The BLOGFlume—Save The Parks!
A Disney invasion, Cedar Point lawsuit, and Six Flags adds to its California water parks.
Written by Russell Meyer
Orlando Sentinel 2/19/05
As if the theme park and cruise business weren’t enough for the Mouse House, Disney is going to attempt to do Disney-themed tours through two of America’s most popular National Parks. The vacations will tour through Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (two places that I WILL visit before I die). The tours will offer some experiences unique to each area varying from surfing lessons on the famous waves in Hawaii to horseback riding through the meadows of Wyoming. The “test” tours this summer will be a little on the pricey side, with a vacation for a family of four costing between $5,600 and $7,800, not including airfare. If popular, the vacations may be expanded to include other picturesque areas of the United States. Disney has been famous for bringing great experiences to their theme parks and cruises, but bringing guests to great experiences in the greatest natural places in the world may be a little more than most people would want. The price point of these vacations is far above what a family of four would normally spend on their own. The prices are basically inexplicable, because unless Disney can somehow purchase “private” pieces of real estate for guests to enjoy, this will not be the one-of-a-kind vacation that people would expect from such an expensive vacation. Then there’s the “Micky-fication” of some of the most sacred tracts of land in the world that might never be the same if Disney is allowed to shuttle thousands of vacationing guests through the Great West and the fragile volcanic wilderness of Hawaii. These secluded places are great because they’re secluded, and if they become overcrowded with tourists, these wonders of nature will lose their charm. My message to Disney, “STAY OUT OF OUR NATIONAL PARKS!” and stick to your own parks.
As if enough lawsuits have not been filed in the last month, two men who rode Top Thrill Dragster last June, during its much-publicized cable breakage, have filed suit against Cedar Point for negligence and failure to properly maintain their attractions. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $25,000 for injuries sustained during the catastrophic failure of the launching mechanism, and damage caused to clothing when a thick lubricant coated everything during the incident. These allegations are fully warranted (particularly since a “reasonable” judgment award is being sought), but one has to wonder why it takes nearly six months to file a lawsuit where it is fairly obvious as to whom is at fault. I feel really bad for the people who had to experience the massive failure of Dragster, and hope that other rocket coasters do not have similar problems in the future, but you have to question why this lawsuit has to be filed. Cedar Point should do whatever it takes, within reason, to make this situation right, and if necessary, file a complaint against Intamin AG for assistance in compensating the victims of a primary design flaw. Dragster is an amazing experience, but is not worth it if it’s going to hurt people. Cedar Point needs to just suck it up, admit that the ride failed, and that the failure injured some guests. $25,000 is much less than the amount the park could lose because of more negative press that will be generated because of this lawsuit, especially since TTD’s records are about to be broken in a couple of months by Six Flags’ Kingda Ka.
New Rides and New Names
Two water parks in California are getting new names and new attractions for the 2005 season. Waterworld parks in Sacramento, California and Concord, California are adding the Six Flags moniker to their names and will be known as Six Flags Waterworld Sacramento and Six Flags Waterworld Concord, respectively. Six Flags has owned the parks for a number of years, but suddenly needs to add their corporate name onto the name of the park. The two parks will also be receiving new attractions. The Sacramento park will be getting “Honolulu Halfpipe,” which will be a simulated surfing experience where riders will be dropped into a rush of water on a raft simulating riding a big swell. The Concord park will add “Tornado,” which looks more like a raft getting flushed down a toilet than an exciting water ride. Tornado rides are being added in just about every Six Flags water park around the country, so the addition of another one is no big surprise. However, the addition of the Six Flags name to these two parks has been a long time in the works, and it is quite a surprise that this has not happened sooner, especially considering how proud the company is of its acquisitions.
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