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A Brief History...





Boardwalk and Baseball opened as Circus World and was designed as a place for the members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus to go during the summer months, when the circus was not touring, and also as a place to train new performers. Rides were designed to enhance the sellability of the park, which was built about twenty minutes away from Disney World, in a desolate area halfway between Disney World and Cypress Gardens. The park opened in the late 70's, and was somewhat popular in its first few years of operation. Of course, one could figure that their choice of area was due to the placement of Disney World, since building and opening a park so close would surely attract visitors.

The parks first few years of operation were not that bad for the park, since it was somewhat close, and because it was something else to do besides Disney World and Sea World (which were the only parks open at the time). The park featured two very popular roller coasters (which for a while were the only roller coasters in the Orlando area. If I remember correctly it also had a third coaster, but at the moment I do not remember the deatils that well.

The first of the two coasters was the Roaring Tiger, a wooden coaster, which at that time was one of the only ones in the state, if not the only one.

Over the next few years the coaster saw little change, as it was a popular attraction. After the opening of Epcot though, and the growing popularity of Sea World, less people became willing to go out the distance to Circus World, eventually it was sold to a private investor and to a major corporation, somewhere in the mid to late 80's. Supposedly to drum up business, the Roaring Tiger was renamed for a short period as the Michael Jackson's Thrill Coaster, after the music video Thriller. All of these strategies didn't work, and eventually the park did close.

The other coaster that was at Boardwalk and Baseball was the Zoomerang, which if I remember the pictures correctly was a Shuttle Loop coaster. Few of these type of coasters are left in the country, simply due to the fact that multiple inversion coasters have become very popular in the country. One of the most popular examples of this coaster that is still open is the Greazed Lightning at Six Flags Astroworld.

The Coaster Pictured above is not the Zoomerang that was open at BWaB
Rather, it is just an example of the type of coaster that the Zoomerang was. Simply put, the coasters existed of a large hill which dropped riders down into a gigantic loop. Probably the most noticable feature on these coasters is the funny looking loops, which are very different from modern loops, which are designed for coasters with multiple inversions.

Needless to say, one afternoon, the people were alerted that Circus World was closing, not for the afternoon, but for good. It had lost too much money for its investors, and after many years it was figured that it wasn't worth it any more to keep it open.

A few years later, the publishing Harcort Brace Janovich started buying out parks, especially the Sea World family of parks, and Circus World, as well as Cypress Gardens. They were certain of success, so much so that they relocated a base of operations across from Sea World, and the HBJ building that was built there still stands today (even though HBJ did vacate the building a while back if I remember correctly).
Circus World was rethemed, as wood was laid down across the park. No longer would the park be just another midway in the hot Florida Sun....rather now, it was looking more like a Boardwalk. After building a new Baseball Stadium, things started taking shape. Then, when the Royals signed to do Spring Training at the new park, things were looking good. Boardwalk and Baseball was taking shape. Now, it was time to open the park. The Roaring Tiger was now the Florida Hurricane, and the Circus Tent, that housed the large Imax theater, was also rethemed.
After a few years though, things weren't looking good to HBJ, and they sold the park, to a group of private investors which formed the Sea World Corporation. They too couldn't handle the running of such a chain of parks, and the entire chain was then sold to Busch. So, the people were once again alerted that the park was closing, one afternoon in the summer. But, this time the park was closed for good. Never again would a park stand there again.

So, what happened......
The Royals continued to train there for a season or two after the closing of the park. They have sinced moved on
The Imax theater's covering was removed, leaving only a gray hull where a grand theater once stood
The Roaring Tiger/ Florida Hurricane was sold to the Magic Springs theme park, where it still stands to this day as the Arkansas Twister. But the schedule of that park has been erattic over the past few years.
The Zoomerang was sold to Fun Spot Park, in Indiana, where it still stands to this day
The Rides Were Sold, the Wood Torn Up, and all that is left now is an empty field, with a grey hull of a building and a baseball field, which has been unused for many years. And how long that's going to last......not very long. Busch has supposedly found a buyer, and they aren't planning a theme park there.



Boardwalk and Baseball Forever