Sunday, November 14, 2010

A late breaking development...

Some that have been involved with Worlds of Fun and parks for awhile may remember our attempt at a website called Don't worry this post has pretty much nothing to do with that website (may it rest in peace). However our plan for was to create a for every park in the county. Ambitious... Yes. Completely impossible, Yes. Did we get thousands and thousands of photos from parks across the country. Yes.

That last part is the important part. We quite literally have a huge closet full of nothing but photo binders of parks across the country. Including Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, otherwise known as the park previously known as Six Flags Ohio, previously known as....

wait for it.

Geauga Lake

Yes, we have discovered hidden in a forest of amusement park photos, photos of the Geauga Lake carousel!

Wait a minute I don't hear the excitement?

I guess I shouldn't post the photos of the Geauga Lake carousel, the very carousel that is coming to Worlds of Fun, a carousel that until now has had no photos available anywhere on the internet. Yeah I looked.


Well I guess I will just post them anyway. So here we go.

That sign looks REALLY familiar... This photo is worth a click, the horse that's visible dead center is a gorgeous horse.

A few more horses. If you look closely (you will probably need to click on it) you can see the four seperate rows of horses. Also if you look at the floor of the carousel (those floors look familiar too...) you can see where the jumping poles enter the floor. I have it from a good source that not only is the 1926 Illions fast, in such a way as we are talking lateral g-force fast, but the horses also lean, intentionally. Now seeing the floor I can understand why. Looks like fun!

Such a beautiful sight.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A GRAND Addition

This is not a photo of the Worlds of Fun's "newest" attraction but it was carved by the same artist, M.C. Illions and gives readers an idea of the quality involved.

Back in 1972, when Worlds of Fun was originally designed, a large, elaborate carousel was one of the many focal points in the design of the park to be cut from the original plan. In 1977, the park added a Bradley and Kaye carousel to the Europa section of the park, and entitled it Le Carousel. While one of the better recreations in plexi-glass of the golden age of carousel art, it is still a recreation.

It would take the park 39 seasons before it would receive what is considered by many the crowning glory of any amusement park or theme park worth the name. A classic carousel.

Most classic carousels that one sees at amusement parks where originally manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company, which manufactured over 100 hand carved carousels during the span of thirty years, Six Flags St. Louis is home to PTC #35.

Worlds of Fun's newest arrival won't be a PTC though.

Back in the hey day of carousel manufacturing, which spanned roughly from the turn of the century to about the early 1930's, there where three major types of carousel manufacturers. The Philadelphia style (PTC is the most widely known but there are others), Country Fair style (our Lawrence, KS hometown C.W. Parker was known for this style), and finally the Coney Island style. Philadelphia and Coney Island are relatively similar, both reaching for life-like realism, with Coney Island style being, no surprise, the more flamboyant of the two.

For more information on the Coney Island Style:

A Stinson band organ. Its unknown at this time whether it is operational or not. These unique music machines where the predecessor of every music device that followed it, the juke box, the boom box and even the ipod. Amazingly they weren't powered by electricity but instead by compressed air. They played by use of music rolls (think like a player piano) which orchestrated the dozens of different musical instruments (pipes) found within.

Charles Looff and Charles Carmel are two carvers and carousel manufacturer's that one often hears associated with the Coney Island style. M.C. Illions is the third. Very little is often heard of M.C. Illions since he produced very few carousels by himself (though he worked for many years with Charles Looff), but what he lacked for in numbers he more then made up for in quality. Illions came to the United States as a Russian emmigrant, a cabinet maker by trade (like so many carousel carvers) he was hired under Charles Looff, and went off later to form his own company. His reasoning for separation from Looff were quite simple, he appreciated the creativity and craftsmanship involved in the creation of each animal, and saw the future for carousel art headed down a mass produced road he did not want to follow.

Many familiar with Illions are also familiar with the fact that he raised and owned several real horses, allowing him a close familiarity with his subjects that few other carousel artists enjoyed. That experience, and Illions own talent made him into what is considered one of the top tier American carousel carvers. In fact it is due credit to Illions and his skill that even though fewer then a dozen of his carousels still exist, one, the 1927 supreme is one of the most duplicated carousels in existence. One of such copies is located at Gilroy Garden's in California.

It is probably due to the fact that Illions would not sacrifice quality that he produced as few carousels as he did. One of which a 1926 Supreme, has partially already made it to Worlds of Fun.

The center hub!

The Sweeps of the carousel, these support the upper half of the carousel and the cranking rods (or jumping mechanism). On the ends you can see the gears that connect to the rounding board.

The Ring gear, in two pieces. This is the center gear for the ride, that the sweeps and cranking rods all connect to.

Here is a great picture showing how everything comes together...

Though at this time we have no photos available of the horses from the 1926 Illions headed to Worlds of Fun here are some great photos from a similar Carousel in New York also carved by M.C. Illions.

The platform in sections, taken from E Lot.

Though the year can't be confirmed (the plaque states 1918 the National Carousel Associateion states 1926) it can be confirmed that this ornate carousel was one of a handful of supreme carousels created by the Illions shop. the term Supreme refers to the fact that it was the largest model that the Illions shop produced, boasting over 64 jumping horses, and 90 foot diameter base, making it one of the largest carousels operating in the United States.

The carousel's specific history starts in 1926 when it was originally produced for Philadelphia's celebration of the US Sesquicentennial, it then went on to spend the next 12 years in Birmingham, AL and found itself a permanent home at Geauga Lake park in Aurora, IL where it operated from 1937 until the park closed in 2007.

The Geauga Lake sign, which from what I have heard will be re-used.

Geauga Lake's story is one that is also over a century long, but one's who's story, atleast as a classic amusement park, has come to a sad ending. But Geauga Lake's story has not ended entirely. Many of its rides, even its classic Giant Dipper (which has of recent been saved), have found new homes. Geauga Lake's crown jewel though, its carousel was the final piece of the puzzle, its one that we know now for sure will live on, completely restored at a new home, waiting for new families to enjoy for hopefully another century to come.

New for 2011...

New for 2011! a gravel lot! Yes after your small tykes spend hours at the new Planet Snoopy they can stop by this amazing gravel lot for additional hours of fun!

Ok ok seriously. Worlds of Fun has one or two more tricks up their sleeve to spring on us enthusiasts for the 2011 season. But before we get to that, let's take a look at what's left. This was once the home of the blue and white tent once known as Festhaus, also previously this same spot was home to the Schussboomer roller coaster. With the complete demolition of the site, including the aged blue and white trellis entrance, it also marks the end to the final piece of Schussboomer (that blue and white trellis was the old queue line).

Courtesy of Jeff, are two panarama's of the old Festhaus Area. Be sure to click on the photos for a larger, full size version!

Here is another look at the site looking towards the Scandinavia shops.

What is it? Well its part of the REAL new attraction for 2011 (in addition to Planet Snoopy).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An alternate Worlds of Fun Halloween....

As the Worlds of Fun season winds down, I have to say its been a fun and busy ride these last 6 weeks! I have to apologize as well for not getting a blog update in awhile as I have been focusing on my Anatomy class that I have been taking, it along with WOF and my regular job has been eating up all of my time until late!

For Halloween Jeff and I have been decorating our own house for the last many years. Now you may be wondering what this has to do with Worlds of Fun.

Quite a bit. We use WOF as our primary theme, as you will soon see.

Here we are at what we have named "East 3rd Terror St" (actually E 3rd Terr in real life) that we have turned into a mini-WOF graveyard, full of tomb stones to several of the park's previous defunct attractions.

A side view, you can see our scarecrow also from this direction.

Here is our new addition for 2010 the pumpkin tree. I carved 3 of the 5 foam pumpkins and Jeff wired them to glow red or blue thanks to electric led lights.

Here is a close up on the 2 I am most happy with, the Orient Express and EXT pumpkins. These are #5 and #6 in my series of WOF pumpkin carvings. These are the first done in foam pumpkins though. (both are carved, not painted and lit with either blue or red lights)

The Prowler carving from 2 years ago. I will most likely try to re-create this in foam to make it more permanent.

Stay tuned for an end of season review!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Worlds of Fun History Exhibit Take II

Some may remember that last June, Jeff and I put on a small Worlds of Fun history exhibit at the All Stars Grill. As it was only open Wednesday and Thursday for a few hours most didn't get a chance to see it.

For those that didn't you now have a second chance. This Saturday, August 14th we are making a second go at the exhibit. For those that enjoy park history this is something you don't want to miss. It will again be hosted in the side room at All Stars Grill (in Scandinavia), and will be open to the public from 11AM - 7PM. Park admission is required for admission to the park, but there is no cost to view the exhibit.

For those that would like to see photos from last June check out the blog entry:

Almost every item in the exhibit is privately owned by Jeff and myself, with one or two items being on loan from the park staff. We will have several one of a kind items on display including track from the Orient Express, the original Anton Schwartkopf blueprints from the Zambezi Zinger, several other ride parts, and a park EXT ambassador costume, as well as much more.

We will also be displaying several park souvenir maps, brochures, and other paper publications from park history.

Be sure to check it out, we hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New for 2011!

I want to apologize to all reading this for not getting this up on the blog until wednesday morning. I had the intention of getting the photos and info online Sunday afternoon, but on Sunday our HSI modem decided to pick the not-so-greatest time to decide that it no longer wanted to work after five years. Thanks everyone for your patience! And now onto our regularly scheduled programming.

Snoopy of course received for his birthday this delicious bone (cake)

On Sunday, in the midst of a steaming 100 degree day Worlds of Fun celebrated Snoopy's 60th birthday. For anyone counting that's 362 years old in dog years.

No birthday party is complete without balloons!

As part of the celebration Snoopy finally opened his gift that had been standing around and taunting us for the last few months.

It came as no suprise to many that for Snoopy's birthday both he and all of us received a brand new, shiny $5 million addition called Planet Snoopy. Though no specific details were announced, and we haven't as of yet been given a final list of new attractions, the park did give us some idea as of what to expect for next season.

Brandon making a quick speech leading up to the arrival of the famous beagle.

Inside the box is the Snoopy that will stand in the new Planet Snoopy.

Camp Snoopy will be receiving six new children's/family attractions. Many of the new rides should offer experiences similar to the Camp Bus and Woodstock's airmail in that parents and children should be able to ride them together. Though it appears that the fun little Rockin' Tug attraction is among the list, there are many rides that are still yet to be officially confirmed. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

Personally though the addition of Planet Snoopy has been announced for several other Cedar Fair parks across the chain its great to see the park investing in family attractions. Even though both of us really enjoy Camp Snoopy and will be sorry to see the rustic theme leave, the addition of several new rides catering to the shorter set is certainly welcome.

Brandon holding the New for 2011 Planet Snoopy concept art

Here's a better look (click to see a larger version)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tivoli Music Hall: Then and Now

Though never a big shows person myself it has come to my attention that I have never done a blog post on ANY of the shows! Of course that could be attested to the fact that the first show I ever saw at the park wasn't until 1994, which was the Marionette Show that I caught on a day off after working at the park. So, I apologize to all of those park show lovers out there.

Where do I start? In the last 14-15 years that I have been digging through park history I have honestly, in most cases neglected the shows. However, its hard to miss the fact that over the past 38 years the park has been home to hundreds of different live entertainment shows. Delores Hadley Marionette's, Fins and Flippers, yes even Shirt Tales have all played at the park through the years. However, from my limited knowledge Tivoli Playhouse/Music Hall seems to have always been the primary focus.

Tivoli is currently home to the 2010 "Don't Stop Believin'" named after the famous Journey rock ballad of the same name. As the name might imply this years show certainly is a departure from previous Tivoli musical revues, as it focuses on the bands of the 1980's, including Journey, Queen, Kiss and Bon Jovi to name a few. It's definitly one of the better shows to play at the Tivoli in previous years, and I recommend those that have a free 30 minutes at the park to check it out. It runs until August 15, and always important.... Tivoli is Air Conditioned!

While the "Don't Stop Believin'" starts a bit slow it picks up as it heads into its second set, dedicated to Queen.

Some more Queen.

A tribute to the hairbands rounds everything out...

One more.

Check out all 25 or so other shots of the current Tivoli Music Hall performance on Facebook.

Of course before "Don't Stop Believin'" The Tivoli has been home to dozens of other shows, with names such as Pizzazz, Sparkle and Shine, but also the memorable Haunted Theater and the two appropriately named anniversary shows Tivoli 10 and Tivoli 20.

Now here is where I have to apologize. I have over a dozen old Tivoli photos, but excepting for a few I have no idea which shows they are from. If I know the show, or can make a somewhat interesting guess I will certainly do so. However, if you were there and can name the show let me know!

As I always appreciated the multiple choice quizzes more then the fill in the blank I thought I might also include a timeline of Tivoli shows. Please keep in my I in no way endorse the 100% accuracy of the below attested list. end disclosure. Special thanks to Dave McCall, who is MUCH more involved in live entertainment then I am for helping fill in several of the blanks.

1973 – 20th Century Sing
1974 – Be Young Again
1975 - Friends
1976 – Worlds of Follies
1977 - Come On and Sing
1978 - Razzle Dazzle
1979 – Gotta Dance
1980 - Pizzazz!
1981 – Sparkle
1982 – Tivoli 10
1983 – Let Yourself Go/Starbeam Music Machine
1984 – Break Away/Starbeam Music Machine
1985 – Haunted Theater
1986 – Haunted Theater
1987 – Breakin’ Out
1988 – Shine
1989 – Too Hot
1990 – Too Hot
1991 – Too Hot
1992 – Tivoli 20
1993 – All Aboard for Broadway
1994 - 1997 – Country Style
1998, 1999, 2000– Singin’ Swingin’ and Rockin’ the House
2001, 2002, 2003 – Rockin’ the House
2004, 2005 – Snoopy Rocks
2006 – Livin’ in America
2007 – Dance to the Music
2008 - 35 Years of Dancin' to the Music
2009 – Let the Good Times Roll

Tivoli 10 played in 1982 for the park's 10th Anniversary.

Breakin' Out from the 1987 season.

This photo was labeled from 1979 which would date this as from Gotta Dance.

Thanks to David McCall, this is from Tivoli 20, from 1992.

A few years earlier, 1989, Too Hot.

From 1987, Breakin' Out.

Also from the 80's 1988, Shine.

Thanks and hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer. For those fascinated with park history make sure you stop by and visit our Worlds of Fun History Exhibit during Coaster Mayhem, Saturday August 14th!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What was once lost is now found!

I questioned whether to make a blog post out of this, but it is such a great story. Jeff, my husband and occasional co-wof junkie collected about five of the old souvenir photo books from the 1970's and 1980's when he was a kid. Of course when I discovered theses little beauties I wanted to borrow them... Well I borrowed them and they remained "borrowed" for many years, and we finally came to the realization that they weren't really borrowed anymore they were plan and simple, lost. After years of occasional searching, we finally gave up and considered them lost to time. It was a very sad moment for a WOF history fan.

(Brandon don't worry I don't think I can lose a large business size box of photos)

Well after cleaning up our basement a few weeks ago.... I discovered a lost treasure. The souvenir books! I was very excited, not to mention greatly relieved that they didn't fall prey to my intrinsic ability to lose things forever. :)

What do you think I did once I found them? I started scanning them of course!

No I didn't scan them all at one time, for one reason I just don't have that much free time! However I did scan completely the one I consider one of the most unique, the 1973 version. I now have it published online for your viewing pleasure here:

Also if you should have even more free time, (can I borrow some?) be sure to check out the publications page if you haven't already. Over the past 13 years (yikes!!) I have scanned several of the old park maps, brochures, and the 1978 version of the photo book, you can find that nifty page right here:

What? You have to go to another page to view pretty photos? No I would never do that to you all. So to wet your appetite here is one of my favorite pages for the previously mentioned 1973 souvenir map. If you want more, well just click on that little link above. Be sure to click on each page for a larger version!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights!

Tonight, we had the chance to visit the park and be one of the first to experience Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights, the new attraction at Worlds of Fun for 2010. As today approached I was surprised at how many wrote off the new attraction, as "just lights" (exact quote from a guest), From my personal experience as well as seeing the numerous expressions of guests faces I am guessing that many opinions were changed for the better, and as will become obvious with the photos in the next few sentences, Worlds of Fun's new attraction is more then "just lights". It really is an overall sensory experience.

From the time of the announcement both Jeff and I thought the coming attraction would benefit the park as a whole. It not only catered to families, but we also felt it would have a very significant positive impact on the atmosphere at the park as a whole. Overall, I would have to say that both of us really enjoyed the new attraction, and I would recommend everyone who will be visiting the park this summer make sure to make time in your visit to experience these beautiful lights.

Before we get started with the pictures, a few stats might be fun to play around with. The Hot Summer Lights attraction combines over 2 Million LED lights into an enjoyable interactive experience. The lights are choreographed with lighthearted music, and even provide multiple opportunities for guest interaction. In Europa there are several "push me" buttons, that allow guests of all ages to light up the trees with leaves, butterflies and my personal favorite... lady bugs :)

In Africa light bugs dance along the pavement as glow creatures (a worm, light bug and fish) roam through the crowds and provide great photo opportunities. Actually taken as a whole even though Hot Summer Lights is themed to the Peanuts characters it also conveys an almost Alice in Wonderland atmosphere. This is definitly not an attraction you want to miss, especially since there is no long line to wait in!

So on with the show...

In this case a photo doesn't really do justice. At the entrance to Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights, in the old Grand Prix Raceway area sits Lucy, with a picnic basket over all large checkboard lighted area. Also out of the picture are two large interactive "venus flytrap" plant creatures.

The children especially seem enamored with the lights, and also one of the attractions roaming characters. In this photo not only is the peanuts character, Lucy but also one of the lighted characters which could best be described as a flower princess. All the little girls seemed to love her!

Moving through Europa. though the lights in the photo appear static they do fade in and out with the music playing in the background.

The baseball themed section of Hot Summer Lights. You can see the woodstocks in the background playing catch, but instead of a real ball, its a lighted archway that moves to mimic a baseball.

One of my favorite parts, is the Europa hill, that has its trees cascaded not only in blue lights but also twinkling strobe lights.

Overall best part of the attraction, the Congo Clearing/Africa bridge. You can also see the glow worm here.

The fireflies dance on the wall of the Moroccan Merchant. Its a nice effect that really can only be appreciated fully in person though.

The Under the Sea section of Hot Summer Lights features real bubbles produced by bubble machines, a glow fish and an interactive oyster that pops open every once in awhile to reveal Woodstock guarding the oyster's pearl inside.

Check out more photos of Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights and discuss on Facebook

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oceans of Fun Opening Day Camp Out!

Okay I must admit, we didn't camp out. I know, I know... Look at it this way though atleast I am bringing photos! Yes, Jeff and I ventured out to Oceans of Fun (and WOF a bit too), tonight 05/21/2010 to shot some photos of the sequel to the amazing First Annual WOF Opening Campout.

We arrived about 7PM and stayed off and on until about 9PM, when we left they had about 50 campers, hopefully more by the time 11PM rolled around!

Check in at Oceans of Fun maingate started at 7PM. 93.3 was there providing live music, free xbox gaming, and door prizes.

A few tents are set up now, and they seem to have a good view of Mamba!

Night is setting up as more campers show up for registration and enter the 93.3 drawing!

The all important drawing for door prizes. 93.3 and the park gave away free movie passes, t-shirts and drink bottles.

Discuss and check out more information Worlds of Fun on Facebook