Friday, June 13, 2014

This Place Ain't Possum Trot No More...

Associate… its like fingernails on a chalkboard…

Ugh.  For FOURTY YEARS employees at Worlds of Fun have been known as Ambassadors.  Its part of the theme, guests circle the world, and are taken care of by each “worlds” ambassadors.  Get it?  Probably somebody, at a place in Ohio that will remain unnamed, thought homogenization was a great idea.  For the whole five people that read this… NOT A GOOD IDEA.  It’s like replacing the themed music, absolutely not reasoning to it, except that it seems to work at all the other parks. Ugh.

Anyway, sorry folks had to start with that lovely tidbit, but I promise there are more interesting things to talk about in this blog, lots of interesting things, and not all entirely bad things either. 

So lets talk about something not entirely different.  As we all know 41 years ago Worlds of Fun opened, 11 years later another Worlds of Fun landmark opened to the public, on May 25, 1984.  At a cost of 3.5 million it was Worlds of Fun's most expensive expansion at that point in time. 

That ride, Fury of the Nile, or more often just referred to  as “Nile”, turned a ripe old 30 years old just two weeks ago.  Sadly, Nile is a bare shadow of its one glorious, thrilling self.  I remember when I rode it the first time a few years after it opened and that it scared me to pieces. The tunnel was dark and foreboding, the waves seemed huge, and the ride itself seemed to glow at night.  Most don’t remember but the four pump pits (located at the top of the lift), used to be up-lit at night, glowing blue/gold through the bubbling water.  Today, it might be that I am older, and maybe slightly wiser (yes, that's questionable), but there is nothing terrifying there.  Especially with the giant overhead lights around Tower 2… Yes I know they are for safety, but it seems to absolutely KILL the ride atmosphere at night.   Still, as a child Nile was my undisputed, absolutely favorite ride at Worlds of Fun, and I can’t let the year go by without at least mentioning  its 30 year milestone.

So moving on to the next point, and that is the one I am sure most are anxious to read about, the new Train Robbery show at the Worlds of Fun Railroad.  First impression, I thought the show was very good, very entertaining, and it seemed like overall the guests really enjoyed it.   When we arrived back at the station one kid behind us asked his parents “can we do that again?”

 I have to be honest, I was completely and utterly SHOCKED (in a good way!) that they re-named the area “Yumma Yuca Mesa” (Though the sign has a “k”), I was pleasantly surprised and was NOT expecting that.  Though the show it self borrows certain jokes from SDC, that is also to be expected.  Overall, the show is original, funny, clean (for younger guests), and well done.  As a warning to those that might have children frightened by loud noises, the guns the train robbers and sheriff use during the show do “fire”, and are quite loud.  I personally LOVE the fact that they included this level of realism to the show, and unfortunately I wouldn’t be terribly surprised (if greatly dismayed) if the PC police stepped in to put a stop to that part of the show. 

Now with that being said there are several improvements that could enhance the show and guests experience.  First, and foremost there needs to be a sign, advertisement, somewhere saying what time the train robbery occurs, after asking we found out it runs 12-6 every day.  But, what about people that see the signage and ride the train expecting a train robbery?  Also, with the extended run (15 minute train ride instead of the previous 7 minutes), the train can now run only twice an hour at its current, well… slow operation.  This makes lines for the train on a intermediate crowd day all the way back to the Icee Stand.   Me thinks a fifth coach would be an advantage to the park, but that certainly is not a quick fix.  But there are quick fixes that can be made.  How about re-opening the gift shop and then moving the turnstile so it’s at the entrance to the shop, thereby using the train station as a bullpen?  Solves multiple problems, faster loading, more themed, and … MORE revenue!  Just some ideas.  Overall though we were both impressed with this new addition, and hope to see it continue into the future.

Last comment, we also had a chance to catch the new show at Moulin Rouge, “Busting out Broadway”, which runs several times a day, as well as the “British Invasion” show that we have not yet had a chance to catch.  I would recommend either show to a guest visiting the park, the talent is exceptional, and continues to entertainment even the usual non-show enthusiast that I am.  We just came back from a cruise on the Royal Caribbean “liberty of the seas”, and I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times sitting through one of the live entertainment shows I was thinking “Worlds of Fun shows are SO MUCH BETTER”, so there you go, and I don’t have to pay a thousand+ dollars to see them.  Seriously.

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