Geauga Lake was a rich part of Ohio amusement park history

Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:19 PM | Contributed by Jeff

It's hard to believe that nearly six years ago Geauga Lake Park closed its gates. Cedar Fair shuttered the decades-old amusement park after the 2007 season. The 400-plus acres straddling the borders of Bainbridge Township and Aurora continue to lay barren -- except for the Wildwater Kingdom water park -- with few buildings and rides remaining.

Read more from The Aurora Advocate.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:27 PM
sirloindude's avatar

And yet Fastlane is supposedly the grand conspiracy. This one was worse!


+4Loading
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:42 PM

You know, Jeff only posted this so he could delete it.

+9Loading
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:58 PM
Fun's avatar

Pick a theory, any theory:

  • Sea World was smart to get out
  • Six Flags's poor operations permanentely damaged the parks reputation
  • Six Flags should have left them as separate parks
  • Six Flags was smart to get out
  • Kinzel bought it just to close it
  • Cedar Fair should have known better than to buy
  • Cedar Fair paid too much
  • Cedar Fair gave it a good effort but couldn't save the park
  • Cedar Fair cared about it until they bought Paramount
  • Cedar Fair lied about closing the park, doesn't care about history, blah blah blah.
  • Cedar Fair is still trying to sell it, they should have just kept it open

I think I have all the talking points covered...

+3Loading
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:31 PM
Shawn Meyer's avatar

Fun said:

Pick a theory, any theory:

  • Cedar Fair gave it a good effort but couldn't save the park

I picked this one. The last time I went, which was 2006, I saw more people on the water park side than the ride side. For some reason, the ride side was always empty.

+0
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:44 PM
LostKause's avatar

Sea World was smart to get out.

Yes, because of the seasonal nature of the park, and because you have to feed and care for the animals all year long, it was probably vary expensive to keep it up.

Six Flags' poor operations permanently damaged the parks reputation.

Yes. At least this is the case with me. On my last visit to SFO, most every ride was closed for no good reason (the weather was great), and when I went to complain at the Customer Service window, the lady's reply was simply, "Okay, sir. Bye bye now." I never went back until CF bought it.

Cedar Fair gave it a good effort but couldn't save the park.

The park was nice when Cedar Fair operated it. I enjoyed it a lot. Taking out some of the attractions was the right thing to do, making the park the right size for the amount of customers that it got.

Cedar Fair is still trying to sell it, they should have just kept it open.

Yes. I don't know about you all, but if I owned the park, I would think that keeping it open would be worth the effort. To my understanding, the park was a little bit profitable, but not as profitable as they had planned. Now that it is closed, it just sits empty, and money still has to be spent for upkeep, insurance, and taxes. It's losing money now.

Last edited by LostKause, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:47 PM
+1Loading
Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:58 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I actually think they closed it because it was always so light on crowds that it never would have made any Fastlane sales.


+5Loading
Thursday, April 11, 2013 7:47 AM

Oh! I thought it was because they couldn't figure out where to put the Windseeker....

+3Loading
Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:46 AM

Where is my tin foil hat?


June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100 VertiGo Rides - 82
+2Loading
Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:12 PM

sirloindude said:

I actually think they closed it because it was always so light on crowds that it never would have made any Fastlane sales.

But the last time I went, I had to park Mid-Dipper.

+3Loading
Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:40 PM
rollergator's avatar

I so wish they'd gone with the idea, mine...LOL - of a beach-boardwalk kind of thing. A couple old-timey flats (bumper cars, Haybaler, El Dorado, classic Carousel). Keep those, Dipper, and maybe even Kabobs *OR* Villain - definitely NOT both...and then you have a park small enough so the operations cost won't eat you alive. Also would have been able to survive on the infrastructure remaining when CF took over.

Meh...

+0
Thursday, April 11, 2013 4:04 PM

LostKause said:

Six Flags' poor operations permanently damaged the parks reputation.

Yes. At least this is the case with me. On my last visit to SFO, most every ride was closed for no good reason (the weather was great), and when I went to complain at the Customer Service window, the lady's reply was simply, "Okay, sir. Bye bye now." I never went back until CF bought it.

I went there by myself while on a business trip in 2001 and had the same experience. There were major staffing problems a bunch of the rides and at least 3 of the coasters were closed. I got a free ticket somehow so couldn't complain too much but it was really disappointing. Guest Relations was a mob scene and people in general were really pissed off.

That night I was staying at a crappy Days Inn not far from the park and wandered over to a bar for dinner. Ended up striking up conversation with a large group of locals and over beers they said the place had totally gone to hell in the past year or so. A couple of them had worked there and said that employee walkouts were regular, even with full time folks. Also the multiple closed rides thing was common due to staffing shortages and cost cutting.

I'm sure it's not the only reason but fairly certain that Premier era Six Flags and current GM at the time, Rick McCurley did some serious damage to the park.

Last edited by Cropsey, Thursday, April 11, 2013 4:05 PM
+2Loading
Friday, April 12, 2013 3:03 PM
Tommytheduck's avatar

As a semi-local, I was sad to see it go. We used it as a July/August alternative for when CP got too crowded. We still do that with the waterpark. I'm surprised the waterpark is still open, honestly, because it's always dead in there, even in the middle of summer.

A few years ago we were there on the last operating day and saw 2 helicopters hovering overhead. We though "Well, there's the news channels getting footage for the "Wildwater Kingdom Announced it's Closing Its Doors" news story, but that never happened. (yet)

+0
Friday, April 12, 2013 4:19 PM
Maverick00's avatar

Really? It's always packed when I go. That's what most people say too. I think the park is probably doing better than expected.


Cedar Point will always be The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, regardless of the number of coasters they have.

+0
Friday, April 12, 2013 4:46 PM

I was definitely one of the sad ones to see Geauga go. I *loved* Big Dipper; it was easily the best woodie still standing in Ohio next to Screechin' Eagle. The Blue Streak was also... ah forget it :)

I don't care about any of the arguments either way, I'm just sad it's gone. Would be nice if it opened in the future at some point. Stranger things have happened.

+1Loading
Friday, April 12, 2013 5:27 PM
bjames's avatar

Cropsey said:

There were major staffing problems a bunch of the rides and at least 3 of the coasters were closed. I got a free ticket somehow so couldn't complain too much but it was really disappointing.

I remember this being common for a lot of the parks during the Burke Regime. I visited several Six Flagses in the early 2000s and they would all inexplicably have three or four rides closed on the first day, and on the second day it would be three or four different rides closed. Anyway I hadn't really been to a Six Flags park in about six years until this past year, and I was really surprised that all of SFNE's rides were up and running. With the Burke management as bad as it was, I can see how vacationers would opt to skip Geauga Lake in favor of Cedar Point or something.

+3Loading
Friday, April 12, 2013 6:12 PM

bjames said:
Six Flagses

I voted up just for that :) When SF World of Adventure was still new in 2000, it was a nightmare of a crowd. At one point, somewhere dead center in the park we couldn't even move. Lines were horrendous. They got slammed with crowds but couldn't handle them. Putting in 3 major coasters in one year has to go down as one of the worst decisions ever in amusement park history. It screamed BAD IDEA!

+2Loading
Friday, April 12, 2013 6:51 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

SFWOA was simply horrible.


+1Loading
Friday, April 12, 2013 8:32 PM

Let me posit another theory: CF made a fatal mistake in moving the water park across the lake.

GL's problem was not attendance--even falling 50% to 700,000 left it with more bodies than Michigan's Adventure, and not that many behind World of Fun's 900,000. The problem was too much overhead for the attendance.

In addition, the water park and "dry" side could no longer support each other once they were separated by the the lake.

If CF had kept Geauga Lake Park and closed/sold the Sea World side, costs would have been lower and more manageable.

Prior to 2000: 2 Parks, 2 Admissions, 2 Overheads. Succeed

SFWOA: 2 Parks, 1 Admission, 2 Overheads. Fail

CF era: 2 Parks, 1 Admission, 2 Overheads. Fail

I maintain that 1 Park, 1 Admission, 1 Overhead would have worked--as it had from 1887 until Sea World opened in 1970. The key would have been matching the Overhead to the Admissions.


This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

+4Loading
Friday, April 12, 2013 9:02 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I actually had a great time on my one visit in '02 or '03. Everything I cared about was open (X-Flight, S:TE, B:KF, Villian) and there was no one in the park. We basically had a station wait at most for anything.

Then again, I also recognize that this was not sustainable.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2018, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...