Home » INFORMATION » Timeline [Updated June 2013]

Timeline [Updated June 2013]

This timeline, in it’s complete form, was written by myself with information I researched. It was first featured on this site. Unfortunately I cannot control when other webmasters steal my work.

1954 Storytown USA opens as a 5-acre Mother Goose themed amusement park; the park’s first two rides are Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage and the Swan Boats
1956 The Storytown Express train is added to the park
1957 Ghost Town is added to the park, in an effort to attract the male audience.
1960 Jungle Land walk-through is added to the park
1962 The mine tunnel is added to Ghost Town
1964 Freedomland closes; Charley Wood acquires “Mule-powered merry-go-round, Danny the Dragon, a mirror maze walk-through and an antique carousel”; The sky ride is added to the park
1965 Alice in Wonderland walk-through is added to the park; Danny the Dragon is added to the park
1967 Tornado is brought in from Kennywood, which originally operated in Freedomland.
1969 Tortoise and the Hare ride, Trabant, Astrowheel, and a second mine train for Ghost Town is added to the park
1971 Storytown introduces it’s first roller coaster, The Italian Roller Coaster. (This operated until 1988)
1973 Bavarian Beer Garden, Coco-Loco snack bar, and Johnny Appleseed restaurant are added to the park
1975 The high diving act replaces the Dolphin show
1977 International Village is opened, featuring 15 shops resembling a small European village.
1979 Storytown USA’s first water ride Desperado Plunge is added to the park. It also becomes the bearer of the parks logo
1981 “Small World” buildings from The Land of Make Believe are added between Ghost Town and Storytown.
1982 The name Storytown USA is changed to The Great Escape, but included in the parks logo and promotion. “Storytown is The Great Escape fun park”; The Screamer/Ranger ride is added to the park
1983 The name Storytown is dropped altogether and The Great Escape stands alone; Old West miniature buildings are added to the “Small World” section, also brought in from The Land of Make-Believe; The Rotor and the Spider ride are added to the park
1984 Steamin’ Demon roller coaster is added to the park, front and center, taking the spotlight off of the Desperado Plunge
1985 The Bumper Cars and the Cannonball Express are added to the park
1986 The Raging River opens as the parks second water ride; Cinderella’s Castle is added in the center of the pool
1987 The Balloon Ferris Wheel is added to the park; The Rainbow ride is added to the park
1989 Charles Wood sells The Great Escape to International Broadcasting Corporation for $36 million; The Giant Wheel is added to the park

New York Times
April 25, 1989

International Broadcasting Corp., Minneapolis, a television station operator, agreed to acquire two amusement parks – Great Escape, near Lake George, N.Y., and Fantasy Island, outside Buffalo – from Charles R. Wood of Lake George, for about $36.3 million.

1990 The Grand Carousel is added to the park
1991 Condor is added to the park
1993 Charlie Woods buys the park back, for less than he sold it for; Ride expansion includes Trabant, Black Cobra, Thunder Alley, Thunderbolt, Pirate, Flying Trapeze and the little Motorcycles
1994 The Comet coaster is added to the park
1995 Splashwater Kingdom is added, once again altering the parks name: “Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom”
1996 Premier Parks (later Six Flags) buys The Great Escape
1997 Boomerang coaster is added to the park, taking the place of Fantasy Land rides which included Danny The Dragon, Thunderbolt, and Jumbo Elephants.
1998 Alpine Bobsled coaster is added to the park
1999 Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon coaster is added to Ghost Town
2003 The Canyon Blaster coaster is added to Ghost Town, but not without sacrifice. Both the Tornado dark ride and the Ghost Town Mine Train Railroad were removed to make room for this ridiculous roller coaster. Although it is themed to fit in with Ghost Town, it was hardly worth the loss of two veteran Storytown USA rides.
2004 Storytown USA’s 50th Anniversary
2005 Looney Tunes National Park replaces the original Storytown section of the park. The Chapel, The Pink Whale, PoPo The Purple Cow, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, The Three Bears, The Little Red School House, and Jungle Land were either destroyed, removed, or rethemed to make room for the Looney Tunes section.

SOURCE: Amusement Parks of New York, Jim Futrell
SOURCE: Kiddie Parks of the Adirondacks, Rose Ann Hirsch

2 thoughts on “Timeline [Updated June 2013]

  1. That… is heartbreaking to read that my girlfriend and I had re-visited, what was “The Great Escape” to us, not more than two years after so many of the StoryTown fixtures were removed (in ’07). We were saddened when we went and saw so much had been replaced then, and it’s just as fresh now, realizing we narrowly missed it.

    In all of their infinite moneygrabbing ways, Six Flags did see it fit to bring back PoPo and the HIckory Dickory Clock to include it (in the blink-and-you-miss-it train ride — after getting rid of the animatronics though!!), that should be added to the timeline.

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