BAD Decision by Cedar Fair!

Sunday, March 14, 2004 2:54 AM
I think it is a bad decision by cedar fair to buy SFWoA. The park is pulling in about 1.5 million customers a year as opposed to the expected 3 million customers. It is clear to see that the decision to combne the 2 parks was unsuccessful. In 2000 when Geauga Lake became Six Flags Ohio(No Seaworld), the park broke the six flags attendance record and had the greatest park attendance gain of any amusement park worldwide. The park was a huge success! Then came 2001 and Seaworld. To sum it up, a FAILURE! An animal park is to costly to maintain for Ohio. The problem with SFWoA is the Animal Park.

There is no way Cedar Fair is going to draw more attendance than Six Flags next year or in years to come. If Six Flags could not maintain attendance with all 3 parks, there is no way Cedar Fair is going to make anywhere close to 3 million visitors. They are taking away half of the park and offering cutomers a much LESS value for their money. If people weren't going before, there is no incentive for them to go now.

Cedar Fair is heading straight towards FAILURE! Six Flags got the bargain at $145 million. Cedar Fair will be paying big time for this decision. Paying interest on debt for wasted land and space, insurance, and maintennce costs is not a good business decision.

Six Flag's owes Cedar Fair more than a thank you for them buying this lemon. Due much it part to Cedar Fair's acquisiton, Six Flag's is already on the rebound. Six Flag's stock has increased for the first time in years and they are reducing their Debt.

BAD Decision Cedar Fair!

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 3:11 AM
I'll quote myself from another thread. I don't think gaining a million customers with the addition of the Wildlife side in 2001 nor do I think almost doubling attendance just between 2000 and 2003 is as much of a failure as I originally thought and people were telling me, but whatever. Here's what I found...

"Geauga Lake was "flagged" as Six Flags Ohio in 2000 and attendance increased 42% to about 1.7 million. Approximately $40 million in capital improvement was spent on the park including retheming to Looney Tunes and DC Comics as well as the addition of 4 coasters. Good year!

Six Flags purchased SeaWorld Ohio for $110 million and renamed the park Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in 2001 advertising 3 parks for the price of one (Wild Rides, Wildlife, Waterpark). They also add X-Flight, the second major flying coaster project ever. I think this was the biggest mistake they made in not charging two different gates, but maybe they thought they would eventually do so after people got the taste of what both sides were like. This was also the worst year I've seen the park at since visiting in 2000. I think they made a lot of bad impressions and made something much bigger than they could handle. Attendance rose 37% to 2.7 million. Good year as far as attendance goes. That's around a 62% rise in 2 years.

Six Flags Worlds of Adventure adds no major attractions for 2002. Attendance at the park falls 21% to 2.13 million. I think this drop had to do with both no major attractions being added and some of the less than great experiences some guests had at the park in 2002. Their competition, Cedar Point, adds Wicked Twister, a double-twisting Impulse coaster that's the biggest of its kind, that draws a lot of people over there and away from Six Flags.

Six Flags Worlds of Adventure again adds no major attractions for 2003 and tries to focus on some of the minor things to increase positive guest experience. Like every other park in the chain and like 2002 when the park added nothing major, the park loses attendance- down 7% and to a little under 2 million visitors.

*X-Flight, yearly operating costs, GL original cost, additional animals and flats, restaurants, etc. not accounted for.

Overall, you could say the park grew 15% by 2003 due to the addition of the Wildlife side in 2001. Or you could say they went down 26% since they became a "new park" in 2001.

Eh, it still doesn't spell disaster to me. It definitely spells disappointment though and I imagine operation costs were way higher than the type of attendance the expected to get in the next few years. It probably wasn't worth it for them to wait that long for more money to come in and was easily to just cut straight to $145 million. Not a bad idea. I still think they should have done something like $54.99 general admission for a combo of both the Wildlife and Wild Rides parks or $32.99 for each. They were painfully undercharging IMO. This doesn't help them now, but it helps me see that it wasn't all that bad. But if they continued averaging a $16 million profit a year, it would take a decade to get what CF gave them. I could have waited and maybe business would have done better. We don't really know. In the time frame given though, it did fail and disappoint SF.

What a nice experiment to be a part of in its brief history though. Just some random thoughts.

?Danny"

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 3:26 AM
You can't please everyone. Now I'll go back to my corner of "People who will wait this out before deciding whether it's a good or bad move." *** Edited 3/14/2004 8:26:38 AM UTC by Zero-G***
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Sunday, March 14, 2004 3:30 AM
I'm in that corner now too.

+Danny

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 9:38 AM
No matter what waiting is the only way to find out for sure, but I'd say its a good move, the parks back to its original name, odds are CF will run it's employees better, but who knows for sure, wait and see.
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Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:11 AM
I'm kind of sick of people starting these threads right now, restating what other people have already said... Just wait it out. It's not like your criticism will decide anything in the deal between SFI and CF...
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Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:26 AM
Here's some food for thought. Cedar Point is pretty much at capacity. I mean, how many more people can that park hold?

Now Cedar Fair owns another park in the region that can draw customers who otherwise wouldn't travel the distance to Cedar Point pr pay to stay in one of the hotels. Add in cross promotion and both parks will succeed.


Also, the Six Flags stock has been on rebound for a while after it's low of $3. And $245 million will not save the chain from it's $2.3 billion debt.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:35 AM

mgmvideo said:
The problem with SFWoA is the Animal Park.

Just my views here, but I think SFWoA's problems were brought on by something other than the animal park. There is no doubt in my mind that the poor customer service at the park played a huge roll in the decline of what could have been a very sucessful park.

I did think there was hope for the park though as I found last year to be an improvement over customer satisfication although I only went to the park one time last year.

Cedar Fair knows the faults of the park. While it is too early to tell, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the new owners came into the park and fixed up many of it's previous faults.

Perhaps Cedar Fair is bitting off more than they can chew? Who knows? All we can do is wait it out to see if Cedar Fair can breathe some new life into the park. At this point, jumping to conclusions is a bit pointless.

-Sean

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:38 AM
Put me in with the crowd who will wait and see what happens. I'd be willing to bet that this was a good move for the park in the long run. Eveyone on this site that has read my posts knows that I am very sinicle towards Cedar Fair for there treatment towards woodies at the Sandusky park. Hell the whole chain hasn't built wood since they were taken over by the parent company. But otherwise, Cedar Fair runs tight ships.

I'm sure that the park will become a lot friendlier this year, and cleaner too. The fact that Geauga Lake Park is back makes me so happy and I feel like finally the park will be brought back to it's former glory. Cedar Fair can do that. Everything that was the old Geauga Lake Park was ruined by Six Flags anyways except the Dipper and Western Village. Yes!!! No more Coyote Creek either.

My main concern will be how they treat my beloved Big Dipper and it's classic trains. I go to Geauga Lake after work to relax and ride coasters with my friends. As long as I can still do that, I'll be happy. If Cedar Point turns it into a setting where that becomes impossible for me to do, well that's a different story then.

Here comes the Wood Coaster Fan Club *** Edited 3/14/2004 3:39:05 PM UTC by Thrillerman***

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:40 AM
I can't stand people that are uninformed.

SFWoA did turn a profit... but $16 million a year in profit is not adequate to drive the capital-intensive business of running an amusement park, especially one as big as that.

Six Flags didn't get the "bargain," Cedar Fair did. Do the math... they shelled out $100 million for SeaWorld and $40 million in rides for 2000 alone. Now Cedar Fair gets all of that plus everything that came before that. Furthermore, consider property values around there... land ain't cheap. Who got the bargain?

I don't expect that Cedar Fair expects to draw more than 1.5 million people to that park this year. That will hardly be difficult to turn a profit on. I'm not sure what to expect, but seeing as how they don't have these grand plans for a super park with animals, I'm sure it'll do OK.

Now come back with a business argument and I'll take you seriously.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 10:45 AM
But was it $16 million in true profit?

Listen to the questions again...someone asks what the EBITDA for the park was (which would be a much larger number were the $16 million average net profit) and the answer was that $16 million was equivalent to EBITDA.

Not saying it's going under next week--but still...

-'Playa

(who expects a GL Gerstlauer clone for '05)

*** Edited 3/14/2004 3:46:47 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 11:09 AM
Well I'm sure Dick Kinzel and the rest of the people involved in this will find you in a few years and appologize to your for not heeding your advice.

You're 100% right.. they have no clue what they're doing.. That's why the company has had it's distrubution rate increase for 17 years in a row whole other chains have been losing money for years.

Man.. you've got my vote for the board of directors.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 11:22 AM
Bad Business decision? 30,000 people decide to go to Cedar Point and on the very same day 20,000 decide to go to Geauga Lake. Cedar Fair gets 50,000 paid attendance since they own both parks. Sounds like good business.
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Sunday, March 14, 2004 11:32 AM
Once they knock off the expense of the Wild Life side, the marketing costs of any advertising west of CP and institute the traditional CF cost controls, they'll have a profitable park even if they don't increase attendance one guest.

The ads are a no-brainer..."Geauga Lake is back!" and just imagine if they decided to compete directly with Kennywood--as an old-fashioned, steeped-in- tradition park that doesn't run around building mega-monolith attractions. You can have a lot of fun with that. An awful lotta fun.

-'Playa

*** Edited 3/14/2004 4:32:59 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 11:43 AM
Very good points Sean. This is a deal that can't even be decided by the end of the season if turns out to be a success for the park. It sounds as though Cedar Fair understands what it is getting into and is willing to make steady progress with the park instead of trying to swing a home run with one season and working off that. The effort to turn Geagua Lake around works at the foundation level. That means impressing the visitors who do decide to come this season so much that they report to their friends that the park is worth going to. Cedar Fair gets it shot at a first impresson and while some may be disappointed at the loss of the animals, the park can pour the energy that may have been directed there into making an even better experience with the original core aspects of the park.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 12:26 PM

Thrillerman said:


My main concern will be how they treat my beloved Big Dipper and it's classic trains.


I don't know what Cedar Fair will do with Big Dipper, but at Michigan's Adventure, Shivering Timbers is running as good as it ever was. Although Shivering Timbers had PTC trains to begin with.

I have to say that I agree that I think this will turn out to be profitible in the long run.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 1:14 PM
CF definitely got a huge bargain and now that they didn't have to pay for the animals (I'm sure this was part of the $100-110 million SF paid for SW, I'm not sure how much of it, but they didn't lose the entire amount), they don't have to pay for feeding them, upkeep on that side, hiring workers for that side, etc., it should be as easy as SFO had it in 2000 and GL had it in the years before. If CF does well and is profitable with it, that's not going to surprise or impress me at all. I don't think it's a bad business decision for them, especially when they're not adding anything major besides general improvements and different signage this year afaik. That pretty much ensures a bigger profit for them, even if they get a couple hundred thousand less visitors than SFO/SFWOA ever had. Increase the park attendance this year and I'll say "whoa!" I'm not sure what CF will do with the woodies. I've heard all of them (Timberwolf, the old Hercules, Thunderhawk, High Roller,...) besides Ghostie and the the CCIs at MAdv were better before CF had the parks.

+Danny

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 1:15 PM
I look at it the same way as john. Six Flags isn't taking away any customers from Cedar Fair in Ohio anymore. Weather people go to Cedar Point or Geauga Lake Cedar Fair is getting all the money from both parks.
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Sunday, March 14, 2004 1:39 PM
I think former upset guests of the park will consider giving the park another chance now that it has new owners. Imho, all they really need to focus on is running rides to capacity, make sure that rides open on scedule, keep the park clean, and provide service with a good attitude and they will do just fine.

Former upset guests will leave the park happy. They will tell others about the drastic change in overall experience. More peeps will visit. Loyal patrioge occurs more frequently. CF becomes the real super hero by rescuing the park from a rotten reputation.

My friends and I are planning on hitting GL on Tuesday, May 12 on the way home from my PKI, CP trip, if it is open. I was going to skip it until this news came about, but now I am curious.

I support GL. I have no doubt that CF can pull this off with very little problems.

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Sunday, March 14, 2004 2:36 PM
Wow. Gone a week and when I get back the world is turned upside down. I think that this move by CF is a good one. It may take a few years for all of the "good" to play out - but I think that eliminating one of your biggest competitors is always good in the long run (now how long before we can take King's Island? ;) )
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