Why Geauga Lake Cannot Survive as Part of Cedar Fair

Monday, May 28, 2007 10:26 AM
Most of the roller coasters are rough at the park, and there aren't that many that are unrough. Thus, the waterpark is probably thriving. When you had animals, and new rides, you got people interested (SF), but now what do you have? That's the reason for the high attendance. If you want rough coasters, go down to GL. Thunderhawk, Villian, Raging Wolf Bobs, Double Loop to some, Head Spin, and previously X-Flight are all in that category. It's not that the park had 10 coasters, it's the quality of each one.

I think Cedar Fair should have taken out some of those rough coasters, and given the park nicer unrough coasters instead of the water park. Why not go to Cedar Point?? *** Edited 5/28/2007 2:26:50 PM UTC by Spinout***

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Monday, May 28, 2007 10:55 AM
The one thing everyone is overlooking with GL is the corporate picnic. KW thrives on the corporate picnic. Just go there any weekend and all of the picnic groves are full of corporations having their company picnic at the park. GL used to be that way in the past. But, unlike Pittsburgh, the Cleveland economy has really been hit hard, and the companies that are left in Cleveland are not the type that has "company picnics" as in the past. Just look at the flats area and what it was 10 years ago versus what it is now. Has this effected Cedar Point? To some extent. But, Cedar Point has always been a bit more of a "destination park" versus a "day park".
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Monday, May 28, 2007 11:46 AM
One thing that happened to GL is that they lost the Pittsburgh business. Years ago many people went to GL (and Sea World) from the Pittsburgh area but bad experiences at SFO (SFWOA) convinced them not to go back.

Last year, GL had that advertising campaign that hit at KW but the people in Pittsburgh were not convinced. They just kept going to KW and if they wanted to go to a park with more coasters, they went to CP.

GL is flanked by two of the best amusement parks in the country and that causes expectations that GL currently doesn't meet. *** Edited 5/28/2007 3:49:03 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***

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Monday, May 28, 2007 12:43 PM
I say send the rides to other parks. Send the descent coasters to other parks. Dominator to CP, Thunderhawk to MIA, BigDipper to DorneyPark, headSpin to GreatAmerica, Beaver Land Mine Ride to WOF, And kill the rest. Just keep the park a water park.
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Monday, May 28, 2007 12:56 PM
And again, how would that solve anything? The park cannot survive just as a waterpark. Look at the other waterparks in the Area, they are closed! Have you ever been to the park?


Most of the roller coasters are rough at the park, and there aren't that many that are unrough. Thus, the waterpark is probably thriving. When you had animals, and new rides, you got people interested (SF), but now what do you have? That's the reason for the high attendance. If you want rough coasters, go down to GL. Thunderhawk, Villian, Raging Wolf Bobs, Double Loop to some, Head Spin, and previously X-Flight are all in that category. It's not that the park had 10 coasters, it's the quality of each one.

I think Cedar Fair should have taken out some of those rough coasters, and given the park nicer unrough coasters instead of the water park. Why not go to Cedar Point?? *** Edited 5/28/2007 2:26:50 PM UTC by Spinout***


How is Double Loop rough? Its the smoothest Arrow out there! Same with Thunderhawk, there is so little head banging and the ride is noted as one of the smoothest SLCs in existance. You obviously havven't ridden RWB since like 2001 because its been retracked so many times in the last 3 years and every says that its as smooth as it was when it opened.

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Monday, May 28, 2007 4:24 PM
The Bobs were very smooth and fast last year. The Villain, however, was the roughest coaster experience I have ever felt. I felt like someone beat me repeatedly in the rib cage with a bat.

The only abrubt thing about the double loop is the quick stop at the end. Certainly wouldnt call the ride rough.

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Monday, May 28, 2007 5:05 PM

Arthur Bahl said:
One thing that happened to GL is that they lost the Pittsburgh business. Years ago many people went to GL (and Sea World) from the Pittsburgh area but bad experiences at SFO (SFWOA) convinced them not to go back.

Blaming Six Flags for ruining the park can only go on for so long. Cedar Fair is going into its fourth year running Geauga Lake and the "big turnaround" not only hasn't happened; but Cedar Fair seems to be ruining the park in its own respect. Think back to 2004... Cedar Fair refused to accept the DARE tickets (or whatever they were) until the damage was already done; Cedar Fair changed height requirements and rides that kids previously had been able to ride were now turning them away; Cedar Fair initiated their silly bag policy where they didn't let people bring bags up to ride platforms but didn't provide convenient lockers either. Yes, Geauga Lake was probably cleaner and friendlier in 2004, but there were still plenty of "bad experiences" that could have convinced people not to come back.

Back in 2004 if people really believed Six Flags was responsible for all of the park's problems and Cedar Fair was the godsend whose parks were all perfect havens of fun, then attendance should not have stayed so low over the past three years. The park's marketing is pathetic. Remember "the fun is back"? Those advertisements were laughable. "Two parks of fun in one?" Kind of hard to compete when Six Flags used to offer three parks in one. "What a surprise!?" probably should be accompanied by something actually surprising. If Cedar Fair actually wants people to come to the park they should have made made some effort to market the place.

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Monday, May 28, 2007 5:16 PM
Judging from the pictures from opening day, I wouldn't have spent money on marketing the park either.
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Monday, May 28, 2007 5:21 PM
The original post is so far off the mark I'm not even sure where to begin. Being a part of Cedar Fair has nothing to do with the park's success of failure. That's a completely arbitrary opinion not based on anything.

This silly notion that cost cutting is hurting the park is backward. If no one is going, as you say, then how would they know about the cost cutting? And don't bring up the two coasters they pulled out, because both of those had relatively narrow audiences to begin with, especially X-Flight. Those were not getting butts through the gates.

The biggest mistake to date was Six Flags combining the two parks to one gate. Why you would ever take a combined attendance of nearly 3 million is beyond me. At best, they did half that in the years following, and it declined year after year. Those of you who think that Six Flags did even in the neighborhood of a million their last year are dreaming. Do you really think that Busch would've gotten out of the game if they were doing well?

I'll say what I said last year: The product is the right product. The problem is that people don't know what it is, and people have a hard time disassociating the Six Flags years with the current owner. I work in Solon, with people who live there. Half of them think Six Flags still owns it, and don't know about the water park additions. The product is fine, now they need to get the message out. The marketing message simply has to be better. Throwing cap ex projects at the park isn't going to improve anything. You'd think the Six Flags strategy would obviously be a failure.

CoasterDad64 is right, the company as a whole is doing well, and while GL's performance has been disappointing, it's not going to bring the company down.

I'm going to drop in for lunch tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing how things look. *** Edited 5/28/2007 9:22:39 PM UTC by Jeff***

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Monday, May 28, 2007 5:33 PM
Well if they want to start tearing apart the park anything soon, they can send most of the water slides to OOF and we'll be more than happy to take Dominator off your hands as well at WoF ;)
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Monday, May 28, 2007 5:52 PM
Sorry Swoosh, haven't you heard? MiA has dibs on all of their rides next year. They're going to be installed right next to the tree with all of the water under it. ;) *** Edited 5/28/2007 9:54:41 PM UTC by sws***
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:33 PM
^^^

It's probably too late, Jeff, but I'd eat before I went there if I were you.

You'll definitely be ill afterwards.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:03 PM
The park is in good shape. Yes, the food pricing is still too high, though since I wasn't eating there I didn't really look at what the variety is. But overall the park really is quite beautiful with a lot of good things to do.

I ran into Bill Spehn on my way out, but I'll post some thoughts about that later.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:16 PM
I'm happy with Cedar Fair as part of my portfolio.

As for Geauga Lake, my only concerns are with the economics of the surrounding area which Cedar Fair has little control over. To completely redesign/reinterpret a park is no easy task. Just look at Disney's California Adventure. Ever since the day it opened it has been criticized and Disney has been trying to make some substantial adjustments. Even with their powerful backing it is still struggling to be where they want it.

Now, in Aurora Cedar Fair is trying to do something similar...but after a company turned the entire community against the property and while that same community is facing some real financial hardships.

Now, I'm not an apologist and I'm hoping the incident with the lazy river was an exception to the opening day look of the park. I'm sure Jeff can tell.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:28 PM
the park might be visually appealing, but its not as nice as it once was. The rides are looking very worn out, especially the trains on the coasters. Dominator still has seats that just had the Batman logo ripped off and Time Wrap is basically white.

Cedar Fair made two big problems:
1) Getting rid of the company picnics (at least the are beginning to bring them back)
2) Should have not been so loud about the purchase. Too many people expect another Cedar Point

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 1:53 PM
I'm not sure how they could have avoided #2. But, why do people expect another Cedar Point? ValleyFair, Dorney, World's of Fun, MiA, and Knott's aren't Cedar Point.

Six Flags chased away a bunch of the Company Picnic business. And then, Cedar Fair had a little union issue a couple years back that chased away some union picnics, temporarily.

When the purchase first happened they did make several PR gaffes back to back. The reading program issue, the bus, etc...but those aren't the reason for today's troubles.

The last time I saw the major league attendance records Cleveland was pretty far down on the list...and that is with the Indians leading the AL Central. I think the area's economy is wreaking havoc on a lot of businesses and GL is not immune. Add to that the problems in Detroit and it is a darn good think all of the Cedar Fair revenue is scattered these days.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:03 PM
I think it was always CF's intention to bring picnics back. Why else would they build all those new picnic shelters by the lake?

As far as PR goofs, maybe that is why the fine people at Cedar Point are doing PR for Geauga Lake now.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:20 PM
Are you sure Six Flags chased away the picnic business? I thought GL did much of that themselves. You don't tick off a 10,000 participant group every day!

Eventually, GL and these groups made peace--but people tend to have long memories. I'd say the same for the teachers of those kids whose DARE certificates were deemed worthless. Sure, GL reversed the decision...but next year, when those schools planned field trips? You get the idea.

The park isn't going anywhere. CF knows how to run parks that draw less than a million visitors. But mending another bridge or two wouldn't hurt...

-'Playa

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:33 PM
Hey Jeff? Who got SFWOA to the 3 million mark?
Sure it declined but it stayed well above 700,000.

Chuck, not calling you out or anything, Just stating the park would never have reached that point without SF's investment. A investment certainly they were in no financial shape to do and lost their asses on it. I wonder what Geaugas attendance under Funtime was?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 4:01 PM
It never did 3 million in a season as a combined park. I think they got pretty close, but with a giant capital infusion followed by the combined park, of course they can do it one year. And it slid like crazy year after year. What they did was not sustainable, and they were morons to think it was.

I did a quick walk around at lunch today, and I think the park is in beautiful shape. The rough edges aren't completely gone, but they're getting pretty close. There was a nice sized crowd there today, with lots of buses. Not bad for a Tuesday afternoon with school still in.

I ran into Bill Spehn and walked/talked with him for a little while. This is a guy who picks up every scrap of debris. He showed some sweeps to look for dirt piling up behind garbage cans (not garbage, I mean soil drifting about). He complimented his supervisors on the positive remarks they were getting at guest services for their areas or departments. He pointed out that, of all things, the new paint on Texas Twister is driving significantly higher ridership. This guy is the right person to steer the ship, there's no doubt in my mind about that. His attention to detail is staggering.

The point is that this is not a tragedy. Sure they're not happy with attendance to date, but with careful and meaningful capital, controlling maintenance costs and the right training, they're going to get there. Hopefully the grass roots efforts combined with solid media buys will help.

The park's death has been greatly exaggerated, mostly by a bunch of coaster enthusiasts who think $15 million rides are the answer to everything.

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