Locals perceive "death spiral" at Geauga Lake

Posted Thursday, March 1, 2007 9:48 AM | Contributed by Jeff

As Geauga Lake sends X-Flight to Kings Island, and puts Steel Venom to storage, some locals around the park perceive the changes as a "death spiral" for the park.

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Thursday, March 1, 2007 9:50 AM
Talk about over-reacting. This is little more than undoing what Six Flags did, which was over-build the park. Anyone who stepped into that water park knows they're on the right track.
Thursday, March 1, 2007 11:03 AM
Why does this sound like the reporter is creating a story? Like last year when CF bought the Paramount parks and there was this sudden "scare" that CF's corporate offices were going to leave Sandusky because Paramounts were located elsewhere.
Thursday, March 1, 2007 11:07 AM
They should just make this a water-only park. Then it won't compete with CP or KI.
Thursday, March 1, 2007 11:09 AM
Talking to people they are starting to wonder. My roommate who lives near the park is considering if he ever wants to go there again now that X-Flight was removed (he could care less about Steel Venom.)

CF wants to make this a Dorney, a major water park that has some rides after it gets too cold at night or later on in the season.

*** This post was edited by The Mole 3/1/2007 11:10:18 AM ***

Thursday, March 1, 2007 11:53 AM
I don't think it's unreasonable. I know plenty of people in the Cleveland area (not all enthusiasts) that are wondering what's going on with the park. Sea World removed, the death of the Halloween event, rides being dismantled left and right while others stand idle- how can you blame them? What are people supposed to think, that everything is A-OK?
Thursday, March 1, 2007 12:11 PM
<What he said.
Thursday, March 1, 2007 12:48 PM
Things weren't OK when all of those things were present. Like I said, if you went there during the summer, and the water park especially, you know there's plenty of interest, and frankly a very compelling product. There are no other water parks here.

Looking forward to getting back on a lunch regimen of Villain and Dominator rides.

Thursday, March 1, 2007 1:44 PM
Things might not have been okay but at least they may have appeared that way. It's all about perception.

Lots of rides being added = things are going well.

Lots of rides being removed = things aren't so hot.

Thursday, March 1, 2007 1:52 PM
Maybe CF is just doing a little bit of undoing so they can create a park that better suits their needs.
Thursday, March 1, 2007 1:54 PM
Didn't the population at the park spike to around 2.1 million in 2001 when the acquisition of Seaworld as well as the opening of X-Flight first occured?

Obviously, they did over-expand in an extrodinarrly short amount of time when they built a new coaster and nearly doubled their park size...

...however, with that acquisition, they actually evolved into a park that, if marketed correctly, would have been a better choice over Cedar Point or at least... a destination in & of itself because of the sheer variety of things to do, from interactive 4D shows, to the whole DC-Comic theme, to rollerocasters & a huge array of waterpark attractions, to rollerocasters & an entire animal section that was worth the price of admission alone!

...the "new" Geauga Lake wants to be like the old Geauga Lake, which it cannot be because of what Six Flags did (for better or worse). They may be taking out attractions... but if you're going to take out attractions, you should really have a master-plan even for the short-term that will at least assure guests & locals that the park is here to stay (a plan for what goes in the now-empty spots of the removed rides... a possible long-term masterplan shown to the public, etc).

Thursday, March 1, 2007 2:07 PM
That's one of my complaints- the park seems to have no master plan, it's like they're making adjustments as they go along rather than sticking with something and letting it evolve into something that works.

I have no problem with GL turning back into a large traditional park but it's going to be tough because Six Flags set the bar pretty high with a bunch of flashy new coasters. If they're going to go the smaller, family park route, at least add some more family attractions. Flat rides, a darkride, another small steel coaster... those would all work.

Too bad the original plan didn't work because you're right, the park would have had a lot to offer!

Thursday, March 1, 2007 2:17 PM
While I'll agree with you to a extent Jeff. The park was a living ghost town last time I was there. (Im talking Lakemont on a weekday type dead and this was a saturday)

Everyone was nice and such and all the rides except for S:TE were running but something was just missing and as The PResident of CF himself said to you. He underestimated the draw of the seaworld side.

Im not saying doom and gloom but if they don't do something to attract (Even the locals) it will eventually and this time you'll have a defunct amusement park with a thriving waterpark.

I consider the two separate and I think MOST GUEST DO AS WELL. I got to a waterpark or a amusement park, Rarely do my plans include both.

Thursday, March 1, 2007 2:23 PM
Same here. If I'm going to a waterpark, I make a special trip for that. I never go to an amusement park AND the park's waterpark. One of the other, and usually the other (the amusement park, that is).
Thursday, March 1, 2007 2:55 PM

...it's like they're making adjustments as they go along rather than sticking with something and letting it evolve into something that works.
But that's exactly what they're doing... evolving it into something that works.

Remember, this is a cheap company that doesn't do anything that doesn't have immediate ROI. Buying the park itself was a bargain. Now they're trying to match the attraction roster to the kind of crowds they expect to get. Geauga Lake in the "good old days" was a nice small park that operated for decades as-is with few new rides. Six Flags tried to make it a CP competitor, and learned quickly that throwing cap ex at it yielded only short-term gains. You know the rest of the story.

If the park can find its stride and settle into a million guest a year with high per cap spending, the park will be exactly what it needs to be, given the price they paid for it. I think they're well on their way.

Thursday, March 1, 2007 3:00 PM
To each their own (referring to the waterpark comments). The waterpark side of the amusement park I always considered a bonus to compliment the day as something to break up the so-called "monotony" of riding all-day long.

It was kind of a middle-of-the-day thing where you cool off after lunch in the waterpark for a few hours, and then spend the rest of the late afternoon/evening back riding the dry-rides... so to me, the waterpark is more or less a "together" part of the park. For Geauga Lake, I wouldn't even consider that all that great of a waterpark. They have a FEW nice attractions, but that's the keyword "few". What happened to the Shark Attack slides? They were kinda dented & chiped when I last saw them (riding that monorail last year). How about those old body slides? What happened to the other slide complex that was previously in Hurrican Harbor? Not much choice, especially when it gets crowded & the lines back up to 20 or 30+ minute waits.

Their previous "master plan" from 2yrs ago was to make it a two-phase waterpark... but that 2nd phase never muttered. I think it was supposed to feature all those slide complexes, among other things!

The ride side, however... I don't think ever had any kind of master-plan.

*** This post was edited by DawgByte II 3/1/2007 3:05:57 PM ***

Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:01 PM
I still kinda wonder about that second phase thing too. I was confused with the 2 phase idea because the second phase never happened, I was thinking I missed something. I think it looks like a very nice waterpark though.
Thursday, March 1, 2007 4:36 PM
Jeff - did you mean to say "this isN'T a cheap company..."?
Thursday, March 1, 2007 5:12 PM
With regard to your comment about getting the park settled into a million-guests-per-year park, why not go for the 2.1 million mark Six Flags was able to hit? What harm is there in that? I'm not one to believe that by hitting that number it implies that many of those 2.1 million were CP guests that switched to Six Flags, but even if it was, shouldn't it tell them something? If that was the case, I'd think Cedar Fair should take the hint that maybe, just maybe, the Six Flags experience was more impressive and potentially more profitable (though pacing things would've fared better).

My point is that we can call this an overreaction until we're blue in the face, but that's not going to convince those people in the general public to rethink their opinions and go back. Cedar Fair may have some game plan, but it had better be one heck of a plan to hit that 2.1 million mark, even if it means drawing some people away from Cedar Point. I'm hesitant to refer to it as sabotage, because that sounds like something an anti-CP fanboy would say, but if the SF-style experience is what the people want, give that to 'em. I know Cedar Point is the flagship and everything, but the bottom line is what counts in the end.

However, if the family park experience can draw 2.1 million a year, I'm all for whatever changes need to be made. However, if it doesn't draw that number, it's obvious GL was shortchanged to keep people in Sandusky.
*** This post was edited by sirloindude 3/1/2007 5:32:38 PM ***

Thursday, March 1, 2007 6:26 PM
No, Cedar Fair is cheap. They won't spend money on anything if they can't make reasonably sure it results in more revenue.

sirloin... I already said it, Six Flags hit 2.1 million by throwing a ton of cap ex at the park, and it was not a sustainable action. The numbers just kept falling off after that. Your suggestion that it was more profitable is insane. Don't you think they would have held on to it if that were true?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Geauga Lake has a marketing and identity problem, not a product problem.


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