Santa's Village Closing For Good

Santa's Village Closing For Good

There are 197 comments on the Cbs2chicago.com story from Aug 22, 2006, titled Santa's Village Closing For Good. In it, Cbs2chicago.com reports that:

Santa's Village in East Dundee is shutting down, and even the jolly man from the North Pole can't save it.CBS 2's Katie McCall reports many people hate to see it go.Patrons and employees knew something was ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Cbs2chicago.com.

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Former Employee Comments

Lombard, IL

#1 Aug 23, 2006
All of us who worked at this great place are sad how this ended. Some of my coworkers began working here when they were 14 and were here until the end; some now in their 30s, 40s' and 50s.

We all worked hard and very creatively to help make a wonderful experience for all the Santa's Village and Racing Rapids water park visitors. We all loved the place, cared about our coworkers, the visitors, and did the best that we could with diminishing resources.

The Village of East Dundee even extended due dates for the water bills and the payment of amusement taxes.

In the end all this was not enough. All of my former coworkers are quite sad to see it end this way. We're realists too, we could see that the business strategy for 2006 and beyond was not workable as expenses exceeded revenues.

The employees cared, tried hard and smart to make a go of it. In the end it we were unable to overcome the obstacles.
Roni Janzen

Fishers, IN

#2 Aug 24, 2006
I really hate to see this landmark go - I was brought her eby my parents when I was little, my children have worked at the park, friends have also worked there, and I now won't have the opportunity to bring my Grandson here. Some of my fondest memories are here, while my parents were alive, they brought my children and neices and nephew here for picnics. It is really a shame that we can't save this for our future generations.
Dawn Garcia

Green Bay, WI

#3 Aug 28, 2006
I went to Santa Villiage many years ago. I am truely sadden by the fact the it is closeing. To bad money that can rebuild and get it saved hes to go to every where but there.
christina lombardi

Elk Grove Village, IL

#4 Sep 2, 2006
i didnt enjoy
santa's village
drew

Algonquin, IL

#5 Sep 4, 2006
this is unreal.noboby will save the park..this is history..this is sad.i drive by it everyday and think y...? why didnt eastdundee let them open and make the money they needed...someone needs to save the park!!!! its history folks ...god help them
Former Employee Comments

United States

#6 Sep 8, 2006
christina lombardi wrote:
i didnt enjoy
santa's village
I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy Santa's Village. All of us who worked there for many years put our hearts into helping make wonderful guest experiences.

We're all very unhappy that it ended the way it did. We tried hard and smart to keep it going, often working many hours a week beyond what we were required to work.

Santa's Village is a business, and required lots of money to operate. In the end the business model no longer worked.

A former employee
Lisa Kay

AOL

#7 Sep 24, 2006
Has Santa's Village closed? I do not live in Chicago--want to take my kids---Is the park still open?
Former Employee Comments

United States

#8 Sep 25, 2006
Lisa,

Yes, it is closed and the rides and other equipment are set for auction during October, 2006.

There is some talk that the company owning the 38 acres of land that the park sits on will open a similar park in 2007 or later.

As of today the park is locked.

A former employee
Lisa Kay

AOL

#9 Sep 27, 2006
Former Employee Comments wrote:
Lisa,
Yes, it is closed and the rides and other equipment are set for auction during October, 2006.
There is some talk that the company owning the 38 acres of land that the park sits on will open a similar park in 2007 or later.
As of today the park is locked.
A former employee
Thanks for replying. I hope that it can be opened again--that is too bad. I am sorry :o(
JenniferP

Elizabethton, TN

#10 Sep 30, 2006
I'm still holding out hope that someone will save it before the auction on October 25th. I see all these people with lots of money... I see it all the time... millions of dollars to build these homes on the ocean, but no one can come up with the money to save Santa for the kids? Where do our kids go to have fun? The adults in the world are so busy feeding their own greed, they can't see beyond their own front door. What has happened to our country? We're just so content to let our kids spend 24/7 in front of the TV and not get out and experience an imaginative world like Santa's Village. And those who think the economy is so great? Maybe Santa's Village would have had more visitors during the week if both parents didn't have to work full-time jobs. Of course, this is what parents have to do these days if they want their kids to grow up in any kind of a house, because land values have gone through the roof. But our common sense and ethics? Not sure where they've gone. To the stock market, I suppose.
Former Employee Comments

United States

#11 Oct 2, 2006
JenniferP wrote:
I'm still holding out hope that someone will save it before the auction on October 25th. I see all these people with lots of money... I see it all the time... millions of dollars to build these homes on the ocean, but no one can come up with the money to save Santa for the kids? Where do our kids go to have fun? The adults in the world are so busy feeding their own greed, they can't see beyond their own front door. What has happened to our country? We're just so content to let our kids spend 24/7 in front of the TV and not get out and experience an imaginative world like Santa's Village. And those who think the economy is so great? Maybe Santa's Village would have had more visitors during the week if both parents didn't have to work full-time jobs. Of course, this is what parents have to do these days if they want their kids to grow up in any kind of a house, because land values have gone through the roof. But our common sense and ethics? Not sure where they've gone. To the stock market, I suppose.
When Santa's Village was going strong, with five thousand plus guests a day, there were fewer "distractions." There was no Internet, not everyone had cable TV, few had cell phones, iPods and downloaded music and talk weren’t even imagined yet; times have changed.

In the meantime Santa's Village expenses skyrocketed; electric, natural gas, water, public liability
and employee health insurance, repair parts for the aging rides, paint and everything else needed to run Santa's Village.

Increasing expenses, and reduced admission revenue caused the park to lose money every day that it was open toward the end. We all did our best to creatively keep it going, even putting in more hours than we were required to for no extra pay. Some employees worked without pay in the last weeks. In the end the financial burden swamped our best efforts.

Record store chains are closing their doors, locally owned radio stations are on the way out, single screen movie theaters are mostly history, roller skating rinks are being converted to office space, and so forth.

The public's interests are changing and some things are just "going away" and there is no changing it. Yes, all the former employes wish that it wasn't so but we also understand and accept the changing marketplace.

A former Santa's Village employee
elginite

Hinsdale, IL

#12 Oct 2, 2006
I went there a few times and it was fun. Too bad it'll be gone. Are they shutting down the water park too?

elginite.org
Former Employee Comments

United States

#13 Oct 5, 2006
elginite wrote:
I went there a few times and it was fun. Too bad it'll be gone. Are they shutting down the water park too?
elginite.org
Yes, the Racing Rapids Action water park equipment is in the auction being held this month (October, 2006).

The owner of the land (not the same organization that owned the businesses) indicated the an amusement park and or water park may continue on the land. If anyone knows for certain what may happen with the land s/he hasn't made that public.

A former employee
RIch

United States

#14 Oct 5, 2006
First off, I am a developer and as crass as my next statement may sound, there is a great deal of truth to it. It is about time the place shut down. The land is far too valuable to have it be used as a "amusement park". Its a fact that the small, loacal amusement park is a thing of the past. No one wants to got places like this anymore. The entertainment bar is so much higher today- when people want that style of entertainment they goto a Six Flags or Disney style establishment. A small park simply can't compete with video games, the internet, HDTV, virtual reality, etc... Yes there are a few people who still enjoy these kind of places but a large percentage of people today could care less about a small park.
The land santa's village sits on will be much more useful if it is fully developed into, say, a mixed use residential/light commercial/office space style complex. It will add so much to the tax base of the community, which benefits everyone from the residents of the town to the people who visit there. When the land is redeveloped, if it is done right, it will will add to the curb appeal of the village. People would much rather see nicely landscaped developments than theme parks. Theme parks don't increase the value of land the way a nice delopments do. It just makes financial sense to build the land into something useful that will actually benefit the greater population of the area.
Former Employee Comments

United States

#15 Oct 7, 2006
RIch wrote:
First off, I am a developer and as crass as my next statement may sound, there is a great deal of truth to it. It is about time the place shut down. The land is far too valuable to have it be used as a "amusement park". Its a fact that the small, loacal amusement park is a thing of the past. No one wants to got places like this anymore. The entertainment bar is so much higher today- when people want that style of entertainment they goto a Six Flags or Disney style establishment. A small park simply can't compete with video games, the internet, HDTV, virtual reality, etc... Yes there are a few people who still enjoy these kind of places but a large percentage of people today could care less about a small park.
The land santa's village sits on will be much more useful if it is fully developed into, say, a mixed use residential/light commercial/office space style complex. It will add so much to the tax base of the community, which benefits everyone from the residents of the town to the people who visit there. When the land is redeveloped, if it is done right, it will will add to the curb appeal of the village. People would much rather see nicely landscaped developments than theme parks. Theme parks don't increase the value of land the way a nice delopments do. It just makes financial sense to build the land into something useful that will actually benefit the greater population of the area.
Rich, I couldn't agree with you more! In fact most of my coworkers at Santa's Village and Racing Rapids Action Water Park would likely agree too. That's why in my previous postings I've said that the model for 2006 and beyond was no longer workable.

With a few exceptions the big amusement parks and water parks are not very profitable, if at all.

The owners of the land at the Santa's Village site wanted to create the kind of use that you suggest for the land. The Village of East Dundee, as I understand it, was not supportive. The village, as I understand it, didn't feel the water system and schools could support a dense development like the kind that was being proposed.

The land where Santa's Village sits is not a "hot" business location anymore, most of the new development is moving west to Randall Road. Wal-Mart across from Santa's Village is moving out.

So many people believed that if the amusement park and water park could be "reworked" it may be the best use of the property.

Time will tell what the "market" does with this land.

A former employee
Mark

Chicago, IL

#16 Oct 14, 2006
RIch wrote:
First off, I am a developer and as crass as my next statement may sound, there is a great deal of truth to it. It is about time the place shut down. The land is far too valuable to have it be used as a "amusement park". Its a fact that the small, loacal amusement park is a thing of the past. No one wants to got places like this anymore. The entertainment bar is so much higher today- when people want that style of entertainment they goto a Six Flags or Disney style establishment. A small park simply can't compete with video games, the internet, HDTV, virtual reality, etc... Yes there are a few people who still enjoy these kind of places but a large percentage of people today could care less about a small park.
The land santa's village sits on will be much more useful if it is fully developed into, say, a mixed use residential/light commercial/office space style complex. It will add so much to the tax base of the community, which benefits everyone from the residents of the town to the people who visit there. When the land is redeveloped, if it is done right, it will will add to the curb appeal of the village. People would much rather see nicely landscaped developments than theme parks. Theme parks don't increase the value of land the way a nice delopments do. It just makes financial sense to build the land into something useful that will actually benefit the greater population of the area.
You huge developers and corporations are destroying America. Walmarts, Mcdonalds, all of them have destroyed the simple family fun. Yes Rich its to bad there are us "simpletons" still left in life who enjoy carefree days, simple ways and frito lays.

I feel sorry for people like you who only care about the bottom line in life, instead of what counts, a persons heart, the warm sunshine, breathing fresh air, and enjoying a day at Santas Village.
Magda

AOL

#17 Oct 23, 2006
Former Employee Comments wrote:
<quoted text>
When Santa's Village was going strong, with five thousand plus guests a day, there were fewer "distractions." There was no Internet, not everyone had cable TV, few had cell phones, iPods and downloaded music and talk weren’t even imagined yet; times have changed.
In the meantime Santa's Village expenses skyrocketed; electric, natural gas, water, public liability
and employee health insurance, repair parts for the aging rides, paint and everything else needed to run Santa's Village.
Increasing expenses, and reduced admission revenue caused the park to lose money every day that it was open toward the end. We all did our best to creatively keep it going, even putting in more hours than we were required to for no extra pay. Some employees worked without pay in the last weeks. In the end the financial burden swamped our best efforts.
Record store chains are closing their doors, locally owned radio stations are on the way out, single screen movie theaters are mostly history, roller skating rinks are being converted to office space, and so forth.
The public's interests are changing and some things are just "going away" and there is no changing it. Yes, all the former employes wish that it wasn't so but we also understand and accept the changing marketplace.
A former Santa's Village employee
It just seems like so many things are gone. My elementry school, then my high school, my favorite willow tree I use to climb as a kid and now they just aired it on t.v that SV was finally done and I wanted to cry. The galaxy was the first roller coster I ever rode and from what I understand, they've already gotten rid of it, so grabbing a small piece of that is a mute point. Thank you so much for working those weeks without pay.:(

But what about the carousel? Was that dismantled too so long ago or is it still there for auction?

I have always wanted a carousel horse. Just one. I'd like to keep a small part of my childhood safe.
Tricia

Mission, KS

#18 Oct 24, 2006
The memories and the friendships I have because of Racing Rapids make me who I am today! Even as an employee I knew there was better out there (in way of water park quality), but even so, I am going to miss driving past the blue slide and remembering back to my memories at Racing Rapids. On rainy days I smile, missing the fact that a thunderstorm would give me the day off! this is a sure sign that I amgetting old.
Nostalgia Fan

Chicago, IL

#19 Oct 25, 2006
RIch wrote:
First off, I am a developer and as crass as my next statement may sound, there is a great deal of truth to it. It is about time the place shut down. The land is far too valuable to have it be used as a "amusement park". Its a fact that the small, loacal amusement park is a thing of the past. No one wants to got places like this anymore. The entertainment bar is so much higher today- when people want that style of entertainment they goto a Six Flags or Disney style establishment. A small park simply can't compete with video games, the internet, HDTV, virtual reality, etc... Yes there are a few people who still enjoy these kind of places but a large percentage of people today could care less about a small park.
The land santa's village sits on will be much more useful if it is fully developed into, say, a mixed use residential/light commercial/office space style complex. It will add so much to the tax base of the community, which benefits everyone from the residents of the town to the people who visit there. When the land is redeveloped, if it is done right, it will will add to the curb appeal of the village. People would much rather see nicely landscaped developments than theme parks. Theme parks don't increase the value of land the way a nice delopments do. It just makes financial sense to build the land into something useful that will actually benefit the greater population of the area.
I really feel sorry for you, Rich. What kind of a childhood did you have, anyway? I just found out this morning that the rides and equipment from Santa's village are being auctioned off today. I wasn't even aware that the park had closed. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to go to Santa's Village. I do remember it being very popular in the 70's when I was a little kid. However, I did go to Adventureland a few times growing up and have very fond memories of that. I remember Santa's Village and Adventureland often were advertised together. Adventureland was geared more towards older kids, while Santa's Village was more towards younger children. Adventureland closed back in the late 70's because Great America was taking away most of it's business. I remember being very upset when that happened. I now have a 3 and a half year old daughter and was very much looking forward to taking her to Santa's Village next summer. Now, that's no longer possible. Yes, I admit, I am a huge fan of the older, more simpler amusement parks. I realize in this day and age, everyone wants bigger and better. I think more people should stop and remember what it's like just to have fun and it seems like Santa's Village would have been the perfect little fantasy land to do so. So, Rich, I hope you're having a great life with your big house, expensive car and loads of money that I'm sure you have from being a developer. Too bad you can't take it all with you when you're gone someday, huh???
Ride O

Lake In The Hills, IL

#20 Oct 25, 2006
Yes as a former ride O we wore that shirt and were proud. All of us who worked there had best jobs and the best time. I think abck to thoses days all the time. I miss the people I worked with and the kids that came with a smile. I wanted to take my kids there who are just now the right age. I know several of people who worked there and met the love of there life and married. It was like a really big family and I am very sad to see it go. I think they should have a santa's village reunion for all of us who worked there for years. I was there from 1991 until 1995. and I still miss it every summer. Heck we even had great tans. I get upset just thinking of the softball games, the SV parties, the company Picnic which I only got to go to once and that was the last year they had it. Even getting together over the winter in the DOME. Or doing the rain dance. Or how about the old coaster and getting it stuck. I could go and on. But I guess all things do come to an end I just hope that someone makes this place back into a place for the kids. Kids need a place for them. So lets all sound off for the kids. Like Rich said it is land worth money but hey there is alot more to life then the dollar and I hate to say that is what is wrong with America today everybody thinks of the Dollar. Think about the kids and the true meaning of Santa.

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