Friday, October 24, 2008

Celebration City Closing Forever

Herschend Family Entertainment has announced that they will be closing the Celebration City theme park for good. The park's last operating day will be tomorrow, Saturday, October 25th.

The cause of the closing is a "shift in business strategy," however the company" is already exploring various new development concepts for the site including an aquarium, other family attractions, re-theming the current park and also, destination retail and dining."

A fair guess is also that economic issues are at play as well, keep in mind that Herschend just postponed Dollywood and Silver Dollar City's (then unannounced) new for 2009 attractions to 2010 due to concerns over the nation's economic status and the cost of materials.

All Photos © Carol Holmes

The nighttime theme park first opened in 2003 in the busy tourist area of Branson, Missouri. Highlight attractions include the Ozark Wildcat, a GCI wooden roller coaster, and the recently added Roaring Falls - the splashdown ride from the now defunct Geauga Lake amusement park. The park features some very nice early 20th Century American theming as well.

No word yet on what will happen to the park's amusement rides.


dwitos079 said...

I hope cedar fair buys those millennium flyer trains.

DrewJ said...

I had an opportunity to visit Celebration City soon after it opened. I think it was just a few months old when I was there. I, regrettably, didn't take it. Oh well. I guess not every person can get to every amusement park.

I hope they pursue the 'destination retail and dining.' I think that atmosphere would fit Branson very well. They would just need to get a great show in there. That would provide people with a great place to eat, enjoy a show, shop, and hit a few rides. I think they could pull it off very well.

Chris said...

What a shame that the newest theme parks all seem to be failing. Closing this park seems consistent with Herschend's new strategy of diversifying to different markets (read: Valdosta, GA) instead of building up investment in any one location. It's a little surprising, though, that the only park in the chain to receive a new attraction next year is Wild Adventures. I'd love to see the rides spread out across the chain, and in a blue sky world I'd love the wooden coaster to make its way down to south Georgia.

I've been meaning to make it to Celebration City. The Main Street theme always appeared to be attractive in a Walt Disney's hometown sort of way. I don't see them selling the land very quickly in this economy; perhaps that would signal some sort of hope. Also, announcing the park will close only a couple days before closing date seems this decision was made out of haste and was NOT a part of any long term strategy.