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Posts tagged “waterpark

Could Yankee Harbor Return to California’s Great America?


With the announcement of Carolina Harbor (and the all-but-certain expansion of the water park at California’s Great America in the near future), it got me thinking…

Could California’s Great America score some MAJOR brownie points and pull off one of the biggest throwbacks EVER with the re-branding of their Boomerang Bay water park to one of the classic Marriott-era themed areas – Yankee Harbor?

Theme parks generally have specific areas that work together with the rides and attractions to form a cohesive theme.

Admit it – this is a perfect name for a water park inside “GREAT AMERICA.” Photo by: Kris Rowberry. 

During the Paramount-era, it wasn’t uncommon to use a singular brand across multiple parks. After all, it was cheaper and the design team only had to do one thing. But the Carowinds announcement may signal that Cedar Fair is looking to create not a singular brand identity across all their parks, but an INDIVIDUAL PARK IDENTITY.

Boomerang Bay was originally themed after Crocodile Dundee movies – but once Paramount bailed on the park, licensing forced a slight change in name. But the name really doesn’t work with the rest of the park. (Aussie area in GREAT AMERICA?) The park has already made significant efforts to revive Orleans Place, with signage and background music, so could this be the next, logical step?

What better way to mesh the old theme of the park than with a newly expanded, American-themed water park that – let’s face it – would be the GREATEST THROWBACK EVER (I.E. even I’d buy merch if it had the classic logo integrated somehow). Nostalgia sells these days – just ask the people at Busch Gardens Williamsburg who can’t keep up with demand for their Big Bad Wolf shirts…

Plus, maybe the park could get the old lighthouse to spin up and shine again.

What do you think – would you welcome a return to “Yankee Harbor” or does “Boomerang Bay” still work for you? Leave a comment below and tell me what you think:


Frontier City Did NOT Discriminate Against Child With Prosthetic Leg

There’s been quite a bit of buzz on social media with a story involving a waterpark and a young child, who was denied on a waterslide because she has a prosthetic leg.

Many people have seen the headline and immediately assumed the park had discriminated against the eight year old – who was told she could not ride the slides at Frontier City, “…because the prosthetic leg she has could scratch the slide.”

Read the story, here, then come back here to read my opinion:

Let’s start with some obvious problems: the father is angry, because the park did not list on it’s rules, regulations that someone with a prosthetic leg could not ride the slides. Here’s the problem – he also said he would expect to see a list of every possible scenario where someone could not enjoy the park listed for them.


Really? They don’t even do that for airplane flights.

Quite simply, there’s no way that’s feasible. The sign would be literally twenty feet tall and impossible to read. No park can accurately predict each and EVERY situation in which there may be an issue with a specific guest, and then put it down in writing. That’s what ride operators are for – to interpret the safety of the guest and the park.

In this case – the ride op was CORRECT to deny the rider – because if the prosthetic leg had scratched the slide, the next guests would have been cut by the plastic – exposing potential bloodborne pathogens and a litany of lawsuits. If the leg didn’t behave like a regular one – who’s to say it wouldn’t have injured the young girl? It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.

Now, I’m not saying that there cannot BE a way for this young guest to experience a waterslide (there must be a low friction cover of some kind that could be placed over it or an attachment preventing any metal or “scratchable” material from making contact with the slide) but the park had every right to prevent her from riding – no matter how much “emotional distress” it caused her or her family. Fact is – it was for her safety and the safety of others around her.

Yes, it sucks having to walk down the entrance, but I’ve been denied on a waterslide because I wore a swimsuit with metal washers – and when I realized it – I totally understood.

The father was also angry with park management, who had security escort them to the front to speak with park management. Now, I’ve worked in parks – and the ONLY time someone is escorted to the front is when they’re being a disruption to others. While the sympathetic side of the story is with the family – having security escort your family to the front gate indicates to me that weren’t being the pictures of innocence.

People are denied on rides everyday. They are built for roughly 90% of the total population. Some people may be too short – others too tall or too large. But they don’t go to the local news station.

To sum up – this isn’t a story on discrimination based on a disability…it’s an overblown and daily occurrence at parks, that just happened to involve an eight year old amputee with a boisterous family, who happened to hit a slow news week with a buzz-worthy headline. (And I would know – I WORK at a news station)…

New looping waterslide looks more like torture than fun

The looping waterslide. It’s one of the holy grails of amusement park design. Only one has ever been built, at Action Park in New Jersey. It was opened for less than a month – but it’s legend lives on forever.

Now, the same park that “invented” the first looping waterslide is now poised to install this monstrosity:

How you can call this a “waterslide” – when there’s no water and you’re not really sliding – is beyond me. It’s much more like the vacuum tubes you find at Costco or your local drive up teller.

After being secured into a metal “pod” (nee coffin) guests are whisked down the enclosed tube via a vertical drop, then into the vertical loop. After that – I assume they somehow get you out of the five point harness, and get the “shuttle” back up to the top.

Now, just seeing the GIF of the first human rider – at what point do we begin to have fun? ‘Cause last time I checked – being strapped into a metal cage has never led to good things. Remember “the Chamber” on Fox? Yeah, it didn’t last too long and I suspect this looping “waterslide” won’t go mainstream, either.

Stick with the body and tube slides, people. Some things were just not meant to become reality.


Our Next Lost Park…

We’re hoping that by choosing this park, we just might bring summer back this year…it’s freezing in the Bay Area right now!

Well, you know it from it’s catchy jingle or if you ever drove through the Central Valley on the way to Yosemite or Sonora…

That’s right! We’re going back to the “famous” MANTECA WATERSLIDES!

(SKIP to 2:40 for the good stuff…)



Photo of the Day: Honolulu Halfpipe at Waterworld Concord

Honolulu Halfpipe at Waterworld Concord. Photo (c) 2013 Great american Thrills and Kris Rowberry

Whenever I’m walking around a park, I’ve always got my camera ready – just in case an opportunity presents itself. Of course, at a waterpark it tends to be a bit more difficult. Not only do you have to worry about the water hitting your camera, but you’ve also got to be careful not to look like a total creep taking photos of half naked people. (Unless that’s what you’re doing, in which case please stand out so security can escort you out).

Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about that second part when I took this shot – I was working for the park at the time and in full uniform, too. “Honolulu Halfpipe” sends riders sloshing back and forth until they stop at the bottom – and simply step out to the side of the half-pipe. Great for the quick shot of “airtime,” too!

Honolulu Halfpipe at Waterworld Concord. Photo (c) 2013 Great american Thrills and Kris Rowberry

Thanks to my friends at BorrowLenses for allowing me to capture such beautiful photos with their gear.

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