Cedar Fair sells San Diego water park to SeaWorld

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:04 PM | Contributed by Jason Hammond

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced that it has sold Knott’s Soak City – San Diego, a stand alone water park in Southern California, to a subsidiary of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed and are not material to Cedar Fair’s results of operations. The sale of the San Diego water park has no impact on the Company's other properties located in California.

“For this particular property, a unique opportunity presented itself to team with SeaWorld to offer a premium product to its guests in the San Diego region,” said Matt Ouimet, president and chief executive officer. “The net proceeds from this sale will be reinvested in our core assets including the multi-year refreshment of our hotel properties in Sandusky, Ohio that was announced earlier this month.”

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:19 PM
Maverick00's avatar

I find it interesting that in this source it says they're trying to sell off some properties. Has anybody heard anything about that?

Last edited by Maverick00, Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:20 PM

Cedar Point will always be The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, regardless of the number of coasters they have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:50 AM
Jeff's avatar

I think Spiegel is likely referring to previous public attempts to put some of the parks up for sale (Valleyfair, WOF and CGA). I think those were mostly actions of the Kinzel era. I'm pretty sure they're all off the market now that the company is kicking ass again.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:52 AM

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Spiegel is making a whole lot of assumptions because he is expected to know something. I think there is a good possibility that the only person named in that story who has ever set foot inside Soak City San Diego is Jim Atchison.

I could be totally wrong here. But when a park in San Diego is sold, how come a consultant in Cincinnati is the obvious person to talk to? What is it that Jeff always says about those who know? I think Spiegel is well connected and has a good understanding of the industry. But I think he's leveraging that knowledge and guessing.

Just like we do here. :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012 8:38 AM

This isn't the first time I've heard that they may be looking at selling off some of their properties. Now, I'm not sure that any of the parks would be on the chopping block but maybe they are looking at selling any of the water parks that aren't close enough to a big park to have synergy.

When B. Spehn was moved back over to WWK at the end of the season I was speculating that perhaps he was moved there in order to have someone with more stature there if there were efforts to sell off THAT park.

You have to wonder if WWK and Knott's Soak City Palm Springs aren't far behind.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:54 AM
Jeff's avatar

Spiegel is just one of those guys in reporter's address books. I'm in a few address books too, but as much as I'd love to be an attention whore, I tend to decline comment if I don't know or can't say anything about the topic. I also don't make a living consulting for theme parks.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:58 AM

Sweet, may be another park I can do on the trip out to Cali next year since it should be included on the SeaWorld Parks "chain-wide" pass.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the other Soak City that's not next to Knott's sold, but that's about as far as I see them unloading property in the short term.

Original BlueStreak64

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:00 PM
sfwoaloopytech's avatar

A note from my (coming) trip report- at IAAPA, there were indications that GLPWWK is up for sale as well. That came from someone who does in fact consult for amusement parks for a living. I didn't think much of it at first until I read this. Interesting.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:40 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

If it's in a package deal with all the land, they might have a hard time selling it. If it is up for sale, I wonder if the land is still a separate deal.

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:55 PM
Maverick00's avatar

I would hate to see WWK sold but if it brings in new slides, I guess it would be for the better. Who would buy it though?

Cedar Point will always be The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, regardless of the number of coasters they have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:45 PM

Not every park needs to be a Wet and Wild...or even a Soak City. (See Pioneer Waterland). I think you might have smaller investors out there who might be interested in getting a quality water park at a good price. I still think that property would be ripe for a Great Wolf Lodge-type experience with an indoor water park that would be complimented by the outdoor water park in the summer.

Question is if Cedar Fair is so worried about their Sandusky turf that they aren't willing to allow it to remain a water park at all? I sure hope not. I have to believe that the majority of the use of Soak City comes from resort guests and that market is pretty protected.

If Cedar Fair was THAT worried about their turf then they would have beat the Great Wolf/Kalahari's to the punch.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:51 PM
Maverick00's avatar

I think a Great Wolf Lodge would be a good idea. I don't see it taking any business away from Cedar Point because there is already a GWL in Sandusky. As you said, very few people that go to Cedar Point's Soak City aren't a resort guest. The only issue is the same one that closed Geauga Lake, that's attendance and demand. Could they support an indoor water park there? Also what happened to the old Geauga Lake hotel?

Last edited by Maverick00, Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:51 PM

Cedar Point will always be The Roller Coaster Capital of the World, regardless of the number of coasters they have.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:59 PM

I haven't been in Aurora in years so I don't know about that hotel. Also wondered if the campground nearby is still around too?

My understanding is that WWK has had a good couple of seasons. Now, is that enough for a billion dollar company? Maybe not. But, it might be enough for some smaller investors. Contrary to popular belief not every business needs to make a fortune.

I doubt the local governments can sustain it but if that waterpark and the adjacent vacant amusement park were in Florida then the property might be of interest to a municipal or county government. City of Cape Coral on the west coast of Florida operates a seasonal water park as do some of the counties in Florida. I don't know what the economy is like in Portage County these days but I'd have to think they would not want to see any additional loss of tourist dollars.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:37 PM

Maverick00 said:

I Also what happened to the old Geauga Lake hotel?

It's moving to Jackson, NJ.

The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist


Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:41 PM

I am certain that was a blanket statement. I saw Dennis and Matt several times during the show and they were never near each other. I did know, however, the man hired to bring White Water Canyon back from the dead after bankruptcy in 1999 or so.

The park has endless opportunities, but its located in a huge residential development that probaby is a few years of from maturing. Obviously the whole "Aquatica" concept can be marketed as a 'new' waterpark and packaged with Sea World and Legoland. Now less fish are in the same pond.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:14 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

The hotel is becoming an assisted living facility. That's the only property that actually sold.

The camp ground property is also owned by Cedar Fair. It was part of the auction. Dick Knoebel bought quite a bit of the campground equipment. The Knoebel's "Eagle's Nest" cabins are from Geauga Lake.

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:15 PM

854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

Thursday, November 22, 2012 12:05 AM
mlnem4s's avatar

Wouldn't it be interesting if the man who drove Six Flags to bankruptcy ends up being the once-again owner of WWK in Aurora since his new thing seems to be water parks. Hhhhmmmmm.

Thursday, November 22, 2012 9:14 PM

No reason to worry about that. Unless Cedar Fair falls into some serious financial default, they will never sell to an operator who can put rides back in. And yes, the industry dynamics have changed enough that it would take years to rebuild Geauga Lake's strong group business, CF won't take that chance.

Gary Story has walked away from both Auroa and Columbus, and it wasn't his money. He won't challenge for Ohio again anytime soon, unless its a smaller scale like Pioneer Waterland.

Friday, November 23, 2012 1:08 PM

Agent Johnson said:

I saw Dennis and Matt several times during the show and they were never near each other.

What kind of serious onclusion can anyone draw from this statement? Unless you were with one of them for the entire show, how did you type this with a straight face?

Friday, November 23, 2012 3:53 PM

Never with a straight face. In all honesty, I did speak with Matt for about 10 minutes after a seminar, and he seems to be a generally nice guy. He usually had only 1 guy with him.

I was simply stating that in the many occurences between the hotel, meeting area, and trade show floor, I never witnessed a meeting of the minds.

However, while this deal was already a done deal, much networking does go on that we never see at the show, and thats how things get rolling.


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