My take on CCI

Friday, July 19, 2002 7:34 AM

[my apologies to Jeff. I was off-line all day yesterday and thought my comments would be lost amongst all the uproar, hence a new thread. I'll understand if this gets closed]

I began reading the thread that accompanied the news item and, as I suspected, many enthusiasts were depressed or saddened by the news. Frankly when I found out last week that CCI had closed I was neither surprised nor saddened.

Bigger picture: remember that CCI itself is a "child" of another prolific coaster company, Summer-Dinn, and that GCI was started by ex-CCI employees. The end of CCI does not signify the end of wooden coasters, nor is it the end of great wooden coasters. These people will end up elsewhere, either joining another company or starting a new one. And just as those coasters built by CCI are generally more beloved than those built by its predecessor [Herculer, Mean Streak, TX Giant to name three] its entirely possible that as great as Raven, Legend, Shivering Timbers, Bouderdash, Tonnerre d'Zeus and others are that we have only begun to see just a tip of the iceberg.

A new golden age of even greater wood coasters could be on the horizon! I wish those at CCI the brightest of futures and look forward with anticipation to the great things yet to come ;-)

Matthew

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

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Friday, July 19, 2002 7:44 AM

Perhaps, but my thoughts are that the market just isn't looking for more rides, for now anyway. I mean, it sounds like they were giving the things away, which hardly secures your future when you've tapped out your market.

I think we might just see a lack of wood coasters for awhile.

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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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Friday, July 19, 2002 7:56 AM
Agreed, Jeff. I didn't mean to insinuate that seeing new, greater coasters from those people would all happen overnight. We've seen a downtrend for new wood [well, new coasters period] since 2000 and fully expect that trend to continue for a few years.

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

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Friday, July 19, 2002 7:57 AM

The problem with woodies is that they don't seem to be a big draw. They can sustain a smaller park (HW, Mia) decently, but I have a hard time thinking of a great woodie at a large park (other than the Beast). Viper at SFGAm was wonderful, but if you took it out of the park I doubt it would affect attendance one bit.

PKI was the last corporate park to heavily promote a woodie (SOB) and it doesn't seem like that was a great success? Maybe someone with closer ties to the park would know if Sonny greatly affected attendance there.

The GP is all about higher, faster, and bigger, and with wood that doesn't necessarily mean better. I doubt we'll see a corporate park build a stateside woodie anytime soon.

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No love for the whiners

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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:06 AM
Exactly. Enthusiasts are really the only large group of people who love woodies. (Save Beginners) Parks don't build for enthusiasts, even though it may seem that way sometimes. (Countless "What Park X really needs" threads pop up all the time) With CCI's departure we'll see less of the coasters we really love. Many small parks build around CCI- IB, HW, and BCK&C, just to name a few. With CCI gone will these parks turn to GCI? That's one of the most sensible alternatives if those parks are looking to build more wood.

*** This post was edited by BullGuy on 7/19/2002. ***

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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:09 AM
Mark B - the SF property near Seattle is building a woodie next year. Sure, one could argue its a pretty small property, but it *is* corporate ;-)

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

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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:10 AM
everyone is forgetting about intamin and their great woodies!
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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:13 AM

My *opinion* is that the GP doesn't really have a lot of love for wooden coasters based on the reputation that so many of them are "rough and rickety". If all the woodies got the love and attention of certain wooden coasters (ahem, HW)....then wooden coasters wouldn't have that rep. Sure, you can't do all the "acrobatics" that you can on a steel coaster, but a well-maintained woodie can be as smooth and powerful as anything. If more woodies were maintained like THOSE, then wood would have a better rep overall, and more NEW wood would appear on the scene.....then again, the market really IS kinda saturated....except for the NW and the NM/AZ area.....

Also thinking of two corproate parks that REALLY have a BAD need for some good wood....SFGAdv and PGA.....

*** This post was edited by rollergator on 7/19/2002. ***

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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:32 AM

I don't think we'll be seeing too many wood coasters popping up in the near future, for two reasons:

1. The majority of the "big parks" already have what they need, which is usually one or two wood coasters. As Mark said, a new woodie isn't really a huge event for a larger park. There are exceptions, of course, such as Lightning Racer, but the trend is bigger and faster. Bigger and faster generally means steel.

2. How many "small parks" are left that are in the market for new wood? And when these small parks are in the market for new wood, who will provide it for the price that CCI did? I know that GCI's coasters cost significatly more than CCI's did, and we can't be certain that just because CCI isn't there to provide the cheaper product that GCI (or whoever) will. Nor can we be certain that the parks will be willing to pony up the extra loot, which leads me to my next question....

Was CCI so prolific because they filled a niche, or did they create their own niche? In other words, did CCI just happen to "luck out" and exist at a time when many small parks were looking for the product they offered, or did the product CCI offered create the demand?

Discuss. :)

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"Look outside, I know that you'll recognize it's summertime." - The Flaming Lips "It's Summertime (throbbing orange pallbearers)"

*** This post was edited by chris on 7/19/2002. ***

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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:46 AM

the second...people looking for a new coaster wanted one cheap, and fast, and something that really pleased the customers with a great ride....they rode a CCI (probably not TS/TT at SFKK) and decided CCI was what they wanted.

bill, happy that Wild Adventures picked up a CCI at exactly 100 miles from home...:)

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Friday, July 19, 2002 8:50 AM

Well, GCI has already at least 2 new woodies on tap for 2003 and more should surface. And that doesn't include their re-tracking work and maintenance training which they always do alot of. Also, expect Intamin to step in and fill in CCI's production (2-3 woodies a year) in the US beginning as early as next season.

Six Flags stopped buying from CCI over 2 years ago due to the issues with the rolling stock CCI was recommending. When the world's largest chain doesn't buy from you anymore, it hurts no matter how many small parks you sell to. Add to the fact that CCI's coasters are very underpriced, and you have trouble for the US woodie maker. GCI's line of business is much more diversified as is Intamin's. Expect them both to pick up the slack.

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WCUSA-The World's largest theme park is coming!
Theme parks will NEVER be the same!

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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:06 AM
Well, it's very true that the market for woodies is on the downfall. The only real way to draw a large amount of people for a woodie iks something like SoB, which we won't see many of for obvious reasons. I have no doubt there will be a company that will step up and offer a cheaper wooden coaster for smaller parks, whether it be a larger company already in existence, or a new company that will pop up. The question really isn't who, it's when.

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

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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:07 AM

Since every other coaster company offers their own rolling stock, this leave PTC in the cold when it comes to new installations. Perhaps Tom Rebbie should dust off those old PTC coaster plans, hire an engineer, and get back in the coaster business?

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

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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:10 AM

'moosh, I said to Jill last nite on the drive home that I need to find a job in the Philly area following just that line of reasoning....

But I will bet that the G-trains will be a lot less prevalent in the future....;)

*** This post was edited by rollergator on 7/19/2002. ***

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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:38 AM
In some ways I think Intamin's wood coasters will go over well with parks. Maintenance costs should be much lower than a traditional laminated track. However, what type of a ride do they give? I've heard that they feel much more like a steel coaster than a traditional wood coaster. Can anyone verify that?
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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:38 AM
Coasterworks was selling big Woodies like Dania Beach Hurricanefor only 500 thousand, but where are they now? t just seems like the GP doesn't was wood any more.

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I'm sitting shiva for CCI.

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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:39 AM

Chris' comments about small parks is right on. I mean, they've constituted most of CCI's business the last two years. Heck, aside from the small handful of Six Flags rides, small parks were all of their business. Even if it's a $2 million ride (Cliff's was allegedly even less than that), where is the profit? Again, I'm no expert on the cost for materials, but just subtracting salaries out of that drains the number pretty quick.

Without the small parks' needs for more rides, the market is tapped, game over.

I am not however convinced that the wood rides are not a draw overall. They get constant attention on the TV (anyone else not been on Ghostrider but know it by hear?) and being less intimidating, probably have greater ridership. I know my parents love something, say, Blue Streak sized, but won't ride Millennium Force.

There is a market, but I don't know that the big parks have identified it.

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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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Friday, July 19, 2002 9:52 AM

gator 1 - True, but I gues what I was getting at was this: Were those small parks that bought the CCIs really looking for a wood coaster (or any coaster, for that matter), or did they get one simply because CCI's existence made it possible? If CCI hadn't existed, would places like Indiana Beach, Holiday World, Silverwood, and Big Chief's have multiple wood coaster instalations?

Chris Godsey - I hope you're right, but I just don't see it happening. How many larger parks can we expect to be in the market for wood coasers, and if they are, for how long could it last?

I also think you're putting too much emphasis on Six Flag's importance. How many instalations are at Six Flags properties? Four, well five if you count Twisted Twins as two. That's a small percentage of CCI's overall output. How much wood has gone into the Six Flags properties since 2000? It's not as if other alternatives didn't exist. It just seems that the demand is diminishing.

Being a die-hard wood fan, I hope you're right, and that I'm wrong. I just don't see it happening. A couple here and there, maybe, but I don't expect other companies to become as prolific as CCI just because CCI has ceased to exist.

Raging Rider - Why do you think that a new company will start selling underpriced coasters? What percident is there to support that? Was there a company before CCI that offered the same quality for the same price? It's already been alluded to many times that CCI's costers were way underpriced. Why would another company follow suit?

Mamoosh - That would be too cool. Maybe some of those guys at CCI could head over to PTC and start working on some Wildcats.

gator 2 - And give up all your beloved Beemers? :)

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"Look outside, I know that you'll recognize it's summertime." - The Flaming Lips "It's Summertime (throbbing orange pallbearers)"

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Friday, July 19, 2002 10:23 AM
The gigantic parks don't seem to be interested in building the moderate-size wood coasters that CCI did such a nice job with for the same reason that Holiday World won't install that carousel that everybody knows they so desperately need.

If you are a Cedar Point or a Kings Island or a Six Flags, how do you promote a wood coaster? Particularly if you already have a wood coaster or two. More particularly if the coaster you are putting in isn't the *-est ("b" doesn't count; you can't claim that about your own ride) and doesn't have some strange new twist to it (Son of Beast, for instance).

So Marketing doesn't love wooden coasters unless they are the *est. But when you built the *est wood coaster, experience shows that you're causing major headaches for maintenance. You end up with a ride that people who come to the park will enjoy, but it isn't anything that will bring people to the park.

Is this why Six Flags built Villain when they did? It's a great coaster, possibly the best of the coasters installed in that season in that park. But what got promoted that year was Batman Knight Flight and Superman:Ultimate Escape.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, July 19, 2002 10:40 AM

Well, let me clarify my thoughts...

First, SF consititutes ALOT of continuous business in the amusement industry. A chain that owns over 30 parks is very hard to ignore. When you deal with smaller parks, they dont buy attractions yearly. With SF, there is 100% chance they will have multiple projects which the companies can bid on. Now, if all of a sudden this company didnt like you, that would hurt business.

Yes, woodies are generally in the 2-5 million dollar range with a few exceptions. But, building a wooden coaster is MUCH cheaper than building steel. CCI's hook was a great coaster at a great price. That is how smaller parks like HW are able to save money for a couple of years and spend it all in one chunk and get a great coaster. But, there comes a point where CCI was undercharging their clients bigtime. For Instance Cliff's. For a coaster that goes under and over existing structures, 1.89 million is a little on the low side. Adding existing structures in the mix naturally raises the cost. Having a staff of engineers and designers is very expensive. Thats why my staff is all on retainer and they work from home to cut office costs. Unlike CCI, GCI and Intamin both have very good diversified lines of business and that will allow them to offer great woodies at great prices and not affect their bottom line.

True, most parks these days have 1-2 woodies in their lineup. BUT, remember most of these woodies were built in the woodie golden age by S&D, John Miller, and other great designers. I think that most chains including SF have taken a look at how CCI's small park woodies have revolutionized attendance in those parks and will want to partake in this new age of wooden coaster technology. Adding a woodie with Intamin's new track style is pretty darn logical to me. Take SFMM for instance. Their 2 woodies are very old and delapidated. Psyclone should be hit by one and Colossus has been tainted by rollback chains and trims for quite a wile now . SF sees how the European Colossus has been very successful. What makes you think they are not thinking about adding some of these beauties in SFMM and other parks that are in dire need of a newer woodie? Trust me, they are definitely considering it. If they do build one of these newer Intamins in America, they will catch on and we will see many more all over. Their combination of smoothness with extreme intensity is unparalleled in the wooden coaster community. Once America gets a taste of it, they will want more. And this is Intamin's chance to come into the open door, they just have to come on in.

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WCUSA-The World's largest theme park is coming!
Theme parks will NEVER be the same!

*** This post was edited by Chris Godsey on 7/19/2002. ***

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