Back in May
Image via LisaMcPics | Instagram
, it looked like the Daytona Beach Boardwalk was about to close the last of the rides that have made the pier a destination for nearly 80 years.
The owner of the rides owed thousands in back taxes and shut down the rides after his insurance rate shot up when he decoupled the rides from others owned in Orlando. The ride owners, Ed Kennedy and Stan Manousos, turned off the rides at the end of last year and it looked like the pier was going to sit quiet
Kennedy and Manousos rented the land where the rides were located and once they decided not to operate the rides the land owner, George Anderson,
and Daytona Beach Redevelopment Director Reed Berger began looking for alternatives, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal
. A ride operator based out of Sebring and Pompano Beach was looking at running some of his rides in a park near downtown Daytona Beach, but was convinced to move the rides to the lot along the pier.
The small lot now houses a number of rides including two Ferris wheels, a bungee jump, a swinging ship ride, a kiddie swing ride, some classic flat rides and a Fun House. The Sandblaster roller coaster, which the former ride operator brought to the lot and which has failed various inspections due to maintenance and operating issues, is now being brought up to code and will open in the coming weeks.
The nearby Slingshot ride closed earlier this year and a new, taller version opened less than a block away on A1A. It’s still visible from the boardwalk, but is no longer technically on it. The go-karts are gone for now, with that land being used for other attractions at the moment.
A lease similar to the former one that includes a base rent and profit sharing was struck between the lot owner and the new ride operator. The contract keeps the rides at the lot for two years. That time will be used to work on longer term options to help make the pier the destination it once was.
The rides currently operate seven days a week from noon until midnight but hours could change based on demand.