Santa's Village AZoosment Park Discussion Thread

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Santa's Village AZoosment Park Discussion Thread

Postby mcjaco » Fri May 12, 2006 6:50 am

Hey everybody!

This thread is simple! Rather than having a million little threads about everything that goes on at Adventuredome, this thread is designed to consolidate it all into one user-friendly thread. Feel free to use it to post updates, trip reports, questions, comments, and of course, general discussion. For pictures and videos of the park as well as past updates, see TPR's Park Index Santa's Village AZoosment Park.

Santa's Village Azoosment Park Official Website

Below are some links to past updates from the park, you may be interested in. Enjoy!

--Robb
_____________________________________________________

2006
May 12th, 2008 - Santa's Village may shut down (see below)

2009
January 5th, 2009 - Talks underway to possibly re-open the park in 2010

2010
August 31st, 2010 - Park to re-open as zoo and amusement park

2011
April 29th, 2011 - New rides and attractions announced for 2011 season
November 23rd, 2011 - Changes announced for 2012

2013
July 26, 2013 - park releases the number of its' new coaster, Wildcat


2014
June 30th, 2014 - Wildcat opens

2015
April 22nd, 2015 - Pictures of new 2015 rides posted


2016
January 8th, 2016 - The park's historic Snowball ride is being refurbished
November 17th, 2016 - Super Cyclone (from Interpark) to be added for 2017


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Every Mother's Day weekend for nearly 50 years, Santa's Village brushed fresh, white paint on its piles of fake snow, opened the life-size gingerbread house and beckoned children and adults to its property in East Dundee. Opened a few years after Disneyland, the tiny park was designed to give kids the kind of Christmas its developer never had as a child.

Over the decades, as tourists began flocking to bigger attractions like Gurnee's Six Flags Great America, attendance declined. Scores of other small parks in the Chicago area and around the country shut their doors. Santa's Village hung on.

Now with a lien on the property and $83,000 in debt to East Dundee, Santa's Village is closed. For the first time in its history, on the traditional opening weekend no children will crowd around the "North Pole" or clamor for a pony ride.

Up for sale, the park on a recent day looked as forlorn as an abandoned child. The snowball ride sat silent; the treehouse slide was empty; even the ponies had left for greener pastures.

Yet in storybook fashion the town has rallied, and a prospective buyer has stepped forward with a plan to rescue the fading landmark tucked along a strip of car dealerships on Illinois Highway 25 in Kane County. The buyer, a local businessman, has told town leaders that he wants to refurbish the place and open in June. The deal remains tentative, and the sale closing date has been repeatedly pushed back, leaving the future uncertain.
Last edited by larrygator on Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:33 am.

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Postby rollermonkey » Fri May 12, 2006 7:03 am

I know at least one person who will actually be RELIEVED at this news! I've heard that the park has become something of a dump over the past decade or so and that the rides are in terrible shape.

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Postby mcjaco » Fri May 12, 2006 7:40 am

This was the first park I ever went to so, it will always have a spot in my heart. I hadn't been there since I was about 7 but, I had heard the same news.

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Santa's Village Reborn???

Postby mcjaco » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:39 pm

Santa's Village could rise again
Resort sets sights on new park, while East Dundee seeks another use for its vacant site
By Carolyn Starks | Tribune reporter
January 2, 2009

With the holiday season winding down, Santa and a few jolly investors are fine-tuning plans to re-create Santa's Village as a modern amusement park on the grounds of a family resort near Utica, Ill.

The news is bittersweet in East Dundee, where a Santa's Village was built in 1959 and helped put the town on the map for generations of Chicago-area residents.

East Dundee Village Administrator Frank Koehler said his New Year's resolution is to find a purpose for the vacant 38 acres at Illinois Highways 25 and 72 where the amusement park once thrived. Snowed under by debt and declining attendance, the park closed in 2005, and the rides and other equipment were sold at auction in 2006.

"We will have the memories and be forever known as the home of Santa's Village, which is not a bad thing," Koehler said.



The new Santa's Village is being planned by officials of Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge and Resort, a $90 million family resort and water park near Starved Rock State Park. They hope to open the attraction in 2010, using some of the nostalgic rides, such as the Snowball and Convoy Trucks, that were bought at auction.

Those rides would be whirling next to new rides and roller coasters, an upgraded house for Santa and modern amenities that today's sophisticated kids have come to expect, said Joseph Hook, Grizzly Jack's general manager.

Meanwhile, East Dundee officials have stepped up efforts to find a purpose for the closed amusement park property and its surrounding area, which has seen a retail exodus in recent years.

On Thursday the vacant park and an adjoining 200 acres becomes a business development district, which means sales taxes within the district rise to 9 percent from 81/2 percent. The extra sales tax is expected to generate $400,000 to $450,000 in revenue that will be used to spur development.

The property is now marketed by the village as Dundee Crossings. But with three auto dealers and several auto-repair businesses within the development district, the village wants to brand it as an "automotive corridor" Koehler said.

"There's no definite plan for the area yet," Koehler said. "We have talked to industrial and residential developers. We're just trying to find the right mix to make it happen."

In Utica, resort officials have been studying "stills" from the 2007 movie "Fred Claus," a story about Santa's brother visiting the North Pole, to glean ideas for how the new Santa's Village will look, Hook said.

Officials parked the Snowball, a ride with twirling teacups that resemble snowballs, in the resort's lobby as a teaser for the coming attraction.

"Sometimes it's nice to revisit old memories, even though it will be in a different location and upgraded," Hook said.

One of the key attractions the Grizzly Jack investors took from the former Santa's Village is Santa himself. Phillip Wenz, who portrayed the jolly old elf at Santa's Village for 20 years, plans on continuing his role in new digs in Utica. He also has been a consultant on the project.

"We want to keep the Santa's Village concept going. There are a lot of things in the Chicago area that have gone by the wayside," Wenz said. "Once you lose those, they slip through your fingers and you've lost those memories."


As this was my first "theme" park outside of going to Disney, it'd be nice to see a new park open, but I doubt it'll ever see the light of day. I don't think there's a big enough demand for it.

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Postby astroworldfan1 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:13 pm

Santa's Village could rise again
Resort sets sights on new park, while East Dundee seeks another use for its vacant site
By Carolyn Starks | Tribune reporter
January 2, 2009

With the holiday season winding down, Santa and a few jolly investors are fine-tuning plans to re-create Santa's Village as a modern amusement park on the grounds of a family resort near Utica, Ill.

The news is bittersweet in East Dundee, where a Santa's Village was built in 1959 and helped put the town on the map for generations of Chicago-area residents.

East Dundee Village Administrator Frank Koehler said his New Year's resolution is to find a purpose for the vacant 38 acres at Illinois Highways 25 and 72 where the amusement park once thrived. Snowed under by debt and declining attendance, the park closed in 2005, and the rides and other equipment were sold at auction in 2006.

"We will have the memories and be forever known as the home of Santa's Village, which is not a bad thing," Koehler said.



The new Santa's Village is being planned by officials of Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge and Resort, a $90 million family resort and water park near Starved Rock State Park. They hope to open the attraction in 2010, using some of the nostalgic rides, such as the Snowball and Convoy Trucks, that were bought at auction.

Those rides would be whirling next to new rides and roller coasters, an upgraded house for Santa and modern amenities that today's sophisticated kids have come to expect, said Joseph Hook, Grizzly Jack's general manager.

Meanwhile, East Dundee officials have stepped up efforts to find a purpose for the closed amusement park property and its surrounding area, which has seen a retail exodus in recent years.

On Thursday the vacant park and an adjoining 200 acres becomes a business development district, which means sales taxes within the district rise to 9 percent from 81/2 percent. The extra sales tax is expected to generate $400,000 to $450,000 in revenue that will be used to spur development.

The property is now marketed by the village as Dundee Crossings. But with three auto dealers and several auto-repair businesses within the development district, the village wants to brand it as an "automotive corridor" Koehler said.

"There's no definite plan for the area yet," Koehler said. "We have talked to industrial and residential developers. We're just trying to find the right mix to make it happen."

In Utica, resort officials have been studying "stills" from the 2007 movie "Fred Claus," a story about Santa's brother visiting the North Pole, to glean ideas for how the new Santa's Village will look, Hook said.

Officials parked the Snowball, a ride with twirling teacups that resemble snowballs, in the resort's lobby as a teaser for the coming attraction.

"Sometimes it's nice to revisit old memories, even though it will be in a different location and upgraded," Hook said.

One of the key attractions the Grizzly Jack investors took from the former Santa's Village is Santa himself. Phillip Wenz, who portrayed the jolly old elf at Santa's Village for 20 years, plans on continuing his role in new digs in Utica. He also has been a consultant on the project.

"We want to keep the Santa's Village concept going. There are a lot of things in the Chicago area that have gone by the wayside," Wenz said. "Once you lose those, they slip through your fingers and you've lost those memories."
Last edited by larrygator on Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:49 pm.

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Postby jason10 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:44 pm

On a serious note, I feel it would be nice to see a park open back up again. I don't know much about this park but I'm sure that when it was open, it did ofer something to do for the locals. It would be nice for it to open again, but like mcjaco said, it isn't needed too much.
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Postby mcjaco » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:06 pm

astroworldfan1 wrote:Should we be affraid?

Here's TPR's vist to Satan's Village.

-Tatum


It was a total hole towards the end. Not that it was high class even when I was a kid. For whatever reason, the far west burbs seem to think they need some sort of mini park.

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Postby astroworldfan1 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:25 pm

I wonder if Typhoon ever got sold.

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Postby Airtime&Gravity » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:42 pm

^Typhoon was first sold to a fair operator, and it was later sold again. I'm guessing that a park in Indonesia purchased it since a Top Fun Typhoon coaster opened up there earlier this year. I also doubt that the park would purchase Led Zepplin, but, I could see the park buy Eagles or Slippery When Wet. However, I bet the new coasters will come from Vekoma and Zamperla like Wild Adventures and Cypress Gardens.(maybe some of CG's coasters will be purchased)

Hopefully the new park gets built, and hopefully it finds success. There has been bad luck with new parks lately, but I could see this park succeed(I also saw HRP succeeding though). Starved Rock (located near where this park will get built) is the state's most popular state park, and if the park doesn't rack up a huge debt by opening day, then the park just might succeed.

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Postby DCody » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:23 am

Starved Rock is cool; a nearby amusement park could be a nice way to round out the weekend for regular tourists.

'Course I could just be excited because I grew up watching endless Santa's Village commercials and I don't think I ever got to go!

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