The saddest October fest ever...

Jeff's avatar

I think if you look at the various sales of Darien Lake you'll understand. It's a small club of operators.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

LJEdge said:

I would like to know if Cedar Fair entertained offers for selling the park? If they thought it offered nothing of competition, why not try to sell it to someone else?

They did not. Likely because no one would want it. And as a bonus, they were able to use it to get "New for 2008" rides for their other properties.

I think the park was most likely bought with intentions of making it work with a plan in place for closing it if they decided that wasn't going to be viable. I think both scenarios were planned out and it was probably all a matter of how long it would take to know which plan was going to be carried out in the long run.

I'm in a weird position like that right now with a boy Scout Troop. We're in total limbo based on how many scouts we have for recharter without true commitment from the incoming people and in a situation where we have to make plans to help the new leadership get a grasp on how to run the troop before the old leadership leaves or get everything in order to close it all up neatly and properly at the end of the year so that the troop ceases to exist. Both are being planned for so whichever happens it will probably look to outsiders like those were the intentions all along but in truth the decision will be last minute.

Jeff's avatar

I can say almost with certainty that there was no such plan. Like I said, I'd be surprised if they did the due diligence in the first place, let alone have some contingency plan.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

LJEdge's avatar

So the decision came to buy the park came on a whim?

Maybe Kinzel drew from the same hubris as Eisner.

Last edited by LJEdge,

Jeff said:

Six Flags killed it when they combined the gates. There is no math where that makes sense. Would you buy a neighboring business and give away its product for free?

Not anti Six Flags but agree that's what killed it on a number of levels with a lot of poor management decisions. I had a really strange experience at the park in 2001 when visiting solo during Fright Fest. Was on a road trip moving back from CA to NY and timed it so I could visit the park and crash in Aurora that night. It was a Friday night and the park was super understaffed. All of the wood coasters were closed, there was hardly anyone there and staff would let us stay on rides if no one was waiting for the seat. It was fun to get a bunch of laps on Dominator but was hard to even find a food stand that was open.

After the park I checked into a Days Inn close by and went to a chain resto bar next door for dinner. The bar was rammed with friendly locals who struck up conversation and offered drinks. Ended up hanging out there for a the night and when they learned I had been at the park I got an earful about how much they loathed the place. Many had worked there and one had recently quit and there were nasty stories about management. The general consensus was that it was a place they grew up with and loved, but it all went to hell after the Six Flags Ohio thing didn't work out. They were either pissed off with management or said it was too depressing to go back. Suppose that odd, tipsy, unintentional focus group provided some insight as to why the locals had soured on park. Sad because there's so much history there.

Pete's avatar

I think a good percentage of SFWOA visitors were Sea World fans who wanted to see the animals. SF ran a poor operation at the marine life park turning those visitors off. Many left disillusioned with how bad the park was compared to Sea World. The rides side was also in disarray. When CF bought the park all the damage was already done. When the sea life park went away, so did all of the guests trying to find a Sea World experience. What was left over were a few people for the rides that were not totally turned off by what Six Flags did. A bad reputation is hard to combat.

In the past, the area had a perfect synergy. A world class marine life park in Sea World with a nice picnic park in GL for local companies and visitors along with a world class amusement park in CP just down the road. There was very little overlap in the product. Six Flags ruined that synergy with their stupid mega park "I drove right past CP" ambitions that totally ruined both GL and SW.


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Jeff said:
I think if you look at the various sales of Darien Lake you'll understand. It's a small club of operators.

Darien Lake has been bought & sold by investment firms just looking to buy low and sell high. They haven’t been owned by a “park company” since Six Flags sold the park back in early 2007.


But then again, what do I know?

Jeff's avatar

Right, that was my point... there aren't many people looking to make a long play, which is what we as enthusiasts are really looking for.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

I never got to go to GL, but with CP being so close by, would GL have been able to truly compete with CP with CP build such crazy rides? It just seems that GL was doomed once the coaster wars started.

Are you of the mind that “coaster war” is the only thing responsible for a resurgence in amusement and theme park business?
See, I think the point is that the park would’ve survived just fine if they HADn’t tried to compete. When Six Flags bought that group of parks they made GL their focus with umpty billion new rides and attractions. And if they weren’t trying to compete with the Cedar Points of the world they might’ve been just fine.
Geauga Lake and Cedar Point were friendly neighbors for decades, maybe longer than a century. GL had a really great local following, it was a small, affordable park that was easy for east-side Clevelanders to get to. Many local events and company picnics were held there, and it was the go-to place for people in the area. My observation is that things really started to go downhill when someone made the park a little too big for it’s britches.

On the other hand, I know a lot of people from that area, and some of my acquaintances go back to college days before GL was fancy and special. Many of them disliked the park and referred to it as Ga-Ga Lake. Maybe they thought CP was the better place to go and suffered from a bit of Home Park Syndrome. Also later, when the park(s) grew, the traffic was bad and locals weren’t looking to a summer of gridlock.

So there’s sides to the coin. But back to the question, I think that Geauga Lake might’ve stood a chance if they’d stayed small and local. And those that cried the loudest over lost memories were actually harkening back to those good ole days, not the latest and last ones.

Last edited by RCMAC,
Jeff's avatar

The dumbest thing Six Flags did was the ads... "We drove by Cedar Point to come here." Yeah, no one ever really says that, and you shouldn't invite the comparison. You can't put that back in the bottle, and now you're on the hook for delivering a comparable experience if you convince someone once and expect them to come back.

Yes, what GL was for decades was perfect and it did a crazy good company picnic business.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

zoug68 said:

I never got to go to GL, but with CP being so close by, would GL have been able to truly compete with CP with CP build such crazy rides? It just seems that GL was doomed once the coaster wars started.

Originally it wasn't and that's why it worked. I grew up right between the two and while I preferred Cedar Point of the two I was going to both equally for some time and when I got Cedar Point passes later I still went to Geauga Lake at least once per year(pre Six Flags). I was only there once in the Six Flags era and I was pregnant and spent most of my time sitting in the wave pool like a beached whale while the rest of my family rode everything so I can't really comment on the full state of the park other than it felt strange to me.

Jeff said:
The dumbest thing Six Flags did was the ads... "We drove by Cedar Point to come here”

I heard a political ad the other day that was advising us NOT to vote for Joe Schmoe. I can’t tell you who the ad was for, as the only thing that rung in my ear was Joe Schmoe’s name, repeated over and over. That didn’t seem too smart to me.

Pete's avatar

Doesn't surprise me, the collective stupidity of politics in the country is just a race to the bottom.


I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

LJEdge said:
So the decision came to buy the park came on a whim?

As I understand it, yeah, that’s pretty much it. I don’t remember where, but I think Kinzel admitted as much. In fact, I might have unwittingly watched the genesis of the deal.
Kinzel, as a general rule, never attended the IAAPA trade show, but made an exception when either he or Cedar Fair (I forget which) was to receive some recognition. He met Gary Story on the show floor (about 100’ away from me!) and the two ended up in a meeting. FUN was in the mood to expand, and PKS desperately needed cash. FUN had long been interested in Geauga Lake (heck, it was previously owned by ex-Cedar Point people...) and Story thought he might have a buyer for his most costly mistake. The rest, as they say, is history.

Personally, I think FUN had a grand plan for Geauga and knew it would take a while to implement, but would ultimately be a huge benefit to both Cedar Point and Geauga Lake. There were two major problems, though. First was the insanely poor condition of the rides at Geauga Lake; second was the distraction and immense expense of the Paramount Parks acquisition. I suspect that the catastrophic failure of the recently-rebuilt Raging Wolf Bobs was probably the proverbial last straw for that park.

—Dave Althoff, Jr.


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It's crazy to me that after 11 years we are still having these same conversations

Tommytheduck's avatar

I posted in this thread just to re-open it?

New in 2019 at Michigan's Adventure & Dorney: threads from this post

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