I was at the park for an event this past Saturday and just want to fill everyone in on some news relating to the park.
All of this information came directly from Dale Kaetzel (Park President) and/or the park's marketing manager.
Holiday In The Park this year will include 7 additional rides and additional areas of the park, which basically means the entire park will be open for Holiday In The Park! Dale also confirmed that the first year of HITP was a huge success and that the park will continue to celebrate HITP every season going forward (He was very confident about this).
The intention of Hurricane Harbor was vastly to expand the park's capacity and cut down on lines and crowds in the dry park. There are plans to expand Hurricane Harbor but it is not confirmed that this will happen next year. However, he did make it sound like there were plans to expand in multiple phases, so the next expansion shouldn't be the last we see.
Dale feels passionately that a park should not have a second entrance, and that our park will not invest in a back entrance like it used to have.
There are no immediate plans for the area where the Thomas Town train is sitting abandoned, but he feels that the kids play area is vital for small children and mothers that want to take a break, so expect this to stick around and nothing to change in this area in the near future.
The old dolphin show arena/dive show arena/abandoned arena (whatever you want to call it) could never have dolphins again due to its size and serves no other use so expect this to be removed and replaced likely with an expansion of the kids area. It is in the plans but there is no confirmation of what year.
The parks 50th anniversary is on their radar so maybe expect something exciting to happen in 2017.
We may see Great American Scream Machine run backwards again in the near future. That was just suggested though, not confirmed as a "plan".
MonStore is completely gone sadly because Jelly Belly sells a lot better than custom merchandise for Monster Mansion (I was sad to hear this because I love internal merchandise and thought the store was absolutely great with the history of the ride and the option to purchase on ride photos).
There will not be any Mindbender merchandise sold in the park for the same reason that Monstore is gone.
Batman should be able to convert from backwards back to forwards during the weekdays that the park is closed, so it shouldn't have any downtime the following weekend, but things do happen.
Fright Fest will be "bigger, better and scarier" than ever again this year. Also, the basically just pull from their boneyard for Fright Fest props. There are many boneyards behind the park. Tons of stuff!
It was very clear that Dale was very aware of what is going on in the park. He even brought up the fact that Batman Backwards has had mixed reviews from guests and enthusiasts even for being unpleasantly disorienting. The new flat rides coming to Gotham City are being brought in because the park is aware they needed more flat rides. They are also aware that Joker Chaos Coaster isn't actually a coaster.
The park was absolutely PACKED on Saturday (Goliath's line filled the entire queue except for the uncovered section of switchbacks that are never used. Longest line I have seen since opening day of Goliath in 2006), DDD queue was full and spilling onto the midway. Ninja is reopened with only one trains, the other train isn't anywhere to be found, and that line was full as well. 2-3 hour lines throughout the park but operations were EXTREMELY effiencient and the employees are across the board extremely friendly and aware of what they are doing. They seemed more in charge and on top of things than ever. Trains usually were not stacking, and if they did, it was brief. The lines were completely due to the fact that the park was packed. Both parking lots were nearly completely full.
Great update! Dale is a great park president! I emailed the park for something customer service related last year.. A T-shirt issue or something and he replied the email personally! It was on a holiday and I was very surprised!!!
He is very aware of issues in the park and has the park headed in the right direction I believe..
I also met him last season the weekend before hurricane harbor opened.. It had a soft unannounced opening and I just happened to be in the park that weekend.. Hurricane harbor had probably less than 100 people on it. It rocked! No waits on slides..
But during that day he also told me there where plans to expand . he asked my suggestions and I mentioned lazy river.. He said they have been discussing adding just that but nothing official yet.. He did say something would be added for those that want to cool off but not ride slides or wave pool. That's why I suggested a lazy river.
But anyways thanks for your update! Full of good information
Last edited by dstephe9 on Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:53 am.
And that jelly belly store is my downfall.. I dropped over $100 in it last year lol.. I refrained from it my first trip this season!! Last year it did have a few small monster mansion items though and I thought it did this year as well. A few plush toys and what not
SFOGdude25, You're welcome! If I think of anything else to add I will let you know.
I was really impressed with Dale and all the information he provided. There are many questions I wish I asked him so hopefully I will run into him in the park sometime soon. I have seen him around the park and in ride stations a handful of times.
The biggest news was the Holiday In The Park expansion!!! It will be amazing with the entire park operating and seeing additional areas decked out for the holidays!!!
Last edited by SFOG1991 on Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:01 pm.
dstephe9 wrote:And that jelly belly store is my downfall.. I dropped over $100 in it last year lol.. I refrained from it my first trip this season!! Last year it did have a few small monster mansion items though and I thought it did this year as well. A few plush toys and what not
I am pretty sure all of the Monster Mansion merch/decorations are gone now. I did manage to buy up one of each Monster Mansion item for between 1 and 2 dollars a piece at the end of last season, which was great. I am really sad to see that great store gone, but it makes sense financially.
And you're welcome! Happy to share information and I am glad you had a positive experience with Dale as well. The lazy river suggestion is perfect. The general public is always mentioning/complaining about it, and HH could really use a "people eater" to cut down on lines and crowds in the wave pool.
Yeah and when I think of something relaxing to cool off at a water park that's not a slide or wave pool, I think of lazy river.. I'd use it anyways
But yeah that was the only time I met Dale in person and he was just walking around the wave pool looking and watching people.. He was by himself haha.. I think he said he had an interview in an hour or so, and he just wanted to come down early and see what all was going on..
He was real open to all he questions I was asking
I didn't want to take much of his time so all of my questions revolved around the water park
When you are in a situation like that you wanna ask everything but then can't think of questions haha.. And you also worry about taking up all of his time.. I only talked to him about 5 - 10 mins between waves at the wave pool. (He wasn't in the pool just standing in front of it haha)
I also asked why they built hurricane harbor with white water and why they decided to make it free and got the same answer as you.. To lower ride lines and build a place in hope of pulling hundreds of people away from the rides
I'll be visiting the park the third week of June (14-21). Is there a particular day during the week that will be better to visit as far as crowds/wait times? Are Tuesday's better than Monday, Wednesday or Thursday?
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