Retheming nickelodeon areas at Cedar Fair parks

Friday, August 21, 2009 11:45 PM

^BINGO! :)

And you can count me in the "don't care" catagory, and I'm 45.

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Friday, August 21, 2009 11:48 PM

One thing Snoopy has going for him is he's a dog. What (normal) kid doesn't love a puppy? At most parks I've seen kids go nuts over the most random generic plushy toys hanging in the game booths.

As far as what kids think is cool or not, all I know is my 13-year old niece got a T-shirt @ CF that says "Ride Warrior" and a week later at the Jersey shore bought with a nightshirt with Schroeder on the front. Go figure.

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Friday, August 21, 2009 11:50 PM

^Was there any Nickelodeon merchandise available at the time(s) of purchase?

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Friday, August 21, 2009 11:59 PM

True, Gonch... but I bet Cedar Fair isn't rushing blindly into further agreement with the Peanuts brand. They surely have done studies with their markets to determine whether Snoopy and pals are still entertaining for families and kids. And perhaps financially it's better for them to move away from Nickelodeon and consistantly use Peanuts throughout the chain, I don't know.

I think who they might likely lose with Peanuts is the tween market, which I have heard are the top consumers in the country. While a tween might be persuaded to spend part of the day away from thrill rides for Spongebob and Avatar, Charlie Brown and Lucy will hold less appeal. I've noticed that areas like CP's Planet Snoopy are definitely geared toward the younger set, with more scaled-down kiddie rides, while the Nick areas conveniently include some, (perhaps grandfathered-in) rides that older kids are drawn to like flumes, flyers, and family coasters.

Regardless, lets say someday sooner or later Peanuts finally becomes passe' for modern audiences. As kid's areas tend to reinvent themselves within a decade, (KI's area has had how many re-dos?) it's no big deal for them to start over with a new look and perhaps a new and more exciting brand if necessary.

I'd go so far as to say that as far as Cedar Point goes, Peanuts is here to stay for a while. Images of Snoopy continue to feature prominently throughout the park, in ads, at the gate, and even on the new signage as you approach the park. I won't be the least bit surprised when all parks finally convert.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009 3:01 AM

I certainly hope so RCMAC, but Mr. Kinzel's comment last year about people "having" to eat worries me. Couldn't you say something similar about kiddie areas?

I think it might come down to the amount they'll lose on merch sales vs. the amount they save on the license.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009 10:20 AM

Im betting CF thinks that what the kiddie areas does not matter as much to tweens as what major coasters they have.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 1:29 AM

Let me get back to my earlier comments about the Nickelodeon thing, especially in light of what is happening at Wonderland...

I agree with Gonchar that for today's audience, Nick is a much stronger brand than the Peanuts. I still think there is something to be said for Nick being a less desirable brand for the park for the very reason that it is a strong brand to begin with: it's ubiquitous. It could be argued that having the Nickelodeon license in the park has more of a benefit to Nickelodeon than it does to Cedar Fair. Back when Viacom owned the parks, that made perfect sense, as the park was used as a vehicle to 'sell' the other Viacom products. Today, it has to work the other way.

So now I wonder...From the park's perspective, what is the benefit to them to use the Peanuts gang rather than simply developing their own characters within the parks? Given the implosion of the newspaper business, I think it's reasonable to think that kids today are not familiar with the Peanuts, or more accurately, don't know where they originated (but then, how many Nickelodeon viewers know about green slime but have never heard of YCDTOTV?). But does that matter if the parks are now developing associations with the characters? When the Peanuts specials run on TV, will the kids remember those characters as the ones they saw at their local CFEC park last summer? Because you can get Nickelodeon characters anywhere, but if you want the Peanuts you have to go back to Cedar Fair. In short, the audience is more likely to associate Peanuts with Cedar Point than to associate Nickelodeon with Kings Island.

One last point: Cedar Fair has a couple of overlapping markets. Am I the only one who thinks it highly unlikely that they would convert Kings Island over to Snoopy due to sheer proximity to Cedar Point?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 8:36 AM

RideMan said:
how many Nickelodeon viewers know about green slime but have never heard of YCDTOTV?).

Good question. I don't know. (ducks)

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Monday, August 24, 2009 12:21 PM

My daughter is going to be bummed out if they take nick out of the park. She gets so excited everytime she sees spongebob and Dora.

Whenever we pull into the parking lot of kings island, or kings dominium, the first thing she says is "Were gonna see sponge bob!!!".

She does not have a reaction like that to snoopy at cedarpoint. Funny thing is, she gets more excited about the frog hopper at cedarpoint.....not snoopy.

I think snoopy is just ok. The cartoons with snoopy in them are not that exciting....actualy they are kinda boring. At least sponge bob is entertaining to watch.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 12:27 PM

I did notice the last time I was at KI two weeks ago, the line to meet Spongebob was VERY long!! This was in the middle of the day too.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 4:58 PM

RideMan-

"One last point: Cedar Fair has a couple of overlapping markets. Am I the only one who thinks it highly unlikely that they would convert Kings Island over to Snoopy due to sheer proximity to Cedar Point?"

No, you're not. I brought up a similar thought in the thread over at News about Canada's Wonderland's conversion. I was at KI yesterday and paid particular attention to how much work/expense would be involved in another re-do if it became necessary. In a nutshell, if the two parks owned by the same company are competing with each other, would it be very smart to duplicate the same experience at each park? Not if they hope the customer will visit both places. But if the corp. as a whole drops Nick for Peanuts, then what? Very odd situation here in Ohio.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 5:07 PM

The communication between the Ohio parks sucks. The reason is because of the corporate structure. They're each their own individual kingdoms with expectations set for a certain contribution to profit. They have no incentive to work together because they're accountable for their own number without context to the bigger picture.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 5:19 PM

But that's at the park level. When we're talking about licensed properties and CapEx, doesn't a certain amount of that come down to the infamous micromanagement that Sandusky is famous for? The parks may not have any incentive to work together (which IMHO is stupid, but that is a digression...) but when you're talking about theming a kiddieland, isn't that more of a corporate planning and design issue?

--Dave Althoff, Jr., who thinks he's seen Rob Decker's fingerprints at Kings Island...

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Monday, August 24, 2009 7:38 PM

RideMan said:
Let me get back to my earlier comments about the Nickelodeon thing, especially in light of what is happening at Wonderland...

I agree with Gonchar that for today's audience, Nick is a much stronger brand than the Peanuts. I still think there is something to be said for Nick being a less desirable brand for the park for the very reason that it is a strong brand to begin with: it's ubiquitous. It could be argued that having the Nickelodeon license in the park has more of a benefit to Nickelodeon than it does to Cedar Fair. Back when Viacom owned the parks, that made perfect sense, as the park was used as a vehicle to 'sell' the other Viacom products. Today, it has to work the other way.

So now I wonder...From the park's perspective, what is the benefit to them to use the Peanuts gang rather than simply developing their own characters within the parks? Given the implosion of the newspaper business, I think it's reasonable to think that kids today are not familiar with the Peanuts, or more accurately, don't know where they originated (but then, how many Nickelodeon viewers know about green slime but have never heard of YCDTOTV?). But does that matter if the parks are now developing associations with the characters? When the Peanuts specials run on TV, will the kids remember those characters as the ones they saw at their local CFEC park last summer? Because you can get Nickelodeon characters anywhere, but if you want the Peanuts you have to go back to Cedar Fair. In short, the audience is more likely to associate Peanuts with Cedar Point than to associate Nickelodeon with Kings Island.

One last point: Cedar Fair has a couple of overlapping markets. Am I the only one who thinks it highly unlikely that they would convert Kings Island over to Snoopy due to sheer proximity to Cedar Point?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Well Dave, I think I summed that up back on Page 2:

I'd argue that the Peanuts are a better fit than the Nick characters in the parks because it's something "special" at the park. Nick saturation is everywhere, but the Peanuts, save for Holiday specials and PEZ dispensers, are fairly exclusive to the Cedar Fair parks.

Re: Overlapping markets

I don't know that, aside from Columbus, the 2 parks pool from the same audience. Actually, I would be shocked if Nick Universe didn't become a Planet Snoopy. After it was *new* in 2008, Planet Snoopy really wasn't a headliner on its own. It's easy for the park to market that they have 3 kids areas, which seems much more effective than just talking about your newest one.

At KI, Planet Snoopy would be THE kids area, not just one of many. The ride assortment in KI's PS also caters to a much wider audience, than the geared-towards-the-younger set at CP. I also think that having x-number of parks on the table when negotiating with UFS was a good chip for CF to hold.

I'm most interested to see if KI's (now only) log flume returns to being in Rivertown with the retheming. (It only became a part of Nick U after the Wild Thornberrys overlay as part of the HBland+Nick Central to Nick U conversion.)

Last edited by PREMiERdrum, Monday, August 24, 2009 7:39 PM
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Monday, August 24, 2009 7:58 PM

I saw either on their website or on the park map-somewhere- where KI's Firehawk was billed as "Ohio's only flying coaster", and I thought, well, here they are consciously trying to draw away from any of those other largely attended parks in Ohio with the promise of a unique ride.

I'm guess I'm sorry to recognize the "Scranton Branch" mentality that seems apparent here, but like I said, Ohio is an odd situation and I'm not sure what's the best thing for the corporation financially.

The counter - example to this is repeat special appearances by Nik Wallenda, who planned a daring walk at several Cedar Fair parks billed, I believe, as some kind of tour. So there's where the parks, or that department in the chain of parks, unites several locations including those in Ohio.

So, are we to believe that Cedar Fair is making sure each park recieves some kick-ass bill board signature steel coaster attraction these days because it's good for the corporate whole, or is each park individually trying to out-do the others in the chain with attendance and revenue numbers?

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Monday, August 24, 2009 8:04 PM

I personally say shame on cedar fair for making is soo all the people with peanut allergies can no longer come to the parks. In all seriousness, maybe they see snoopy and gang as a wholesome family image compared to some of the antics sponge bob, the fairly odd parents, ect. seem to get themselves into.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 8:18 PM

RCMAC said:
So, are we to believe that Cedar Fair is making sure each park recieves some kick-ass bill board signature steel coaster attraction these days because it's good for the corporate whole, or is each park individually trying to out-do the others in the chain with attendance and revenue numbers?

I think large CapEx projects are dictated from the Corporate HQ, and yes it does seem like CF is trying to add a Headline attraction to most of the parks over the next few years, starting with Behemoth for 2008.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 8:32 PM

Way back in 2000 when I interviewed Dick Kinzel prior to IAAPA, he said something along the lines that cap ex had to be justified with relatively fast return on investment. I doubt that's changed, and if the company has the credit resources, sure.

The company is much bigger now, and while the planning and design folks are obviously a shared resource (as are some parts of IT), it's not the same as shared strategic planning. Ask Gonch about the advertising in the Dayton market and if he thinks there's an Ohio strategy. He'll say obviously not.

For example, it's my understanding now (which could be wrong) that if a season pass purchased at CP is processed at KI, it's credited to KI's books. That seems completely stupid, but it wouldn't surprise me. I get the impression that no one is stepping up to address the issue, which is also stupid. It would seem to me that pass revenue would logically be booked based on the frequency of use at each park, with some percentages or multipliers around their internal "cost per visit" or something at each park. Otherwise, think about how skewed the revenue would be toward Kings Island for people living in Columbus.

So if that's how things are rolling, then there is no Ohio strategy. I wouldn't pin that on the park GM's either. It definitely goes higher.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 9:50 PM

Oh, I've thought about it plenty, being that I'm a Columbus resident that always had (until this year) a Cedar Point pass. CP opened much later this year for processing, so when I took my CP paperwork to KI I was made to start over- at the ticket window for a new KI ticket, new paperwork for KI's file, and of course, a KI pass. All my junk mail now comes from KI. (So much for me thinking that this year there would finally be universal CedarFair pass!) Instead, my money was spent at CP and KI got the widget. (they kept my CP stuff too, and explained it was so they could "balance" with them, but it didn't seem very official - I think it got stapled)

At each park, when you swipe your pass, it displays how many times you've visited with each park tallied seperately, not total overall. I like knowing how many times I've been to each park, but we can bet that someone, somewhere is keeping track of that for me, too.

We get commercials for both CP and KI. I suppose Dayton does too, and maybe Indy and Pittsburgh? Cleveland no, and Cincinnati, no. Right?

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Monday, August 24, 2009 9:53 PM

Personally I just grab a park map everytime I go on my way out, then at the end of the season I know how many times I went.

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