Cedar Fair will make $90 million in capital expenditures for 2012

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, has announced plans to invest $90 million in new thrill rides, family attractions and resort amenities at its 17 properties for the 2012 operating season.

In the last 15 years, Cedar Fair will have invested more than $1 billion in capital improvements across its arsenal of amusement parks, water parks and resorts. "We have a strong philosophy of reinvesting in our parks," says Matt Ouimet, president of Cedar Fair. "Our goal is to provide each and every guest who visits a Cedar Fair park with a best-day-of-the-year experience. We realize people have choices, and by adding new rides and attractions we are committed to keeping the parks relevant and remaining the first choice for family entertainment.

The signature attraction of Cedar Fair's 2012 expenditure program is one of the most anticipated and buzzed about roller coasters of the year: the $27 million Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland in Toronto. This incredible 306-foot-tall, 92-mph steel machine will be one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world and will set new standards in thrill-riding with 10 rousing elements, including an 80-degree first drop, barrel turns and high-speed curves. With the addition of Leviathan, Canada's Wonderland will have a new place on the coaster map, staking claim to an impressive tally of 16 scream machines, making it one of the "Top Three" destinations on Earth for coaster quantity. Roller coaster riders will be able to buckle up for their first Leviathan ride when Canada's Wonderland opens in May.

"If I had to choose only one roller coaster to ride in 2012, without a doubt, this would be it," says Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, an international newspaper that covers amusement industry news and trends. "Cedar Fair's reputation for delivering first-rate thrills is unwavering, and coaster enthusiasts the world over have Leviathan on their 'bucket lists' for the upcoming season. It's a 'must ride.'"

Riders at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania will be injected with a pure rush of adrenaline as they sit face-to-face with friends on the park's eighth roller coaster, Stinger. This 138-foot-tall inverted shuttle roller coaster resembles a scorpion ready to strike, as riders get flipped six times and race along overhead track both forward then backwards at speeds up to 55 mph.

At Kings Dominion near Richmond, Virginia. and Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina, guests will get panoramic views while experiencing towering thrills on WindSeeker, an amazing 30-story swing and spinning ride. Riders will sit two across in 32-passenger swings with their legs dangling and will slowly begin to rotate in a circular motion as the swings climb the massive 301-foot-tall structure. At the top, the swings will reach speeds up to 30 mph while fanning out at nearly 45 degrees before its descent. Each WindSeeker ride is a $6.5 million investment.

Family fun in gigantic -- and prehistoric -- proportions will debut at several Cedar Fair parks in 2012, including Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio and Kings Dominion. Families will roar way back in time with Dinosaur's Alive!, a world-class animatronic dinosaur collection showcasing the life-sized relics in an interactive exhibit. Dinosaurs Alive! will inspire, entertain and educate guests with the sounds and movements of each animatronic creature made to replicate nearly every feature of the dinosaurs; each piece is hand-carved and scientifically accurate based on the latest paleontological knowledge. Guests will walk through thematic scenes that tell compelling stories about each dinosaur and their primeval world.

For water lovers, Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio will make a big splash with its rebranded Soak City water park and offer plenty of new ways to get wet with a major $10 million expansion that will nearly double its size to 33 acres. The makeover will include a new wave pool surrounded by a large deck and lush greenery and a new action river featuring interactive areas and elements such as waterfalls, tipping buckets, spray hoses and rain curtains. A new entrance and plaza will greet guests to the waterpark; plus amenities including new family changing rooms, cabanas, sand volleyball court and additional lounging areas will be part of the renovation. Kings Island will also celebrate its 40th anniversary season in 2012.

Cedar Point's Soak City water park will also have a new look for 2012 with the edition of a new mat-racer complex that will offer racers a speedy ride through a series of dips and plateaus.

Additional investments across Cedar Fair's group of parks will feature new restaurants, entertainment offerings and resort upgrades.

Read the entire press release from Cedar Fair.

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