Retheming nickelodeon areas at Cedar Fair parks

Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:28 PM
ridemcoaster's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

Even on page 9, I just can't help but think that if the characters didn't draw or sell, then the parks wouldn't be paying for them.

And this is kind of agreeing with you Gonch and Carrie.

Perhaps parks like CF parks latch onto Characters not because they need them as a requirement but because it assists in the drawing of people to them.

Im glad Disney is no longer mentioned in this comparison because that is not a fair or accurate comparison. You could easily strip the Characters from CF parks and to those unfamiliar with Nick or Peanuts being used as branding, would be none the wiser. That is, my neighbor down the road who has never been to Kings Island could go there without the expectation of seeing any character, but wanting to go ride a roller coaster

You cannot strip charcters from Disney, because the icon of Disney is the Characters.

I think the addition of branding (theming) helps assist in the selling of the parks to kids, and ultimately brings them back. I mean, who whats to buy a plush Diamond Back Roller Coaster doll?

So if the question is:

Do they have to have Characters to sell the park? Does it matter which character? Depends on the history of the park to the Character, and the connection of the two to those who arent seasoned park goes such as us.

A lot of the older parks started without the Characters, however, I do think that recently the parks throughout the ages are taking a chapter from Disney that if you give them (a child) something tangible that they can walk through the exit gates with, and by tangible I mean something thats current/relevant to the child, there's a good chance they will come back in soon after for more of that.

So while I think its good business move to sell your product with branding as it allows your memory to continue once the park gates close, I honestly think CF could change their characters once a day and it wouldnt affect most that come there. There just isnt the strong connection of the character to the park (except to the locals/seasoned park veteran). I think the key for them is it just needs to be relevant a character that kids would understand, thus would want their plush toy.

I just think theres strong arguments on both sides which is probably why its in circles for this topic.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:29 PM
rollergator's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I know we're just going around in circles, but you're still assuming the rides are the draw, not the characters. For most I'm sure they are. For some, the characters get the bodies in the gate or the merch out.

I think more attention needs to be paid to the demographics and market segmentation as it relates to attendance and per cap. Certainly the 15-year-olds aren't coming for Spongebob, but you could tell from the long line for Saw at Thorpe or the viral Thomas Town stuff going up all over the US and UK that some IPs are just plain hot items. (Side note: I still want to know how many "Flight Deck" or "Afterburn" shirts get sold at the end of the year)...compare that to the "Top Gun" of just a couple years prior - and LONG after the movie had faded into memory.

All age groups are susceptible to familiar characters or franchises, and for those that aren't thrillseekers (i.e. a LARGE portion of park visitors), a tie-in can make the difference between a visit to a park or doing one of the hundreds of other activities like video games or movies. My best guess is that what the different groups spend in the park, and on what merchandise, is very dependent on the licensing IPs.

Just think about a park employee saying "I work on Drop Zone" as opposed to "I work on Fall Tower x" when talking to their neighbors. Which one is more likely to leave an impression that *might* lead to a visit? There are just too many intangibles in favor of paying for a name to lead marketing efforts...

edit: I'd love to get work for Disney just going thru the UK and identifying all the (presumably unlicensed) usage of their characters/merchandise. It could hopefully pay for a month-long effort to find all the instances... ;)

Last edited by rollergator, Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:32 PM

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:46 PM

Not surprisingly, it appears as though many of the posters in this forum are taking an amusement park enthusiasts viewpoint as to the ultimate impact of losing the Nick license. But what if the kids' parents are indifferent or dislike going to amusement parks? What if the only reason for driving to King's Island is because the kids are begging them to visit Spongebob's summer home and the parents want to get a photo of their brood with Dora for the family Christmas card? Though enthusiasts may reduce their spending or limit their visits, those who visit the parks with clenched teeth will stop coming.

On a personal note, my family made an impromptu visit to an amusement park (Santa's Village in Jefferson, NH) after the park advertised an appearance by Patrick Star. On our vacation to Niagara Falls we traveled up to Canada's Wonderland solely because our children wanted to visit the Nick themed kids area. And this year we spent two nights of our Orlando vacation at the Nickelodeon Family Suites. Cedar Fair is taking a great risk in losing an enormous draw like Nick.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:59 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Is amuses me that someone comes onto a coaster enthusiast site to categorize the perspective of the posters as solely enthusiast in nature. As if their post on an enthusiast site should be considered something as other than enthusiast in nature.

GP Avenger (cute, by the way), have you read the thread? No one is taking the "enthusiast" perspective. Folks who are paying to take their kids to the parks solely to see the Nick characters will either come less often or not at all. So what? If they are losing that much more in the cost in the license, what difference does it make? That's business, not enthusiasm.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:01 PM

My totally uninformed guess is that this change will have a marginal impact at best.

Not surprisingly, it appears as though many of the posters in this forum are taking an amusement park enthusiasts viewpoint as to the ultimate impact of losing the Nick license.

I'm thinking this too, but from a different perspective. The average guest doesn't put 1% of the thought one of us might to going (or not going) to a park. They're just looking for something fun to do with their family on a summer day, they don't obsess over the presence of Spongebob, the price of Dippin' Dots, or the number and strength of the trims after the third hill.

For a "typical" amusement park (i.e.: Not Disney) the presence of characters, and which characters those are, seem likely to be a pretty low-order effect. Is the Nick license a better draw than Peanuts? For older kids, absolutely. For younger kids, maybe not. Is it enough of a difference to have a tangible impact on the bottom line? I have no idea, but I doubt it.

Edited, because Carrie snuck in there:

No one is taking the "enthusiast" perspective. Folks who are paying to take their kids to the parks solely to see the Nick characters will either come less often or not at all. So what?

But, in a way, they are. How many guests really are paying to take their kids solely to see the Nick stuff, as opposed to "have a fun day out"?

That's the question, really.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:04 PM
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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:09 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie, I love ya and all, but...

Carrie M. said:
If Nick can't be found at any other venues in the competitive market, then it doesn't make sense to pay for it any longer.

This is the sticking point I have with your whole thing. Let me try to follow:

The Nick license has no value unless someone else in your competitive market has it. Suddenly it has value to them and you better have it to in order to compete?

So it draws if a competitor has it and you need to be able to counter that? But if no one else has it, it won't draw for you?

If it doesn't pay me to have it, then why should I be worried that someone else does? Why does it work for them but not me?

Brian Noble said:
How many guests really are paying to take their kids solely to see the Nick stuff, as opposed to "have a fun day out"?

That's the question, really.

But how many people chose the park as their "fun day out" at least in part because of the presence of Nick characters?

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:11 PM
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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

If this were a "typical" enthusiast discussion, it would probably go like, "Who cares about licenses, I just wanna ride roller coasters!!!11!!!"


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:16 PM
crazy horse's avatar

Lol...

I am a enthusiast, AND a parent.


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:20 PM

Does anybody else reading this thread suffer from my problem? I read Gonch's post, and it makes complete sense and I find myself agreeing with him.

Then I read Carrie's post, and it makes complete sense and I find myself agreeing with her.

Then I read crazy horse's post, and that one also makes complete sense and I find myself agreeing with her.

Until I read LostKause's post, and amazingly, his also makes complete sense and I find myself agreeing with him.

Maybe everybody's right on this one.

I did ask my daughter, who is seven and a half, if having the Nick/Noggin theming at Kings Island replaced with Peanuts makes any difference, as far as how much she wants to visit the park or how many times she wants to go in a season. Ava answered no, as long as the rides are staying the same. Guess she's getting a little too advanced in her amusement park ways to be of much value as a source any more. :)


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:21 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Carrie, I love ya and all, but...

I knew it!!! ;)


This is the sticking point I have with your whole thing. Let me try to follow:

The Nick license has no value unless someone else in your competitive market has it. Suddenly it has value to them and you better have it to in order to compete?

Nah, that's not what I'm saying. Or at least that's not what I'm thinking. I've said the Nick license has value and the parks will do better with it. But in the case where that license seems to be costing you more than you are gaining, it makes sense to me that if no one else is going to be gaining from the license, either, then it's safe to get rid of it.

Your other points follow the same suit, so I'll let the above address them all. Saying it's ok to get rid of the license is not saying it has no value.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:38 PM

As if their post on an enthusiast site should be considered something as other than enthusiast in nature.

Though I would willingly embrace it, I fear my family's yearly amusement park attendance is much too low to qualify for the enthusiast label. We travel to our local park (Canobie Lake) a few times a year and incorporate at least one additional amusement park into our summer vacation plans. But that's about it.

GP Avenger (cute, by the way), have you read the thread? No one is taking the "enthusiast" perspective.

Perhaps I was reading between the lines in prior posts (All of which I have read - a terrific discussion), but my post was to point out the assumption that people want to attend amusement parks and will keep coming regardless of which cut out they put in front of the kiddie ride or the costume into which they stuff the teen. Many parents attend parks grudgingly based on their childrens' enthusiasm. And it seems extraordinarily risky for an amusement park operator to willingly diminish this enthusiasm in a stagnating industry in the tail end of a recession.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:53 PM
Jeff's avatar

Is this a stagnating industry when it has announced $100 million in capital expenditrues in the last month? Sure it's feeling the recession, but I wouldn't describe it as stagnant.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:57 PM
Carrie M.'s avatar

GP Avenger said:


Though I would willingly embrace it, I fear my family's yearly amusement park attendance is much too low to qualify for the enthusiast label.

And yet, you're here, so your interest must be notable. Welcome by the way. :)


Perhaps I was reading between the lines in prior posts (All of which I have read - a terrific discussion), but my post was to point out the assumption that people want to attend amusement parks and will keep coming regardless of which cut out they put in front of the kiddie ride or the costume into which they stuff the teen.

I think some will come regardless of the theme. Some won't. The question is how much impact will those who are attracted solely because of the theme have on the overall business. How much of the overall business revenue is due to those people who are coming solely for Nick?

But you can't ignore the fact that it seems the cost of the license is greatly deterring from the benefit of the extra attraction to the park.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:02 PM

But how many people chose the park as their "fun day out" at least in part because of the presence of Nick characters?

Let me amend that: how many people put enough weight on the Nick characters that not having them is the tipping point? I can't convince myself that it's more than a handful of folks. If the Peanuts license is cheaper by enough, then Cedar Fair wins.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:05 PM

My use of the word "stagnating" was to describe annual amusement park attendance, not park investment. I read the attendance description while lurking on these boards, so I apologize if it is incorrect.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:56 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Brian Noble said:
Let me amend that: how many people put enough weight on the Nick characters that not having them is the tipping point?

Is the cup half full or half empty? :)

GP Avenger said:
My use of the word "stagnating" was to describe annual amusement park attendance, not park investment. I read the attendance description while lurking on these boards, so I apologize if it is incorrect.

I think we like to refer to that as a 'mature' industry.

My opinion is that it's not that interest in the businness has lessened causing the flat attendance levels, it's that most big regional parks have maximized the amount of guests that it's reasonably possible to attract in a season without finding ways to extend the season. They're forced to look to other approaches to increasing revenue beyond get more customers.

Carrie M. said:
How much of the overall business revenue is due to those people who are coming solely for Nick?

Probably none.

How many come for many or multiple things with one on that list being Nick?

I suspect it's a lot more than some around here think.

Plus, I still don't want to forget those intangibles. I fully believe that (for a Nick fan and Peanuts neutral visitor) it can be the difference between a "Wow, I really had fun" day and a "Yeah, it's a nice amusement park" - a subtle, but important, difference that has wide reaching effects.

Ensign Smith said:
I did ask my daughter, who is seven and a half, if having the Nick/Noggin theming at Kings Island replaced with Peanuts makes any difference, as far as how much she wants to visit the park or how many times she wants to go in a season. Ava answered no, as long as the rides are staying the same. Guess she's getting a little too advanced in her amusement park ways to be of much value as a source any more. :)

Maybe. It might also be how you presented the question. Ask if she'd rather meet and/or have her picture taken with her favorite Nick character (by name - whoever it may be) or her favorite Peanuts character (again, by name).

My own in house study (of my son, daughter and daughter's friend who is spending the night - ages 7, 11, 11 respectively) unanimously agreed they'd rather see the Spongebob than Snoopy, but didn't really care which was on any given ride.


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Sunday, August 30, 2009 12:23 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


Plus, I still don't want to forget those intangibles. I fully believe that (for a Nick fan and Peanuts neutral visitor) it can be the difference between a "Wow, I really had fun" day and a "Yeah, it's a nice amusement park" - a subtle, but important, difference that has wide reaching effects.

I just don't believe the difference has that much of an impact in this case. The kids' theming has a short-term meaning to all parties (parents and kids) no matter what. At the point the kids grow up their interest in attending the park will change.

Those people we keep talking about who go specifically for Nick and for no other reason are not lifelong customers. Their impact is small no matter what. Spending exorbitant amounts of money to attract them is silly.

If people are attending for multiple reasons of which Nick may be only one, then how much does not having Nick really impact their behavior? They're coming regardless.



Maybe. It might also be how you presented the question. Ask if she'd rather meet and/or have her picture taken with her favorite Nick character (by name - whoever it may be) or her favorite Peanuts character (again, by name).

Why would that be the right question to ask? How much revenue is the picture taking actually providing? If losing Nick has no impact on whether they attend or not and ride or not, I still don't see the problem.



My own in house study (of my son, daughter and daughter's friend who is spending the night - ages 7, 11, 11 respectively) unanimously agreed they'd rather see the Spongebob than Snoopy, but didn't really care which was on any given ride.

How much does losing Nick really impact your kids?


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Sunday, August 30, 2009 12:31 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
How much does losing Nick really impact your kids?

They would rather see the Nick characters at the park, but if wanting to go to an amusement park they'd go regardless.

I think that sums up exactly what I was saying. They'll be there, it's just not as cool...and I think "not as cool" translates to losses in several, long term intangible ways - none of which I can really list or cite stats or facts for beyond the idea that 'not as cool' is not a good position to take. :)


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Sunday, August 30, 2009 1:28 AM
crazy horse's avatar

If they(kings island) don't think it will make any differance weather it's nick or snoopy, why are they prolonging the announcement? It's exciting, fresh and new, right?

Info got leaked, so why not just fess up? They are denying that nick is leaving.

What is the new ad campaign gonna be? We know you all love nick, but we are going to lower the bar next year, and bring in a less known 60's comic strip cartoon. Your kids are gonna love it. But wait, there's more. Not only are we going to get rid of nick, but we are going to get rid of scooby as well. Can't wait to see you next year.

Not much of an upgrade to the park.

Just a thought....

Anyway, My daughter would rather see sponge bob than snoopy as well. I asked her again tonight.


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009 1:35 AM
LostKause's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


...you're still assuming the rides are the draw, not the characters. For most I'm sure they are. For some, the characters get the bodies in the gate or the merch out.

Which is further supported by the fact that the Nick characters have been on the front of the park brochures and main page of the websites ever since the arrived at the park. same with Snoopy and Cedar Fairparks.

Carrie M. said:
When the kids get old enough to ride the big kids rides, they aren't going to care what character was in the kids' area.

I disagree. I know many teens and adults (myself included, but I'm a freak), who really love the characters at the parks. I loved theMarvel Parade at IOA, I run up to give Spongebob and Patrick a hug whenI see them greeting kids at the old Paramount Parks, and as much as I hate Six Flags, I love Batman and Bugs! The thrill of getting to meet these characters, even to an adult like me, created a happy memory of whichever park.

I will give in a little and say that seeing Snoopy and Schroeder was exciting too, but not nearly as exciting as Spongebob.

Brian Noble said:

...how many people put enough weight on the Nick characters that not having them is the tipping point? I can't convince myself that it's more than a handful of folks.If the Peanuts license is cheaper by enough, then Cedar Fair wins.

I am finding the same circumstances with agreeing with a lot of differing views here, as you stated in a previous post. I agree with this too. Everyone is making sense, even when taking completely different sides. I don't think that this will hurt Kings Island in a significant way.

Gonch has a really good grasp of the topic, and I am finding that I am relating most to his thought on the subject.

Last edited by LostKause, Sunday, August 30, 2009 1:39 AM
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