Worst idea for theme park location

June 25, 2023, 3:27 PM

The great write-up on Lost Island had folks bringing up that putting something like this in Iowa may be a big blow against it. So got me thinking, what would be your pick for the worst idea for a theme park location?

For me, Pedroland Park, themed to various cliches of Mexico and located in...South Carolina.

Replies (14)

June 25, 2023, 11:11 PM

This may not have been the worst idea to locate a theme park because it is a good market (like, literally one the richest market in the world), but it turned out to backfire spectacularly.

CGA is right next to an airport so it had to have a low maximum height for the rides, but it's also directly adjacent to a bunch of tech companies world headquarters (including Intel) as well as a large Abbott Laboratories office park. And on the other side of the park are all of those companies extremely wealthy workers and executives. So the park can't build big rides, is completely surrounded by powerful NIMBY interests, the real estate is more valuable than the business, and not only that they also have to deal with the 49ers taking their parking 10+ Sundays a year (i'm not sure if they get compensated for that or not, i'm sure they have to in some way).

What makes it even sadder is the other Great America, which was built and opened at the same time, became one of the biggest and most successful parks in the country, even building the worlds tallest and fastest coaster twice (American Eagle and Shockwave).

June 25, 2023, 11:23 PM

Another one that comes to mind to is Disneyland Resort Paris. No one except Michael Eisner wanted to build a massive Disney World type Resort right next to Paris. If for no other reason the place loses money like crazy in the winter when its freezing cold out, but it can't go seasonal because its so big and entrenched, it would be impossible to fully staff those parks and hotels if it were closed in Jan/Feb/March (when no one is there). I realize Tokyo still is pretty successful in the winter but this isn't Tokyo.

Also its really odd to have what is clearly a massive American designed and managed resort literally right next to Paris, the locals didn't want it there, other Europeans didn't want to go there, it just came across as cultural imperialism, and the place was a PR nightmare and money loser for decades. Now that generations have changed over a few times its looked at more favorably as globalization has become normalized, however when your massive Disney Resort ends up having to get bailed out by the Prince of Saudi Arabia (who did it for no other reason other than that he liked Disney and wanted to be the man, he certainly did not make money off of the investment), that is an epic fail.

June 25, 2023, 11:45 PM

I've got a third one: Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA (as a real park)

I guess it does OK as a waterpark and little family park that has some rides and animal encounters, but apparently at some point someone tried to make it a real park and added a large CCI woodie and Vekoma SLC. It's too close to Orlando to draw anyone that lives south of it and its too close to Atlanta to draw anyone that lives to the north of it. It's closest big city is Jacksonville which is 2 hours away, but Jacksonville is also 2 hours away from Orlando. Eventually they decided that operating their best ride was too expensive and just abandoned it. TBH I also just dislike the park, i've been to it once like 15 years ago and have no desire to ever go back even though I have driven by it seemingly a hundred times.

June 26, 2023, 11:29 AM

Even Eisener admits location among other bits were mistake with Euro Disney.

June 26, 2023, 11:56 AM

@the_man ..... what ride did they abandon?
There's no SBNO, on RCDB ?

I quite like wild adventures as a family park, and it's usually busy with locals at weekends. I always drop by when traveling between Orlando and Atlanta.

June 26, 2023, 12:11 PM

Cheetah was by far that parks best ride (though I heard it got extremely rough in its later years, the fact that they decided to ditch it instead of fix it pretty much tells you everything you need to know).

June 26, 2023, 1:19 PM

Thanks .... I've only visited the park after covid, so I missed that one.

It's a convenient stop off point along I75

June 26, 2023, 5:05 PM

Wild Adventures is definitely a very odd location choice. Local population of less than 400k and a plot of land that's a bit off the major highway so travelers aren't going to stumble upon the park. It was actually nicer than I expected when I went last year, probably thanks to quality of life improvements Herschend has done at the park recently.

Not sure if I'd say it's the worst location, but the weirdest location of any park I've visited was probably Magic Springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is located in a resort city next to a national park, but the clientele visiting that region don't seem like the sort that would be interested in a amusement park.

June 27, 2023, 3:28 AM

Pasadena, California.

June 27, 2023, 12:11 PM

I agree with Disneyland Paris not for cultural reasons or anything yes they had backlash but people got over it. The main reason for me is weather. Similarly I scratched my head at Universal Beijing. Disney and Universal parks are too expensive to be located in places that have cold weather. Disneyland should have been built in the south of France or Spain. Universal Beijing should have been built on Hainan island or somewhere else in southern China so they can have nice weather year round.

July 4, 2023, 3:31 PM

TH, coming in hot with the site of the original Busch Gardens. ;^)

July 17, 2023, 9:50 PM

Surely it was the planned £5b London Resort which had little/no transport links and was smack bang in the middle of a site of special scientific interest........on a peninsula.

August 10, 2023, 6:18 PM

The second Sea World was in...........Cleveland

Edited: August 15, 2023, 7:45 AM

I agree. The Swanscombe site seemed doomed to failure. As you rightly say it's an area of historical importance with findings dating back some 400,000 years. So it's a bad idea based on that alone.
Even though it's only 20 miles or so from where we live in SE London the transport links are poor and a bit expensive. Trains from London Charing Cross to Swanscombe take about an hour and cost about $32 return.
Weather wise you'll be lucky to hit 20 C during the summer with an average 8 days of rain every month.
That said the surrounding areas in Kent are beautiful and definitely worth visiting. Just not for a Theme Park.

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