Waldameer unveils long-term plan with purchase of land and a hotel

Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 10:14 AM | Contributed by AJFelice

Waldameer Park & Water World, which introduces a new attraction nearly every year, is adding something just as big this fall: more than 7 acres of land and buildings, including the Inn at Presque Isle, at Peninsula Drive and West Sixth Street. The acquisition, to be final Oct. 2, will enlarge Waldameer to 52 acres, put park owner Paul Nelson in the hotel business and help launch an ambitious 10-year plan for the 116-year-old amusement park.

Read more from The Erie Times-News.

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Monday, September 24, 2012 10:42 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

Wow. I wondered if they would buy that land and expand outward more and here they are. Good for them!


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Monday, September 24, 2012 10:49 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

There's a running joke in there about Waldameer and needing a hotel and the like, but it's really tired and played out, so I'm not gonna make it.


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Monday, September 24, 2012 11:10 AM
birdhombre's avatar

I'm glad to hear they're doing well and looking to expand. I've never been to the water park (mainly because our Waldameer visits are on weeknights after work), but from what little I've seen it looks rather drab. A new children's area and wave pool visible from the parking lot could really spark things up.

I'm also interested to see what they do with the beachfront property. If we can grab dinner there while watching the sun set, that might replace our usual visit to Sara's.

I still wish they'd stay open for the Halloween season -- seems like such an obvious place for some Knoebels-style themeing. I also wish they'd update the parking lot sign to the current logo, instead of that faded-'70s-souvenir-tee-shirt looking thing they have now.

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Monday, September 24, 2012 11:10 AM
kpjb's avatar

That's good, because if we needed a joke about a hotel... wait for it...

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IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE ALREADY!!!

HA!!!! OMG!! LOLz!!!!!1!


Hi

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Monday, September 24, 2012 11:47 AM

birdhombre said:

I still wish they'd stay open for the Halloween season -- seems like such an obvious place for some Knoebels-style themeing. I also wish they'd update the parking lot sign to the current logo, instead of that faded-'70s-souvenir-tee-shirt looking thing they have now.

Agreed. I've only been to Waldameer once (one full weekend) but RF II is still my #2 coaster..I liked the park and loved the ride. When I first started thinking in July/August about my post-birthday jaunt, I wanted it to be Kennywood/Waldameer. I was surprised..to say nothing of disappointed..when I discovered that Labor Day weekend was their last days of operation.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

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Monday, September 24, 2012 12:25 PM

Wasn't this property owned by the person that always gave the Nelson's grief everytime they wanted to add stuff?

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Monday, September 24, 2012 1:01 PM

Unfortunately, Waldameer isn't buying the property belonging to the grumbling neighbors. This new property is mainly on the corner of 6th and Peninsula south of the park.

Fall/Halloween operations have been discussed, but there are a few barriers. One, the weather around here gets bad, and it gets bad fast after Labor Day. If the park were to be open any Saturday this fall, it would have been absolutely dead with the rain we have been getting. Second, crowd control would be an issue as well, as every holiday event during the season brings some of the "best of Erie" to Waldameer. Believe me, holidays are rough at Waldameer. If the park were to do any post Labor Day operations at this point, I could imagine them starting with two or three extra weekends in September.

Last edited by AJFelice, Monday, September 24, 2012 8:18 PM
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Monday, September 24, 2012 7:43 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Ok, I have laid out what I believe to be the parcels in question. Someone please correct me if I'm mistaken.

http://rollercoasterfreak.com/Waldameer_Expansion.png

The red is the existing park property.

The yellow is the future expansion.

It's possible the Inn property extends to Latempia Dr. I really don't know.

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Monday, September 24, 2012 7:44 PM

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Monday, September 24, 2012 8:02 PM
rollergator's avatar

Thinking Waldameer more than any other park really benefitted from the closure of GL. Moving from "park" to "resort" will certainly require a whole new level of commitment. But knowing the family involved, they've done their research and know what they're doing.

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Monday, September 24, 2012 8:29 PM

Jason, your diagram is spot on with the newly acquired property.

As for the exisiting lakefront property, it's really an interesting parcel. Long story short, I had the opportunity to go down there one morning before the park opened. The area itself is feels even larger than the map suggests, and it's fairly heavily wooded. Also, there is a small stream that runs through the land. I picture the future to be like a small Knoebels if it were on the lake. As for the beach, besides what Mr. Nelson said in the article, it's been eroded to an abrupt wall of rocks.

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Monday, September 24, 2012 10:11 PM

Yet more good news from the Little Park that Could. I find it fascinating just how free Mr. Nelson is with details about future plans for the property--the exact opposite of SOP for most parks.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Monday, September 24, 2012 10:24 PM
Fun's avatar

I'm sure it helps that his company isn't publicly traded, so there is no need to follow protocol for disseminating information to the investment community.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:43 AM

This is good news. Waldameer is a nice, family park. It's a park where I can take a 4 - 5 year old and she has fun, yet if I were to go there with just my wife, there is enough for us to have fun as well. Plus, it doesn't break the bank to go there. And, the lines are short enough that you do not feel like you are wasting time if you have to wait for other people in your party to ride something. (Many parks loose their excitement if someone has to wait an hour for you to ride something that they do not want to ride / can not ride.)

As far as the benefit of GL closing, Waldameer certainly got a lot of the benefit. Geauga Lake in its heyday was famous for company picnics, church groups, and other small groups doing outings to the park. While Cedar Point certainly has some of this business, Waldameer has gained a lot of it. When I was there this summer, the park was swarming with YMCA Camps, a church picnic, and a small company having a company picnic. And, for anyone living East of Cleveland, it's faster to get to Waldameer than Cedar Point.

I'm a bit surprised by them moving into the hotel business. I've always thought of that area as more of a camping area than a hotel area, but I'm sure there is a business there.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:45 AM
Jeff's avatar

It has been interesting to watch this park grow over the years, but not surprising. I've only been there once, but I immediately could see how its management "gets it." The investment in technology alone makes it pretty obvious that they understand how to run an amusement park.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 1:18 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

If they can improve the quality of the hotel and connect it to the park they could offer some nice package deals. The area is severely lacking in hotels that I would ever consider suggesting to anyone. I would guess that the hotel goes away in the coming years.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012 7:46 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

I did not realize that they owned that land right next to the lake. Seems like that could potentially be a really cool area for the park. I am glad to hear that they are doing so well. I could see them purchasing more land in 20 years or so as well... maybe by them the grumbling neighbors will have moved out.

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