Cedar Fair and the previous Taft Parks

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 11:35 AM

When the Taft parks were built (including their Carowinds acquisition), they were among the best regional theme parks in the nation. They were a great combination of thrill rides, family attractions and live entertainment. All presented in well themed sections of the parks.

Under KECO and especially Paramount ownership, all of that deteriorated, especially the theming, family attractions and live entertainment categories.

The purchase of these parks by Cedar Fair has now revealed itself to be a blessing as the parks slowly make their way back to their former Glory. Cedar Fair started out unimpressive with generic name changes as "Afterburn and Backlot Stunt Coaster" and misfit, Paramount-like theming such as the Intimidators. They then graduated to at least making the rides fit the area in which they were build with installations like Diamondback, although with generic queueing.

But then their most recent installations at these parks. In 2017, Mystic Timbers with its backstory, themed train, slight queue theming and the shed. The new County Fair at Carowinds with a great theming and atmosphere.

Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion lives up to the Taft standard in which that park was built. Backstory, lost of queue details and the wonderful themed train. Even the on-ride photo shop is themed to the Apple Grove.

And now the announcement that Canada's Wonderland is finally getting Frontier Canada (with the evidenced of that coming over the past several seasons with their recent installations).

Live entertainment seems to also be making a significant comeback at most of the parks (although they did slide backwards at Kings Island slightly)

Infrastructure repairs are evident each season. Landscaping is being maintained. For example the floral clocks, liberty bell, eiffel tower and calendar are all back at Kings Island.

Winterfest is back. One can now purchase a season pass including food and drink for the entire season at a reasonable price. $370ish for a year at all parks is quite a bargain.

The only area they seem to still be lacking is replacing some of the family attractions like the railroads, riverboats, car rides etc that were removed by Paramount. Some parks still don't have a lot for non-thrill riders to enjoy other than the shows. The only serious "mistakes" they have made at the parks have been some flume removals and of course the destruction of Thunder Road.

All in all Cedar Fair ownership has been great for these parks and seems to keep on improving.

Last edited by super7*, Wednesday, August 15, 2018 12:09 PM
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018 12:08 PM

I think the recent details like theming on Mystic Timbers, landscaping improvements, and the overall improved experience is the new Cedar Fair way of doing things. Cheap theming and bad food was the Kinzel way. The current things you see are the new way.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018 12:16 PM

A lot of what you see is the Planning & Design folks getting budget and a little freedom. It's telling that Rob Decker was running that group during and after Kinzel, and the output is totally different. He's got a great team.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018 2:25 PM

Though Knott's wasn't Taft, I think it has been run with an eye for the customers.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:20 PM

I wonder if we will see more Triotech rides across the estate? They were going to be the future at one point, in fact I think Ouimet said 'chain wide' at one stage and then that all went quiet.

That still feels like a gap.

Last edited by Rick_UK, Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:20 PM
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Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:05 PM

Maybe a well thought out just in the nick of time gap.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:22 PM

Coaster enthusiasts aren't singing such high praise about kings Island right now. I was highly entertained by the comments on the live video announcement for the antique car return.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:31 PM

Theme parks should appeal to everyone not just coaster enthusiasts if they want to increase their overall attendance. There is a reason that Disney is always so packed with people, there is something for everyone to do there all day long.....Todays' announcement at King's Island is a good step in the right direction. One of the biggest pieces of damage done to Kings Island by Paramount was removal of the scenic antique cars and the installation of the eyesore it its place. This at least puts that family attraction back in the park in some form. This goes to back up the original post that Cedar Fair is bringing the parks back to the Taft standard.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 3:09 PM

As I was walking out of Festhaus I was along side a couple of employees, a supervisor and someone else. They commented that Antique cars aren’t much, and no one’s favorite, good only if you want to sit for a minute. I promptly turned and said (because I can’t help myself) “Every ride is somebody’s favorite”. They went all sheepish. “Yeah... true”.
Uh huh.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 3:50 PM

I love antique cars but how stupid is it to not only hold a press conference and live stream but hold it on "National Roller Coaster Day". Of course people are going to be disappointed.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 4:01 PM

The emphasis was on the date for another reason. They said on this date, what, 14 years ago? the Taxis and the Livery closed “forever”. The guy who made the announcement, his name escapes me (not Don) drove into the room on one of the originals. He also said that the cars would be new, 2/3 scale replicas is the Model T. There was no rendering of how it will look. It will run along side Racer across from Jukebox.
I wonder if they will be electric rail?

As far as Roller Coaster Day was concerned, they said it’s their belief that KI is the best coaster park everyday with something for everyone, mentioning the Racer for traditional thrills. Everyone held their breath, but... wah wah. That’s all folks, and thanks for coming.

I’m not mad about it. I like Turnpike rides and I thought all the predictions of a new coaster (one jackass was chanting “Son of Beast! Son of Beast!”) were ridiculous anyway.

Last edited by RCMAC, Thursday, August 16, 2018 4:02 PM
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Thursday, August 16, 2018 5:53 PM

Regardless of the new ride announcement coinciding with a made up fun holiday, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the connection that was made that Son of Beast would be returning. I'm beginning to wonder if critical thinking is going the way of common sense.

Sure, its fun to speculate on new and exciting rides. But when it gets to the point that most of the noise (comments) on the live feed are disappointment because something as massive as SoB wasn't coming back, it's starts to become stupid. With a ride that massive and of that magnitude, we would be seeing large amounts of clearing, large amounts dirt being moved, I'm sure we'd be seeing footings being poured.

I just don't get it. When I read KI's post yesterday about a past ride coming back NEXT YEAR, it took me a few minutes to come up with the Antique Cars because of the lack of other observations I have mentioned.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 7:00 PM

This is Cedar Fair continuing with their program of fixing much of the damage done by Paramount, especially Paramount’s capital improvement program under which the park would have been stripped bare by now, much like Great America and to a lesser extent Kings Dominion. In 2006, Kings Island removed two classic rides; by 2019, Cedar Fair will have at least attempted to replace them both (I’m still mad about the Eagles and the park’s woeful substitute...).

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 7:05 PM

Well, there are teaser flyers floating all around Cedar Fair Land. The Beast’s station was featured on one of them, from the original rendering, and it set tongues to wagging. I always smh at such speculation. I mean it’s nice to be right, and everyone looks forward to a big new coaster, but some of this was so far away from right it was ridiculous. There’s a guy over at Pointbuzz who has the bottom of the new 500’ coaster drop hitting where Witches Wheel sits. He’s got it all figured out.

As for Kings Island, I venture to say they are slightly overdue. But if anything as far as that expected and long-anticipated giga happens, some season we’ll start to see land clearing and mysterious construction. We’ve seen lately that a ride of that magnitude takes time. Well, time and money. Those things spread out over a year and a half makes better $ sense. The days of a fall announcement ahead of the start of construction are gone as far a big installations go.
Good things come to those who wait. Right?

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Thursday, August 16, 2018 10:15 PM

You may not care for the Intimidator theme but I can assure you it’s been very well received and very popular. I have no doubt that those coaster would still have been themed that way under the current management.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018 2:59 AM

Tekwardo said:
You may not care for the Intimidator theme but I can assure you it’s been very well received and very popular. I have no doubt that those coaster would still have been themed that way under the current management.

The problem with the theme is that it doesn’t fit an overall theme of any area. That’s The kind of things that Paramount did that messed the parks up. I guess at Carowinds where it is located is a generic area anyhow and at KD that area too is s generic afterthought.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018 3:14 AM

RideMan said:
This is Cedar Fair continuing with their program of fixing much of the damage done by Paramount, especially Paramount’s capital improvement program under which the park would have been stripped bare by now, much like Great America and to a lesser extent Kings Dominion. In 2006, Kings Island removed two classic rides; by 2019, Cedar Fair will have at least attempted to replace them both (I’m still mad about the Eagles and the park’s woeful substitute...).

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

At least the train 🚂 survived the Paramount wrath at Kings Island. CF has definitely undone some damage there. The damage that remains is a rideless Oktoberfest, generic Action Zone (although CF has given it the potential for a Transylvania theme). the ugly warehouse in Rivertown and the hideous centerpiece coaster.

For the most part KD is still gorgeous but it would be near perfect if Paramount hadn’t removed the train, skyway, monorail, lost world rides and grizzly trees plus KECO removal of the lake.

Carowinds and CA Great America were turned into completely different parks by Paramount and not for the better!

Wonderland stayed pretty much in tact with some odd placements but bringing Frontier Canada to reality is a major step forward there (even though it’s not quite the original concept with no train or steamboat and the water park taking up some original territory).

I agree about Kings Islands Eagles. That is a Coney ride that belongs at KI. And it’s MIA this year at Carowinds.......I say give the Larson one to Carowinds and bring the original home!

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Saturday, August 18, 2018 9:06 AM

I will admit that, remembering Ouimet’s dark-ride-in-every-garage claim, I had a secret inner child part that was mildly hoping for the return of a new and improved, more interactive Enchanted Voyage. But Antique Autos is a fine addition and exactly what the park needs.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018 3:37 PM

I just got back from Kings Island yesterday and that park is looking very good. I try to go there about every 3-5 years and thats when you really notice the improvements the park has made. I thought Mystic Timbers que and ride were incredible compared to other stuff they have did in the past.

As far as adding the Antique cars? I think that is exactly what they need. The only other thing I wish they would do is add more to look at while riding the train.

If I get time I will try writing a trip report because we had people ranging from 75 year to 15 months old, so it was a great perspective from a wide age group.

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Saturday, August 18, 2018 10:43 PM

This past July, Cedar Fair has owned the Paramount Parks for 12 years. Yes. Twelve. Can you believe that?

The first few years I believe that Cedar Fair were really getting their feet wet, removing things that were constantly having issues or eating them alive in maintenance (log flumes, some coasters) and I feel more things will be cut here soon as everything is getting older, but if the numbers are low, or maintenance is high, it's understandable, though I am sad about Witches Wheel... it's basically dying.

For Kings Island, so example, I feel they will try to continue to open some low-impact family attractions (with a large coaster on occasion as well) so they can be used at Winterfest. I'm sure these cars will be used in 2019 and hopefully have some amazing decor throughout the ride.

I also feel that Cedar Fair saved many rides from being demolished early. Shockwave, KD's Flight of Fear, Skylab..... the latter two of these rides were shut down by Paramount in 2006 and slated for removal, but Cedar Fair kept them going as long as possible.

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