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Valleyfair (VF) Discussion Thread


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^ Exactly. It used to be only ten years but after COVID has screwed up operating budgets and profits for the last two years, this is now how many MORE years VF has to wait for a new coaster. 

 I was last there on July 11 and loading crews for all the coasters are down one to two people from normal but they were still doing a real solid job. Wild Thing was running with only 4 ride ops so as expected it was stacking before every launch but not too bad or long. They were doing the best they could with what they had. The Renegade crew was rocking it, got six laps in from opening in the first hour and 15 minutes with no re-rides.  

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On 7/20/2021 at 11:39 AM, coasterbill said:

They're counting down the years until they get a new coaster.

Valleyfair really does need a coaster though. They have an rmc Raptor coming to Sioux Falls eventually. It got delayed due to covid but never canceled officially. Then they have lost island theme park coming in with a intamin launch and Venom invert coming. Adventureland just got a sms free spin ride and has had 3 Coasters built in the last 5 years. I'm sure Cedarfair management has noticed this and will give more attention to Valleyfair. 

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23 hours ago, Swishtime101 said:

Valleyfair really does need a coaster though. They have an rmc Raptor coming to Sioux Falls eventually. It got delayed due to covid but never canceled officially. Then they have lost island theme park coming in with a intamin launch and Venom invert coming. Adventureland just got a sms free spin ride and has had 3 Coasters built in the last 5 years. I'm sure Cedarfair management has noticed this and will give more attention to Valleyfair. 

I wouldn’t hold my breath. The current management at Cedar Fair have no clue what people want, they are focused on “immersive” experiences (if I hear that word one more time 🤬), that’s fine if you’re a large well rounded park like Cedar Point etc but a smaller park like VF lives and dies on rides and the time effort and money they have thrown into Grande Carnival is senseless for a park this size. It will not bring people to the park and has no legacy after it has left like a ride or attraction does. We have plenty of “immersive” experiences within forty miles of VF like Ren festival and Aquatennial and the state fair, the institute of art, the science museum and on and on, people don’t need to go to an amusement park for that. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy that they continue to ignore big ride additions and attendance continues to disappoint which then leads them to think a big investment isn’t warranted because they won’t get a return on it.

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On 7/2/2021 at 1:30 PM, ytterbiumanalyst said:

^ Yeah, it's so much better now that an algorithm written by a committee of people who won't work at that company 2 years from now gets to decide whether or not the hiring manager even sees your resume.

 

Fun video though! I always like interviews like this one. My favourite part: "We're always expanding...maybe not at the pace people would like." So they know. 😆

The people in the physical plant know all to well what people want as does the company, they did polling a few years back and what people said was they wanted a big coaster but management at Cedarfair didn’t know what to do with that.  CF view VF as a low priority property and are satisfied with it sustaining itself and squeezing whatever they can out of it financially to invest in other properties because it hasn’t traditionally had sizable competition in the past to need to invest in it. The guys in maintenance get their pride and joy from infrastructure projects and something like Grande Carnival is a bit of a let down to them. I feel bad that people like Tom and others who have been with the park for their entire careers and want to see one more big addition before they retire probably aren’t going to get that wish. 

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I haven't yet been to Grand Carnivale but from what I'm hearing from a friend that goes almost daily, it is doing it's job!  Even before GC started the crowds this year have been nuts which is understandable with pent up demand.  He has sent pics showing cue lines for Excalibur nearly out to the sidewalk!  He was able to talk to someone in management and was told that they were expecting crowds of 20K + for GC!  That's insane.  

Cedarfair has said in the past that it will invest in parks only after it see's the crowds.  So maybe bringing in GC is a test for Valleyfair to see if they can draw the crowds.  Clearly it is.  Plus GC has been really well received by the general public.  This plus Haunt this fall, Valleyfair could possibly bring in record profits.

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8 hours ago, garyman6 said:

I haven't yet been to Grand Carnivale but from what I'm hearing from a friend that goes almost daily, it is doing it's job!  Even before GC started the crowds this year have been nuts which is understandable with pent up demand.  He has sent pics showing cue lines for Excalibur nearly out to the sidewalk!  He was able to talk to someone in management and was told that they were expecting crowds of 20K + for GC!  That's insane.  

Cedarfair has said in the past that it will invest in parks only after it see's the crowds.  So maybe bringing in GC is a test for Valleyfair to see if they can draw the crowds.  Clearly it is.  Plus GC has been really well received by the general public.  This plus Haunt this fall, Valleyfair could possibly bring in record profits.

Are they doing Haunt/ Valleyscare this fall? I have not heard anything about it yet. With that being said the park was indeed incredibly busy opening weekend of GC and hopefully will draw in Cedar Fair's attention. Especially with competition ramping up with Lost Lsland and Adventureland, I'm actually optimistic for once that we can be getting something. 

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On 7/22/2021 at 2:34 PM, djoles said:

which then leads them to think a big investment isn’t warranted because they won’t get a return on it.

What if they're right?

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15 hours ago, Swishtime101 said:

Are they doing Haunt/ Valleyscare this fall? I have not heard anything about it yet. With that being said the park was indeed incredibly busy opening weekend of GC and hopefully will draw in Cedar Fair's attention. Especially with competition ramping up with Lost Lsland and Adventureland, I'm actually optimistic for once that we can be getting something. 

They have begun recruiting Scare actors so yes, Haunt will happen.  They haven't updated their schedule yet but I've been told that they won't begin to focus on Haunt until after GC.

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On 7/27/2021 at 3:38 PM, Swishtime101 said:

Are they doing Haunt/ Valleyscare this fall? I have not heard anything about it yet. With that being said the park was indeed incredibly busy opening weekend of GC and hopefully will draw in Cedar Fair's attention. Especially with competition ramping up with Lost Lsland and Adventureland, I'm actually optimistic for once that we can be getting something. 

These are traditionally the biggest attendance weekends of the year, I doubt it was GC, from the video it’s embarrassing and isn’t drawing more than casual bystanders, and waiting for people to attend to see if it’s worth investment will not bring people into the park, that’s what you have to invest in the park for.

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7AA3E9CC-DA8E-4F75-8767-C36D3E99B98B.thumb.png.fc4daf809aae7694e3da1051ca466134.pngWelcome 2021s big new addition! This is so embarrassing that it’s funny only the sadness quickly sets in as this park becomes more irrelevant with each passing year. 

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I was at Valleyfair on Thursday, and the Grand Carnivale wasn't bad. Actually some of the acts at the Superior stage (3-4pm) were quite good. I think the Superior stage is a difficult location in general. It depends on people walking by and stopping, which few do for any length of time, at any given time. With people walking by on the trail and few seats, it almost induces people to "move along". Unless you sit up real close to get your ears blasted out next to the speakers...

Some more benches or something would help get people in to stay for a show in my opinion. Like the Ren Fest- have a seating area with the walking trail behind. 

I've always liked breaking up the day a bit with a show - especially if you can time it out with some food- Having different food then the normal burger and fries was great!  You go to Valleyfair and want to get rides in too, and the shortened days this year really makes you think about how long you want to do any given thing. 

On a side note, whoever was playing live music at soak city was excellent! Minne & St Paul? Not on the schedule that I saw, just happened to be in the background when we were there. There was a decent crowd overall for the day, especially for a weekday.  

The idea of the GC dance party was to get the audience involved, learn it, and then I think follow the parade later in the evening and join in. That part is not my thing, and apparently not too many others either- at least on a Thursday. A good number of people lined up to watch the parade though, as most will watch a show before participating in it. It a tough thing to do, especially with mostly teenagers around, to try and get people out to dance...I would have to give the ones in the parade high marks for tying to get the people they did, to dance- they put some real effort in it.  Kids were more than willing to run around collecting the streamers after the parade that got shot into the air. 

The Calendar online is showing VF is open weekends through October now, but so far no mention of Halloween. Less staff this year for sure, so it will be interesting what comes of that. If they limit attendance with the reservation system, or worse CDC and possible Gov. Walz covid restrictions. I hope that doesn't happen. 

Hope even harder that they have some new major ride lined up for Valleyfair soon! 

 

 

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@budtbum

Glad to hear you enojyed the Grand Carinvale stuff.  I did too when it was at Kings Dominion in 2019.  You're always going to get limited buy in from crowd participation, especially with the teen and young-20s crowd, but it's not really for them.

I hope you guys do get a Halloween event, even if it's just a Tricks & Treats Fest like everywhere had last year.  As far as I'm aware, Cedar Point is the only park in the chain to have announced a proper Haunt so far. The fact that you have October hours announced already is a good start (many parks in the chain haven't posted their post-Labor-Day schedule yet).

As for a new major ride for VF.....keep the dream alive, man LOL.

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5 hours ago, budtbum said:

The Calendar online is showing VF is open weekends through October now, but so far no mention of Halloween. Less staff this year for sure, so it will be interesting what comes of that. If they limit attendance with the reservation system, or worse CDC and possible Gov. Walz covid restrictions. I hope that doesn't happen. 

 

I checked the park’s operating schedule and starting October 2, they’re open 2-11pm on Saturdays and 7pm-midnight on Fridays, so it looks like Haunt is happening but will be limited to October only.

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Anybody expecting Cedar Fair to ever care about anything other than extracting the ultimate amount of money for themselves, or care about things like guest experience, or satisfaction, is deluding themselves (and yes, there's a lot of participants in that delusion in enthusiast circles, including this site), and is ultimately going to be disappointed and frustrated with any Cedar Fair park. Learn to love the small, independent parks, like my kids and I have these past couple of years, and you won't care so much that Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks alike care more about money than they do about you, and whether you have a good time at their amusement parks.

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1 hour ago, DILinator said:

 Learn to love the small, independent parks, like my kids and I have these past couple of years, and you won't care so much that Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks alike care more about money than they do about you, and whether you have a good time at their amusement parks.

Um, big park or little park, that's basic business- they HAVE to care about the bottom line if they want to stay in business. Which incidentally requires them to also care about customer satisfaction, to keep customers coming back. 

I go to small independent parks too because some things they have are different, but find your term interesting - "Learn to love" the other (better?) smaller parks that has apparently taken your business. Out of curiosity, what specific care did they show you that Valleyfair/Cedar Fair didn't? 

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Grand Carnivale actually hasn't been all that bad so far. Whenever I've been there the crowds have been massive. The lines for rides are really backed up and the parking lot has been full even up by ripcord. Now idk how much GC cost to put on and if VF has been making a profit but I do know one thing: We've been proving to Cedarfair that VF can indeed pack crowds. 

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1 hour ago, Swishtime101 said:

Grand Carnivale actually hasn't been all that bad so far. Whenever I've been there the crowds have been massive. The lines for rides are really backed up and the parking lot has been full even up by ripcord. Now idk how much GC cost to put on and if VF has been making a profit but I do know one thing: We've been proving to Cedarfair that VF can indeed pack crowds. 

And sadly the fact that it continues to draw crowds actually hurts your chances of getting a new major ride. 

Simple fact is, Valleyfair is not a "destination" park.  Very few people, other than hardcore enthusiasts, make it a specific point of going there or have even heard of it.  Compare to Cedar Point, the Kings pair, Carowinds, and even Knotts....these are all places that people have heard of and will go out of their way to book vacations around.  Cedar Fair's lower tier (Dorney, Michigan's Adventure, Worlds of Fun, CGA, and yes even Valleyfair) simply don't attract "destination" travelers like the top-tier parks do, thus they get minimal investment. 

Now sure, that's some self-fufilling-prophecy, because without major additions, they will never be destination parks, but I think that CF is okay with that.

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17 hours ago, Mike240SX said:

And sadly the fact that it continues to draw crowds actually hurts your chances of getting a new major ride. 

Wouldn't the opposite be true? The bigger the crowd, the better case you can make, for investing in a major ride; 

Small crowd is risky, asking the question- will bigger crowds come with a new major ride? Bigger crowds on the other hand can make a board say "I should keep going with what's drawing them in", that is true. But it also says, I have a crowd to safely support the new rides investment too, as evidenced by lines of people on the existing rides. 

 

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2 hours ago, budtbum said:

Wouldn't the opposite be true? The bigger the crowd, the better case you can make, for investing in a major ride; 

Small crowd is risky, asking the question- will bigger crowds come with a new major ride? Bigger crowds on the other hand can make a board say "I should keep going with what's drawing them in", that is true. But it also says, I have a crowd to safely support the new rides investment too, as evidenced by lines of people on the existing rides. 

 

They will never make an investment like they did with WildThing which at the time was a world class coaster (before they ratcheted up the braking), the park is lacking however in the area of coasters so a mid sized but unique coaster would draw people and be a good long term investment for the park. There is a ceiling for the kind of draw a park like Valleyfair has but they haven’t hit it in decades, there biggest success has been Valleyscare which has brought up their attendance figures. I don’t know that the current management/board at Cedarfair will do anything though, the company grew too big and their priority is the destination parks so smaller regional parks like VF will just get left at the bottom of the barrel. The best thing that could happen is they would sell VF to a smaller owner who would have more of a vested interest in giving the park the attention it deserves. 

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2 hours ago, budtbum said:

Wouldn't the opposite be true? The bigger the crowd, the better case you can make, for investing in a major ride; 

Small crowd is risky, asking the question- will bigger crowds come with a new major ride? Bigger crowds on the other hand can make a board say "I should keep going with what's drawing them in", that is true. But it also says, I have a crowd to safely support the new rides investment too, as evidenced by lines of people on the existing rides. 

 

If CF was trying to turn VF into a destination park, sure, that might hold true.

But for a regional-draw park like VF, if their established crowd is enough to consistently earn the company a substantial enough profit margin, there is nothing really to be gained from investing $10+ million in a major attraction.

I've never been to VF, but I do have Dorney, another low-tier CF park, quite local and go quite frequently, so I have some experience on this topic - Their dry park crowds are steady, even with no major new addition since 2012 (Stinger, which is now gone).  Their water park is the money maker - it consistently is *slammed* during the summer months, and they haven't added anything substantial to that side since 2014, and their only "modern-style" slide complex are those drop-capsules.  None of this has negatively affected their crowd draw, and Dorney has some major competition in a two-hour-drive radius (SFGAdv, Hershey, Knoebel's, Morey's, even Nick Universe).

If VF, Dorney, or WoF, were to add a major coaster that would draw enthusiasts, it might increase crowds for a year or two while enthusiasts travel there to experience it.  But that's it.  Would that be enough to justify the expense?  Probably not.  The local crowd will continue to go even with only minor additions or no additions at all.

Listen, I get it...we all want our "home parks" to get the biggest and best, or even anything new every now and then.  But from a business standpoint, it makes no sense if the park continues to make enough to sustain it and appease the local "GP" crowd without one.

All of this is doubly-true this year, where we see crowd levels at parks that have never been seen before, to the point where SEAS parks don't even see a point in opening their major additions - it would do nothing to draw additional crowds in when the parks are already packed.

On 8/1/2021 at 2:25 PM, DILinator said:

Anybody expecting Cedar Fair to ever care about anything other than extracting the ultimate amount of money for themselves, or care about things like guest experience, or satisfaction, is deluding themselves (and yes, there's a lot of participants in that delusion in enthusiast circles, including this site), and is ultimately going to be disappointed and frustrated with any Cedar Fair park. Learn to love the small, independent parks, like my kids and I have these past couple of years, and you won't care so much that Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks alike care more about money than they do about you, and whether you have a good time at their amusement parks.

I fail to see how local parks care more about the "customer experience" than Cedar Fair, especially in the context of major ride additions.  Knoebels, widely regarded as the one of the best parks in the country, hasn't had a "major addition" since 2015, and that ride (Impulse) wouldn't even be considered a "major" addition at a CF or SF park.  Yet, they continue to draw crowds to an extent that sustains their business model.

Of course CF cares about the customer experience...if they didn't they wouldn't have skyrocketed their pay rates to try to eliminate the staffing issues they've had this year.  Sure, they cut back their hours to minimize the cut to the profit margin from that salary increase, but even Knoebels closed 50-60% of their rides mid-week.  Look at SEAS, which has made massive improvements in "customer experience" at BGW recently by moving to a year-round operation.  Yes, smaller, independent parks have their charm, but to say that they universally care more about the "customer experience" than major chains is over simplifying the issue.

Just now, djoles said:

 I don’t know that the current management/board at Cedarfair will do anything though, the company grew too big and their priority is the destination parks so smaller regional parks like VF will just get left at the bottom of the barrel. The best thing that could happen is they would sell VF to a smaller owner who would have more of a vested interest in giving the park the attention it deserves. 

Like who, Palace/Parques Reunidos?  We see how well they do managing their existing parks.

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3 minutes ago, Mike240SX said:

If CF was trying to turn VF into a destination park, sure, that might hold true.

But for a regional-draw park like VF, if their established crowd is enough to consistently earn the company a substantial enough profit margin, there is nothing really to be gained from investing $10+ million in a major attraction.

I've never been to VF, but I do have Dorney, another low-tier CF park, quite local and go quite frequently, so I have some experience on this topic - Their dry park crowds are steady, even with no major new addition since 2012 (Stinger, which is now gone).  Their water park is the money maker - it consistently is *slammed* during the summer months, and they haven't added anything substantial to that side since 2014, and their only "modern-style" slide complex are those drop-capsules.  None of this has negatively affected their crowd draw, and Dorney has some major competition in a two-hour-drive radius (SFGAdv, Hershey, Knoebel's, Morey's, even Nick Universe).

If VF, Dorney, or WoF, were to add a major coaster that would draw enthusiasts, it might increase crowds for a year or two while enthusiasts travel there to experience it.  But that's it.  Would that be enough to justify the expense?  Probably not.  The local crowd will continue to go even with only minor additions or no additions at all.

Listen, I get it...we all want our "home parks" to get the biggest and best, or even anything new every now and then.  But from a business standpoint, it makes no sense if the park continues to make enough to sustain it and appease the local "GP" crowd without one.

All of this is doubly-true this year, where we see crowd levels at parks that have never been seen before, to the point where SEAS parks don't even see a point in opening their major additions - it would do nothing to draw additional crowds in when the parks are already packed.

I fail to see how local parks care more about the "customer experience" than Cedar Fair, especially in the context of major ride additions.  Knoebels, widely regarded as the one of the best parks in the country, hasn't had a "major addition" since 2015, and that ride (Impulse) wouldn't even be considered a "major" addition at a CF or SF park.  Yet, they continue to draw crowds to an extent that sustains their business model.

Of course CF cares about the customer experience...if they didn't they wouldn't have skyrocketed their pay rates to try to eliminate the staffing issues they've had this year.  Sure, they cut back their hours to minimize the cut to the profit margin from that salary increase, but even Knoebels closed 50-60% of their rides mid-week.  Look at SEAS, which has made massive improvements in "customer experience" at BGW recently by moving to a year-round operation.  Yes, smaller, independent parks have their charm, but to say that they universally care more about the "customer experience" than major chains is over simplifying the issue.

 There was a grander plan back post wild thing before Cedarfair grew so large for VF to get a hotel on site and to expand further into the flood plane but that was lost in the company’s growth. The park has seen growth in attendance from valleyscare but attendance has been disappointing otherwise and when you ask most people who aren’t season pass holders why they haven’t gone to VF in a while they say what’s new there? One major investment won’t permanently solve the attendance problem it will only be temporary but it keeps the park relevant and that counts for something otherwise it’s just stagnant. You make major changes/investments every four or five years and it keeps the park current.

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On 8/2/2021 at 8:33 PM, djoles said:

There was a grander plan back post wild thing before Cedarfair grew so large for VF to get a hotel on site and to expand further into the flood plane but that was lost in the company’s growth. The park has seen growth in attendance from valleyscare but attendance has been disappointing otherwise and when you ask most people who aren’t season pass holders why they haven’t gone to VF in a while they say what’s new there? One major investment won’t permanently solve the attendance problem it will only be temporary but it keeps the park relevant and that counts for something otherwise it’s just stagnant. You make major changes/investments every four or five years and it keeps the park current.

Since Flying Cloud airport raised the height limits to 320', now is the time to build a Giga Coaster at Valleyfair! Lock in and grandfather the height while they can- Protect it for future investments before the airport can restrict VF future rides again. It's a totally sound investment to make!

Keep the grand plan (and my dream) alive! 😆 

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In case anyone hasn't seen it- the height restriction over Valleyfair really is 310 to 320 feet now, depending on what side of the park it is. 

Reference the Metropolitan Airport Commission  - See pages 22, 26, 61 and 131  (of the PDF file itself, that's pages 26, 30, 65 and 135)

Flying Cloud Zoning map- Maximum Construction Heights Without Permit Within Zoning Limits

https://metroairports.org/sites/default/files/ordinances/Final-FCM-Zoning-Ordinance-04-10-19_w-attachments_signed_reduced.pdf

 

One can dream... even if a giga is only a dream   🤪 

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1 hour ago, budtbum said:

In case anyone hasn't seen it- the height restriction over Valleyfair really is 310 to 320 feet now, depending on what side of the park it is. 

Reference the Metropolitan Airport Commission  - See pages 22, 26, 61 and 131  (of the PDF file itself, that's pages 26, 30, 65 and 135)

Flying Cloud Zoning map- Maximum Construction Heights Without Permit Within Zoning Limits

https://metroairports.org/sites/default/files/ordinances/Final-FCM-Zoning-Ordinance-04-10-19_w-attachments_signed_reduced.pdf

 

One can dream... even if a giga is only a dream   🤪 

I was just thinking about this. It definitely brings a little optimism to the table. Anyone know if Valleyfair has filed any permits or trademarks from the city of shakopee? Who am I kidding? I'm getting ahead of myself. But then again national coaster day is around the corner...

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