Who wins with the closing of Geauga Lake?

Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:10 AM
rollergator's avatar Mt first thoughts when I read about GL were about the people who grew up going there, and how they'd miss the park. Then I started thinking, and we were discussing, CF the chain, and how it impacted the chain - who might be getting rides other than the two initially "semi-announced", etc.

Finally, it started to really impress me how little I saw discussed about the impact of the GL "closure" on other parks in the region. CP should in theory actually see an extra 100-150K, maybe 200K. That money goes back into CF corporate, so there's part of the incentive to close the *amusement* park at GL.

That still leaves a BUNCH of people who want to go to an amusement park instead of the waterpark left at GL, and where are they going. Probably Kennywood will see some, and they're decently set up to handle a big increase in guests. The new land acquisition, the incoming roads system, etc. Kennywood will definitely clean up, and the park's future looks amazingly bright.

Waldameer is (finally!) building their adult wooden coaster at a particularly opportune time as well, no? But it's been noted facilities such as restrooms, food options, etc., need an upgrade. Hopefully they're prepared for growth....maybe Will K. is on the speed-dial (esp. with the Gravity Group ride, hehe).

Suppose CLP could get it together to operate next season, score some of the picnic business, etc. Stranger things HAVE happened.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:02 AM
I'm sure you right that some of those crowds are going to head west and east. But it's not a zero sum game, and probably a goodly number of folks will choose a movie, or an FEC, or just staying home. A large part of GL's crowd was local (meaning less than 30 miles away, for purposes of this thread only). A lot of those people aren't going to want to drive an extra hour or two when simply doing something else would be easier.

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:09 AM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar I think it's safe bet that at least half of the people whom would have visited GL next year will visit one of the aforementioned parks. I think most people who pony up for an amusement park do it because that is exactly what they want to do and nothing else is going to fill that void.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:13 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar On top of what Ensign Smith mentioned you have to also account for the 'double-up' factor.

By that I mean people who went to one of those other parks you mention in addition to visiting GL and accounting for a bit of their attendance. For example, visits to both GL & KW or GL & CP or GL & WP in 2007 become just visits to CP, KW or WP in 2008. Net gain over 2007 = zero.

Then there's the SP anomoly where technically each visit by a passholder is counted towards attendance numbers. For example, a passholder visiting GL 5 times in 2007 counts as +5 in the attendance numbers, but they'll only make one 'long-distance' trip to CP, KW or WP in 2008. Net gain over 2007 = a mere percentage of the attendance numbers GL reported.

I suspect there's not nearly as much attendance to be shifted to other nearby parks as we might imagine.


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Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:16 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar Honestly, I will tell you who is going to benefit the most:

www.fun-n-stuff.com

They're 15 minutes down the road in Macedonia, and it looks like they have a sizable plot of land behind the go-kart tracks on which to expand. Not that they ever will, but I'm just thinkin'..


-Josh


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 2:35 AM
MidwavePC's avatar

rollergator said:


Waldameer is (finally!) building their adult wooden coaster at a particularly opportune time as well, no? But it's been noted facilities such as restrooms, food options, etc., need an upgrade. Hopefully they're prepared for growth....maybe Will K. is on the speed-dial (esp. with the Gravity Group ride, hehe).


Huh!?!?

IMO, Waldameer's food is the BEST Amusement park food in the NE-Ohio/Western PA...and their new fried apple slices soaked in raspberry sauce and whipped cream is the best dessert I've had at an amusement park in a while (around $4.00)... if you don't like their food, you can even bring your own and grill them on the grilles in the picnic area, just inside the gates!

GL's food was by-far the WORST of any park food around here, except for Big Daddy's BBQ across from Splash Landing on the WWK, which I'll presume will now have long lines...if only WWK could spread 1 or 2 of these true grilles around the park...

I'll agree that the bathrooms near the office need an upgrade, but Waldameer has been my favorite amusement park the past few years, and families love the place!

*** Edited 9/27/2007 8:18:05 AM UTC by MidwavePC***

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 9:12 AM
I understand what gator's getting at. If Geauga Lake was pulling in 750K people annually and only 200K deflect to Cedar Point next year, that means a loss of 550K people. Those people may not be giving their business to another amusement park, but they also won't be giving it to Cedar Fair.

There's something to be said for having market share. Years ago a company I worked for had two very successful stores about 15 miles apart from each other. A competitor planned to build a store in between the two of them, and when that company went bankrupt, the company I worked for came in and picked up the property. The area for the new store was already covered by the other two successful locations so that new store would mainly siphon customers away from the existing ones, but that was a small price to pay to keep someone else from building a store at the same location.

The way I see it, those 550K people are now free agents, and it's not certain they're going to sign with Cedar Fair again, which could hurt them down the road. It's necessary to keep your captive audience... captive.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:30 AM
Jeff's avatar You're not looking at attendance in a holistic view, Rob. It means nothing without profit. If GL didn't pull in enough people to turn a profit, then closing the ride park instantly adds to the overall bottom line. It doesn't matter if those people don't go to Cedar Point. Instead of losing dollars, they're not losing any. That's of course contingent on the water park being profitable. Those "free agents" can be "lost" but it doesn't matter if they weren't contributing to profit anyway.

None of the parks mentioned in this thread will see any benefit from the GL closure. They're all non-players in this market. People weren't going to GL, what makes you think they're going to go drive somewhere?

Josh is actually right, it's probably Fun-n-Stuff that has most to gain, as well as Swings 'n' Things on the west side, or Rinky Dink down in Medina. Those are the real winners.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:37 AM
It depends... were people not going to Geauga Lake because they don't want to go to an amusement park, or were people not going to Geauga Lake because the quality of the experience continued to decline?

I don't go to the pizzeria down the block from my house but it's not because I don't like pizza, it's because their pizza sucks.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:01 AM
People went to Geauga Lake. Not enough for it to be profitable...but they went. Many of those same people probably ventured out to Cedar Point and a smaller percentage of the people might have made it over to Kennywood.

Could that mean an extra visit (or a first visit) to one of the other parks since GL is now closed? Sure it could. Will it be enough to significantly impact those parks' bottom lines...and satisfy those that think this was all a big conspiracy to drive attendance at Cedar Point? No.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:23 AM
rollergator's avatar MidwavePC...don't be mistaken, I really liked Waldameer, a LOT. Enough to go back the following year...

It's just important that the infrastructure is capable of handling the increased crowds they're likely to be getting. I would NEVER have defended the food quality at CF, or even PP parks. But when you're growing, you need more food along with more rides, more bathrooms, more seating for shows, etc. I want Waldameer to grow, I love the place.

Just wanted to note that along with the Voyage came Plymouth Rock Cafe (and GG and more restrooms, plumbing and electrical hook-ups, etc.). That might be instructive.... :)

Conspiracy? I guess to me that's just a word used to confuse those who don't truly understand good business decision-making... ;)

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:33 AM

If GL didn't pull in enough people to turn a profit, then closing the ride park instantly adds to the overall bottom line. It doesn't matter if those people don't go to Cedar Point. Instead of losing dollars, they're not losing any. That's of course contingent on the water park being profitable. Those "free agents" can be "lost" but it doesn't matter if they weren't contributing to profit anyway.

True. But I suspect GL was making enough to cover its variable costs. (A-CF cut those variable costs, B-doubtful CF would have opened it for 07, their 4th year, if revenue didn't exceed variable costs.)

Besides, SF sold their "underperforming" parks and their financials remained flat. If Darien Lake & Elitch were money losers dumping them should have increased SF's numbers. It didn't, which suggests that revenues exceeded variable costs, but the fixed costs (depriciation/amortazation mostly, I assume) are still fixed.

There is a reason why fixed costs are often referred to as "sunk costs." The money is already sunk and selling/closing doesn't get it back.


This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:36 AM
How this debate would be so much easier if we had access to financial records that could show just how the park did over the past four seasons!
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:39 AM
Unless they plan on buying another park chain, I doubt we will see those numbers.
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:40 AM
Let's hope that never happens.
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:41 AM
And even if they do, we will probably only see chain-wide averages, not per-park performance.
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 12:44 PM
Jeff's avatar

Captain Hawkeye said:
Besides, SF sold their "underperforming" parks and their financials remained flat.
True, but for other reasons. They said they were spending more on marketing.

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:59 PM
Marketing... as in, marketing the parks that weren't making money?
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 2:16 PM
rollergator's avatar ^Probably more like "marketing" as in schmoozing the bigwigs at Papa John's and Home Depot into signing longer-term agreements... ;)
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Thursday, September 27, 2007 2:57 PM
Jeff's avatar Ding ding ding!

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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