Yeah, about a year ago, I had replied in a thread about park closures
that I deemed to be at the brink or getting close to it. Well, here we
are in June 2006, and its already starting to look obvious.
In case you missed it then, the top 10 were:
1) Joyland (Kansas)
4) Margate Dreamland
7) Williams Grove
9) PNE Park
10) Your local overexpanding FEC
-Untold numbers of Japanese Parks
-Various Six Flags
Parks that are going absolutely nowhere:
-Cedar Fair's Parks
So how'd I do? Well, from the top:
1) Joyland - Still in danger, even with new management, as Roller
Coaster is deemed unsafe to open. The park was on sale for only $1.65
million, which is terribly low for having a classic wood coaster,
unique rolling stock, and a bunch of acreage.
2) Bushkill - Didn't even exist last year, but somehow, they're trying
to make a comeback. They've actually reopened this year. Again, let's
see in a couple years before striking them off the endangered list.
3) Conneaut - Another off season with tons of uncertainty, and Blue
Streak reopens once more. Barely. Again, it'll be on the endangered
list for a good long time.
4) Margate Dreamland - Again, a two year lease keeps the park going.
5) Pavilion - Its a wrap. Last operating day has already been
6) Clementon - Get there this year.
7) Williams Grove - Well, the hobby aspect finally ran out for the
owners, and now you can probably kiss it goodbye.
8) Visionland - New management seems to be keeping the place afloat.
Probably off the list for right now.
9) PNE Park - No one ***ing knows what's going on here. Just that one
day, it will move. One day.
10) Your local overexpanding FEC - A few are already going down that
are kiddie credit homes, but expect more. Many more.
-Untold Numbers of Japanese Parks: Yup. This should have been #1 in
retrospect. But hey, I had never been.
-Various Six Flags: Well, we're down two right now, a third may be
closed in Oklahoma, and there's 6 openly on the market. That ain't
Lakeside, Arnold's, and Wildwood are all doing decently right now.
Lakeside will get a huge boost depending on what happens to SFEG.
Arnolds is still a mystery, and Wildwood is probably doing alright,
with ride sales being mainly in the realm of cost cutting rather than
So, to update now with the new top ten of endangered parks....
1) Japanese Parks Not Owned By Disney: The market is total shit over
there and has been, with horrible growth even with 0% interest rates.
At least 5 or 6 parks have already dropped dead or will at the end of
this season. Additionally, the growth in China is likely to keep their
folks home rather than travelling abroad, which is a further blow to
the industry there.
2) Adventure City: Already announced tenatively.
3) Santa's Village (IL): You can't operate without electricity or
4) Bushkill: Ya gotta root for 'em, but again, the park basically
didn't exist last year.
5) Joyland: Has competition opening, doesn't have an operating coaster,
has been in trouble for the last 15 years.
6) Clementon: I'd be terrified if I were a local to this place. If I
were their accountant, I'd wonder what the hell they were doing when
they bought J2.
7) Various Six Flags (particularly unprofitable parks): Astroworld was
under the old regime, but the new one is just as anxious to close some
gates and get some condos built as anyone.
8) Conneaut: What else can happen to the place?
9) Overexpanding FECs everywhere: Delgrosso's understands their
business. They might be able to get away with a wood coaster. But they
don't think so. And thus they have a far cheaper spinning mouse instead
to accompany their slides. They're still profitable. Others who thought
building a midsize wood coaster was their ticket to the big time? Well,
okay. How is Boomers making money? They have a wood coaster, 1200
arcade machines, and I've NEVER heard anyone say that place is packed.
It doesn't add up. There's so many joints like this; Castles And
Coasters or Timber Falls for instance. Hell, there's others opening up
all over the place that seem to be running on the Pharoah's Lost
Kingdom business plan. I can't imagine all of them working. The FEC is
the hot new thing for dry parks, but I can't see it lasting. At least
PLK has water slides.
10) Lakemont: Let's be honest here. A all day pass to Lakemont costs as
much as an all day pass at major themers...if they're in Thailand. I'm
sure that there are decent nights when the baseball team plays home
games, but its still minor league AA level ball. They can't be pulling
more than 2500 or 3000 people to a game. Maybe 20% of that goes to
Lakemont? That's not a lot for your busy nights. Again; have you seen
it busy? Ever?
-Somewhere on the Jersey Shore: I think Steel Pier is already scheduled
to get the axe, but condos are big business on the shore, and a smaller
place could get knocked out relatively easy, like a Gillian's.
-Arnolds Park: Actually improving. Debt load is falling, income is
rising. This is very good stuff. May be off the list in a couple years
if I'm still doing it.
-Parks in floodplains/hurricane zones: A bunch of FECs in the
Mississippi and SFNO were all KOed last year by Katrina. Similar and
lesser storms hitting New Jersey, South Carolina, the Gulf Coast, etc
could be devastating to struggling parks.
-Bell's: Before even the tornados hit, there were all sorts of
questions about what would happen if their coaster didn't get approved
and where the future might lay for the venerable Oklahoma park. With
the future of Frontier City in doubt, it would be silly to close up
-Amu***ts in Vegas/Primm: Kid friendly attractions are so completely
out right now when it comes to development in Vegas, its not even
funny. The Wynn is hyper expensive, geared to ***, high end
shopping, and expensive tastes, and is the least kid friendly place
ever. Thing is, its the future of the strip. Expansion at Venetian and
future plans for the Stardust site ensure this. Manhattan Express,
Speed, Desperado, and probably the entirety of Circus Circus may all be
gone in 15 years. Circus Circus will be the last to go, though, as it
will be a family friendly island out in the North Strip, while the
remainder is totally revamped. Expect Tropicana to disappear in the
next few too as the strip pushes in both directions, seemingly on a
course to one day reach both South Coast and Stratosphere.
-Lakeside: Always got to worry.
Parks that don't need to be mentioned here:
-Disney, Busch, Universal, Cedar Fair. Obvious. Though perhaps Geauga
Lake will see large amounts of land sold off.
-Dixie Landin'. If you told me this would be on the list a year ago,
I'd debate your sanity. It was an inconspicuous FEC with some mediocre
rides, but some nice folk running it. Thing is, with SFNO in need of
ground up rebuilding and Baton Rouge doubling in population overnight,
everything has changed.
-Water parks where its not worth more to build condos: If you want to
get into the amu***t industry, become a lifeguard. I'm not
bullshitting you. Don't waste your time operating rides and shit,
because you can be inspecting park safety procedures within one year
(and making what a lot of Americans do in a year in a summer doing so)
and have a full time managerial job in a exploding industry within 3.
There is nowhere near saturation yet in the industry. Nowhere near it.
WTF Parks ("The How Do They Make Money?" Facilities)
-Boomers (Dania Beach)
-Upper Clements Park
Discuss or whatever.