Wild West World (Tuesday 8/21/2007)

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Okay,so this isn’t a true trip report, but a recent business trip put me right by the defunct park so I thought I would snoop around and do some surveillance.

In case you didn’t know, Wild West World is a theme park startup that opened in May of this year and then closed in July citing bad weather, poor attendance, etc. They filed for bankruptcy and are currently in negotiations to sell the park to Parks America Inc.

The park is located in Park City, Kansas which is about 10 minutes outside of Wichita. The park has an outstanding location. It is right off of I-135 and you get a full view of the park from the interstate. Access to the park is as easy as taking one exit ramp. There is a ton of signage so you really can’t miss it even if you are blind and don’t notice that it is right there on your right. A potential issue is that the park utilizes a single, standard off ramp from the interstate and should the park reopen and become really popular, traffic could easily backup for miles. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a dedicated exit and/or service road to alleviate this potential traffic nightmare. There are several restaurants and hotels right around Wild West World, but easily the most noticeable and most impressive is the Sleep Inn that the park obviously made a deal with to come in and build as an anchor to the park. It’s your standard Sleep Inn, but it has a massive “Western Main Street” facade built onto it. In fact, you might not even know it is a hotel if the Sleep Inn sign wasn’t placed in the middle of it. It is actually quite elegant and helps give the park a very legitimate and established feel. Though the park was closed, the hotel is still fully operational with a parking lot filled with guests.

Driving around the park perimeter was kind of a sad affair. As you’d expect, there are a lot of closed shops and great looking rides just waiting to be brought back to life. I’ve heard many people criticize Wild West World as an off the shelf carnival. I must strongly disagree. Beech Bend Park is an off the shelf carnival. Sure, they wisely invested in the Kentucky Rumbler, but other than that, it’s your typical tractor trailer hauled fare. Wild West World appears to be a legitimate startup with carefully chosen, better than average quality rides. It reminded me of Dollywood when that park first opened. Now I’ll admit that the “all-western-all-the-time” theming is a bit hokey, but from everything I saw, this park is on its way to being a respectable independent park. The one think it does sorely need (other than a buyer to come in and reopen it) it a large wooden coaster to complete its backdrop. According the website, this was already planned and scheduled to be completed in 2009.

I read somewhere that Thomas Etheredge spent about 14 Million dollars to open the place. From my surveillance, it looks like he spent every penny of that to ensuring that the park had a diverse and respectable ride collection. Unfortunately, he should have saved up a little more so he could meet payroll, operating expenses, loan repayment, etc.

Buying this park is a no-brainer. It is a beautiful turn-key operation that someone is going to get a real deal on. Personally, I’d probably re-theme the place a bit, but I can’t imagine that they will just let all of those brand new rides sit there and deteriorate and the park has such a nice location and setup that I find it hard to believe they’d simply tear it down. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the place up and going under new management for the 2008 season…which is the rumor. *** Edited 8/28/2007 8:42:19 PM UTC by Emiroo***

I don't think I asked this question before but, why do roller coaster enthusiasts hate "carnival" rides at an amusement park. What rides would they put in instead of "carnival" rides? Carnival rides consist of Ferris Wheels, Merry-Go-Rounds, Tilt-A-Whirl, Himilaya, Flying Bobs, Scrambler (You can find at carnivals), Moser Spring Ride, Huss Condor-In other countries, they are a carnival ride., Huss Frisbee-Same thing as Condor, Huss Swing Around-Same thing as the other two, Bumper Cars-They might be a little different, but they are still at both., and so on.

Someone is wrong on that it's a carnival atmosphere. How many rides at that park could you find at a carnival? A lot of them are Moser, and they aren't at carnivals. I wish they were at carnivals. Yes, they had a Himilaya, and a Condor, but what other rides are "carnival" rides. If they aren't made by Huss (Condor which is a carnival ride in the UK, and other places., Top Spin which is a carnival ride in other places., and a Huss Swing Around-I have seen a video of that ride at a carnival not in America though. Of course, you have the Huss Troika, and the Huss Frisbee which is at some carnivals even though they aren't in the United States. Don't forget about the Huss Giant Frisbee.

The reason why they aren't at carnivals in the United States is because there is a weight limit for carnival rides on trucks. In other countries, they don't care. Also, a ride like Condor might take 4 or 5 trucks. To me, the ride is not worth that many trucks. It's not a spectular type of ride that people will reride over and over again at each, and every visit. If you look at the Huss Frisbee, you will see lights on the ride like carnival lights. That's because it's at carnivals in other countries.), Intamin (Drop Towers), or S&S (Screamin Swing), than it seems they are "carnival" rides.

If that's the case, Cedar Point is a carnival atmosphere too. They have a Enterprise (State Fairs), Wave Swinger (seen at State Fairs), Super Himilaya (They are at many carnivals), Flying Bobs, Chaos, Ferris Wheel (obvious), Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, a rocking boat, Merry-Go-Round, and other carnivalish rides.

Dorney Park is in that category along with Six Flags. Dorney Park has a Tilt-A-Whirl, Himilaya, Chance Giant Ferris Wheel, Enterprise, Sea Dragon (This was the old traveling carnival ride before Pharoah's Fury.), Scrambler, Monster (I really wonder if they ever had these rides at carnivals.), Revolution 32 (This ride is really like a KMG Freak Out, but a bigger version.), and more rides.

Hey, Six Flags America has a Falling Star, Flying Bobs, Merry-Go-Round, Round-Up, Breakdance (You can find those in the UK more than US.), a Wave Swinger, and more.

Six Flags Over Texas has a Yo-Yo (Too bad it doesn't tilt), Breakdance (as said above), Scrambler, Dumbo type of ride themed to Batman (You can find those at carnivals.), Bumper Cars, Rocking Boat, Chance Trabrant (It's slowly fading away at carnivals and amusement parks.), Rockin Tug Boat (Showing up at carnivals nowadays.), and more I can think of right now.

I guess almost every amusement park except Disney/Universal Studios is very carnivalish. Busch Gardens (one of them) has a Tivoli Orbiter that you can find at many carnivals. A KMG Fireball is at Celebration City.

The whole point is that you are dreaming if you don't believe that carnival rides aren't at amusement parks. I personally like the carnival rides better than the regular flat rides that you would never find at a carnival such as the Zamperla Teacup. They make a carnival small teacup, but they don't have the big version at carnivals. That's a ride you wouldn't find at carnivals, and I don't think it's the greatest in the world. It's good though.

Carnivals have some of the most intense rides you will ever find. Some of them are more intense than a lot of roller coasters such as the Force 10, Orbiter, Zipper, Spin Out, Space Roller (I don't like it though), KMG Fireball, Sizzler, Downdraft (I again don't care for it.), 1001 Nachts, Hi Roller, Gravitron, and so on.

Is Emiroo referring to "traveling" vs. "permanent" style setups or overall shape of the amusements? The latter's what I read into it... Heck, I miss the flats that other parks used to have before the "coaster renaissance"... Bring back the Gladiator's Gauntlet at BG Williamsburg and "Joust" at SFGAdv (but in full action, not slowed down for the sissy bunch like they ran towards their ends)!
I don't think anybody hates "carnival" rides as you've defined them. What people don't like are crappy-looking portable rides that look like they just arrived on the truck the night before (see Beech Bend).


From what I'm gathering, for whatever reason, the locals were expecting a full blown "theme" park, ala Disney or Busch. From what I have seen WWW is more or less traditional park with themed elements. Personally I wouldn't have a problem with that, but apparently they do.
Well, the park also doesn't have that one "Signature" attraction... it's a shame, had they lasted long enough to add that rumored GCII wooden coaster, I think that really could have cemented the park. It's just so hard for a new park to get off the ground in this day and age without a LOT of finincial backing.

If you can't stand the heights, get out of the line.

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