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Enchanted Parks shapes up for summer

When Byron Betts founded Enchanted Village in 1977, his amusement park comprised 12 acres and boasted nine kiddie rides.

Today, at more than 70 acres and 23 rides, the park has grown six-fold, and Six Flags is preparing for an expansion that will be largest in the park’s 25-year history. 

Six Flags, which bought Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in 2000, will be adding 10 new rides this summer.

Wild Waves and Enchanted Village will open May 19 this year.

Most of the new rides will be up and running in May, though some won’t open until later in the summer.

Several of the new rides will be located in the park’s new, 10-acre Great Northwest-themed section. As a nod to the region’s timber industry, the Great Northwest section will be decorated with wood elements.

Buzzsaw Falls, a 50-foot splash rollercoaster; the Klondike Gold Rusher, a twisty, frontier-themed ride; and the TimberAxe, a 360-degree ride in which riders are shot into the sky, flipped upside down and then fall back to earth, will be located in the Great Northwest.

Another new area, Big Sky Country, will offer an Old West feel to the east side of the park.

Big Sky Country’s new rides include the Gambler, in which riders climb into a Wild West roulette wheel that tilts at a 45-degree angle and spin; the Dodge’ms, electric buggie bumper cars; and the Enchanted Railway, a Gold Rush-themed train ride.

Other new attractions that will be located hroughout existing areas of the park include:

•Hook’s Lagoon, a water park attraction with net ladders, four slippery slides and a water cannon in a three-story, Caribbean-themed tree house;

•The Wagon Train, a wagon ride that swings up 50 feet on each side, creating the feeling of a free fall on the way down;

•The Hang Glider: kites swing riders in a face-down position; and,

•The Octopus: a popular scrambling, twisting, turning ride with a marine theme.

The park has grown dramatically over the years.

The park’s second owners, Jeff and Leanne Stock, of Federal Way, purchased the park in 1992 and, over the next seven years, continually expanded. In 1993, Jeff Stock added three attractions to the park.

He added four more in 1994 and three more in 1996. In 1997, Stock added 15 acres to the park; he added 10 more in 1998.

By 2000, when Six Flags bought the park from Stock, the park had grown from nine rides on 12 acres when Betts opened it in 1977 to more than 70 acres and about 25 attractions.

As part of the expansion, the City of Federal Way is requiring Six Flags to provide traffic mitigation — a bigger park will mean more visitors and, potentially, more cars. The city’s transportation department currently is reviewing a traffic analysis report received last week.

City of Federal Way staff currently are reviewing Six Flags’ zoning application for the park expansion.

A park expansion could provide a positive economic impact to the city, though Assistant City Manager Derek Matheson said the city didn’t have specific dollar projections.

Ten new rides could mean more jobs. The park currently employs more than 1,200 people.

Matheson said city officials are looking forward to an expanded park. “Expansion is great for Enchanted Parks and great for Federal Way,” he said.

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