Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 10:46 AM | Contributed by RollerCoasterGod
A year after Cedar Fair LP purchased Geauga Lake and invested millions in a promising new water park there, the property still isn't living up to expectations. CEO Dick Kinzel said he underestimated the attraction of the animals that Six Flags and Sea World had. The park's July attendance was, however, up 7% over last year.
Read more from The Akron Beacon Journal.
But, 7% over last year's truly dismal attendance might still be well short of the projections that justified the purchase.
Word is getting out around here about the water park too. I think they have nowhere to go but up.
Although attendance and financials are the bottom line. I'm sure exit surveys would show people seem to like the place a lot better and are more likely to return and tell others about the changes - which will go a long way towards helping them meet their goals.
Ray P. (who is glad there is a guy like Mr. Spehn in charge at GL... he gets things done!)
Dorney's big draw is their water park, with rides being a secondary thing for the general public (my brother lives 45 minutes away, and I get weekly reports on what the crowds have been like), and I foresee the same for Geauga Lake.
I've REALLY been enjoying the park quite a bit this year. Put in a hyper coaster, and I may never again drive the extra hour to Cedar Point.
With the combined parks, one could still spend 2 days, but the quality of the wildlife side was jeopardized.
Now its an amusement park with a water park. Nothing unique if you are in the Cleveland or Columbus market over nearby cedar point except price. Nothing unique over Kings Island worth making the longer trip if you are in the Cinti market.*** This post was edited by super7* 8/5/2005 4:03:53 PM ***
BUT...A lot of people liked the animals. They now have no appealing draw beyond regional location. This park had a unique situation in which it could differentiate itself if done correctly. They chose to go the route that every other regional park has done before. It better be one heck of a waterpark to get people to travel...
I realize that animlas are not CF's business and can appreciate that they do not want to do what they are not good at. I just think that the animal/waterpark/amusement park combination COULD have been a huge success if done correctly!
At the very least, CF has stepped in and taken away (blocked) the threat of competition. Even if GL never reaches projections, it might still be better off in CF's hands than with another operator who was willing, and had the means to facilitate the animal park/waterpark/amusement park combination! Six Flags was never a threat to CF. The "unknown" could have been...?
1. "Six Flags ran the park into the ground"- Well SF did have a higher attendance figure and until CF surpasses that I do not think that idea is valid.
2. " CF stole SFWOA (GL)" Really, I believe that if you could walk down the halls in OK City you might find more than one Exec who is glad they are out of that market. The Ohio market is way oversold. If GL had not been a bargain to start with I do not think that SF would have bought it. Even Busch (who run very nice Parks) got out of that Market. What does that tell you ?
3. " SFWOA was never a threat to CP". Why did CF buy this Park then ? According to some on this sight it was only a small matter of time until Six Flags ran this Park into the ground and out of business. So why would CF buy this Park for even 145 mil ?
4. Since you guys are local can you tell me, How long will it take for GL to win back the business and trust of the Unions they upset? Will it take awhile or will it cool off pretty quick?
Do not get me wrong I have a huge list of things about SF I do not like and CF has great Parks. But they are not perfect and saying that means that you will try to do better. JMHO
I don't know nearly as much about CF or the area as some of these guys, but here's my take:
1. That just works under the assumption that SFWOA's numbers would have stayed flat. I see it the other way, SFWOA would have had the same low attendance numbers if the park remained with SF for another season or two (which is exactly why the park was sold) - CF now has the task of stopping the runaway bus and then pushing it back uphill. They're just now starting to slow it. On a side note, even if they numbers are lower as long as the park turns a profit, then CF is better off with than without the park.
2. Stole it in the sense of even if they shut the gate the day they bought it, spread the rides to the rest of the parks in the chain, then sold the land to housing developers, they would have come out WAY ahead of the $145m they paid. That land and the rides on it along were worth much more than the selling price. That's a steal.
3. Number two explains it very well. They bought the land and rides at bargain basement prices. On top of that business isn't just about being the last man standing, it's about incresing your own numbers. CF is in a much better position as a company with after acquiring those assets as such a low price than if they just sat by and watched SF close the door.
4. I'm not local, I have no idea what the deal with that is and frankly don't care. As to avoid an offtopic, heated discussion, I'll spare my opinion on unions, union labor and such. :)
MY logic dictates that SF did 4 years worth of damage to the park and it's reputation, I'd give CF at least 4 years to get back to square one. (and I'm one who thought SF made all the right moves in terms of what they did with the property, if only the operations side of things would have held up their end then the Ohio market would be vastly different today)
If that made it valuable, why did Busch sell it? There's very little left on that property from that era other than general infrastructure.
its a shame that it has taken all this time to realize the value of an Anheuser Busch Property in your backyard.
No and no. They don't want to be more than a regional destination, they've said that over and over. The company has one of those with hundreds of hotel rooms 90 minutes away. Differentiation in the region didn't work for Busch in the long run, it didn't work for Six Flags, what makes you think it would've worked for anyone given the market?
BUT...A lot of people liked the animals. They now have no appealing draw beyond regional location. This park had a unique situation in which it could differentiate itself if done correctly.
Ummm... because the price was right and investors like it when you grow your business?
Why did CF buy this Park then ?
The union thing isn't as relevant as you think. That's a done deal. The public in general already is coming back, and the word is spreading quickly. A 7% boost in July is nothing to sneeze at for opening a half-finished water park.
If I was a betting man, I'd say it's a three-year turn around, not counting last year. The price is right, the marketing message is right and the product is right. Another Dorney is exactly what they'll be.
On the subject of geauga lake, C. F. has clearly stated Geauga Lake is not a destination park but a family park, hoping to draw in local crowds and have season pass holders. It is meant to be a compliment to Cedar point as an allternative for the north eastern ohio area. The water park is meant to be a family draw.
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