Saturday, September 01, 2007

Point / Counterpoint

This is going to be a rare moment for me. I normally don't do this, but there's a first time for everything. On a previous post "A Comment from The Archivist", a reader submitted a comment that I felt needed to be addressed properly.

you know what? it's been almost 20 years since this place closed. do you really expect this place to be permanently preserved? all it is is a chunk of property at the back of the CFI parking lot. it was open for all of two years! BFD! It had no theme, the only theme there now is a pathway for Illegals to jump the fence. Yes, i am a CFI driver and have poked around in there. It'd make a nice haunted house, that's it.

Do I think the park should be permanently preserved? Well, I pondered that question a few months back when I thought how the park could be returned to its original condition but when I took a look at the buildings and ride foundations, it would be a pretty futile effort. The park was built for the rides it was designed with. The train ran around the park, the Ferris wheel was dead center of the park, the pirate ship off to the right, the water ride to the left rear. To build-to-suit the park would mean a total tear down and redevelop those areas. This wouldn't be a bad idea, but those of us who remember the park can still walk it in our minds and my site is the sort of aid people are using to remember their long forgotten memories of fun and (of course) of the tragedy.

For the record Magic Landing is an amusement park who's owners leased the use of their parking lot to CFI Trucking as a trailer yard, not "a chunk of property at the back of the CFI parking lot." The way the park is referenced in the comment made it sound as if the park was an afterthought after designing the parking lot for tractor trailer use. The park was open from 1984 until mid 1988 and in that time the park boosted the hopes and dreams of a community who were looking for a boon to their economy and did so for the brief time the park stayed open.

My brother is a CFI driver as well. Security on site don't posess keys for the property, I've asked.

There has been a theme from day one. I hadn't known what it was until a property developer had pointed it out to me. Magic Landing's overall theme was the state of Texas. Areas of the park reflected this (albeit fuzzy lined) by use of names of locations. Stop and think about it, you have Seaport Village that served fruit & seafood (odd combo, but hey!) then you had the Piney Woods Cafe that had a little of everything, then you had the Old Time BBQ joint. The rides were also named after several Texas features, including the Old Galveston railway, The Mountain Express aka The Wildcat (whichever news blurb you want to read/ roller coaster database) and Buck Sawyer's Mill. The only real magical themed ride would have been the Rainbow.

Unless the park somehow moved to within yards of the international boundary, there have been no indicators that any illegals have made the park a temporary home or rest area for illegal trafficking. In my walk of the park back in 2005, I found all of the buildings were still boarded up with the exception of the Piney Woods Cafe, the Prices Creamery's Ice Cream stand and an unnamed snack stand that had that jar of pickles fermenting in the heat, unopened for almost two decades. The park has just stayed a silent reminder of what used to be, a shadow of its former self. Vandalization has taken place, but it looks for the most part, untouched.

So whats the BFD? Well, that is open to debate. is just a place on the web that I created to share information about the park and let El Pasoans who remember it and El Pasoans who don't the chance to see what the Big F'ing Deal was all about. An idea hatched by locals who had (by all accounts) the best of intentions to bring merriment & fun to the el Paso area, but failed due to mismanagement & lax safety measures to keep both patrons & employees out of harms way. The park was one hell of a craps shoot to see if their gamble worked. In the end, it didn't but we applaud their effort because they had the testicular fortitude to stick it all on the line and say Let's do it! Stop and think to yourself what the city would look like if the park was still in operation. Houses that are now being built on the cities east side might have existed there at least a decade earlier than they appeared if the park was still in operation.

Do I know that for sure? No, not really. Do you know for sure it wouldn't have?

Magic Landing was only with us for a total of four summers. In those four summers, the big f'ing deal wasn't that it was in operation for such a short period of time, but that it's life was cut short and the possibilities it promised the cities of El Paso, Socorro & Fabens never came to fruition. That is the big f'ing deal Magic Landing meant to the city and to those of us who choose to remember it.


Anonymous kagome145 said...

I would like to say that I for one think your doing a great job. I really loved magic landing and as the years have gone by I find myself being the only person thats old enough to even remember it. I went a good amount of times when I was a kid and come to think of it last time I went was before they closed for good. My parents took me and told me the price was super cheap no coupons needed ( we use to use the coke coupons you showed on one updates.)
I have some images of the park when it was still open, if you'd like I can get them for you ^_^ I found your site while trying to find more info on magic landing since I loved it so very much. It was a huge part of my childhood and knowing that someone like you is trying to keep the memory alive is just awesome.
Your giving a voice to those of us that who don't have the resorces to help give more info to the community. You're someone that really wants to keep this park alive and I really look up to that. You look up Magic landing and this one site is where I can get the most info. I was so young back then and now I can get some facts. So don't listen to those that are rude and just have nothing but negative thoughts to add. I say keep going you have me and many other behind you!!


9/07/2007 3:52 AM  
Blogger The Archivist said...


I encourage everyone who has photos or facts about the park to email me -

Thanks to all for the positive feedback.

9/07/2007 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Magic Landing was something that could have grown into a huge booming business for El Paso. Looking back, I would have to say that this place made Western Playland look like poop(for lack of a better word). I hope that the Dipp brothers will take a chance again, and create a new Magic Landing!!!

10/28/2007 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i plan to do a small documentary on magic landing, nothing big or even funded by anything but all of what i already own (which is very little)

but yes i found all this VERY HELPFUL

if you would like to discuss anything about magic landing with me, my email is


11/30/2007 10:55 AM  

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