STORY: ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND

STORY: ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND

Post by JackTheRipp » Tue, 28 Aug 2001 22:33:52


ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND, THE THRILLS ARE
SIZED RIGHT FOR TOTS
Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff

08/25/2001
The Boston Globe
THIRD
Page E.1
(Copyright 2001)

GLEN, N.H. - This has not been a banner year for local amu***t
parks.

Roller coaster mishaps at Six Flags New England and Canobie Lake Park,
coupled with steepening ticket prices and rising heat indexes, have
left many patrons feeling less than amused. Families with young
children have faced other challenges, too, such as pondering whether
it's worth a 45-minute wait to ride a 60-mph roller coaster that may
or may not cause brain trauma. Parents of most 5-year-olds could
happily skip that thrill.

At New Hampshire's Story Land theme park, however, this summer has
proved to be, well, a different story.

The 35-acre park, which opened in 1954, has been crammed all season
with happy faces, according to park officials - despite a conspicuous
lack of gravity-defying, nausea-inducing rides. Bucking the
bigger-is-better industry trend, the park has grown quietly but
steadily over the years, expanding from a quaint little Mother Goose-
inspired theme park into one with 16 rides and multiple attractions
that has become a popular vacation spot for thousands of New England
families with small children (40 percent of whom hail from
Massachusetts, according to park surveys).

Several factors help explain the park's sturdy popularity. Among these
would be its modest admission fees ($18 for a full-day pass) and
comparably modest concession prices, its well-tended grounds and
well-staffed attractions, its jewel-like setting in the scenic Mount
Washington Valley, and the fact that it unapologetically caters to the
10-and-under crowd.

You'll find a couple of roller coasters here, in other words, to
complement the twirling teacups, flying wooden shoes, and Cinderella's
pumpkin coach. But no ride that simulates a NASA shuttle launch or
re-creates scenes from a slasher movie. The biggest hazard?

Probably getting doused by errant spray while riding the Bamboo Chutes
coaster or Dr. Geyser's Remarkable Raft Ride, neither of which would
induce terror in a hypersensitive first-grader. The longest wait for
any ride on a recent Sunday afternoon? Fif*** minutes, tops.

No wonder everyone walks around the park all day looking so happy.

"I'd say 4 to 8 is the ideal age for us," says park president Stoney
Morrell, son of Story Land's founder and chief architect, the late
Robert Morrell.

Adds Morrell: "At Disneyland and some of the more corporate-run parks,
the layout and execution is so perfect it's almost intimidating. We're
more into what I call comfortable imperfection."

Morrell literally grew up with Story Land - his father, who died in
1998, built the first park exhibits in his driveway, and his mother
ran the gift shop - so he may not be the most objective analyst.
Morrell is also reluctant to discuss attendance figures, saying only
that Story Land is visited by "over 75,000 families a year."

The park employs nearly 300 people during the summer months (including
two dozen exchange students from Eastern Europe) and 35 staffers
year-round, when new construction is normally undertaken. A new
attraction, such as the Polar Express roller coaster or Oceans of Fun
Sprayground is typically added every other year, says Morrell.

But the most convincing explanation for Story Land's enduring appeal
comes from such customers as Jennifer Field, of Merrimack, N.H., who
first visited the park 33 years ago.

Field returned here a week ago with several family members in tow.
While Story Land has added new features over the years, she observed,
it has been careful to preserve both its sense of scale and user-
friendliness. Any place that prices its food this reasonably ($1.25
for a hot dog, 90 cents for a medium soda) cannot be too obsessed with
profit margins, either, Field suggested.

"The park has always been clean, and the staff has always been
extremely pleasant," said Field as she waited for her children to
finish the popular Antique Cars ride. Ann King, Field's mother, soon
walked over and joined the conversation. Gray-haired and twinkle-
eyed, King proudly noted that two of her daughters and seven of her
grandchildren were with her at the park this August morning.

"I used to love coming here myself," said King with a smile, "and it's
only gotten better with age."

Field and King were not alone in having memories of long-ago visits to
park. Of five families approached more or less at random, three
included moms who had been enchanted by Story Land when they were
youngsters.

"It's still very charming - and still not overly commercial,"
commented Cynthia Keefe of Byfield, visiting the park with her two
sons, Ryan, 12, and David, 10. Whatever else Story Land does right, it
seems to inspire the kind of familial loyalty that Disney officials
spend heavily to cultivate through sheer marketing muscle.

The group we took along on a recent weekend visit included two
(non-sibling) 5-year-olds and three friends aged 10 to 13 - hardly the
park's target audience, but they wanted to come. So we brought them
along. Even the older kids pronounced the park "a really, really fun
time," somewhat to our surprise. As for the two kindergarten- bound
girls, they had (coincidentally) been together at the Disney theme
park in France earlier this summer, so comparisons to Europe's version
of the Magic Kingdom were inevitable.

"I still like the `It's a Small World' ride best," said Eve, referring
to one of Disney's biggest hits. "The Bamboo Chutes is really cool,
though. Can we go on it again?"

Emma was already begging for another ride on the Polar Coaster. "I met
Cinderella," she beamed, chasing after Eve. "Just like at Disneyland!"

For the record, Story Land's Cinderella turned out to be a 14-
year-old Berlin, N.H., high school girl who wears braces on her teeth.
Somehow that only made her inherent princess-ness shine more brightly.

Story Land is located on Rte. 16 in Glen, N.H. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
daily through Sept. 3. Open Sat. and Sun. only from Sept. 8 through
Oct. 8. Admission is $18 (all rides included). Seniors (over 60) pay
$15, and children 3 and under are free. Free parking and kids'
strollers are also available. For information call 603-383- 4293 or
visit their Web site, www.storylandnh.com

 
 
 

STORY: ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND

Post by XCALIBRMI » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 09:49:25

Great article.  Might I add that a group of 14 *** park-and-coaster
enthusiasts got together on July 21st at Story Land and had a blast.  The park
is much larger than it appears from the outside.  The Polar Coaster and Dr.
Geyser's Remarkable Raft Ride were especially fun.  Great theming on the Bamboo
Chutes flume ride.  Also, the Antique Carousel is quite unique.  It has rocking
horses instead of ones that go up and down.  Quite a workout, too.

If you go, be sure not to miss the well-hidden Los Bravos Silver Mine if you
like tilted house/Noah's Ark-like attractions.  It's a combination of the two
types of walk-thrus, with a mining theme.  Rus Ozana and I even braved the
Turtle Twirl (Tilt-a-Whirl shaped like turtles) and the Slipshod Safari Tours,
which is a lot like Disney's Jungle Cruise, but on land.  The budget is
smaller, but the sight-gags were just as good.  A rainforest downpour is even
simulated while you're in the queue building.  A lot of attention to detail in
this park.

We rode several other rides that day also, in less than 5 hours.  We could have
easily spent a full day there (remember, none of us brought kids), but we had
to leave at 2 for more fun that afternoon at Santa's Village.

Mike "don't even get me started on the ***depots" Thompson

Quote:
>ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND, THE THRILLS ARE
>SIZED RIGHT FOR TOTS
>Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff

>08/25/2001
>The Boston Globe
>THIRD
>Page E.1
>(Copyright 2001)

>GLEN, N.H. - This has not been a banner year for local amu***t
>parks.

>Roller coaster mishaps at Six Flags New England and Canobie Lake Park,
>coupled with steepening ticket prices and rising heat indexes, have
>left many patrons feeling less than amused. Families with young
>children have faced other challenges, too, such as pondering whether
>it's worth a 45-minute wait to ride a 60-mph roller coaster that may
>or may not cause brain trauma. Parents of most 5-year-olds could
>happily skip that thrill.

>At New Hampshire's Story Land theme park, however, this summer has
>proved to be, well, a different story.

>The 35-acre park, which opened in 1954, has been crammed all season
>with happy faces, according to park officials - despite a conspicuous
>lack of gravity-defying, nausea-inducing rides. Bucking the
>bigger-is-better industry trend, the park has grown quietly but
>steadily over the years, expanding from a quaint little Mother Goose-
>inspired theme park into one with 16 rides and multiple attractions
>that has become a popular vacation spot for thousands of New England
>families with small children (40 percent of whom hail from
>Massachusetts, according to park surveys).

>Several factors help explain the park's sturdy popularity. Among these
>would be its modest admission fees ($18 for a full-day pass) and
>comparably modest concession prices, its well-tended grounds and
>well-staffed attractions, its jewel-like setting in the scenic Mount
>Washington Valley, and the fact that it unapologetically caters to the
>10-and-under crowd.

>You'll find a couple of roller coasters here, in other words, to
>complement the twirling teacups, flying wooden shoes, and Cinderella's
>pumpkin coach. But no ride that simulates a NASA shuttle launch or
>re-creates scenes from a slasher movie. The biggest hazard?

>Probably getting doused by errant spray while riding the Bamboo Chutes
>coaster or Dr. Geyser's Remarkable Raft Ride, neither of which would
>induce terror in a hypersensitive first-grader. The longest wait for
>any ride on a recent Sunday afternoon? Fif*** minutes, tops.

>No wonder everyone walks around the park all day looking so happy.

>"I'd say 4 to 8 is the ideal age for us," says park president Stoney
>Morrell, son of Story Land's founder and chief architect, the late
>Robert Morrell.

>Adds Morrell: "At Disneyland and some of the more corporate-run parks,
>the layout and execution is so perfect it's almost intimidating. We're
>more into what I call comfortable imperfection."

>Morrell literally grew up with Story Land - his father, who died in
>1998, built the first park exhibits in his driveway, and his mother
>ran the gift shop - so he may not be the most objective analyst.
>Morrell is also reluctant to discuss attendance figures, saying only
>that Story Land is visited by "over 75,000 families a year."

>The park employs nearly 300 people during the summer months (including
>two dozen exchange students from Eastern Europe) and 35 staffers
>year-round, when new construction is normally undertaken. A new
>attraction, such as the Polar Express roller coaster or Oceans of Fun
>Sprayground is typically added every other year, says Morrell.

>But the most convincing explanation for Story Land's enduring appeal
>comes from such customers as Jennifer Field, of Merrimack, N.H., who
>first visited the park 33 years ago.

>Field returned here a week ago with several family members in tow.
>While Story Land has added new features over the years, she observed,
>it has been careful to preserve both its sense of scale and user-
>friendliness. Any place that prices its food this reasonably ($1.25
>for a hot dog, 90 cents for a medium soda) cannot be too obsessed with
>profit margins, either, Field suggested.

>"The park has always been clean, and the staff has always been
>extremely pleasant," said Field as she waited for her children to
>finish the popular Antique Cars ride. Ann King, Field's mother, soon
>walked over and joined the conversation. Gray-haired and twinkle-
>eyed, King proudly noted that two of her daughters and seven of her
>grandchildren were with her at the park this August morning.

>"I used to love coming here myself," said King with a smile, "and it's
>only gotten better with age."

>Field and King were not alone in having memories of long-ago visits to
>park. Of five families approached more or less at random, three
>included moms who had been enchanted by Story Land when they were
>youngsters.

>"It's still very charming - and still not overly commercial,"
>commented Cynthia Keefe of Byfield, visiting the park with her two
>sons, Ryan, 12, and David, 10. Whatever else Story Land does right, it
>seems to inspire the kind of familial loyalty that Disney officials
>spend heavily to cultivate through sheer marketing muscle.

>The group we took along on a recent weekend visit included two
>(non-sibling) 5-year-olds and three friends aged 10 to 13 - hardly the
>park's target audience, but they wanted to come. So we brought them
>along. Even the older kids pronounced the park "a really, really fun
>time," somewhat to our surprise. As for the two kindergarten- bound
>girls, they had (coincidentally) been together at the Disney theme
>park in France earlier this summer, so comparisons to Europe's version
>of the Magic Kingdom were inevitable.

>"I still like the `It's a Small World' ride best," said Eve, referring
>to one of Disney's biggest hits. "The Bamboo Chutes is really cool,
>though. Can we go on it again?"

>Emma was already begging for another ride on the Polar Coaster. "I met
>Cinderella," she beamed, chasing after Eve. "Just like at Disneyland!"

>For the record, Story Land's Cinderella turned out to be a 14-
>year-old Berlin, N.H., high school girl who wears braces on her teeth.
>Somehow that only made her inherent princess-ness shine more brightly.

>Story Land is located on Rte. 16 in Glen, N.H. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
>daily through Sept. 3. Open Sat. and Sun. only from Sept. 8 through
>Oct. 8. Admission is $18 (all rides included). Seniors (over 60) pay
>$15, and children 3 and under are free. Free parking and kids'
>strollers are also available. For information call 603-383- 4293 or
>visit their Web site, www.storylandnh.com


 
 
 

STORY: ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND

Post by Shawn Mamr » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 22:02:27


Quote:
>How many coasters are at Story Land and Santa's Village?  Can ***s ride
>all of them without children?

>Someday I'll get to these parks, but they're just so damn inconvenient to
>get to.  Maybe after La Ronde turns into a real Six Flags park, I'll visit
>those parks on the way home from Montreal...

Heck, they're even darn inconvenient to get to from this corner of
New England.  Might be a nice drive, though...

-Shawn Mamros (someday...)


 
 
 

STORY: ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND

Post by coasteraddi » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 22:29:12

Both StoryLand and Santa's Village have one coaster each - family
size.  ***s can ride without kids.  Santa's Village is also fun.
Has a nice flume ride, and a dark ride with laser guns - Bah Humbug.
Also, while in the are - a nice Alphine Slide at Attitash (close to
StoryLand).
Worth stopping to do.
 
 
 

STORY: ONCE UPON A THEME PARK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE'S STORY LAND

Post by Keith Hopkin » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 23:54:59

Quote:

> types of walk-thrus, with a mining theme.  Rus Ozana and I even braved the
> Turtle Twirl (Tilt-a-Whirl shaped like turtles) and the Slipshod Safari

Tours,

I had wondered who requested the Turtle Twirl!  Sellner has pictures of it
on their website.  Kinda cute, and definitely one-of-a-kind.

http://SportToday.org/

--
Keith Hopkins

Genuine headline seen on Salon.com:
"Smiley the Clown" found guilty of ***