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Geauga Lake Discussion Thread

P. 130: Park land purchased for retail, dining & commercial development

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I only got one ride on BIg Dipper; and that was pretty lucky. I made my only visit to GL during what ended up being their last season and at first it didn't look like it would open for the day. Thankfully just before we were about to leave the park in the late afternoon to head to Cedar Point it opened and we got a single front seat ride. I found it to be a very fun ride; it was smooth and gave some really good floater airtime. It was actually my favorite ride of the day (Yes, better than Dominator even). So I guess for that reason I'd rather see the ride saved than not. But that probably says more about the lack of top notch wooden coasters I've been than the actual quality of the ride.

 

I find it interesting how Cedar Point has over the past decade or so gone from being an icon of the amusement park world, a mecca for coaster enthusiasts, to being regarded in such a low light. I think its similar to a band getting too much airtime on the radio/TV, so people with "non-stream tastes" disregard it by default as being too commercial or selling out... I personally still love to visit Cedar Point, its not my favorite park in the world but they have a great coaster collection and I never run out of things to do while there.

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All in all, Geauga Lake could not survive today. It was a piece of history, like so many others, but wasn't enough to be profitable anymore. Everyone talks about the old parks and not wanting to see them disappear, but most of them are going and spending their money at the bigger parks anyways, because they offer more.

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All in all, Geauga Lake could not survive today. It was a piece of history, like so many others, but wasn't enough to be profitable anymore. Everyone talks about the old parks and not wanting to see them disappear, but most of them are going and spending their money at the bigger parks anyways, because they offer more.

 

I highly disagree. Waldameer is just as old as Geauga Lake, and smaller, and is thriving. Kennywood continues to keep the nostaligia factor going while still adding new additons. GL could still survive with a little bit of new investment. Cedar Fair failed to do so unless you want to say that cornhole in 2007 was a major addition to the ride side.

 

Those two parks co-existed for over 100 years. As much as CP tries to be more family friendly it will never be. For them it's all thrills, thrills, and thrills. They are best known for their coasters. GL could have continued to balance the Northern Ohio market as being more focused on family attractions just like Kennywood and Idlewild co-exist and still being owned by the same owner.

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The other thing is, the park during the Cedar Fair years was really too big. A park of that size needed to be pulling attendance figures larger than 700,000. That doesn't mean that it was a bad park (I always enjoyed the place quite a lot!), and it may have survived if it weathered the downsizing. But it didn't, and it really wouldn't have made sense to keep it running in its 2007 condition. By that point, everything was lost. Nothing that anyone can do about it. Business is business, and life goes on.

 

Not to open up a can of worms, but one question: We all know that CF bought the park to shut it down. But was an explanation ever given for why the closure was announced AFTER the season had already ended as opposed to during Septemberfest or some earlier time in the season? In hindsight it was pretty obvious that 2007 would probably be the last season for the park, but I know that the closure was surprising at the time and was in ALL of the papers in the area, and Big Dipper continues to come up in the papers. But why AFTER the season?

 

*ducks from the crazed Geauga Lake conspiracy theorists*

Edited by BigDipper 80
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Do other theme park chains leave garbage strewn over 700 acres of property? No.

Have you see Six Flags New Orleans lately? Or what about Celebration City? In fact, even Disney does it. Ever taken a look at the River Country property? Or what about the current remains of Pleasure Island?

Edited by robbalvey
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^Nope, nobody is as evil as Cedar Fair. Everything they do leads towards the destruction of time space continuum. In fact, they're responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And while we're at it, let's blame the economy on them, too. Since their food prices are so high, it's made everyone poor.

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I only got one ride on BIg Dipper; and that was pretty lucky. I made my only visit to GL during what ended up being their last season and at first it didn't look like it would open for the day. Thankfully just before we were about to leave the park in the late afternoon to head to Cedar Point it opened and we got a single front seat ride. I found it to be a very fun ride; it was smooth and gave some really good floater airtime. It was actually my favorite ride of the day (Yes, better than Dominator even). So I guess for that reason I'd rather see the ride saved than not. But that probably says more about the lack of top notch wooden coasters I've been than the actual quality of the ride.

 

I find it interesting how Cedar Point has over the past decade or so gone from being an icon of the amusement park world, a mecca for coaster enthusiasts, to being regarded in such a low light. I think its similar to a band getting too much airtime on the radio/TV, so people with "non-stream tastes" disregard it by default as being too commercial or selling out... I personally still love to visit Cedar Point, its not my favorite park in the world but they have a great coaster collection and I never run out of things to do while there.

 

I couldn't agree more with everything you said - a very well written post!

 

Cedar Point is like the Metallica of the amusement industry. As soon as they got lot's of press, sold a million records and released a video (which they said they would never do), all the die-hard fans turned their back on them and called them a bunch of sell-outs...even though they were still churning out some pretty decent music while trying to appeal to a wider and more diverse crowd.

 

Back to GL...I certainly wish that I could have also gotten another front seat ride on Big Dipper - the floaty airtime just took me by surprise and was definitely my fave ride in the park alongside Dominator.

 

While I never visited the park when it was Six Flags (I did once before when it was the old Geauga Lake back in the 80's), I was very excited when they bought the park and were making an attempt to turn it into a mega-resort. But as soon as SF sold it and CF swooped right in and bought it, I also knew that it wasn't going to last which is why I made one last attempt to hit the park during it's final year.

 

That was the first time that I have ever went to an amusement park by myself. It was somewhat of a surreal day as the park was dead on a Saturday (save for the busy water park)...you could see that the public (and CF) had seemingly given up on it. I can certainly see why CF thought they could turn a profit at the water park though (at least on that day), that's why I am a bit surprised to learn that there are rumorings of it possibly being shut down.

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sigh...

 

http://www.wkyc.com/news/state/ohio/news_article.aspx?storyid=148409&catid=23

BAINBRIDGE -- It appears that the dreams of saving Geauga Lake's Big Dipper roller coaster will not become a reality, as the owner announced Tuesday morning that the coaster will be demolished in the near future.

 

 

In a brief email sent through his representative, the owner wrote: "I am the owner of THE BIG DIPPER (sic) roller coaster in Aurora, Ohio. I have determined that the deadline for the sale of The Big Dipper cannot be met. I have decided to demolish the Dipper and end the existence of this wonderful roller coaster. This is a painful but necessary decision."

 

The deadline had been set for Sept. 15.

 

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair closed Geauga Lake's amusement park in September 2007, leaving its Geauga Lake Wildwater Kingdom in operation.

 

It sent some of the amusement park rides to its other parks, sold some of its rides to other parks, then held an on-site auction for the remaining rides and artifacts.

 

The park sprawls across both Bainbridge and Aurora. Some of the other rides that were up for auction included: the Double Loop coaster; two SkipperLiner paddle wheel boats; the Intamin Space Tower; the Chance Pirate Ship; the Eli Scrambler; the Raging Wolf Bobs coaster; the Mack Himalaya; and the Sansel Flume.

 

The owner, who remained anonymous, had an agent buy the Big Dipper for him during Cedar Fair's on-site auction of the rides and artifacts at the park on June 18, 2008.

 

The Big Dipper sits on land located in Bainbridge in Geauga County, according to land records.

 

Since Cedar Fair has yet to sell the park's land for re-development, it has allowed the Big Dipper to remain standing on the site.

 

After the auction, the owner had offered the Big Dipper for re-sale on several coaster sites and, most recently, on eBay.

 

After the eBay auction closed last week, he set Sept. 15 as the deadline for another buyer to come forward and buy the Big Dipper from him or he would have to go forward with demolishing it.

 

While the Big Dipper was on eBay, the owner answered questions posted on the site.

 

He said he had a deep love of the Dipper and had ridden it with the girl who would later become his wife and that was his reason for trying to save it.

 

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair owns amusement parks and attractions all over the United States.

 

As of late last week, neither Bainbridge Township nor the City of Aurora had approved a demolition permit for the Big Dipper. Cedar Fair still owns the land under the structure.

 

Cedar Fair was contacted for comment.

 

CedarPoint/Geauga Lake Wildwater Kingdom spokesman Robin Innes said, "Cedar Fair does not own the ride. We have not been notified about any plans to demolish the ride. We have not received any information about any complaints about the upkeep of the property."

 

Innes added that the property is still available for sale for re-development.

 

The Big Dipper opened in 1925, after being designed and built by John Miller at a cost of $50,000, and was first called the Sky Rocket. In the late 1940s, its name was changed to the Clipper.

 

In 1969, park officials renamed it The Big Dipper. In 1980, the Big Dipper was completely rebuilt. Its trains have four cars with three rows each, seating two abreast per row.

 

The sign on the entrance to the Dipper still reads: You must be at least 48 inches tall to ride this ride.

 

What a farce, right from the start.

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Edited by robbalvey
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Wouldn't it be cheaper just to donate the ride to ACE or someone who would like to save it, instead of pouring more of your own money into it by paying for a demolition permit, a company to demolish it and then haul the scrap away? How much money could you make off of 30+ year old scrap wood, nails, bolts, etc...?

 

I understand that ACE does not have the money to buy a roller coaster, then pay for the move and reassembly or storage of it. But if the person just gives it to ACE for FREE, then ACE could spend the time to find someone to buy it or try to raise money to pay for the move, and possible rebuild if Cedar Fair does not allow it to stay were it is. They would have longer than Sept. 15th. They would have until Cedar Fair sells the land or says the ride has to go!

 

 

Doesn't that make sense?

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Wouldn't it be cheaper just to donate the ride to ACE or someone who would like to save it, instead of pouring more of your own money into it by paying for a demolition permit, a company to demolish it and then haul the scrap away? How much money could you make off of 30+ year old scrap wood, nails, bolts, etc...?

 

I understand that ACE does not have the money to buy a roller coaster, then pay for the move and reassembly or storage of it. But if the person just gives it to ACE for FREE, then ACE could spend the time to find someone to buy it or try to raise money to pay for the move, and possible rebuild if Cedar Fair does not allow it to stay were it is. They would have longer than Sept. 15th. They would have until Cedar Fair sells the land or says the ride has to go!

 

 

Doesn't that make sense?

No. And I really don't have the time to go into it why it doesn't. But it's a lot...LOT more complicated than you make it out to be. It's not like you're just giving someone a DVD to hang on to or something, you're talking about handing over the rights to giant expensive object, that comes with all sorts of various complications, that would be a huge undertaking to re-locate, and is sitting on someone else's property.

 

It's like someone just gave you a broken 747 airplane that was sitting in a public place, and now you have to deal with it. You're responsible for all the costs associated with it. It doesn't work. It doesn't fly. It's not attractive to any buyers in it's current state. It would require a significant investment to get it operational. And at some point someone is going to come along and tell you to move it. GOOD LUCK!

 

Make more sense now?

 

It really comes down to this -

 

If someone WANTED the coaster. If someone ACTUALLY THOUGHT IT WAS WORTH BUYING. Someone would have bought it and you'd see it operating in a park.

 

The reality is...it's worthless.

 

Other than some great memories you might have had riding it. Outside of it's current location...it's worthless.

Edited by robbalvey
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I can't help but wonder, however, how these economic times play a role. If this were at the height of the "coaster wars," would Big Dipper already have been moved and currently be operating somewhere else? I guess we'll never know.

The reality is, coaster wars or not, the re-location of a wooden coaster happen so infrequently. In the past three decades I can only think of:

 

Zippin Pippin (2011)

Little Dipper (2010)

Meteor (2007)

Starliner (2007) (and gone again by 2010)

Mr. Twister (Kind of) (1999)

Arkansas Twister (1992)

Wildcat (1991)

Skyliner (1987)

Wild One (1986)

Phoenix (1984)

 

That's only 10 coasters in 30 years. According to RCDB, they say that about 90 woodies have closed, been demolished, or are SBNO in that same amount of time.

 

The ratio of a woodie being saved and re-located is not very good.

Edited by robbalvey
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I actually always did like Big Dipper and enjoyed my rides on it, although I don't know how it ran in it's last few years; it had been a LONG time since I actually rode it. I'm imagining this is probably what's going to happen to Starliner. Though I hate to say this, but I don't feel like that would be a tragic loss if it was never relocated. I guess they may be pretty similar coasters, but it seemed like Starliner was just a lot less fun. Oh well.

 

-Justin

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I can't help but wonder, however, how these economic times play a role. If this were at the height of the "coaster wars," would Big Dipper already have been moved and currently be operating somewhere else? I guess we'll never know.

The reality is, coaster wars or not, the re-location of a wooden coaster happen so infrequently. In the past three decades I can only think of:

 

Zippin Pippin (2011)

Little Dipper (2010)

Meteor (2007)

Starliner (2007) (and gone again by 2010)

Mr. Twister (Kind of) (1999)

Arkansas Twister (1992)

Wildcat (1991)

Skyliner (1987)

Wild One (1986)

Phoenix (1984)

 

That's only 10 coasters in 30 years. According to RCDB, they say that about 90 woodies have closed, been demolished, or are SBNO in that same amount of time.

 

The ratio of a woodie being saved and re-located is not very good.

Haven't you heard about Astroworld's Texas Cyclone? That's demolished years ago.

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