Why Geauga Lake Cannot Survive as Part of Cedar Fair

Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:08 PM
^I like the idea of bumper boats. Cool ride, but notably low-capacity. Wouldn't work at a place drawing 2M peeps, but at one that draws 500-700K, and is focusing on the younger kids, bumper boats would be a good addition.

Flying scooters are also good low-capacity additions for parks....AV Matt made me say that! :)

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Thursday, May 31, 2007 9:19 PM
Sure, a set of Premier or Larson Flying Scooters would be a nice addition especially after so many screamed at Kings Island for removing theirs. :)
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Thursday, May 31, 2007 10:06 PM
Everyone is talking about adding stuff, but this is the first year they haven't added anything in addition to taking something away. Give it some time. Its going to evolve into something pretty nice. Its never going to be like the old GL, its never going to be Holiday World. Its just going to be a nice place to go.
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Thursday, May 31, 2007 10:27 PM
They could bring back the circle swing.

I'll be waiting for hell to freeze over. ;)

*** Edited 6/1/2007 2:28:35 AM UTC by millrace***

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Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:25 PM

eightdotthree said:


If you went to Kennywood six times it would cost you $186.

2007 Daily Admission
Holiday World: $37.95
Geauga Lake: $26.95
Kennywood: $31.00


somewhat misleading there....

NOBODY pays retail/regular admission prices

Geauga Lake $22.50 at Giant Eagle & AAA

Kennywood $18 for 1 or $69.95 for pack of 4 tickets thru www.visitkennywood.com

AND

Kennywood $19 thru AAA with FREE Sandcastle Admission Ticket to be used for any other full day (better deal than the $29 one-day 2-park combo)

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Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:53 PM

MidwavePC said:
NOBODY pays retail/regular admission prices

You really think that's true?

I'm not saying it isn't, but I'd guess that there's a good chunk of people just ponying up at the gate.


Kennywood $18 for 1 or $69.95 for pack of 4 tickets thru www.visitkennywood.com

Hell, I never even knew that site existed.

Even funnier - they have a page comparing the values to other close-by 'corporate' parks. Unfortunately, they compare their 'special' pricing to the other parks 'regular' pricing.

Kind of funny how the marketing of amusement parks has gone from "We have this and that ride and this to do and so much fun!" to "We cost less than the other guy!"

Seems weird to me. I can let you mull around my backyard for free...you won't have much to do, but hey, "We're cheaper than the alternatives!" :)

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Friday, June 1, 2007 12:40 AM

Jeff said:
We've been over this countless times... it wasn't Cedar Fair's place to keep animals they didn't own.

Correct -- however if Cedar Fair wanted to, they could have either worked out a deal for the animals or figured out a way to get some of their own. I'm sure that Six Flags would've been happy to part with most of the animals for the right price. Do you not believe so?


Furthermore, not only did they understand the water park was important, but they built an entirely new one! This notion that they only know how to run thrill ride parks is completely incorrect. If you'd look around the chain, you'd see how many dedicated water parks they own, and how the development of water attractions can be credited with the growth of Dorney, Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun and Michigan's Adventure. Saying they don't get family water parks is like saying Holiday World doesn't know Christmas.

The growth of Dorney, Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun and Michigan's Adventure? They have been successful parks, yes, but they have never seen near the level of success in a single season as Six Flags Ohio / Worlds of Adventure once did. Perhaps you could amend my statement to saying that they only know how to really run *large* thrill parks and smaller parks. That will be tested as we see what they do with the entire Paramont chain.


As for your arbitrary math and numbers, those are hopelessly meaningless. You have no idea what the expense versus revenue opportunity is of that park, and most of us never will.

I'm sure that you're right, and I would never have access to even a brief idea of it, however if you take the simple overview like what I made there, how would you really be able to say that is so far off base? Yes, there is more that goes into it than just the numbers that I tossed out there, but at a very simple overview, that's the type of things that I'm sure they are looking at. You can totally argue that the numbers are inaccurate. But, I think that if you really think about it, factoring in the removal of rides (which is a considerably lower amount to reconstruct at other parks and as we have already seen at King's Island works with the general public even in the same state), the potential moving of additional rides out of GL may end up being a good plan for the park.

We'll see what it is like in a few years. You may be right when you say that I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I have a hunch that I'm not too far off base with what I'm thinking...


It is a family park, today. The parking lot was full of minivans, today. The wave pool and water play structure was full of moms and kids, today.

Yes, I'm sure that it is. And I'm also sure that it isn't performing up to the level that was expected of it when Cedar Fair took it over. If it would have been, they would have never removed the rides they did last year without putting anything at all in. How I see it, they bought a park and expected it to be a new large property for them, and it ended up being a small property instead, and they are now looking into what to do with it.

Do I ultimately think that they are doing the right thing this year with it? Absolutely. Do I think that the take-over was mismanaged? Yes. Do I know anything about the inner workings of a theme park? Probably not, but I can speculate like everyone else, and that doesn't make me any more or less right in the situation.

We'll see how it plays out. I was just tossing in my two cents.

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Friday, June 1, 2007 1:02 AM
Lord Gonchar said:
I can let you mull around my backyard for free...you won't have much to do, but hey, "We're cheaper than the alternatives!"

Yes, but what exactly does the VIP package cost and what does it entitle us to?? :)

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Friday, June 1, 2007 6:02 AM
"Correct -- however if Cedar Fair wanted to, they could have either worked out a deal for the animals or figured out a way to get some of their own. I'm sure that Six Flags would've been happy to part with most of the animals for the right price. Do you not believe so?"

It was a loser's game when Busch had a pretty ok separate gate going, it can't imagine what the cost and (lack of) return would have been to keep the animals after Six Flags pretty much decimated the attendance.

There aren't that many parks in the world that can do the animal/thrill ride thing with a single gate, and most of them have pretty sophisticated, dedicated exhibits that this Sea World never could compare to, in addition to having a relatively short season in addition to being in a market that really isn't growing like those in the south.

In other words I compare GL to all the other Sea Worlds, BGT, Disney's AK, and SFDK, and I think "Yeah....there was no way." Even as a separate gate this would have been hard as hell (I think Busch found that out) but combined with a bunch of huge coasters which had been Roller Coaster Tycoon-ed in a park where they didn't fit, the prospect was close to impossible.

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Friday, June 1, 2007 6:14 AM
Jeff stated that the rides removed did not add value to Geauga Lake. OK, but a little TLC on simple stuff does. NO ONE addressed the disrepair issue I raised! Bathrooms with lights out or blinking. Who’s fault or responsibility is that? The truth is that people do not like seeing anything in disrepair. This is much truer for amusement parks. Would you dine at a place with broken plates? Therefore, why would you be confident riding rides at a place with signs of electrical/mechanical disrepair! So goes the bathrooms, so goes the park (Broken/Failing).
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Friday, June 1, 2007 6:56 AM
What restroom had this flickering light that ruined your day?
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Friday, June 1, 2007 8:22 AM

Lord Gonchar said:Seems weird to me. I can let you mull around my backyard for free...you won't have much to do, but hey, "We're cheaper than the alternatives!"

But how much will you charge me to park?

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Friday, June 1, 2007 9:46 AM

matt. said:In other words I compare GL to all the other Sea Worlds, BGT, Disney's AK, and SFDK, and I think "Yeah....there was no way." Even as a separate gate this would have been hard as hell (I think Busch found that out) but combined with a bunch of huge coasters which had been Roller Coaster Tycoon-ed in a park where they didn't fit, the prospect was close to impossible.

I can't say I completely agree. Probably would have fallen closer to "agree" a couple months ago...but then I saw SFDK. Certainly, in comparison to the Busch-owned parks and DAK, there was a sizable gap in terms of the quality of the animal exhibits. And SFDK did have a nicer set-up, but not really THAT different from what *coulda shoulda* been going on in the Ohio megapark...

If Six Flags had been decently run *from the top*, and the park FKA Geauga Lake had been built gradually, with a stronger emphasis on animal exhibits and staff, and not so much plopping down so many unnecessary thrill rides all at once, I can see how the park COULD have made it under SF. Probably should have....

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Friday, June 1, 2007 10:21 AM
What SFWOA could have been compared to what SFDK...there's a big difference in time here. I agree that given what SF has done with SFDK is quite impressive but this is several years after several nails were hammered into SFWOA's coffin. And a completely different set of management.

Again though...you're looking at very different markets. SFDK isn't in a basically moribund rust-belt market and it has a much longer operating season.

I'm also guessing even with SFDK doing really really well it's not coming anywhere close to the attendance GL + Sea World had as separate gates, or what SF was hoping with the SFWOA debacle.

I guess what I'm saying is with the state of SF at the time SFWOA was a lost cause, ESPECIALLY with the animals, and it would be the same under CF. The current SF regime may have had a better chance but it still would have been a very very steep uphill battle.

At least Shapiro is clearly willing to take some creative leaps which is what the park very much needed, not that he'll have the chance with GL now. *** Edited 6/1/2007 2:25:44 PM UTC by matt.***

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Friday, June 1, 2007 10:50 AM

MidwavePC said:
somewhat misleading there....

NOBODY pays retail/regular admission prices


I am with Gonch here. To say that nobody pays regular admission is a stretch. Besides that, the value comparison between Holiday and Geauga Lake still exists when comparing season pass pricing and parking prices. Holiday World's perception of value seems to win over a lot of people, but their "free" parking and "free" soda means a higher gate price.

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Friday, June 1, 2007 10:53 AM

thecoasterguy said:
The growth of Dorney, Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun and Michigan's Adventure? They have been successful parks, yes, but they have never seen near the level of success in a single season as Six Flags Ohio / Worlds of Adventure once did.
A boost in attendance for a year or two followed by years of rapid decline is not success. All of the parks I mentioned enjoyed double digit growth at one time or another and sustained it. Michigan's Adventure even did it several years in a row. That supports my original point, that suggesting Cedar Fair doesn't understand the importance of water parks and family attractions is wrong. The further suggestion that Six Flags was on the right track is a little silly too, because if they were, they wouldn't have sold the park for less than the cash they spent on "improving" it.


matt. said:
It was a loser's game when Busch had a pretty ok separate gate going, it can't imagine what the cost and (lack of) return would have been to keep the animals after Six Flags pretty much decimated the attendance.
Somebody buy this guy a taco or something. Someone here gets it.
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Friday, June 1, 2007 11:08 AM
^Preferably one of those $7 tacos from Geauga Lake. ;)
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Friday, June 1, 2007 11:13 AM
We all need to understand something more about he history of Cedar Point and Geauga Lake. Back in the late 70s it was a group of Cedar Point executives who broke off and bought Geauga Lake and built Funtime (which included Darien Lake and Wyandot Lake). The then CEO, Gasper Lococo, was a frequent visitor to Cedar Point in the 80s and 90s and I'm sure there was information going back and forth between Kinzel and he.

As such, I think Dick and the gang had a pretty good idea about what they were buying. BUT, I don't think Kinzel really knew the extent to which Six Flags and company put the hurting on that place. The big, shiny new rides hid layers of problems. Combining the two parks was a massive error in judgment. The day after it happened I said as much on the enthusiast sites but at the time I was pooh-poohed because most thought, "hey, great...I get two parks for the price of one." Yeah, how great did that turn out?

As for the animals...this is a NON ISSUE. Why we keep going back to that is beyond me. Six Flags took EVERY animal that was a "draw". And, while that happened recent history of Cedar Fair indicated they were getting out of the "living attraction" business. They got rid of the dolphins at Cedar Point and Knotts and the associated staff.

Anheuser Bush and Six Flags couldn't make the sea life/animal park work in Aurora. Why would we think Cedar Fair could? Even if Dick decided to give it a go the process of getting killer whales, the "rollercoaster" of a sea life park, is no easy task nor is their a guarantee. You can't just call up Intamin and say, "hey...we need a couple of whales here in Aurora." And, not for nothing but...name for me the successful sealife parks outside of the Anheuser Busch parks. Marine World of Florida anyone?

So, the animals were out...period. Now Cedar Fair comes in to a park that has the area/staffing/finances of two parks but with the content of one and the revenue of less than one. They come into a region where the people have lost confidence in the place (and they hardly know or care who runs it) and, even if they had confidence, the economy is in the toilet even if they wanted to attend.

Now, Cedar Fair did make some early blunders which have been well documented. But, taking out the two coasters is not one of those blunders and trying to build a quality water park on the Sea World side is not a blunder either. And, you may say that Cedar Fair is just leaving the park out on a limb but I don't buy that for a minute. The personnel they have assigned to the park are darlings of the company. Those folks weren't put there to fail.

I think Jeff is right. There have been marked improvements at the park and the biggest error right now may be the way in which Cedar Fair has tried to get the word out that the place should be given another look. I'm not going to sit here and say the park will be around forever. But I will guarantee you that if they decide to close shop it won't be because they haven't tried there damnedest to make it work.

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Friday, June 1, 2007 12:08 PM
Unless on a last-decision trip, or internet-deprived, I wouldn't see why the GP wouldn't be looking for deals online and , of course, AAA and local grocery stores.

Families, at least, seem to be the draw to Kennywood, Geauga Lake & Holiday World.

I guess I forgot about the single teenagers and 20somethings that might not know about the deals, but then I am not part of that demographic. (fyi...going to be 39 near the end of summer)

Amusement park visits for myself began with Idora Park in Youngstown during the 1970s and early 80s (it closed when I was a sophomore in HS), and the visits later turned into a ritual in the 2000s with places like SFWoA, and now GL/WWK, Waldameer and many others.

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Friday, June 1, 2007 12:35 PM
One thing that keeps coming up in this discussion is the statement that Busch couldn't make money off the park. Is there a source for this? It makes sense that the Ohio Seaworld would make less profit than the others because of its shorter season, but was it really a money-loser for them? I'm curious because Marineland in Niagara Falls, while in a region with a larger tourist base, has to have a similar peak season and it's been successful for years.
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