Valleyfair! Press Release

Valleyfair! Flood Update

Shakopee, MN (April 18, 2001) - Despite rumors of Valleyfair turning into the next Atlantis, the park is still planning to open as scheduled for Preview Weekends on May 12-13. As a matter of fact, in all of Valleyfair's 25 years the park has NEVER opened the season even an hour late! This includes flood years of '97, '93, '88 AND the surprise snow on Opening Day on May 6, 1989. While the flooding is definitely an inconvenience, it's not at all a disaster for Valleyfair.

HOW CAN THIS BE WHEN THE MINNESOTA RIVER IS CAUSING SO MANY PROBLEMS EVERYWHERE ELSE - ESPECIALLY IN VALLEYFAIR'S HOMETOWN OF SHAKOPEE? Valleyfair is well prepared to deal with any flooding we encounter. The park was originally built within a dike, protecting it from the river. Valleyfair has since grown from the original 26 acres to the current 90 acres, but the dike continues to shield the great majority of the park from the threat of floods.

BUT I SAW PICTURES OF VALLEYFAIR UNDER WATER IN THE PAPERS AND ON THE NEWS! Dramatic shots, aren't they? But they're definitely not representative of the park as a whole. What you saw was actually a very small portion of the park that is outside of the dike. When Thunder Canyon was built in 1987 and Excalibur added two years later, engineers were aware that since they were west of the dike protection area, the grounds had the potential to flood. Therefore, those rides were built taking that possibility into consideration. Both rides are designed to withstand extreme conditions (including floodwaters). Besides, Thunder Canyon is a water ride! :)

ARE THERE ANY OTHER PARTS OF VALLEYFAIR OUTSIDE THE DIKE? Yes. Our seasonal employee parking lot, which is at the north end of the park (by the river) is flooded, as are our picnic grounds, also on the north side. Our main guest parking also has some flooding. However, while it makes logistics a bit challenging, none of these places are crucial to park operations in the spring. Valleyfair has gained valuable experience with every weather issue we've encountered over the last 25 years, so we are fully prepared with back-up plans and contingencies for just about everything.

OK, SO THE PARK WILL OPEN ON MAY 12. BUT WILL ALL THE RIDES BE OPERATING? Our goal is to have everything in the park up and running when we start our season May 12. However, if the floodwaters don't subside sufficiently, Thunder Canyon and Excalibur will be closed until the water subsides. All other rides in the main park are not affected by the flooding and will be open (to put this into perspective, that's only 2 rides out of the more than 40 Valleyfair offers).

HOW DO I KNOW THE RIDES WILL BE SAFE? Safety is Valleyfair's number one concern. We are proud to have one of the best safety records in the amusement park industry. Our guests can feel confident that we have taken every precaution possible to make their day at Valleyfair safe as well as fun. Our mechanics are professionally trained to maintain our rides, and all rides are tested daily. If there's any concern that a ride or attraction might not be working properly (due to any reason), that ride will be closed until it can be tested and verified safe.

ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW? Located in Shakopee, Minnesota, Valleyfair Family Amusement Park is the Upper Midwest's largest summer recreational spot, offering over 75 rides and attractions. Valleyfair offers entertainment for everyone, regardless of age.

Note from Joel:  The park opened as planned without problems.  Despite a dramatic picture in the local newspaper showing most of Excalibur under water, little damage was noticeable when guests arrived.

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