Question about the former paramount parks.

Monday, June 15, 2009 1:04 PM
crazy horse's avatar

Why do all the former paramount parks except carowinds have a large fountain and eifel tower/ mountain at the entrance?

I just find it kinda odd that all the parks but carowinds were almost xerox copies of eachother.


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Monday, June 15, 2009 1:37 PM
Jeff's avatar

Aside from Kings Island and Dominion, I don't think they're similar at all. Those are the only two that share a common lineage. Great America has an entrance twin in its Six Flags counterpart in Chicago.


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

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Monday, June 15, 2009 1:45 PM
crazy horse's avatar

Canada's wonderland, kings dominium, kings island, and great America all have large fountains and/or a mainstreet(aka international street) right inside the main gates.

I was just wondering if there was a reason that carowinds did not have the same type of "mainstreet" as it's syblings do. Was it a existing park that was bought by paramount after the others were built?

Is it true that great america and sf in chicago were owned by marriot at one point?


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

+0
Monday, June 15, 2009 2:10 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yes, they were both Marriott parks. But you're making a connection that doesn't exist. The company came together by acquisition. There was no composite planning because virtually all of the parks were conceived independent of each other.

That, and saying that "they all have a fountain" is a lot like saying every mall has a Gap. It doesn't mean they were all planned at the same time by the same people.


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

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Monday, June 15, 2009 3:04 PM

Anyone, please make corrections. The Taft/KECO timeline is gray.

Kings Island was opened in '72 by Taft and Kings Dominion was opened '75 by the Taft/True Value joint venture. Thus the similar hub design with the International Street entrance. At the time, Hanna-Barbera was part of Taft.

KI and KD were built with a lot of similar attractions, with a different layout and most noteable KD had the wonderful (now drained) Lake Charles and KI had Oktoberfest.

The both had Int'l Street, Hanna Barbara Land, Rivertown/Old Va, Congo/Lion County Safari (added before opening at KD, after opening at KD), Candy Apple Grove/Coney Island. They both had the eiffel tower, racing coaster, Scooby Doo coaster, Galaxie coaster, skyride, log flume, railroad, antique and sports cars, flying scooters, bumper cars, scramblers, flying dutchman ride, bayern kurve, slide and safari monorail. They each added a looping shuttle coaster (KI had an arrow model, KD had the superior schwarzkopf). Then they each had some unique rides. But all and all, they were very similar.

Carowinds by built by E Pat Hall in 1973 and bought out by Taft/True Value in 1975. This park originally had no Taft similarities whatsoever and was designed in a loop. After Taft became involved, they started adding things found at the other parks such as Hanna Barbera Land, Thunder Road, Scooby Doo, White Lightnin, etc. But under Taft, this park still kept all of its charm and overall Carolina theming.

Canada's Wonderland was opened in 81 by Taft. It has the similar hub design as KI and KD, but they replaced the eiffel tower with Wonder Mt, only 1/2 of the racing coaster was built and there are some different themed areas. There was to be a western area where the water park ended up being built.

In '84, the parks were bought by KECO. KECO was formed by exectuives of Taft amusement group. This was the beginning of the dark years at the parks, as KECO removed rides, and did not maintain park appearance overall.

Great America was built in '76 by Marriott and taken over by KECO after Marriott got out of the park business. Both Great America's (IL and CA were once nearly identical and the original design was a loop liek Carowinds. Hard to believe after the horrible job that Paramount did ruining all of the theming and putting in half-baked rollercoasters there!

Paramount bought the parks in '92. Paramount managed to rip out of the heart and soul of the original design and theming of 3 of the parks, King's Island, Carowinds and Great America. KD and CW did fare better and while they have some theming issues, most of the overall original theming is in tact.

There was one other park. Australia's Wonderland in Sydney Australia that was built in '85 with Taft or KECO involvement. It was done on a small scale and had few similarities to the other parks except for Hanna-Barbera Land, Scooby Doo coaster and the Bush Beast (grizzly design) rollercoaster. The park had no real design in its layout (loop or hub). They also got several hand me down rides such as King's Island's Zodiac and the bayern kurve from one of the other parks (maybe KI?). This park was later sold, and then closed in 2004 for development.

Last edited by super7*, Tuesday, June 16, 2009 1:59 AM
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Monday, June 15, 2009 3:30 PM

Here is another interesting tid bit... When Canada's Wonderland was built, it like KI and KD has an Internation Street with a large fountain. An Eiffel Tower was looked at and was in consideration, but there is kind of a "love / hate" relationship between the english speaking and the french speaking Canadians. They were worried that if they put in a french icon such as an Eiffel Tower that the english speaking Canadians could possibly boy cott the park...

KI has a tower and fountain, Wonderland has a fountain and a mountain and KD has a tower, fountain and a mountain. (boy I do miss the old days of the haunter river and attractions in the Mt at KD...


Danny Biggerstaff CoAsTeRDaN
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Monday, June 15, 2009 5:05 PM

super7* said:


Anyone, please make corrections. The Taft/KECO timeline is gray.
Great America was built in '76 by Marriott and taken over by KECO after Marriott got out of the park business. Great America in Ca was once nearly identical to Great America in IL. Hard to believe after the horrible job that Paramount did ruining all of the theming and putting in half-baked rollercoasters there!

I believe the city of Santa Clara purchased the park in 1984 and hired KECO to run it. KECO eventually bought the park from the city in 1989.

In'84, the parks were bought by KECO. KECO was formed by exectuives ofTaft amusement group. This was the beginning of the dark years at theparks, as KECO removed rides, and did not maintain park appearanceoverall.

I guess I never really thought it about that way, but you are correct, a lot of rides started disappearing. I don't know if appearance suffered all that much, I thought the parks always looked nice, but perhaps not as nice as during the Taft years. KECO did bring us the 3 Togo standups, however. :)

Last edited by Jeffrey Seifert, Monday, June 15, 2009 5:08 PM
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Monday, June 15, 2009 6:37 PM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Danny Biggerstaff CoAsTeRDaN said:
(boy I do miss the old days of the haunter river and attractions in the Mt at KD...

Smurf Mountain and Time Shaft FTW!


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Monday, June 15, 2009 7:37 PM
crazy horse's avatar

Was time shaft the mine coaster that ocupied the mountain?

If so, I think I was able to see whats left of the station and some track reminets on the side of the mountain.


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

+0
Monday, June 15, 2009 9:53 PM
Vater's avatar

Nope, Time Shaft was a Rotor. The mine 'coaster' was Smurf Mountain (formerly The Land of Dooz). It wasn't a coaster at all, but a powered mine train ride. It began with a completely enclosed, very intimidating (and very slow) lift hill, and deceivingly didn't pick up any speed when it reached the top. Even as a kid I always thought the ride was excruciatingly slow.

My favorite was the Haunted River (formerly Journey to Atlantis). To this day that drop out of the mountain had the most unbelievable headchopper effect I've ever experienced.

Part of me misses all of that stuff (well, except for Smurf Mountain), but the other part of me--the one that always used to think that KD should gut the mountain and build a roller coaster in it--really likes what's there now.

Last edited by Vater, Monday, June 15, 2009 10:02 PM
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Monday, June 15, 2009 11:50 PM

super7* said:
Paramount managed to rip out of the heart and soul of the original design and theming of 3 of the parks,

I think with that comment it's only fair to mention how Cedar Fair has continued to destroy any personality or theming at Kings Island. Although under Paramount significant pieces of the park's beauty was ripped out for clones like the Italian Job, these themed rides did have some theming which Cedar Fair seems to be neglecting. I understand copyrights prevent continued movie title usage, however theming could remain well maintained.

On my last visit to KI just a few weeks ago, The Crypt was absolutely pathetic. Not only was the ride running in a low mode but none of the theming elements were on. Lighting was off, water effects were not on and cleaning shelving was put up on the loading docks. ScoobyDoo had literally no functioning animatronics.

My point, Paramount may have destroyed the original soul but Cedar Fair's neglect to detail moves KI toward resembling the bland theming of its other parks.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 1:52 AM

JoelWhy said:


My point, Paramount may have destroyed the original soul but Cedar Fair's neglect to detail moves KI toward resembling the bland theming of its other parks.

I agree Cedar Fair is the leader in American theme park blandness, proven by the renaming of the rides in their takeover.

Cedar Fair has been mostly in the thrill rides business, not the theme park business. Not great at ride naming, and not great at theming. Cedar Point has lots of rides, but that is mostly what it is, lots of rides.....there is very little theming there, and with every installation, due to their landlocked situation, more trees and greenspace disappears.

With Diamondback, they at least named the coaster and made the station to match the frontier theme. But removed countless trees and a lake to install the coaster. How much better would this coaster have been surrounded by trees like the Beast?

Their installation of Dominator at King's Dominion is very generic, and practically a Six Flags style parking lot coaster.

I do give the park's that still have their theming intact more hope with Cedar Fair than Paramount though. Paramount's goal was to promote the cheesy movie of the day. Generic is better than completely out of theme for the area the ride is in.

King's Dominion fared the best over the years of retaining it's original atmosphere except for a few major flaws, mainly losing all the trees around the Grizzly (Paramount), losing the Old Dominion Line (Paramount) and draining 2/3 of the lake to install a water park in a hole (KECO dark years).

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 1:56 AM

Jeffrey Seifert said:
I guess I never really thought it about that way, but you are correct, a lot of rides started disappearing. I don't know if appearance suffered all that much, I thought the parks always looked nice, but perhaps not as nice as during the Taft years. KECO did bring us the 3 Togo standups, however. :)

One trip to Carowinds in '88 during the KECO years stands out in my mind. On that trip, several rides had been removed since my 1st trip there, paint was peeling, and what was newly painted was painted very bland colors (like they got a discount on gray-green paint). That was the last year for the fantastic White Lightnin' also.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:31 AM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Vater.. you didnt give Time Shaft the attention it deserves in answering that question.

Its more than just a rotor.. It was a queue line that went into a tunnel which led you to a room where there was blaring Rock Music and sweltering 90 degree temperatures, all the while spinning when the floor drops and you attempting to rotate your body upside down..

That, was Time Shaft.. :)

Was cool that you could see the people spinning below from the queue line though since the top was open to them.

Last edited by ridemcoaster, Tuesday, June 16, 2009 6:32 AM
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 10:53 AM
Vater's avatar

Ah, you're right, that was a much more accurate description. Although you left out a major detail about the tunnel: the fact that it was almost entirely lined by chewing gum. :)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 11:49 AM
Jeff's avatar

super7* said:
Cedar Point has lots of rides, but that is mostly what it is, lots of rides.....there is very little theming there, and with every installation, due to their landlocked situation, more trees and greenspace disappears.

This is false in every way and it's very tired. I agree that the "old west" or "frontier" theme may be the easy way out (though it certainly works for places like Dollywood, apparently), but that's a third of the park, themed. The park is more green than in any time I can remember since the late 80's. The last ride to involve any significant tree removal was Dragster, and that was reasonably surgical. As someone who photographs the park regularly, it's hard to get unobstructed views of anything other than Wicked Twister on the beach.


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

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:37 AM

It is all a matter of personal opinion. I am just not crazy about Cedar Point because of the lack of theming and lack of greenspace in the park. The installation of Maverick and Skyhawk involved a fair amount tree removal in what was the nicest part of the park.

Last edited by super7*, Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:01 PM
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:46 PM
Jeff's avatar

Lack of rides? Compared to where? Lack of greenspace? Where? Not counting parking lots, I'd love to know where those are. Skyhawk required the removal of almost no trees, and Maverick required only a few near the pond end of the ride, something that would be required for any ride at any park. Singling out CP for that is ridiculous.


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

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:08 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

Knotts is a theme park. It has themed areas. Disneyland? Theme park. Lake Compounce? Not a theme park. Holiday World? Theme park. Kennywood? Not a theme park. SFOT? Theme park. Cedar Point? Sorry, it's not a theme park. It is an amusement park. Yes, it has themed areas but that alone doesn't make it a theme park.

Complaining about the lack of theming at Cedar Point is like complaining that McDonalds doesn't serve Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:23 PM

Edited. I meant lack of theming lol. They definitley don't have a lack or rides at CP! Like I said, personal opinion, but i just don't find CP that nice of an atmosphere overall.

I KNOW CP is not a theme park, and that is one of the reasons I just don't prefer it over other parks! It is also the reason that Cedar Fair tends to be bland with theming. Look at what they started with.....not a theme park! LOL

http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=41.483469~-82.688454&style=h&lvl=15&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

That map is Pre-Maverick. Plenty of trees around Whitewater Landing that were removed. The back half of the park is green, the front half is asphalt.

Last edited by super7*, Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:26 PM
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