2007 Theme Park Year in Review

Theme Park News

Now that 2007’s in the history books, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories of the year.

Six Flags Sold Seven Parks
In an attempt to reduce debt, Daniel Snyder (Washington Redskins owner and Chairman of the board at Six Flags) sold seven Six Flags theme parks. The seven parks were: Darien Lake (Buffalo, NY), Elitch Gardens (Denver, CO), Frontier City and White Water Bay (Oklahoma City, OK), SplashTown (Houston, TX), Waterworld USA (Concord, CA) and Wild Waves and Enchanted Village (Seattle, WA). Jacksonville-based PARC 7F purchased the parks for the price of $312 million. I haven’t heard of any trouble since the transition, so I’m assuming things are going relatively well witht he new management. Read more…>>>

Griffon Made a Splash at Busch Gardens Europe
Busch Gardens Europe’s long awaited 5th coaster finally debuted. The record breaking dive coaster, was worth the wait as it matched and surpassed the thrills of it’s sister coaster SheiKra at Busch Gardens Africa. It also helped BGE set amazing attendance of 4 million visitors. There was also the strange incident with the college kids tampering with the restraints. Check out my complete Griffon coverage including a review and several videos here.

Maverick Opened Late, but Still Thrilled Cedar Point Guests
Cedar Point disappointed thousands when they had to postpone the opening of Maverick last May. The builders of the new launch coaster had to make a modification to the track. Unfortunately, a sick heartline roll in the final third of the ride had to be removed. I didn’t get to ride it, but from what I heard it was worth the wait. For all of the Maverick news you can take including an on ride video visit my Maverick coasters news posts.

Theme Park Accidents Get Serious
Unfortunately, theme park and roller coaster accidents aren’t that unusual. They’re still rare when you consider how many rides are given every year, but typically about a half dozen or so notable accidents occur. In 2007, they seemed to be happening a little more often. Whether it’s because of the Internet and the increased access to information or there really were a lot of accidents this year. The girl who legs were severed while riding Drop Zone at Kentucky Kingdom received a tremendous amount of national attention. Currently, she is recovering, but it’s going slow. For more on the other four or five major incidents of 2007 including the derailment at Expoland, see my roller coaster accidents posts.

Geauga Lake Dried Up, Transitioned to a Water Park
The writing was on the wall last winter when the flying coaster, X-Flight was relocated to Kings Island to become Firehawk and Steel Venom disappeared from the park and resurfaced eventually at Dorney as Voodoo. Even with those two things happening, I don’t think enthusiasts expected Cedar Fair to completely transition Geauga to a water park. I’d thought turning Geauga into a smaller amusement park like Lake Compounce or Knoebels made sense considering how crowded Ohio is, but I didn’t think Cedar Fair would go this far. For more on the shrinking park and its adopted coasters see my roller coaster removals and relocations posts.

Voyage = Undisputed King of the Wooden Coasters
Well no roller coaster’s really undisputed in the coaster enthusiast world, but Voyage claimed two of the biggest titles in the enthusiast community. In its second year in existence it snatched the Top Wooden Roller Coaster title from Thunderhead in the 2007 Golden Ticket Awards. Then, the Voyage reclaimed the top spot in Mitch Hawker’s Internet Poll. This year the poll had the highest number of ballots ever. People can discuss the validity of both of these polls, but either way it’s all we have and at the very least they give some direction of the best coasters on the planet. Congratulations to Holiday World! Read my full Voyage review including an onride video.

It’s been a great year for the blog. Thanks for reading and stay tuned up for announcements and updates for 2008. Thanks to CoasterImage for providing great images, like photo 3 above. What were your favorite ride experiences of 2007? Mine would have to be my night rides of the Beast at Kings Island. What do you think were some of the biggest stories?

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

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