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Geauga Lake Discussion Thread

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

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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.

 

Also, Comet (1994). I felt like mentioning that one since it was a relatively successful move. It's interesting that the move that kicked off this minor trend of woodie moves, Phoenix, was the most successful.

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That just makes me sick, but still not surprised about the outcome of Big Dipper. I also wonder about the fate of Raging Wolf Bobs which is also still on the property.

Isn't RWBs already partially demolished? I'm pretty sure I remember seeing pictures of the ride with some parts already taken down. I definitely don't recall anyone really making a fuss over that ride being torn down.

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That just makes me sick, but still not surprised about the outcome of Big Dipper. I also wonder about the fate of Raging Wolf Bobs which is also still on the property.

Isn't RWBs already partially demolished? I'm pretty sure I remember seeing pictures of the ride with some parts already taken down. I definitely don't recall anyone really making a fuss over that ride being torn down.

 

RWB Wasn't built in the 1920's, wasnt one of the original major rides of the park, and had almost no actual history beyond being tamed into nothing by a massive reprofiling

 

Another factor?

 

The Well-hidden-but-soon-to-be-very-public owner bought the dipper for 5,000$ or so at auction, this was no secret to anyone

 

he then tried selling the ride for something like 100,000$, and then 65,000$

 

Needless to say, people don't want to give him 10+ times what he paid for it, given the amount of work that would be required to move the ride

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Ok guys, this thread is not a "Hey, let's correct Robb about the list he posted because I'm dorkier than he is and I know every single splinter of wood that has been re-located and BY GOD I'm going to let that guy know about!" thread.

 

It's about Geauga Lake and more recently about Big Dipper getting demolished.

 

I posted my list to MAKE A POINT...not to invite a bunch of corrections.

 

My point was made.

 

If I made a mistake here or there, fine. No one is going to be a "hero" for correcting me and it doesn't change the point I was trying to make.

 

If anything, you guys are just pushing this thread off-topic and pissing me off for doing so. So please keep it on topic discussing GEAUGA LAKE!

 

--Robb "And no, I didn't forget about Kings Solomons Mines, I just didn't feel like listing it..." Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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Honestly, the loss of a classic coaster always saddens me. However, I understand that it isn't practical to save the Big Dipper. Basically, this sums up my mindset: I didn't go of my way to support its preservation, but if it had somehow "magically" been saved I would've been pleased.

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As much as it isn't a surprise, it's still sad to see a piece of Cleveland history disappear. That's what it really was, not a fantastic roller coaster that enthusiasts would go crazy over, but rather a piece of history and a local favorite. If people weren't interested, it wouldn't constantly pop up in local newspapers for the past three years. And it always gets the big color pictures. I think that there would have been no point in trying to move it anywhere, because frankly, it wouldn't mean anything to very many other people outside of the area. Just because no one actually came up with a feasible solution on what to do with it doesn't mean that it was worthless. But really, it's only home was Geauga Lake, and it looks like that will be the only place that it ever operated. Perhaps it is best that it stays that way.

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Maybe I'm just strange! I mean, I hated Shivering Timbers but I love Wolverine/Wildcat...

 

I L-O-V-E-D the Big Dipper. It has been on my Top 5 favorite wooden coasters since I first rode it about 7 or 8 years ago. The last time I rode it was about 6 years ago and it was still in my Top 5 (albeit at #5). That is out of probably about 50 wooden coasters -- a few of which are no longer standing. Those of you who feel it is "no big deal" are probably those who did not consider this coaster among their favorites. Think about your 5th favorite coaster and then think about how you would feel if it were being ripped out before you criticize those of us who loved this fun coaster!

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To borrow a line from Cedar Fair Spokesman Robin Innes: "It's a very special ride. We want to make sure it has a proper home." Guess that proper home is meeting the wrecking ball.

 

I didn't believe that the first time I heard it.

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It's really sad. The Big Dipper, was different than, but on par with Screechin' Eagle from 1989 on, as the best woodie in Ohio - hands down. That's how I always referred to them, the best woodies in Ohio (but different from one another).

 

Next one was Blue Streak, until 1995, and I will NEVER get over that one. It's very sad to me, having worked on BS in 1992/93, then to see how the trains were 'updated' by PTC (massacred). In a huge park of that significance, to not be able to keep ONE CLASSIC COASTER, baffles and saddens me, so I should stop here about Blue Streak.

 

It's all been said about how CFair is a corporate business, etc, and it's true. It brings back the anger and sadness from when they initially shut down GLake, with no notice.

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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."

 

I would have to assume that this is an attempt by the owner to see if he can guilt trip someone into buying the coaster at an inflated price. It seems like he is trying to play his cards as a "buy it, or I tear it down" threat to someone whether it be a major amusement chain, coaster enthusiast group, or anyone that may have some sort of sentimental attachment to the coaster. It's the "if we can't buy and sell at a maximum profit, it get's torn down and we sell the land for future expansion" way of business...simple Capitalism and economics. I will be most interested to see how many times this coaster goes up for sale, or how long it is SBNO.

 

If they do tear it down, it will suck. I really, really liked this coaster and had envisioned it on the beach at CP, but it's not the end of the world if it doesn't happen.

 

Like Robb said, not every coaster is going to be rescued from a defunct park. It sucks to those of us that may have a sentimental attachment (think BBW) to a coaster, but it is all going to boil down to financials (relocation, parts, maintenance, profit, etc) and what makes the most sense to the businessman (or corporation).

Edited by Philrad71
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That's really too bad...but what are you gonna do?

 

I saw this coming, honestly, back when GL first closed. Doesn't make this announcement any less painful, but in truth, Big Dipper was an Ohio coaster. It would have just been out of place somewhere else.

 

Goodbye Big Dipper, and thanks for the fond childhood memories.

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^ Sad but true.

It will be missed, but the cost of relocating the coaster really is not worth it.

And genuine replacement parts are also likely to be scarce.

 

Such as?

 

I mean other than the trains & perhaps the control system(if it weren't updated) there isn't all that much difference in terms of the structural makeup of the ride.

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Okay, so let's look back 21 years here for a momment. When Crystal Beach closed in 1989, the Comet was taken down and stored at Fantasy Island. In 1993, the owner of the Great Escape purchased Fantasy Island and had the Comet moved to Lake George where it would be re-opened in 1994- he then re-sold Fantasy Island.

 

If I remember things correctly, ACE wanted to buy the Big Dipper, but this guy out-bid them and then tried to sell it back to them. Why doesn't he crate up the ride and save it for when the economy is in better shape? It worked for the Comet.

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Okay, so let's look back 21 years here for a momment. When Crystal Beach closed in 1989, the Comet was taken down and stored at Fantasy Island. In 1993, the owner of the Great Escape purchased Fantasy Island and had the Comet moved to Lake George where it would be re-opened in 1994- he then re-sold Fantasy Island.

 

If I remember things correctly, ACE wanted to buy the Big Dipper, but this guy out-bid them and then tried to sell it back to them. Why doesn't he crate up the ride and save it for when the economy is in better shape? It worked for the Comet.

Again, you make it sound sooooooo easy! I mean, if it was this simple, one of us should just go out to the park with hammer and nails and just take it down ourselves!

 

But the reality is this - do you have any idea how much space even putting a ride in storage takes up? It's not like you can just go down to your local "Public Storage" and grab one of those "2 bedroom units", you need a full warehouse to store this thing! Think about it, the trains alone would take up a good sized two-car garage, if not maybe even more.

 

Then you'd have all the parts associated with it - control panel, brake sections, maintenance areas, lift motor, chain, etc, etc...and we haven't even gotten to the actual ride structure yet!

 

And then you need to hire people to take it apart...CAREFULLY...so it could be re-built. You need to hire people to haul it to the storage area, you can't just throw it in the back of a Uhaul, you know. It would probably take many, many full sized, 18-wheeler truck loads to get this to a storage location.

 

Then, once it's stored, you have to continue paying for that storage facility until you find someone who would be interested in the ride. Storing the parts for a GIANT RIDE is not going to be cheap. Because if you want the parts to not be affected by the weather elements, you need to store them indoors. Look what happened to Starliner and Meteor when they were stored outside for a few years. They pretty much had to be re-build from the ground up.

 

Then that company would have to be willing to spend the money to have all those trucks haul it to their location...and I'd be willing to bet it that, hypothetically if someone DID buy it, they wouldn't be in the Cleveland area, so it would be trucked out a good distance.

 

Have you ever moved across town, or even across country? You know how much it costs to move a 2-bedroom apartment? It's not cheap.

 

And even if you DID find someone to do all of this, let's not forget that the ride has now been sitting dormant...rotting away because there hasn't been a maintenance crew to take care of the ride in 3 years. And the ride isn't going to get in any better shape over time in storage.

 

All of this adds up to a very un-realistic opportunity for Big Dipper.

 

--Robb "Not trying to be the Debbie Downer, but trying to teach you all just a little bit of reality when it comes to this stuff." Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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I am kind of sad over the loss of the Dipper, but the reality is that it isn't cost effective to move the ride. The best possible solution to "saving it" would be to allow it to stay at Geauga Lake where it belongs. Sadly, it seems the people that hold the power seem dead set against this option.

 

From what I remember, a developer in the Cleveland area submitted a proposal for a portion of the land that incorportated the Big Dipper into the new development. Historic structures being incorporated into new developments can "boost" a new development and give it an edge over the competition. This has been done in the past, two come to mind. The Giant Dipper roller coaster out in california that is now in a shopping center, and I also recall reading where some of the historic building from Elitich Garderns were retained and incorported into a new development which took place on the parks original site. But anyway, I apologize for possibly veering off topic; the proposal I mentioned above was withdrawn shortly after the Dipper was sold to its current owner. I have to be honest though, I'm curious to see what that development would have looked like.

 

Well whatever the outcome, I still have a lot of memories on the Dipper; i'd have to say it was the only coaster I've ridden that I got bruised on and it drew blood from me. Gotta love those bunny hops at the end of the ride w/ the head chopper effect! But that's a story for another time.

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I find the very emotional and heartfelt posts (both here and on the geaugalakeparktoday.com site) very interesting when contrasted with the very blunt, pat-on-the-back nature of posts from the admin Robb. I have no history with this park or rollercoaster, but certainl can understand the attachment to a ride as storied and old as this one.

 

While it was tagged as a brilliant business move (with solid factual backing) by Cedar Fair, it really does seem incredibly cut throat and a great example of not being worried about PR. From the cheap seats, it does seem like the new owners of the park could have really cashed in, while appeasing the emotional locals, by running the park one more "final" season. While the overall plan to eliminate a potential real rival should be applauded, business-wise at least, I certainly don't know how you can give a clean pat on the back to how Cedar Fair conducted their acquisition/quick closing of this property.

 

As far as the ride, it does sound like nothing more than a greedy dude (thinking that he had perfect timing to make some cash) getting burned on an intended flip. I read a lot about ACE, and all of their plaques and self-importance, so it seems very strange that they had little to nothing to do with this whole fiasco. What will be interesting to find out is if the blowhardy owner of this ride ends up parting out and selling key parts of this coaster (something he said he'd never do). I'd imagine he HAS to, right?

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^Robb knows the score, and knows how obvious CF's intentions were from the very start. If Kinzel wants to hide behind the poor excuse of "it was a business decision" then let him suffer the consequences of his "decision."

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