Cedar Fair's Conference Call

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 4:42 PM
From CF's Q4/FY 2004 conference call:

--Long story short, attendance down/spending up. With the exception of KBF, which had a 2% increase in attendance, coupled with a 5% increase in per capita spending. The overall result (chain-wide) was a 6% increase in revenue.

--Costs were up 10%, but if you factor out GL, costs were up only 2%. That tells me they threw a LOT of resources at trying to stop the slide at GL...

--Waterpark attendance was down 11%.

--Q4 was really strong due to Fall marketing program (Halloween events) and stong occupancy at Castaway Bay. October attendance was up 4%.

--As we already knew, attendance was terrible at GL, but per-cap spending was up 10%. (The highest of any park...)

--They were really big on the performance of Castaway Bay, noting that most of expected revenue growth in upcoming years "will come from the resort side."

--Kinzel pretty much reflected the question about Viacom selling their parks, saying "our strategy regarding expansion remains the same...", and saying they'll look at anything that may be a good fit. *** Edited 3/15/2005 9:49:40 PM UTC by JZarley***

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 5:20 PM
The high per-cap spending at GL is almost to be expected, especially considering that it is the park's first year under the "new" name. I mean, all the guests that had been to it when it was SFWoA want to have the latest and greatest in tshirts and what not with the new park name/logo. I'd be willing to bet that per-cap spending at GL will gradually decline until it is at the same level as the other parks.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 5:43 PM

needless quotation removed

Of course, anytime you make an acquisition like that there's going to be associated costs. (Especially when you "de-brand" a park, like was done at GL.)

From my calculations, the additional operating costs associated with GL this season were $27.76M (80% of $34.7M increased costs).

Another lesson that when buying something, it always costs more than the "price." *** Edited 3/16/2005 4:04:44 AM UTC by Jeff***

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 5:56 PM
Another thing to consider with the high Guest Per -Cap, is that when there are no lines, people have more time for shopping and spending money.

The whole idea behind high capacity rides is to get people back out onto the midway as soon as possible. You make alot more money when people aren't stuck in a line somewhere.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 5:57 PM
Well, they weren't going to run the place for free! :) Paying 3,000 or whatever employees for the entire summer probably costs 12-15 million or maybe more. That doesn't count full timers, electricity, water, etc.

My feeling is that Cedar Fair parks relly can't be operated much cheaper than they are right now without it really starting to hurt the guest experience. They've gotten cheaper and cheaper at Cedar Point over the past 4-5 years and it shows. It's not horribly bad yet, but hopefully with Keller gone, the slow downhill slide of the greatest amusement park in the world will stop.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 6:08 PM

MDOmnis said:
Well, they weren't going to run the place for free! Paying 3,000 or whatever employees for the entire summer probably costs 12-15 million or maybe more. That doesn't count full timers, electricity, water, etc.

That's an excellent point...I was thinking of it more as comp costs, or as a comparison to revenue. But, if you look at it as just raw dollars, it makes a lot more sense.

I guess I'm guilty of overthinking it... *** Edited 3/15/2005 11:08:52 PM UTC by JZarley***

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