PKI major announcement soon.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 9:47 AM

Charles Nungester said:
These are friends that live in my TV!

This old bear outsmarts the ranger!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Shaggy said it! Paramount was trying to be a po' boys Universal, and did so at the expense of the magic of the park.

The continuous theming of the former Paramount parks is horrible. When these parks were Taft parks, the continuous theming was strong and made the parks magical. While the flat rides may not have been heavily themed in appearance, they were theme named and located appropriately in the park.

Remember when Rivertown felt like a frontier town instead of housing a giant warehouse in the center of it all? The african area has been replaced by a totally non-themed area. And remember when Oktoberfest actually felt like a German Fair with plenty of flat rides? What the heck is it supposed to be now? I wonder why they even bother to keep the themed names for the areas.

Paramount just placed stuff down anywhere in the park, and themed it to one of their cheesy, non-lasting movies. The theming was usually 2nd class (like the Italian Job parking deck) and was almost always at the expense of the theme of the area it was in. And then the effects only tend to work a few seasons.......

The parks had magic under the Taft ownership. A lot of that was destoyed with the KECO ownership and the mass removal of rides. Paramount added rides, but usually removed something everytime they added something and really caused a loss of feel in the parks atmophere.

The other thing that has been lost are the true Disney-type family rides. They market the parks as family parks, but they are still full of thrill and motion rides for the most part. Very few dark rides, and look at all of the true family rides that have been removed, the trains everywhere but KI, sternwheeler at Carowinds, monorials at all the parks, antique and sports cars, etc.

Carowinds and Great America in CA are the absolute prime examples. At one time, those were two of the best themed parks in the country outside of Florida and Disney. Now they are a mixed up mess of nothing particular. *** Edited 1/10/2007 5:01:41 PM UTC by super7****

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:04 PM
Carowinds is my home park. If Paramount ruined it, I guess I like a ruined park. All the theming and atmosphere couldn't change the fact that Thunder Road and Cyclone was a pretty weak lineup of coasters. Under Paramount, we got Drop Zone, BORG, the Flying Super Saturator, a bigger better waterpark, and the crown jewel of Carowinds, Top Gun TJC. We also got Hurler and the kiddie SLC but I can forgive. Even with the inconsistent theming it's still a beautiful, well-landscaped park with plenty of shade.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 3:54 PM
PKD still has an ivy-covered tunnel...at least they did When I was there in November.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:52 PM
That's a great reason why there are very few true theme parks left in this country. Parks found they could just plop down some medium thrill rides without much thought, and no one really cares about the theming.

Carowinds lost its best part of the landscaping a couple of years ago when the sternwheeler was taken out and replaced with the flying coaster.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 6:01 PM
I really don't care about theming much. I do care about atmophere and many parks have lost it by doing the above mentioned method of doing things.

Watch that Beast video. It says they did like HW and moved the ride around major trees ect, A plan Kings Island used to folllow for everything they did. Congo area when it was added was made with lakes and grasses to give you the feel of a african area.

Parks to me, should take you away from the real world. Not put you into a COMMERCIAL for a Corporate product.

However, In Universal/Disney Terms it works quite well but you don't feel like your forced into it.

Chuck

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 7:15 PM

Shaggy said:
The tunnel served the purpose of transferring the "theming" from HB to Rivertown. It was cut in half in the 90's, then sealed off in '01 and used as a dining patio behind an HB eatery. It was removed entirely last year.

Actually, part of the tunnel at PKI is still there, being used as a dining patio. I saw it several times in 2006. It sure did not look like it was removed entirely to me unless it was done after the park shut down in October. You can see it clearly in this photo I took from the Eiffel Tower:

http://i80.photobucket.com/albums/j164/Mikewhy/pkitunnel2006.jpg

I so miss the old tunnel and like many here, all the old theming. I miss it so much. I also miss the Eagles more than I can say.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 7:29 PM

super7* said:
Parks found they could just plop down some medium thrill rides without much thought, and no one really cares about the theming.

Guests may not "care" per se about theming but there's more to it than that - I'll stand by an assertion that while you can't put a dollar value on the ROI of something like keeping the themed areas of your park intact, there's a bigger value gained in charm, aesthetics, karma, mood, etc. Whatever you want to call it.

I know the parks are first and foremost a business but there's something to be said for managing new additions vs. maintaining a park's charm. Otherwise there would be no Disneyland, Holiday World, or BGW as we know them today. There's been a lot of missed opportnity at PKI over the past 15 years or so.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:35 PM
I thought Carowinds was one of the best looking parks I had ever been to when I went a couple years ago, so I like the "ruined park" as well. I hope they keep it up.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 8:45 PM

matt. said:I'll stand by an assertion that while you can't put a dollar value on the ROI of something like keeping the themed areas of your park intact, there's a bigger value gained in charm, aesthetics, karma, mood, etc.

Nice, and nicely put. I am also of the opinion that those items which don't show up on a ledger tend to be *significantly* undervalued...

Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) could help us figure out a way to "name a price" for those items...wonder if he'd be interested... ;)

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007 10:47 PM
Yes indeed.

The parks really lost a lot of their atmosphere when paramount took over...lord knows PKD/KD simply isn't the same park that it once was back in the day & I wouldn't mind having many of the old rides,as well as the themeing/landscaping the park had back before paramount came & ruined most of it...good thing I've still got plenty of pics from the good old days to remind me of the park as it once was.

I was browsing around the PKI forums yesterday & noticed that back in 84 there was a peculiar mishap on KC in which the train got stuck in the helix with passengers on board.

From what I'd read it seems like one of the wheel assemblies had broken off on the last car.Good thing it happened in the helix though & not the loop,otherwise they would've had a "DEMON type situation on their hands 14 years in the making.

That would also explain the odd photo I found in the book "Rollercoaster" as well which shows KC running a five car train instead of the typical six car configuration.

Now I'm curious as to wether any PKI veterans have any more info that might shed some light on this ratherbizarre mishap?

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 9:25 AM
I distinctly remember that accident because it was KC's first year, and it happened just two weeks before my second ever trip to KI. My first trip was in 1981 and the only coaster I would brave that year was The Bat. By 1984 I had my coaster epiphany and was ready to ride anything and everything, and that was by far the most disappointing trip to KI I have ever had. 1983 was the last year for the Bat, it was SBNO, the Screamin' Demon did not operate at all that day, and the King Cobra was just sitting there with nothing going on. The highlight of the day was the RUN back to the beast and being the third one in line, and I got to ride the Racer for the first time. But all that was running that day were those two plus the Beastie, so it was a real let down.

From what I remember your information was correct. The wheel assembly came off the rear car of the train and that car derailed in the helix bringing the whole train to a halt, but there were no serious injuries. The day I was there we saw no activity at all around the ride, and I don't recall if it reopened at all that season or if they waited until the next year.

I also missed Black Sunday at KI by a week, I was there the week AFTER the girl fell from Flight Commander and two people were electrocuted in the pond by Viking Fury.

Tom

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 10:40 AM
Thanks for the pics, that tunnel does look pretty cool. I remember seeing many pictures from the early days of PKI and PKD, with the parks charming and kooky theming/atmosphere, but I have never seen that tunnel before.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:22 AM
"That would also explain the odd photo I found in the book "Rollercoaster" as well which shows KC running a five car train instead of the typical six car configuration."

Who is the author of said book?

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:48 AM
The King Cobra incident left at least four riders complaining of back injuries from being tossed around a bit but yeah, no serious. It did have a incident in which a operator was crossing the tracks and got killed by the train.

Chuck

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 11:56 AM
I actually really enjoyed the Smurf ride, but that was the "original" version to me since my first visit to KI was in 1990.

Doesn't all of this make you wish you could build your own park and show the cold corporate world how it should be done? :)

I'm so glad Shaggy made that comment about PKI being a poor man's version of Universal. I've always thought the same thing. It's so lame to have movie themed rides in the middle of a traditonal "themed" area. The whole Action Zone looks very lame to me. Top Gun and Drop Zone are fantastic rides, but the area is so out of place. And the same is true for the Flight of Fear "area." Yeah, that really makes a lot of sense.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:16 PM
I came to that conclusion about six years into Paramounts Purchase. That their RIDE THE MOVIES campaign was never gonna be up to the standards of Disney/Universal simply because seasonal parks can't afford 300 million attractions.

PO mans Universal, Perfect summary. Maybe if they could have started from scratch it would have been better but yeah, Plopping em here and there was a big mistake.

Honestly, Their best addition was FOF and that was concieved by AL WEBBER who worked for the park since 1972. Shame it was tarnished by them OTSR's.

Chuck

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 12:21 PM

pkidelirium said:Who is the author of said book?

MIGHT that be Rutherford book...one of my first coaster-related gifts....and an awesome resource.

I always thought Paramount did a better job of creating a nice *environment* than either SF or CF had. Themed attractions + landscaping + natural greenspace made for a really good mix. Action Zone, obviously, was Paramount's answer to SFMM's Scream...but other than that, the former PP's seemed to do better-than-most. PCar is a little on the *concrete-y* side for my tastes, and PGA is, well, a pit. PKI should have come up with SOME better answer for the IJ project...I was surprisingly disappointed at how/where it was placed in the park.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 1:25 PM
I wouldn't have minded so much if they just made a new section of the park called Movie Land or something like that, and then lump all the themed rides into that one section. But the park's hope seemed to be that by plopping bits and pieces of Paramount here and there, the guests wouldn't notice all of the non-Paramount stuff. Riiiiiiight. ;)

I really hope they tear out all of the movie theming, and re-landscape those eye sores. It could look great again, but before they add anymore rides, they should "pretty up" what they've got, especially Action Zone. I wonder if the Nickelodeon theming will go away. That seems to out of place as well. Not that Camp Snoopy is much better. Bring back Hannah Barbara Land or better yet, make it all original cartoony stuff, kinda like the old goblins and other characters that once roamed about Magic Mountain. Oh wait, I'm forgetting about the business side of things. Doh.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007 2:09 PM
"I really hope they tear out all of the movie theming, and re-landscape those eye sores. It could look great again, but before they add anymore rides, they should "pretty up" what they've got, especially Action Zone. "

I'd bet that the movie theming... like props and movie posters and even ride names are all goners. If not in 07, then definitely by 08.

Action Zone, IMO, has always had a Cedar Fair "feel" to me. That is exactly the type of look that many of the Cedar Fair parks have.... concrete, concrete, concrete. So wouldn't count on a returning "lush" feel.

Look at Dorney and Knott's and you can easily spot the "Cedar Fair" touches and renovations. They are very distinct, very bright, very paved.

On another note...

I'll cite an example of how I feel that Paramount Execs were misguided over the installation and lack of forsight for the parks:

In 1994 they installed Days of Thunder in what they soon coined "Paramount Action Theatre." Then by 1996 plans were already underway for the "Action Zone" area for the park. Instead of re-theming Coney Mall, or developing and area in adjacent land behind the Racer, which would have made sense, they overhauled the then terribly neglected Adventure Villiage area of the park.

Did you know that initial ideas included installing Drop Zone in the former Flight Commander spot and cutting through the Racer's "split" hills to place Tomb Raider back there? With "Action Theatre" already in that area of the park, it would have made total sense for that entirely new themed (Action Zone) area to go there.

However, Paramount was known for transferring it's General Managers and park heads all over the place... from park to park... thus no one leader was at the parks long enough to establish and maintain a feel. Instead, we got the likes of CEO's Jane Cooper, and Al Webber who were more interested in "technology" and commercialization than they were adhering to park esthetics.

BTW...

The current "Mystery Mine" at Dollywood is a concept turned down by Paramount Parks. It was designed as "Addams Family Values The Ride" for PKI and was to be installed in the Coney Mall area of the park. Paramount lost the rights when the holder of them, a Countess, passed away in the midst of negotiations and placed them in limbo. The ride was then back-burnered, and IJ was given the green light.

But I digress.

It's a classic case of lack of understanding. Imagine the Dolly ride (yet themed with Addams Family, but essentially looking the same) on Coney Mall. Oy Vey!

Seems to me that it would fit Rivertown... or even Action Zone. But I guess that is too obvious, and probably would have required a little extra cash.

But as fate would have it, the deal fell through and we were given IJ instead, and still lost the most charming part of the park in the meantime.

Shaggy

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