Hump-Day Dumpty-Week 6

HolidayWorldHumpty

This week’s humpty joins us from Holiday World, where he hopes you like his fancy his prince costume, and asks that you please not bring up his pock marks.

Holiday World’s Humpty is part of the scenery on the park’s Freedom Train ride, and he’s been teetering on his wall since the 1950s when Fairy tale Goose statutes were added and the train was renamed the “Mother Goose Land Train”. Until 2012, you could still ride the original “Freedom Train” which was the last remaining ride operating continuously since the park’s 1946 opening. The original train has been retired and replaced with the Holidog Express Train, which still tours Mother Goose Land daily.

All Aboard for a Happy Hump-Day!

 

Memory Lane-Santa’s Village-Scotts Valley, CA

gingerbreadhouse

In the redwoods of Northern California, the first franchised theme park was born. The first Santa’s Village opened in 1955 in San Bernadino, where it operated until 1988.  The park was so successful that Santa’s Village opened it’s second location in Scott’s Valley in 1957. Franchising was a relatively new concept, and something that had never been done before in the theme park industry. Using his formula for successful franchises, Glenn Holland opened a third location in Dundee IL in 1959. This location still operates today, and is on my shortlist of parks to visit!

Sadly, in 1979, Santa’s Village in Scott’s Valley closed its doors forever. ACE Norcal visited and filmed the remnants of the park, and found some amazing history there, including some buildings that are standing, and amazingly tickets and maps from 1979 that are still on the property but have since been reclaimed by nature!

K. Gordon Murray Fans will recognize the parks as the inexpensive backdrops for new scenes he had shot and inserted into Mexican films before turning them into cheap kiddie matinees for American children in the 196s. Santa and his Helpers, Santa’s Enchanted Village, and Santa’s Magic Kingdom all include new Santa’s Village footage cut into the original Mexican films to make for a schlocky record of the parks (and the awkward acting abilities of the park employees).

KGordonMurraySantasVillage

You can watch Santa and His Helpers here to see some of the park elves making toys, the Easter Bunny riding the train, and some great shots of the park.

If you want to experience a bit of this park’s magical history yourself, hope is not lost. Macdorsa park is home to 2 original mushroom statues from Santa’s Village! But in order to fully immerse yourself in the memories, Sorensen’s All Seasons Resort now owns 2 of the original buildings which have been converted to cabins. You can actually stay in Santa’s House and the Chapel overnight, and they are working on construction on the Elves Workshop! I sense a trip to Northern California in my future!

Although Santa’s Village is gone in CA, it is nice to see Californians saving a bit of their history. For a walk down memory lane, don’t miss santasvillage.net where a rich history of the parks can be found; or you can always join up with the Santa’s Village Memories facebook group to share some of your own photos and help keep the park alive!

Definitely don’t miss the opportunity to visit the still operational Santa’s Village near Chicago, where you can step back in time and still enjoy the park today and make new memories.

Do you have any memories of Santa’s Village? Tell us about them in the comments!

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning! (Time to put your mittens away)

The harsh winter snow has finally melted here in the northeast, and since the sun is shining, and the birds are singing, it’s probably time for a little bit of spring cleaning. I think it’s safe to put away your mittens, kittens.

Storytown USA Cat

This mother kitten from Storytown USA is finishing up her sweeping, and has a pie cooling just for you. Sadly, when I met up with mama, It appeared that her 3 little kittens no longer live with her, as evidenced in this photo. Maybe they were just out looking for their lost mittens?

However, while she was cleaning up, mama kitten found this old slide from 1967. (credit: Flickr user chuckthewriter)

The house is much more demure today, don’t you think? (Though I tend to like the older garish one much better!)

 

Funspot, World’s Largest arcade and Former Home to Storybook Forest

Anyone who has seen the 2007 documentary King of Kong has heard of Funspot in Laconia, New Hampshire. This famous arcade museum now holds the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest arcade in the world with over 600 games! It’s where Billy Mitchell breaks high score records, and if you’re lucky you might even see Steve Weibe reach a Donkey Kong “kill screen“.

I bet what you didn’t know is that at one point Funspot was home to a Storybook park of it’s very own! When Bob Lawton opened the “Weirs Sports Center” in 1952 with $750 borrowed from his grandmother, no one had even heard of video games! In fact, for 25 years, Funspot operated as a family fun center offering little more than a mini golf, a penny arcade, and a snack bar. However, by 1964 Bob had expanded to a larger 21 acre location and renamed his business Funspot. After the expansion, in 1971 they added a new theme park called “Indian Village”. Five years later, Bob opened his first kiddie park, a walk through attraction based on fairy tales, and called it “Storybook Forest”.

storybook forest funspot map

The park featured walkaround characters like the Gingerbread Man and the Big Bad Wolf, fibergass figures made by Peter Hall, and housed a famously gingerbread shaped lake!

FunspotHistory
A promotional video from 1982 shows us everything the park had to offer, including some great shots of Storybook Forest and it’s shows.

By the following year, Indian Village would have closed, followed by the closure of Storybook Forest. Now the only remaining structure from the park is a lone  red schoolhouse which still stands on the property.

But lucky for us, Bob still works at Funspot every day and he respects his history because 60 years of memories can be found on display in the snack bar, the “Braggin’ Dragon“. While you enjoy a slice of pizza or some nachos between games, we encourage you to stroll around the restaurant and take in the history that Bob has lovingly preserved here. You’ll find old park maps, menu boards, costumes, props, and signs from the park’s history. Nearby, you can still find some of Storybook Forest’s figures rescued from the trash heap and on exhibit for the enjoyment of future generations. We never like to see attractions close, but what a wonderful way to pay tribute to a fallen park! Here are some of the items I found on display. (Do you recognize anything?)

Old King Cole, Hansel and Gretel, and the witch, Farmer in the Dell, and the Gingerbread Man costume head are all on display.

Old King Cole, Hansel and Gretel, and the witch, Farmer in the Dell, and the Gingerbread Man costume head are all on display.

Funspot

Closeup of Peter Hall figures, Walk-around Gingerbread Costume head, and some more great signs!

Troll at Funspot

My favorite figure is this evil Frog Troll! (Does anyone know what he’s from?)

Thanks for saving these things for us, Bob! Keep on playing!

 

 

Do you know your Elfabet?

You are probably familiar with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, right? Well I bet none of you have heard of “Vollymolly, Alphy, Quantam, or Xixie?” These are some of the names of Santa’s 26 elves according to the Elfabet Game at Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampsire!

rules
The Elfabet game is a scavenger hunt style game which begins at “Elfabet University”.  Here, you are given a personalized card on a string, intended to be worn during your day at the park. The card has a Christmas tree made up of every letter in the alphabet.  As you walk around enjoying the park, you’ll encounter little elves, each of them holding a gift box. The box has a lever on it and a punch mechanism inside that lines up with the letters on your tree card. Once you complete the punch card and return to the Elfabet University, you will be rewarded with a personalized diploma, and a prize! And trust me when I say the prizes we got were pretty great!-Skylar chose an Elfabet magnet, and I chose an Elfabit enamel pin; Neither of which could be purchased in the gift shop. You just had to earn them! The great thing is that even though we were 2 adults in our 30s, we were not only allowed to play the game, but encouraged to participate. Park staff seemed excited to see how many we had found and hinted at the location of letters we were still missing. Before we left the park, we were sure to  find them all and collected our diplomas and our prizes!  As we discovered them, I also snapped a photo of each elf! AtoF Alphy, Betty, Carol, Danny, Emo, and Fournier GtoL Goodenbread, Hans, Icy, Jollybelly, Kringle, and Lucky MtoR Mr. Medee, Norma, Olaf, Peanut, Quantum, and Raymond Sto X Sharyn, Tonio, Upsy Daisy, Vollymolly, Whistler, and Xixie YZ   Yuleo, and Zulema!

 

Santa’s Village opened in 1953, and this game is a wonderful update to a vintage park! You can see the love in this park, as everything looks well maintained and new. Our little Elfabet friends fit right in with the theme and were a fun activity for kids of all ages! It was free to play, and kept us amused all day. Plus, who doesn’t love to get a prize?

Now you know your Elfabet, from Alphy to Zulema! Have you ever played the Elfabet game? Did you find them all? Show us your completed punch cards in the comments!