Many of you remember it. The Starliner Roller Coaster that was originally located in Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City Beach was the first roller coaster ride for thousands of young people during the 80’s, 90’s and half of the 2000’s. When Miracle Strip Amusement Park closed down a few years back, the Starliner was purchased by Cypress Gardens in Winterhaven Florida, which just recently closed. And, the Meeks, owners of Miracke Strip @ Pier Park just bought it.
Before I move on with the rest of the story, you can help bring it back by voting daily at RefreshEverything.com/StarlinerBackHome.
When asked why they bought it, Teddy Meeks replied, “The biggest influence, by far, was our fans/customers begging us to bring it back.” Their adventure in the amusement business began when they purchased the original carousel and opened it up in Pier Park less than 18 months ago. There was so much support and success, they decided to expand, purchasing other original rides from the closed Miracle Strip. This past summer was their first summer with four rides open and despite the oil spill threat, they still pulled decent enough numbers to continue plans for expansion.
Plans for the Starliner do not include putting it up in Pier Park, however, despite numerous requests. There are three prospective sites in Panama City Beach, with plans at this time uncertain whether the current rides would move to the new location, whether they would acquire new rides or if the coaster would stand alone. A prospective open date would be spring or summer of 2012, so there’s still time to make some decisions.
So, how can you help bring the Starliner back to Panama City Beach? From the Meeks:
“Pepsi is giving away $1.3 million every month this year to ideas that “refresh” the world. One of our Facebook fans suggested we enter after a wooden coaster in PA was awarded a $50k grant to repair their coaster. We submitted our application and it was accepted for the month of Oct. The ideas with the most fan votes win the grant category they are entered in. Rebuilding the Starliner is entered in the $250k category. Top 2 vote getters will win the grant. You can vote once a day, every day from Oct 1 thru Oct 31 at Refresheverything.com/StarlinerBackHome.”
So, what are you waiting for? Have you voted today yet?
Here is a video of the Starliner.