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!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Local Government Offers $3 Million Incentive to Help Indiana Beach Reopen

© Indiana Beach
Fans of Indiana Beach have been looking for even a glimmer of hope since it was announced that Apex Parks had closed the park for good.  While current times are making all park openings and reopenings difficult, the say the least, there were two recent good items related to Indiana Beach that came out.

First, local government officials came together to create a $3 million incentive package to help make the sale of the park more attractive to potential buyers.  The money (which includes no taxpayer dollars) would only be given to a new owner after the sale is complete, and the county can add stipulations to the incentive as well.  The hope is to preserve the large economic impact that the park has on White County, not only through to the park itself but through associated businesses in the area as well.

Another recent headline states that it is possible that the park can reopen as soon as 2020.  Apex Parks has stated that they are in talks with potential buyers of the park, though no further details are being offered.  We will have to take their word for it, but hopefully the discussions are real and maybe a buyer can be found.

If so, a 2020 reopening may not be realistic depending on how the pandemic plays out in North America - but even a 2021 reopening for Indiana Beach would be better than never!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Cedar Fair Pushes Park Openings and Reopenings to Mid-May

© Cedar Fair
The current COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world for a loop, and not in the fun way that we ride-lovers enjoy.  At this moment almost every amusement facility in the country is closed, with only a few exceptions still operating.  And that's what is needed now as we all do our part to stop the spread of the virus.  We are all understandably looking forward to later in the year when we can all visit our favorite amusements parks, a bit of hope for park fans indeed.

To that end the chain of Cedar Fair parks, which originally closed operating parks and pushed off opening days for a couple weeks, has updated us once again.  The operator is now updating that parks will open or reopen for the 2020 season in Mid-May, or as soon as they can thereafter.  Both Valleyfair and Michigan's Adventure open for the year in that time period, so they have not been affected as of now.

There's still a lot of uncertainty about how this will all play out, so as the weeks go by there probably will be further updates - especially from other operators like Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and Six Flags.  We have seen some parks in China start to reopen in the past few days, which is another hopeful sign.  The time period of the parks being closed in China, assuming they all start to reopen soon, does generally match a mid-May or early June opening for parks in America.  However, that's a giant guesstimate and the health of the population is far more important at this time.  Hang in there!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

More New Photos of Dorney Park's 2020 Addition Seaside Splashworks

© NewsPlusNotes
Finding myself with plenty of time on my hands, it seemed like a good day to go check out Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom's Seaside Splashworks construction.  Luckily the work site is easily visible from many businesses across the street, so it doesn't take too much effort to get photos like these!

Above is a photo of a big section of the structure for Seaside Splashworks, if one thing is for sure it is that the addition is adding a lot of color to this part of the park!

© NewsPlusNotes
Zooming in a bit further we can see a lot more detail.  The large 317 gallon tipping bucket is towering over the structure, ready to pour down over the blue roof below.  You can also spot a lot of tipping bukets and other interactive features.  There's also brown posts that will be capped with faux palm trees later on in the construction process.  Seaside Splashworks carries a general beach theme, which is becoming more and more evident as new signs and decorations are being installed.

© NewsPlusNotes
The further end of the structure features a nice entrance sign along with some smaller slides for kids.  You can kind of see an enclosed green slide in the lower left of this photo.  There will also be a two-lane yellow kids slide installed, that piece could still be seen laying in the parking lot awaiting its turn to go up.

© NewsPlusNotes
The opposite end is where the slightly larger water slides are found.  The body slides feature two open routes (orange and teal) and one enclosed slide (blue).  This photo also features the backside of the giant tipping bucket with a Seaside Splashworks sign at its top.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Gilroy Gardens Reviewing Plans for Future Growth

© Gilroy Gardens
A Note: Things might be a bit quite in the industry... and the entire world... right now due to the Coronavirus.  While nearly every park around the globe has shuttered for a couple weeks, we'll still look for stories to cover here.  We take the virus quite seriously, but we also know we all need a distraction here and there.

Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, a non-profit park which is owned by the city of Gilroy, California, and operated by Cedar Fair, is currently looking at possible ways to expand and grow their attendance base over the next decade.

The plan was actually formed a few years ago, but the city of Gilroy is once again actively debating what the best move forward is for the park.  In recent years the family theme park, which was originally known an Bonfante Gardens, has added two family water play areas that have been a huge success for the park.

© Google Maps
Part of the original expansion plan was to build an adventure park on the undeveloped hillside adjacent to the park - seen above.  The park has also toyed with further expanding their water park attractions to further grow their attendance base.

Per this recent story, the park is still operating profitably, however with very thin margins.  The Board of Directors for the park want the city to give them a plan for the future, which includes new additions.  Since 2011 the park has only invested $8 million in new attractions.

The most recent additions made a big improvement for the park's numbers, with attendance of 457k in 2018, up 50k over 2017, and 410k in 2019.

A recent analysis of the park, published last November, said that if both the expanded water park and the adventure park were built the park could draw 400k more visitors, gaining some additional $25 million in revenues.

While no firm commitment on expanding has been reached, it would be nice to see this small, community based park thrive in the future.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Dorney Park Shares a Look at Seaside Splashworks Progress

© Dorney Park
For those of you who have been checking in on Dorney Park's live webcam, you've probably noticed that the park has made mega-progress on Seaside Splashworks in the past two weeks.  Wildwater Kingdom's new-for-2020 family water fun house play area is a colorful, modern and huge replacement for the water park's former Island Water Works.  Featuring multiple levels of play and tons of interactive features it will keep visitors busy for hours this summer.

© Dorney Park
And speaking of the park's webcam, I noticed that workers are diligently adding more to the structure even on the weekend, with new sections going up each time I check in.  You can keep tabs on the work via this link.

© Dorney Park
Dorney Park shared two panoramic views of Seaside Splashworks' progress on social media.  The pictures speak for themselves, but you can get a good idea for how large the structure is.  As shown in the original concept art, Seaside Splashworks has one taller section with the dumping bucket and three slides coming off of it, but then extends outward for quite a distance to make full use of the island's layout.

© Dorney Park
This means that much more of the island will be utilized by the addition than the attraction it replaces.  You can also see in the webcam that the park has installed many poles to have large shade structures installed throughout the island, which will be a great plus for families.  The island has long been many visitor's favorite home base due to its relaxing nature... that might be just a bit busier come this summer!