GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Fun Time USA was a fixture in Gulfport for 27 years. It provided family entertainment with a water slide, bumper boats and go-carts. Hurricane Katrina ended those fun times in August of 2005.
In October of 2015, Rafe O'Neal, one of the partners of Gulf Amusements, announced big plans to bring FunTime USA back to Gulfport on four acres of property on the corner of Highway 90 and Cowan Road. FunTime USA was slated to open in the summer of 2016. As you can see, it didn't happen and the property is back up for sale.
Ginger Lockwood purchased her Golden Ticket in November of 2015 and Connie Hendry secured her Golden Ticket in September of 2016. Both were looking forward to the proposed new FunTime USA.
For $1,000, a Golden Ticket holder would get free admission for two adults and two kids every day for ten years. Lockwood and Hendry both signed a contract. The contract states, "This transaction will only be voided if FunTime USA fails to open. In which case, Purchaser will be given a full refund."
Hendry said Rafe O'Neal promised to refund her money. "He told me he was sending me a check in the mail and I leave messages. but he won't call me back," Hendry said.
Lockwood said, "We finally did talk to me, but he said that they didn't have the money to give us our money back."
Luckily, Lockwood used a credit card to pay for the Golden Ticket. But the credit card company told her they needed proof that FunTime USA wasn't built before they would refund her $1,000.
"I actually had to go through the city of Gulfport to get approved that there's nothing sitting on that site, that they haven't opened," said Lockwood.
The credit card company refunded her money, but Hendry continues to wait.
Two weeks ago, I contacted Rafe O'Neal and his partner Dennis Tynes. They told me they are still planning on building FunTime USA. He said they would honor the Golden Ticket at the new location.
FunTime issued the following statement:
Dennis Tynes said they plan on developing multiple family-oriented attractions and there will be no need for locals to go to Orange Beach or Destin. He said they are devising a plan to satisfy those folks who purchased a Golden Ticket.
O'Neal and Tynes expect to be able to fully announce FunTime USA plans in the coming weeks.