Kennywood....Corporate or Family?

Tuesday, July 23, 2002 7:42 AM
I was told not long ago that Kennywood is Corporate. Is this true? They have the best staff.

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Drive It Like You Stole It!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 7:58 AM

"KennyCorp" owns Idlewild, Lake Compounce, Sandcastle Park, and of course Kennywood Park.

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"There's nothing sweeter than a bowling ball with a liquid center" - Homer Simpson

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 8:06 AM
I'd call it "family corporate". It's still the family atmosphere and everything, they just own a couple other parks. KennyCorp does sound corporate, but I don't think it's corporate like SF, CF, or Paramount.

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Hi, I'm here to talk about coasters, if you are not, shut up and leave.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 8:19 AM

Disney is corporate too, and they have some of the nicest employees anywhere.

How a company is organized really doesn't have anything to do with the service they provide.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
7/27: Subdivision Cam becomes party cam at the year's hottest Ohio luau!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 9:02 AM
"Kennycorp" is a corporate based on Kennywood, therefore has more of a family feel to it.

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Steel - #1 Mantis, #2 Millie, #3 Wicked Twister ||| Wood - #1 Thunderbolt, #2 Villain, #3 Beast
"The key to a happy life is moderation" -- Jon Stewart

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 9:09 AM

What I look for in determining if a company is "corporate" or not is the chain of command. Similarly, does the company practice empowerment?

In my experiences at Disney, I often can get resolution to a problem with the "clerk" as opposed to his/her manager. If that person has to talk to a manager who has to talk to another manager and so on it starts to feel corporate.

Internally, it works the same way. I work for a relatively small company but I rarely, if ever, see the "leaders" of the company. If the GM of an amusement park is not recognized by the staff then it might be taking on corporate tendencies.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 9:54 AM

Actually, the company name is Kennywood Entertainment Company, Ltd.

The current President, Harry Henninger, is from a long line of Henninger's that date back to the founding of the park. I believe it was his grandfather that was part of the formation of the park when they bought the property from the Kenny family. It's all in the Kennywood book.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 10:13 AM

I worked for a public company once (Penton Media) where the CEO was about as inaccessible as they come. He wasn't interested in what anyone down the line had to say. Never liked the guy.

On the other hand, as a unit holder of Cedar Fair, I've never found Dick Kinzel to be inaccessible. I'm not saying the guy will take my call or anything, but if I stop by to say hello he won't blow me off and he'll be happy to get my feedback. Even seasonals have had conversations with him.

Sadly, FUN is worth a hell of a lot more than PME is right about now, but the company culture has everything to do with their success or failure.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
7/27: Subdivision Cam becomes party cam at the year's hottest Ohio luau!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 11:26 AM
To answer KennywoodPhanatics question: Technically the answer is both! The park is a corporation for legal purposes. It has a CEO (Carl Hughes) and shareholders. But its shares not publically traded like Cedar Fair and Six Flags, nor are there millions of shares out there.

The family part comes from the fact that there are only a few shareholders and they are all part of the Henninger and McSwigan families who have owned Kennywood for quite some time.

In my opinion, this set up, combined with the history and tradition of Kennywood is what rubs off onto the employees and makes it such a great place. In my experiences, the management is alwas accessable and willing to listen.

As for the sister parks, from what I understand Kennywood does not OWN Lake Compounce. The park is owned by a group of investors. Kennywood has the rights to manage the park and run it.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 11:34 AM
They don't have the rights to manage. They are PAID to manage, as is the case with Cedar Fair and the Camp Snoopy at Mall of America.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 11:35 AM
I never knew they owned those parks. For some reason unless the name like SIx Flags pops up in every park name it doesn't feel corporate.

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Sean

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 12:18 PM
Yes, SFgadvMAN, Kennywood bought Idlewild Park from the its longtime owners, the MacDonald family in 1983 and Sandcastle was built from scratch in 1989/1990. Here are some more useless bits of information: the small (3-par, I think) golf course across Rt. 30 from Idlewild is also owned by the company. And Kennywood also owns Stratigos catering, who has been the long-time caterer for picnics and other events at the three Pittsburgh parks.

I also have heard that all of the Kennywood Corp. parks sort of run independently. As I understand it, all the revenue one park earns in a season stays at that park to pay for future rides and attractions. So if Sandcastle has a bad summer, it doesn't leech off of Kennywood and Idlewild's money. But I don't know how true this is. Does anyone else have an understanding of this????

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 12:22 PM
If you read the article in the "News" right now about Compounce, at least it's first season could not have been off its own revenue - had to be some revenue from Sandcastle, Kennywood and Idlewild going into that. But other than that one season to get Compounce on its feet, that sounds like its the way things work, judging by the way the four parks seem to get new attractions based on attendance figures for each park.

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Steel - #1 Mantis, #2 Millie, #3 Wicked Twister ||| Wood - #1 Thunderbolt, #2 Villain, #3 Beast
"The key to a happy life is moderation" -- Jon Stewart

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 12:26 PM
Judging from what Compounce is getting for 2003, the park is doing just fine ;-)

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"There's nothing sweeter than a bowling ball with a liquid center" - Homer Simpson

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 12:36 PM
PittDesigner: I didn't mention Lake Compounce on purpose because I really don't understand how Kennywood's arrangement with the investors works out. As I said before, and wahoo skipper clarified, Kennywood is paid to manage and run the park, but they don't own it. But I think you are right, some revenue from the other parks did go to pay for the LC investment.

What this means for the new attractions, I don't know. Sure, they moved the Phantom Flyers from Kennywood to LC. And if Kennywood and the investors decide to break off the relationship, Kennywood can take the Flyers back. But what about Boulder Dash? I don't see Kennywood trucking used lumber all the way back to Penna. if they stop managing LC.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 1:35 PM
I think the word " corporation " is tricky. Current laws and financing practices make it wise for everyone to incorporate. Family hardware stores, drive in movies and restaurants are incorporated. Writers, wilderness guides and fishing outfitters are incorporated. So the fact that the two families who own and manage Kennywood have incorporated means little. What means a lot is that their offices are inside the park boundaries, they walk the park and mingle with the crowds, and if you write one of them a letter he'll answer it himself.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 1:49 PM

Okay, here's the technical side:

Lake Compounce: managed, but not owned, by Kennywood. Still financially tied to the park, though.

Idlewild: owned by Kennywood outright.

Sandcastle: not owned by Kennywood, but rather owned by the same group of people who own Kennywood. There's a distinction there.

Stratigo's (now known as StratWood) catering: owned by Kennywood Refreshment Company...

Kennywood Refreshment Company: operates the park's food and beverage services, not owned by the park, but by members of the same family. Technically, an independent company.

You can call it corporate if you like, but the fact remains that it is still a family owned, private company with no outside investors.

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"When I was growing up, we were taught something called manners. You'd understand that if you weren't such an idiot." - Jack Handey

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 3:26 PM
Compounce has been something new every year since1995, and Im happy with that, but why does it seem that Idlewild does get a big attraction boost like Kennywood or Compounce? I know it not a big place, but when a gonna' recieve atleast one note worthy ride? The favorite is still the old Splashdown, and that was one of the first rides in the park, way before KennyCorp came in.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 3:32 PM

Lake Compounce Timeline

1996-Splash Harbor added to water park

1997-Zoomerang, Kiddie Coaster

1998-Sky Coaster or Top Spin(which was it?)

1999-Ghost Hunt

2000-Boulder Dash

---------------------Six Flags New England comes in 2000

2001-Mamooth Falls

2002-Freee sunscreen and sodas throughout the park

It seems as if Lake Compoune has expanded pretty well with multiple major rides for consecutive years. I would never think that the flow would stop. The reason for joining with Kennywood six years ago was to expand on the park while keeping its classic appeal.

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Lake Compounce-So Fresh and So Clean Clean

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Tuesday, July 23, 2002 3:50 PM
ummm you're timeline isn't correct. Splash harbors was definitely 98 and I think the Top Spin and all that cool stuff was in 97.
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