If Shapiro ran the show back in the early 2000's, SFWoA would still be around.

This is strictly my opinion but if Shapiro were CEO back when GL got flagged, we would still see SFWoA today.

Based on this, Shapiro is all for family friendly parks, not dumping a bunch of thrill coasters on a park. So when GL turned into SFO, you wouldn't have seen 4-5 coasters put in. Sure, prices would have increased, but the nature of the ride side of GL would have essentially stayed the same. Maybe a flat ride put in or some more kid friendly attractions.

When SF aquired Sea World, that would have been Shapiro's main focus. The ride side would have maybe seen one thrill coaster put in, and the animal side would have continued to thrive as what Sea World had.

I base this opinion off of what has been happening with SFDK. Shapiro bought the park outright, re-named it, re-packaged it, and now all I have heard are positive reviews of this park. And on top of that, they have competition with Great America being about the same distance as CP is to GL.

It's obviously a formula that SF can accomplish. SFWoA was the same formula as SFDK. To bad Burke was running the show when SFWoA was created. I think it would be a totally different scenario had Shapiro been behind the park in Aurora Ohio. *** Edited 9/23/2007 10:30:51 AM UTC by Chitown***

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

While one thing is for sure, CF didn't rescue it from the "evil hands of Six Flags" as everyone had thought...
^Very true,

Seems as though the do no wrong attitude that most people think that is CF is kinda wearing off a little.

i think to keep gl. i wish someone will get it back to keep gl the way it is . keeping cp from doing this to and old park like this

Quite a bit of conjecture is going on here especially for something that you can't go back in time and fix. The fact is that Six Flags had other management at this time that thought coasters would be the "be all, end all" for getting high attendance.

rich92102 said:
i think to keep gl. i wish someone will get it back to keep gl the way it is . keeping cp from doing this to and old park like this

Sadly, its too little too late.

Cedar Fair owns all the rides and probably plans to move many of them to other parks, so even if someone was able to purchase the property it would be impossible to keep it like it is.

I disagree. I still think that neither SF or Cedar Fair was the real culprit of the downfall. (Though SF is a close second for damage done) Sure, I think that Shapiro certainly would have done a better job than the SFO fiasco. But, the combination of the 2 parks was a disaster. They had a symbiotic relationship for some time. I can't quote exact numbers, but wasn't the seperate attendance of the 2 parks around 1.5 mil each. But, when combined they did only slightly better than 1.5 mil combined. That was with the wild life intact!

Would have it been possible for Geauga/Sea World to survive as a combined entity? Possible, but it would have been very difficult, IMO. Would it be possible for Geauga to survive if Sea World had just shut it's doors? Possible, but also difficult, IMO. *** Edited 9/23/2007 6:36:22 PM UTC by Peabody***

Real Cbuzz quote of the day - "The classes i take in collage are so mor adcanced then u could imagen. Dont talk about my emglihs" - Adamforce
Olsor's avatar
Is this coasterbizarro.com? Who would've thought that in 2007, people would be praising Shapiro's strategies and slamming Cedar Fair's?

Seriously, though, I'd echo Peabody's sentiment. There were far more factors in play here than just one company's ownership. There's SeaWorld, the economy in northeastern Ohio, competition from Cedar Point and Kennywood...

I mean, a year ago, we were talking about the possibility of SFMM being turned into condos. Shapiro's shown he's not afraid to ditch properties if they don't match his strategy.

I think the only thing we can say definitively is that Cedar Fair's handling of Geauga Lake was a public relations disaster from the start. Beyond that, as mentioned above, it's all speculation and conjecture.

Jeff's avatar
Shapiro has yet to show positive results. Not saying he won't get there, only that it's way too early to make a call. The fact that they ditched parks the way they did leads me to believe he would've sold the park too, and we'd be at the same outcome anyway.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

I tried to make this a short post, but ended up writing my whole perspective on recent Geauga Lake history. I think Peabody's comments about the loss of Sea World hurting makes a lot of sense.

P.S. Sorry if this ignores posts made earlier, I started writing this a few hours ago, left, and just came back now.

Here's how I see the history between Sea World and Geauga Lake. The relationship between the two parks helped out each other a lot. Geauga Lake brought in local people for the traditional experience. Sea World was the big national name brand that would bring in people from much further away. Being next to each other, it was easy for groups going to one to be exposed to and/or visit the other. I live in Columbus and doubt I would have ever even heard of Geauga Lake without Sea World.

This relationship didn't mean that combining the two had to be a failure, but it did make it a bigger risk than I think any of us appreciated. Six Flags took a chance and changed the nature of the property entirely. First they decide to try to become more than just a local park with Sea World spillover and become Six Flags Ohio. Then they purchase Sea World. This completely ended the formula the two parks had survived on for decades. The park becomes a superpark, one with a lot of rides and animals, but also without the Sea World or Shamu name and without the small, traditional, local park feel. This was at first pretty successful, brining in large numbers of people, but attendance quickly started to diminish and the small amount of profit the company was making didn't even come close to justifying the millions spent upgrading. Faced with a huge debt load and the prospect of needing to dumb millions more into the park to keep it profitable, Six Flags sells the park.

At that point, Cedar Fair bought the park. The animals weren't staying, which took away a huge expenditure. Cedar Fair didn't need and didn't want Geauga Lake to be a superpark that competed with the Point. They decided they would try to go back to Geauga Lake’s roots and become a traditional family park again. They could never rebuild what allowed the park to succeed though. Sea World and it's unique experience was gone and wasn't coming back and Geauga Lake had lost the old small park feel.

At this point, some other action needed to be taken. CF could have tried reintroducing animals. Even some cheaper ones might have had a good effect (I think this would have been a great move personally). They opted for a new waterpark. While it was successful, the rides sides still never recovered.

I personally think given enough time and smart choices they could have revitalized the area. I would have recommended giving free pop and cheap parking/food. That type of action would have given it enormous local appeal. That said, the years it would have taken to bring back the park to where it realistically needed to be probably would have made saving it a dumb decision financially speaking. If you can spread rides around and sell the land for a hundred million (or whatever) now, then it doesn't make sense to continue to spend money on improvements, while not even having an operating profit. Add in the Paramount purchase and the result was probably close to a foregone conclusion. That said, it's still a real shame and a big failure on Cedar Fair's part.

The only real "failures" on Cedar Fair's part, in my mind are:

Coming into the market and making horrendous "money saving" moves that just smacked of bad PR. Not honoring the reading program tickets was just one of a handful the commited right away. I seem to recall them having a say in the ending of the RTA service to the park and that backfiring on them as well.

Underestimating the appeal of the animals. But, I maintain that without the Internationally known "Shamu" name the animals would not have been the draw they were to Sea World. Miami has a "Seaquarium" with dophins/killer whale but it is hardly the "must see" tourist attraction down here.

Not building the publicly announced Phase II of the waterpark. (In fact, I think that may even continue to hurt them as they throw all their eggs into one basket now.)

Otherwise, much of the bed had already been made for them. The day Six Flags decided to make the two parks one gate I felt it was going to lead to disaster. The fact that they built all of those rides in one year (unprecedented in the business...and for good reason apparently). The fact that they completely let the customer service go to hell in a handbasket.

And, frankly, Anheuser Busch leaving pretty much sealed the fate. I worked at GL for 5 years and Cedar Point for 4 and I don't think even I realized the extent to which Sea World aided Geauga Lake.

Does Cedar Fair share in the failure? Yes. Do they deserve the majority of the blame? No.

I guess what I didn't understand at first was that the area surrounding the park is obviously very wealthy, so why wasn't the park being supported? Threre's nice housing, a nice lifestyle center (the term for an outdoor shopping mall) across the street etc. But, it was when we took the back way out towards Cedar Point (instead of heading back to the turnpike) that the wealth seemed not to continue in my memory.
Jeff's avatar
The people attracted to the park were decidedly lower income than the people who live in that area. That was very plain to see.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

How so? Is there actual proof of that?

Maybe, but not entirely. I know that GL attracted more than just low income people, myself included. Perhaps if they didn't charge outrageous theme park prices for everything (aside from admission), a day at the park would have been appealing to more people? It's not like wealthy people aren't attracted to amusement parks too, they just want to know they're not taking it up the you-know-what once they get in the park.

*** Edited 9/24/2007 6:10:53 AM UTC by Rob Ascough***

Jeff's avatar
Trust me, I've been there enough to know. It was always a different class of people. I work in this community.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

So you have x-ray eyes that enable you to determine the incomes of all people based solely on their appearance? That's pretty cool.
Jeff's avatar
You're being argumentative. I don't care how PC or fair it is, you can tell by looking at people, and not just because of the mullets, and you know this.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

No, I'm being realistic. And trust me, this has nothing at all to do with being PC. F*** being PC, I'll never buy into sparing peoples' feelings when it comes to telling the truth.

A lot of poor people have a certain appearance, but there are also a lot of people that care nothing about their image. I grew up in Morris County, NJ- one of the most affluent places in the entire country behind Orange County, CA and Fairfax, VA- and if you go by appearances alone, you'd be hard-pressed to believe there was anything more than a sliver of wealth floating around.

What I'm saying is that not all people appearing to be lower class are lower class, and I'm sure more than lower class people visited the park.

Geauga Lake has always brought in lower income guests from the beginning. The reason it was able to survive was because of the huge group picnics, season ticket sales (it acted as a baby sitter in the summer) and "overflow" from Sea World.

I only went to Geauga Lake once when it was operated as a separate park from Sea World. It was obviously a different level of park from Cedar Point. I remember my impression of the park being poor. My biggest memory from the park was waiting in the queue and the guests having MASSIVE sharpie markers with them so they could write their name on the wall of Double Loop - or any of the other coasters. I had NEVER seen this before at Cedar Point and was appalled.

I only returned to the park when Six Flags took over and installed all the new coasters. I went to ride coasters. The park itself still sucked - for me. But, I much preferred Cedar Point.

That's not to say Geauga Lake didn't serve a certain segment of the population - and do a good job of it. The park's demise was brought on because they tried to become something they never could - a Cedar Point. If they had stayed a local park that thrived on picnics and local season pass holders, it would have worked. But, they needed to lower the prices across the board to where they were. The guests that went there a lot couldn't afford the "new" prices - or just didn't want to.

It's just sad that now a lot of people won't have a park to go to. Then again, did they even have a park to go to recently with the new pricing structure?

Jeff's avatar
No one ever said "all" of the people going to GL were "lower class." Again, you're being argumentative. But I can tell you it wasn't the people of Solon going either. I work with them. They have kids in the schools and go to athletic boosters meetings and other such community stuff. Make all the arguments and what ifs and maybes you want, but I'm around these people every day. I'd like to think I have a more informed opinion.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

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