Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Big Chief Karts & Coasters 2000

I bet some of you took one look at the title of this post and wrote it off as some podunk park in the middle of nowhere that you had never heard of. But you have heard of it--trust me! Just nix the "Big Chief", add an L, Y, M, P, and U, remove 90% of the letters and 100% of the ampersands in "Karts & Coasters", rearrange what's left, and tack a "Mt." onto the front, and what do you have? Mt. Olympus! See how easy that was?

The amusement resort formerly known as Big Chief Karts & Coasters may not have been branded a "theme park" back in 2000, but it certainly quacked like a duck. In this year alone, the park added a brand new children's area called "Kiddie Wonderland" which included six new rides.

In an apparent effort to merge the park's Native American-inspired name with the owners' Greek heritage, they adopted the slogan "Chief God of All Rides". [Fun fact: The "Big Chief" name originated from a Native American statue that used to stand on the site of the Laskaris family's first business venture in the Wisconsin Dells, a hot dog stand.]

The roller coaster gods had certainly descended upon this park by the year 2000. But before all that, waaaaay back before Zeus was even a twinkle in CCI's eyes, there were go-karts. LOTS of go-karts. The Laskarises, who continue to own and operate Mt. Olympus, have operated go-karts in the Wisconsin Dells for decades. Through the years they have pioneered many innovations in this arena, including the multi-level go-kart track.

Here's our preview of Zeus and friends. Not a steelie to be seen in this line-up--All three major coasters (Pegasus, Cyclops, and Zeus himself) that existed at Big Chief in the year 2000 were constructed of wood. This spread also highlights a couple of the park's most notable go-kart tracks. The Trojan Horse track features--you guessed it!--a tremendous wooden Trojan horse, while the Poseidon track actually takes you underwater! (What was I saying about the Laskarises being innovative?)

Note the ratio of go-karts to rides. While this would change quite dramatically after Big Chief rebranded itself as Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, go-karts continue to be an integral part of the park to this day.

On a side note, I find it highly amusing that they chose to hyphenate the word "Coaster" in the description of Zeus when the entire word easily could have been moved to the next line. Leave it to me to find a grammatical anomaly in a park map. It's a curse, I tell you!

Here's a look at the elaborate facade of King Arthur's Arcade. What was billed as the Dells' largest arcade in 2000 has since been removed to make way for the numerous expansions the park has seen over the past decade. This park has certainly come a long way since its days as Big Chief Karts & Coasters. If you check out today's park map, you would hardly even recognize it!