Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park

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Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park
Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park logo.jpg
LocationWisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, United States
Coordinates43°36′55″N 89°47′22″W / 43.615145°N 89.789382°W / 43.615145; -89.789382Coordinates: 43°36′55″N 89°47′22″W / 43.615145°N 89.789382°W / 43.615145; -89.789382
OwnerLaskaris family
Opened1990 (as Big Chief's Karts And Coasters)
Previous namesBig Chief's Karts and Coasters, Family Land, Bay of Dreams, Treasure Island Resort, Pleasant View Motel, Copa Cabana (merged into Mt. Olympus)
Operating seasonMay through October (outdoor water and theme park) Year-round (indoor water and theme park)
Attractions
Total51 (5 coasters, 37 waterslides, and 9 go kart tracks)
Roller coasters5[1]
WebsiteMt. Olympus Website

Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park is a theme park and water park resort complex in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. The resort is themed after Ancient Greece, particularly its mythology and gods, and is named after the mountain in Greece where those gods were said to live. Mt. Olympus features indoor and outdoor water park and amusement park rides, and the complex includes dozens of motel buildings which were acquired by the resort in addition to its purpose-built hotel.

History[edit]

Park entrance

Big Chief Karts & Coasters[edit]

Mt. Olympus was started by the Laskaris family. Demetrios “Jim” Laskaris was born in Katsaros, Greece and immigrated to the United States at the age of 13. He received a technical degree in Michigan, served for four years in the U.S. Navy, and then owned and operated several restaurants in Chicago. The family moved to Wisconsin Dells, where Jim and his wife Fotoula opened a hot dog stand in 1970, which they named “Big Chief”, after a statue purchased from a trade show. The hot dog stand was a commercial failure, and the Laskaris family was nearly forced to return to Chicago. At the last minute, they found $700 in savings inside a sock, which they invested in a three-wheeler dirt track.[2]

The family expanded on their property by building a 7-unit motel, and in 1975 they added a go-kart track, "Goofy Karts", along the Wisconsin Dells Parkway. Nick Laskaris, Jim and Fotoula’s son, became the go-karts' chief mechanic at the age of 9. Between 1978 & 1982, the family's business ventures continued as they opened a campground, trailer court, and began running country-western and Native American ceremony shows. When the lease on the go-kart track ran out in 1980, “Goofy Karts” was abandoned and a new cloverleaf track was built next to the Big Chief hot dog stand. It was also at this location that Nick Laskaris started constructing his own go-karts a few years later.[2]

Nick Laskaris became involved in the design and engineering of the various go-kart tracks on the property, which included the only multi-level go-kart tracks in the world. Big Chief Go-Kart World, as it was then known, developed new techniques for elevated go-kart tracks, which have now become standard. The family purchased several acres along the Wisconsin Dells Parkway, commonly known as the "Strip", and continued the park's expansion. In 1995, the park added the first roller coaster in the Wisconsin Dells, Cyclops, and changed its name to Big Chief Karts & Coasters. Another roller coaster, Pegasus, was added the following year, and Zeus opened in 1997. The park acquired Crazy King Ludwig's Adventure Park, which featured its own go-kart track, in 1999. This purchase brought Big Chief's to a total area of 107 acres.

Mt. Olympus Theme Park[edit]

Big Chief Karts and Coasters was renamed to Big Chief's Mt. Olympus Theme Park in 2004, and the park expanded its Greco-Roman theming. Later that year, Mt. Olympus entered into a partnership with the Mattei family, owners of the nearby Treasure Island Resort. This partnership merged Treasure Island's outdoor Family Land Waterpark and the Bay of Dreams indoor water park with the Mt. Olympus theme park, creating a co-owned complex known as the Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park. These two parks were not physically connected at the time of the merger because the Playday Motel separated them, leading Mt. Olympus to purchase the Playday Motel and demolish it.[3]

The park's largest roller coaster, Hades, opened in 2005. Hades is a wooden roller coaster which became notable for its unusually steep drops and angles, and received the inaugural Golden Ticket Award for Best New Ride from Amusement Today magazine. In 2006, Mt. Olympus introduced the Parthenon Indoor Theme Park, a 43,000 sq ft building containing several amusement rides, including the Opa spinning roller coaster.[4]

On March 15, 2007, Mt. Olympus acquired Treasure Island entirely from the Mattei family. The purchase also included Pleasant View Motel, which became "Mykonos Village", and the Captain's Quarters, a family-oriented hotel building which was sold to Bluegreen Resorts and now operates as "Bluegreen Odyssey Dells", attached to the Hotel Rome (formerly the Treasure Island Resort). With the acquisition from the Mattei family, Mt. Olympus added 60 acres (240,000 m2) of real estate to their property, bringing the total area to 156 acres (0.6 km2).[5]

Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park[edit]

The Lost City of Atlantis, a three-acre outdoor water park area, opened in 2012. Atlantis features seven new slides, a monster dump bucket, and a 120' geyser, built at a cost of $3.5 million.[6]

Hades received a major renovation in 2013, adding a 360-degree inversion, and the coaster was renamed Hades 360.[7] "The Manticore", a vertical swing ride, was added to the park in 2015.[8] "The Great Pool of Delphi", a 27,000 square foot swimming pool containing 500,000 gallons of water, was added in 2016. The pool was advertised as the largest swimming pool in Wisconsin Dells, the "waterpark capital of the world". The cost of this addition was $4 million.[9][10]

Acquisitions of other properties[edit]

In 2010 and 2011, the park purchased several smaller nearby independent motels and hotels and renamed them, creating seven new lodging areas and painting the buildings blue and white to fit the Greek theme.[11] These acquisitions included the Star Motel[12] and Luna Inn & Suites (which became Poseidon's Village),[13] the Riverwalk Hotel (which became Santorini Village),[14] American World Resort & Campground (which became Zeus's Village),[14] and the Four Seasons Motel (which became Poseidon's Village).[13] Mt. Olympus also purchased the Raintree Resort and Conference Center, the first hotel built by Todd Nelson, who currently owns the Kalahari Resort.[15]

The Copa Cabana Resort Hotel & Suite was completely renovated after it was purchased by Mt. Olympus in 2011, and it reopened as the core of "Mt. Olympus Village" the following spring.[11] All of the resort's acquired motels were rebranded once again to Mt. Olympus Village in 2013.[16] This change coincided with the purchases of the Concord Inn and the Monaco Motel. The addition of these properties gave the resort a total of over 1,300 rooms.[17] Recent acquisitions include the Diamond Hotel in 2015[18] and the Ambers Resort and Conference Center in 2016.

Incidents[edit]

On March 6, 2014, a lap bar malfunction caused by inadequate maintenance occurred on the Opa roller coaster in the indoor theme park, causing a 63-year-old man from Fremont, Wisconsin, to fall 17 feet from the ride, sustaining serious injuries that left him in a coma for three weeks. The ride was permanently closed after the incident and later removed.[19][20][21]

On January 23, 2015, a 4-year-old nearly drowned in the indoor water park. EMS responded and took the child to St. Clair Hospital. Three months after the incident, the Dells-Delton EMS team presented Mt. Olympus and the lifeguards involved in rescuing the child with certificates for life saving efforts.[22][23]

In July 2015, an elastic cable snapped on "The Catapult" ride located in the outdoor theme park. A video of the incident was uploaded to Facebook, and was widely shared before ultimately being removed. The ride was owned and operated by Casco, Inc., and was an up-charge attraction that was not included with the price of admission to the park. Mt. Olympus ordered the ride to be removed from the park two days later.[24][25][26][27]

Timeline[edit]

  • 2016: Addition of The Great Pool of Delphi a 27,000-square-foot, 500,000-gallon swimming pool and water attraction,[28] addition of Ambers Resort and Conference Center
  • 2015: Addition of The Manticore vertical swing ride,[29] addition of Diamond Hotel, addition of Bridge View Motel
  • 2013: Hades renovated & renamed Hades 360,[7] addition of Concord Inn, addition of Monaco Motel, addition of Pine Dell Motel
  • 2012: Addition of Lost City of Atlantis water play structure and addition of Mt. Olympus Village[30]
  • 2011: Addition of Poseidon's Village, addition of Zeus's Village, addition of Mykonos Resort, addition of Santorini Village
  • 2010: Addition of Catapult Extreme Ride, addition of Poseidon's Beach
  • 2009: Addition of The Almighty Hermes Sky coaster, and the addition of Night at the Theme Park
  • 2008: Addition of The River Troy
  • 2007: Addition of Poseidon's Rage Surf Pool, addition of Apollo's Swing, addition of Medusa's Indoor Waterpark, addition of Neptune's outdoor water park, addition of Hotel Rome, and addition of Mykonos Village
  • 2006: Addition of The Parthenon Indoor Theme Park and Thunder and Lightning Speed Slides
  • 2005: Addition of Hades wooden roller coaster and addition of Triton's Water slide Tower
  • 2004: Addition of Dive to Atlantis water roller coaster.[31]
  • 2000: Addition of Kiddie Land
  • 1997: Addition of Zeus wooden roller coaster and addition of The Trojan Horse go-kart track
  • 1996: Addition of Pegasus wooden roller coaster
  • 1995: Addition of Cyclops wooden roller coaster

Zeus' Playground[edit]

Zeus' Playground is the outdoor theme park section at Mt. Olympus. It consists of go-karts, roller coasters, and a few other rides.

Roller coasters[edit]

Hades Rollercoaster at Mt. Olympus, which has the world's longest underground tunnel. This section of the ride has since been modified with a barrel roll and overbanked turn.
  • Hades 360 – A wooden roller coaster with a 65-degree drop, the world’s longest underground tunnel[32] and reaching speeds up to 70 mph (110 km/h).[32] It has a drop height of 134 ft (40 m) and contains a section of underground track which is banked to a 90° angle.[32] For 2013, the park added a 360 degree inverted roll on the second hill, a 110 degree overbanked turn, and added new Timberliner trains from The Gravity Group.[33]
  • Pegasus – A wooden roller coaster built over Medusa's Drop. It covers 1,600 feet (490 m) of track, reaches heights of 60 feet (18 m) and has a 45-foot (13.7 m) drop.
  • Cyclops – A wooden roller coaster featuring a 75-foot (22.9 m) drop. The highest point is 70 feet (21 m) above the ground and intertwines with Zeus and Hades.
  • Zeus – A 2,700-foot (823.0 m) long wooden roller coaster. It passes through a forest, climbs a 90-foot (27 m) hill, then falls at 60 mph (100 km/h) down an 85-foot (25.9 m) drop.
  • Little Titans – A small junior roller coaster.

Go-Kart tracks[edit]

The Trojan Horse go-kart track
  • Titan's Tower
  • Poseidon Underwater Go-Kart Track – The track goes up and down towers, and of course, underwater.
  • Hermes' Turbo Track – The fastest track at the park.
  • Trojan Horse – The ride used to consist of a multi-level, three story track and right through the belly of the horse. (that part of the track is now closed off) This track rages down 35 feet (10.7 m) around tight turns and back to the top again.
  • Helios Track – This multi-level track go up and around and back down again.
  • Tiny Hero Go-Kart Track – Beginner track for small racers
  • Orion Intermediate Go-Kart Track – An intermediate track with karts for the littlest of racers

Other rides[edit]

  • Batting Cages – 25 cent coin-operated
  • Apollo’s Swing - The 100-foot (30 m) tall Apollo's Swing is a S&S Sansei Screamin' Swing that seats four passengers, allowing it to achieve 70 mph (113 km/h).
  • The Almighty Hermes- A swing that carries riders up into the air over the Poseidons Rage Wave Pool 100 feet above ground, and up to 45 miles per hour.
  • Catapult – dismantled as of July 2015 due to a cable snapping before two riders were launched into the air.[34]
  • The Manticore- One 140 foot tall tower with a rotating center with 12 connected arms and 12 double-seat chairs, which can accommodate 24 guests, spinning them high in the sky.
  • Pan's Animal Farm – Get up close and hand feed a variety of animals
  • Kiddie Swing – A rotating circle of arms holding a swing in each, designed just for children.
  • Kiddie Train – A children's train
  • Rock Wall – 30 foot climbing wall

Neptune's Water Kingdom[edit]

Neptune's Water Kingdom is the outdoor waterpark section.

Waterslides[edit]

Triton entrance
Triton waterslides
  • Blue Magnum Mat Slides – Mat slides (formerly four body slides named individually, "Wipeout", "The Kamikaze", "Corkscrew", and "Twister")
  • Thunder – Speed slide
  • Lightning – Enclosed speed slide
  • Triton's Fury – 340-foot (104 m) family raft ride
  • Triton's Rage – 550-foot (168 m) family raft ride
  • Triton's Challenge – Side-by-side, 350-foot (107 m) six-lane downhill mat racer
  • Double Barrel – Enclosed tube slide
  • Double Trouble – Tube slide
  • Deuces Wild – Tube slide
  • Demon's Drop – A body slide featuring an 85-foot (25.9 m) drop
  • Dragon's Tail – A 300-foot (90 m) long double drop
  • Comet – Children's slide
  • Little Dipper – Children's slide

Other rides[edit]

Poseidon's Rage surf pool
  • Poseidon's Rage – One of the world's largest surf pools featuring the world's third tallest surf wave at over 9 feet (2.7 m), after Wadi Adventure in Al Ain (UAE) which has barrelling surf waves up to 9.8 ft (3M) and Siam Park's Wave Palace, in Tenerife, Spain, which can produce 10.8 ft (3.3m) surf wave by Murphys Waves Ltd in Scotland.
  • Tidal Wave – The original wave pool at the park
  • The River Troy – A faster lazy river connected to a shallow pool
  • Huck's Lagoon – An interactive children's water play area featuring tunnels, six waterslides, cannons, and multi-level hands-on water activities
  • Bumper Boats

The Parthenon[edit]

The Parthenon

The Parthenon is the Dells' first indoor theme park. The columns are made out of styrofoam.

Current Rides[edit]

  • Bumper Cars
  • Spring Ride
  • Tea Cups
  • Crazy Trolley
  • Balloon Ride
  • Rock Wall Climb
  • The Parthenon Arcade

Previous Rides[edit]

  • Opa (removed & sold)
  • Go-Karts (removed)
  • Disco (removed and sold)
  • Free Fall (removed and sold)

Medusa's Indoor Water Park[edit]

The side of the indoor waterpark building

Medusa's Indoor Waterpark is the 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) indoor water park at Mt. Olympus. Previously known as the Bay of Dreams, the water park was originally part of the Treasure Island Resort, and was available exclusively to Treasure Island guests before the merger with Mt. Olympus.

Waterslides[edit]

  • Anaconda – Tube slide that is over 10 stories high
  • Boa – Basic Tube slide, now a body slide
  • Cobra – Enclosed body slide
  • Diamondback – Body slide
  • Hispaniola Bay – A children's area with a 35-foot (10.7 m) long pirate ship complete with tattered sails, tunnels, five water slides, waterspouts, and many geysers

Other rides[edit]

  • Warriors Water Walk – Simple pool area (Previously a net walk area and a basketball pool)
  • Mayan Raging River – Lazy river
  • Jaguar Hot Tub
  • Sacred Well Whirlpool

Night at the Theme Park[edit]

In the summer of 2009, Mt. Olympus began Night at the Theme Park, where select rides (Hades, Poseidon's Rage, Zeus, Trojan Horse Go Kart Track, Poseidon's Underwater Go Kart Track, and the Kiddie Land Rides) would be open from 10pm to 1am for four nights weekly. People who would attend would receive free soda and parking. Nick Laskaris got the idea when he took his children to go see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian at the local cinema.[35] The village of Lake Delton did not approve the event, because it was in violation of its amusement ordinance in which businesses have to close around midnight, and their 11pm curfew law. Village trustees were worried about someone crossing the busy Wisconsin Dells Parkway at night and getting hit by a car.[36] The village of Lake Delton subsequently made some changes to the amusement ordinance, with a variance for businesses if they requested, including Mt. Olympus. The village board had these changes on hold.[37][38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ . RCDB.com https://rcdb.com/4561.htm. Retrieved April 3, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Nick and Eva Laskaris: The king of Mt. Olympus helps find a new path for cancer treatment", Mayo Clinic.
  3. ^ Romell, Rick. "Three Dells attractions become one theme park", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 21, 2004.
  4. ^ "Indoor amusements to open". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  5. ^ "Mt. Olympus owners buy Treasure Island resort", Milwaukee Business Journal, March 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Hayden Marx. "Mt. Olympus to re-create Lost City of Atlantis". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  7. ^ a b Norm Gibb. "Laskaris adds looping coaster". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  8. ^ Mt. Olympus Resorts [@mtolympuspark] (4 July 2015). "New for 2015 at Mt. Olympus — The Manticore" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ Legge, Ed. "Mt. Olympus adds 'Great Pool,' local residents get free summer passes".
  10. ^ 608-252-6148, BARRY ADAMS badams@madison.com,. "Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin Dells adding massive pool".
  11. ^ a b Anna Krejci. "Laskaris buys Copa Cabana". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  12. ^ Andy Steinke. "Laskaris buys Star motels, buffet on Strip". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  13. ^ a b Andy Steinke. "Laskaris buys 2 motels". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  14. ^ a b "Laskarises buy Riverwalk, American World". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  15. ^ Andy Steinke. "Laskaris buys Raintree". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  16. ^ Anna Krejci. "Mt. Olympus acquires another motel on Strip". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  17. ^ Anna Krejci. "Resort takes over more motels". Wisconsin Dells Events.
  18. ^ "Lodging — Mt. Olympus". Mt. Olympus.
  19. ^ Kay James. "Coaster accident witnesses say lap bar was not secure".
  20. ^ Kay James. "State finds violations at Mt. Olympus in coaster accident".
  21. ^ Litke, Eric. "2 killed, 75 hurt on Wis. rides since '06", Green Bay Press Gazette and USA Today, August 18, 2016.
  22. ^ Legge, Ed. "Mt. Olympus lifeguards recognized for heroics".
  23. ^ 608-745-3535, Jason Cuevas jcuevas@capitalnewspapers.com,. "4-year-old nearly drowns at Mt. Olympus".
  24. ^ Legge, Ed. "Near miss at Mt. Olympus lights up Facebook".
  25. ^ Legge, Ed. "Mt. Olympus removes thrill ride after close call".
  26. ^ 608-252-6487, Rob Schultz rschultz@madison.com. "Ride's owner cited in past for violations in Dells".
  27. ^ 608-252-6487, ROB SCHULTZ rschultz@madison.com,. "State won't investigate failed thrill ride incident at Mt. Olympus".
  28. ^ Legge, Ed. "Mt. Olympus adds 'Great Pool,' local residents get free summer passes".
  29. ^ Events, Jackie Sonneberg Special to the. "Manticore to swing at Mt. Olympus".
  30. ^ Events, Hayden Marx Dells. "Mt. Olympus to re-create Lost City of Atlantis".
  31. ^ null. "Big Chief expands".
  32. ^ a b c "Hades 360 - Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park — Roller Coasters". www.ultimaterollercoaster.com.
  33. ^ "Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park — Wisconsin Dells". www.wisdells.com.
  34. ^ Branwall, Lindsey. "UPDATE: State won't investigate failure of theme park ride".
  35. ^ "7/15/2009 Park asks for late nights". Archived from the original on 2009-08-29.
  36. ^ "7/29/2009 Mt. Olympus continues night openings".[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ "8/1/2009 Lake Delton changes rules on closing time".[permanent dead link]
  38. ^ "8/12/2009 Ordinance Changes Discussed". Archived from the original on 2009-08-14.

External links[edit]