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

Monday, September 24, 2007 10:42 AM
I'm not convinced that combining Geauga Lake and Sea World into a single park was necessarily a disasterous move. Combining the two parks and believing that you could get "A + B" for total ticket sales was patently stupid, as it is obvious that many of the "A" tickets were also "B" tickets. But if you understand that and work that into your business plan, you can make it work.

Personally, I think the first gigantic error was when Six Flags re-named the park every other year. When they decided to call it a Six Flags park, it should have been "Six Flags Geauga Lake" , then "Six Flags Geauga Lake and Marine World". I think the attempt to re-brand the park probably did almost as much damage as anything else they did.

The second, and most obvious, gigantic error was when Six Flags decided to go head to head with Cedar Point when they simply didn't have the product to deliver. They promised a new Six Flags park that was "better than Cedar Point", then what they delivered wasn't even as much fun as Geauga Lake. They promised Cedar Point and delivered Geauga Lake. What they needed to do was to promise Geauga Lake and deliver Six Flags. Obviously the major investments paid off in 2000; why didn't those people return in successive years? Because they over-promised and under-delivered. For less money people could go to Cedar Point and have more fun. If they'd got their product right, those people would still be showing up in droves today.

Unlike many of the conspiracy theorists on this site, I don't think Cedar Fair bought Geauga Lake with the intention of shutting it down. I think the idea of putting a really nice waterpark over where Sea World used to be made a lot of sense, and I think they really did intend to fix up the whole park. X-Flight *had* to move, because it was in a terrible location and there was no way to fix it. Mr. Hyde's *had* to go because the ride was a pile of crap. It had already been junked by two parks before Geauga Lake got it, and from the day it was installed it didn't work right. The impulse coaster had...other problems. It was a good fit and location for the park, but I understand there were certain issues that meant it should have been somewhere else. (Wouldn't it have been neat over where the zebras were, across from the house behind Raging Wolf Bobs, just to add some life to that path?). If Six Flags had any sense at all of how to design a park, those rides would have been removed or relocated at least within the park, if not removed to other parks, after the expansion into the Sea World property.

But I do think that Geauga Lake ultimately met the same fate as the Old Indiana Fun Park revival (remember that one?). Cedar Fair basically lost interest in the project, as the bigger project of taking on the CBS parks was more interesting, more costly, and more time consuming. The ongoing project simply didn't fit into the corporate plan anymore. Which is a shame, especially knowing that if Six Flags hadn't screwed up the project in the first place, it would still be Six Flags Geauga Lake...and just about now it might be providing some real competition for Cedar Point. That would be great news for all of us!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 10:51 AM
Could've,would've,should've.It's already a done deal so hypotheticals simply don't do much to change the park's fate.

Rob,I used to live in Fairfax county VA. from 82 to 96 before moving to Prince William county Va. & in that time it has really gone downhill....not that it was really any good to start with.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 11:02 AM

Jeff said:
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.

...and again, I'm not being argumentative, just trying to point out potential flaws in your observation. But you're right, I don't live in your area so you'd likely know more than I do. But remember the point you just made next time you go spouting off on something you know very little about.


RideMan said:


Personally, I think the first gigantic error was when Six Flags re-named the park every other year. When they decided to call it a Six Flags park, it should have been "Six Flags Geauga Lake" , then "Six Flags Geauga Lake and Marine World". I think the attempt to re-brand the park probably did almost as much damage as anything else they did.


I've always felt that was a huge problem for the park. It definitely suffered an identity crisis after the 1999 season. Six Flags was trying to build on a brand name that was already tarnished, and the switch from Six Flags Ohio to Six Flags Worlds of Adventure certainly didn't help matters.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 12:01 PM
I can say that there was a lot of confusion in Pittsburgh about what the park was year to year. Six Flags and Cedar Fair never corrected the problem.
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Monday, September 24, 2007 12:05 PM
In Cedar Fair's defense, I think they tried by returning to the Geauga Lake name- the name of the park during most of it's successful history- but four years wasn't enough time to remove the dirt from its image.
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Monday, September 24, 2007 1:30 PM
Actually, Rob, Six Flags made the (erroneous, arrogant) assumption that the Six Flags brand name actually meant something in Northeast Ohio. The fact of the matter is, it didn't. One look at a map showing the locations of the Six Flags parks will tell you why. They would have been much better off calling it "Six Flags Geauga Lake" much like what they did at Darien Lake, and used the opportunity to *develop* the Six Flags brand in Ohio. They were too impatient, and they tried to go head to head with Cedar Point. Cedar Point proceeded to hand them their own head, without actually having to do anything at all.

Having thoroughly trounced Six Flags in the marketplace at Geauga Lake, is it any wonder that Cedar Fair had a challenging turnaround on their hands? I think they could have pulled it off, but they weren't patient enough either.

At least next year I get a new local waterpark. Complete with a wood coaster.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 1:47 PM
Good point, Dave. Including the one about Cedar Fair not being patient. As I've been saying, four years isn't enough. Look how long it took Carlos Ghosn to turn Nissan around. Look how long it took Steve Jobs to fix the damage done to Apple after he left. After spending so much to buy the park, you'd think more than four years of effort would have made the most sense.
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Monday, September 24, 2007 7:20 PM
I also think a major problem is that there is nothing to spend money on at some of these CF properties. Living near Knott's, I go regularly each week (year round), and shop, buy clothing, products, eat, etc. Knott's sells clothing, and I don't mean Snoopy T Shirts, but they have, for example, a Quiksilver and Roxy store. They sell Pendleton men's shirts, and cologne. They have two toy stores that sell all manner of things. You can buy English china as well as food products. I buy my bread each week from the bakery.

To support the park, and along with my annual pass discount, I do pretty much all of my gift shopping there.

I've been amazed at almost all CF parks, with the exception of CP and some of the former PP's, that unless you in to Snoopy and roller coaster T Shirts, there is nothing to buy. Even Michigan's Adventure lacks a sit down restaurant.

The per cap expenditure must be much higher at Knott's than most of the other parks, with the exception of CP.

When we went to GL, we tried to spend money by eating at the hotel restaurant, staying at the hotel, and eating at the one (sub par) sit down restaurant in the park. Apart from junky souvenirs, there was nothing I wanted to spend money on. While at Knott's yesterday, I looked around at the lines for TGIF and the Chicken Dinner Restaurant, at Johnny Rockets, and at the women buying home decor items and candles. Women buying hot chocolate and dishes, clothing, jewelery, etc. and realized GL had none of this to make up lost revenue from any attendance shortfall.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 10:21 PM

Jeff said:
The people attracted to the park were decidedly lower income than the people who live in that area. That was very plain to see.

Sounds like something a snobbish spoiled rich kid would say.So the majority of the people that went to GL was trailer trash huh?

Lower income peoples money dont spend the same as others?

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Monday, September 24, 2007 10:49 PM
Spoiled rich kid? You don't know me, anonymous coward. I grew up on food stamps, thank you very much, while my single mom worked ridiculous hours to buy me new clothes.

No, lower income "peoples" don't spend the same money, because they have less discretionary income to spend. That's an economic reality.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 10:55 PM

___________________________________ said:

Jeff said:
The people attracted to the park were decidedly lower income than the people who live in that area. That was very plain to see.

Sounds like something a snobbish spoiled rich kid would say.So the majority of the people that went to GL was trailer trash huh?


When did Jeff ever say anything about people going to Geauga Lake being trailer trash? You said that, not him.


Lower income peoples money dont spend the same as others?

Whether or not you'd like to believe it, yes. But why you would take an economic fact like that offensively, I don't know why.

Someone with a tight budget and no immediate disposable income is not going to go blow their paycheck shopping at Nordstrom or other high-end shops as somebody that does have a higher income will tend to do.

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Monday, September 24, 2007 10:59 PM
Interestingly enough, anonymous coward shares an IP address with "Ex_Westview and KW_worker." Similar e-mail address too.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 1:44 AM
^Actually, Jeff, can you implement "Anonymous Coward" into his screen name? :)
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 2:57 PM
"If Shapiro ran the show back in the early 2000's, SFWoA would still be around."

Is this True or False? I know I've been away, and there appears to be alot of discussion I missed, but my answer is "True", and I'll even add that CF stock would be about 5-10% lower than it is now had that been the case.

P.S. I like the name Six Flags Geauga Lake...place probably woulda KICKED butt.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007 3:02 PM
The answer is probably yes, although I think it's a little early to start annointing Shapiro as some kind of amusement park savior.
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