VisionLand sold to ProParks for fraction of original value

Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2002 5:33 AM | Contributed by Matt

VisionLand officials accepted a $5.25 million bid Tuesday from San Diego-based Team ProParks to purchase the bankrupt park. The authority, comprising 11 Birmingham area communities with a financial stake in VisionLand, owes bondholders $90 million and creditors $10 million.

Read more from WVTM/Birmingham.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2002 5:44 AM
john peck's avatar So, I take it since ProParks have bought this, they also aquired the $100 million debt as well?

Looks like they got a good deal, anyway.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 5:54 AM

The good news is that the park should re-open next year. For now at least we are saved from the loss of another amusement park.

When the park is up and running again, I would recommend that the management look to the fastest way to turn the park around...appeal to the coaster loving family. They should set up events with Coasterbuzz and A.C.E. to get as many people through the gates the first year. Show these people a great time and run a friendly park and all the forums will run with their praises.

Then attack the Atlanta market and take away some of SFGA market.

Finally, when the park turns a profit, re-invest the money into offering new coaster thrills. To me this seems a sure fire way to make this park a success.

P.S. Approach Cedar Fair to manage this park for you!

What have you gotten me into?

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:26 AM
Didn't they always have an coaster enthusiast event in the fall anyways? I agree though, it is a good idea to keep it going once the park is up on its feet again.

If the shoe fits, find another one.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:27 AM
john peck's avatar Cedar Fair looked at this park about a year ago. Something made them lose intrest very quickly.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:36 AM

Visionland, being the only full size theme park in the State of Alabama, and for thoat matter could service the whole State of Mississippi which seems to have just a Ben Schiff kiddie coaster at an FEC.

They don't need to go after the coaster crazies, they need to go after the familes. Being the only show in town gives them some leverage. All they need to do is show people a real good time. A warm family friendly atmosphere is what they need to go after, that and the corporate/church/group picnic market.

They could send a team up to Holiday World to get the basics. Visionland appears to have a strong waterpark, and they have a great CCI wood coaster. Treat the people right and they will come.

David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 8:10 AM
john peck, I was wondering about the massive debt assumption myself. In all the articles I've read, they never mention who will assume the debt when it's sold. I'm going to take a wild guess that Team ProParks will take debt responsibility due to the fact that they purchased the park for $5.25 Million. But then again, ProParks is planning on spending several million to reopen the ride park and more money to add to the water park. Seems to me a pretty heavy burden to shoulder.

I do agree that they should send a following up to Holiday World. Being smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, the locals would absolutely eat up that Indiana Hospitality! Good marketing and excellent service would definitely bring the VisionLand into prominence.

"Is it worth it, to play that game? Is it worth it to sell your name?" -- Jack Friday

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 8:14 AM
I have a good friend who lives in Birmingham, who when I talked to her about Visionland says that she just would not go there when she can get to SFoG in less than two hours. She cited the lack of coasters and rides, even though she is not a coaster enthusiast. It is hard to sell an amusement park with one coaster to a population that has a long history of going to a park with many more coasters. My friend says that most people from Alabama have been going to SFoG since childhood, and that until Visionland has more rides it just doesn't seem like a decent value.

Only time will tell, but I think that a major buyer would have to buy this park and make significant capital expenditures to make it work. If that was to happen I think that this park could be very successful given the amount of population within a reasonable drive. It doesn't have to equal SF in quantity if they have some high quality rides, they have a good start as from all accounts Rampage is a great coaster. I fear that this purchase is going to be a short term band-aid and we will see another sale in the near future. *** This post was edited by Enigma13 on 10/23/2002. ***

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 9:08 AM
According to the site, the bondholders are still to be paid $3 million from the Amusement Park authority. ProParks only assumed the $700k debt due to a lein on the adjacent property.

Of course, there have been several reports of problems with ownership of the S&S tower, fines due to silt contamination, AL power debts, etc.

A great article to read at:

LINK *** This post was edited by Jeff on 10/23/2002. ***

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 9:30 AM
From the Birmingham News:
Authority members said it was not simply the $1.25 million more Team Pro Parks offered that made it the successful bidder. The plan it had for running the park was a determining factor, they said.

That's why they kept pushing the bid deadline back when several bids didn't make their asking price.

I just hope this works out. Enigma13 is correct, until Visionland either adds new rides or comes down on ticket prices, most people are still going to make the longer drive to SFoG.

Syntax Error

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 10:57 AM
No ProParks DOES NOT assume the $90 million owed to the bondholders. The bondholders took a risk with their money and they lost. The annual payments from the cities will go directly to the bondholders as opposed to the park. The other 7-8 million owed is probably not going to affect ProParks either because the park filed for bankruptcy several months ago.

Of course this sale still has to have final approval from the bankruptcy court.

Also I agree with Enigma13. This could just be a short term-deal. The reason that Cedar Fair pulled out when they were managing was problems with Larry Langford and the Authority. With them completely gone a major company could come in within a couple of years and purchase the park. ProParks could make some money and the park could be bought at a still relatively low price.
Also I dont think this company can get the park into major status based on their small size and history. All they have done is change about 3 small waterparks and that is all. They have not dealt with actual amusement park structures like Themeparks LLC had. *** This post was edited by Bosshawk on 10/23/2002. ***

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 12:35 PM
Mamoosh's avatar Since getting to Wales looks doubtful Rampage has been on my "must ride" list for quite some time. Glad to see I might get my chance. Nice to see another park saved. If only Whalom could return, too....


Coaster & Amusement Park Christmas Cards and Merchandise...coming soon! Details in new sig any day now!

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh on 10/23/2002. ***

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:08 PM
I think one of the problems (for me anyway) is the name. It sounds like a place where you go to meditate, not ride.
If you want expensive rides, you're going to pay for them, in one way or another.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002 6:44 PM

I wish the park would be operated by Six Flags or Cedar Fair. Just company's that I recommened should have brought the park.

Top Steel Coasters: 1). Nitro 2). Phantom's Revenge 3). MF 4). Medusa at SFGA 5). Raptor

Top Wooden coasters: 1). Thunderbolt at Kennywood 2). Mean Streak 3). The Villain 4). Jack Rabbit at Kennywood 5). Blue Streak


Wednesday, October 23, 2002 7:24 PM
That is funny about the name because there have actually been people who called the park thinking it was a cult organization. Also several people have believed it was an eye care center. ProParks said a name change was on the top of the list.
Thursday, October 24, 2002 3:39 AM

Dose a rename of Rampage to Alabamer Slammer make any sence?

Sarcasm :)

Charles Nungester.
Is it about coasters or friends? I say both!

Thursday, October 24, 2002 8:15 AM
How about Rammer Jammer?

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer Give 'em Heck Alabamer!

Back to the topic......
I think a name change would be a good idea for the park, but Rampage has too much name recognition so it probably wouldn't be wise to rename it.

Syntax Error
Roll Tide Roll!

Friday, October 25, 2002 8:07 PM
GoWithGravity and I came up with some great names for the rides at VisionLand. Come on, can you imagine Bifocal the Ride? How about a flat ride called Astigmatism? All the rides should've sponsored by Lenscrafters and/or Doctor's Visionworks. That's why the park wasn't making money in our opinion:)
Dude, you're getting an Intamin!

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