Fountains have always been a fixture of amusement parks and theme parks, often serving as the centerpiece and as an enhancement to the natural beauty of the park setting. Often the fountains in parks have been spectacular attractions, with guests enjoying the relaxing sound of the water and the cooling mists on hot summer days.
When Great Adventure was built every aspect of the park was designed to
be the biggest of its kind, and the Fountain was no exception. The
original design featured an enormous round pool with a single central
water jet which sprayed up to 150 feet in the air, the tallest single
water jet fountain in the world.
Located at the midway point of Dream Street between the Giant Wheel and Carousel, the fountain was designed to serve as a hub in the park, where the main thoroughfare of Dream Street branched off to the Aqua Stadium, Happy Feeling and Ride-a-Rama. The hub design was a feature that Disney had pioneered with the development of Disneyland.
The original incarnation of the Fountain featured a very low concrete
wall with a stucco surface on the outside. The single jet was an
impractical design since the slightest breeze would blow water into the
surrounding area, soaking passing guests. With guests dining close
by at the Fountain Cafe, what could be a refreshing mist could quickly
turn into a soaking, ruining a meal. Also, the low walls of the
Fountain did little to discourage guests from wading into the cool water
on hot days.
For the 1976 season, the park had outgrown its original entrance plaza, so a new entrance was built, with the Fountain becoming the center of the park as part of the Avenue of the States, a patriotic themed area to celebrate America's Bicentennial.
The new entrance area incorporated the Fountain, and to match the new
colonial era theme, the original pool was clad in stone giving it a more
rustic look and a more substantial feeling.
Over time the original central jet was replaced with a ring of eight smaller fountains circling the middle jet. The modification involved running pipes from the center of the Fountain and simply diverting the water out to the new jets. This minimized the modifications needed for the pumping system.
The pumps for the Fountain were located below ground level in a vault
located in front of the Fountain Cafe/Great American Hamburger in a
stand of bushes. Most guests would never have guessed that the large
pumps required to create the spectacular water display lay beneath their
In 1986, the Fountain was fitted with an iron railing to keep guests from wading into the water on hot days.
Throughout the seasons the Fountain was the occasional victim of employee pranksters who would pour dishwashing liquid used for cleaning the trays in food stands into the water creating giant mounds of suds in the churning water.
|For Great Adventure's
early Halloween events the Fountain's water was dyed blood red.
After the 1993 season the original Fountain was demolished and replaced with a new, smaller version with an octagonal pool as part of the theme enhancements made to the park's entrance plaza. The original footprint of the Fountain can still be seen in the variation in pavement surrounding the current Fountain.
The Fountain has always been a focal point of the park, and was featured in early park postcards. Shown in daylight and at dusk, the impressive column of water seemed to draw guests down Dream Street to see all the magical attractions along the way.