My mother still calls Great Escape “Storytown” even though it hasn’t been called that since 1983. Originally called Storytown USA, The Great Escape opened in 1954 as an amusement park with a Mother Goose and fairytale theme. The park has been through many evolutions and still operates today.

The park began innovating and evolving nearly from the start. After being open for three years, the owners realized it was geared more for kids and less for adults – so in 1957, Storytown added Ghosttown. In 1960 Jungleland was added followed by the Alice in Wonderland section in 1967.

Storytown Postcard

One of the coolest things about The Great Escape is that it continues to evolve with generations and continually is creating a new set of nostalgia while maintaining the things that made it great from the past.

The Great Escape currently has six roller coasters. The first coaster was the Steamin’ Demon which was installed in 1984. Ten years later in 1994, the Comet opened but that was after it had existed for over 40 years at an amusement park in Niagara Falls. The wooden roller coaster was rescued by the Great Escape and is a staple for coaster enthusiasts. The other coasters are the Boomerang Coast-To-Coaster (1997), Alpine Bobsled (1998), Canyon Blaster (2003), and Frankie’s Mine Train (2005).

One of my favorites from when I was a kid was the Raging River which was was less scary than the Desperado Plunge. Now that I’m an adult, the Desperado Plunge isn’t so scary – but one thing that I’ve never outgrown is losing a pair of sunglasses every single time I go on the plunge. At this point I’ve lost enough pairs to pay for at least a three day pass.

They’ve taken on out a few rides though that I loved. I always loved the Ghosttown Railroad Tour and the Storytown Railroad – mostly because my mom gets sick on rides and it was one of the few she could go on when my brother and I were kids. Also gone – the Skylab, the Rainbow Ride, and the puke-tastic Rotor. They also took out the petting zoo which means that my friend Cat and I can’t go over to a goat and loudly say “this one will work for the sacrifice!” Too bad. Also, Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach is no longer horse pulled.

There are several sections to the park with different themes. The Fest Area has a Bavarian theme, Ghosttown has a Wild West theme, International Village / Storytown are the oldest part of the park and retains a Mother Goose theme, Timbertown replaced Jungleland in 2005 and has mostly Looney Tune themed rides. Also, the North Woods / Picnic Grove is for private & corporate picnics. There is also the Splashwater Kingdom which is a waterpark with plenty of pools, slides, and water attractions. There is a section for small children too called KIDZOPOLIS.

Great Escape comet

My mom would be happy to know that a little bit of Storytown still exists and has also come back – in 2010 Great Escape restored some of the elements from the early days. Great Escape has managed to remain fun and keep some fun nostalgia – although I’m not crazy about the prices. If only the 1954 prices had remained!

Check out a Storytown fan page on Facebook, or perhaps all of the currently operating rides. There are a ton of photos on flickr that people have uploaded over the years from the Storytown days.

Also, there is a WONDERFUL history of Storyland website with all sorts of photos and videos of old souvenirs, postcards and all sorts of memories.

More From HOT 99.1