Riding the classic Pretzel, the "Pirates Den"

The "Pirates Den". This was the last dark ride built at the park. The cars were stock Pretzel purchased new. Dominic and Roger came up with a blueprint  of the track. Pretzel then took the blueprint and custom-built the track in sections, which were then shipped to the park ready for assembly. To make sure the floor wouldn't rot this time, Fortin made a new floor of poured concrete. Then he found out that Pretzel insisted that their cars run only on a wooden floor. So Roger fabricated a separate running track out of wood and affixed it to the concrete. The spectacular ballyhoo for this attraction was a huge pirate ship that spanned the entire length of the building.

It was positioned above the loading station. It sported a massive pirate's head and many other figures. To make sure kids wouldn't get out of the cars and run around  inside  the ride while the cars were moving, the front of the building sported three large windows that were opened during the operation of the ride. Thus, the ride operator could see into the ride at all times. 

That deterred any hanky-panky the kid's might consider. One obvious result of this was that during the day, it was no longer a "dark ride", light flooded the interior. But at night, the black lights made the interior look spectacular and surreal. The layout was simple: the cars would leave the  station and turn 90 degrees to the right.

It would knock open two big wooden doors and enter a long dark  corridor that ran along the left side of the building. Upon reaching the back of the building (Where there was an emergency exit door) the car would turn 180 to the right and head back toward the front of the building, passing by a big painted scene on the right. The car would then turn left and begin a zigzagging trip past the big windows.




There was a scene of pirates digging up a treasure chest to the left. When the car got to the right side of the building, it swung around sharply to the left and headed back in the opposite direction, behind the diorama of the pirates digging up the treasure. There was a painting of a pirate next to a skeleton, and to the right, on the back wall of the building, was an enormous painting of pirates on an island. The car then turned 180 degrees  past a stunt of a pirate bobbing up and down, and then veered slightly to the right. 

The black wall in front of the car would  light up and behind a Plexiglas window an enormous brown balloon would inflate , rising up from the floor. It had two eyes and sharp teeth and vaguely resembled a gorilla. It never failed to elicit shrieks of surprise and laughter. The car would then turn left sharply toward the back of the building. If you looked closely at that point you could see the one remaining vestige of the old "Fun House": Fortin's second tilt- room.

It remained there intact behind metal screening. The car then swung around 180 degrees to the right. And to the right was the final stunt: a devil that would bob up and down. The car would then turn right and slam through the big wooden doors to the exit.  The "Pirate's Den" remained essentially unchanged over the years.  The paintings had a curious unfinished quality to them, as if Spadola didn't quite have enough time. But the ride served its function as a pleasant family diversion. After the park closed, the ride (Including the ballyhoo) was sold to Pirate's Fun Park in Salisbury, Massachusetts. The remaining structure at Mountain Park burned down to the ground in 1994  along with the Dinosaur Den. The only thing that remained recognizable was Fortin's second tilt- room.

The Pirates Den was sold and sent back to its original home in Salisbury Mass to "Pirate's Fun Park", where the cars still enjoy a new lease on life. Shown here is the facade removed, Fall 1988.

Aarrrgh, We miss ye!

  A much better time for the Pirate's Den!

Let's get Out of This World !!

EDITORS NOTES: Mountain Park Memories 1 & 2 -- About the Author

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