Hersheypark in negotiations to purchase Dutch Wonderland

Posted Friday, May 11, 2001 5:56 AM | Contributed by Agent Johnson

The Clark family, citing changes in the family ownership structure, have begun negotiations to to sell the amusement complex, neighboring movie theatres, and an adjacent campground to Hersheypark. The deal, whether it goes through or not, will be decided by June 1st.

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Friday, May 11, 2001 6:36 AM
They are so close to each other. I don't understand why Hershey would do this.
Friday, May 11, 2001 6:37 AM
Interesting........CCI's debut coaster surrounded by dancing chocolate!!

Scale model coasters and rides.....
Friday, May 11, 2001 6:43 AM
Hershey has already purchased Dutch Wonderland. It was in the news earlier this week.

Hi, my name is Eric, and I am a coaster junkie.
Friday, May 11, 2001 9:07 AM
Hershey has been a good neighbor. You would not want Six Flags Lancaster next door.
Friday, May 11, 2001 3:13 PM
Hershey Parks parent company, Herco, is not an amusement park chain such as Six Flags, Paramount, or Cedar Fair. Herco is a company whose business is to run the Hershey area entertainments begun by Milton Hershey. These include Hershey Park, the Hershey Bears ice hockey team, the Hershey hotels, and the Hershey arena. In this light the adding of another entertainment property in the same area makes perfect sense.
Friday, May 11, 2001 6:49 PM
From reading the article in Amusement Business, the Clark family has decided to put their emphasis on their other properties. Dutch Wonderland and Hersheypark have co-existed and complimented each other since DW was built. IMO it is the logical choice given the situation.
Saturday, May 12, 2001 6:53 AM
I posted a news article about this about 5- 7 days ago, and Jeff never published it. That makes me feel good.
Saturday, May 12, 2001 5:42 PM
Well herco used to be a "park chain" they used to run Lake Compounce in Connecticut
Sunday, May 13, 2001 9:47 AM
That was a short lived contract, due to the difficulties of dealing not only with the creditors, but also with three different municipalities in which the park is located. These problems have been resolved by Kennywood Entertainment.
Sunday, May 13, 2001 12:49 PM
This is a good thing. Hopefully, this park will get some nice new rides every once in a while.

Monday, May 14, 2001 4:32 AM
Now that I think of it, this reminds me a lot of what Kennywood did, and suddenly it makes a lot more sense.

The idea here ISN'T to turn Dutch Wonderland into a major theme park, instead the idea is to keep somebody ELSE from turning Dutch Wonderland into a major theme park.

But it isn't that sinister, for evidence look at the Idlewild story. Idlewild is a park, not that much different from Dutch Wonderland, that is a short distance away from Kennywood. Idlewild is a huge park, that has decided to remain traditional and in fact most of their grounds are more scenic than ride populated. What rides Idlewild has are designed as whole-family experiences.

Dutch Wonderland is very similar, with containing a lot of whole-family rides, nothing too thrilling, as well as a lot of area to walk through and explore, including that huge garden in the back of the park.

It was once said that Kennywood bought Idlewild because it was close, and it had enough land that if someone wanted to, they could have reworked it into a major theme park. Which could have overshadowed and threatened Kennywoods viability, as Kennywood is a traditional park that does a mighty fine job of holding onto the past, while embracing the future.

I wonder if the same situation may have existed with Hersheypark, because a lot of the gardens and tranquil areas of Dutch Wonderland could be converted into a major thrill park. (And who knows if DW is holding onto a multitude of acres they aren't even using). I see Herhsey purchasing DW, maybe converting the Castle Gift Shop into a Hershey World and billing the park as a sister attraction for families with small kids. They may add some attractions but I forsee them keeping it as a more laid back children's type of park.


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