Monday, November 10, 2008

Four Out The Door

Well todays announcement that Cypress Gardens will close all its rides & animal attractions, and return next march as the traditional park + gardens makes it the fourth park to operate in 2008 that will not operate in 2009, the list includes:

Cypress Gardens
Celebration City
Hard Rock Park

I don't know why but this most recent one got me a little bit depressed. I have never been to Cypress Gardens & will probably never go, if I were to go I'd probably be more interested in the famous gardens then the small collection of carnival style rides. I think what made me depressed was the fact that I thought this was the right direction for the park to be a mixed bag of animals-rides-slides-gardens. I'm sure you will see some of the coasters & flats pop up at other parks (I really hope they do keep operating the Starliner & Island In The Sky, as I think those would fit in well). I don't think its any coincidence that the central Florida amusement park is closing its doors Sunday and the entire amusement industry will be in Orlando the next day for IAAPA (ie, the people that will be buying the used rides just put on the market).

I think even though the land will be used for something else, that the Ozark Wildcat will probably operate again at the same plot of land. Maybe if they went to a nighttime shopping/dinning area with the wooden coaster as the marquis attraction, that could be sucessful. Or hell, what aquarium couldn't use a nice GCI.

Astroland is the closing park that I care about the least. Coney Island is a dump in a bad part of NY. I wouldn't want to be there after dark. The Cyclone will continue to operate, which is the important one. While I'm not sure if any of 'Thor Equities' grand plans for Coney Island will ever actually develope, I would rather give them a shot at a possibility then whats there now.

I've blogged about Hard Rock Park numerous times and still feel the same way: I called the closing & would have liked to try Nights In White Satin & Bohemian Rhapsody Fireworks.

While I think the collapsing economy was a contributing factor in the closing of most of these places, I think it just quickened the inevitable.

If you add 2007 defunct parks of Geauga Lake & Wild West World that would be 6 parks in 2 years closing the doors. But what is the reason. There were parks that changed long time parks to something that wasn't profitable (Geauga/Cypress), there were "If You Build It No One Will Come" (Wild West/HRP), a park in the way of progress (Astroland), and a Nighttime only Amusement Park that didn't pan out (Celebration). I think if you look at all of them it proves just how hard it is to open a new park or an old park marketed as a new park.

Maybe its just consolidation of the industry or natural selection weeding out the weak, but whatever it is there are less parks then the year before and less then the year before that. Now to end this depressing blog with a depressing quote someone told me last week:

"Things Are Always Darkest Before They Go Completely Black"


Tim Kretschmann said...

I went to Hard Rock Park this year and I'm putting together a Walk in the Park for you. I hope to get to it soon!

Pat McCabe said...


I'd love to see a guest AWITP vid from that park!!