Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Parkscope Unprofessional Podcast Hour #129 - Midnight D23 Post Show

Jeff's been at a NASCAR race all night so hasn't followed the D23 news this past Saturday. So Joe, drunk from the normal show, joins Jeff late at night to go over all the news with our thoughts and opinions.

Email us at parkscopeblog at gmail dot com or follow us at ParkscopeParkscopeJoeParkscopeNick,  ParkscopeLane, and Sean.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Disneyland Construction Presented by Tony Baxter: Parkscope YouTube Tuesday #5

It boggles the mind today how fast Disneyland was created. From its initial announcement on The Disneyland Story, it took a mere eleven months for Walt to turn pictures into a full theme park. Today, we’re so used to projects taking years and years and years and years (hey everyone, Guardians of the Galaxy will be coming “at some point!” Isn’t that exciting), the fact that Disneyland went from “it’s coming!” to “open” in less than a year is not even fathomable. The DCA expansion took six years. Avatar took six years. Even tiny little DCA itself took four. The Fantasyland expansion (which is two rides and some buildings) took four. But the entirety of Disneyland? Less than one year.

There are much better authors than I who have regaled tales of Disneyland’s construction to the masses, so I won’t do to repeat them hear. I would recommend you read them, though. Walt’s irascibility is in full form, as he is 100% involved in the process and obsessed over every detail. He sketched the final layout of Tom Sawyer Island, consistently pushed landscape guru Bill Evans to relocate taller and taller trees, insisted that the wagons for the pack mule ride be upholstered with the finest leather, and refused to build an administration building. You can pick up any copy of a Disneyland history book or Walt Disney biography to read all about them (my personal favorites being Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas and How to Be Like Walt by Pat Williams).

Today’s YouTube Tuesday video is a time-lapse (and in color!) film compilation of the construction of Disneyland from various cameras stationed in each of Disneyland’s major lands. It is featured as an Easter Egg in the Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic DVD collection (as part of Wave Seven of the Walt Disney Treasures tin set). The footage is narrated by Tony Baxter (representing WDI), Ed Hobbleman and Walter Magnuson (representing the Disney Studio Inventory Group).

This was quite a find by Disney, as Tony explains in the narration. The footage, believe it or not, was found in a can inside a Pennsylvania salt mine. Yeah. It was a film canister with the word “Disneyland” scribbled on the front, and someone found it and returned it to Disney. While I usually don’t believe in UFOs or ghosts or time travelers, this is some serious X-Files material. How does something like that even happen? Did they also find Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa down there?

The material is presented in three parts: first, an opening section where we get to see Walt walking the property. Second is the time-lapse footage, one segment for each land. And finally, there is some video of Walt, Harper Goff and company overseeing the construction of the Jungle Cruise. Walt was famous for preserving his and his team’s thought processes (he hired stenographers to take detailed notes in every story meeting during the creation of the animated movies, and saved as many original sketches in the archives as he could), and here he realized that the construction of Disneyland would one day be something to study and reference back to. So, he set up numerous cameras and observation towers around the property to film the construction footage in time-lapse as it was happening. What we see here is an American historical landmark in all stages of construction. It’s like going back in time and seeing the building of the cathedral of Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower.

The video does a good job of speaking for itself, however I’ve included a few ancillary thoughts of the footage:

00:05 Amazing (when you watch it in slo-mo) that the roads around Disneyland still exist in the familiar east-west box pattern. Though we can’t tell which streets are featured here, the North/South Walnut, Harbor, and West and the East/West Katella and Ball are surely included in this whirlwind footage.

00:25 It’s so incredible and fortunate today that we have most of this video in color footage. We can see what Walt wore to work in glorious color! Gotta love that red-checkered shirt and white hat. And his cigar isn’t edited out. The narrators discuss the infamous “Walt reel” found in the recovered footage.

01:20 Some rare footage of Roy in color as well.

02:00 Don’t know if this makeshift observation tower was mentioned in any historical books or records. But it just goes to show how efficient the Disneyland planners were. They built an observation deck not only for themselves, but for Walt so he could point out the layout of certain areas and whether he thought they were headed in the right direction. Remember, as Tony describes the actual construction of Disneyland was done in only 7 months! As this is with notorious perfectionist Walt Disney at the helm! Amazing. And it’s followed by incredible 360-degree view of the Disneyland site!

03:10 starts the time-lapse footage, starting with Main Street. A few notes here:

1.       Note how the Jungle Cruise foliage had already been planted by the time vertical construction on Main Street started, in order to get the best of a Spring “growth” season
2.       Because of the less strict building and construction regulations compared to today, vertical construction on Main Street was completed in only four months! Tony Baxter relates how it took a full five years to build Euro Disney.
3.       Tony mentions the split-second appearance of the infamous Town Square Gazebo, which Walt wanted to place in Town Square near the flagpole. However, once it was placed the team realized it blocked Guests’ view of the castle. So, the gazebo was moved to the Magnolia Park section of Frontierland, which is where New Orleans Square is now. As Tony reminds us, this again speaks to the practicality of Walt Disney’s creative design sense. If it didn’t work, it was out, no questions asked, no matter how much operational headache it causes.
4.       The Phantom Boats again prove to be the most unreliable mechanics imaginable. Even right before opening, the boats had still not made it to the lagoon!
5.       Tony explains that fiberglass was not used too much upon opening, though Disney became obsessed with it afterwards. This was because, in 1955, fiberglass was still a “miracle material” and thus expensive to acquire. So only a few elements of the park were featured in all their fiberglass glory.
6.       It’s just funny that Storybookland started out as a literal mud ditch with views of weeds and grass called Canal Boats of the World. The plants, you see, were from around the world. That’ll be a “B” Ticket, please.
7.       32:45 This is how guests are going to be greeted at my house one day.
8.       34:50 An absolutely amazing overlook view of the Jungle Cruise before the foliage fully grew in. As Tony mentions, this is probably the only time you’ll ever see such a clear overlook of the full ride layout.

The footage itself is, of course, incredible. The video presented here is a full 37 minutes of the literally hundreds of hours of material (Tony says he sat through 400 hours. And you thought a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings marathon was bad!). This is Disneyland construction footage in full color. Time-lapse for each land. With color footage of Walt, Roy, Davy Crockett and Joe Fowler walking around. It is truly a fine treasure for the Disney history hunter.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Parkscope LIVE!: D23 2017 Parks and Resorts Panel

We will be giving our scorching takes LIVE as news breaks from the D23 2017 Parks and Resorts Panel.

Parkscope Radio starts around 5:30PM and we will start around 5:50pm. The show will be recorded and posted as a podcast. Interact with us on Twitter as we take questions and comments.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Hidden Rides and Themed Attractions of...New Hampshire

For those who are outside New England, trying to understand New Hampshire's relationship to everything else can be tough. There's not any major cities that are recognizable to anyone. Their state universities aren't famous for performing well in anything athletically, but Dartmouth is in the state to represent it in the Ivy League. It seems green? So some things about New Hampshire that I can explain to you, the non-New Englander:

-New Hampshire touches the ocean. I know that may seem weird, but it totally does in a small space between Massachusetts and Maine.

-The state's symbol, the Old Man of the Mountain, crumbled into nothing one night. Formed by erosion, annihilated by erosion. 

-New Hampshire has no income tax. It also has no sales tax. Cigarette taxes there are roughly half of what Massachusetts' are, 47% of Rhode Island's, and 45% of Connecticut's. Most of the taxable revenue comes from property taxes of people who've chosen to live there commute to Boston for work. Fireworks are also legal here, car registration is more lax, and you can purchase any kind of gun you want with no license or permit. Why point all this out? Just that New Hampshire is a sort of libertarian playground in a lot of ways and culturally is very different than Massachusetts. But keep in mind: without the money flowing through Boston and Providence, there's not really any demand for the sorts of things New Hampshire brings to the table. It would be Alabama with mountains.

So now that we've reconfigured what it is you should believe about New Hampshire (should you have believed anything previously), let us go forth and mine its history and present for amusement rides. 

From the beginning, there were two key players in NH fighting for Bostonians' money: Pine Island and Canobie Lake. Both had similar sorts of appeal and locations, but competition was not the death knell here that has left us with only one. No, instead it was that great threat to all wood structures (especially amusement parks): fire. Pine Island burned in 1961, and attempt to keep it afloat afterwards with limited rides and a dance hall proved impossible. Canobie Lake is still there, still operating, and it's business model resembles so much of the rest of New Hampshire that it is virtually indistinguishable. It pulls heavily from a nearby metro area because it is located along the border and convenient from freeways.

Canobie is still around and still family owned even after all these years. Home to the Yankee Cannonball wood coaster, the Gerstlauer Eurofighter Untamed, and some wonky stuff like a ticket redemption casino (with slots and video poker), an old Rotor, a skyride, and the Mine of Lost Souls dark ride (featuring many effects from Sally and a totally random Egyptian section). The park has a lively fanbase online too. One strange thing about it: Canobie is surrounded by residential now, which has led to a ton of restrictions on ride operation and noise. Bit of a bummer since they were there first, but that's late stage capitalism for you.

Upstate in New Hampshire, one finds a surprising amount of theme parks. Storyland (now owned by Palace Entertainment) was founded in 1954 during the rush of storybook parks. Rides like the Slipshod Safari Train (with its "monkey bar" caged cars) and the Cuckoo Clockenspiel spinning ride fit as wonderfully cute pieces along with their two coasters: The Hopkins-built Polar Coaster, and the more recent Gravity Group family wood coaster Roar-O-Saurus. Santa's Village is the other actor in the region; it is still family owned and operated, and home to the likes of "The Great Humbug Adventure," an interactive dark ride, and Zierer family coaster Rudy's Rapid Transit. There was, at one time, a 3rd park in close proximity: Six Gun City. However, that closed in the early 2010s and is now being turned into less of a dry park under the title of Fort Jefferson Fun Park, and features more water park attractions.

Fort Jefferson is not the only frontier-themed attraction. Clark's Trading Post in Lincoln may not have a dark ride or coaster, but does have a Haunted Swing style attraction in Merlin's Mystical Mansion, a train ride, and a Wildlife Segway Park. Yeah, a zoo you ride a Segway through. Less frontier-like are the mountain coasters like those at Attitash Mountain Resort, Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park, and Gunstock Mountain Resort. There's other rides at those ski resorts - summer tubing, Cranmore's Giant Swing attraction, and chairlift rides that may make up for that.

With only a sliver of the ocean available, New Hampshire still manages to have a seaside resort. Hampton Beach, with its famous casino ballroom, draws all sorts of events, but for visitors to the town, there's arcades (Playland and Funarama, both filled with electromechanical classics) and a set of water slides (Casino Cascade). Inland is Weirs Beach, which has seen two water parks close in the 2000s, but has retained the legendary Funspot arcade (known most from King of Kong) and also some secondary attractions, like the Half Moon Bumper Cars concession.

In the early 2000s, it was commercials on WAAF for a haunted attraction in Foxboro Stadium that caught my attention. In the years since, Spooky World, known as New England's largest Halloween attraction, has moved to New Hampshire to take advantage of all the same things everyone else does. There are hayrides, haunted mansions, and outdoor mazes galore.

Finally, we head into aquatics. Water Country is still one of the larger water parks in the country, and long before Six Flags New England went about building a proper set of slides and pools, this was pretty much *it* for everyone living in the region. I used to go with my family once a year or so, waking up at dawn and travelling the 3 or so hours to go on slides until I was fully exhausted. Entire generations grew up with knowing that the Geronimo speed slides were ultimate test of prepubescent bravery.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Parkscope Unprofessional Podcast Hour #128 - Parkscope Airhorn

Joe, Sean, and Mike make small talk about changes coming to the auction scene at Pirates of the Caribbean, Siemens dropping sponsorship of Spaceship Earth and Illuminations, crazy Walt Disney World rumors, and cover all the speculation on D23 expo. It's a slapdash episode because... well we don't know what's going to happen!

We'll also be doing a live podcast 6PM EST Saturday July 15th to cover the D23 Parks and Resorts panel!

Email us at parkscopeblog at gmail dot com or follow us at ParkscopeParkscopeJoeParkscopeNick,  ParkscopeLane, and Sean.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration, Starring Tony Danza (1990): Parkscope YouTube Tuesday #4

When I think of Disneyland I think of Chicago, BDSM, mud wrestling, and playing FMK with the Disney Princesses (and a dog). And this is not even the most insane sequences in Disneyland's 35th Anniversary Celebration, which makes it a Top 5 special for me. I shouldn't get ahead of myself, lets dive into something that could only be produced in the 1990s with lots of celebrity favor from Michael Eisner, drugs, and some of the craziest writers around. 

This special really locks in the variety show format with very distinct sketches and a musical segment designed around various aspects of the Disneyland experience. While previous and future specials will also share this format, none of them lean as much into the nightmarish aspect as the Disneyland 35th. The writing staff must have gone to Disneyland once on a bad cold after taking way more than the requested dose of NyQuil. I cannot stress this enough, I had nightmares about this special as a kid.

Talking about the writing, unlike other specials that feature characters from multiple shows or movies in them this special feels like it was written by the series writers. Cheers feels like Cheers, the Muppets feel incredibly natural, and Ernest is... Ernest (I hate Ernest). 

Connecting all these skits is Tony Danza as our host and Charles Fleischer the character actor. Tony's our exasperated host being whisked location to location with his "gosh golly" grin and Charlie is there to cause mayhem and insanity. Tony nearly dies on the Jungle Cruise, talks to C3PO, hangs out with characters, and introduces segments while Charles tries to kill Tony, tries to lead Miss Piggy down a road of minimum wage theme park work, and tries to scare Woody from Cheers. Charles nearly steals the whole show if it wasn't for my absolute favorite segment.

Miss Piggy and Gonzo bring the house down with their chaotic, slapstick, and bat shit insane ploy to get a teen age Piggy to play Cinderella. While Jim is not credited or featured in the special you can sense his charm and silliness in the special (Jim would die only several months after this special aired in February 1990). Piggy ends up scrubbing a castle (not sure who's it could be since this is about Cinderella) when her Fairy God...thing shows up to grant her three wishes she promptly waists on platitudes about Gonzo, with my favorite being "I wish you were more serious" which turns Gonzo in a businessman. Not deterred by fate Piggy enlists Gonzo in several schemes to incapacitate Cinderella for Piggy to take over. Everyone ends up happy, Piggy in the parade as Cinderella and Gonzo talking to the real Cinderella about polygamy and nostrils.

The Disneyland 35th Anniversary Celebration is less celebration and more a love letter to the park. Characters wistfully look back at prior visits and dig deep into nostalgia as chaos and the 90s runs amuck around the boarders. This isn't the Disneyland that existed but the Disneyland we remember, as mind warping and dangerous as we imagined it was.


Michael Eisner, by his own constant admission, knows how to make a TV special. When he was just 25 years old, he was the Manager of Specials and Talent at the then-in-very-last-place ABC network, where he was in charge of creating and producing any major special the television executives decreed. In 1967, he was tasked with creating a special for a new theme park business that ABC had a new financial stake in: Marine World. Construction was just being completed on the San Francisco-area aquatic-themed park, and ABC wanted to produce an opening special similar to the 700 other theme park opening specials since the opening of Disneyland.

Through his experience with the Marine World special, Eisner learned the lessons he would carry with him through his later career at ABC, Paramount, and finally Disney. Every one of the TV specials made during Eisner’s tenure at these companies followed the same basic principles:
1)      Find a celebrity host. In 1967, Eisner saw that ABC had a deal with Bing Crosby in exchange for the broadcasting rights for his Pebble Beach golf tournament. Bing owed ABC a show of some kind. Eisner called him up and signed him to host the special.
2)      Have as many circus performers or celebrity cameos as possible and have them interact in/around the big headliners at the park. The Marine World special was packed to the gills with performances, including a water-skiing elephant.
3)      Sign a popular musical act. In 1967, this act was called the Young Rascals. Since it was 1967, they had a hit song called Groovin’ (I’m pretty sure every band had a song called Groovin’ in the 60s), so they performed at the park and on TV, and because ABC had literally no shame they christened the special “Feeling Groovy at Marine World.” Aren’t we ever.

Practically all Disney specials during the Michael Eisner era adhered to these tenets, for better or worse. In the case of Disneyland’s 35th Anniversary Special, it was for the better.

If Disneyland’s 35th isn’t my favorite Disney special, then it’s certainly near the top of the list. So many different elements make the entire presentation so gloriously hilarious.

A big reason why the 35th Special is so great is because it occurs in a real sweet spot for the parks and for the Disney company in general. By 1990, Michael Eisner and Frank Wells were of the mind that the theme parks were one big money spigot. Seriously, every time they raised admission prices, attendance didn’t drop, and in fact increased due to the rising amount of advertising spots Disney did for Disney World (including the “I’m going to Disneyland/Disney World” sports spots, and a few memorable TV spots starring the Huxtables). Every hotel they opened, even the most expensive ones, sold out constantly at any price point. Every big new attraction generated even more attendance and consumer interest. It was literally the best case scenario for any business: the more you build, the more you get back, automatically. And 1990 was right in that period when the faucet was on full blast.

At Disneyland, the park had just opened three of the biggest attractions in its history: Splash Mountain, Star Tours, and Captain EO. Star Tours and Captain EO especially had very famous celebrities and/or franchise characters, which increased merch sales as well. Disney had also just bought The Disneyland Hotel back from the Wrather Corporation, and with it the rights to build Disney-themed hotels near Disneyland (strange but true folks…for 34 years after Disneyland’s opening Disney did not own the rights to build Disney-themed hotels around Disneyland). Fresh off the success of Disney-MGM Studios, Eisner was more than willing to loosen the purse strings to make Anaheim a destination resort. Not to mention, Disney was also doing well at the box office and had real cache with numerous major stars at the time, many of whom were under contract and more than willing to do a special about Disneyland.

So here we were in 1990, at a time where Disney’s management really cared about the parks, about spending money to make the parks better, about spending money on advertising, and about using celebrities and every weapon in its arsenal to convince America that Disneyland is the best place to visit in the world. So yeah, seatbelts kids.

I can’t get over what an incredible tour de force this special was. I can’t even imagine even one of these segments making it past the Disney upper brass today. And I’m not just talking about its budget, or the celebrity A-Listers involved. I’m talking about the sheer audacity of the script and the VERY non-PC lines and actions scattered throughout the show. Jungle Cruise skippers shooting their pistols directly at Guests. Miss Piggy hijacks Cinderella and steals her place in the parade. Gonzo creeps on Cinderella everywhere. Rap music. None of that could get past the Disney anti-fun brigade today.

The show begins not at Disneyland, but in the bar populated by the cast of Cheers, which just happened to be the most iconic sitcom on TV at the time. This is seriously like Disney starting a Disneyland special today with the cast of The Big Bang Theory or NCIS, and then just seamlessly transitioning to the park. I mean, Disney today wouldn’t pay that much money to so many celebrity TV actors (NOT under contract by Disney) just for a 5 minute burst on a theme park special. And all of the supporting characters are present: Woody Harrelson (who thinks he was at the opening of Disneyland because “they had a parade” that day), John Ratzenberger (jealous that Woody got to meet Goofy and he didn’t), George Wendt as Norm (familiar to Epcot fans as Stomach from Cranium Command), Kelsey Grammar, Annie Potts, and of course Rhea Perlman.

The group somehow prompts Woody to recall that one time as a kid when he went on the Haunted Mansion, and fell in love with a girl who was actually a ghost. Apart from the fact that the segment is quite possibly the most random aside in the history of television, that is also really creepy. Apart from the following segment, this is the one that really stuck into my head when I was younger and wearing out my VHS tapes. And, since the story literally comes out of nowhere, I didn’t realize that this segment was even part of the 35th special until a few years ago. I had assumed it was a random Wonderful World of Disney segment that would be lost to the ether of old television specials, like Mother Goose Rock n’ Rhyme (seriously kids, check that one out if you’re high on acid).

The next segment (after the speech by someone important, Ronald Reagan I think his name is) is probably the penultimate segment in theme park special history: the most intense Jungle Cruise ride of all time.

Michael Eisner introduces the show, but can’t find the host, Tony Danza (again, another super-popular celebrity that Disney wouldn’t want near a theme park nowadays. This would be like if Nathan Fillion hosted Epcot’s 25th). Tony, of course, has completely abandoned the show so he can be one of the first people of the day to ride the Jungle Cruise. Michael says Tony has to host the show, so Tony cons Goofy into taking his place in line. Eventually the ride opens, and Tony takes his spot back and gets on the ride.

The skipper for the cruise is Charlie Fleischer, the voice of Roger Rabbit (who was BIG back then. Like Tony Stark big. Disney didn’t have many big hit movies until Roger Rabbit was the 2nd-highest grossing movie of 1988. So Eisner and the marketing gurus made sure EVERYONE knew about Roger Rabbit. He’s even featured in the Wonderful World of Disney opening). Fleischer would appear in practically every segment of the show, dressed in a different Cast Member costume (Haunted Mansion butler, balloon vendor, etc.) to show off his repertoire.

So begins the best Jungle Cruise ride of all time. Throughout the journey, the animals and characters featured in the attraction continuously attack the boat like they were featured characters in Dawn of the Dead. Fleischer encourages a Guest to reach out to “pet” Old Smiley, and the Guest promptly gets grabbed and eaten whole. Snakes continuously land in the boat and attack Guests. At one point in the Cambodian section, Fleischer points out the “four” cobras in the temple. But of course, there are only three. The other is, predictably, attacking the woman to Tony Danza’s right and causes her to fall in the river and drown.

Guests are squirted by elephants. Fleischer “misses” the turn in front of Sweitzer Falls and soaks the left side of the boat. The natives throw spears and cause half the boat to jump into the river for safety. And for the piece de resistance, the python grabs ahold of Tony, and as an act of charity, Fleischer continuously shoots at the snake with his pistol as Guests are still in the boat and jumping to safety. It’s so wonderfully silly and non-PC it’s almost like looking into an alternate dimension.

The following segment is great too, with Piggy and Gonzo (in full Jim Henson silliness mode) trying to hijack Cinderella so Piggy can take her place during the parade. And by the way, Piggy is relating this story a conversation with Tony, C-3PO, and the Three Little Pigs. Disney used to make sense, you know?

The special culminates as only a special like this can: with a Disney rap in front of the castle by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith. Yes people, this is real. This is what Disney used to be.

We hope you enjoy this ridiculous and off-the-cuff look at a Disney theme park anniversary, one that puts every one from the last 20 years to shame.

-Jeff (@ParkScopeJeff) and Joe (@parkscopejoe)

Previous YouTube Tuesday Articles:

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Hidden Rides and Themed Attractions of...Newfoundland and Labrador

I love weird history and geographical trivia, so since there isn't that much to discuss as it pertains to the 9th most populous province of Canada, three fun facts you very well might not have known:

-92% of the population of the province lives on the island of Newfoundland. Labrador, by comparison, doesn't have a single settlement home to more than 10,000 people.

-Newfoundland was, prior to joining Canada, a separate Dominion. This meant that it was an autonomous nation operating no differently than the likes of New Zealand or Australia with some oversight from the British. Along with the Kingdom of Hawaii and Republic of Texas, it was integrated into other North American countries.

-Only a few miles off shore are the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. They aren't terribly well known and receive only limited tourism due to the lack of any large landing strips and the harsh winters that the rest of the region receives, but they aren't part of Canada. They're actually overseas dependencies of France, representing the last territories controlled by the once vast French empire in North America proper. Travelers wishing to go must have a passport, receive a French passport stamp, and the official currency is the Euro.

Newfoundland is a rugged and fairly isolated place in Canada, and Labrador is that and even more. With few permanent residents, little in the way of density, and a small tourism economy chiefly geared to adventure travelers, it shouldn't surprise you that there are limits to what kind of amusements are around. Given the climate, you'll typically look for indoor stuff and travelling rides because of rural nature of many communities, and that's precisely what's found. Axtion in the St. John's suburb of Mount Pearl is the indoor option, featuring bumper boats and a small inverting flat ride (possibly an SBF Mini Dance Party). The portable options are brought around by Thomas Amusements, who keep a consistent set of hours and prices at every spot they run on the island of Newfoundland. Labrador just doesn't have any rides. Sorry, Labrador.

Permanent facilties in the province are limited to aquatics-centric places. Marine Park and Splash-n-Putt are the two largest not attached to campgrounds that allow for free entry. There had been one permanent amusement park, called Trinity Loop, located a three hour drive north of the city of St. John's. Remnants remain but the park's big attraction, a miniature train, was washed out by Hurricane Igor in 2010 and is unlikely to ever reopen.