Cedar Fair chief Dick Kinzel still optimistic in tough year

Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 12:48 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Despite a drop in attendance and a slower than expected turn around at Geauga Lake, Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel feels that the company is still on the right track.

Read more from The Toledo Blade.

Link: PointBuzz

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Monday, August 22, 2005 9:36 AM
For some reason I've always trusted Kinzel. He is a great CEO. Why? He admits his mistakes and I really think he's a great guy. He seems just like a regular guy who's just really good at making business decisions and when he's not he doesn't mind admitting it, like Disaster Transport.
Monday, August 22, 2005 11:00 AM
I'm glad he admits the mistake... now I just wish he would erase it from his legacy! :) I was there yesterday thinking about how much I love walking down that beach, only to get to the end and see a warehouse there. It must go away!
Monday, August 22, 2005 11:36 AM
There is one and only one thing that should go there. A wooden coaster. If they decide to tear down DT I'd rather see the space empty than to have anything other than a woodie.

I agree that it is a complete waste of one of the best views of Lake Erie.

Monday, August 22, 2005 3:16 PM
Ok, DT has been mentioned as a mistake multiple times recently, how about DOING something about it this year, eh? ;) Anyone else think that Mr. Kinzel would rank TTD as his #2 mistake behind DT?
Monday, August 22, 2005 5:06 PM

Spotting Mr. Kinzel touring the grounds, a young man commented to a friend in a stage whisper that was more of a stage scream: "The Dragster would be great if it worked!"

"I hear you," the Cedar Fair CEO replied good-naturedly.

That about sums up my thoughts about when things started going bad for them! I read what all the others are saying about recent service declines, but I can't help but think that the timing of their problems started with TTD!They've certainly managed to piss a lot of people off (myself included) with this ride. Six total days down is not acceptible for such a short season. This says nothing about all the partial days down and time delays. I find it amusing that the ride was down the day the interview took place.

Anyhow, it is my belief that a park like CP that lives and dies by the coaster cannot continue to have its tallest and fastest coaster serve as the tallest and fastest tease. They need to fix it (yesterday)or take it down (ala Bat)!

Fanboy may kill me for talking so blunt, but as the article suggests, I'm not alone. You have to wonder if all the service cutbacks that have recently been outed, might have something to do with the lack of visitation they've received as a part of the TTD woes!

Anyhow, I'm sure they will right the ship. The Bat all those years ago did not hurt KI's long term vision. I have to believe that CP realizes their giant lemon may not be worth it and will make the changes needed to stop the bleeding.

P.S. We could have a whole other thread about the wisdom of nationalizing the park (ie gas prices, elasticity, etc).

Monday, August 22, 2005 6:20 PM
I'm not sure trashing the entire ride is really worth the cost though. That's a major deconstruction effort, not to mention probably an environmental disaster, and a PR nightmare.

No, I think they'll tinker with TTD for a few more years, but I think they're looking to find a ride that will draw the public's attention away from TTD as soon as possible. No matter how much it'll please some people in the long run (investors, park-goers, enthusiasts, Kinzel himself) I think taking out TTD in the next 4-5 years would be a mistake.

Monday, August 22, 2005 9:37 PM
They didn't give up on Demon Drop. Who remembers THAT thing in the early days?
Monday, August 22, 2005 9:51 PM
Twice I waited 90 minutes plus only to make it to the stairs and have it close for the night! Boy do I remember that...I don't think it (Demon Drop) was ever the signature attraction like TTD was though...

I'm not saying that TTD is the only reason for their recent downturn...I just find it interesting that the timing of TTD and CP's fortune chages parallel each other! There is no doubt that they need to not have TTD operate like it has been. It would be better to not run at all than to have people consistently waiting 45 minutes plus and THEN not riding!

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 8/22/2005 9:51:53 PM ***

Thursday, August 25, 2005 11:26 PM
Does anyone know where CP is putting the Screaming Swing in the park for next season?
Friday, August 26, 2005 10:11 AM
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I'm going to join Jimmy Buffett and we're going to look for our lost shaker of salt," he mused.

And by gosh, Dick, you deserve it!

Friday, August 26, 2005 4:02 PM
TTD has doing extremely better this year than previous years. In 2004 the ride was actually open every day (not including the 10 days of complete closure). This year the ride was down for 6 days total. Total meaning little to no downtime throughout the day. A 3 hour downtime delay isn't even normal anymore.

I think CP's hard times came at the same time as TTD is a coincidence. TTD showed a 3% improvement in attendance in 2003 and the drop in 2004 isn't related to the downtime (weather and no new rides). And 2005 is explained in the article. TTD is far from a flop and the ride is very popular among the GP outside of the downtime.

I sure hope Kinzel can sort out the problems they've been having.


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