Cypress Gardens will close rides, expand water park for 2009

Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 12:21 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Cypress Gardens will close beginning Nov. 17 and plans to reopen in March with an expanded water park but without its rides and animal attractions, company officials said Sunday night. The botanical gardens and the ski shows will stay.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 1:40 AM

A damn shame.

No reason to visit CG now. They are eliminating 2 things that increased attendance.

Hope the Starliner finds a new home.


My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 2:45 AM

I don't think this is the solution. If I were the park I'd keep the three large roller coasters. I'd also keep that spinning raft ride as part of an expanded waterpark. There are other waterparks that have a large roller coaster.


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Monday, November 10, 2008 4:52 AM

It will be just a matter of time before the waterpark and ski show discontinue.

The original gardens will become a state park since these gardens are protected by the state.

Lakefront condos will be the future for this land.


My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 5:34 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

ZOMG CONSPIRACY!11!@ They bought it to close it, etc..

Somebody had to say it.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Monday, November 10, 2008 8:59 AM

Intermark Ride Group did a great job keeping the rides off the market until IAAPA. Who let the cat out of the bag early?

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Monday, November 10, 2008 9:10 AM

That's too bad. We went to the park soon after it reopened and it had a lot of potential. Weird how the Starliner has only bene operating for about a year. I'm not sure if this is the right solution, but hopefully those two wood coasters find a new home, including the Starliner once again.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 9:35 AM

Cypress Gardens has too much going against it. If you live in Tampa or Orlando do you really make that trip? I mean, you have Busch and Disney, Universal, etc all within "walking distance".

If you live in Southern Florida there is no easy way to get to Cypress Gardens. The town of Winter Haven is losing MLB Spring Training (Indians move to Arizona). If you are vacationing in Florida for a week do you have time, determination to make the side trip to Cypress?

Making it an efficient "locals park" is probably the way to go.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 10:06 AM
Jeff's avatar

Chitown said:
No reason to visit CG now. They are eliminating 2 things that increased attendance.

How do you know that? I seem to recall Dave making a comment in another thread that Starliner was a walk-on while the rest of the park was mobbed.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, November 10, 2008 10:31 AM

Cypress Gardens is a 'passive' park, like Gilroy Gardens, Sesame Place,Dutch Wonderland, etc. For whatever reason, they were moved into anarms race, that never materialzed. Their tanks fell out of the back ofthe plane on their way to the battlefield.

With all the bs that was involved in rebuilding the Starliner, thatjust showed they had too many irons in the fire. I do like, as oftoday, and this could change, the changing of the plan to be a 'locals'waterpark. Hell, my Grandparents haven't been there since the early1980's and they still speak well of the waterski show.

Maybe that was all CG was destined to ever be.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 11:04 AM
rollergator's avatar

^^For some reason, your comments reminded me of DB Hurricane. The coaster itself may not get a ton of riders, but it serves as excellent advertising, and keeps the rest of the "park" (i.e., arcade and mini-golf) hopping. For some reason, I think of Starliner being like that, IF it had turned out successful. I've seen Cypress hopping, and when it was completely empty. Kinda wish we had gone there yesterday, even though Starliner wasn't going to be operating.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 12:20 PM

I hate to say it, but if it came down to a choice between the two, I'd rather they got rid of the rides and kept the botanical gardens. The inception of Cypress Gardens as a ride park is quite recent compared to the gardens, which are absolutely lovely and historically significant. Although it would be a wrench to lose Starliner. :(


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Monday, November 10, 2008 12:34 PM

wahoo skipper said:
Cypress Gardens has too much going against it. If you live in Tampa or Orlando do you really make that trip?

Yes, I actually make that trip once every week or two during the 6 months a year I live in Orlando. 30 mile drive for a kick ass woodie? Heck yeah! And I've been visiting that frequently as a loyal passholder since Jan 2006, when I first arrived in Florida in the Katrina aftermath (before they even rebuilt Starliner)

I won't be a "regular" now, though. The gardens are beautiful and the ski show is enjoyable, I agree. But they don't have the repeat value for me the rides had. They supplemented the rides nicely and added another dimension to the parkgoing experience that most parks lack, for sure. But without the rides, they can't carry my attention to the tune of 2 to 4 visits monthly anymore.

Not even close.

I enjoyed the animals, too. I liked how the park had a variety of genres mixed in one - traditional ride park, animal park, botanical gardens, etc.

It has nothing to do with a "boycott" or anything. There simply won't be enough there to make me forgo a day at one of the Orlando parks (or Busch Gardens) on a regular basis anymore. At best, it would be someplace I would go once every couple of years, although it would be painful to see it as a shell of what it was at it's peak.

Last edited by Frontrider, Monday, November 10, 2008 12:43 PM
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Monday, November 10, 2008 1:23 PM

...And so the new owner basically un-does what Buescher did when he brought the park back from the brink of failure.

The good news is that there need not be a huge rush to get the woodies relocated. Closing down that part of the park can be done with almost no effect at all on the waterpark and gardens. So maybe we can easily avoid any wrecking ball activity.

But here's what I'm wondering about...

This plan takes the park back to approximately the same place where it was when it failed. Given that the park already failed once with that model, what makes the current ownership think it will be more successful this time around? The waterpark is going to carry that place?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 1:36 PM

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Albert Einstein

Last edited by redman822, Monday, November 10, 2008 1:37 PM

--George H

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Monday, November 10, 2008 3:17 PM

Jeff said:

Chitown said:
No reason to visit CG now. They are eliminating 2 things that increased attendance.

How do you know that? I seem to recall Dave making a comment in another thread that Starliner was a walk-on while the rest of the park was mobbed.

Read what Dave posted after this. That is basically what I was refering to.


My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 3:20 PM

rollergator, the ride might deserve a comparison to the Hurricane but the location sure doesn't.

Last time I was in Winter Haven I didn't see a 16 lane I-95 running past the Starliner nor an International Aiport next door who's airline passengers...at least on the southern side of the plane, could see the coaster out their windows on final approach.

Frontrider...if Cypress could survive on us coaster nerds then I'm sure they would appreciate your patronage. But, how many people are calling you up to carpool to Winter Haven? If it isn't a couple of thousand then it is just a nice sentiement.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 3:28 PM
rollergator's avatar

^Totally agree, wahoo. Where I was getting (in my roundabout way) is that properly advertised, Starliner might have gotten some of the older locals to at least come to the PARK - even if not to ride the coaster itself. Of course, it costs nothing to stand next to DBH and watch, whereas Cypress kinda priced themselves out of that market with the POP price where it was. The demographics for Cypress say "stay older, stay local". And not that many pensioners are going to spend around 40 bucks to watch a waterski show or look at the Gardens (they probably have a "been there, done that" mentality regarding the park). Getting in on the 14-day multipark passes for out-of-staters might've brought in SOME more business....but going back to the model that failed before isn't likely to succeed, not even with a waterpark.

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Monday, November 10, 2008 3:32 PM

Imagine my dismay to find that the park's last day is the day before I arrive in Orlando.

My first visit to Cypress Gardens was last year while in town for IAAPA. I absolutely loved it there, and thought it was a beautiful and interesting park. I was also 1 of about 100 customers that day - the place definitely seemed on the "up and comin" side, but the rides were in good shape and a lot of work was being done to spruce up the park. The water park was either closed for the season, or perhaps open only on weekends.

The Skyliner was down all day, however, so it's the one I missed. My plan during IAAPA week this year was to take an afternoon and go back there, ride the coaster, get the credit, and check on the park's progress. Ah well. If the coaster turns out, for some reason, to be a keeper maybe I'll get on it someday. It looked like a fantastic little ride.

You'd think that they might stay open until after IAAPA week, in case potential buyers want to cruise thru. I guess these things can always be handled by appointment...

Last edited by RCMAC, Monday, November 10, 2008 6:25 PM
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Monday, November 10, 2008 4:00 PM
Jeff's avatar

Chitown said:
Read what Dave posted after this. That is basically what I was refering to.

That's a different issue. A failing park followed by a failing park doesn't equate to the coasters being a draw.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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