Cedar Fair answers questions about Geauga Lake acquisition

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Fair today announced the acquisition of Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, with the intention of opening it in May as Geauga Lake. A conference call today revealed some additional points beyond the issued press release.

In opening comments, Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel said that the company intends to operate Geauga Lake as a “traditional family park, not a theme park,” and added that the decision not to sustain the animal park came out of their belief that operating animal attractions is not in their expertise. He said there was a lot of history in the name and that it was the obvious choice.

The current vice president of operations at Cedar Point, Bill Spehn, will be Geauga Lake’s new general manager. The full-time staff will be “evaluated” and the seasonals this year will still draw from the local pool of teenagers and college students.

Marketing VP John Hidebrandt at Cedar Point explained that the park would have a more regional focus. Their long-term plan is to create synergies that encourage guests to visit both parks in terms of pricing and ticketing.

Current customers that have purchased season passes at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure may choose either a refund or to redeem those passes at Geauga Lake passes. Cedar Fair season passes from other parks, including Cedar Point, will not be valid at Geauga Lake. Specifics about combination deals between the two parks have not yet been determined.

The trademarks under license by Six Flags will not be used at the rebranded park, so many rides and attractions will be renamed. A decision on whether or not to use the licensed Peanuts characters at Geauga Lake has not been made.

CFO Bruce Jackson said on the call that this deal will not have any impact on quarterly distribution to Cedar Fair unit holders.

Cedar Fair expects to open the park on May 1. Kinzel said after a tour of the park today that they expect all rides to open with the park if they pass detailed inspection, the only question mark being the Enterprise ride.

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