Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Deeper Look at Rye Playland's Proposals

The next step in deciding the future of Rye Playland was taken this week, when the county legislators held a public forum where the potential operators of the classic amusement park were able to present their plans and answer questions.

As reported before, the four contenders are CAI Parks, Standard Amusements, Sustainable Playland, and Paidia Corp (Legoland).

You can actually check out the powerpoint presentations from the county's website for each proposal.  Some of the stuff is what we've seen before, such as Sustainable Playland, but others are showing off a bit more.

As an amusement park blog, I'm not really too concerned with playing fields and other things that are a part of all this, so I'm going to focus on the ride side of these plans.  Sustainable Playland wants to remove half the rides and scale back the amusement park, replacing many of them with a "great lawn."

Paidia Corp, which would make it a Legoland, had almost zero specifics in their presentation about what would happen to the current park.  They seem a bit unorganized as far as that goes, and I have to say that I can never see the very protective county legislators allowing them to come in and raze everything for the usual Legoland rides.  I just don't see this one panning out.

Standard Amusements, who is also involving former Cedar Fair COO Jack Falfas, only says that they will build three new rides and water attractions for kids.  With no further details on what those rides are, and if anything would be removed, it's hard to get a feel for how the park would appear.

CAI Parks, which is a part of Zamperla, has a really detailed presentation available, so I thought it might be fun to look at some of their plans.

CAI Parks even has an updated logo for the property created, seen above from their presentation.  They've updated the dragon character that's in the current logo, and modernized the overall appearance of the design.

CAI Parks has a plan designed that would see at least twenty new rides added to Rye Playland.  Some older rides would be replaced during the expansion, but both water rides and the dark rides would remain.  The general layout of the park would only change here and there in order to accommodate the new rides and attractions.  As far as I can tell every new ride would be fabricated by Zamperla.

The first year that CAI Parks would take over Playland's Kiddieland would be the focus of the work, with a slew of new rides replacing older versions.  The park's family coaster would be moved into Kiddieland, and the Kiddie Coaster would remain.  Zamperla would theme many of the new rides to fit in with the historical nature of the park, some examples of which are above.  It looks like eight or so new rides would be added.

In the second year of operation the park would add a handful of bigger, family oriented rides.  Well, perhaps family / thrill rides as a couple of them are more on the wild side.  Additions are shown as a Discovery thrill ride, family Tea Cups, Vertical Swing Ride, Starchaser 'flying' style flat ride, and a Galleon pirate ship.

Some additional big rides are on the list for year three, along with a Wave Blaster bouncing kiddie ride.

A Flying Carousel ride would prominently take up residence in the center of the park, in the middle of the long landscaped promenade that runs the length of Playland.  A Z-Force tower ride would be added, which in turn means that the current S&S Double Shot ride would be removed.  The Electro Spin Mega Disk'O would be added near the water.

A pair of thrill rides would be the focus of year four.  A new roller coaster would be added in the form of one of Zamperla's MotoCoasters.  The ride would take up the space of several former rides, including the aforementioned S&S tower.  Thrill seekers would also be pleased by the addition of an Air Race, a ride that has really taken off for Zamperla in the past few seasons.

Year five would feature another coaster, this time a spinning mouse that would replace the park's current Wild Mouse, which coincidentally is from Zamperla as well.

When all of this is said and done, many of the really historic rides at Playland will still be there.  This includes the Dragon Coaster, Whip (and kiddie Whip), Ye Old Mill, the Derby Racer, Grand Carousel, and the Kiddie Carousel.

Other rides that would remain include the Flying Witch dark ride, the Ferris Wheel, Super Flight, House of Mirrors, Zombie Castle, Plunge, Log Flume, and the Auto Scooter bumper cars.

Renovations to the pool area would include a water playhouse structure, complete with dumping bucket.  The uninspired min-golf course would be replaced with a more adventurous version as well, complete with rockwork and additional theming.  CAI even has a plan for the children's center that is being developed, along with the famous ice casino.  Also in the works is an eight year plan listed for completely restoring all historic colonnades and towers that are an integral part of Playland's architecture.

The entire 142 page CAI Parks proposal can be downloaded from the KeepItPlayland website, which they have set up with plenty of information.  They seem to really, really want to take over the park and I'd be lying if I said they didn't seem to have a solid plan in place.  I mean Luna Park and Scream Zone certainly seem to be doing alright!

It sounds like a final decision on an operator could come in the next few months, so it semms like 2014 is the first year that any new operator will have the reigns at Playland.