Favorite GL memories.

Friday, September 28, 2007 11:46 AM
CPLady's avatar I think SF had the right idea, they just did it too quickly in a market that was drawing mostly from a local area (ESPECIALLY in regard to the work force), that depended upon Sea World to draw from further away, and didn't pay as much attention to infrastructure.

I think it's been shown they did very well the first couple of years, then attendance began dropping. Regardless of the reasons for the drop in attendance, it was clear SF over extended themselves too quickly to recover.

So, considering the bigger/better/faster is such a huge draw, what was missing?? Why didn't people continue to go to the park? And was GL doomed regardless of what CF did?

EDIT: Rob beat me to it...that's what I get for trying to respond from work when it's busy. *** Edited 9/28/2007 3:49:26 PM UTC by CPLady***

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Friday, September 28, 2007 11:53 AM
I think part of the problem was that so much was added in a short amount of time, people came to expect new stuff every year. I remember talking to a Six Flags GM years ago and he told me a new coaster is likely to increase attendance by 100K to 300K and that remains pretty much the same if more stuff is added. People probably flocked to the park when it became SFO and again when X-Flight was added and were then let down by a lack of more investment and crappy Six Flags operations.

I don't think the park was doomed. Getting rid of X-Flight and Steel Venom was a good idea. The park should have gone back to being small and then "grown" at a more reasonable pace, balancing investment with solid operations.

Just my opinion...

Friday, September 28, 2007 11:59 AM
CPLady's avatar I do agree with you there, Rob. I would have liked to have seen a few more of the SF additions removed and some more traditional rides replacing those removals.

But CF wants their parks to be self-sustaining (which is why MiA has only seen water park additions outside of the Dodgems moved from CP and Grand Rapids which was on the drawing board before CF even purchased them).

I suspect the cost to remove/relocate some of the coasters, to clean up the old water park area and then add new traditional rides was more than GL could sustain.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:04 PM
I don't see why the park couldn't be self-sustaining. The waterpark could have been built on the rides since and then the Sea World side could have been sold for development. Methinks property across the lake from a waterpark is worth more than property across the lake from an amusement park and that factored into the decision, further leading me to believe this was planned for some time if not from Day One. With a collection of family-friendly coasters and a good number of flat rides, I think GL could have been turned around in six or seven years.
Friday, September 28, 2007 12:42 PM
CPLady's avatar I thought the SW side had height and noise restrictions that prevented coasters from being built on the Aurora side. I do recall SF having those issues when they owned the park.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:44 PM
My favorite memory is from last season(last year). I've only been there twice and honestly hadn't heard of GL until about 5 years ago. Anyway, my brother and I spent a day and a half at the park. We spent the first day riding our butts off and I just loved X-Flight and Dominator. I think because it was my first experience for both those types of coasters. I really liked most all of their coasters outside of Double Loop. I thought RWB was a fun little coaster, the Big Dipper was awesome with the airtime and the Villain was pretty decent, albeit a little rough. I bought a cool red/black Villain hat that I just had to have. I also thought that Thunderhawk was a great ride, but the trains looked pretty beat up.

I was also greatly surprised by Wild Water Kingdom. Normally, I don't do waterparks, but my bro talked me in to it. We had a lot of fun and I especially liked the large funnel slide, the lazy river and the play area with huge bucket. I just let a bunch of kids totally soak me with the water guns and they loved it. Couldn't have had any more fun than that. My only disappointment was the food other than the outdoor grill at the waterpark.

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:48 PM

CPLady said:
I thought the SW side had height and noise restrictions that prevented coasters from being built on the Aurora side. I do recall SF having those issues when they owned the park.

The SW side did have ride restrictions. Bainbridge was fairly strict on that.

There were height restrictions on both sides due to an airport being around there.

Hope that helps.

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...


Friday, September 28, 2007 12:52 PM
CPLady's avatar http://midwave.vortexhost.com/html/park_history.htm

" In January of 2001, Anheuser-Busch sold the Ohio park to Six Flags, Inc., operators of neighboring Six Flags Ohio (formerly Geauga Lake)... Sea World executives replied that the park was sold because of the short season of the animal park, due to Ohio's cold winter months, and the fact that they were not able to secure the rights to build amusement park coasters like the other Sea World properties had been able to."

There's your answer, Rob.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Friday, September 28, 2007 1:03 PM

Chitown said:

How come CP gets a pass on losing its traditional charm? You wouldn't even know CP was a park that was established in the late 1800's by looking at it today. Today, it looks like your typical corporate big park.

Fair point. As a local (but not enthusiast), I give CP a pass because they made and completed the transition from family/regional park to destination, mega-corporate park years ago. There's no disguising what CP is today. Lots of thrills, high prices, lots of concrete, and little charm.

SF tried to make GL into a CP-like park and failed for a variety of reasons, some of which they should've anticipated. But, SF left GL in the state of a failed thrill park with little ability to return to its roots as a successful regional family park. By attempting to go head-to-head with CP, SF gave a case of terminal cancer to GL. Dick Kinzel merely pulled the plug.

The beneficiaries are Kennywood, Waldameer, and to a lesser extent, Knoebels. I highly doubt that CP will see a bump in attendance due to the closing of GL, but I expect these others to see a modest increase.

Dick Kinzel before he dicks you.

Friday, September 28, 2007 2:51 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar 2007 Opening Day Memories :)
Monday, October 1, 2007 12:37 PM
Re: Chitown - I suppose I would be closer to the CP "traditionalist" that you speak of than not. My favorite thing to find on my first visit was the Pirate dark ride that once stood somewhere close to the Blue Streak. The park had a lot of little hidden stuff that just seemed to be so neat. The last time I visited, I found very little of the charm left, and I am (*gasp*) not a huge fan of any of their rides. I think that Cedar Point has extremely solid operations and a very strong business plan, it just doesn't so much attract me.


As for Six Flags "ruining" the charm of GL, I don't think that is what they did at all. Six Flags tried to make the park compete with Cedar Point in the shortest amount of time. You don't compete with a behemoth without making some drastic changes, and Six Flags just decided to make all of the changes in one or two years, as opposed to Cedar Point where the phasing out of the old and in with the new happens a little slower than that. Essentially, SF was trying to 'catch' GL up to the CP standard.

As for my favorite memories, I went to the park the year that it got 'Flagged' and was most excited to check out Superman: Ultimate Escape. The two friends I had been with had never been on a launched coaster, and I have always been a fan of them. I purposely read very little about it, and when we arrived before opening, we got in line and then went immediately to the ride. Walking onto it and having absolutely no idea that the back-spike brake hold was going to happen was one heck of a rush. I can only remember one time that a ride ever truly surprised and scared me -- and that was it.

The other memory that I have is that we all desperately wanted to ride Mr Hyde's Nasty Fall due to its long history, and would have been happy to wait for it. Unfortunately, every single time we got into line for it, it broke down and the operators had to clear the queue. Every time, we were either the next, or the next next group to go on. The final time it happened, they ended up closing the ride for the day and we never got to ride it.

The rest of my memories from that day were seeing all of the construction still going on, getting lost down pathways trying to find the entrance to the Villain, which took us two or three tries, riding Batman about 10 times near the end of the day, and overall just having a great day.

The park was quite obviously showing huge signs of growing pains that day, but it didn't stop us from finding a way to really have fun there. I'll miss the park even though I'm sure it was never the same as it was that day...

Monday, October 1, 2007 1:50 PM
My favorite memory would have to be going there with my high school marching band back in 2001, and being back to our bus almost an hour late because my friends watch was an hour off. Everyone was annoyed and the director was irrate. Bad news.

id rather walk there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 9:36 PM
My first trip to Geauga Lake stands out as the best. It was in the mid 70's and I was working a summer job in Sandusky. I would normally spend my day off at C.P., but decided to try a park I hadn't ever visited. (I lived in Cleveland as a kid, but on the west side, and we never made the trip to GL)

Geauga Lake back then was quite an unexpected treat. I was surprised and thrilled by the old-fashioned atmosphere, and loved the collection of classic rides. I remember the Bug, Cuddle Up, Rocket Ships, Snap, Dutch Shoes, Fun House, Fly O Plane, Scrambler, Flying Scooters, Giant Slide, and the Caterpillar. Many of those rides I had never seen, or at least hadn't seen in a long time. The coaster was called the Clipper back then, and it delivered quite a ride. The second hill (over the park entrance) had a flat spot, and the double down before the turn was still intact. What a scary coaster moment- that part of the ride threw you hard to the right and then instantly back to the left again as it dropped further. It was especially challenging for me as a single rider, with each ride I would try harder to get control and keep from slamming back and forth across the bench seat. (no dividers back then!) Impossible! It made my beloved Blue Streak back at CP seem just a little lame.

I continued to visit GL over the years and watched with bemusement as it changed. I thought the Funtime years were especially rotten- they removed the classic fixtures, built a water park and modern rides over that beautiful lakeside setting, then cleared a bunch of trees to build a western themed area. Later they tried to market the park as a traditional, nostalgic experience. No one there seemed to realize that they had all that in place 10 years ago, it was gone and would never be back. Kennywood is a first rate example of a place that never lost it's traditional appeal, and has been successful in thoughtfully adding modern thrills while still honoring the past. Nothin' wrong with that!

Six Flags and Cedar Fair were left to handle what Geauga Lake had become. I always sensed that the park had somehow lost it's identity, and the locals were feeling some kind of loss even though the park was still operating. By the time Cedar Fair took over the park, 1) in that developing metro area and 2) in their own market, the writing was on the wall.

On Geauga's last day I strolled the grounds one last time and, maybe assisted by the previous night's beer, the bittersweet memories came flooding back. I mourn it's loss not only for what Geauga Lake was, but especially for what it had once been.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 8:42 AM
I know this is going to sound pretty bad, but my favorite GL memory came on my very first trip to the park. I was very young, maybee 8 or 10 and I was just under 48 inches which was the height requirement for all of the coasters back then (they only had 3) My father and I tried to get me on all of the rides, but I fell an inch or two short. By the end of the day, with some creative sneaking, I rode every single rollercoaster there at the park. Some of the ride ops were not to happy, but I was!!

I also remember an airplane type of ride that they had that I had never seen before or since. You got into this airplane and when you pulled a lever, the plane tipped upside down. It was really pretty cool.

I have been to the park a few times since my first trip almost 25 years ago, but none of them compare to my very first time and sneaking in all three coasters when I probably shouldn't have been on any that day.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 4:43 PM

SK610 said:

I also remember an airplane type of ride that they had that I had never seen before or since. You got into this airplane and when you pulled a lever, the plane tipped upside down. It was really pretty cool.

That would be the Eyerly Fly-O-Plane that I mentioned. Eyerly made those as well as Rock-O-Planes, Octopus', Roll-O-Planes as well as a few others. Of all the rides they have made the Fly-O-Plane was the most rare, and I believe there is only one currently functioning and it's at Lake Winnepesaukah. Here's a link to a picture of it:



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