Coney Island’s oldest dark ride, which dates back to the 1950s and is part of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, was severely damaged due to flooding during Superstorm Sandy. Spook-A-Rama’s electrical, interior props and the floor inside the ride were destroyed but park owners Dennis and Steve Vourderis have vowed to rebuild the attraction. At last week’s IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, they contracted with Scarefactory, Inc. to come in and lay out new props, according to Dennis Vourderis. The giant skeleton on Spook-A-Rama’s roof is a product of the design and fabrication studio, which specializes in creating haunted attractions and everything that goes into them.
Sadly, some of the destroyed props original to Spook-A-Rama and other historic Coney Island dark rides cannot be replaced. If it’s possible to save them, the old props will be put on static display (February 2013 Update: some of the rescued props will get new electronics!) The good news is that the legendary Cyclops, which came out of retirement two years ago to be inducted into the Coney Island History Project’s Hall of Fame, was unharmed. Another old-timer at the Wonder Wheel, the 1920’s fortunetelling machine Grandma’s Predictions, suffered water damage, but is being restored by an expert in antique arcade machines. Grandma’s “boyfriend” Zoltar was not so lucky –the popular machine which debuted at the park in 2011 will be replaced by a brand-new one.
Also destroyed in the flood waters and being replaced is the Scarface-themed shooting gallery next to Spook-A-Rama. The new shooting gallery will be themed with some of the same spooky characters that visitors will see inside the refurbished dark ride. While the Wonder Wheel side of the park and the area beneath the kiddie park were inundated with 5 to 7 feet of flood waters, the 92-year-old landmark Wonder Wheel and the rides and games in Deno’s Kiddie Park on the Boardwalk escaped serious damage though a lot of work remains to be done. The park will re-open with its 25th Annual Blessing of the Rides Ceremony on Palm Sunday, which is Coney Island’s opening day and falls on March 24, 2013. (Update: On opening day, rides on the Wonder Wheel will be free of charge for one and all.)
Related posts on ATZ…
November 20, 2012: Coney Island Post-Sandy: Mini-Golf or Roller Rink to Replace Denny’s?
November 13, 2012: Coney Island’s Eldorado Wins Lease But Bumper Cars Soaked by Sandy
November 9, 2012: Update on Coney Island’s Amusement Area After Sandy
October 30, 2012: Photo Album: Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath in Coney Island