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29yrswithaGApass

Original Enchanted Forest Entrance

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On that second photo down on the spotlight, that was exactly the place where I got a balloon (Big Wheel) and a pennant (Safari) when I went there in 1974. The clown blowing up the balloon. I lost the balloon about 15 minutes later getting on a ride at Ride-A-Rama. What cherished memories.

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There are a series of photos in this Spotlight that I really like because each is related to the next.

 

It starts off with the park entrance photo. Look through the gates and you can see the balloon stands.

 

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Here are the stands:

 

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Through the gates you can also see "The Bakery".

 

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And from "The Bakery" there is a great view down the rest of Dream Street!

 

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As I was writing the text for this spotlight I just kept thinking of how much more "magical" it must have been to enter the park this way. With the trees left between the park and parking lot, then taking the tram to the entrance it was a more "Disney-like" experience. One you entered the park there was a real flow to things...it seemed logical to head down Dream Street towards the Giant Wheel and it must have been amazing to keep "finding" things along the way since everything was so heavily wooded. I love the idea of walking to the far end of the park, then taking the Skyride to the western section and then you were back to where you started. At first I thought the layout was awkward with the Western section beyond the gates, but when you look at it the right way it makes a LOT of sense.

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I find it interesting they actually drew in the expansion to the restrooms for the 1975 map:

 

1975%20copy.jpg

 

It's almost like "New for 1975- MORE TOILETS!"

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As I was writing the text for this spotlight I just kept thinking of how much more "magical" it must have been to enter the park this way. With the trees left between the park and parking lot, then taking the tram to the entrance it was a more "Disney-like" experience. One you entered the park there was a real flow to things...it seemed logical to head down Dream Street towards the Giant Wheel and it must have been amazing to keep "finding" things along the way since everything was so heavily wooded. I love the idea of walking to the far end of the park, then taking the Skyride to the western section and then you were back to where you started. At first I thought the layout was awkward with the Western section beyond the gates, but when you look at it the right way it makes a LOT of sense.

 

It WAS "magical". I"ve always regreted the fact that they blocked off Dream Street the way they did. But the current entrance was "magical" too, until they cut all the trees down. You still entered a forrest and discovered magical things all throughout. The only thing you could see from the parking lot was the top of the ferris wheel and a very small portion of the skyride. It would have been incredible if they had left some of the trees in the parking lot, so you actually parked in the forrest.

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I can still remember going though the original front gate on our first visit in 1974. We used the booth and line all the way to the left. I recall seeing all the colors as soon as we got through the gate and being really excited seeing the Carousel and the Giant Wheel. Those great attractions had to wait though, because my Dad was determined to get over to the Log Flume before major lines formed, especially because it was THE headline attraction listed in all the newspapers.

 

Before I started really studying the park, I often wondered how we made a simple left and saw the Log Flume. For years, I failed to realize that the main entrance was moved. It wasn't until someone gave me a 1975 map in the early 80's that it all made sense and confirmed my earliest memory of quickly getting to the Log Flume.

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As I was writing the text for this spotlight I just kept thinking of how much more "magical" it must have been to enter the park this way. With the trees left between the park and parking lot, then taking the tram to the entrance it was a more "Disney-like" experience. One you entered the park there was a real flow to things...it seemed logical to head down Dream Street towards the Giant Wheel and it must have been amazing to keep "finding" things along the way since everything was so heavily wooded. I love the idea of walking to the far end of the park, then taking the Skyride to the western section and then you were back to where you started. At first I thought the layout was awkward with the Western section beyond the gates, but when you look at it the right way it makes a LOT of sense.

 

As crazy as this may be, I am amazed by the picture of the tram that is shown taking visitors to the park entrance. Isn't this the same brand/manufacturer of trams that can be found at HersheyPark? Any idea which season these trams were dropped?

 

The only trams I can recall ever seeing at Great Adventure in those early years were those towed by (what I associate with) baggage tractors similar to those used at many U.S. airports even to this day. The trams I am thinking of had passengers seated facing out toward the side of the tram while it moved forward. The picture here is of a tram that, to me, looks visually similar to the Hershey (and, less so, the WDW) trams. I am guessing that they were also of a much higher capacity than the "airport tractor trams" and certainly had to have been safer than the airport trams which people often jumped on and off of while the trams were actually in motion. And a simple thing like getting on a tram really did make it an even more magical experience as you went deeper into that forest.

 

I always felt that Great Adventure's entrance road (prior to Hurricane Harbor) also made you feel like you were really going into a magical place as it curved through the woods and then opened up to the parking lot with nothing visible inside the park other than the Giant Wheel and Skyride.

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This was one of the most special things about the original GA entrance. You walked in there after getting your ticket and Dream Street just captured your imagination. Your mind and body would be going in different directions. You had no idea what would be around the corner. I never had a problem with the new entrance in 1976, but it just wasn't the same. They say every picture tells a story. Here's proof of that!

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While I in no way mean to suggest the new entrance is as magical as the old one, I do believe driving into Great Adventure is still a magical, happy entrance.

 

Kings Island's parking lot has no seperation from the highway and roads its near. It's just there. For Great Adventure, you drive through the trees and first see the colorful slides of Hurricane Harbor, and then you see the well-themed signs pointing the way to Hurricane Harbor and Wild Safari. Then, the trees part and you can see Kingda Ka. It's more epic than magic, but it still has a stunning effect. Then, you can see basically all the coasters. I think it's one of the most dynamic coaster-showing entrances of any theme park, only falling short of Cedar Point.

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^^ I don't think I would call the current look of the park as you enter "magical" or "happy". "Epic", yes and definitely a "dynamic coaster-showing entrance". Unfortunately I do not beleive this is a good first impression. It looks like Wally World from National Lampoon's Vacation. They created the most outrageousely tacky painting for that scene, and it seems like someone from Six Flags thought it was great and wanted to fashion their parks after it.

 

It also takes away from the excitment of the rides in the park when your riding them in the parking lot. Coasters are so much more exciting when they are themed to go with the park and travel through trees, down hills, and over rocks and water instead of around themselves on a slab of cement. Seeing everything in the park from the parking lot just sort of ruins the magic and leaves nothing left to discover once inside.

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I agree about having a buffer between the parking lot and the park (and between rides), but the skyline of any park today is not the same as it was 35 years ago. Few coasters (and rides in general) today are built that fall under the level of the treetops. Most rides easily exceed the 50' +/- mark so most things will be seen from afar, unlike 1974 when only the Giant Wheel and Skyride were visible.

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^^ I don't think I would call the current look of the park as you enter "magical" or "happy". "Epic", yes and definitely a "dynamic coaster-showing entrance". Unfortunately I do not beleive this is a good first impression. It looks like Wally World from National Lampoon's Vacation. They created the most outrageousely tacky painting for that scene, and it seems like someone from Six Flags thought it was great and wanted to fashion their parks after it.

 

It also takes away from the excitment of the rides in the park when your riding them in the parking lot. Coasters are so much more exciting when they are themed to go with the park and travel through trees, down hills, and over rocks and water instead of around themselves on a slab of cement. Seeing everything in the park from the parking lot just sort of ruins the magic and leaves nothing left to discover once inside.

 

Wally World was filmed at SFMM, maybe that is when the trouble started?

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This is an absolute pleasurable topic to discuss. Man, I loved this place when I was a kid. What made that original entrance so thrilling was that you looked straight down Dream Street and all you could see was the Skyride, Carousel and Giant Wheel. Here's the thing: The Giant Wheel, when you first saw it, looked like it was a million miles away. But, look at all of the other enticing things like the four tents, the water fountain and the rides on the edge of the street. You had the restaurants, too. Any direction you moved was going to net you something and parks today just don't have that old-time bubbly feeling.

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All this talk of the how nice the original entrance way was makes me think of one thing:

 

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I couldn't agree more... Although I can't stand this building (which doesn't come close to being even slightly appropriate for the area), I never liked the large floral planting/shrubs that were originally placed there at (I believe) the beginning of the 1978 season either. The flow of the park and the excitement of Dream Street really was destroyed with the placement of something "in your way" that forced you into a games area in a very obvious attempt to get more money out of you.

 

Quite frankly, even if that was its primary purpose back then, management should recognize that it is NOT needed today.

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What adds insult to injury is that the Paintball Building isn't even centered on Dream Street. Back in 1974 land surveyors perfectly aligned the Entrance Gates, Carousel, Fountain, Giant Wheel, and Gingerbread Fancy in a perfect row. Even when Jumpin' Jack Flash was installed it was properly positioned. The Paintall Building it totally messed up.

 

20021503.jpg

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Looks like a concrete play pen. What have they done to it? Where's the grass/trees? Where's the lamp posts? What happened to Yum Yum Palace? What happened to the top of the carousel?

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Looks like a concrete play pen. What have they done to it? Where's the grass/trees? Where's the lamp posts? What happened to Yum Yum Palace? What happened to the top of the carousel?

 

Your post made me instantly think of Planet of the Apes! Click below to see what I mean! :P

 

 

That photo was taken in 2002 when Yum Yum Palace was being refurbished. Here is a current picture. Note how that Paintball ruins the area.

 

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Looks like a concrete play pen. What have they done to it? Where's the grass/trees? Where's the lamp posts? What happened to Yum Yum Palace? What happened to the top of the carousel?

 

 

Exactly. Was it really necessary to pave every inch of the park from the walls of one building to the walls of the next? Why couldn't they leave the small strips of grass and trees? I realize the park gets crowded, but they couldn't possibly need every inch of the park to be paved.

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It seems all the local parks have changed the layout of their walkways to make it harder to get around them.

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I agree about having a buffer between the parking lot and the park (and between rides), but the skyline of any park today is not the same as it was 35 years ago. Few coasters (and rides in general) today are built that fall under the level of the treetops. Most rides easily exceed the 50' +/- mark so most things will be seen from afar, unlike 1974 when only the Giant Wheel and Skyride were visible.

 

 

Of course the skyline is going to change. Coasters rising above the trees is great, but at GA they don't rise above the trees, they replace them. There are no trees to rise above. You pull into the parking lot and all you see is coasters, not coasters rising above trees.

 

The forrest the park was built in was it's greatest asset, and it has been destroyed, and for the most part unnecessarily. Every time they build a coaster they cut down every tree in sight, instead of using the trees to make the ride more exciting and less obtrusive.

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