Cedar Fair units up on speculation of better offer

Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:52 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Fair's unit price rose in heavy trading Wednesday, prompting speculation that Apollo Global Management might be preparing a better offer or another suitor might be courting Cedar Fair.

Read more from The Sandusky Register.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:06 PM

Let's pray ANYONE who buys Cedar Fair fires the corporate management....CEO-COO-CFO, got to go!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:37 PM

mlnem4s said:
Let's pray ANYONE who buys Cedar Fair fires the corporate management....CEO-COO-CFO, got to go!!!!

You say they should fire the COO, just wondering what he has done wrong? I'm not saying he has or hasn't I'm just curious? Or are you taking the route everyone involved in upper management must go?

Thursday, January 7, 2010 12:48 PM

Jack is Dick's "mini-me" and worked his entire career under the culture of Kinzel which is what needs to change. Listen to the most recent podcast here and you will be given an example of what Jack does/shouldn't be doing. It's not personal, it's purely business to say a clean slate is needed at Cedar Fair corporate management.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 1:26 PM

Hmm, could be Blackstone. The "no comment" statement is the next best thing to saying that "we're considering our options". If they weren't interested they'd say so.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 2:01 PM

No comment means they can't comment because they're a public company and comments in the wrong context can affect the unit price, and the SEC doesn't like that. It means nothing more.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 9:01 PM

You say they should fire the COO, just wondering what he has done wrong? I'm not saying he has or hasn't I'm just curious? Or are you taking the route everyone involved in upper management must go?

To name a few things Jack has chosen all of those nice looking uniforms you see in the park (most notably the sweeperettes'). He is also the one insisting that parks abandon their classic recongizable logos and adopt the bland Cedar Fair style font and logo. Jack sets prices on food and locker prices. He's also introduced the Maxx and Platinum Passes thus, eliminating free IPA with a regular season pass.

What's worst and least visible to the public are Jack's "consistency meetings." All local managers are required to go to Sandusky and meet with their respective counter-parts. They then argue who has the best method or process for particluar tasks (these vary by department). Jack then decides which one he likes best and then requires all the other parks to do it that way.

Falfas is all about conforming things that don't need to be conformed and it causes serious harm to efficency, employee moral, and the overall guest experience.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 10:48 PM

From everything I've heard, you're spot on. Consistency meetings. What a joke. I'm sure everyone left those feeling inspired and proud to work for such a great guy. For all the budget cutting and salary freezing they did, you'd think they could figure out a way to do those BS meetings via Webex or something. Oh wait - that probably doesn't run on a PC with Windows 98.

Oh and let's not forget...

"Check, check, check, check........"

Oh and someone should tell him his pants and his boobs are not supposed to be friends.

The one thing I do like that I think he was responsible for was bringing back human spiels. That to me was always something that made CP rides special and I was sad when that was missing for a couple years. So maybe it hasn't ALL been bad since Jack got promoted.

Last edited by MDOmnis, Thursday, January 7, 2010 10:51 PM
Thursday, January 7, 2010 11:13 PM

The question is, is that Jack, or is it Jack under the influence of Dick? He isn't the CEO yet, after all...

I don't know either of them personally. But I know Falfas has been around the company; how was he in any other position?

Oh, how the might have fallen. When Kinzel announced he was thinking about retirement, there were those who wondered if Cedar Fair could survive without him. Now some of the same voices wonder if the company can survive *with* him.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Friday, January 8, 2010 2:47 AM

Matt brings up the greatest irony, that the slow pace of technology adoption actually prevents the company from saving thousands in travel costs over the electronic conferencing that the rest of the world uses.

I've hard horror stories about consistency nonsense as well, which is one of the reasons I bring up the asinine WWCPD angle of the execs. Time and time again parks have failed because they were ordered to do something the way it's done at CP. There are efficiencies to be gained with shared resources, sure, but that has nothing to do with consistency. The only measures should be that they meet expected contribution profit and the guests have a good time. It's not more complicated than that.

Friday, January 8, 2010 7:49 AM

He's also introduced the Maxx and Platinum Passes thus, eliminating free IPA with a regular season pass.

They eliminated serving India Pale Ale? I didn't even know they served it!


Friday, January 8, 2010 10:22 AM

WOF Guy said:
... He's also introduced the Maxx and Platinum Passes thus, eliminating free IPA with a regular season pass.

You know, I was originally going to let that one slide, but...

Quite frankly, I think that's actually little more than 'enthusiass whining'.

Am I the only person who noticed that while Cedar Fair's season pass program appeared to become more stingy, first with the Geauga Lake purchase and then later with the Paramount acquisition, the reality is that as the platinum pass program was being established, my annual season pass expense actually went *down*?

The fact that any park offers admission on any other park's season pass in the first place is an innovation for which we can thank the Lococo family over at FunTime ([Geauga|Darien|Wyandot] Lake). That it was copied by Cedar Fair and later by Six Flags, then finally by most of Premier Parks is a benefit that we can all enjoy, but I would never consider that an *obligation* on the part of any park. These places are not charities, after all!

Cross-facility season passes are certainly an alien concept to Busch, Disney and Universal!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Friday, January 8, 2010 11:39 AM

Really? I had a Busch pass in 2001 that was good at all of the parks. I used it in three locations, in fact. I assume for Universal and Disney, you mean not available in the bi-coastal sense.

Friday, January 8, 2010 1:45 PM

Correct. My Universal season pass won't work in Florida, and the extra days on my non-expiring multi-day park-hopper Disney World ticket won't get me into Disneyland. And neither Disney nor Universal offers an annual pass good at all their US parks, though their passes are good for all parks within their respective resorts.

And I stand corrected on the Busch thing; they do offer (and have offered) all-park passes. Although, as with Cedar Fair, it's an upgrade to their standard season pass. A standard Busch Gardens pass won't get you into Sea World, or even into the other Busch Gardens park.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Friday, January 8, 2010 2:41 PM

and the extra days on my non-expiring multi-day park-hopper Disney World ticket won't get me into Disneyland

It's not well-advertised, but you *can* do this. You *can't* do it the other way around.


Last edited by Brian Noble, Friday, January 8, 2010 2:41 PM
Friday, January 8, 2010 3:34 PM

I think it's just smart business for a theme park chain to include all parks on a season pass (excluding destinational parks). Two things come as a benefit of this. The first thing is that you are giving the guest more perceived value. Not only does it pay for itself in so many visits, but it also gives me options to access a bunch of other locations. In most season pass holders, you won't see them actually take advantage of that, but it seems like a better deal to them.

The second beneficial part is other parks in the chain can get have a chance to bring in new guests from outside markets where they wouldn't have before. Most people are not enthusiasts, and they don't plan trips just for parks. If I am a family however that lives near Sandusky and I have a cedar fair season pass that gets me into all parks, and I am taking a family vacation the Los Angeles area, I may stop in at Knott's. Knotts wouldn't have origianlly been on the family
vacation agenda, but when I was looking at things to do on my family vacation I noticed this park and me and my family can get in for free so now it is part of the itinerary. This gets me into the park that I wouldn't have been going to in the first place and now they have my in park spending to profit from. Also Knott's is given the oppertunity to wow me and make
me want to come back, to the point that the park can become a must go to spot when planning our next family vacation.

So really this innovative bonus I see as helping sell passes by showing good value, or giving the oppertunity to receive more from the passholder, and make other properties known to the passholder with potential of return visits. I really feel that there shouldn't be an upcharge for adding all parks to the pass. I don't feel that parks who have the additional total property pass benefit as much as they would with the single price all properties automatically included. I think the market for people visiting multiple parks in a chain in one season is relatively small.

Friday, January 8, 2010 7:11 PM

It stopped being "smart business" when Cedar Fair had parks that were "close enough" to each other, and as such it would've been pretty ridiculous if they hadn't required an up-charge. CP and KI share too many people in particular (you know, the 1.3 million people who live around Columbus).

Friday, January 8, 2010 9:31 PM

^ Case in point, who wouldn't want to pay $52.99 for a Wildwater Kingdom pass and have access to CP and KI.

Upcharge is the only way to go in the case of Cedar Fair

Last edited by Bozman, Friday, January 8, 2010 9:31 PM
Friday, January 8, 2010 10:04 PM

Under the previous CF system, Wildwater Kingdom passes would only be valid at seperate gate water parks. WWK and Soak City doesn't seem to unreasonable for $52 does it?

I won't agrue that upcharging was necessary in certain markets. But the execution of the system has always been flawed. As it has been discuseed here before, Gate Central has frequently been unable to recogonize cards from other parks. If one is going to be paying a premimium for inter-park admission they shouldn't have to go through the hassle of guest services.

What is also flawed is pricing. A WOF pass is $70, half the price of a Platinum. Yet, WOF is relatively seperated from other CF parks Valleyfair being the closest. Both KI and CP have higher admission prices and are in close proximity of each other; so at these parks the $160 price tage is reasonable. Platinum Passes supposedly have to be processed at the park of purchase (the upholding of this policy has been *gasp* inconsistent). If this policy is upheld then Platinum prices should vary by park.

Last edited by WOF Guy, Friday, January 8, 2010 10:05 PM
Saturday, January 9, 2010 3:18 AM

So an extra fifty bucks, which gives you parking all season and admission at the other parks (and parking at those) isn't a good enough deal for you, and it entitles you to not be "inconvenienced" by having to take a two minutes while someone at guest services writes down your pass number? That's a pretty weak argument. Use it for parking at your home park once or twice and enter another park once and the difference is paid for.

And WOF passes sure look like a hundred bucks to me.


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