Wasn't Hershey responsible for rebuilding the Wildcat? I remember they had some pretty grand plans for the park, but I think they sold it before it reopened. I love Hershey but I think Kennywood is the perfect owner for that park.
The Compounce deal was not like Boyertown in any aspect. HERCO sought to diversify, and LC was is distress. They bought the park, and the decision (a poor one) was to re-do the entire park, from infrastructure up. They were in it for the long term.
They rebuilt 85% of the Wildcat, re-trenched every utility line, water line, and on and on. HERCO engineers even went as far as to draw water from the lake to cool f/b equipment and a/c units.
As we in the industry know, HERCO over extended themselves and sold the park after a few seasons.
Funtime took over, and took advantage of the infrastructure, and focused on rides and concerts. Moving to the Kennywood regime, they too have capitalized on HERCO's good planning, and the results have given Kennywood the edge in adding attractions to the park, while SFNE has had to invest heavily in adding support to their attractions.
However, this discussion is about Lakemont, and Ralph and Co purchased the park knowing 100% what the facility had underneath the dirt, since they were the head contractors then, and the built the Skyliner, the Ballpark at Altoona, and on and on.
Barry, I just wanted to add my 2 cents and thank you for taking the time to respond to people in this thread. This has been one of the more enjoyable recent threads because of the interest you have shown. Probably the biggest complaint that enthusiasts have with amusement park management is that they don't seem to care about their customers anymore. The big corporation parks only seem interested in making another buck off their customers. You, your management team and your park seem to be a throw back to the "good old days," when amusement parks were all about people having fun and forgetting about their problems for a day. I've really been impressed by your comments, in that I sincerely believe you want to do everything you can to make your park a great experience for customers. It's that deep dedication to customers that many of your competitors have lost sight of. I've never been to Lakemont before, but you've sold me on the place. We're right in the middle of planning a three-week trip in mid-late August for the family. We'll be going through Pennsylvania, and I've been wondering which parks to visit. Right now I've got Lakemont pencilled in for August 25th. It sounds like some of the big amusement park companies could learn a few things from you.
WOW! SWS Thank you so very much for your kind words. I do visit many amusement parks in a years time. Somewhere between where Lakemont Park is (lacking about 5 or 6 major rides) and where some of the major theme parks are (lacking concern about anything except the lower right corner of the spread sheet) lies the "WINNING FORMULA". If you are able to stop in on August 25th, I would love for you to come through the office and introduce yourself. I would be happy to give you the "nickel tour". Also with respect to Agent Johnson's comment about me taking you to Red Lobster if you spend $300.00 or more during your visit, I regret to inform you that the only way that you will be able to do that is if your family consists of about twenty (20) people!!!!!! LOL
Barry,I have told you time and time again to add more support locations, including retail, rentals, games, etc.
$300 is a fair figure. I would have paid that to play in the train display last winter. What a set up. Its not very often you find model amusement rides, but your are special since they are hand made replicas of past and present Lakemont rides.
You should sell postcards of those rides, and split the money with the train club.
Its actually amazing that every year IAAPA does a cost index of what it costs to visit a US park, then it makes variuos news sources, and so on.
They never hit smaller parks, like Lakemont, Conneaut Lake, Idlewild, and so on. The only major independents that get mentioned are Kennywood and Knoebels, which are inexpensive in greater terms in comparison to Six Flags or Cedar Fairs parks.
If you matched Lakemont up against any themer, and divided up the ride all day cost vs. each ride, and compared the same cost against a major themer, Lakemont is still a solid value. If you count dollar days, its a no brainer.
Add the cheaper food/bev, games, and economical retail, and a family of four can have a great day. Its the same theory that now drives minor league baseball attendance. Think about it, 10-15 years ago, no one even knew where the minor league teams where, let alone how cheap they were to attend. Now, they are the 'in thing'.
Coincedentally, the Curve plays on the same county property that Lakemont sits. Quite a potential package, that no other park can offer.
Its propbably a safe bet that you can park in Blair County's garage, hit Lakemont's Island Waterpark, eat, or pack a lunch, see a Curve game, go back to the park, play games, ride rides, and on and on, and spend no more than $100-150 for a family of 4.
That is USA Today worthy. Someone email the Travel editor for me.
I just saw the Pennsylvania Cable Network's tour of Lakemont, from 2002, last night. There was a photo system on Leap The Dips. I don't remember seeing that when I was there a few weeks ago. Did it turn out to be non-profitable? At the time you said it was selling well.
Also, what happened to the Mad Mouse? It seems to me that it filled a niche between the wood coasters and the Toboggan. Leap the Dips is sort of mousy, other than lacking a way to safely run more than one car at a time, but another small steel coaster like a Jet Star or a Zyklon or something seems like it would be a good thing to have, unless it would be a maintenance headache since most of those are getting old.
The Photo Smile System which was on the Leap THe Dips was a revenue share with a company from Italy. We were BOTH very happy with the revenue that it was producing. The main computer for the system failed, they couldn't get it repaired and after a season and a half of it working only intermittedly, I asked them to remove it. The Mad Mouse was sold to a local "Carny". I don't think he ever put it into operation. I doubt that the Leap The Dips will ever run multiple cars, simply becasue there is no on track braking. Funny you should mention that you think a Mouse type ride would be a good addition for us. I had just told the owner last week that we need 5 attractions and 1 of them was a small footprint steel coaster of some type! Thanks for your interest in Lakemont Park. Barry *** Edited 6/30/2007 6:55:58 PM UTC by Barry A Kumpf***
I would consider an interactive darkride to be out of the price range for Lakemont with such rides typically costing $5 million and up. A more traditional darkride, possibly relocated from a park that is closing would be a good idea, however.
It would be nice if some carousel that needs a new home finds its way to Lakemont instead of going piecemeal to several dozen collectors. Any antique carousel is worth preserving.
Several good flats would be a welcome addition as well.
Funny you mention the carousel. The Muller machine at Williams Grove is very similar to the original E Joy Morris that was at the park. I have to go back a long way, but I vaguely remember that one as being all stationary (no jumpers) and the basic machine is the same age. Bear in mind that WG had most or all of the animals re-created in fiberglass, but, if properly restored,it would make an excellent machine for Lakemont.
As for another idea, it is my understanding that Twin Grove has a few rides for sale, including Whalom's Satellite Jet among others. Barry, if you PM me I can get you the contact info on what they have and who to talk to...
btw--Barry, the WG auction is September 18..... *** Edited 6/30/2007 10:36:11 PM UTC by Comet Rider***
Johnson, in response to your question, yes. In fact, I think just a few additions to each of the Altoona area parks would make a visit there a must for many more people.
It's a 3 hour trip, give or take, for me, but I could easily make an overnighter out of it. Coordinate with a Curve/R-Phils game, or add a visit to the RR museum and Horseshoe Curve, and it's a great weekend.
Arthur....I'm thinking of something along the lines of IB's DoLT. Honestly, I'm not sure what became of the pirate-themed one that appeared briefly at Myrtle's Pavilion, but I'm sure that one coulda been picked up "fairly cheap". There are even a few *traditional* darkrides available, and while I'd hesitate to suggest one of those for alot of places, Lakemont is someplace where one of those might even work.
^Sweet. I know people here are usually *concerned* about cost - and with a park the size of lakemont, that is certainly a valid consideration. To that end, keeping an eye on park closures and used-rides boards can oftentimes yierld some impressive results as far as what becomes available "for cheap"... ;)
You are definitely on top of things, and Lakemont's future is MUCH brighter for you being there....once you have enough gate to need more help... :)
edit: Not sure what became of the Albert's pulling their rides off the market, but a piece of Coney history might be available for just under 200K....oh, and you get a flume, too. ;)
WOW, Barry, that's a mighty impressive X-mas wish list you've got there. Throw in a hypercoaster and a tree with water under it, and it would qualify as an MiA wish list. :) (Sorry, inside joke - not worth explaining...) Hell, if you could pull that one off, I'd be willing to take you to Red Lobster. :)
I'm dying to know what the owner's expression was when you gave him your recommendations. I'm just curious what the total price tag would be for the additions, and how would it affect admission prices? Right now Lakemont seems to be one of the best family values on the market.
It sounds like Lakemont has a bright future. We're looking forward to spending a day there in August. We'll stop by the office to stalk you, I mean, say hello. :)
SWS - I'm thinking $15 - $20 million. If you haven't planned a specific date to visit in August, you should try the 17th, 18th or 19th. We have a Classic & Custom Street Rod Show that weekend. There are 600 - 700 hot rods parked all over the park that weekend. It really is something cool (do people still say cool?) to see. Please stop in the office to say hello. If I am available, I will be more than happy to visit with you for a couple minutes.