Management change brings ‘fresh vision’ to Boardwalk staple
(April 24, 2020) With a new board of directors and management taking over Trimper’s Rides last month, major changes are rolling out for Ocean City’s landmark amusement park.
The new board of directors will be led by Antoinette Bruno, Wendy Dibuo, Bill Hopkins, Laura Minker and Scott Savage. Mike O’Neil, a 25-year veteran of the amusement park industry, will take over as the general manager.
The takeover pitted one side of the Trimper family against the other, with a new stockholder majority apparently dissatisfied with the park’s financial circumstances.
“The park’s performance had been deteriorating over the last decade and the shareholders felt that a new management team and a new board would make sense to ensure the future of the park,” said Bruno, the president of Trimper’s Rides and Daniel Trimper III’s daughter.
Bruno later added that “With a fresh vision, a new generation of family management has been tasked to ensure success for the future.”
She said that the new board is more diverse – it represents five of the six original families, while the old board only represented one. There is still one more board spot open, which Bruno hopes will be filled by the end of the year.
She said the new management is excited for its revitalization plan, which includes a dozen new games on the Boardwalk and 10 new rides. One of the new rides will be a slide.
“This is kind of similar to what you would see in a waterpark except riders slide down a three-lane 100-foot long slide on a mat,” Bruno said. “We’re also getting a super shot.”
The super shot lifts riders up on a tower-like structure and then drops to the bottom.
Some of the new rides are simply replacing the older ones, such as the tilt-a-whirl, a new apple ride, a new Traffic Jam and a new Round Up.
Trimper’s will lease the 10 new rides from Deggeller Attractions. It will also renovate several rides, such as the merry-go-round and the Pirate’s Cove fun house.
As for ticketing, the park will replace paper tickets with a “Thrill Pass” swipe card, which can also be used at Marty’s Play Land. Bruno said this will be convenient for families to swipe at any of the rides they choose.
The pay-one-price during the day will be extended into the night hours. Guests will receive a wristband for any of the rides for one price. Special events such as birthday parties will have the option for a game pass that will also work in Marty’s Play Land.
Those special events can be hosted in three upcoming party rooms.
Bruno said Trimper’s is addressing maintenance issues that have been sidelined, such has replacing the inlet village roof, repaving the park, repainting and re-carpeting the staff apartments and removing candy and soda machines.
Instead, the park will introduce new food and beverage outlets, such as chicken with a range of heats that guests can choose from. Bruno said she is excited to unveil healthier food alternatives once those are determined.
“We’re looking at the park in a fresh new way,” Bruno said. “We’re looking at what the guest experience is and how we can make that the best possible experience.”
She added that one of Trimper’s most exciting additions is free WiFi.
“It is a makeover, but we’re paying attention to the historic nature of the park,” Bruno said. “We understand that we have a very important, iconic, historical landmark and we are not going to take away that charm. We’re going to preserve the family legacy and historic detail while bringing in some modern efficiencies that will make a seamless guest experience.”
With all the changes, Bruno said Trimper’s is not planning on selling any property.
Daniel Trimper Jr., the son of park originators Daniel and Margaret Trimper, died in 1965 and turned over the park to his son, Daniel Trimper III. He ran the park from the 1960s to the 1980s when he lost his leg, according to Bruno. His cousin, Granville Trimper and his family, then took over until his death in 2008.
The park will return to the Daniel Trimper Jr. side of the family with Bruno as president. She worked at the park as a teenager.
After working on Wall Street and starting a restaurant magazine, Bruno has returned home to run Trimper’s.