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DirkFunk last won the day on November 2

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  1. The comparison isn't Kentucky Kingdom, it's Sears/Seritage. And the investors wanting an REIT don't care if theme parks operate or not, they want maximum return on their investment. In any case, my wife sobered me up some last night and basically made the argument that it didn't matter anymore for us and she's right. I'm not on YouTube generating revenue when people click on my theme park content. I do financial analysis and administration for Sub-saharan African economic development projects. There's not one of these parks in my community where it would have a significant impact on us if it closed down. If they want to bulldoze half of Kings Dominion to build an eSports center that will fail miserably, why should I feel bad?
  2. It's not a stupid idea if you're solely interested in making money. REITs can be very profitable as spinoffs. The thing is that REITs don't have the same interests as the business sitting in the space.
  3. There's also going to be parks which are outside the bounds of what the target audiences are of the company or whom have other issues potentially kneecapping them. Coaster enthusiasts are frankly not that smart and not very into the business side of stuff, which is why I've seen literally no one say "Hey, when do those contracts for operation of SFOT and SFOG come up again?" They're gonna be laden with debt and both companies have been hurting hard the last few years in every imaginable way, passing all their issues onto the customers (which is part of why they are doing so badly). They've cut a lot of their leadership, especially in stuff like group sales and advertising, turning into regional teams rather than having employees at the park level. The announcement and discussion basically reinforces to me that they intend to operate with what one half would have used in that skeleton crew sort of system and let go of the "duplicative labor". Parks are going to go away. Lots of parks. CGA is already going away. It will be joined by others which will not be sold to operators because then they'd be selling themselves competition.
  4. Ask yourself this question: are either Six Flags or Cedar Fair better today in 2023 than they were in 2018 from a perspective of operations and guest satisfaction? I know, I know the world is different and changed versus 5 years ago. But I'm also talking about 5 years ago. Not ancient history. 5 years ago. How do they perform against a standard they themselves set? I have my opinions. I'm sure you all collectively have yours. I don't see how this merger does anything to change my expectations of the joined brand.
  5. I saw this thread in the trending and thought "Oh, I wonder if anyone found that article about how the global economic downturn appears to have started at LEGOLand Korea?" https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/11/10/legoland-south-korea-bond-market-crisis/ But no, it turns out that someone about to talk about it got disappeared. Well, anyhoo....
  6. I rode all the coasters I could ever want and then some. I'm good right now. I might be good forever. You don't need to take a victory lap. Just be happy I'm not occupying space in the line.
  7. I'm not gonna linger long because honestly, my desire to be involved in this hobby is gone and probably never coming back. The Mindbender is something I rode and I'll readily admit that it was a source of enormous "anticippointment" - I hated the accordion restraints and realized people had just made up stories about them being better/different than other attractions like Taz's Texas Tornado. But there were the bones of something very good there. In honestly, the real reason to even interject myself here is just to say somewhere online that Mindbender going away is just part and parcel of what feels like a kind of "end" for that generation of attractions. A lot of stuff that was a big deal domestically and abroad when I got into the hobby - The Ultimate, Montana Rusa from Mexico, Mindbender, countless giant wood coasters, Big Bad Wolf, Eagle's Fortress - all that stuff is gone. What's taken its place is honestly "better" in terms of dynamics, pacing, forces, and such, but I find it to feel much more generic and interchangeable. There's less weird when every coaster is built by one of every 6-7 firms and there's 20 examples of everything. And what is "weird" now often has no positive, good properties. Screaming Squirrels are weird but they suck. But then again, if I think everything sucks, maybe the Screaming Squirrel is actually fun. And that's why it is time for me to move on.
  8. I assume there is no future for this park at large, honestly. They've been in trouble for years and I doubt they'll get out of it now either in this form.
  9. Intamin doesn't build the track for it. That may actually be part of the problem. Who knows what kind of lead time they were required to have by Cordes Holzbau for getting new track pieces built?
  10. The current CEO isn't spending on infrastructure though, so it isn't going to rehabilitate itself from a perspective of flower beds or structures.
  11. To be completely honest with you, I do see Kings Island, even plus'ed up with projection mapping and better fireworks, as a "cheap park" compared to Universal or Disney. You can get a pass to go every single operating day for less money than it costs to go to Universal Studios Orlando for one of the two parks for one day. I don't think there's a dramatic difference between operations at most Cedar Fair parks and most Six Flags parks. Cedar Point has had lousy operations now for about a decade for most of it's season: Six Flags Great America usually has been in better shape. Cedar Fair has built some decent stuff, sure, but there's plenty of parallel examples of Six Flags doing the same (Justice League, the SFGAdv Safari) from a "themed entertainment" lens. I also don't think the CEO anticipated the losses being what they were or that he was going to be firing a bunch more of his senior leadership right before the last earnings call. Nor do I think he was necessarily chasing to have his company downgraded by institutional investors. edit: also, just for clarity - the reason why I asked about the demographic mix at Kings Island was because of what I was arguing earlier: they might have managed to increase per capita spending, but it hasn't fundamentally changed who goes to the park. If you don't do that, the people who won't go now because "its unsafe" will never go. Not to mention that when CF did their earnings report, they no longer try to separate out the performance of the parks they have now vs. what they had pre-COVID. Remember, they made the deal to buy Schlitterbahn in mid 2019. They should be showing an increase in attendance and revenue vs. that year or prior years because they have more facilities. Oddly enough, no one seemed to notice this when the reports came out except me.
  12. Bingo. If we use the example of Kings Island, well, sure, let's examine that. First, we had Dick Kinzel buy it and try to crater season pass sales to seek more valuable per capita attendance figures in the middle of a pandemic. Oopsies, that didn't work, and Dick Kinzel got shown the door. Then his replacement (you know, the guy who came from Disneyland) emerged and reset pricing for season pass products in the marketplace, getting people back in the park. Since then, they've spent a decade constructing new rides and attractions and plussing up infrastructure to get to a point where, when adjusted for inflation (https://web.archive.org/web/20120827093407/https://www.visitkingsisland.com/season-passes and https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/), I find that the cost of a Kings Island Season Pass is now....9 dollars cheaper in real terms.
  13. Who are the people going to Kings Island? Really, are people seeing some massive sea change in the demographics of individuals visiting the place because the season passes are priced at $9 more than Six Flags St. Louis? That's what these parks are. They are regional parks serving regional audiences who often have few or no serious alternatives for full day amusement facilities because the competition has been closed forever. And that's why it keeps failing to try and jack up the prices without investing heavily in the facility. Cedar Fair hasn't even been able to increase costs to the consumer in the fashion Six Flags has attempted this year; why would anyone expect a different outcome than what did happen (loss of revenue greater than the improvement in per capita spending)?
  14. Yes. That's what they probably should do. Their periods of profitability come from acting as regional amusement/theme parks that cater to the people in the community, regardless of whether or not they are of sufficiently high incomes for the current CEO. Ask yourself a legitimate question looking at this thread: What do you think it would take to get someone like prozach626 to go more frequently to SFStl or even downtown St. Louis? Like really, what would it take? I don't think it would be accomplished in a period of less than multiple years and with zero guarantee of repeat visitorship once you get whatever it is you have planned done. Having access to more metrics doesn't mean you're doing a good job! Using the example of Shapiro here as he did literally this exact same plan in the mid-2000s; Shapiro's time as head of Six Flags ended in bankruptcy. Any of us could run Six Flags into bankruptcy. It's like finishing with an 0-17 record in the NFL and expecting leniency from ownership when any human being could have accomplished the same end result.
  15. No, the mix for attendance at Six Flags parks is historically overwhelmingly in favor of memberships and season passes. IIRC (and it's likely in this thread), people with some form of pass made up in excess of 65% of attendance at the parks pre-pandemic. Some would suggest that this is unsustainable - Six Flags was profitable at this time. Very profitable. In fact, their debt to income ratio was lower than Cedar Fair's, which meant that their fundamentals were even arguably better. Then the pandemic happened: some companies took out loans to retain senior folks, whereas Six Flags pushed to just burn their existing cash and layoff people. There are many people both in the industry and in this community who cannot accept that the Six Flags parks are basically just regional amusement facilities catering to a local demographic, most of whom are passholders and visit frequently. They demand everyone operates like Disney World, where passholders are a substantial minority in favor of higher per-cap spending day visitors buying one day tickets. Six Flags - ANY OF THEM - isn't Disney World. It has virtually none of the infrastructure of Disney World (or even Disneyland) to generate revenue related to park visitation like hotels, restaurants, or entertainment districts. Operating regional amusement parks from a budgetary standpoint though isn't interesting to most people, and so they gravitate towards the thing that sounds much more interesting, which is from a business model completely and utterly separate from what Six Flags is. And it is no surprise to me whatsoever that this strategy - pump up the prices, spend nothing in capex - fails miserably over and over and over again.
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