It died, you guys. It just died.

Kennywood Park as we know it, is no more.

That’s right. It will no longer be a family-owned amusement park and will be owned by Parques Reunidos, which DOESN’T EVEN HAVE AN ENGLISH SITE! (Duh. Click on the British Flag next to the word ENGLISH! h/t Sooska)

I’m so saddened by this, mostly because I don’t trust a company in Spain to continue to care for the park and grow the park while keeping to its old-time traditions the way it is now by the families that own it.

Let’s hope not much changes, you know, like the Potato Patch being replaced with churros.

I love me a good churro, just not at KENNYWOOD!





37 Comments

  1. Sooska
    December 11, 2007 11:00 am

    The English language site is accessed by clicking the little British flag in the upper right. Caramba! and Vaya Con Dios, Kennywood.



  2. Danopsu
    December 11, 2007 11:26 am

    but if you click the British flag do you have to read it with an English accent? Just wondering…

    also…will they close the park down from 1 to 3 for an afternoon siesta?



  3. Char
    December 11, 2007 11:36 am

    Name change in the works? Carloswood doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.



  4. Lily
    December 11, 2007 11:46 am

    No! What a sad day.



  5. Lauren
    December 11, 2007 11:54 am

    what?!?! I hope they don’t change the name. Parque de Kennywood just doesn’t flow….



  6. Brian
    December 11, 2007 12:51 pm

    I’m devistated.



  7. Stasia
    December 11, 2007 1:01 pm

    I was a Kennywood carnie for a couple of summers a few years back. I remember there being talk of a possible sale even then. There is ALWAYS a right price …



  8. Bill from Hanover
    December 11, 2007 2:01 pm

    First let me say that you “PittGirl” rock …..

    Outstanding Blog Site and your amazing insights into the Burgh are uncanny …..

    Kennywood, a Pittsburgh Tradition like Iron City Beer and Candyland, what is happening there ? Who would have ever thought that this place would be sold, especially to a firm out of the country !

    This is truly a sad day in Amusement Park History !

    Will Kennywood Change ? We’ll sure see this year …

    PS. We linked your site to our main page …. Stop over and check out our site, it has been the tops in Fan Sites for years !

    Happy Holidays,

    Bill



  9. Frank
    December 11, 2007 4:47 pm

    I really don’t think that everyone should be freaking out the way they are about this. No details about the deal have been released, and Kennywood will in all likelihood still be Kennywood this summer and every summer after that. In fact, this could be a great development for the region, because if there’s anything we need it’s more outside investment, and this is a big one.

    I’m neither for or against the deal right now, but I think we owe it to the new owners and to Kennywood to give this a chance.



  10. Still A. Fan
    December 11, 2007 5:00 pm

    c’mon frank, first we’ll rage a little bit and then we’ll settle down and be logical. aren’t you a steeler’s fan? you should know the drill.

    i wonder if the little yellow kennywood arrow signs will now all point south?



  11. Me
    December 11, 2007 5:06 pm

    Are churros Spanish food? I thought that was Mexican or Tex-Mex.



  12. pittgirl
    December 11, 2007 5:09 pm

    Churros originated in Spain.



  13. K
    December 11, 2007 6:53 pm

    Ummm… Frank… I don’t wish to sound ageist here, and I mean no disrespect man… but you are 22. And you are from Virginia.

    Kennywood is a Pittsburgh tradition, landmark, staple, whatever you wish to call it. Kennywood is family. Had you gone through grade school just itching for that school-picnic day to role around you’d get it. THAT is why people are “freaking out” as you put it.

    No one is “freaking”. We’re just saddened and disappointed by the news is all.

    However I totally agree with you about giving the new owners a chance. That is very solid. They say now that they “won’t change a thing”. But as Pittsburghers we’ve all heard that before. From our own city government for crying out loud.

    It is definitely a sad day. For those who have been making the trek to Idelwild, have been supporting Kennywood through all its “lack of growth” compared to the bigger parks, and who have been part of this tradition for over 40 years it means a lot more than you might think. And my parents who went to Kennywood in the 30’s when they were children.

    “Still a Fan”: says it best! “c’mon frank, first we’ll rage a little bit and then we’ll settle down and be logical. aren’t you a Steelers fan? you should know the drill.”

    So we’ll accept it as we do everything else around here. We won’t like it. But we won’t do anything about it either. Wow that sounded bad didn’t it?

    Bottom line is it will never be the same. It has been in the same family since 19whatever. Whether it is kept exactly the same or not… it will be different. To true Pittsburghers it will be different.

    Ummm… and Pittgirl… no joking about the Potato Patch Churros! Holy crap the world would end.



  14. Frank
    December 11, 2007 7:46 pm

    K–please see the “about” section of my website: http://www.theblurgh.com/about/ . It’s a fictional blog, and Frank Zielinski is a pen name. I am a native burgher, born and bred. As for the age, I’m not 22, but you aren’t THAT far off! :)

    Kennywood is a wonderful Pittsburgh tradition, and my guess is that it will continue to be for many years to come. What bothers me about the reaction I’ve seen is the negativity and the defeatist attitude. One thing Pittsburgh desperately needs is money coming into the region, and this is a big instance of just that. Who cares if the buyers are from Spain! Kennywood will remain where it is, it’s not going to get outsourced! People will still work there, and it will continue to contribute to the local economy. Who knows, maybe the new owners will pump a lot of money into it and make it an even bigger tourist draw!

    However, if the new owners start doing things that hurt the park, the people who work there, or the local economy, then there’s something to complain about. For now, I’m choosing to remain cautiously optimistic.



  15. K
    December 11, 2007 8:16 pm

    Whew. Thanks Frank. Glad to see you are a local and you are on top of things. I like your stance. Cautiously optimistic is good. But sadly I have seen these things go south too often.

    The new owners do have their act together it seems. As far as finances anyway. They have bought several parks in the last two years. And they have a pretty sweet Web site. Hehhe.

    I would definitely welcome growth and dollars into the region. you are dead on there. It needs it! I am really rather glad they sold to this entity rather than the Six Flags type. It has more potential this way to keep some traditions I think. Six Flags just cookie-cutters everything.

    Thanks Frank. Thanks Pittgirl for this opportunity to chat.



  16. SirFuller
    December 11, 2007 8:57 pm

    I look at this sale with great optimism. Maybe the new owners can make some changes that will help Kennywood compete against other parks within driving distance.

    It seems like the park should’ve been sold a while ago to people interested in running amusement parks.

    In my opinion, Kennywood has been going down the crapper ever since they remodeled Noah’s Arc years ago. Hopefully, the new owners have a clear vision of what the park can be.



  17. Katie
    December 11, 2007 9:36 pm

    It’s a sad day in the Burgh because of this. And when my mom told me about the story all I could reply with was “Damn the Spaniards!” complete with a fist shake. I will hate it if Kennywood changes because of this sale. :(



  18. kevin
    December 11, 2007 11:14 pm

    Things could be worse.

    Parques Reunidos could be proposing to build a Steel Mill on the site.

    Green Chile in the queso on your Potato Patch Fries.



  19. Bob Carney
    December 11, 2007 11:16 pm

    Step away from the Potato Patch fries and no one gets hurt!!!

    This is truly unsettling news… I hope they stand true to their statement.

    “The Kennywood experience — as visitors have come to love and expect — will continue…”

    This is what people talk about even miles from Pittsburgh…fond childhood memories.



  20. Zsa
    December 11, 2007 11:39 pm

    Kennywood jumped the shark when they pimped the Old Mill out as Garfield’s Wild Ride. I agree with K, I’d rather they sold to a company like this that will probably leave it alone because they’re too far away to do much, rather than having the possibility of Six Flags – Pittsburgh.

    Although it is amusing when people get all het up on the Post Gazette about Spain buying it and saying “this is why we have to press one for English!!” No, actually, it’s the immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries (most of whom have never set foot in Spain) who are why we have to press one for English.

    PS Bill, I think you mean Candy Rama, not Candyland.



  21. mis
    December 11, 2007 11:40 pm

    I am pretty bummed out……
    I worked there for 10 years, met my husband there, and love taking my kids there now.

    I am hoping they keep the full-timers that are working there now. A lot of them have worked there since high school and have families to support. Seems like a crappy time of year to tell the employees this.

    I think it will stay the same – for a while. We will see after that.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Bet they have a kicking taco stand though!!!



  22. apostles03
    December 12, 2007 12:19 am

    The bathroom in Kiddieland will be renamed “La Casa de PeePee”.



  23. BBM
    December 12, 2007 8:14 am

    You know what we be fraktastic–if they got together a whole boatload of Spaniards to come take away all the Pittsburgh jobs. I can see it now, Luis and Pepita leave their home that they love, their stable jobs, free healthcare, free higher education, and great quality of life to take a $7/hour job pushing the buttons in Kiddieland. They just better bring the churros.

    I’m with the folks that are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. There is no reason to think that anything will change in the short time, except perhaps an influx of capital for improvements.



  24. Stacey
    December 12, 2007 8:29 am

    Zsa — Candyland was a candy shop in Mount Pleasant outside of Pittsburgh. Closed up a few years ago – lots of people were upset – it had been a tradition forever.



  25. Michael Sorg
    December 12, 2007 9:19 am

    We used to do Juggalo Day at Kennywood. Now known as Día de Juggalo en Kennywood!



  26. pittgirl
    December 12, 2007 9:39 am

    BBM, you forgot mandatory siestas! I’d love to live in a country that forced me to nap. Darn you, America!



  27. BBM
    December 12, 2007 4:25 pm

    As a former resident of the wondrous napland that is Spain, I hereby order you to take a nap, Pittgirl. (In case you didn’t know, Spanish law says that anybody that has a Spain Visa stamp in their Passport has the authority to order naps. It’s a fact.)



  28. GregLeg
    December 12, 2007 9:19 pm

    As a Pittsburgher and a coaster enthusiast, I’m looking at this deal with cautious optimism. The company buying Kennywood (and Sandcastle, Idlewild, and Lake Compounce(*), don’t forget) runs some VERY nice European parks. I really do expect Kennywood to remain much the same as it is, only backed up with a larger company with more capital.

    Unlike the hideous homogenization that would have happened if Premier Parks (Six Flags) had bought the park back in the 90’s, this could be quite positive. Certainly the park won’t be outsourcing seasonal staffing to kids from Spain (unless they HAVE to — larger parks like Cedar Point DO import seasonals from other countries because they just can’t find enough kids locally..)

    * Lake Compounce was VASTLY improved when Kennywood took over, but I wonder how many New Englander’s thought THAT was going to be a “bad thing”…



  29. Angel
    December 15, 2007 11:49 am

    First reaction: NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Not my Kennywood!
    Second reaction: Thank goodness it’s not Six Flags.

    Like many, I have a ton of memories of a hometown amusement park that had features like no other park anywhere. I don’t want to see a thing changed. It’s still hard for me to get over the new Noah’s ark (sucks), the new old mill (lame) and the loss of the ferris wheel (although the ride replacing it is awesome). Don’t touch my wooden coasters, the Potato Patch fries or the golden nugget ice cream.

    I would not trust Six Flags with my Kennywood (and Idlewild? Six Flags would destroy that place, probably sell it off). Personally, I’ve never been a huge of fan of Sandcastle … I mean, I like it a lot, but I think there’s a lot of room for improvement, something hopefully a park owner with a lot of money can help.

    Without knowing anything about this company, I have faith that their business practices aren’t so horrible that they will not come in and rip out our coasters and the swing. I have faith that all the good stuff will remain and we’ll have an even better Kennywood.



  30. Frankie
    December 30, 2007 12:16 am

    I hope it stays the same for at least five years. That is the probable time frame before I can get my fiancé up there to see Kennywood. I loved it when I lived in Erie and visited it. It was a drag hearing about the sale all the way down here in Florida and I haven’t been to Kennywood in over seven years.



  31. Jake
    April 1, 2008 11:26 pm

    Replying to Chara:

    Haha, you’re right. Kenny would be changed to Carlos el Burro (donkey). Phantom’s Revenge= El Venganza de Montezuma. Turtles= Los Tortugas. Potato Patch= El Parche de Churros. (NOOO!)Pitt Fall= Caída de Madrid

    Man, if I go to Kennywood this year and everything is in freakin Espanol! I’m gonna jump off la Caída de Madrid!