Ouimet continues Cedar Fair tour at Kings Dominion, says he listens to consumers

Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:01 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Matt Ouimet, who spent 17 of his 20 years in the theme park and hospitality industry with The Walt Disney Co., said businesses need to listen to their customers and react accordingly. He's currently touring Cedar Fair's amusement parks around North America.

Read more from The Times Dispatch.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:08 PM

As far as I'm concerned, he's saying all the right things so far.

He might be my new theme park executive man crush. (sorry Shapiro)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:56 PM

Well your former man crush is no longer a theme park executive, so I think the decision has been made for you.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:02 PM

I still felt the need to apologize.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:42 PM

How could anyone quibble about this:

"As we get into the business of what features make sense and what value opportunities make sense, we will continue to figure out what the consumer wants," Ouimet said. "What the visitor wants is what they will get."

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:49 PM

I wish he would have been visiting Carowinds when we were there.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2:07 PM

Yeah, it seems like there is a lot of disappointment toward Carowinds lately. Any bets on the first GM to get canned? I'll go with that one.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2:51 PM

Part of the problems there are less Bart and mire that the park is too crowded (not always due to poor ops). It needs more in terms of capacity. The water park needs major expansion. From someone who has been going regularly for 20 years, I think it's mostly gotten better since CF took over.

It's just so danged busy.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2:54 PM

That waterpark is laughably small for something in "the swelter belt". Seriously, they could double the waterpark easily without having "excess" capacity.

Oh, and Thunder Road needs still more love, stat! :-/

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:09 PM

I still can't believe Thunder Road was used for the CFK marathon. After riding it, I wanted to give all of my money to the participants at Carowinds!

But yeah, my experience was really about operations. There were more games without attendants than there were those with. There was an ice cream stand that only served vanilla, chocolate, and twist that was without vanilla (and therefore without twist) and a server who was rude in pointing it out (as if chocolate isn't allowed to be used in a float.) And then there was getting yelled at for trying to get our own drink from a cooler that appeared to be self-service.

Those are things management is responsible for correcting.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:16 PM

Carrie J. said:
I still can't believe Thunder Road was used for the CFK marathon. After riding it, I wanted to give all of my money to the participants at Carowinds!

Yikes! I rode it a couple months ago and couldn't believe how bad it was; it's especially painful (in both ways) since they just spent so much time and money rebuilding huge parts of the ride.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:47 PM

I'm waiting for Ouimet to have a break down and Kick someone in the nuts... Oh wait, ya that was Gonch ;-)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:58 PM

I hope Matt realizes the potential to make the Carowinds waterpark the "Cedar Point" of waterparks here in the sweltering South. It is the #1 draw at the park and is missing some major attractions such as Master Blaster, racers, funnel slide and more. After the huge summer of 2010 with Intimidator we all thought for sure the waterpark would get some love this summer, alas it didn't happen.

On the ride side of the park there is definitely a need for some flats. Breakdance, Top Spin, Himalaya, Screaming Swing, Frisbee, etc. would all be welcomed additions.

Pavers over black top would be nice too ;)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 5:33 PM

Well they are in the process of replacing the blacktop with pavers and have been the last two years. When they implied last year that the 2011 addition wasn't huge my first thought was what they got. They're trying to keep people in the park longer. But I hope that a major water park expansion cones soon.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:01 PM

While at Carowinds myself last month, I found myself asking, "where are all the flat rides?" That is definitely a park where coasters dominate their overall ride assortment. Aside from their Planet Snoopy area, all I remember seeing an Enterprise type ride, a Scrambler, a drop tower, a 360 degree swinging ship, and two water rides. Hopefully that's something they'll look into. The rumored Huss Giant Frisbee would be a nice addition to the park. It just seems so very coaster happy (not real good when I only can bring myself to ride two of them! - Intimidator and Afterburn).

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Thursday, July 28, 2011 9:31 AM

We also made our first trip to Carowinds two weeks ago. It was a sweltering hot Wednesday, and the ride side was pretty dead. We got on all the coasters with less than a 10 minute wait for all of them. By the time we were done riding the coasters we were pouring down sweat. We went to the waterpark and went in the family changing room for my wife, daughter and me to change into our bathing suits. I almost passed out in there because it was so hot and no ventilation.

We got in the wavepool and we got through one set of waves and a bad storm hit. They closed the waterpark for the rest of the day at around 4pm even though the storm was over in 30-45 minutes.

I agree could use some more flats, but overall we had a good visit.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:00 PM

Coasterfantom2 said:
...They closed the waterpark for the rest of the day at around 4pm even though the storm was over in 30-45 minutes.

Unacceptable! That's something that Ouimet needs to change.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:42 PM

^Yeah!

At KI (for Coasting for Kids) the park closed every coaster. Even when it cleared up for over an hour, still no big rides going.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:54 PM

Even though it wasn't raining, there may have been lightening in the area. I'm not sure what their parameters are for a go/no-go on ride opperations. I'm sure it's less strict than a shuttle launch. :-)

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Thursday, July 28, 2011 4:58 PM

CoasterDemon said:
^Yeah!

At KI (for Coasting for Kids) the park closed every coaster. Even when it cleared up for over an hour, still no big rides going.

Pretty much every ride in the park was closed for 60-90 minutes on Saturday afternoon. At one point, I was in line for Invertigo to start up again with strong sun on my back and not a ride in sight running.

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