Amusement Rides Coming to Cocoa Beach: Are You Amused?

7/20/2017 – Yesterday evening, the Cocoa Beach board of adjustment voted to approve the special exception to allow three rides at the pier, the vote was a unanimous 6-0 vote to allow the request. There are two conditions the operators must abide by: 1. No music can be played through ride sounds systems and 2. The rides cannot run past 8 p.m.

The Rides

Cocoa Beach will be getting three new carnival-style rides.


Just a classic merry-go-round – perfect for the little ones and adults alike. Admit it, you’d still enjoy a whirl around on this smile-maker.

Drop n Twist

Taller, faster, and more exhilarating.


Not for the faint of heart… Get ready to twist and shout.

The Discussion

Opinions on whether or not this addition is a step in the right direction is vast and varied. City leaders believe it will attract tourists that keep Cocoa Beach running. We all love the local scene but it takes more than just “the regulars” to keep a local business thriving.

Cocoa Beach Mayor Ben Malik is in support of Westgate’s contributions to the City.

“The pier owners have made substantial investments in improving the pier,” Malik said, “and if they are desirous to put some amusement rides on their property to give visitors and residents with children some entertainment on their own private property.”

Others, mostly long-time residents, believe the rides don’t represent the image of Cocoa Beach. It’s unclear what that image is exactly.

The Future

The Pier isn’t the end of the line for Westgate Properties in Cocoa Beach, the property company has some big plans rolling:

  • Renovation of 120 units at Wakulla Suites in Cocoa Beach; expected completion by the end of 2017
  • Additional amenities at Wakulla Suites, including a lobby expansion and an elevated Beach Club deck, expected completion spring 2017; a water park, including a pool, lazy river attraction and splash bed, is scheduled for completion in fall 2017
  • A four-story building at Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier, featuring an Owners Club, pool and luxury villas; construction to begin in 2017 with an expected completion date of spring 2018
  • A 7,800-square-foot Cocoa Beach Pier expansion, including additional retail and arcade areas; construction to begin in 2017 with expected completion in 2018

“Westgate is proud to call Central Florida our home, and our significant commitment to expanding our resorts in this area emphasizes our dedication to the local community and to the four million guests who visit a Westgate Resort each year,” said David Siegel, Westgate Resorts founder and CEO, in a prepared statement.

The Community

Cocoa Beach has the potential to be a premiere destination and there’s little that can be done to stop development ANYWHERE in Florida. But, that doesn’t mean local charm will be laid to rest. It’s up to the locals to continue creating the community we all love – support local business, attend beach clean-ups, support murals/sculptures/public art, host and support community events, and keep charming trends like Cocoa Beach ROCKS alive. By supporting community and art, with heart Cocoa Beach is sure to thrive.

What do you think?

Comment below!

28 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Angie surfing impaired July 20, 2017

    Sounds wonderful! In the past, once you made it up those stairs, then tried to figure out how to get out on the pier (through the restaurant?) Then it appeared the pier wasn’t even walkable. It certainly wasn’t welcoming. This would be a definite step in the right direction. Daytona hassone kid friendly attractions. But did not seem like cocoa beach welcomed the very young and old

  2. Carol July 20, 2017

    Not happy! We will now have a southern Coney Island atmosphere! Where will all these people park? Who ever heard of a carousel that has no music? I’m for tourists; so let’s improve with good restaurants. and inviting stores. Our miniature golf businesses are attractive and well maintained. Do we really need rides? We just improved the beautiful downtown Minuteman Causeway area.

  3. Steve Lare July 20, 2017

    Sounds great

  4. Bob P July 20, 2017

    It’s about time! Need to develop the boardwalk too. Need to start allowing food trucks at the beaches. Let’s get a bit more progressive than one business running coconuts beach. I mean Cocoa Beach! The community of Cocoa Beach needs a vision shared by many and not just by an elite few.

  5. Sandy July 20, 2017

    I think a carousel WITH MUSIC and a ferris wheel would have been sufficient. Stay classy Cocoa Beach Stay classy!

  6. pdugan July 20, 2017

    approved for revenue collecting, more traffic more pollution, what ever happen to enjoying the beach for its beauty and relaxation and protecting the environment. all I see is greed and commercial zombies!

  7. juoe July 20, 2017

    Absolutely pathetic, could Cocoa Beach be any more pathetic and TACKY, is this the beach or a circus? I am not surprised the management of this city is horrible.

  8. TK July 20, 2017

    Good steps. Now please improve the quality, affordability and selection of food at the pier!

  9. John Fore July 20, 2017

    I am for this. If you really look around not much for the younger generation to do. We have to many bars and not much fun for those that don’t drink. Yes we have mini golf and a climb in the trees. But if you want to bring money here. This stuff has got to happen. Most working class people have children if they have nothing to do. They may come one time and never again. We have got to bring families. And have them make memory’s so they return.

  10. Disappointed from Canada July 20, 2017

    I was very disappointed to hear the the Pier will be adding the amusement park rides. I enjoy vacationing in Cocoa Beach every year. The one thing the Pier didn’t need was these rides. The last thing I want to hear is people screaming as theses rides drop and spin them around while I am trying to relax on the beach. How inconsiderate it will be for people who live right near the Pier to have to listen to this day in and day out! A playground would have been nicer or a mini golf course. I have seen the improvements at the Pier, but I will have to seriously think twice about vacationing by the Pier and Cocoa Beach in the future. I hope the noise doesn’t disturb the sea turtles when they are nesting. Since the improvements to the Pier, traffic is horrendous on Ocean Beach Blvd. It makes it difficult to get in and out of our accommodations. I do hope you will have police directing traffic in the future Once these rides arrive. If I want amusement park rides, I will go to Orlando! I can’t see people wanting to ride the same three rides all the time! I guess they will be wanting to add more rides in the future!

  11. Nan July 20, 2017

    If the city would do something re the traffic on Ocean Beach Blvd it would go a long way toward making many of the locals happier. Right now drivers have to turn down Meade to get to the entrance to the Pier Parking lot. They don’t find out how much it costs until they try to turn in; some balk at the $15-$20 and then have to figure out how to turn around. Then there are those who turn down Meade and expect to be able to park at one of the meters; if there are none available, they have to find a way to turn around at the dead end. This leads to more congestion, which backs up at the 4 way stop where Meade intersects Ocean Beach. One solution would be to sell Meade to Westgate. Take out those meters and factor that lost revenue into the purchase price. Another would be to encourage Westgate to shift its parking lot entrance to Ocean Beach. If it were at the pier sign on Ocean Beach, one side could be for traffic turning in and the other for traffic pulling out., with the sign as a divider. Just sayin’…something needs to be done there. There are probably a lot of other possible solutions, too, but leaving it as it is is a bad idea.

  12. Mike July 20, 2017

    HORRIBLE!!! Mayor Ben Malik and Cocoa Beach board of adjustment want to turn Cocoa Beach into a circus. How can they possibly entertain that as a good idea?

    There are already plenty of tacky tourist traps in Florida. Why not keep Cocoa Beach a charming, unique, unspoiled beach community? It seems people move to Cocoa Beach because it’s such a nice place to live and then the first thing they want to do is change it.

    Shame on the city government.

  13. albert July 20, 2017

    As a resident of Cocoa Beach I have now issues with this. Sorry about my neighbors that live in the Condos nearby. However, there is no music on the rides allowed, and they are shut down by 8:00 pm. I see now harm. Maybe one or two children will quit saying “when are we going to Disney World?” For at least one evening and ride a couple of rides, go the next day.

  14. Linda July 20, 2017

    So sorry to hear that this was approved. As all the 500 signs along the highway show, lets go to Cocoa Beach for the sun, sand, surf! Let’s keep the beach about “beach” as many tourists come to experience the ocean. They can ride loud
    carnival rides at home–this is
    nothing new for them. Now learning to surf, swim in salt water, and look for sand crabs– this is new and exciting. Perhaps the carnival should be located by the port for day ship visitors, where at least it’s not in a residential area! Let’s keep Cocoa Beach about the beach and not a 3 ride circus just because Westgate has the money to do whatever they want–including buying people??? Whatever happened to “leaving just your footprints in the sand”?

    • Dolores July 21, 2017

      So well said

  15. Langan July 20, 2017

    Anything that detracts from the beauty & peace of Cocoa Beach is not alright with me. I’m a resident of Cocoa Beach for its natural beauty. Not tacky, cheap looking, loud, touristy, “attractions.”

  16. Douglas Atkins July 20, 2017

    No. This is an idea for a project from an already very wealthy person to seemingly try to enhance an already profitable situation for his own personal agenda. I think that there are limits to how much development we can squeeze into a limited area without choking it with further congestion from auto traffic coming and going, not to mention limited parking spaces in the Pier area. We think that he doesn’t need any more income nor does the community want the carnival bizarre like Coney Island or the Jersey Shore here on Cocoa Beach. Leave that for Disney, etc. Kids will have fun on the beach anyway….

  17. Kathleen O'neil July 20, 2017

    Cheesy rides will not enhance the image of Cocoa Beach. It’s a stupid concept at best.

  18. KMW July 21, 2017

    Bad idea for all the many reasons already mentioned! How many tourists can one small town with one main artery (A1A) fit, anyway? Not sure what our elected officials are thinking…

  19. R. Simpson July 21, 2017

    I think it’s a great idea.. The families that come to Cocoa Beach needs more than just fun in the sun.. The people who disapprove needs to go back to bed keep sleeping til ur time is up.. If Cocoa Beach does not start getting with the times we are going to be a dying town. Thanks to all that approved it..

  20. Kathi July 21, 2017

    My family has been in this area since 1976. We have seen the area grow to such an extent that the traffic alone is a real deterrent. There is not enough good housing for those that want to come and enjoy the gorgeous beaches and laid back atmosphere. There are only a few good restaurants or attractive shops to keep the more desirable tourist element happy. Bringing in cheesy attractions that rob the city of the main attraction, our gorgeous beaches, is a real step back. City government should be thinking classy, not trashy. Our infrastructure cannot support the hordes of people that would come to see new additions to the beach, for the day. We need visitors that come for a longer stay and put real money into the economy. If our long term guests have to fight the hordes for parking spaces and seats at restaurants, they will move on. Then we are left with those that trash our beaches, clog our sewers and disrespect our properties. Lets focus on surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, good eating and the arts that preserve the gorgeous island that we have invested our lives and hearts in. If Westgate continues their torment of this island, it will not lead to its survival for the residents, including the sea living species. Wise up and grow up Cocoa Beach!!

    • Dolores July 21, 2017

      I totally agree with everything said here. Our beautiful beach town is being torn and trashed apart by day trippers that don’t care where they dump their trash because they are leaving at the end of the day. We live in a condo on the corner of a beach access road We have people who don’t belong parking in our parking lot for the day so they don’t have to pay meters, and also in the parking area of a strip mall across the street and then walk to beach. At end of day they return to their cars shake out their beach sand and candy wrappers onto the ground, dropmtheirnsoada bottles get in their cars and drive off. They didn’t contribute 1 penny to our economy but let their trash for us to deal with.
      So now we’ll have even more

  21. pj July 21, 2017

    Another favorite locals hangout turned tourist trap
    wouldn’t mind it so much if they did like they do up north
    you show your I.D to confirm you are a local
    and you get different prices
    I can’t stand what they have done and are doing to the pier
    pay to park
    pay to walk on the pier
    just so you can pay through the nose for sub par food.
    and souvenirs

    I remember when you could go to the beach and anywhere along A1A
    and not have to pay an arm and a leg for parking
    now there are very few beach accesses and the ones there are have metered parking
    nothing says fun like getting back to your car to find a ticket cause you were 5 min late coming back to feed the meter.

    this explains why the county parks are so crowded.
    It turns my stomach that beautiful classy Cocoa Beach
    is being turned into a cheesy tacky tourist trap

  22. JA July 21, 2017

    dear R. Simpson: no need for personal nastiness; us sleepyheads help the local economy and know there is nothing about garish rides that “keep up with the times” – such things have been around for decades.

  23. Cb July 21, 2017

    Looks like Westgate got a hold in cocoa beach thanks to elected officials. We never learn. The parking in downtown was recently reduced due to so called ” beautification” . Now Westgate taking slow control. Just as our ocean outside our window is being ignored. NICE! We will all be sorry in the next few years. Bad ideas breed quickly . Wake up cocoa beach.

  24. Angel July 22, 2017

    Amazing what Siegel’s money can buy!!

  25. Mike July 22, 2017

    I am not sure this is a good idea. I see what Daytona Beach looks like. Not very many people were riding the rides the last time I was there. The salt air will destroy the rides. This sounds to be costly. In order to have more tourists, they will need more parking. I do not want them parking down my street. I hope it does not affect the Our Saviour’s fair. We use the funds from the fair to subsidize the school tuition.

  26. JA July 23, 2017

    Now that the mayor, city officials and local business have agreed to set up rides that, with the screams and lights and garish colors right next to the sand dunes, detract from the scene, it is “up to the locals to continue creating the community we all love” Good luck


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