Readers' Opinions

From Rob Pastor on March 24, 2013 at 1:03 PM
Excellent interesting article. The video is a classic.
From James Trexen on March 24, 2013 at 7:28 PM
Ah, the days before litigation dominated the justice system.
From 211.114.49.233 on March 24, 2013 at 10:39 PM
This is a fine piece of writing. Very compelling and informative.
From James Koehl on March 25, 2013 at 6:40 AM
Excellent article, Derek. You took what could be a dry history lesson and made it interesting, informative, and I wish I could have experience these parks myself in their heyday. The videos helped bring them to life.
From Ray Schroeder on March 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Great article. I rode those rides in the early 60's when I was a little kid. Safety was not a concern back then. The Steeple Chase scared the hell out of me. Sliding down the wooden slides in shorts, not a good idea. The blow holes were funny though.
From James Rao on March 26, 2013 at 5:01 AM
Great article, Derek. Amazing to see the things park operators could do back in the "old days".

On a side note, I was listening to a podcast about WDW's Boardwalk Hotel recently, and it discussed the many links between that resort and both Luna Park and Steeplechase. It is good to know Disney pays homage to those who made all the themed amusements of today possible.

From Derek Potter on March 26, 2013 at 10:24 AM
I've seen some of those as well James. I'm also glad to hear that they acknowledge the past, both through the building of the Boardwalk Inn and things like the podcasts. Some like to say or think that Disney wasn't influenced by Coney Island and that he was somehow above it. It's simply not the case. Yes he was inspired by a visit to Tivoli Gardens and a minature train, but Coney Island is where it all really started, and its DNA is in every amusement and theme park ever built since.

Walt Disney's genius was in further perfecting the model that was already established, making it as isolated as possible,taking the concept of escapism to the extreme, and putting a much larger pile of money behind it. He was actually very much like Fred Thompson...an insanely creative boy at heart who spent freely on his ventures, told stories visually, and had a solid partner providing a business foundation for his creativity. The only real difference was that Walt always had Roy to come up with the money. Thompson's partner died after only a few years in business together.

From James Rao on March 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM
You make a great point, Derek: Walt Disney wasn't as much of an inventor as he was an innovator. Take what works, and expand it, or move it in a new direction. Why try to re-invent the wheel? Just make a better wheel!