Teddy and Jenny Meeks announced last week that they have bought the Starliner, which has been in storage in Tampa since 2008. The couple and two other partners are spending $2 million to acquire the coaster, refurbish it and relocate it to a site on Panama City Beach near Pier Park.
The Starliner was born in 1963 at the Miracle Strip Amusement Park in Panama City Beach, where it was ridden by countless vacationing families for more than four decades, until the park closed in 2004.
The 70-foot-tall coaster was then relocated to Cypress Gardens near Winter Haven, Florida. But in 2008, Cypress Gardens shut down its rides and the Starliner was put in storage. Earlier this year, Legoland bought the Cypress Gardens property and announced that the Starliner would not be included in the plans for Legoland Florida.
Enter the Meeks, who had previously purchased a balloon ride and a biplane ride from the Miracle Strip and installed them at Pier Park. Teddy Meeks told the Panama City News Herald that the Starliner will keep its wooden structure, but will get a new magnetic braking structure and other safety improvements.
The ride is expected to open no later than the spring of 2012.
Nothing a president does goes unnoticed. Even the slightest decisions are parsed carefully in the hopes of gaining some insight into to the man, the office or the policy that comes from both. His recent trip to Panama City, Florida, 27 hours to show that you can chill in the Gulf Coast area following the oil spill, may have been a decent move, but Obama‘s other trips, not to mention those taken by his family, have caused him some agita.
Michelle Obama‘s vacation in Marbella, Spain brought some heat, as did the family’s vacations in Maine’s Acadia National Park and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. There are always people to laud and criticize, regardless of which party is in power. There’s always on group that seems to come out on top, however: the locals.
The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce said visits to it website surged 50 percent following Obama’s trip to Maine, though other factors may have contributed. Of course, the opportunity comes with a few risks. According to USA Today:
As for Panama City Beach, the Bay Point Marriott (where the First Family ate lunch and spent Saturday night) doesn’t highlight this weekend’s getaway on its website, and the convention and visitors bureau took down its Facebook post about Michelle Obama’s visit last month after a series of “personal attacks,” says CEO Dan Rowe.
Orbitz is trying to offer travelers peace of mind this summer through an Open Beach Guarantee. The guarantee offers a full refund on your hotel stay if nearby beaches are closed because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
To get this deal, you must book a stay at a participating hotel through Orbitz, with travel between now and July 31, 2010. If a government agency closes a beach within 20 miles of the hotel during your reservation, you can get a full refund. But the refund is only good for unused nights of your vacation, so you will have to cancel your stay or leave early to get this deal.
The Open Beach Guarantee does not apply to vacation packages, only to hotels booked as a standalone reservation.
If government officials close the beach or must be actively cleaning the beach during your vacation in the Panama City Beach area, you will get a $200 credit toward a return visit to the same property. The credit must be used by June 11, 2011.
If you purchase anything from SkyMall between now and June 30, 2010, you will automatically be entered to win two tickets on Southwest Airlines to Panama City Beach, FL, three nights of deluxe hotel accommodations, a four-day car rental, tickets to a “marine theme park” (which we can only assume is Gulf World Marine Park, but the contest rules don’t specify) with a dolphin swimming experience and one Instant Sun Shelter from SkyMall.
Not interested in buying your children any star-shaped apparel but still want to enter the contest? No purchase is necessary, so you can enter simply by completing the form here.
You may still be Yeti-less if you win this contest, but at least you’ll be made in the shade with a pretty sweet getaway. Enter now and, if you do purchase anything from SkyMall, let us know what you ordered in the comments below.