Buescher out at Cypress Gardens, Baker Leisure Group in

Posted Thursday, January 3, 2008 9:09 AM | Contributed by Jeff

In announcing a dramatic shift in management for the Gardens on Wednesday, the attraction's new owners also acknowledged the end of the park's relationship with the man who owned it for three financially turbulent years. Baker Leisure Group, an Orlando-based consulting and management company for themed attractions, will take over day-to-day operations of the park from previous owner Kent Buescher. The change was effective Wednesday.

Read more from The News Chief.

Thursday, January 3, 2008 11:47 AM
Well, that didn't last long.

I'm thinking of starting a game show. It's called Wheel of Amusement Park Ownership/Management. Too bad the GP won't understand it. ;)

So anybody got anything on this Baker Group?

Thursday, January 3, 2008 12:12 PM
Baker is the main consulting firm in the amusement industry, and they manage a few parks as well. For the most part they do feasibility studies and consulting work on parks that have yet to be built. This will hopefully be a good move.
Thursday, January 3, 2008 12:27 PM
rollergator's avatar Just to note: Wild Adventures is being (was?) purchased by HFEC, so theoretically only Cypress is affected....
Thursday, January 3, 2008 2:02 PM
^Correct, Herschend has full ownership of Wild Adventures.
Thursday, January 3, 2008 2:30 PM
It sounds like Buescher really got a raw deal. He built Wild Adventures from the ground up, then tried to save Cypress Gardens. He would have been successful there too, were it not for three hurricanes, a greedy insurance company and creditors that refused to wait for a settlement. He had to sell his company to cover the debts, and now he is out of both of the parks that he poured his heart and soul into. It's really a shame.
Thursday, January 3, 2008 3:17 PM
BLG is a good choice. They are based locally and have the knowledge to run the park. Besides having Disney ties, they have people from Universal as well. BLG at one time was in charge of the Thomas The Tank Engine Tour for HIT Entertainment and I believe they still over see the traveling Titanic exhibit. I worked with them when Thomas would come to visit our railroad in June of each year. They were easy to work with. Now HIT uses their own people and it is not as a pleasure as it once was. Dealing directly with corporate is such a pleasant experience.

William W. Gray, Superintendent
Whitewater Valley Railroad
*** This post was edited by lumpy72 1/3/2008 3:24:17 PM ***

Thursday, January 3, 2008 3:32 PM
I honestly see Kent landing somewhere Like Crossroads or something and being very successfull. Quite honestly anyone who loves Cypress owes him a big THANK YOU.

Chuck, saying he might have bit off a bit more than he could chew but the hurricanes were a major factor in his bankruptcy as well.

Thursday, January 3, 2008 11:05 PM
I think Mr. Buescher did get a raw deal. The guy had nothing but bad luck with the park from Day One. Hopefully he still has some passion for the amusement industry and finds it worthwhile to open a new park somewhere, although I wouldn't blame him for having a bad taste in his mouth after all this.
Friday, January 4, 2008 5:54 AM
I know this was a business decision, but I still feel bad for Kent. He lost his baby in Valdosta and now won't be apart of Cypress which he saved from being turned into lakefront condos.

With the vision and desire he has for this industry, I don't see him having a problem landing a leading role with another amusement park company. Shapiro could use a guy like this to run one of his less than stellar parks to turn it around.

Friday, January 4, 2008 10:40 AM
rollergator's avatar While I certainly appreciate all that KB has done to save Cypress, and esp. Starliner, I have to admit that I'm very happy about WA being turned over to HFEC. When there was little more than a Chance Gondola wheel and a few kiddie coasters to go with the "star attractions" (the animals) at WA, it had a much more inviting "feel" to the place. As it grew, the ride selection got better, but the personality of the park seemed to get lost. Theming, landscaping, and the once-friendly staff all seemed to go downhill over the past several years, and it accelerated after the purchase of CG. Just one man's opinion... ;)

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