Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Revolving Door Continues to Turn at SeaWorld Entertainment


© SeaWorld Entertainment
SeaWorld Entertainment is once again making headlines for having yet another CEO suddenly quit their position.  This past weekend the latest CEO, Serge Rivera told the company they were leaving immediately.  Mr. Rivera was only in the role for about 5 months, and in a filing with the SEC, SeaWorld noted that he left due to disagreements with decision making influence of the company's board of directors.  This is the exact same reason the prior CEO left as well.

The board of directors is led by Scott Ross, who's personal investment company owns about 35% of SeaWorld Entertainment overall.  His involvement in any decisions made for the company are substantial, it is reported, which continues to cause rifts with leadership.  Fans of the parks and their animals are concerned that the company's future could be in doubt due to the current method of operations, with open letters asking for Mr. Ross to be removed now circulating social media.

For the time being, SeaWorld Entertainment has made Marc Swason the Interim CEO once again.  They state that they will not be pursuing a new CEO until they reevaluate the position when the parks are open again.

Additionally, the leadership team will take a 20% pay cut for the time being, which comes after they furloughed 90% of the company's employees April 1st, giving them no pay and cancelling their health benefits.


Sunday, April 5, 2020

From The Vault: Wildwater Kingdom 2011 Brochure


© Wildwater Kingdom
Let the good time flow!  This is Wildwater Kingdom's 2011 brochure, and while small it's still interesting to see a relic from a now closed park.  And not virus closed, really totally closed.  Wildwater Kingdom survived after the demise of Geauga Lake until the end of the 2016 season, when it joined Geauga in amusement and water park heaven.

The park opened on the former SeaWorld Ohio land in 2005, and was expanded in 2006.  With the lack of tourism to the area from Geauga Lake closing after 2007, it seemed the timer was ticking on the water park's life.  And indeed it was.

© Wildwater Kingdom
But while it was operating the water park offered some unique features, such as the extremely tall water slide complex Thunder Falls, and a lazy river/activity pool combination that utilized some of the rockwork from a former dolphin exhibit!  The park also offered a large wave pool, water fun house structure, tornado water slide and extensive lounging areas.

© Bing Maps
Here is what the park looked like when it was last operating.  I did not visit the park when it was Wildwater Kingdom (I did as SeaWorld Ohio though), but it looked like a nice property.  The fact that it was once a SeaWorld park probably had a lot to do with that.

© Google Maps
Here is the park in more recent times.  Everything has been removed as the park waits for its chance to be redeveloped into a housing complex, or maybe big box stores or who knows what.  Depressing! Speaking of that, here's a great video with an updates on the redevelopment plans for the park that have yet to materialize.


Friday, April 3, 2020

From The Vault: Adventureland 1996 Map + Brochure


© Adventureland
Hopefully you guys like when we share some older stuff here, because it is looking like there will be plenty more time for me to be digging through the archives...  Today we take a look at Adventureland (Iowa) in 1996, with the park's general brochure and park map.

It's nice to see some smaller and independent parks featured here as well, since they're really (probably really, really) going to need their fans to support them this summer whenever they can open.  The big companies will have an easier time staying afloat during these extended closures.  Just something to keep in mind.

© Adventureland
Anywho, in 1996 Adventureland debuted The Underground, a wildly unique wooden roller coaster that's more of a slow moving dark ride than a coaster.  It was built by Custom Coasters International and lets riders enter the dark former hangout of some western themed bad guys.  Not a very scary ride, as there are really no drops or anything of that sort, but a fun attraction for the kiddos.  If you're looking for thrills, as this brochure suggests, the park's Dragon, Tornado and Outlaw coasters are where the real fun is at!

© Adventureland
The park's map didn't change much through the years.  In fact, it still looks similar (though with an awful lot of additions) in 2020!  Since the park's big new ride of the year took place indoors it was pretty hard to draw it on the map - so I guess in that sense a big black spot worked to help draw attention.  These days it looks like some rocks, grass trees and a cave opening.  Arguably better, but not as attractive as the Monster, a large Gerstlauer Infinity coaster added in 2016!


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Legoland New York Delays Opening Until 2021


© Legoland New York
Citing the "evolving restrictions and guidance of the CDC and state and local governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic," Legoland New York has decided to delay their grand opening until sometime in 2021.  The new theme park was scheduled to open for the first time on July 4th, 2020, and will reveal their exact new opening date at a later time.


© Google Maps
With the country on pause, we've seen all the big theme park players continue to keep their parks closed indefinitely, and the regional players have all moved target reopening dates until the middle of May.  Legoland New York would have come online another six weeks after that, but considering the economic impact the virus will have on the world, it looks like they wanted to rethink that regardless of if the virus subsides in time.

The park has been under construction for some time now, the aerial is from quite a bit ago when buildings were just starting to go vertical.

© Legoland New York
In recent months, Legoland New York has been sharing photos of the park's rides being installed, such as a family roller coaster seen above.  With an original opening date about 3 months from now the park must be in a pretty finished condition, but now they can take a long pause and probably restart finishing construction later on.  Hopefully the greater situation will be better in 2021 for the park to have a successful grand opening.

For now, the park is offering a full FAQ on their website since many day, season, and vacation tickets have already been purchased.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

From The Vault: Cedar Fair's 2005 Unit Holder Offer Letter


© Cedar Fair
A great many moons ago I was a Cedar Fair unit holder, starting from before I could even legally hold the units on my own.  I haven't been in some time (all those dividends and growth helped us get a house!), but back in the day the company would send out a special offer for unit holders each year.

In 2005, the focus was on Cedar Fair's resorts and accommodations.  They had some pretty good offers, sadly I don't think I ever took advantage of them.  Here we see the focus on Cedar Point's offerings, which included Hotel Breakers' 100th anniversary (pre-renovations though) and also take note of Sandcastle Suites - rest in piece.

© Cedar Fair
Cedar Point has long had many different hotels either on property or adjacent to it, and that list has continued to grow in the 15 years since this was sent out.  Lighthouse Point has been expanded even more, and Castaway Bay is undergoing a renovation currently.  The coupons generally offered two nights for the price of one, of course with restrictions on dates.

© Cedar Fair
Cedar Point properties were not the only ones being advertised here though, as Cedar Fair has resorts at many of its parks.  The Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel came with the purchase of the park in 1997, and offers a selection of amenities along with Snoopy themed rooms.  Next up is the Geauga Lake Hotel, which is now just a part of history along with Geauga Lake.

© Cedar Fair
Cedar Fair made a big push on adding camper villages at many of its parks and one of the first to go up outside of Cedar Point was the World of Fun Village.  It was new when this was sent out, so a drawing of the expansion is included along with a really oddly drawn Mamba roller coaster.  The Village is still operating today, though the company's plan to open more camper areas from the ground up never really moved forward much after this development (several did come along with the Paramount Park purchase, however).


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From The Vault: Dorney Park's 1982 Brochure


© Dorney Park
1982 was a wonderful year, but I may be biased because that's the year I came into being.  But it was also the year that Dorney Park debuted a brand new log flume attraction named Thunder Creek Mountain.  Happily, the ride is still entertaining guests at the park today - not a small feat since many log flumes of that era have already been retired.

It's been ages since we had the time to feature park memorabilia like this brochure but suddenly there seems to be a lot more hours in the day!  Granted life will eventually go back to some sort of normal but for now while there is time let's dig in!

© Dorney Park
Dorney Park in the early '80s still was all about Alfundo, and you can see the park's famous mascot clown in the lower left of this image.  And yeah, he's pretty scary as far as clowns go, but we still love him.  Zoorama was still at the park, which is why you see a tiger's face (not something you would associate with modern day Dorney Park!) and there's even a photo of a Fish and Chips stand, something I didn't know was at the park but suddenly miss!

© Dorney Park
Several goodies can be found in this photo montage, and I don't mean those hunky country folk singers at the bottom!  Two of the park's long gone dark rides, the Bucket O' Blood and Journey to the Center of the Earth are prominently featured here - and rightfully so.  There's also newer (for the time) rides such as the Sea Dragon and the Flying Dutchman coaster.

© Dorney Park
Another batch of eye candy can be found here.  This panel shows that variety of offerings that Dorney Park had, not only rides but also live entertainment and goats!  Thunderhawk, just called The Coaster at the time, shows up here as well, along with the splash section of Journey to the Center of the Earth, the park's classic bumper cars and even the new log flume, which was record breaking when it opened.

© Dorney Park
I truly love older amusement park maps, and I'm so grateful that many of Dorney's old brochures feature these beauties.  From the rainbow colored umbrellas that dotted Totspot to the newish Roaring 20s Midway, there's a lot of interesting items on here for fans of the park.  Not all rides are labeled on the map, which almost makes it a bit more fun to try to find them and recall what they all were.

© Dorney Park
And of course since these interwebs didn't exist back in 1982 people had to rely on paper (yes paper!) to know when the park was going to be open and how much it would cost to get in.  The park opened in late April, earlier than they do now, but was closed for the season already by the middle of September.  While an all day ride pass would set you back $8.50 you could hit the park after 6 pm and only pay $6.00 for everything!