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Which parks have gotten worse over time?


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Ok, still being kinda new to the TPR boards, I still am checking out lots of stuff concerning parks and what people think of them. To be honest, I have not been to lots of parks in recent history, at first due to being broke-ass, and then to being a dad. Mini-history: I grew up in Kansas City and then moved to Florida when I was 12, and so the parks I know and remember (and even love) are-

Worlds of Fun (very nostalgic about that place), Silver Dollar City (Fire in the Hole scared me to death), WDW, Epcot, Boardwalks and Baseball, and I've been to SFGA, Wild Waves in Seattle, Enchanted Forest/Thrillsville in Oregon, and lots of waterparks. Kinda partial to them, really.

 

Ok, the point being is that I hear about some places (for example, Worlds of Fun) and its sounds like that, to a lot of people on these forums, that it has gone downhill, at least from what I remember. And I'm thinking No way, that place kicked ass when I was 10!! But obviously, things change and I want to know-

 

What parks have gotten worse over the years? (And why would be helpful).

 

And what parks have gotten better?

 

Please cite an example why besides- it kicks ass or Duh, it has a Schwarzkopf, which seems to be enough for some people!

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This one is gonna heat up fast I bet!

 

Good question, you're gonna get a lot of good, valid arguments!

 

It's tough. To me, Cedar Point has gone down in quality. They once had probably the best out and back CLASSIC woodie. That's gone now.

 

I haven't been to the park since 2000, haven't really had a reason to go, but I've heard even Gemini has seatbelts and sometimes doesn't race/run both sides/6 trains.

 

Those things (well, not the Blue Streak issue) are minor. When I was there when MForce opened, I didn't find the park to be too much fun anymore (with one horrible woodie and one robbed of it's 'funness'). I do like Corkscrew though!

 

To me, any park with any sort of fast pass thing, is lower quality. I'm sure to others (who have the money) it's a perk.

 

Great America (Gurnee) went down hill for years. Now, it's much better. I'm not a big B&M fan, but those rides are great for capacity and let's me enjoy my rides on Viper, Eagle and Whizzer much more.

 

Indiana Beach has gotten better leaps and bounds over the years (I know, I know, new management, but we'll have to see). They have improved things (such as the Lost Coaster, used to be very rough).

 

SFOGeorgia used to be one of my favorite parks. The Ga Cyclone, GASMachine were damn fine woodies. The Mindbender is and always was great, and this past summer seemed better than ever! That might be because I didn't ride it in so long, getting to used to B&M stuff. But the operation of the park was horrid this summer. I mean employees laying over gates, leaning and hitting E-stop buttons on accidents, denying there is EVEN a 2nd train on GASM; Ga Cyclone was a top 5 ride when it was built, it's a pot-hole filled headache now.

 

Holidayworld! I mean, pop parking and sunscreen included with admission!? That's so cool. The staff there are very by the book these days, and that is a good thing. They manage to be strict but very pleasant at the same time. I've been there almost every year since Raven went in, and the only thing I don't like that has happened was when the buzzbars were taken off of Raven. Other than that, that park has only improved.

 

I'd have to give a BIG thumbs up for Busch Gardens Africa as well. The place has blown up with pretty GREAT coasters, and is run almost Disney-like. Gwazi was a headache, but not due to rough track. It's just those PTC's - I think the ride would run like a beauty with a new set (or 2 new sets) of GCI trains. Also, thumbs up for keeping and maintaining Scorpion. Kumba is one of the very few B&M's I find to be actually thrilling! And they take good care of everything...

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Cool- Busch Gardens used to get a big thumbs down from all the high school kids I knew in Fort Lauderdale back in the late 80's.

 

I gather that SF management can vary wildly from park to park. Is that true? I thought they were centrally managed and would think they would be a little more uniform, in terms of quality.

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I hate to say it, but I think the Magic Kingdom at WDW has gotten worse since I was a kid. The only really great addition they've had since my first visit was Splash Mountain. Aside from that, they took out the sky buckets, replaced Mr. Toad with Pooh, replaced the submarines with Pooh, and created the "nexus of suck". They've also put in some really solid additions like Buzz Lightyear and Philharmagic, but those aren't enough to make up for some of the mis-steps the park has taken.

 

On the flip side, the first time I visited Busch Gardens Kumba had just opened (although I was too little to ride it, I spent most of the day on their flume). Since then they added Egypt and Montu, Gwazi, SheiKra, some smaller stuff, as well as renovated Stanleyville and Congo. Plus, they took out Python! I think that if they still need to put some work into Timbuktu though. Take out Cheetah Chase, put in some newer flats, and put something worthwhile into the dolphin stadium (maybe a dark ride). Overall I think they're really on the right track.

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I agree with everything CC said about Holiday World and BGA. Both I believe have gotten better.

 

But I don't agree that Cedar Point has gotten worse. The newer coasters are superb, and the staff is amazing! They get those trains out FAST, and they usually have some fun interaction with the crowd. Yes, Mean Streak sucks, and the management even realizes that. Read the "What's wrong with Mean Streak?" thread. Some good info in one of the newer posts... I have the same opinion about Dollywood (minus Mean Streak.)

 

I also think SFKK has improved over the years. Their staff is simply the best you can get. I know, I know, they should have E-Stopped Superman: Tower of Power, but they are very fast, lively, and actually act like they ENJOY their jobs! The recent water park additions are very good too.

 

 

The only park I can think of right now that is heading downhill is Kings Island. Paramount began the depreciation of its classic-ness(?) with the addition of several movie-themed rides. Then things PLUMMETED when they put in IJ:ST. That section of the park was once beautiful... now its all, well, you know. I do think Firehawk was a good decision, because it didn't really affect anything back in its location. But I hope some of the beauty and atmosphere KI once had will return... (but I'm not holding my breath)

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^DBru, I guess CP isn't THAT bad. I guess what I meant is that for me, it just isn't that much fun anymore. Also, I have a very large special place in my heart for the Blue Streak. I worked on it 92-93, the last 2 years before the defamation began. They could have put in the brakes and left the trains alone (as they did in '94) but what they did to the trains has totally ruined the rides.

 

For anyone who remembers, or rode it enough, the Blue Streak was one of the best woodies anywhere. It was ALWAYS VERY smooth. It was always very fast. You always got GREAT, REAL airtime on most hill (specially that first speed bump wow!). It was beautiful. Always painted and maintained to perfection. AND when I worked on it we would sometimes manage to get 1,300 riders an hour!

 

I have to agree with Kings Island as well. In the late 80's it was still a blast. I DO miss the Screamin' Demon. I liked King Kobra too (guess the steel was 'bad' - came from Japan). Vortex has a great drop but is a head bash-o-rama.

 

Then the wood coaster rape began. Beast slowed down to a crawl. Racer no longer being painted red, white and blue. Getting headrests. Getting a rough track. Then the worst, getting those awful PTC ratchet bars. And mutant seatbelts than come from the outside of the cars. Racer also lost its last speedhill to more brake space.

 

KI used to be a 'dream park'. I went when Italian Job opened and I couldn't believe what I saw/experienced. I did like the Premier launch coaster w/lapbars, but everything else just seemed to have lost its soul.

 

I'd give a thumbs up to Hersheypark as well! Although I haven't been there much (first time was when Wildcat opened) I think Lightning Racer, Storm Runner and Great Bear are incredible additions. For being a guy that really doesn't care for B&M, I found Great Bear to be a unique suprise!

 

Plus, they have maintained Sooperdooperlooper and Comet, pretty much as they were born. And upgrading the Wildcat trains (well, I have heard mixed reviews, but when I do ride it next, I much prefer the GCI trains). The way it was with PTC's in 2006 reminded me pretty much of Gwazi. A great ride with 'rough riding' trains.

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I think that all the former Paramount Parks suffered with their half ass attempt to create "movie parks".

 

From what I saw they pretty much ripped out Carowinds' soul. All the Carolinas themeing left, all the trees left, we lost the Riverboat, the Monorail, the live shows, etc. The park doesn't even feel the same when you walk through the gate...the atmosphere is gone.

 

Great America and Kings Dominion didn't seem to fair much better either, both lost many of their signature attractions in favor of new coasters and whatnot.

 

When you compare Kings Island to the other three it has actually done pretty well trying to keep itself intact. At least that park still has some dignity. They still have their train ride, for example.

 

I can't really speak for Canada's Wonderland as I'm not too familiar with that park's history and what has changed there over the years.

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Yeah I've been going to Kings Dominion since I was 2. Most of the trees on the left hand side of the park are gone, which leaves little shade. There weren't many there to begin with.

 

I think things have gone slowly downhill for KD, but things are looking up now. The horribly placed Hypersonic is gone, and Dominator is going in, though the location is not the best. Paramount didn't really destroy the park, but made some bad decisions along with the good ones. Hurler's placement sorta made Grizzly less fun. Volcano, while being an okay ride, replaced four other rides (Smurf Mountain had been gone for a few years before that though.) I'm just glad that the park still has some of it's old atmosphere. Avalanche is still there, Old Virginia is still rustic, and the mountain is still around.

 

They could turn around in the next 5 years or so, but I have a sad feeling that the last Mack bobsled in America could be going bye-bye soon.

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I would say Universal Studios has gone down hill. I know a lot of people will disagree, but oh well. They used to have the Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, King Kong, and the Jetsons like motion simulator (I forgot the name.) They also tore out Hitchcock, and the Murder She Wrote show, and put nothing in them. They added Shrek, and Jimmy Neutron, and I don't care for either one of them I also don't really care for the Mummy ride. I don't care for the Simpsons.

 

I have mixed feeling at SFGAm. They take out my favorite roller coaster, but give me a hopefully fun mouse ride like Cheetah Chase. They added the Hurricane Harbor waterpark, but I really think they will charge for it next year (in 2009). They also take out Space Shuttle America which I liked. So, I'm half and half with the park. It's still my favorite park out of all of other parks (because the waterpark is included), but yet they did that to my favorite roller coaster. I can't agree with the low capacity statement anymore as I said in another thread. They are putting in a low capacity mouse ride.

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It's not really fair to say that Paramount ruined the parks. Paramount basically bought the parks but it was still the same people from KECO that ran them and made the decisions. They had new properties to apply to their attractions but I think things would have pretty much gone the same direction with or without Paramount being added in front of the parks names.

 

It is different than Six Flags. Everytime Six Flags changed owners they pretty much brought in new people to run the show and make the decisions (for example Time Warner, Premier Parks and now Snyder's group) The group at Paramount pretty much stayed the same...Jane Cooper, Al Weber and the rest pretty much ran the show until Cedar Fair took over.

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Great Escape-IT hasnt gotten a new flat ride that was not a kiddie ride since 1994, which was a Huss Pirate. We've also lost a ton of flat rides since Six FLags took over such as

 

-The Rainbow

-The Tornado [it was a dark ride thing]

-Ghost town Train

-Nightmare

-Rotor

-Sky Lab

 

Without any replacements.

However, Great Escape has gained in the past 5 years-

 

-Looney Tunes National Park

-Prosilde Tornado

-Canyon Blaster [Oprylands old Rock'n Roller Coaster]

-Wiggles World

 

Most all of the flat rides have also been tamed down a ton...The Condor goes amazingly slow, and runs for about 30 seconds, the Trabant no longer goes backwards, neither does the Cannonball Express [Music Express] The Rainbow was very tamed down, no airtime really and failry short cycle. Nothing can relaly be said for kiddie rides. Also, the Rainbow and Condor have received seatbelts [Complete mystery as to why they were added on the Condor], the Rainbow had a no single ride rule put into place, same thing for the Trabant.

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From what I have read, Six Flags St. Louis has improved a ton since the previous management, but was better when Six Flags originally built it. I personally find SFSTL as much enjoyable as Holiday World if not more.

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Wow, Great Escape sounds kinda bad.

 

There should be an official "tips" page or something where people can post about the little things that may (or may not) improve park efficiency, themeing, and overall park experience. Like, here are 10 things that would make my experience at Great Escape more enjoyable: 1. Lose the seat belts on Condor, 2. blahblah... and so forth. I don't know how useful anyone actually running that park would find it but it could be a laundry list that people could know where to look.

 

Or am I being too naive?

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The thing with this thread is so much of this is about perspective. I have only one visit to TGE and I thought it was awesome and it happened just last year. People in that area probably have a lot different opinion of what happened there. On the flipside, being a lifelong CP and KI visitor I think both have turned into places that make me hate the amusement park industry. For years I have hated how CP looks, but always felt they were run well. My last two experiences there have totally destroyed that loophole and I really doubt when I will be back. Related to that that KI had gotten so bad that I felt it actually had some improvement this last year with the CF accusation.

 

Related to these things, I just got back from SFOG nd thought it was ran just as well as four years ago and found the rides to be excellent. I really question people who don't enjoy the GA Cyclone as I just don't find it rough. At wdw I do miss several of the old attractions, but I feel that the park as a whole is still amazing.

 

Overall I feel as if the overall park experience is down across the board. Like shopping the amusement industry has become a bigger is better sort of thing. Service was lost for more rides, food was increased to cover new additions, and atmosphere was sarcrificed for marketing. For this I blame the customer. We vote with our pocketbook and we prove time and time again that the bigger corporate place is better then the small business. It is true of every industry in our country and parks are no different.

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I agree- it's all about perspective. But if more than just a few people observe the same things, then there can be a consensus reality, in which multiple observers can agree on certain facets of a thing. And if someplace sucks because they lack janitors or because they tore down X attraction and put up Y attraction, well, if a lot of people feel that way, it's probably got some truth to it. Not absolute truth, but something.

 

And people do vote with their pocketbooks but at some point people realize that there's a tradeoff between atmosphere and "corporate soullessness", whatever that means to people. And if you feel a park sucks because they are degrading the feel of a place with some generic brand x ride, then that to me is a perfectly legitimate complaint. And some people might feel exactly the opposite but that's why there's Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb, ain't it?

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Great Escape-IT hasnt gotten a new flat ride that was not a kiddie ride since 1994, which was a Huss Pirate. We've also lost a ton of flat rides since Six FLags took over such as

 

-The Rainbow

-The Tornado [it was a dark ride thing]

-Ghost town Train

-Nightmare

-Rotor

-Sky Lab

 

Without any replacements.

However, Great Escape has gained in the past 5 years-

 

-Looney Tunes National Park

-Prosilde Tornado

-Canyon Blaster [Oprylands old Rock'n Roller Coaster]

-Wiggles World

 

Most all of the flat rides have also been tamed down a ton...The Condor goes amazingly slow, and runs for about 30 seconds, the Trabant no longer goes backwards, neither does the Cannonball Express [Music Express] The Rainbow was very tamed down, no airtime really and failry short cycle. Nothing can relaly be said for kiddie rides. Also, the Rainbow and Condor have received seatbelts [Complete mystery as to why they were added on the Condor], the Rainbow had a no single ride rule put into place, same thing for the Trabant.

 

Compared to the SF parks I've been to it has better flats. At least it had some selection. And its not just coastercoastercoaster. I mean, at least there is selection. I was kind of upset when I found out their sky ride was a round trip instead of transit. (I didn't know.)

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Biggest offenders for me:

 

Kings Island- This park used to be stellar, a must for every summer. It was a really nice park with an awesome ride collection, but in the past five years, the park has fallen into neglect. Son of Beast was the beginning of the end. It was an awesome idea gone horribly wrong. The park began to lose some of its character, and the Cedar Fair take over has only made it worse.

 

Holiday World- As much as I love their wooden coaster collection, overall, the park has gone significantly downhill since the turn of the century. The park has simply grown too fast for its own good. No matter what day of the week I visit, the park always feels uncomfortably crammed due to the small size of the park coupled with the large amount of people that visit daily. And the more they expand to try and cater to this large crowd, the more it starts to feel like a Cedar Fair park. The water park has turned into a giant, foot-blistering, concrete palace pack full with water slides that almost always have an hour wait each. Every time I visit, I notice something new that makes the park feel more and more corporate. Sure, they've added a couple of amazing coasters and the free drinks are awesome, but sometimes, I can't help but miss the days when all the only coaster in the park was the Raven.

 

 

On the fence:

 

Six Flags Great America- Honestly, this is still one of my favorite Six Flags parks, and the addition of Hurricane Harbor was great, but the park has still had a few downfalls. Over the past five years, I've visited this park more than any other, and very rarely have I spent a day where at least one or two coasters weren't closed. Deja Vu was a mistake from day one. Even if the ride had been mechanically sound, it's capacity would have been doomed just from the horrendous loading procedure. Many other coasters have seen better days. Once a top-ten coaster, Raging Bull is just a figment of the ride it once was due to brake raping. The same can be said for American Eagle. Iron Wolf used to be arguably the best stand-up in my opinion, but it has fallen by the wayside so hard that I refuse to ride it anymore. Then you have the new Wiggles World which was stuffed in such an unusual part of the park, it just feels awkward. The same can almost be said about Ragin' Cajun. It's positioning and theming makes the ride look so cheap sometimes, that it seems like it doesn't belong. However, these downfalls are somewhat overshadowed because the park still has some of the best theming at any Six Flags property, and has an atmosphere that I can't get enough of.

 

Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom- First of all, this place has greatly improved over the last couple years! However, the majority of those improvements are just getting it back to where it was before it was flagged. They are finally paying attention to the aesthetic aspect of the park, which was always one of the biggest downfalls. However, most of the coasters have significantly deteriorated (even Chang is getting some nice jolts), and I would prefer that half of them be taken out. T2 is another ride that I refuse to experience again, and the entire Twisted Twins area is the largest, most awkward waste of space I've ever seen in an amusement park. The improvements they are making are huge and I'm really looking forward to what comes about in the future. However, as of right now, I still would take "Kentucky Kingdom- The THRILL Park" over the flagged version.

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I agree with Holiday World. While I love the park, I prefer Indiana Beach now. Every time I go to Holiday World the crowds just get worse and worse. The charm the park used to have is somewhat lost when you're waiting an hour plus for every ride. Don't even bother going near Thunder Bumpers (The bumper boats) on a hot day in the summer! The waterpark has always been one of my favorites, but was I the only persone dissapointed with their "Action River"? It was just a bigger lazy river with a few waterfalls that didn't even hang over the river itself. Their water slides are great, but waiting over an hour for each is not fun. I think the park grew faster than they expected, and they are experiencing growing pains. When I used to visit, we'd always stop by Guest Relations and let them know what a good experience we had at their park. The last time I went, the woman at the window seemed to not care at all what we had to say, and while I expect that at Cedar Point, it just didn't fit my viewpoint of what Holiday World is all about. Family owned, of course, but I hope they don't forget the power of making someone feel like their opinion is listened to and if they had a problem, at least it was heard.

 

I don't want to bash Holiday World, they are a wonderful park, but it's hard to deal with the ever increasing crowds without major park improvements in pathways, food stalls, parking, etc.

 

-James Dillaman

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