Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 7:55 PM | Contributed by CoastersNSich
After only one year, Paramount's Kings Island officials announced Monday they will cancel WinterFest because of disappointing attendance in 2005, said Maureen Kaiser, spokeswoman for the park.
Read more from The Dayton Daily News.
Everyone keeps talking about how it is too cold to be outside. I'm not sure that is true. I live in mid-Michigan and our winters are even a little worse here than in the Cincinnati area (I used to live there). Yet the local zoos all have holiday lights displays. I have seen plenty of people at both the Lansing and Saginaw zoos for those events. I have also been to Crossroads Village in Flint (a kind of "historical village" park) for their Christmas event several years running. They run their antique Ferris wheel even in the coldest weather and people ride it. (It's pretty cool looking out over the frozen lake from the top of the Ferris wheel by moonlight.) I always see lots of people when I go. On our trip three winters ago, it was actually after Christmas (Dec. 26) and so many people turned up they had to offer an unscheduled extra train tour at the end of the night to accommodate demand. Two winters ago we also went on Dec. 26, and there were a lot of people there even though the temperature was -17F! (I'm not exaggerating -- we saw the temperature on a bank sign as we were leaving.)
I think people do like strolling outdoors and looking at holiday displays provided there are places to warm up now and then. I'm not disputing that Winterfest was poorly attended; I'm just disputing that the cold weather was the primary reason.
But.. We all know the cancelation was due to the numbers. The question is, is why were the numbers so low? Did the word not get out as fast? Was it too expensive? Or are people just too busy around the holidays to devote 5 or 6 hours to something like this?
It works at Dollywood, because frankly, the park is right smack dab in a tourist town which is still crawling with tourists in December, and it's an additional benefit. Plus, they market it well and have a much different clientel.
The zoo lights work because you only really spend a couple hours there... unless your an Ice Skater and you spend a couple more... at least at the Columbus Zoo.
Here are some pictures of the event...
Also, the web page is still up for the 2005 winterfest...
Those with enthusiast expectations about how things should be done are in for some major let-downs in the present and near-future. I include myself in this. Any time a new management takes control, the first thing they do is look for ways to increase profits. If this means opening at 10:00 am instead of 9:00 am---then so-be-it.
There is an argument to be made about the short-sightedness of it all, but we live in an instant gratification era. Only time will tell if this is a mistake or not. Of course how would we even know?
On a side note...I still enjoy KBF (was there Sat)...but have indeed seen a gradual decline in "atmosphere" since Cedar Fair took over. I also think the TTD "mistake" ended up being a blow (major?) to the mother ship. I still think they are a company that will straighten things out in the long run, but must admit that there are signs that make me wonder what direction Cedar Fair wants to go. They are by no means at Six Flag levels, but I cannot help but think they are trending that direction more than the Disney experience. Is this the smart direction to trend? Could be that the local economies make this so...?
Winterfest means nothing in terms of short term profits. I wonder if something like this will upset enough people to have an affect long term? I doubt it does. The enthusiast in me who is more concerned with operations and park experience hopes that cuts like this come back to bite these parks in the arse... The business guy in me totally understands the move.
We're not privy to all of the particulars about budget versus revenue, but the company as a whole has been quick to expand events that make money. Look at the growth of Halloweekends in some of the parks.
Speaking of Halloween events. I was talking to the Silver Bullet (KBF) operator Saturday and he informed me that this past Monday they already started building one of the houses/mazes. Must be a big money-maker if they are starting already!
Now one can make the argument that Paramount is not Cedar Fair yes, but in this case you would have to almost assume that PKI and CF are equal. I would understand this whole thing if PKI made the decision earlier and before CF buy out. BUT it didn't happen, and one would have to assume PKI saw something in their product to continue it for another year. Even PKI wouldn't do something if they weren't making money at it. So why did PKI choose to continue it? And why did CF discontinue it? Did one say, yeah it's going to make us money, and the other say no it's not?
I just think CF jumped the gun WAY WAY to quick on this one. Much like they did with GL and the animals, and the school discounts, and the reading programs, etc.
Now granted, I also know sometimes you have to just start hacking to fix things, but fixing it by axing it was NOT the way to go. I personally would like to have seen some really great Christmas commercials advertising it. And yes, people who put on one heck of a Christmas display/performance bring out the people by the 1000's here in Ohio. A PRIME example is the Columbus Zoo lights....WoW!
For anyone who hasn't been there, here is also a video of it: http://ohiothemeparks.homestead.com/CoasterMoviesWinterFest.html
*** This post was edited by RollerCoasterGod 7/26/2006 2:39:58 AM ***
"Even PKI wouldn't do something if they weren't making money at it."
And you know this how? Dude, you don't know what's on the books. Maybe they were taking a loss and figured, "We'll do better next year." If that were the case, you can sure bet Cedar Fair would cut it. They've got a lot of debt to service.
anyways, midwest winters are very ideal to be pulling a disney christmas.
Zing! I brought back another throwback “rollback” thread. (I apologize ahead of time if I caused confusion- Winterfest is NOT cancelled- this is from 2006)
I heard that Kinzel Corporate did not want employees working over the holidays as it had been a long tradition in Cedar Fair culture and the decision was more ”we have enough on our plate with this acquisition...”
This has always been a Zimmerman event. He was responsible for it when he was with Paramount.
How has attendance been at these events now that they are at multiple parks in the chain?Last edited by Tilt-A-Whirl, Tuesday, July 23, 2019 10:24 PM
Carowinds’ version seems to do well. I went the first year, it was packed, haven’t been back. And they expanded it last year and seem poised to do so again this year.
Honestly, SCarowinds and Winterfest both seem to be big money makers here. Gone are the days of going to SCarowinds early in September on a Friday nite and not having a crowd. Good for them. Meh for me.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
We're looking at braving the SCarowinds crowds this year. Might even make it a multi-day affair.
I usually go a few times just to get all the mazes in. I don’t bother with rides anymore. I used to go on Friday nite and there were no lines. Not. Any. More.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Went to Winterfest at KI last year for the New Years weekend and it had a pretty big crowd both nights. We weren't able to get everything done in one night.
Thanks for the heart attack since we just booked Great Wolf in Mason for the weekend after Thanksgiving last night.
Promoter of fog.
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