Views on pop culture through my eyes

When I was young, I was a bit obsessed with amusement parks. I used to even tape record the commercials for them off the TV. I was going to have one of my own called Wonder World. I even made a miniature version of Knott’s Berry Farm with a working model of the Parachute Jump. I started to think about rides (or parks) from the past that I missed. So here goes my list:

Disneyland

Country Bear Jamboree
It was located where they have the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride today. It was a theatre where a bunch of animatronic bears put on a show. It was a variety show of sorts, even the moose and deer heads on the wall, would move and sing too.

America Sings
It was in Tomorrowland, where they have Innoventions today. Inside was a rotating theatre, where you watched animatronic animals put on a journey of American music. There were singing bears, turtles, eagles, ducks and more. A lot of the animals actually ended up in the Splash Mountain ride. So you watched one scene, then the theatre would rotate to the next scene.

Journey to InnerSpace (Monsanto)
Another attraction from Tomorrowland, it was where Star Tours ride is today. You would ride in a buggy similar to those in the Haunted Mansion, and you were shrunk by a microscope and kept going back and back until there were only atoms.

PeopleMover
The third ride from Tomorrowland on my list, this one was an elevated monorail system of sorts. You sat in cars that sat 4-6 people, and there were probably 4 cars linked together. The track went all above the area, and went through Space Mountain too. When the movie “Tron” was out, there was an area that had that too, with large movie screens and wind effects also.

Knott’s Berry Farm

Berry Tales

It was located in the Roaring 20’s area, and was replaced by The Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. It was a moving ride that gave us a fictional story of bears creating the Knott’s Berry Farm jams and jellys. So you had animatronic bears, scenes in their factory and scenes at a country fair too. The ride smelled great too, like boysenberry jam.

Corkscrew
Located in the Roaring 20’s area of the park where the Boomerang is now, it was one of the first corkscrew looping coasters on the West Coast. Not much too it, a hill and 2 loops — but still a fun ride.

Parachute Jump
Also in the Roaring 20’s area, this one was a version of a dropping ride. Riders got carried in metal baskets (with 2-3 riders) up to approx 20 stories, and then they were lowered very fast. Not for the faint of heart, but not as thrilling as Supreme Scream.

Motorcycles/Soap Box Derby
Again, part of the Roaring 20’s area, this was a coaster of sorts, with riders in a race on either motorcycles (originally) and redone as soap-box derby racers (later on). I think there were 8 lanes or so, all competing in the “Race”.

Windjammer Surf Racers
Another attraction from the Roaring 20’s area, this was located where the Motorcycles/Soap Box Derby was. It was a metal roller coaster, that had 2 tracks racing against each other.

Magic Mountain

Log Jammer
One of their original rides, it was a long log flume ride with 2 drops. Always fun in the summer months, you were sure to get wet. I remember getting stuck on this one time when we were not quite to the station.

Galaxy Ferris wheel
One of the early rides also, it was a dual ferris wheel with 2 arms. One side would be up, the other one would be down. There were great views of the park from the ride.Galaxy Wheel

Mountain Express
It was a small roller coaster near the front of the park. The cars fit 4 people, and it was pretty thrilling for a ride that didn’t take up much space.

Railroad
In the back of the park, it took you around to the little country village where they had candy making and candle making. After all the thrill rides, it was nice to have something slow to relax on.

Parks Gone for Good

Marineland
It was located on the Palos Verdes Pennisula, it was the Los Angeles area equivalent of Sea World. So you had the dolphin, killer whale and sea lion shows as well as different aquariums too. I remember they had an attraction where you could swim with the dolphins — sadly I never got to do that.

Busch Gardens
It was located in the valley area of Los Angeles, right next to the beer factory. There were just a few rides, a boat ride and great log ride that went through an aviary. I always thought it would be cool to have something like that if I ever won the lottery.

So that’s my list. What amusement park rides from the past, are you missing from the area you live in? I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Comments on: "Amusement Parks — Old Favorites from the Past" (4)

  1. Marcelo Castilho Rogedo said:

    You certainly have a lot of subjects to talk about. I used to go to some parks here too, when I was a little boy. In the USA, I think we didnt have any around Berkeley, my sister’s place. I know my sister went to one with my mother, sister….since Angela’s little girl (my sister is now 41 and her girl is 5 year old)….and my nephew also went…he was 10 at the time, I think…but now I dont know in which place they went…..Actually I think it was in Florida….ops….I am confused now. I used to go to that places when I was younger here. Miss my childhood….

  2. I live in Virginia and am lucky to be within a couple of hours of several major theme parks. As such, there are many, many rides that are gone that I miss. In no particular order…

    From Kings Dominion near Richmond, VA:
    * King Cobra-the first shuttle loop. It was a ‘launch coaster’, meaning that the train was hurled forward very quickly. It had one loop (the first I’d ever gone through) and two small hills. It was short, but I loved it. It’s in Brazil (Hopi Hari?) now.
    * Apple Turnover – a nauseating ride, but a fun one. It was one of those ‘wheel’ type rides. You boarded it on the ground, then it slowly rose up like a Ferris Wheel.
    * Hypersonic XLC – another launching coaster, this thing shot you straight up then down at something like 90mph. It was the first of its type. Very similar, but smaller, to Top Thrill Dragster.

    From Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA (we got our Busch Gardens a year after yours closed)
    * Big Bad Wolf-a hanging coaster that went through the forest and then a small Bavarian town. You went up a hill and then out and down over the Rhine River. It was dismantled several years ago due to aging trains and dwindling parts.
    * Glissade – this twisting, winding coaster was tremendous fun. I only rode it a few times before it was taken down.

    Of course, there are few amusement parks I miss as well…
    In Norfolk, there was Ocean View Park. A quaint, seaside type amusement park. It was featured in two feature films…RollerCoaster and the Death Of Ocean View Park.

    In Salem, Virginia, there was Lakeside. I was really young when this closed, so I don’t remember too much, but I do remember that rollercoaster.

    In Myrtle Beach, SC, there were several…a theme park and classic seaside amusement park plus a tiny amusement park that is now a shopping center. The theme park, Hard Rock Park, only lasted a few months, but, man, did it have some great rides, like a rollercoaster with an integrated ferris wheel! Hard Rock closed due to mis-management. It opened the following year as a differently named park, but did not last past that season. It still sits, unused. The classic amusement park was the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. A nice, clean and safe seaside park, the Pavilion featured a lot of fun rides and one terrific wooden coaster. The park was shut down because it was too popular. The land was deemed to be more valuable as an upscale shopping center than a nice, safe, clean place for kids and adults so the city council and the land owners decided to shut it down. That was four plus years ago. Today, that land is an empty venue that is leased out for concerts.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks for the long reply.I really should travel more. I have had several friends tell me about Myrtle Beach, that’s too bad they wanted shopping over an amusement park.

      • Sorry about the wordiness, I get carried away at time. Myrtle Beach is interesting and mostly relaxing area. Lots to do, including amusement parks (there’s one permanent one left (Family Kingdom) and one seasonal) and lots of golf.
        We prefer Ocean City, MD. over Myrtle Beach. Just as much (though less golf) and four amusement parks including one on a pier.

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