Phantom's Revenge featured in SBN Magazine

Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2001 4:32 AM | Contributed by Kennywood Insider

The owners of Kennywood Park know they have to innovate to compete against the growing number of destination-oriented super-parks. But they also know the value of tradition, history, family nostalgia and group sales.

Park owner Harry Henninger Jr. talks about how the idea for Phantom's Revenge came about, why the park still thrives today, and why the park will thrive in the future.

Read the article on SBN Online.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 7:25 AM
Great article...

Just one question- is the writer, Amanda Lynch, related to Coasterbuzz's own Lynch?
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 8:57 AM
At one point in the article, they talked about Six Flags being in a $6 Billion dept. But what they didn't say, was that Six Flags has just bought many other parks and land in numerous parts of the country, and has invested in many new rides in almost every park across the country. Funny how reporters only give you the part of the story they want you to hear.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 9:10 AM
Actually, I didn't view that as giving "only the part of the story they want you to hear."

It was a quote from Henninger, not the words of the reporter. Not only that, but it's true. Henninger also said "Kennywood can't even relate (to that much debt)." Also a true statement.

I'm not here to defend Kennywood, but you seemed to have the knee-jerk reaction to defend Six Flags, and I wonder why? It's a story about a Pittsburgh park in a Pittsburgh-based magazine. What do you expect?
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 9:34 AM
I think "Henny" put it perfectly:

"Our product is different," says Henninger, admitting that Kennywood doesn't have the same diversification as other parks. "We are a lower-cost, higher-quality experience. I see that as an opportunity. We have no debt. Six Flags has $6 billion in debt. That's not something Kennywood can relate to."

Six Flags goes out on a shopping spree, just to add the newest high-tech rides. While Henninger simply attributes Kennywood success to "100 years of cumulative knowledge."
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 9:40 AM

That was a very interesting story. Seems like a lot of wise business choices went in to keeping it afloat for so long.
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Yeeee Haaawwww!
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 9:58 AM

unlike the executives of six flags who feel that the more parks you buy, the better.
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Son of Beast was really an sob.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 3:50 PM
It has been reported on KDKA repeatedly that Pittsburgh has the second most elderly population in America next to Dade County Florida. Kennywood was once touted as the "Roller Coaster Capitol of the World." What is it now, "The Picnic Capitol of the World?" While I loved the tradition of going to Kennywood every year as a child, it was because I thought it kept on the cutting edge, always bringing us some of the latest and greatest rides while keeping some fantastic traditional rides. In my opinion, the PR is a watered down version of the original. If they really wanted to reach the youth with speed, why not increase the lift hill to add to the drop in the ravine??? Why not break the 300ft barrier? The old Catipillar ride went fast too and had hills and dips, but it did not draw people to Kennywood. The PR I am afraid will be something that you ride while you are there, not something you come there for - (sigh). Once again, we find out why the Pittsburgh Region continues to loose their youth and continue to boost their elderly population as Kennywood removes a coaster which gave cause for their reputation for Great Cutting Edge Coasters. Now there is not even one looping coaster in the park, let alone any type of hanging coaster. Somebody please pass the Geritol, Grandma wants to ride the PR.


*** This post was edited by No Fear on 7/17/2001. *** *** This post was edited by No Fear on 7/17/2001. ***
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 7:09 PM
Actually, Andy Quinn, Kennywood's communications director (?) explained at KennyKon why the Steel Phantom was removed.

In 1991, the queue lines for Steel Phantom were full because the ride was so new. By about 1994-95 the ride became a little less popular but still had pretty long lines. By about 1997-98, the lines were drastically getting shortler. In 1999 and 2000 you could just walk on and not wait in any line.

When Kennywood announced that they were removing the Steel Phantom, many fans were very upset at this. They would ask many fans if they liked the SP and they would reply, "Yeah!"

When asked when the last time they rode it, they would reply, "1991." And why don't they ride it now? "It's too rough."

So the real reason why the SP was removed is because it was not popular anymore.

I'll stop feeding the trolls now :).
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 8:16 PM
I am in complete agreement that the SP was a rough coaster and that it had lost it's popularity. "But today, Henninger says, younger people are more interested in speed than muscle."

SP was exciting because it represented cutting edge more than for it's less than perfect ride. But to only add a couple of feet to it's largest dip and remove the inversions does not in my book excite me. Why not smoothe the turns, add some height and speed and keep/move the inversions? It is my contention that PR will suffer the same fate as the SP but only quicker.

As stated in the article, Kennywood competed early on (before this Henninger) by building a reputation to attract crowds based on it's coasters, the crowds then kept coming back because of it's picnics. To market the picnics before the coasters in my mind is to put the cart before the horse. Excite the ride and they will come.

As long as Kennywood's main stay appeal is marketing to those who seek group picnics, they will not attract the type of crowds needed to keep their coasters popular, no matter how many revisions are made. It is also my contention that their marketing is more geriatric then visionary.

Sure Kennywood will still be around in the future but so will museums. But which one of us really wants to visit "Museumbuzz.com?"


*** This post was edited by No Fear on 7/18/2001. *** *** This post was edited by No Fear on 7/18/2001. ***
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Tuesday, July 17, 2001 11:57 PM
I couldn't disagree more about Phantom's Revenge suffering the first Phantom's fate. The only true hypercoaster we have as a reference point of withstanding the test of time is Mangum. And yes, it's gotten rough over the years, its placement on Top Ten lists, as well as in coaster history, lead me to believe Phantom's Revenge will be around for quite some time.

But even forget the term hypercoaster. If you build a good ride, people will ride it forever. For proof, just go to the other side of the park. Before this year, it was not uncommon for Racer to have the longest lines in the park. It's not the tallest, fastest, longest, or even most exciting ride in the park, yet people are still willing to wait in line to ride it. I expect the same thing will happen with Phantom's Revenge.

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Matt Lynch
Co-Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
http://kennywood.coasterbuzz.com
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Wednesday, July 18, 2001 9:00 AM
I agree with No Fear. Hershey Park has both tradition and innovation. Living in the past is good for museums and the PR is a step backwards. *** This post was edited by Starman on 7/18/2001. ***
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Wednesday, July 18, 2001 10:49 AM
Great article, show this to some people who think more and bigger is better!

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CDNSN
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Wednesday, July 18, 2001 3:18 PM
Starman, if go to Kennywood you'll realize they have both tradition and innovation (moreso than Hersheypark). How is PR a step backwards? This is the first steel coaster to have two different designer's tracks included on it. The PR is something that could not have been done 10 years ago. Just because it has loops, doesn't mean it's the latest and greatest.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2001 7:03 PM
This was just brought to my attention...

Rob Ascough said: "Just one question- is the writer, Amanda Lynch, related to Coasterbuzz's own Lynch?"

Sorry, didn't see that until someone pointed it out to me. No, no relation that I know of. However, it's not the first time a Lynch has had an article in the news section of this site. If I'm not mistaken, I think it was the Six Flags vs. Cedar Fair financial article from a monther or so ago that was written by a Lynch.

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Matt Lynch
Co-Webmaster, Kennywood Boulevard
http://kennywood.coasterbuzz.com
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Saturday, July 21, 2001 5:12 PM
Some people are totally out to lunch on the PR issue. PR was one of the most exciting coasters I've ever ridden, and I've ridden easily a hundred, if not more. Enthusiasts travel hundreds of miles just to ride Thunderbolt, Jack Rabbit, Racer, Exterminator, and now Phantom's Revenge. Sure there's a place in this world for corporate parks like Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and Hershey, but there's also a place in the world for smaller indies like Kennywood and Knoebels. By the way No Fear, you still haven't answered the question I asked you in another forum; have you ridden Phantom's Revenge yet? People who base a coaster being exciting or not based on statistics or modifications need to get out of the house more and ride.

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Batwing-Bow Down *** This post was edited by Intamin Fan on 7/21/2001. ***
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Sunday, July 22, 2001 7:17 AM
I rode Phantom's Revenge twice last Thursday and thought it was a great ride. If anything, I hope they make the tunnel for next year. Does anyone know if they will?

As for the rest of the park, I enjoyed every ride I went on, including Racer, Jack Rabbit, Thunderbolt, Exterminator, Gold Rusher, Noah's Arc, Old Mill, Turtle, Bayern Kurve, etc. I liked how the park tied in local history and it seemed really clean as well.
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