That time Dick Kinzel lost a lot of money on a low FUN price

Monday, May 15, 2017 5:25 PM

wahoo skipper said:

Question his decision making all you want but there is no need to denigrate the guy or get personal.

All very good points, and the summary of your post (which I quoted) I think pretty much any reasonable person who knows anything about Cedar Fair and Dick Kinzel would agree with. To say "I would only laugh" if the guy dies broke is the response of a bitter, unreasonable person.

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Monday, May 15, 2017 5:31 PM

wahoo skipper said:

Kinzel got rid of a lot of the Worlds of Adventure full time staff in a house cleaning move but failed to realize many of those folks had been carry overs from the Funtime/Geauga Lake Days. Those committed individuals know the market very well and their absence created a talent vacuum.

Agree with all your points except this one. There was no absence of talent at that park. Many Six Flags & Funtime era employees still work for Cedar Fair despite that property closing. Essentially the best of Funtime and the Best of Sea World and the Best of Six Flags kept their jobs through those transitions. By the time Cedar Fair came around there were very few left who weren't high performing.

Last edited by Fun, Monday, May 15, 2017 5:34 PM
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017 6:06 PM

Wahoo Skipper said "The skeptics out there are still saying that Kinzel bought Geauga Lake simply to close it. I still argue that couldn't be further from the truth."

The rumblings that I heard at the time is that he bought GL to keep it from being acquired the Kennywood Entertainment Co. His biggest fear was having the Henninger and McSwigan family that much closer to Cedar Point,

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017 6:07 AM

Dutchman, I heard that theory too but I don't buy it. I won't claim to have known Kinzel well. In fact, I'd argue that most of the people who worked for him didn't know him well. Only a small group of people got close to him. That said, I think I knew him well enough to understand his ego. Keep in mind that Funtime really got going as a result a group of Cedar Point executives that left the company and struck out on their own. That struck a nerve with Kinzel that I don't believe he ever got over.

To make matters worse, Funtime had some success. Turtle Beach being voted the best kids area in the country didn't go without notice, for instance. I don't think he ever wanted to acknowledge what was going in Aurora but I think he was always watching.

I was hired and my boss touted my Disney experience to everyone as I was being introduced in the company. It was a year or two later when I happened to run into Kinzel in front of one of the hotels and a short conversation led to me having worked at Geauga Lake prior to Disney. He didn't say anything at all but his body language abruptly changed and I was sure I felt the temperature drop.

I think the acquisition of Geauga Lake was as much about him beating his old group of co-workers as much as it was about boxing out the competition on northern Ohio.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017 2:33 PM

JECmodels said:

That guy is one of the worst people I've ever met. He had no respect for his team what so ever. He is a conpulsive liar to the public and truly if he dies without a cent left in his name, I would only laugh. I hope he continues to lose his money. Kinzel may have added some great coasters to Cedar Fair parks, but as a person hes terrible!

For what it's worth, while this was worded a bit harsh, I've had numerous off the record conversations over the years (usually at the hotel bar at a conference) with various managers within various CF parks and the spirit of this sentiment is not too far from what I've heard about Kinzel (and Falfas for that matter as well). They managed with iron fists and while that may get results (sometimes); it doesn't often inspire loyal followers after the regime departs.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:10 AM

Hey, I've had horrible bosses in the past, too, and I still wouldn't wish any of them harm. Seriously, if one can't separate a work life from personal feelings that strong...particularly when said work life experience is in the past...then perhaps the problem isn't the former boss. You move on from bad work situations. You learn everything you can both about coping with adversity and about the pitfalls of bad leadership, and you move on.

But yeah, Kinzel's a jerk and stuff.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 10:35 AM

First off, sorry if it was misinterpreted... I never wished a death to anyone.... I just said when he does, he could be poor and I'd careless.

Second,

There is alot of justified notations I've made about Cedar Fair over the years. They lie to the public, they lied about Geauga Lake.
That was the past, but it's funny the general manager of Cedar Point was asked what's going on with Mean Streak at an employee meeting recently... His response was "I don't know what you're talking about, corporate doesn't tell me anything".

Quite frankly that is just another example of the dishonesty that the Cedar Fair executives continue to portray. Obviously something is going on either that coaster, so why lie about it. It doesn't mean he had to spill the beans. All he had to say was that the ride is under renovation as that can be seen.

It's terrible, that's suppose to be one of there core values, honesty..... And the Gm of Cedar Point can't hold that to par.

As for Dick Kinzel that's a totally different story. But in short he disrespected my entire team and me one day on the midway at Geauga Lake. I was far from amused considering at that time I actually looked up to the man. Very disappointing. He left us all with a bad taste in our mouth. Then I saw he lied to the news directly about Geauga Lake. Okay whatever it closed, but don't lie about it Dick. Another fine example of how Cedar Fair management does not even practice there core values.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 10:43 AM

No, you confuse lies with distaste for decision. They're not the same thing. I get that Dick was an egomaniac and a micromanager, but his failures are the result of poor decisions, not lies. GL was a massive failure that cost the company dearly, and not a conspiracy to close it. If you still can't believe that almost a decade later, I'm not sure what else to tell you.

Furthermore, your years of butthurt that you're holding on to have nothing to do with the company today. The old guard is gone. There are some under-performers here and there I'm sure, hiding in middle management, but Cedar Fair today is not even remotely the company it was five years ago.

And come on... the Mean Streak thing is a silly joke, and apparently you're the only one who doesn't get it.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:25 AM

JECmodels said:

That was the past, but it's funny the general manager of Cedar Point was asked what's going on with Mean Streak at an employee meeting recently... His response was "I don't know what you're talking about, corporate doesn't tell me anything"

So you've never heard of public relations? Senior management isn't going to "spill the beans" until they're ready to do so.

Another fine example of how Cedar Fair management does not even practice there [sic] core values.

You do realize that Cedar Fair is under new management, right? All of your complaints seem to be related to the Kinzel era. .

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:52 AM

JECmodels said:

His response was "I don't know what you're talking about, corporate doesn't tell me anything".

You may want to check your sarcasm detector...

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:18 PM

That's basically what Tony said when asked as well, they're purposefully acting like there's nothing going on. It's the marketing direction they're taking. It's working. That's not lying. They're not being serious.

What is serious is being so caught up for so long on something so small. All the time you spend hating him? He's not spending a second thinking about you. Because bitterness doesn't accomplish anything and is one sided.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:23 PM

Jeff said:
No, you confuse lies with distaste for decision. They're not the same thing. I get that Dick was an egomaniac and a micromanager, but his failures are the result of poor decisions, not lies. GL was a massive failure that cost the company dearly, and not a conspiracy to close it. If you still can't believe that almost a decade later, I'm not sure what else to tell you.

Furthermore, your years of butthurt that you're holding on to have nothing to do with the company today. The old guard is gone. There are some under-performers here and there I'm sure, hiding in middle management, but Cedar Fair today is not even remotely the company it was five years ago

And come on... the Mean Streak thing is a silly joke, and apparently you're the only one who doesn't get it.

This is not about Geauga Lake dude. Its about the way this company goes about there ways of communicating and the way they do business.

Dick Kinzels exact words about Geauga Lake when directly asked was it closing was in short "No". That is a LIE. You can't tell me truthfully that man knew the exact plans for that park before it closed the last time in 2007.

And honestly the Mean Streak thing is not a joke. I don't take such a answer from the GM, the leader by the way which lied to his staff before the season even began. There is public relations I get that, but all he had to do to avoid the lie was simply state the obvious nothing more. It's just another consistent example of why I don't even want to do business with Cedar Fair Parks let alone ever work for them again.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:31 PM

slithernoggin said:

JECmodels said:

That was the past, but it's funny the general manager of Cedar Point was asked what's going on with Mean Streak at an employee meeting recently... His response was "I don't know what you're talking about, corporate doesn't tell me anything"

So you've never heard of public relations? Senior management isn't going to "spill the beans" until they're ready to do so.

It's a lie, he could have just stated the obvious.

Another fine example of how Cedar Fair management does not even practice there [sic] core values.

You do realize that Cedar Fair is under new management, right? All of your complaints seem to be related to the Kinzel era. .

They are but they continue to treat there staff like dirt and give the season staff no incentive to stay at the end of the season.

You know when I worked at Geauga Lake, they had a bonus system for seasonals.....for every hour worked during the summer as long as you stayed put of trouble and were a good staff member your end of season reward would be $1 for every hour worked.

It's funny how us lower management were handed a piece of paper w all of our staff showing us there accumulated points and TOLD to write up our staff for tardiness or call offs with the goal to eliminate at least 1/3 of our seasonals so Cedar Fair didn't have to pay that bonus put. Wow talk about lack of core values. I was not amused, considering the rest of the season it was the opposite.... Work em hard!

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:36 PM

Geauga lake closed nearly a decade ago. That means you're at least thirtysomething if not older.

Grow up.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:45 PM

---Story Time---

Back in October of 2002 I was out with some friends at CP and we were admiring the construction of Top Thrill Dragster. Lo and behold, I see walking down the midway was Mr. Dick Kinzel himself. He stopped for a bit and was looking up at Dragster.

Little old me waltzed up to him and as I stood next to him I said 'Hey Mr. Kinzel! Whatcha building?'

His response. 'I don't know, but it sure looks fun!'

Then we went on our separate ways.

--- The End ---

Obviously he knew what was going on. Did I feel disrespected? No. Did I feel lied to? No. It made for a funny story that some longtime friends of mine still make fun of me for.

A lot of great strategic growth happened under Kinzel's watch under Cedar Fair. Sure, that biggest glaring misstep was the Geauga Lake acquisition and 'transformation.' There were some mixed feelings on the Paramount Park acquisitions but in the long run, its a great move. I didn't work for CF and I didn't think very highly of GL so my opinion of Kinzel is probably much different. I think on the whole he was great leadership on cap ex and acquisitions, but on the operations side of things... He shouldn't have been as hands on as he was reported.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:22 PM

I just want to touch on the Mean Streak situation.

You said that he was asked at an employee meeting about it. That tells me one of two things:

1) You are an employee and you were there, and despite it being an employee meeting, you have no qualms about coming on here and talking about what you heard there despite the fact that what goes on in those meetings should be confidential.

2) You weren't there but you know someone who was, and despite it being an employee meeting, he or she had no qualms about telling you what he or she heard despite the fact that what goes on in those meetings should be confidential.

Based on that, I think that if I were in the GM's shoes, I'd have given some sort of non-answer as well. Clearly the GM was pretty well aware that there tend to be loose lips in such meetings.

Don't complain that people don't spill the beans on things when you're not going to respect the confidentiality of such disclosures.

Last edited by sirloindude, Thursday, May 18, 2017 3:22 PM
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Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:26 PM

Can I vote that up a million times?

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:00 PM

For what it's worth, it is quite likely that corporate never told the Cedar Point GM (Jason) what was being built there. If it were my guess, Jason told corporate what he wanted in a proposal to get approval for the funding.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:34 PM

That is so not how they operate.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:43 PM

If I were the GM of a Cedar Fair park and "corporate" was not involving me in the capital planning at my park, not only in the current year but in the 5-10 year planning, I would not be working there long.

Oh, and back to the bonus discussion. I was full time at Cedar Point when the bonus was still active. The ONLY thing it was good for was providing for some kind of last check and forced savings for employees who were bad with money. I could count on one hand the number of times I had an employee share that they were going to leave before their contracted end date and the potential loss of the bonus actually changed his/her mind. If someone was going to leave they were going to leave...bonus be damned.

As a manager I would have MUCH preferred to offer the potential employees a higher hourly wage to get them there in the first place.

Last edited by wahoo skipper, Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:47 PM
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