Lake Compounce Trip Report, 2005-03-05

These are photos from my March 5, 2005, visit to Lake Compounce. They are a part of the Canobie Lake Park Information Archive.

The thumbnail photos on this page and the full-sized photos to which they link are dedicated to the Public Domain. Thanks to ImageShack for Free Image Hosting

2005 Lake Compounce Update

First, the good stuff-- a 2005 season update for Lake Compounce.

There will be a new Funnel Cake concession in the back of La Fiesta. The soda dispensers at La Fiesta were moved to a different, but nearby, location. The Dog House will be removed because of the addition of Anchor Bay. (The Carousel Cafe was built last year in anticipation of the loss of the Dog House.) Fried Bats will now serve milk. The Croc Pot received interior renovations to convert the serving system from a single line (which was prone to bottlenecks and delays) to a station system, where people will be free to move among different food areas before heading to two cash register lines. The renovation should improve serving time. However, it comes at a cost of loss of interior dining space which hopefully will be offset with the addition of outdoor dining space.

The construction of the Anchor Bay lazy river is coming along well. Half of the river is in place, and the other half will be put into place once the slide is installed. The slide appears to be 12-15 feet tall and splashes down into a small pool which joins the lazy river. Anchor Bay will have quite a number of water features (waterfalls, cannons, etc.) and theming. The river is 16 feet wide, and the "get wet" water features will only cover half of the width (so you can ride without getting overly wet, if you want).

The Rotor underwent a major rebuild, and it will sport new belts, new interior wall fabric, and a new metallic blue and silver paint job next season. Boulder Dash's south turn was re-profiled to have a wider, gentler turn. To accommodate the new profile, the hand rail was moved out about 22 inches towards the Sky Ride. Wildcat underwent some retracking.

Antique Cars were purchased from the recently defunct Miracle Strip park in Panama City Beach. There are no definite plans to install the ride for a certain season. Instead, they will play things by ear and probably install it during a year with only small construction projects. The cars are Chance Morgans, and Lake Compounce would have to construct the track. One plan in mind is to build it so that it goes around Zoomerang. Lake Compounce is also very interested in getting a family coaster, but they have no definite plans to get one in the near future.

Because of the addition of Anchor Bay, guests will not be able to walk between the Starlite Ballroom and the Lake to get to the Trolley and walkway to the South end. Instead, a pathway has been opened up behind the Carousel, Ballroom, and lazy river slide. The Starlite Ballroom received a new air conditioning and heating system, a new stage, and a new, small balcony that overlooks the lake.

There will be a new African Circus show from the same agency as the Tanzanian Flyers (this one, I'm guessing, ). The Circus will also put on a traveling midway show. There will also be a new music/magic show, and a Jump, Jive, & Swing show featuring music from the 40's and 50's. There will be a new Cinderella kiddie show. The Middle Earth show will not be coming back in 2005. Haunted Graveyard will be returning as they are contracted for two more years.

Lake Compounce will be getting Skee-ball machines. However, they will not be ticket redemption games. Instead they will be run as a prize game. Also new for 2005 will be a claw machine game-- one of the huge 8-foot ones.

Trip Report

This was a special event for members of the fan site to learn about what happens at Lake Compounce during the off-season.

I arrived in Bristol about 45 minutes early and first took a drive by Lake Compounce so I would know how to get there. (FYI, Welch Road is the fourth stop light on Route 229 north, from Route 84 west, Exit 31.) I then drove around past the regular parking lot entrance to better know the way to Lake Compounce. (I'm not satisfied don't with just having "follow the signs" directions.) FYI, Lake Compounce is left at the seventh stop light.

Interesting factoid #1: The McDonald's in Bristol serves breakfast on Saturdays until 11:00am. I found this to be amazing because most stop serving breakfast at 10:30am.

The first part of the event was held in the Administration building. Jerry Brick, the General Manager of the park, gave a presentation about what goes on at Lake Compounce during the off-season and then there was a question and answer session. It turns out that there is a whole lot of activity going on. Final plans and arrangements for next year are made. Bids are solicited for food and beverage contracts. Buildings are renovated. Plush toys are purchased for game prizes. Hiring and training are done. Some rides are scheduled to be refurbished. New rides are built and installed. And, all rides are inspected. Jerry spends a lot of time at the park preparing and planning and also outside the park advocating and lobbying.

Interesting factoid #2: Individual departments (games, food, etc.) are responsible for maintaining their buildings.

Even though they are owned by Kennywood, Lake Compounce is in charge of its own food purchasing. There are no corporate edicts to sell a certain food item or to use a particular brand. In this way, each park is free to determine the best product for its particular area and market.

Interesting factoid #3: Lake Compounce makes its own vinyl signs in-house. In fact, it seems that a majority of work is done in-house.

Lake Compounce plans to expand their marketing efforts to New York City, Long Island, and Rhode Island. (More Yankees fans in the park! More people asking for "grinders", "cough-fee milk", and "cough-fee cabinets"!) Replacing Subway as a promotional partner will be Burger King. There will be less TV and radio advertising and more internet-based marketing.

Interesting factoid #4: To inspect the quality of the welds, Zoomerang is x-rayed with a giant x-ray machine.

The Lake Compounce philosophy is for a slow but steady rate of growth which can be financed without taking on outside debt. The road expansion project (to move Lake Road, the section between Welch Road/Briarwood College to the tunnel) to create more space for the park is proceeding slowly. The hope is that approval will be received this summer. Another philosophy is to not open until all attractions and rides are ready to run at 100%. This is one of the reasons why The Lake has one of the latest opening dates out of the area parks. This is opposed to parks like Canobie which open earlier, sometimes with rides not running, but at a special, lower admission price. I can see that both systems have their merits. Personally, I prefer earlier start dates, with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.

Interesting factoid #5: The cooking oil market is volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in price.

Lake Compounce staggers the opening of electrical rides to avoid surges in demand. (They are charged for electricity based on their peak demand.) Because the park straddles two towns (Bristol and Southington), it also straddles two electrical grids which means that when there is an outage, sometimes it only affects one half of the park.

Interesting factoid #6: The cotton candy building get sticky and extremely difficult to clean at the end of the season.

On a side note, I had never been in the Starlite Ballroom before, and like others, I was amazed at how big it was. I do a bit of swing dancing, and I am hoping that the Starlite might host more dances in the future. As far as swing dancing goes, I think that the Starlite might be historically significant, with all the big bands that played there.

Then, we had pizza for lunch. (Thank you, Lake Compounce and Jerry!) Then, there was a tour of the park. There were quite a number of maintenance vans and trucks in the park, and a lot of construction going on. There was also quite a bit of mud.

The final question and answer session got a bit more intense as the audience discussed some of their concerns, the foremost being the issue of line-jumping. Audience members related instances of line-jumping at Lake Compounce that personally affected them-- situations that could have been handled better by the park. Jerry mentioned that the park was installing more signs at the key attractions. The signs will alert guests to exactly what behaviors constitute line-jumping and how it is prohibited.

Interesting factoid #7: The issue of line-jumping is very important to people. A single bad instance of line-jumping is enough to make guests decide to never return to a park-- even hardened enthusiasts. The park's response to instances of line-jumping seems to be the most important factor affecting guest satisfaction.

Thus, the event ended. Thank you Jerry and Lake Compounce for your hospitality and for the wonderful opportunity to learn about the park and to see it in the off-season. I had a good time and learned a lot.


Anchor Bay lazy river and slide splash pool

Anchor Bay construction; Anchor Bay construction; Slide and pass-through to South End;

Boulder Dash

Boulder Dash; Boulder Dash; Boulder Dash re-profiled turn; Boulder Dash re-profiled turn;

Croc Pot and Starlite Ballroom

Croc Pot interior renovation; Croc Pot exterior construction; Starlite Ballroom; Starlite Ballroom; Starlite Ballroom; Starlite Ballroom ceiling; Starlite Ballroom lamp detail; Starlite Ballroom sign; Starlite Ballroom stage;


Bumper Cars building; Drop Time landscape; American Flyers area; Ghost Hunt building; Giant Wheel; Musik Express building; Pirate; blurry picture of the Wave Swinger; Zoomerang;

Other Locations

Carousel building; an empty field; front gate; the Lake; Splash Harbor lockers; Main Street; North End; Trolley walkway; West Side; West Side; West Side; Wildcat and Fried Bats;

Copyright and Colophon

The text and HTML source of this page are licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. Please read the license for details.

The thumbnail photos on this page and the full-sized photos to which they link are dedicated to the Public Domain. You may use them without any restriction.

Validate this pagen's XHTML This page's image host