Ouimet: Amusement parks solid in tough economy

Posted | Contributed by GoBucks89

Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet says that consumers "find value" in theme parks and that Cedar Point's new roller coaster, The Gatekeeper, is his "honor student."

See the video from CNN.

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From what we have seen/heard about opening weekend, I wonder how many visitors would agree with his "best/most successful" opening weekend in 144 years assessment?

I was wondering what that was based on. I'm sure it's financial data or attendance data. Saturday was definitely crowded and FastLane even sold out, but Sunday was completely dead and almost nothing ran, many people left early, probably didn't spend much money, etc. I wonder if they include the crowd from OSU day, essentially making it a three day opening weekend instead of two.


Jeff's avatar

Word on the street is that it was the busiest opening day ever.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Its interesting that he called Gatekeeper his honor student. Made me think of those annoying bumper stickers. But when you hear Matt talk about Cedar Point and seeing him at media day last week, he talks with a lot of pride about Cedar Fair in general and Cedar Point in particular.

Maybe I just managed to avoid the flow of the crowd or something (after all, I did avoid Gatekeeper entirely on Saturday) but I really didn't think they were that busy.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

I'm going to speculate that when posters are saying Mine Ride has a 1.5 hour wait AND the line for GK was out the que, past the games arcade, up the Midway, wrapped around the Main Midway Carousel and back down the Midway, that there are some people in the park

This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

OhioStater's avatar

Even opening Monday and Tuesday were much busier than usual. There have been years where a front row seat on Dragster was almost a walk-on, and I distinctly recall marathoning MF with Tony & Tyler 6 seasons ago.

No such luck this year. even with the bad weather.

It wasn't crazy summer-esque crowds, but definitely hopping.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

This story kind of flies in the face of the using theme parks as a barometer for the economy. They're thriving despite the state of things because of the value they offer...or at least Ouimet thinks so. And so did I...6 months ago.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,

I must have been lucky. 3 train wait for Mine Ride. 20 minutes for Dragster (10 of which was spent fixing a breakdown), two Millennium rides both less than 20 minutes. The longest wait I had for anything was 45 minutes for Maverick, although I never went near Gatekeeper that day. I mean, I believe they were crowded because I saw the parking lot, I just never actually saw the crowds.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

Cedar Fair is doing exceptionall well in the past few years. Well based on the stock price (ticket symbol; FUN). A few years ago, the stock tumbled from around $30/ share to about $10/ share. Also, the company discontinued it's generous dividends. Financially, things weren't looking too good for Cedar Fair. Six Flags was also strained finacially. Cedar Fair was subject to a 'leveraged buyout'/ acquisition by Apollo Global Management. Management approved the deal, but was subject to approval of 2/3 of the shareholders. Most thought this was a done deal, until the shareholders nixed the buyout. Thank Q1 for leading the shareholder revolt. Cedar Fair has rebounded and their stock price has rose consistently for the past few months. Dividends have been restored. A few weeks ago it surpassed it's 'all- time high' share price. Their stock is now trading at over $44/ share. Not too bad after sinking to about $10/ share a four years ago.

Six Flags' stock is doing exceptionally well. They were able to emerge from bankruptcy after shedding their shareholders and about half of their debt.

Astroworld.....Gone But Not Forgotten

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