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Everything posted by garyman6

  1. The past two years they have rented out their parking lot for a drive through Christmas light show. Maybe to test out the response. It has been a hit!
  2. I found this again from 9 years ago. True, it was a long time ago but it still was the thinking of Cedar Fair at the time. Just because park GM's come and go and CEO's come and go doesn't mean that long term plans necessarily come and go as well. Cedar Fair has an entire board making these decisions. They followed through with Carowinds and were beginning to with CGA but the covid hit and all their plans got delayed for at least 2 years but more likely 3 or 4 due to having to recover financially from the pandemic. Then the opportunity to recover $300+ million with the sale to CGA was to lucrative to pass up. Maybe the plans for Valleyfair just got shelved? I mean, to go 5 years without any new investments in any kind of ride is actually very unusual even for Valleyfair. Delirious was the last new investment in 2018. It would have been normal for an off year in 2019 to save for capital expenses. Then 2020 hit and everything stopped. One other thing to keep in mind, Brian Witherow is still Cedar Fair's CFO! One last thing, GM's have very little say about what investments actually happen in their parks. They are just there to run it and operate it as efficiently as possible. Anyway, for those asking, The following is a summary from NewsPlusNotes. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013 Heard On... Cedar Fair UBS Media Presentation Cedar Fair's CFO, Brian Witherow presented at the recent UBS Global Media & Communications Conference, and shared some interesting tidbits about the company - as always I like to share some of the fun stuff I noticed during the presentation. A full broadcast of the event can be access via this link. • After selling two California water parks, they believe they are now down to their "core" properties. To me that could mean that Wildwater Kingdom, formerly part of Geauga Lake, might not be sold after all. • The chain's big four parks, Knott's, Cedar Point, Canada's Wonderland, and Kings Island make up two thirds of the company's revenue, and almost 70% of their EBITDA. That really shows just how much these properties contribute to the bottom line, and why we see large investments at them. • The chain sees three parks as having room for significant growth, Carowinds, Valleyfair, and California's Great America. I'm quite surprised to see Valleyfair on that list! They will expand heavily at those parks, with the focus on Carowinds first - as has been previously announced. • In order to increase sponsorship revenue the in-park TV media channel for next year is being developed - this will allow advertisers to have a great outlet to be represented on in the parks. Happily, Brian pointed out that they will do it in style, and not just start hanging up ads and giving sponsors to everything in the parks (cough... Six Flags... cough). • Season pass attendance now makes up 40% of the overall attendance, up from 30-32% just three years ago. The push to sell passes has really paid off, especially with increased per caps instead of lowered ones as you might expect with pass holders. • Cedar Fair seems more content with holding attendance steady and working on increasing the amount spent to enter and once in the parks, having realized that chasing attendance gains can be unproductive. An interesting example, Cedar Point currently does several hundred thousand less guests than its record level, but the per caps have increased so much with higher economically based visitors that they would rather have the fewer visitors! Totally in my words, not theirs, but people with more money spend more money, and people with less represent much lower per caps that they're not interested in. • A web portal for season pass holders is currently being built, a part of continuing to build that attendance base and keep them interested. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with as a loyalty program for pass holders was tried at Kings Island and subsequently cancelled. • The two sold water parks were not because they weren't making money, instead they realize that spending capital on new rides at water parks pays off much less than using that capital at even the smaller amusement parks. In that idea they had the chance to sell those two, and jumped on it. In 2014 they'll use 80% of the money from those sales to add to parks that will increase their revenues incrementally (like for instance in campgrounds). • As expanded as Halloween already is in the parks, they see that market being able to grow at many properties. So I'd watch for even more expansions and focus on the Haunt events in the future. Christmas events still sound like they won't happen, but they're looking to create some sort of event for the Spring. • After really studying the capital spent at parks over the past seven years, they've learned that while it is nice to really spread out capital and put something in new at each park each year, that method really doesn't pay off. Instead, having a couple rather large additions, some smaller, and some parks sitting 'out a year' makes the most financial sense. Also they have learned to tie into big expansions renovations and other improvements - citing that GateKeeper could have been a $20 or $22 million ride, but then became a $25 million ride to break records, and then eventually a $30 million project to redo the front gate, too. Overall that extra spend for a larger project pays off in their findings. • And right along those lines, the parks that take a 'year off' don't just sit and do nothing. Kings Dominion is a perfect example of that theme, celebrating a big anniversary with relatively cheap additions that still are worthy of marketing - and at the same time productively 'sitting out a year.' • Do not look for Cedar Fair to try to build a new park anytime soon, if ever. But if they could buy one they're interested in the Southwest and places like Florida, where the weather is much better than in the North. Anything good for sale these days?
  3. About 7 or 8 years ago, through correspondence directly with Cedar Fair about Valleyfair, I was invited to come to VF by the then GM Dave Frazier. I can't tell you how I got the attention of Cedar Fair as I'm not sure. I just wrote them with ideas I had about the park. Cedar Fair then sent it on to Mr. Frazier and he invited me out. It was during Haunt and it was the first time I had seen the Huge turnout that Haunt had. Anyway, I ended up going out to the park several times and each time I did Mr. Frazier would take me out for a walk around their property. We went to areas not accessible to any visitor. I learned a lot of interesting things during those walks. Obviously he couldn't divulge any specifics but I could tell he dropping hints as to what was being talked about in regards to Valleyfair. But one thing he did say was what I said above. Cedar Fair execs were waiting until crowds improved before making any major investments. By major I mean a new coaster. If you recall, around this time and prior to covid. Valleyfair was making alot of park improvements, infrastructure improvements and some new flat rides. What I was told is that they were preparing for larger crowds. I'll give you two examples. Picnic Point was designed to feed 3000 people within 1 Hr. That was double what they could do before they revamped Picnic Point. Why would they need that much capacity? North Star, this ride is the only star flyer in the Cedar Fair system. Star Flyers have two configurations, a 24 passenger and a 36 passenger. Surely the 24 passenger would have been cheaper but they went with the 36 passenger model. Again, why? They were preparing the park to accommodate larger crowds! That's why I say that, at least at Valleyfair, maybe their policy has changed. Remember, it was around that time that Cedar Fair announced that three parks were going to be focused on for significant investment as Cedar Fair saw their potential to draw larger crowds. The three parks were Carowinds, California's Great America and Valleyfair. Carowinds was the first and you can see what has happened there. CGA was getting and rumored to get large investments but Valleyfair got left out. So, here is the question, was Valleyfair left out or was it delayed?
  4. I was at Valleyfair last Thursday (announcement day). Monster Jam was set to start the next day. The park was slammed. And as I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that Cedar Fair must see this as a reason to not invest in the park. As long as they are having huge crowds there is no reason. This is a fundamental change in their thinking. I know for a fact that their previous policy was that if a park is drawing large crowds then it's time to invest for two reasons. First, to keep building momentum. Second, their return on investment will come quicker. Maybe that' not the case anymore. At least with Valleyfair Cedar Point on the other hand has huge crowds as well but they keep adding and adding and adding. So what gives? Can they get to a point where they start losing the crowds because everyone perceives that they will be slammed and they don't want to wait in lines all day? It just seems to make more sense to me to build all your parks up to continue to draw in larger crowds but Cedar Fair seems content to keep it as is. But, in my continuing, sometimes obnoxious optimistic thinking, I have a prediction. In 2024, Valleyfair will build a new coaster in the Dinos plot of land or another location. (I have a few ides) If you haven't already, check out ScreamScape from last week. Valleyfair dropped a teaser on Tic Tok saying something about a new attraction coming in 202_. It cuts off and you can't hear what year. He was in the Dinos area. Strangely, the end of the clip is about cats. Maybe it will be themed to cats? Check it out. Naysayer and mockers begin
  5. I'll be going to the park tomorrow to look and see. I don't think monster trucks are located there but it's opening soon so I should be able to see where they are doing it. Also, Adventureland in Iowa just announced another new family coaster and log flume. Valleyfair has to have an answer for this. Hopefully tomorrows announcement will be good news for Valleyfair.
  6. Check out Screamscape! A new tictok hint was just dropped about clearing in Dino's area. I can confirm that all the pavement has been removed from the area. I saw this just a couple of weeks ago.
  7. So Valleyfair, when announcing that High Roller was getting painted, teased that another Favorite ride was also getting repainted and challenged us to find out which ride. The answer? Extreme Swing! Looks fantastic again! Bright, Shiny, Red, White and Blue colors. High Roller also looks awesome. Really brightened it up!
  8. To all Cedar Point Fans!!! Wicked Twister Lives On!! Well at least part of it, my home park is Valleyfair. Stopped by yesterday and noticed that they have a seat from WT at the beginning of Steel Venom's cue to serve as a test seat. Sorry, I don't have a pic but though you all would like to know.
  9. I am friends with the previous GM of Valleyfair. He told me that Haunt was their MOST profitable time of the year. So the argument that it was all passholders that didn't spend just doesn't hold water. Still doesn't make sense why they dropped Haunt. But I would be even more shocked if they didn't bring it back especially after they see the significant drop in revenues with this new Halloween event.
  10. Oh, Yes, My bad. It was Palace. Let's not forget that Nick U. is also competition for Valleyfair plus the new 350K indoor waterpark cleared another huge hurdle and right now is scheduled to begin construction this summer.
  11. Well, I have to disagree that Valleyfair has no meaningful competition. Adventureland just got bought by Herschend Family Entertainment so you know they are going to put a lot of money into that park to bring it up to their standards. And, this year a brand new park in Waterloo, IA, Lost Island, will open. How is this not competition? I don't disagree with your waterpark assessment, but a 350K sq ft indoor waterpark is a different product then any outdoor waterpark. In the summer, most people go to a waterpark to get SUN. Can't do that indoors. Cedar Fair has to know that they really need to tackle both the dry park and the waterpark, and they don't have a decade to do it. BTW, Excalibur has it's train in the station and is ready to go for this season. I'm hoping that they are re-evaluating the need to remove Excalibur and are working on a plan to expand the waterpark and keep Excalibur.
  12. Not to my knowledge. Where they were working seems to point out a bad wheel assemble that caused a lot of drag. There were no dummies in the train either so that would have contributed to the valley with less weight in the train.
  13. I've added some google map perspective. In the tree clearing image you can see what I believe is the scope of the tree clearing that I saw. In the image of the missing building you can see the building that was removed and the space it frees up. Plenty for a large new flat ride. Anyway, I'd love to hear any speculation or ideas of what you think is going on.
  14. In other news, has anyone seen the tree clearing between Thunder Canyon and Excalibur? It's pretty significant. In the pic you can see that its a clear view now of Thunder Canyon's Pumping station, you could never see that before. I also saw lots of activity around Excalibur and there were several wrapped items stored at the base of Excalibur on its west side. I drove by Valleyfair yesterday, a big portion of the parking lot has been repaved, I saw some retaining wall work being done near Wild Things station and there was a Train that valleyed on Wild Thing. A crew was doing some work on the first or second car. It was interesting to see. One last thing I saw was that one of the building behind Northern Lights and Antique cars is gone. It used to be the building right next to the old bumper boats. I think it was only being used for storage but it's interesting to see it gone. Anyone know anything?
  15. I just read an update on the Waterpark Project. This is from the City of Bloomington dated Jan. 4th 2022. The proposed South Loop water park project is in motion once again. In September, the City Council and Port Authority directed staff to investigate a private financing model allowed by new 2021 legislation. If the financing markets “like” the private model, we could see a closing on the project in 2022, with an opening in 2024. Of course, no real estate deal is done until the financing closes, which is still months away. The water park would be open to the general public. The new 330,000-square-foot water park would bring an estimated $1 million in new admissions and lodging taxes to the City. No Bloomington property taxes are at risk for the project debt. A discount on admission to the water park for Bloomington residents is planned.
  16. Well I was talking about late September through October. The crowds that came out for Haunt were insane. That won't happen with this new event but I'm hoping it's only a temporary thing and they bring back Haunt.
  17. My guess is that Cedar Fair wants to perfect this new halloween event for families at VF and CGA, then roll it out to the rest of the parks but end it at 5 pm. Close the park and then reopen at 7 pm for Haunt. This event will probably draw an O.K. crowd for families during the daylight hours but I don't see the park being even remotely busy after 6 pm.
  18. Yes, there are many but none come even close to what ValleyScare offered. I'm sure they are all drooling at the thought of all those many thousands of Haunt goers that will be coming to their parks now that ValleyScare is no more. They will be making record profits this year for sure.
  19. Hey everyone, Thanks for the advice for my trip on March 27th for a few hours late in the day. Definitely headed to twisted timbers first then. I'm really surprised about I305, I thought that would be a tough one to get on and honestly, its the coaster I'm most looking forward to.
  20. Just read recently in the local paper that the Water Park project is back on!! I'll keep an eye out and report back when I hear something but the local government still wants this to happen and they did approve some tax incentives for the water park project. No timeline yet but stay tuned.
  21. They are having a Halloween event for families with younger children. Far different then a Haunt event! VF eliminated the Haunt event! No more haunted houses or scare zones. Yes, the park will be open but only till like 8 or 9 on weekends but lets be real, most families will not stay, with young kids, till 9 pm. My prediction is that the park will be dead from 7 to 9 pm. 7 pm is when the park was just getting busy with Haunt.
  22. I'll be traveling to Richmond at the end of March. I'll be coming in on a sunday. I see that the park is only open on weekends so far and closes at 5 that night. I probably wont get to the park till after 1:30 pm. Is it possible to get all of the major coasters in in about 3 hours? If so, how should I plan to do that? Thanks for any help. It will be my first trip to KD.
  23. Where did you see they cut haunt form the fall lineup in '22? What I read was that they plan to reinvent haunt. To me, that means expand it into unique and creative ways. Haunt is one of the most profitable periods for the park. I'm sure they have no plans to let it go.
  24. The space outlined is for sure going to be a waterpark expansion. The access road at the left is planned to be relocated west, on top of the new berm. That way they can remove the road and tunnel leading to Excalibur and Thunder Canyon and then expand the water park that way. But, I'm thinking that VF is now trying to figure out how to keep Excalibur where it is. Don't know how they would do it though.
  25. Hey, finally some action here. A few things to note. First, the waterpark project at MOA is back on, talks have resumed but no timeline has been set yet. Second, VF has obtained permits from Army Corp of Engineers and the city to expand the flood berm. The Army corp one is still active I believe but the city permit would have to be updated. This would be expensive but would add buildable acreage for VF. Third, I've heard rumors that Tumbili, the 4D free spin at Kings Dominion was supposed to go to VF but was moved the KD because Adventureland installed the exact same model. Thank goodness, its not a terrible ride but would be a big let down as our next coaster. Fourth, I beginning to think that they are reworking their plans to remove Excalibur. I believe they are wanting to keep Excalibur and find different ways to expand the waterpark. Fifth, I agree that a new coaster is coming before a waterpark expansion. Heck, I could see a major thrill flat ride and coaster before a waterpark expansion. Personally I'm hoping for a Vekoma STC.
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