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Very sad news as this man lived and breathed Waldameer, which is reflected in its daily operations.  Sure, there were some issues with guest violence in recent years, but that seems to be happening everywhere these days (even WDW). You could tell Mr. Nelson loved this park.  My condolences to his family and the Waldameer staff.  

Waldameer has great people in place to continue the park's recent rise, so I look forward to seeing what the future has in store to carry on what Mr. Nelson has built.  

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  • 7 months later...

Well, that didn't take long: Waldameer says residents of Village Mobile Home Park have until Oct. 31 to vacate property


Waldameer says residents of Village Mobile Home Park have until Oct. 31 to vacate property

Waldameer Park and Water World, which purchased Village Mobile Home Park in May of last year, plans to close the 14-acre park at the end of October.

Steve Gorman, president of Waldameer, said Millcreek Township and the residents of the park were notified by letter on Thursday that residents have until Oct. 31 to vacate the property.

Gorman said there are about 50 occupied homes in the park, which is located on both sides of the driveway that leads to the parking lot on the southwest corner of Waldameer, 220 Peninsula Drive.

The park, purchased for $2.65 million by Paul Nelson, the park's former owner who died in May, was acquired with possible expansion in mind.

But for now, those plans aren't specific.

"As of this date, we do not have a Waldameer expansion plan, but we plan to offer parking in some unused area of the (mobile home) park this summer," Gorman said.

Gorman confirmed the park is working on plans to add new attractions that could be rolled out over the next two years.

"We have made some good steps forward," he said.

Notifying residents

Gormon said the law requires that residents of a mobile home park be given six months notice to vacate the property. Waldameer opted to give residents of Village Mobile Home Park nine months.

"We have provided information for people if they want to seek assistance and contact information for various agencies that can help with their situation or with housing," he said.

The mobile home park was transferred May 1 from the estate of Dominic Adiutori to Meer Village LLC, which was controlled by Nelson.

Not surprised to see this move being made sooner than later. Waldameer maxed out their parking + overflow a couple of times this past year. This is great news for their ability to expand the parking and also continue any plans towards expansion in the future.

Excited to see what happens over the next 5 years.

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There are absolutely some upset locals, but that's understandable.  If the park has any desires for any sort of expansion there are going to be some annoyed people.
I'm curious to see what they do with the space and how it will all be utilized.

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  • 2 months later...

Was browsing the internet yesterday and I found Spider on a used rides website asking for $65,000 and being available in September which right at the end of the season. Call me crazy but I think Spider could be removed at the end of the season and be replaced by something cooler! I'll post the link down below if you want to read more but already some intriguing stuff before the season starts!!


Link: https://irmrides.com/product/eyerly-spider-2/

Snapchat-2072760885 (1).jpg

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I can't think of the last time I rode spider.  I'm not surprised they'd remove it, but I'd almost expect Wipeout to be removed first, it seems to give them issues every year (but they have done a lot of repair work on it lately

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Not super shocked seeing the Spider listed for sale. It seems there has been a lot of downtime in the past couple of seasons, and if I recall correctly it was down a large part of one of the past seasons because it was awaiting a new motor?

There aren't many Spiders left out there and Eyerly is long gone so I would imagine parts are more scarce to come by. At least with Wipeout, Chance is still in business and likely still offers OEM parts for anything related specifically to the ride.

Curious what will replace it though as it's a pretty small plot for most modern flat rides outside of "kiddie" territory. Gorman did mention that an addition for 2025 would be "something new and something big" so we'll see.

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^Spider has had exactly one full day of downtime between 2022 and 2023. While not the most efficient ride in the world, it regularly ranks dead last among the "major" rides in terms of ridership. If staffing gets tight, the least popular attractions are trimmed first, but in recent seasons this has been less of an issue.

Mechanically, the parts that experience the most normal wear are not OEM and can be replaced fairly easily.

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Thanks @ajfelice. Good insight to have.

I guess my memory failed me but not all that surprised as the years seem to fly by anymore and COVID seemed to throw a weird time gaps and strange relativity into my recollection as of late.

The Spider used to be the favorite ride of my wife and I when we were dating, though that was over a decade ago now. It was one of the few "thrill" rides I could get her on (somehow I married a non-enthusiast).

Wasn't there a season where the Spider was out of commission almost the entire season for maintenance, or am I mixing this up with another ride?

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Some good insights from Steve Gorman prior to the season starting on May 4th: https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2024/04/23/waldameer-park-water-world-erie-pa-steve-gorman-offseason-upgrades-2024-new-attraction-2025-season/73328368007/


It's almost time for Waldameer. Park president shares thoughts about the season ahead.

Jim Martin (Erie Times-News) - Published: 4:44 a.m. ET April 23, 2024

Summer is still more than six weeks away, but amusement park season arrives in Erie soon.

Waldameer Park & Water World — minus the water park for the first month or so — opens its gates May 4 for what will initially be a weekends-only schedule to kick off its 128th year.

Gearing up for the season takes both time and effort. Construction crews and park employees were busy earlier this month preparing the Millcreek Township park for guests.

The May 2023 death of Paul Nelson, the park's longtime owner, left Steve Gorman, the park's president, in charge of daily operations.

In a recent interview with the Erie Times-News, Gorman 63, talked about the upcoming season and plans for the park.

Getting Waldameer ready for the 2024 season

Question: What needs to happen between now and opening day?

Answer: We put away everything in during the winter. Now we have to get everything back out of storage, disinfect it and test everything, get all of our supplies in.

Does it feel like a lot?

It's always a lot. Its a challenge for our few year-round workers We increased the number from 20 to 24 this winter. Hopefully we will increase that total over the next several years.

The search for 600 summer employees

As we sit here today, on April 11, how close are you to being fully staffed for summer?

We would (ultimately) like 600. We are probably at 350 right now. We are a little bit ahead of where we normally are this time of year. I am comfortable right now with our number of returnees.

Why is staffing a challenge?

One of the biggest challenges we face is the staff level that we require seasonally. There are only so many people who live in our area who are of the age that they would like a summer job. Many parks, even our size, get employees who have J-1 student visas in the summer. We have never entertained it but we are starting to think about it more. The big question would be where would they stay. Some parks have built housing. I don't know if it's worth it for a three-month period.

Did raising wages help address staffing concerns?

In 2021, we learned that was the key. We had to increase our wages to compete more easily. I feel a little bad for the smaller businesses that we have taken people from. I do. I can understand how they can't pay what we do. If you are 18 (or older) we pay $15 an hour. If you are 16 or 17 it's $14. Younger than that it's $10.50.

What's new in 2024?

I know you won't be introducing any new rides this year, but are there things visitors should look forward to this year?

We actually spent like a million-and-a-half dollars this offseason, but it won't be very apparent to most customers There is a lot of blacktop taken up to make the park more accessible to people. Thunder River and Ravine Flyer II control systems are being totally redone. They were just getting old and we were having a lot of nuisance faults. That is almost a million dollars. In Water World, we always sell out of our rental cabanas so we are adding six new ones. We realize some people can't afford that and want free shade. We are putting in six new shade structures so people will have an abundance of shade if they want it.

Anything else changing?

The last thing is we didn't increase any of our admission prices. We felt like our prices are high enough right now. We wanted to see what would happen if we kept them the same for a year.

Coming attractions

Do you have plans for any new attractions?

I know what it's going to be for the season 2025. It's not completely solid yet, so I can't tell you.

Wet or dry?


What else can you tell me?

It's not going to be a roller coaster. In our attraction portfolio, it will be right in the middle. Both individuals and families are going to like it.

In 2021, you expressed concerns about security after issues with a small number of guests causing disruptions. Do you feel like the problem is in hand?

I am hopeful we can continue (operating) where we have a free gate admission. It's really up to the guests. If they come here with the intention of having a good time and enjoying themselves then everything is going to be fine.

A new planning process

Paul Nelson was big on mapping out long-range plans for the park. How has the planning process changed?

The dynamic has changed because Paul had the most experience. He started here at 11, so he literally had 70 years' experience. He was the idea generator and I helped him implement those ideas. Now, I am collaborating with my son Brian and my wife, and Elaine, Paul's wife. We have a meeting once a week and we decide on things together. I don't feel like one person has all the answers. I am a collaborative person. I will say we are trying really hard to make plans for the future. We have the next few years somewhat laid out. We are trying to make sure it all makes sense.

Should people feel confident that this park will remain in the family?

Absolutely. We get offers to buy it by email or in the mail. We just throw them away, like we always have. I am excited about the next three years and what we have in store. I really am.

What's your mood as the season draws near?

It's almost like getting ready for a party. It's exciting and it's rewarding when you work hard and see people having fun when they are here.

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Great interview with Mr. Gorman. Waldameer is in good hands with him at the helm.  

So, new family ride in 2025. Seeing that the park has worked well with Zamperla, my guess is one of those Nebulaz or Windstarz rides that are popping up more and more. With Spider on its way out, maybe this is the plot the new ride will sit on?  

Regardless of what they add, it's great to see the park expanding and continuing to do well in a time where other smaller PA parks were not able to make it (Conneaut, Lakemont).    

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Those are actually the two rides that I was thinking made the most sense in the Spider plot.
I'm glad that Waldameer wants to stay locally owned.  I agree that it does seem to be in good hands.

I was actually walking around by the Waldameer parking lot, to the West of the park, the other day and walked around where the trailer park land is.  I don't think I realized how much extra space this will give the park, it will be pretty substantial.
No clue what the plans will be, but there's a bit more room than I expected from looking at Google Maps.

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It's definitely a deceiving plot of land but it is incredibly massive in relativity to the park currently.

For reference, just rough measurements from maps:

  • Old Parking Lot (off West Lake Road): ~5.69 acres
  • New Parking Lot (off Peninsula Drive): ~10.18 acres
  • Mobile Home Park: ~15.4 acres

As mentioned, it's rough measurement, but both parking lots combined (~15.87 acres) is just slightly bigger than the newly acquired mobile park plot.

My hope for the future is that the MHP plot is used to expand parking and the West Lake lot is slowly pulled back and the area used for park expansion.

It not only unifies the parking lots, but you could maintain the parking lot entrances we currently have (connect the West Lake entrance into the westward expanded Peninsula lot). Expansion to the west side of the park keeps the rides section growing without segregation, can bring Steel Dragon into the fold from it's current "outside the park" feel, and can keep the picnic areas where they are without messing with the beautiful vegetation and ambiance it currently has.

The only suffering piece of losing the West Lake lot would be quick and easy access to Rainbow Gardens during the offseason.

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12 hours ago, BitterOldHag said:

Great interview with Mr. Gorman. Waldameer is in good hands with him at the helm.  

So, new family ride in 2025. Seeing that the park has worked well with Zamperla, my guess is one of those Nebulaz or Windstarz rides that are popping up more and more. With Spider on its way out, maybe this is the plot the new ride will sit on?  

Regardless of what they add, it's great to see the park expanding and continuing to do well in a time where other smaller PA parks were not able to make it (Conneaut, Lakemont).    

Well, if they're going with Zamperla, this would make an interesting replacement for the Spider, hm?  https://www.zamperla.com/product/zarantula

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  • 2 weeks later...

Made a trip out to Waldameer on Saturday for Opening Day. Thunder River was closed for testing (a sign was posted stating it would be closed all weekend), the Flying Swings were down, and Chaos was suffering some sort of issue but was running early on.  Aside from that, everything else in the dry park was operational.

The main thing I noticed was the extensive amount of new wood on Ravine Flyer II.  The entire turnaround on the opposite side of Peninsula Drive looked like it had new wood and there were other sections that appeared to be new as well.  The result was the smoothest ride I have had on RFII in years, and it was never really a brutal ride to begin with.  So kudos to Waldameer for their incredible upkeep of one of the best wooden coasters out there. It was so good it crawled back into my Top 5. 

Mr. Gorman was out and about making sure things were going smoothly. He even "assisted" me as I purchased my Wally Points for the day. Always nice to see a park president out mingling with the common folk!  :)  And speaking of Wally Points, I think the park added new kiosks over by the Scrambler and arcade for purchasing them. They looked like those slot machines with the big screens that are all the rage at casinos these days.  Nice to see new technology being used as the older terminals (like the one Mr. Gorman assisted me with) are a bit confusing.

Whacky Shack was in prime form with all of the stunts working. Again, props to Waldameer for maintaining this classic dark ride. I rode this first thing when I arrived and there were probably about a dozen people in line. Rode again immediately afterwards and the line had doubled. By the end of my third ride, the line had filled the entire first switchback. Nice to see the Shack is still loved by park goers!  

Rode the Music Express for the first time in several years and I forgot just how fast this ride is. While it seemed a bit bumpy, especially when running in reverse "turbo time" mode, the speed this thing travels at is pretty crazy. 

Rode the train, Giant Wheel and Sky Ride, took in the sights and just enjoyed my brief few hours at the park. The place looked good as usual, the employees I encountered seemed happy, and I look forward to seeing what the park has in store for 2025 (and beyond). 

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  • 2 months later...

Waldameer has confirmed via Instagram that the Spider is being retired as of the end of the season. Shocking other turn is that the Paratrooper is going into storage for a year, but returning in 2025 in another area of the park.


In their previous post, they posted a blurry picture captioned "Twist and Dive into 2025" which appears to be a blurred photo of a Zamperla Nebulaz.


The seem to be pointing out a July 22nd announcement date on replacements and details, so we should know the future plans tomorrow.

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The Paratrooper news makes me wonder if they are going to change the entry into Water World, that's the first think I could think of when I heard they were moving that ride.  It will be interesting to see what they do there.

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