Worlds of Fun

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Worlds of Fun & Oceans of Fun
Logo wofoof.png
Slogan Thrills Connect
Location 4545 Worlds of Fun Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Coordinates 39°10′38.4″N 94°29′20.5″W / 39.177333°N 94.489028°W / 39.177333; -94.489028Coordinates: 39°10′38.4″N 94°29′20.5″W / 39.177333°N 94.489028°W / 39.177333; -94.489028
Theme Jules Verne's story "Around the World in Eighty Days."
Owner Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
General Manager Frank Wilburn
Opened May 26, 1973
Operating season April through early November
Area 235 acres (0.95 km2) (~0.90 km²)
Rides
Total 43
Roller coasters 7
Water rides 3
Website http://www.worldsoffun.com

Worlds of Fun is a 235-acre amusement park in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. The park opened in 1973 and was originally built by Mid-America Enterprises, owned by Lamar Hunt. In 1995, the company, now known as Hunt-Midwest, sold Worlds of Fun to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which currently owns the park. Worlds of Fun has an attached same-admission water park named Oceans of Fun.

History[edit]

A view Worlds of Fun from outside the park.

Worlds of Fun opened on May 26, 1973, at a cost of $10 million. It was situated at the northern edge of a vast industrial complex developed by Hunt in the bluffs above the Missouri River in Clay County, Missouri. Immediately south of the park is Hunt's SubTropolis underground business complex.

At the time, numerous modernization projects were transforming Kansas City including the opening of Kansas City International Airport, Kemper Arena and the Truman Sports Complex. Lamar Hunt, seeking to capitalize on Kansas City's expansion, began construction on a new amusement park in 1969. The original plan featured Worlds of Fun as a side note attraction to the 500-acre (2.0 km2) entertainment and hotel corridor Hunt planned on creating. A lagging economy scaled down such grand plans.

In 1974, the first addition to Worlds of Fun was the 4000 seat Forum Amphitheater opened in the Europa section of the park. In 1976, a new section opened for America's Bicentennial called Bicentennial Square. The Screamroller coaster was also added to honor the 200th birthday of the nation. Three mascots also accompanied Worlds of Fun in the early days: Sam Panda, Gertrude Gorilla, and Dan'l Coon.

In 1982, ten years after Worlds of Fun's opening, Oceans of Fun (at the time the largest water park in the world) opened next door. However, it would take another ten years before the two parks were linked. Also a sub-world "River City" was opened in Americana bordering the Orient. The next year saw the Screamroller being transformed into Extremeroller the USA's first stand up roller coaster. Worlds of Fun ended the decade with a bang, with the addition of the Timber Wolf.

The 1990s would prove to be a decade of challenge, triumph, and struggle for Worlds of Fun. In 1995 Cedar Fair LP bought Worlds of Fun from Hunt Midwest, which took the park in a new direction. 1995 also was one of Worlds of Fun's most tragic years when a fatality occurred on the Timber Wolf (The first and only fatality at the park). The following years would see the removal of many original park rides, attractions, and thematic elements that made the park unique. But just as Hunt Midwest had ended the 1980s with the addition of a large attraction, Cedar Fair would close out the 1990s with the addition of Mamba, a D.H. Morgan Manufacturing steel hypercoaster.[1]

Recent History[edit]

  • 2006: visitors soar with PATRIOT, the longest, tallest, and fastest full-circuit inverted roller coaster in the region, and the largest capital expenditure on a single attraction in the park’s history at over $14 million. Asylum Island is committed to Halloweekends.
  • 2007: Serving wok-cooked Chinese favorites, Panda Express opens in the Orient section of the park. BloodShed and CarnEvil are added to Halloween Haunt.
  • 2008: Worlds of Fun celebrates 35 years with the addition of the Celebrate America Festival, Oktoberfest, Cinnabon, a new shooting gallery. Mamba celebrates 10 years of thrills with special events throughout the season. Master McCarthy’s Doll Factory is added to Halloween Haunt
  • In September 2008, at "Coaster Mayhem" World's of Fun released the name, layout, and specs of its 7th roller coaster.[2] "The Prowler" as it was named then opened in Spring 2009.
  • 2009: PROWLER, a beast of a wooden coaster, is added to the Africa section of the park. This incredible ride hugs the wooded terrain below. Subway, serving fresh sandwiches, opens in the Americana section of the park. The Lift, a teen focused apparel store, opens in Scandinavia along with Tyke Town Cafe. Halloween Haunt expands with Club Blood and Overlords Awakening. Later that year, Prowler received the Golden Ticket Award for "Best New Ride Of 2009" by Amusement Today magazine.
  • 2010: Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights, a $1 million immersive light and sound experience, opens in the Europa and Africa sections of the park. Subway opens at Oceans of Fun. Corn Stalkers is added to Halloween Haunt.
  • 2011: Planet Snoopy, an $8 million expansion and one of the country's finest family areas, is added to Worlds of Fun, with over 20 rides and attractions in total. An Illions classic and one of the finest carousels in the world, The Grand Carousel is added to the Scandinavia section of the park. The carousel is now one of only two of its kind operating in the world. London Terror is added to Halloween Haunt.
  • 2012: The park announced a number of general improvements to the park, including the refurbishment and relocation of the existing children's coaster "The Wacky Worm" to the entrance of Planet Snoopy. The coaster was rethemed to a space-ship theme and renamed "Cosmic Coaster." The park, along with all parks in the Cedar Fair chain, also introduced a "front of the line" premium ticket system called "Fast Lane," along with a number of ADA wheelchair accessibility improvements and several new food and retail shops.
  • 2013: Oceans of Fun will receive six new water slides and no longer be separately gated. It will be included with admission to Worlds of Fun. Worlds of Fun will also switch from Pepsi to Coca-Cola as the official soft drink provider of the park.[3]
  • 2014: WindSeeker – a 301 ft Mondial swing ride at Knott's Berry Farm – was renamed SteelHawk and moved to Worlds of Fun for the 2014 season, making it the park's tallest ride.

Current areas and attractions[edit]

The park is themed around the Jules Verne book, Around the World in Eighty Days. Worlds of Fun is divided into five major sections (Scandinavia, Africa, Europa, the Orient, and Americana). Rides, attractions, shops, shows, and restaurants are named according to the area theme. Guests enter the park in Scandinavia. In 1997 the Americana "main entrance" was closed for the creation of Grand Prix, so the "back gate" became the "main gate" ever since. The next world to the left is Africa, continuing in a clockwise roation, guest would then enter the Americana section, followed by the Orient. The Europa section is located in the approximate center of the circle.

Within Americana, lies the sub-section of Planet Snoopy (the area of the park specifically for young children). Originally added in 1978 as an expansion of Americana, over the years the grounds have changed its identity several times. Initially it was called "Aerodrome" (1978–86) with futuristic rides for adults, it then became a children's area called "Pandamonium!" (1987–97), then "Berenstain Bear Country" (1997–2000), and "Camp Snoopy" (2001–2010), and is currently "Planet Snoopy", new to the 2011 season. Past sub-sections have also included Bicentennial Square, River City, and Beat Street, which all have been absorbed back into Americana.

Despite the lack of an Australian/Oceanic section, the Australian-themed Boomerang roller coaster is incorporated into Africa.

Africa[edit]

Ride Year Opened Ride Manufacturer and Type Height Requirement Rating[4]
Boomerang 2000 Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster Over 48" 5
Fury of the Nile 1984 Intamin river rafting ride Over 46" 4
Mamba 1998 Morgan steel hypercoaster Over 48" 5
Monsoon 1992 Intamin Shoot-the-Chutes ride Over 46" 4
Prowler 2009 Great Coasters International wooden coaster Over 48" 4
Zulu 1979 HUSS Enterprise Over 54" 4

Americana[edit]

Ride Year Opened Ride Manufacturer and Type Height Requirement Rating[4]
Cyclone Sams 1995 Chance Rides Wipeout Over 48" 5
Detonator 1996 S&S Worldwide Space shot Over 52" 5
RipCord + 1996 Skycoaster Over 48" 5
Patriot 2006 Bolliger & Mabillard Inverted roller coaster Over 54" 5
Scrambler 1998 Eli Bridge Scrambler Over 48" or with adult 3
Skyliner 1991 Eli Bridge Ferris wheel Over 36" 2
SteelHawk 2014 Windseeker Over 52" 5
Thunderhawk 2002 HUSS Top Spin Between 54" and 77" 5
Timber Wolf 1989 Dinn Corporation wooden roller coaster Over 48" 5
World's of Fun Railroad 1973 Crown Metal Products[5] 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad Over 46" or with adult 2

Europa[edit]

Ride Year Opened Ride Manufacturer and Type Height Requirement Rating[4]
Autobahn 1973 Reverchon Bumper Cars ride Over 48" 4
Flying Dutchman 1973 Intamin Flying Dutchman Over 46" or with adult 3
Le Carrousel 1979 Traditional Carousel Over 46" or with adult 1
Le Taxi Tour 1973 Arrow Dynamics track car ride Over 48" or with adult 3

Orient[edit]

Ride Year Opened Ride Manufacturer and Type Height Requirement Rating[4]
Bamboozler 1987 Hrubetz Round Up Over 46" 3
Spinning Dragons 2004 Gerstlauer Spinning roller coaster Over 48" or with adult 5

Scandinavia[edit]

Ride Year Opened Ride Manufacturer and Type Height Requirement Rating[4]
Finnish Fling 1973 Chance Rides Rotor Over 46" or with adult 4
Fjord Fjarlane 1981 HUSS Swing Around Over 48" or with adult 3
Grand Carrousel 2011 1926 M.C. Illions Supreme Carousel Over 46" or with adult 1
Octopus 1973 Eyerly Octopus Over 48" or with adult 3
Sea Dragon 1994 Chance Morgan Sea Dragon Over 48" or with adult 4
Viking Voyager 1973 Arrow Dynamics log flume Over 46" or with adult 4

Planet Snoopy[edit]

Ride Year Opened Ride Manufacturer and Type Height Requirement Rating[4]
Camp Bus 2001 Zamperla Crazy Bus 42" or with adult 2
Charlie Brown's Windup 2001 Zamperla Between 36" and 54" 1
Cosmic Coaster 1993 Pinfari Children's roller coaster Over 42" 3
Flying Ace Balloon Race 2011 Zamperla Balloon Race 42" or with adult 2
Kite Eating Tree 2001 S&S Worldwide Over 36" 2
Krazy Kars 1973 Under 54" 2
Linus' Beetle Bugs 2001 Zamperla Under 54" 2
Lucy's Tugboat 2011 Zamperla Tugboat 42" or with adult 2
Peanuts 500 2011 Zamperla Speedway 42" or with adult 2
Peanuts Playhouse 2005 Koala Play Between 36" and 54" 1
Peanuts Road Rally 2011 Zamperla 42" or with adult 1
Peanuts Turn Tyke 1987 Zamperla Between 36" 54" 1
Sally's Swing Set 2011 Zamperla Happy Swing 42" or with adult 2
Snoopy vs. Red Baron 2001 Herschell Under 54" 2
Snoopy's Moon Bounce 2011 Bounce House Under 54" 2
Snoopy's Rocket Express 2011 Zamperla 42" or with adult 2
Snoopy's Yacht Club 2001 Under 54" 1
Woodstock Whirlybirds 2011 Zamperla 42" or with adult 2
  • + Denotes an extra cost for the ride or attraction.

Retired rides and attractions[edit]

  • Schussboomer (picture), (1973–1984), a ski-themed steel roller coaster with ten separate 4-passenger cars.
  • Screamroller/Extremeroller , (1976–1988), the first stand-up roller coaster in the Western Hemisphere. Its only season as a stand-up coaster was in 1983, after which it was reverted to the original sit-down style.
  • Zambezi Zinger, (1973–1997), a steel "Speedracer"-type roller coaster (one of only two in existence at the time of its removal) with an electric spiral lift and a fast-paced ride through the woods. Currently in operation at the Colombian National Coffee Park as Broca Colombia, South America.[6]
  • Incred-O-Dome, (1981–1997), an OMNIMAX-style theater where viewers could go on a virtual ride of, among other things, the Orient Express coaster. This appealed to visitors who did not want to wait in line or experience the real ride, as well as those with physical conditions which would prevent them from riding at all. The show was presented less than 200 yards (180 m) away from the actual ride.
  • Omegatron, (1986–2001), a six-story, upside-down thrill ride.
  • Orient Express, (1980–2003), the first roller coaster in the world to feature a batwing (then known as a "Kamikaze Curve"), now a common element in thrill rides. Also, it was the second roller coaster in the world to have two interlocking loops.
  • Python Plunge, a water-slide type ride where the riders would carry the raft up to the top themselves. There were two types of slides. One slide was open aired and went straight down, the other was a twisting tube.
  • Grand Prix Raceway - replaced by the SteelHawk.

Oceans of Fun[edit]

Main article: Oceans of Fun

Oceans of Fun is Worlds of Fun's water park. It opened in 1982 as the world's largest water park. It is included with admission to Worlds of Fun, beginning in the 2013 season.

Fast Lane[edit]

Fast Lane is Worlds of Fun's new 'two line' system for 2012. For a cost between $30 and $50 (in addition to normal admission charges), visitors receive a wrist band that enables them to bypass the 'normal-wait' line and enter the 'Fast Lane' to significantly reduce their wait time.

Worlds of Fun Village[edit]

In 2005 Worlds of Fun opened the first on-site resort. The campground is adjacent to the park, and is located "behind" Mamba. The Village has 22 cabins and 20 cottages and 82 sites for RVs, complete with electric and TV cable hook ups. Each cabin or cottage can fit 6–8 people.

Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights[edit]

Snoopy’s Hot Summer Lights” which debuted in 2010 is an immersive light and sound experience starring the Peanuts characters. Snoopy’s Hot Summer Lights features over 2 million LED lights and a variety of audio soundtracks through the Africa and Europa sections of the park. Along the walkway there are replicas of Snoopy and other characters for guests to view. Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights was a one million dollar investment that uses special effects and sound design, custom designed for Worlds of Fun by Emmy Award-Winning RWS and Associates. Snoopy’s Hot Summer Lights opened for its original run on June 4 and ran through September 5, 2010.[7]

Halloween Haunt[edit]

Halloween Haunt logo.gif

Halloween Haunt is a Halloween event that takes place during the Halloween season. It is included in the price of admission.

Current attractions[edit]

As of 2013, it features 10 attractions, including seven mazes and three scare zones.[8]

Attraction Type Opened Location
Asylum Island Maze 2006 Oceans of Fun Pavilion
BloodShed Maze 2007 Planet Snoopy
CarnEvil Scare Zone 2007 Americana
Corn Stalkers Maze 2010 Africa
Boneyard Scare Zone 2014 Africa
London Terror Maze 2011 Americana/Africa
Lore of the Vampire featuring Club Blood Maze 2004 Orient
Miss Lizzie's Chamber of Horrors Maze 2013 Africa
Outlaw’s Revenge Scare Zone 2008 Americana
Zombie High Maze 2012 Prowler's queue area

Former Haunt attractions[edit]

Attraction Name Replaced By Year closed
Camp Gonnagitcha Wichahatchet Corn Stalkers 2009
Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns CarnEvil 2006
Dominion of Doom London Terror 2010
Master McCarthy's Doll Factory Miss Lizzie's Chamber of Horrors 2012
FrightZone Boneyard 2014

Games[edit]

Cole Lindbergh, former manager of the park's games department, was featured in a 2011 episode of Public Radio International's This American Life, "Amusement Park."[9] In the nine-minute prologue,[10] host Ira Glass interviews Lindbergh about his management philosophy and plays segments from several YouTube videos he made to promote the park's games.[11]

Park Photos[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Timeline section
  2. ^ Thrill Ride Announcement September 1, 2008 Worldsoffun.com
  3. ^ http://www.kansascity.com/2012/08/31/3790606/expansion-set-at-oceans-of-fun.html
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ratings assigned per Worlds of Fun's own system, where "1" is the least intense and "5" is the most. See their "Guest Assistance Guide". Worlds of Fun.  for more specific details.
  5. ^ World's of Fun Railroad official website
  6. ^ http://www.rcdb.com/id23.htm
  7. ^ http://www.worldsoffun.com/public/news/whatsnew.cfm
  8. ^ "Halloween Haunt rides and attractions". Worlds of Fun. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ ""Amusement Park," This American Life, Aug. 12, 2011". 
  10. ^ "Prologue". 
  11. ^ "Worlds of Fun Games Department Videos". 

External links[edit]