proud. From a former parking lot on Wonderland's northwest corner to a cutting edge thrillseeker's paradise, the West End is sure to serve this charming traditional park well for many, many years to come.