Keeping Fantasy Island Open May Not Have Been Considered

"I think the writing was on the wall"

Fantasy Island. Photo courtesy of John Anthony

Fantasy Island. Photo courtesy of John Anthony

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Grand Island, NY (WBEN) - Was the saving Fantasy Island even an option?

It wasn't long after California-based Apex Parks announced on Wednesday that the park will permanently close that people close to the park noted that rides and various pieces of park infrastructure were already on the way out, and many believe that Apex did not even make an attempt to sell the park as a whole before piecing it out.

"I think the writing was on the wall," said Jay Wilcox of Queen City Amusements, who was contracted to service rides at the park for the past 20 years, and worked as a ride operator before that.

"I believe their intention was to come in, try to extort the community, and run away with everything if it didn't work. That's exactly what they're doing, and we said that from the moment they walked in."

Wilcox said that everything from the movable rides, to the pumps that helped the lazy river flow could be on the way out if a buyer is found. Some of that equipment has already been dismantled, feeding in to the talk that Apex Parks never had any intention of selling the park to someone who wished to continue operating it. 

Through Wilcox, former Fantasy Island Owner Martin DiPietro said that he is "very disappointed" in Apex's decision to close the park, and thanks the community for its support over the years.

Even though times have changed, and attractions like Fantasy Island may not seem as viable as they have in the past, Wilcox believes there is still room for the park to exist.

"It is a small park, and it is a small market, however it's a niche market," Wilcox said. "If you go back to previous ownership, he was there 22 years, Mr. DiPietro. He made it work."

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