Thoughts on Cedar Fair's Future

Tuesday, April 9, 2002 6:57 PM

I've been thinking, (I know I know I got to make sure I don't hurt myself), and after talking with a few people and looking at some information (i.e. Annual Reports, Press Releases, and the like.) I think I've got a fairly decent idea of what Cedar Fair may do. This of course is all based on speculation that I would like to think is somewhat educated. I'm going to break this down by park to make it easier. Please remember that this isn't what I would personally do, but rather something I think Cedar Fair will do. It may look like I'm stating some of these things as facts, but its simply speculation. Feel free to call me crazy.

Cedar Point - The flagship park of the chain will receive another coaster in 2004. Unlike some people I don't believe that Cedar Point will build two coasters in 04, my guess would simply be one coaster that will keep people coming back to the Point.

Expect this park to continue to get the "spotlight" treatment, but I wouldn't expect them to have any sort of "mission" to try and top SFMM in the coaster count. If they manage to get the record while staying with their plans they'll use it in advertising, if SFMM ends up owning the record by building 3 coasters every two years (I'm not saying that I think that will happen) Cedar Point will most likely stick to the American Roller Coast marketing strategy, like they have in the past.

Knott's Berry Farm - Cedar Fair will make sure that their California park will still be able to compete in a thick California market. I think Xcellerator was a statement that they are going to stay competitive in the CA market, and it sounds like the park is going to get something for 2005 as well, but I wouldn't expect the park to go crazy nuts in expanding. Space is a very high commodity here.

Cedar Fair's goal in this is to make sure that they get a piece of the California market, as mentioned above, and will do whatever think is neccessery to remain competitive..

Dorney Park: I really have no idea on this one, according to what I've researched Talon and Steel Force has helped out quite considerably for the park's attendance so it seems like it would only make sense for them to build a coaster every three years. I suppose the only think to be wary about is that the Pennsylvania market is very saturated with parks, but at the same time the population in the region is pretty thick. I have no real good answer on this park. For anyone more familiar with this park I'd be interested to see what you're views are.

Knott's Camp Snoopy: I would not expect much to be added here. The way it is its set up real well, and its not like they have to worry about drawing people into the park. A nice lil cash cow for the chain.

Valleyfair: Some may call me crazy here, in fact some may even believe that I've lost my mind. However skittlebrau got me thinking and, I think that Valleyfair is in the biggest untapped market in the chain. If you really think about it with the Mall of America draws a HUGE amount of people a year with money in their wallets looking to spend it. Many of these people are from out of town and it can be assumed that they would stay overnight in the twin cities. Why Cedar Fair hasn't launched a two day advertising blitz featuring Camp Snoopy/Mall of America and Valleyfair the next is beyond me. Currently there is zilch advertisements featured in the mall, and I believe if that were to change (along with possible shuttle service from VF to the MoA and back) I think you'd see attendance spike.

I think you'll see Cedar Fair build an inverted coaster by B&M in the park next year, I also think you'll see 2004 you'll see another major change at the park as well. Valleyfair has great potential, and I think just because there isn't any direct competition isn't a reason to lay low and assume that people are going to go to VF simply because there isn't another amusement park around. Also worth mentioning is that a lot of VF's attendance comes from Iowa and Wisconsin (as well as the Dakotas) and people in those areas do debate between different amusement parks to go to.

Michigan's Adventure: I really see this park as being something as a "blocking" technique used by Cedar Fair to ensure that Cedar Fair has a monopoly on the Michigan market. I can see Cedar Fair cleaning up the park, putting in new procedures, and installing a few rides to make this a more complete park. To me an SLC, a Jr. Hyper, or an Arrowbatic, or something along those lines would make some sense at this park. I'm guessing the next coaster built here will be steel, it'll be intense, and it won't come with a price that will break the bank.

Slowly and steadily I think this park will begin to resemble something similar to that of World's of Fun in its current state (minus the theming) and attendance.

Worlds of Fun: All I know is that Cedar Fair is dissapointed with the park's performance over the last couple of years. This park just built a thrill ride with Thunderhawk, and desprately needs a family coaster that will bring the families back to the park. I think Cedar Fair sees this, and I won't be suprised if a Wild Mouse or something of that intensity is built in the near future.

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Excalibur Crew for 2002!

*** This post was edited by Valleyfair Fan on 4/9/2002. ***

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 7:05 PM

Excellent preview/ speculations Valleyfair Fan. Only time will tell...

-Mikey

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 7:11 PM

Ugh... Cedar Point doesn't get preferential treatment. They build what they can recover in cost quickly, just like the other parks.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 7:18 PM

I dont really know about your speculation about CP. Wicked Twister didnt really cost the "normal" amount for them which im guessing is anywhere from 12 to 20 million (thats probably way off but oh well). Anyway, I was thinking they did that just to keep the crowd interested and to keep them coming. I thought that they would build another coaster next year as well. This is probably not going to happen and in that case your speculation would be right. I dont know, somethings gonna happen.

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Somedays it's just not worth chewing through the restraints.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 7:20 PM

$9 million for Wicked Twister. A real bargain!

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 7:25 PM

Preferential was the wrong word I was thinking of and I've fixed that. I was referring to the marketing aspect of the park.

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Excalibur Crew for 2002!

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:25 PM

What about expansion? Cedar bought into Knott's despite the park being three time zones away to land some steady year-round business. It wasn't a cheap acquisition, but if you follow how Cedar(Point - Valley)Fair has grown you see that they're not exactly trying to cluster any geographic region.

So? Where will they dig in next? If they want another year-round workhorse I guess that narrows it down to Texas or Florida. There is really no traditional amusement park in Florida (well, the Miracle strip in the panhandle, but barely), and while it'd be pointless to go after the 7 theme parks in the Orlando area, building a new one in South Florida would be sound, though not their M.O.

My guess would be that they make a move on Wild Adventure, to cash in on its Southern Georgia location to draw from Georgia and Florida. I don't have a real opinion on what the ideal move in Texas would be.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:29 PM
If it were up to me. I'd say B&M fliers,Arrow 4D's,and a CCI for every park. Amen

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A CCI 200ft out and back would rock

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 8:59 PM

Wild Adventures wouldn't be a bad aquisition, nor would Jazzland before all the crap happened with the park. I could see the chain also trying to go after Adventureland in the next 5-10 years.

Whether or not Adventureland would sell would be another matter altogether.

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Excalibur Crew for 2002!

*** This post was edited by Valleyfair Fan on 4/10/2002. ***

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 9:10 PM

The Kranz family at Adventureland are not on the market, and that guy who owns Wild Adventures is having the time of his life, and enjoying the money. Of course that could change on any given moment. Cedar Fair rules the Great Lakes region in our eyes, and they do it well. If they had purchased Geauga Lake when they had the chance in the early 90's, they would basically be unopposed in the midwest.

Their eyes are on warmer climates. By gaining year round operations, they have improved their cash flow, lines of credit, and purchasing power. By not having to tap the credit in the winter for unbudgeted items, contingencies, and special projetcs, they have freed up valuable financial resources for future aquisitions in the future. $1 in revenue in the off season is worth $10 in the summer.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2002 9:57 PM

Valleyfair future: With Larry being the new general manager I think Valleyfair will hae a lot of changes with in the next few years. I realy think Cedar Fair is going to give us a new inverted coaster from B&M, I think it maybe placed in the antique autos area were everyone is talking about.

I do think Valleyfair may move the water park in a different location. I think they should place it down by green acres near the river which is the overflow lot and put a nice size wooden coaster there hopefuly cci ;). Watch for some changes of the park in the next few years looks intersting.

In 2003 I also will think it will be Michigan Adventures possibly getting something like Wild Thing or Mamba from morgan.

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Valleyair Security 2002! 8Years Working at Valleyfair :)! GOPHERS Mens Hockey Champs NCCA 2002!!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 4:14 AM
At Cedar Point, my bet is they will continue improving and marketing the resort aspect. Their goal to extend stays and get people to stay at a Cedar Fair resort will continue to be seen in the coming years.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 4:28 AM

I don't think that I will ever understand the whole "Wicked Twister is a filler coaster" / "Wicked Twister was only built to keep the crowds interested conspiracy theory!" Cedar Point built what they felt they needed to add to their coaster line up. It's nice to see a launched coaster arrive in Sandusky. However, in my opinion it's makes no sense for many, many people out there, (some of whom claim they have "friends" at the park) to say that Wicked Twister was a filler coaster at $9M...and the "real" coaster in coming in 2003. The pattern of the park has been a major attraction every OTHER year, which would take us to 2004. If someone can explain the Wicked Twister "throw away coaster" theory to me, please do so. Until then, it will remain of the great unsolved mysteries of all times.

I can see it now, the great mysteries off all times...

Who shot J.R? Was it Mr. Green, with the knife in the Ballroom? Was Wicked Twister built only for a coaster count?

-Mikey

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 4:56 AM

I totally agree. A $9 million ride is hardly a "filler." Furthermore it addresses a "hole" that I thought that park had, namely the lack of a launched ride. If Cedar Point didn't build another coaster for three years, I have to say I'd still be perfectly content returning again and again.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 5:17 AM

Valleyfair Fan said:

Michigan's Adventure: I really see this park as being something as a "blocking" technique used by Cedar Fair to ensure that Cedar Fair has a monopoly on the Michigan market......I'm guessing the next coaster built here will be steel, it'll be intense, and it won't come with a price that will break the bank.

Worlds of Fun: All I know is that Cedar Fair is dissapointed with the park's performance over the last couple of years



You couldn't have possibly visited MA before--because I doubt you would have said that. MA was and is a profitable little gem and as close as CF will likely ever get to a magical park like Lake Compounce. There's no pressure to 'do everything and do it right now'. Even the rather vast waterpark doesn't assault the eye with a gaggle of activities... It kind of unfolds as you explore it. It's small and laid-back, the food is (was?) cheap and it feels like the family park that it was. I just hope Lee Jewett hasn't 'planned' the life out of it. All we need is another helping of lifeless faux '50s' buildings and a Coasters restaurant. Cringe.

While you're probably right about the next coaster being steel, I sure wish it wasn't. Why? MA has such a different feel to it than any other CF park. It's earthy, it's water and wood. If I were planning the park's expansions, I'd go for a maze of Master Blasters and a pair of Royal Flushes in the waterpark. For the park itself, I'd go for the twistiest GCI those guys could design and an Invertigo. And I'd paint the Invertigo earth tones to blend in with a park loaded with wood.

I don't know where you get thie idea CF is disappointed with WOF. They reported that both VF and WOF returned very respectable profits on the last quarterly conference call. The problem with WOF is that SFSTL added a small but free waterpark to their lineup, which made them the better deal for familes. I dare say WOF's answer is not another coaster at all, but a vastly improved OOF. Make an exclusive deal with NBGS for slides and products while SF is cash-poor and expected to turn a profit for once. In fact, why not build a Setpoint Super Saturator in OOF? Yes, you heard correctly. Imagine it winding over a wave pool and other attractions. Now you're gaining national, perhaps international recognition in one brilliant manuever.

-'Playa

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 4/10/2002. ***

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 4/10/2002. ***

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 5:43 AM
An SLC @ Michigan's Adventure? Does Cedar Fair own a single SLC now? The only Vekoma that immediately comes to mind is WoF's Boomerang.

BTW -- I'd think along the lines of a hyper at MIA eventually. There may be a contractual stipulation for one, based on their acquisition last year.

There's a ton of empty room next to Timbers.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 5:47 AM

I'm extremely happy with what Cedar Fair has done with Dorney Park. Before the addition of Steel Force and Talon, I barely knew that DP existed. Talon alone is enough to keep me going back this summer.

As far as long term plans for the park... I haven't a clue. Another coaster would be nice in 2003 or 2004. I doubt any future addition would be wood, since they already have two. Heck, I might even venture to say that an Intamin Impulse coaster at DP would be a good addition (take THAT you grumpers). No parks out here have one, and it's small footprint would be perfect for a smaller park like Dorney.

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Men are like parking spaces... the good ones are all taken and the rest are handicapped or too far away.
www.TiggerMan.com

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 5:52 AM

On the topic of "filler" coasters: I think it is a testament to the building boom at Cedar Point over the last decade that people would call WT a "filler". At any other park, Wicked Twister would bring ooohs and aaahs and be considered a big deal. In fact, that is an understatement.

I think it IS a big deal and would be glad to have it at a park near me.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 5:53 AM

I love Dorney. Steph and I thought of it like "little Cedar Point," only Talon is better than Raptor. ;) The park is beautiful, very clean, well trained and has a great collection of coasters (will I ever get my Wild Mouse at CP?). Honestly, I hope I can get out there again this year.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Wednesday, April 10, 2002 9:29 AM

While Worlds of Fun has turned a profit for Cedar Fair, and they are happy about that, WOF still hasn't met some of their attendance goals over the last couple of years. The attendance was what I was talking about. If you don't believe me check out the attendance reports from Cedar Fair.

As for Michigan's Adventure, I'm sure its a nice park and I plan to visit it this year. However, those people who are thinking a hyper (I believe a B&M hyper was mentioned on another topic) are simply fantasizing. Cedar Fair wouldn't get their ROI quick enough to justify it. Like I mentioned earlier a Jr Hyper (ala Goliath and Steel Eel) might make some sense, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a massive 200 foot+ tall coaster anytime soon. Look at Knott's, they draw a much better attendance and they had to wait a long time to get a coaster of any sort of beefy magnitude from CF.

An SLC at Michigan's Adventure is simply a guess on my part, nothing more nothing less. To be honest though, I wouldn't be suprised if it does happen. I mean if anyone would have suggested a boomerang for WoF before it was announced people would have thought the person making the suggestion was nuts. I too would like to see this park go nuts and spend money so I've got another huge park I can go to on my days off of work, but it doesn't make any sense from a business standpoint.

I'd also like to note that I still think Michigan's adventure was bought to use as a technique to monopolize the area, and I do realize that Cedar Fair wouldn't buy something if they didn't think it was going to turn a profit, that's just bad business if they didn't expect it. However, you're going to have a hard time convincing me that Cedar Fair is going to turn this thing into a mega park in the near future just because they own a lot of land.

As for those people who think Wicked Twister (I refuse to call it WT ;) ) is a filler coaster, I'm sure every other park in the chain would love to have 9 million for "filler" rides.

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Valleyfair Fan, a guy who can't wait to visit Dorney this summer.

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