Darien Lake

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This article is about the amusement park. For the New York State Park, see Darien Lakes State Park.
Darien Lake
Darien Lake Resort logo.jpg
Park logo
Slogan Destination Fun
Location 9993 Alleghany Rd
Darien Center, NY 14040
Coordinates 42°55′43″N 78°23′06″W / 42.92851°N 78.38488°W / 42.92851; -78.38488Coordinates: 42°55′43″N 78°23′06″W / 42.92851°N 78.38488°W / 42.92851; -78.38488
Owner CNL Lifestyle Properties
Operated by Herschend Family Entertainment
General Manager Rod Rankin[1]
Opened May 1981 (1981-05)
Previous names Darien Lake Fun Country (1981-1999)[2]
Six Flags Darien Lake (1999-2007)
Darien Lake Theme Park Resorts (2007-12)
Operating season May through October
Area 1,200 acres (4.9 km2)
Rides
Total 34 (as of 2013)
Roller coasters 7
Water rides 7
Website http://www.darienlake.com

Darien Lake is a theme park resort located between Buffalo and Rochester in Darien Center, New York, United States, south of the New York State Thruway (I-90) on State Highway 77. It is owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties and operated by Herschend Family Entertainment.[3] It has campgrounds, a waterpark, and an on-site, lodge themed hotel.

History[edit]

Darien Lake Fun Country[edit]

In 1954, Darien Lake was dug out and filled. The lake was used as a popular swimming destination for many years. In 1964, investor Paul Snyder opened a small campground and picnic area around the lake. Encompassing only a small fraction of what is now the amusement park, there were no rides, simply camping and picnic areas, a small baseball diamond, a skatepark, and other features found in a typical town or village park. In the late 1970s, Snyder began to add an attraction base, the first of which was a pair of water slides over the lake called Hydro Force.

From the late 70s and into the early 80s, he added more attractions including a set of water slides on a hill near the park's entrance called Rainbow Mountain, creating an amusement park named Darien Lake Fun Country. Snyder made a deal with HUSS Park Attractions, turning Darien Lake into the North American showcase for the German manufacturer's new rides. Through this deal the park acquired rides such as the Pirate, Ranger, Thrillbilly and the Corn Popper, for use in the park and to give HUSS a location to display the rides to other potential US and Canadian buyers. In 1982, the newly merged Arrow Huss built and opened the park's first major roller coaster, Viper.

Funtime Parks[edit]

In 1983, Snyder sold 50% of the park to Funtime Parks, which also owned Geauga Lake and Wyandot Lake Park. The Fun Country was dropped from the name, and Funtime brought in some major improvements.

Funtime's first purchase was the Vekoma-built Giant Wheel Ferris wheel, the showcase of the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the largest in the US at the time, which was permanently installed in the center of the park.[citation needed] It still stands and was the icon of the park for many years.[citation needed]

Entertainment was also added to the park, with the construction of the Tops Jubilee Theater (now the Grande Theatre), the Lakeside Amphitheater, a large-scale concert stage on the south side of the main lake, presenting big name acts including The Who, Alice Cooper, and Black Sabbath, and Cinema 2000, a 3D movie theatre located in the back of the park. In the mid-to late 1980s there was Splashmania, a water ski show located on Fun Lake. The improvements continued throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, with the addition of a themed kids area, Adventure Land for Kids in 1988, and in 1989 Grizzly Run replaced a kids ride area that was located where a skatepark was. In 1990, six new slides were added to the back of the existing water slide complex and the area became known as Barracuda Bay and an extra charge was added to the waterpark as well a new locker area, food complex, shopping area and changing rooms.[4] Also, the wooden roller coaster The Predator was installed. Around this time, Paul Snyder, who up to now still had a say in the park's operation, sold his remaining share of the park to Funtime, turning over all control to them.

In 1992, a new style of entertainment was demoed on the midway between Barracuda Bay and the Giant Wheel, a laser light show called Laser Light Fantasy (now called Ignite the Night ), which included laser graphics and fireworks. The show first premiered on the mid-way in front of Barracuda Bay in 1992. The show was permanently installed in the Lakeside Amphitheater the following year, while concert events were moved to the newly constructed Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, which could hold nearly 4 times as many guests. In 1994, the old Rainbow Mountain water slides were replaced with a new set of water slides, 'Cuda Falls and the waterpark became included with park admission.

Premier Parks/Six Flags[edit]

In 1995, growing regional park chain Premier Parks bought Funtime and its three owned parks. Premier dove right into changes and additions. In 1995, Skycoaster opened located over Fun Lake. In 1996, Adventure Land was replaced by Popeye's Seaport with all new kiddie rides like a Ferris wheel made to look like barrels, a hand-cranked train ride, a submarine ride, a ship themed play place (removed in 2004), and a food stand and restrooms in the then new kiddie area in an area that was occupied by miniature golf course. A new miniature golf course opened behind the then-new kiddie area near Viper which replaced the old golf course. Also a waterpark expansion with new attractions took place in 1996 and 1997 with Hook's Lagoon (opened in 1996) the Crocodile Isle wave pool (opened in 1997) took over Adventure Land's old location by Elk Lake with new changing rooms and a food stand were built, and a bridge was built to connect the already existing Barracuda Bay slides with the then new water park area and a boat tag game was added to the midway. Three of the old Adventure Land rides were moved to another part of the park as the Tiny Trio in 1997.

From 1996 to 1999, Premier would also install a new roller coaster each year, Nightmare at Phantom Cave in 1996, Mind Eraser in 1997, Boomerang: Coast to Coaster in 1998, and Superman Ride of Steel (the world's first Intamin hypercoaster) in 1999. Nightmare was removed in 1998, and relocated to sister park The Great Escape. In 1998, Premier purchased Six Flags Theme Parks, and began to rebrand its own parks as Six Flags. In May 1999, Six Flags Darien Lake opened under its new name, with a few major changes. Premier brought Six Flags' own character base, Looney Tunes and DC Comics, into the parks, renaming Popeye's Seaport to Looney Tunes Seaport, added a new show in the vacant former Nightmare at Phantom Cave building called the Batman Thrill Spectacular, and also Hydro Force, Pipeline Plunge, Riptide Run, and Torpedo Rapids were removed from Barracuda Bay and Scrambler replaced Cinema 2000. The midway stage was added to replace the boat tag game and The Emporium gift shop opened in Lasso's old location, Crazy Quilt was removed and replaced with Lasso.

2000 brought the reforming of Premier Parks, assuming their new name, Six Flags Inc. and a drop in the addition of new attractions. The next major attractions installed were the Twister in 2000 and Shipwreck Falls in 2002, replacing the old Cascade Canyon water slides on the east side of Barracuda Bay as well as Slingshot behind the 'Cuda Falls water slides; and the Tornado in 2005.

Troubled times[edit]

2006 was a year of turmoil for Six Flags and its parks. For the 2006 season, Six Flags moved the Big Kahuna, a family-sized waterslide, from Six Flags AstroWorld to Darien Lake and also moved the Batman The Escape roller coaster from Astroworld into storage at Darien Lake, with possible plans to build it in the future. They also added an opportunity to meet with the entire Justice League at the park.

Only a month into Darien Lake's season, however, Six Flags began pulling back the Justice League from Darien Lake, and announced that Darien Lake, along with eight other parks, was being considered for sale. Many parks throughout the chain, not just those for sale, also experienced other numerous changes and cutbacks throughout the summer.

In October 2006, after shortened operating hours and seasons, Six Flags officially announced that the parks were in fact being offered for sale as a package. Paul Snyder stated in a radio interview that he would have considered purchasing only Darien Lake back from Six Flags if they had allowed the parks to be sold individually.

In January 2007, Six Flags announced a potential sale of seven of the parks to a new company, PARC 7F (officially called PARC Management).[5] Six Flags chose to retain two of the parks it had originally considered for sale.[6]

PARC Management (2007 - 2010)[edit]

Former Darien Lake logo used from 2007-2012

In April 2007, Six Flags completed the sale of Darien Lake and 6 other parks to PARC Management. Upon completion of the sale, PARC entered into a 50 year contract with CNL Income Properties, under which CNL would purchase the properties from and lease them back to PARC for operation.

Because of the timing of the final sale with respect to the park's opening, PARC was unable to make many major changes for the 2007 season. The biggest changes for the season were the addition of an all new show, Le Grande Cirque, which replaced the Batman Thrill Spectacular, and the removal of all Six Flags/Warner Bros/DC Comics related signage and references forcing the park to drop the Superman naming from the Ride of Steel and retheming the kids area as Adventure Isle.

In January 2008, it was announced that Darien Lake will debut its first launched roller coaster, a Zamperla Motocoaster, in the 2008 season, called the Orange County Choppers MotoCoaster. The coaster installed was the prototype that was running outside Zamperla's factory in Italy. PARC has also pledged to lower prices for admission into the park which had escalated when the park was owned by Six Flags. Also, the operation of Floodgate Falls was discontinued.

In March 2010, Darien Lake expanded their current waterpark to Splashtown at Darien Lake. By expanding into a parking lot, SplashTown at Darien Lake features several all-new attractions and a repaint of 'Cuda Falls water slide complex in Barracuda Bay, a new 16-foot-wide (4.9 m) lazy river called Floatation Station, Swirl City slide complex with four new slides, and a kiddie wave pool called Lazy Days Lagoon. 2010 also saw some minor park changes such as Viper being repainted with a black track, The Predator getting new trains, and the addition of the Critter Chase in Adventure Isle replacing Raft Adventure.

On November 24, 2010, CNL announced that it had reached an agreement to terminate PARC's lease of Darien Lake and up to 17 other locations.[7] The move came after, according to their 2010 SEC filings, PARC defaulted on their lease obligations on the properties.[8] Five of the original six parks originally purchased from Six Flags are also involved in the lease termination.

Herschend Family Entertainment (2011 - 2014)[edit]

On January 25, 2011 CNL announced that Herschend Family Entertainment would assume the day-to-day operation and management of Darien Lake and Elitch Gardens.[3] HFE also owns Dollywood and two other theme parks. In March 2012, Darien Lake announced the development of Rowdy's Ridge, which included the addition of several new family rides located where the Tiny Trio was.

On September 21, 2012, Darien Lake announced major improvements for the 2013 season including Blast Off and Ignite the Night. Blast Off was placed in the newly rethemed Waterfront Boardwalk area, which included major renovations to rides like the Grand Carousel and the Giant Wheel, along with some new dining options. Laserblast received new improvements as well and became Ignite the Night.[9] UFO was removed and the 'Cuda Falls water slides were closed. They were eventually removed before the start of the 2014 season.

Premier Parks,LLC (2014 - )[edit]

On October 26, 2014, Herschend Family Entertainment's management of the park ended and was taken over by Premier Parks, LLC.[citation needed]

Current rides and attractions[edit]

Roller coasters[edit]

Coaster Opened Manufacturer Description
Boomerang: Coast to Coaster 1998 Vekoma A Boomerang Shuttle roller coaster. Located on the edge of Fun Lake in the Darien Square section of the park. The Ride lifts you backwards up a lift hill up to 120 feet in the air, then drops you down, forwards through a Cobra Roll and a Loop before taking you to a second lift forwards, to experience the ride once again, but backwards.
Hoot N Holler 1981 Zierer A steel kiddie roller coaster. Formerly called Ladybug and Nessie the Dreamy Dragon when it became a part of Adventure Land for Kids in 1988. It was also part of the Tiny Trio and was formerly known as Brain Teaser. In 2012, the train was remodeled to look like an owl and the ride was given the name Hoot N Holler to fit in with the new Rowdy's Ridge theme.
Mind Eraser 1997 Vekoma A steel Suspended Looping Coaster that is New York's only Suspended Looping Coaster. It is located in the Niagara Frontier section of the park. This ride is approx. 120 feet with 5 inversions including Vekoma's signature Heart-Loop (Half loop followed by twist followed by another half loop)
Moto Coaster 2008 Zamperla A Motorbike roller coaster that was the first of its kind in the United States. The Orange County Choppers branding was removed in 2010 and it is now known as just Moto Coaster[10] Located in the Darien Square section of the park. This ride launches you from 0-40 in 3 seconds up to the top of the ride, followed by dips and turns and some figure-8s before you reach the breaks
The Predator 1990 Dinn Corporation A wooden roller coaster that is New York's largest wooden roller coaster. In 2010, new trains were added to make the ride less shaky and bumpy than riders had experienced in years prior. Located in the Crossroads section of the park. in the 2012 off season, RMC did a slight refurbishment on the ride's track.
Ride of Steel 1999 Intamin A steel Mega Coaster, formerly known as Superman – Ride of Steel. The option of purchasing a photo of themselves during the ride is available to guests in the Steel City Station gift shop at the ride's exit. Located in the Crossroads section of the park. This ride is the Tallest roller coaster in New York, With a top height of 208 ft, and a maximum speed of 72 miles per hour, this ride is one of Darien Lake's largest attractions.
The Viper 1982 Arrow Huss A steel looping roller coaster, it was the first roller coaster in the world with 5 inversions. Originally painted all black, then painted to green, then repainted all black in 2010. The option of purchasing a photo of themselves during the ride is available to guests at the exit. Located in the Niagara Frontier section of the park. This coaster is known as the Classic Darien Lake coaster, and for many who live in the area, the Viper is their first real roller coaster.

Water rides[edit]

This list does not include the water rides at Darien Lake's water park.

Ride Opened Manufacturer Description
Grizzly Run 1989 Intamin A river rapids ride. Located in Rowdy's Ridge.
Shipwreck Falls 2002 Intamin A Shoot the Chute water ride. Located in Niagara Frontier.
Thunder Rapids 1981 Arrow Dynamics A Log flume water ride. Located in Niagara Frontier.

Flat rides[edit]

Many of the rides manufactured by Huss Park Attractions were installed as part of a deal with Huss to use Darien Lake as a North American showcase for Huss's new rides in the early 1980s.

Ride Opened Manufacturer Description
Bear Valley Bumper Buggies 1981 DUCE Ride Manufacturers Bumper Cars Located in Fun Zone.
Blast Off 2013 S&S Power Space Shot Relocated from Alabama Adventure which closed in 2011. Stands on the former spot of the Raging Seas. Located in Lakefront Boardwalk.
Corn Popper 1982 HUSS An original Swing Around. Part of the Huss showcase. The ride was formerly called Rodeo Round Up. It was changed back to the original name Corn Popper in 2010. Located in Niagara Frontier.
Giant Wheel 1983[citation needed] Vekoma A 165 feet (50 m) tall Ferris wheel, it was the largest in United States when installed. It was originally a part of the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tn.[citation needed] Located in Lakefront Boardwalk.
Grande Carousel 1980 International Amusement Devices A Carousel Located in Lakefront Boardwalk. The carousel received a large Refurbishment for the new "50's style" of the Lakefront boardwalk in 2013.
Haymaker 1981 Heintz Fahtze A Paratrooper style ride, the only one of its kind.[11] Located in Midway
Lasso 1981 Zierer Basic Wave swinger ride, located where Crazy Quilt stood. Located in Crossroads
Pirate 1981 HUSS A swinging Pirate ship ride on the edge of Fun Lake. It was installed as part of the HUSS showcase. Located in Fun Zone.
Ranger 1982 HUSS An original Huss Ranger, the first of its kind in North America. It is the only Huss Ranger ride still operating in North America. It was installed as part of the HUSS showcase. This is the only non-family ride located in Rowdy's Ridge.
Scrambler 2014 Eli Bridge A standard Grasscutter Twist ride that originally opened in 1999. It was removed before the 2012 to make way for the Rowdy's Ridge family area. The ride remained in storage until midway through the 2014 season, when it returned in a new spot next to the Predator in the Crossroads area.
Silver Bullet 1981 Heintz Fahtze The only Enterprise manufactured by HF in operation.[12] Located in Midway.
Sleighride 1981 Mack Rides A Petersburger Schlittenfahrt type ride. Located in Niagara Frontier.
Tin Lizzies 1981 Arrow Dynamics An antique car ride. Located in Fun Zone.
Twister 2000 HUSS A Top Spin ride, Themed to look like it is made of wood. Located in Fun Zone.

Kiddie Rides: Beaver Brothers Bay & Rowdy's Ridge[edit]

Adventure Land for Kids contained all kiddie rides from 1988 through 1996. In 1996, it was replaced by Beaver Brothers Bay (previously called Popeye's Seaport, Looney Tunes Seaport, and Adventure Isle) with all new rides, exclusively from Zamperla. The Tiny Trio was a set of older kiddie rides from Adventure Land located near Mind Eraser. In 2012, the trio was expanded into Rowdy's Ridge. The Bay is located on an island surrounded by the midway originally formed by Treasure Island Mini-Golf.

Name Opened Manufacturer/Model Description
Beaver Dam Explorer 1996 Zamperla Crazy Bus Themed as a Submarine. Formerly called Dipsy Diver, and S.S. Popeye
Bucky’s Barrels 1996 Zamperla Sun & Moon Mini Ferris wheel, formerly called Michigan J Frog's Ferris Wheel, Olive's Barrels of Fun, and Barrels of Fun
Chucky’s Mud Buckets 1996 Zamperla Mini Tea Cup Teacups style ride themed as open aluminum spinach cans. Formerly called Bug's Carrot Cans, and Twisty Tubs
Critter Chase 2010 Zamperla Mini Jet An animal themed ride where the rider makes the animal go up down manually. It originally operated from 1988 until 1997. The ride returned in 2010 to Adventure Isle
Darien Lake Railway 1996 Zamperla Rio Grande A small train ride that goes on a figure eight track

Formerly called Rabbit Transit, Darien Lake Express and Anchors Away Railway

Hornet's Nest 2012 Larson Rides Flying Scooters A Flying Scooters ride where guests are able to control the flight pattern of their vehicle.
Moose on the Loose 2012 First of its kind in the area. Riders ride a runaway moose through multiple scenes.
Raccoon Rally 1981 Kiddie Bumper Cars Has been relocated several times. Formerly known as Dodgems.
Rowdy's Heave Ho 2012 HEEGE Tower First of its kind in the area. Guests pull themselves up a tower and then drop down.
Tree Stump Turnpike 1996 Zamperla Convoy Formerly called Foghorn's Coastal Delivery, Monster Trucks, and Brutus' Monster Trucks.
Wally's Weather Balloons 1996 Zamperla Samba Balloon A Samba Balloon ride. Formerly called Seaport Weather Balloons, Weather Balloons and Up Up and Ahoy.
Woody’s Whirlers 1996 Zamperla Mini Swings A mini swing ride for small children that was formerly named Taz Twister, Whirlwind and Swee' Pea's Swings.

Upcharge attractions[edit]

These attractions are not included in the admission price. Cost varies from ride to ride.

Name Opened Description
Boat Docks Place to rent a paddle boat. Currently located on Fun Lake near the Giant Wheel. Located in Midway.
Red Hawk 1995 A Sky coaster ride that hoists riders to 180 feet (55 m), and releases them in a swinging motion. Originally named Skycoaster, this ride was renamed Red Hawk in 2013. Located in Lakefront Boardwalk.
Slingshot 2002 A Slingshot model that is located at the front of the park. Located in Main Gate Village. Darien Lake's tallest attraction (300+ feet)
Grand Prix Speedway 1987 A Go-Kart track. Located in Fun Zone.

Entertainment[edit]

All show venues listed here are included with price of admission.

Name Recent Shows Comments
The Nik Wallenda Theatre Nik Wallenda: Beyond the Falls (2014), Sea Lion Splash (2010–2011), Survivor Live! (2009), Cirque Nouveau (2008), Le Grande Cirque (2007), Batman Thrill Spectacular (1999–2006) Building originally housed Nightmare at Phantom Cave, an indoor roller coaster. Was called the Gotham City Theatre while holding the Batman Thrill Spectacular show during the Six Flags era. This venue was SBNO for the 2012 and 2013 seasons with the exception of the building being temporarily used in 2013 during Kingdom Bound and for a haunted attraction during Fright Fest.
Beaver Brothers Bay Showplace Multiple shows in 2013, Beaver Mania & Beaver Fever Dance Party (2012), Thomas & Friends Full Steam Ahead Live! (2011), Bob the Builder Let's Recycle (2010), Bob the Builder Live (2009), An Alarming Adventure (2008), Blake Daring's Storybook Adventure (2007), Bugs Bunny Goes Hollywood (2002, 2004–2006) Features shows specifically for children. Located in Beaver Brothers Bay.
Grande Theatre Multiple shows in 2012 and 2013 including Street Beat (2013) and the Aaron Radatz Illusion Show (2013), Legends of Rock (2011), RockNation! Don't Stop Believin (2010), RockNation! (2009), Rhythmnicity (2008), The Magic of Cliff Hopkins & Kelly (2007), Totally Pop (2006), America: State of Rhythm (2005), American Pop (2004), Radioactive (2003), Broadway Rhythm (2002) Opened as the Tops Jubilee Theatre in 1980, has also been named Tops Palace Theatre.
The Lakeside Amphitheatre Ignite the Night (2013- ), LaserBlast! (1998-2012), LaserLight Reality (1995–1997), LaserLight Fantasy (1992–1994) The Lakeside Amphitheatre used to be the home of major concerts and other events until the 90's, when the Performing Arts Center opened. It also held several concerts that were free to Darien Lake guests. Now, it is the place for the nightly Laser Show and has been since 1992.
The Gazebo Stage Multiple shows in 2012 and 2013 such as Hypnotist Tammy Barton (2012-2013), Jump, Jive and Swing (2011), Midway Dance Party Blow Out (2007–2008, 2011), The Heart Of Country (2010), Country Unleashed (2009), And The Answer Is! (2008), Keepin' the Beat (2007), Rockin' Country (2003–2006), Bahama Boys/Street Pop (2002) Outdoor stage in the midway. Sometimes holds special events such as karaoke.

Fright Fest[edit]

Fright Fest was an annual event held at the end of the operating season (Weekends in October, typically) from 1998 to 2006, which celebrated Halloween. Fright Fest added new areas to the park (Bloodstone Hollow, a free haunted graveyard and town; and Brutal Planet, an upcharge haunted house) and different shows than the regular season (Dead Man's Party in The Grande Theater and Laser Spooktacular at the Lakeside Amphitheatre.)

Fright Fest returned in, and has continued since, 2008 with similar elements to the former Six Flags Fright Fest, and additional new elements such as the Fright Night Field Trip, a bus ride through the haunted campgrounds. The Haunted House and the Trick or Treat Trail also returned from previous years.

Fall Family Fun Fest[edit]

In 2007, the traditional Halloween event of years past was modified into a smaller subset of a new event called Fall Family Fun Fest. It brought a county fair concept to the park - free admission and pay-by-ride, as well as some other things you'd find at a fair, including the Haunted House (formerly Brutal Planet), and a hay maze.

Former attractions[edit]

Ride Opened Closed Manufacturer Description
BMX Motocross 1980s 2011 Hampton Rides Circular kiddie ride featuring BMX style motorbikes which jump over humps as they circle. It was originally located near the Giant Wheel, it moved to Adventure Land in 1988 and to the Tiny Trio in 1997. Relocated to Elitch Gardens in 2012 as Tike Bikes.
Boat Tag 1996 1999 Tank-like boats in a big tank in the middle of the Midway. Located where the Rockville Park Midway Gazebo Stage now stands.
Boats 1980s Unknown A small boat ride. It was located near the Giant Wheel.
Crazy Quilt 1981 1999 Mack Rides A Calypso type ride. It was located where Lasso now stands.
Earth Orbiter 1980s 1996 Zierer A small kiddie Ferris wheel ride that was part of Adventure Land. Replaced with Barrels of Fun in Adventure Isle.
Funtime Junction 1980s 1997 Chance Rides Rideable miniature railway located around Elk Lake in Adventure Land for Kids.
Monty's Moon Walk 1980s 1996 A Ball Pit in Adventure Land.
Mountain View Golf SBNO since 2013 1996 Miniature Golf Course located underneath areas of the Viper. Replaced Treasure Island Golf.
Nightmare at Phantom Cave 1996 1998 Schwarzkopf Relocated to Darien Lake from Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in 1996 and housed in the current Galaxy Theater building. Relocated to Great Escape in 1999 as Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon.
Raft Adventure 1996 2010 Zamperla A mini jet ride made to look like wooden rafts. The ride was replaced by Critter Chase.
Raging Seas 1981 2012 Mack Rides A Seesturmbahn ride that features small hills and is themed as boats and the boats spin is they go up and down the hills. Formerly called Sea Storm until 1999. Removed towards the end of the 2012 operating season to be replaced by Blast Off.
Red Baron 1980s Unknown Kiddie airplane ride located near the Giant Wheel.
Runaway Railway 1996 2006 Zamperla Miniature train engines for small children (under 54") that are hand cranked by the rider. Formerly called Elmer Fudd's Tiny Tooter Railroad and Muscle Junction.
SS Looney Tunes 1996 2004 Play structure themed as a ship. The boat was named The Swashbuckler to fit in with Blake Daring's Storybook Adventure. Formerly called SS Olive.
Thrillbilly 1979 1990 HUSS A Troika ride, located where the Predator now stands. The ride was installed as part of the HUSS showcase.
Treasure Island Golf 1980 1996 Located where Adventure Isle now stands. Replaced by Mountain View Golf.
Turbobungy 2002 2007 Trampoline where riders are attached to bungy cords while jumping. Located in the vicinity of the Mind Eraser bridge.
UFO 1980 2012 HUSS An original HUSS UFO ride that was installed as part of the HUSS showcase. Removed prior to the 2013 season for restoration.

Past entertainment[edit]

Former entertainment venues within the park.

Name Closed Type Description
Big Top Circus 1996 Circus show Located in Adventure Land. Was replaced with the Adventure Isle stage.
Cinema 2000 1999 3D cinema Located where Rowdy's Ridge currently stands.
50's Bandstand Late 1980s or Early 1990s Music show Located where the queue line for Predator is now.
Fun Lake Early 1990s Splashmania, a water ski show The pole that was used for the fire dive is still in the lake

Other on-site entities[edit]

Lodge on the Lake Hotel[edit]

The Lodge on the Lake Hotel opened in 1998 with 160 hotel rooms, considered luxury rooms. PARC Management has mentioned a possible expansion in the future to create an indoor water park around the hotel, to attempt a year-round attraction. No official plans have been announced yet.

Campgrounds[edit]

The park started as a campground and picnic area. The campground still occupies its original area and has since expanded many times over. It currently consists of over 1200 campsites, roughly half of which are park-owned RV's that guests can rent, the rest are available for either guest-owned RV's or tent sites. By staying in the campgrounds, guests are allowed daily access to the park for the duration of their stay. A general store, two restaurants, a gift shop, and an arcade are conveniently located near the Lakeside Amphitheatre and the Boomerang for campground guests, though they are open to all park patrons. In 2010, cabins were added along the lake where RVs used to be. In 2011, 18 new cabins were added in a form of a village style with a common play area.

Performing Arts Center[edit]

The Darien Lake Performing Arts Center was opened in the 90's as a replacement for the Lakeside Amphitheater, where concerts had previously been held. The PAC, as it is commonly referred to, while owned by CNL with the rest of the park, is operated by Live Nation, not by the park itself. Major concerts are held here periodically throughout the summer, occasionally including a concert that takes place when the park is not open. Tickets for these events can be upgraded to Park Combo Passes, or just bought as standard concert tickets with no park admission. The amphitheater has a full capacity of 21,600, making the venue the third-largest event venue in western New York (only University at Buffalo Stadium and Ralph Wilson Stadium seat more).

Laser Stage[edit]

The park has held concerts at the renamed Laser Stage, also still known as the Lakeside Amphitheater. These concerts were free to guests. Currently there are no plans for any concerts. A pool was added in front of the stage as part of the Ignite the Night laser show.

Incidents[edit]

  • On July 26, 1987 lightning killed three campers sleeping in tents in the camp ground.[13]
  • On May 16, 1999, a 365 lb (165 kg) guest was unable to close his lap bar properly and was ejected and fell approximately 9 feet (2.7 m) from the Superman - Ride of Steel roller coaster as the ride went over a camel hump hill, suffering serious injuries. He sued the park and the ride manufacturer for negligence, and was awarded US$3.95 million.[14] Seatbelts and an extra brake segment before the final hill were added to the coaster after the incident.
  • On September 6, 2009, the body of a Pennsylvania man, William Sutherland, who had been reported missing the day before was found in one of the small lakes inside the parking lot. The cause of death has not yet been determined.[15]
  • On July 8, 2011, an Iraq War veteran, Army Sgt. James Hackemer, 29, who had lost both legs in a roadside bomb attack in 2008 fell to his death from the Ride of Steel. The ride was closed, but reopened after the death was deemed operator error. Hackemer should not have been allowed on the roller coaster due to his physical condition.[16][17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Owens, Howard. "Darien Lake's new manager combined love of coasters and teaching young people into one career". The Batavian. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  2. ^ Albright, John Brannon (May 31, 1981). "Notes; FOR THEME-PARK VISITORS, NEW LOCATIONS AND NEW RIDES". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.hfecorp.com/about/HFE-CNLAnnouncement012511.pdf
  4. ^ "Darien Lake - 1990". Themeparkbrochures.net. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  5. ^ "Six Flags sells seven parks". Park World Online. 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  6. ^ "Randy Drew". Park World Online. 2007-05-23. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  7. ^ "CNL completes ouster of PARC Management from Darien Lake". The Daily News. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  8. ^ "CNL Lifestyle Properties, Inc. October 2010 Form 10-Q". 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  9. ^ "Darien Lake to 'Blast Off' in 2013". 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  10. ^ "Prototype MotoCoaster To Open at Darien Lake". Ultimate Rollercoaster.com. January 12, 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Heintz Fahtze Twister". Flatrides.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  12. ^ "Heintz Fahtze Enterprise". Flatrides.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  13. ^ "86 Deaths by Lightning in '87, Highest Toll of This Decade". The New York Times. 1988-06-14. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  14. ^ "Theme-park patron ejected from roller coaster". 2004-03-12. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  15. ^ "Missing man's body pulled from water at Darien Lake". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 7 September 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Deadly Accident on Ride of Steel Coaster at Darien Lake". WGRZ-TV. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "Double amputee Iraq war veteran dies after he was flung off roller coaster at 50 mph". Daily Mail (London). 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2011-07-09. 

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