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Kennywood (KW) Discussion Thread

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Oh well, at least it isn't like 10 years ago when Six Flags took a bid at the park. I think that would have been a worse fate.


Its still sad, Kennywood was such a charming park to visit on the Midwest trip and the management there was really nice to our group. Here's hoping that Kennywood's new owners don't rip out the charm...

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The article has been updated with additional information.


Included in the deal are Lake Compounce Theme Park in Bristol, Conn., and Story Land in Glen, N.H.


The purchase price is not being disclosed, according to a news release.


Kennywood Entertainment has been a closely held family business since F.W. Henninger and Andrew McSwigan purchased Kennywood Park from the Monongahela Railway Co. in 1906. The Henninger and McSwigan families, now in fourth and fifth generation, have remained owners.


Parques Reunidos, based in Madrid, is an international operator that manages 61 amusement, animal and water parks in the U.S. and Europe, with total annual visitors exceeding 22 million and revenues exceeding $570 million.


Parques Reunidos approached Kennywood with an offer as part of their plan to consolidate family entertainment venues around the globe.


"The Kennywood experience -- as visitors have come to love and expect -- will continue. Nothing will seem different, even to the folks working at the parks. Existing management and staff will remain in place," Harry Henninger, chairman of Kennywood Entertainment, said in the news release.


"In recent years, we've had talks with other operators wishing to acquire us, but Parques Reunidos is the first one to share our vision and philosophy."


Mr. Henninger added, "This has been a very difficult decision for members of the founding families, now numbering over 100 and residing all over the country."

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Wow, was there any talk of the parks being sold or did this fly under the radar. First I have heard of the sale. I wonder if they decided to give up after problems arose with Kennywood getting the extra land and the highway extension. I wonder how it will affect the park in the long run. I hope they will take good care of the park.

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"The Kennywood experience -- as visitors have come to love and expect -- will continue. Nothing will seem different, even to the folks working at the parks. Existing management and staff will remain in place," Harry Henninger, chairman of Kennywood Entertainment, said in the news release.



oh thank GOD. When i heard this news, a small knife went through my heart; but since they;ve assured us the park will keep its charm, that makes things a little better


as long as they dont get rid of the Potato Patch, and as long as they DO get rid of that mediocre dancing show!

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This is not good news. One of the best parks ever being bought by a company that is not local? This will not end well


Parques Reunidos have quite a diverse portfolio of attractions. Parque De Attractiones Madrid, Bobbejaanland, Mirabilandia, Parque Warner Madrid, Bonbonland, and they also acquired Tusenfryd in November.


Wow, considering the ones I bolded are among the worst parks I've ever visited, I'm even less impressed. And they bought Tusenfryd as well? Boo.


Maybe if there's local management, and maybe if the company executives never ever set foot in the park, it might be OK. But I have my doubts...



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And they announced stuff for 2008!


Kennywood Amusement Park Announces Ghostwood Estate

New Dark Ride for 2008!


West Mifflin, PA – Kennywood began its gift giving on Saturday, December 8, by announcing specifics of its new ride for 2008, a state-of-the-art dark ride named Ghostwood Estate, to attendees at the Great Ohio

Coaster Club holiday party in Columbus, Ohio. Though the coaster fans were the first to hear the official announcement, rumors of the ride were already finding a home in cyber space and beyond.


The eight room haunted house replaces the Gold Rusher, which was retired this past August. "Ghostwood Estate is clearly an indication of Kennywood's commitment to dark rides," explains Jerome Gibas,

Kennywood General Manager. "It combines the newest technology available – a trackless conveyance system with cars programmed and monitored by a computer and includes over 200 interactive targets and

numerous CGIs (Computer Generated Images)."


Guests will be armed with blasters, developed by LaserStar, Florida. The blasters provide guests the opportunity to compete with others in the vehicle by targeting haunted characters throughout the estate. Each

vehicle is also equipped with four individual scoreboards. Designing all haunted effects is Halloween Productions Inc. (HPI) of St. Louis, MO. Kennywood first became accounted with Larry Kirchner, HPI president, in 2001 when it purchased three walk-through Halloween mazes as a base for its now hugely successful Phantom Fright Nights. Jeff Checcio, Director of Maintenance Administration, says of Kirchner, "He's extremely talented and knowledgeable – certainly one of the founding fathers of today's Halloween industries."


The $2 million project is expected to be complete for Kennywood's opening in May of 2008.


# # #




See http://gocc.coasternewsnetwork.com for further information about the Great Ohio Coaster Club.


Members of the Darkride And Funhouse Enthusiasts (a.k.a. DAFE) have voted Kennywood their favorite Dark Attraction Park for the past six years. DAFE members were invited to a wake and one last ride on the Gold Rusher, a 25 year old dark ride removed from the park at close of the 2007 season.


ETF Ride Systems, Holland, created the ride's trackless system. Sensors are located in the floor to guide each vehicle. The blasters are from LaserStar, Florida.


Pittsburgh based Design Alliance designed the massive four-sided haunted façade for Ghostwood Estate.




Kennywood first opened in 1898 as a "trolley park" at the end of the Monongahela Street Railway. Today it is family owned and operated by Kennywood Entertainment, western Pennsylvania's largest provider of summer fun. Often regarded as America's finest traditional amusement park, Kennywood is internationally known among thrill seekers and

amusement park enthusiasts for its collection of classic rides, state-of-the-art thrill rides, and world-class roller coasters and a wide variety of food, games, gardens, and live entertainment.


For more information please call 412.461.0500 or visit http://www.kennywood.com

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I lived in Pittsburgh for 8 years and I've spent more time at Kennywood than at any other park.


Overall, I see this as sad news, not just for us enthusiasts, but for the Pittsburgh-Mon Valley area.


Expect to see more of this kind of thing as the value of the dollar continues to decline. When our currency becomes less valuable, our assets appear cheap to foreign investors.



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I don't know what to make of this.

On one hand Kennywood had the most "home park" feeling out of the parks we've been to. Becuase it all felt very one of a kind and personal so it's odd to think of it being sold to a corporation.


On the other hand, if the parks you mentioned the company owns are really as good as they are heard to be, this may very well be good news. Especially if theyre keeping the current staff.


But I think that if they dare remove any of the older rides there will be more of an uproar than if the old managment decided to do the same thing.


I guess they need to earn our trust first.

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I have very mixed feelings about this. I don't think that Parques Reunidos has a "bad park" in the mix (Sorry, Dave, I *loved* Bon Bon Land!) but I will say that out of all the parks we dealt with on the Spain trip, our experience with the Management staff at Parque de Atractiones and Parque Warner wasn't the "greatest." Wasn't the worst we'd ever encountered, but far from the best.


It also worries me anytime one company seems to gobble up so many parks in a short amount of time, which these guys have been doing, and a bizarre mix of parks. Everything from a large sized theme park (Parque Warner) to a smaller regional amusement park (Bobbejaanland).


What about Lake Compounce & Idlewild? Was that mentioned at all?



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Seeing as they have bought most of those parks pretty recently, it is still to early to judge them by the operation of those parks. Opperational-wise I bet most of it is going as it was before the purchase. Only in a few years, after seeing some investments etc, we will truly know if this guys mean business, or if they ruin the parks. It's strange though, as they seem to have bought a lot of family owned parks, or parks that was previously owned by local investors. I'm a bit worried, as I can't really see them investing heavily in all those parks. Some is going to become the losers here!

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Wow, one of my favorite parks sold off to foreign investors. Ugh.


I expect there to be a decline in Kennywood's quality and uniqueness, but I hope it doesn't go down like that. Both Cedar Fair and Six Flags did not pull off their over expansions well, and there is little reason to believe that this firm will. The vast majority of the really well run parks are managed by companies that manage just a few parks, if not just one park.

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“The Kennywood experience—as visitors have come to love and expect—will continue. Nothing will seem different, even to the folks working at the parks. Existing management and staff will remain in place,” said Harry Henninger, Chairman of Kennywood Entertainment.


“In recent years, we've had talks with other operators wishing to acquire us, but Parques Reunidos is the first one to share our vision and philosophy.”


Okay, this talk is straight out of the "we just sold out to foreigners, please don't kill us" playbook.



"We have tremendous respect for the work of the Kennywood management team and are delighted to acquire such a quality organization,” said Richard Golding, Chief Executive Officer of Parques Reunidos. “They've built Kennywood Entertainment into an industry leader in family entertainment. We are anxious to continue the gold standard of entertainment they have established."


Likewise, this is talk straight out of the "we just acquired a piece of Americana, we promise not to destroy it.....yet" playbook.


Foreign investors are good for small American companies ready to take the next step to becoming "global." Smaller American parks should not be following this business plan. I'm incredibly skeptical.


Time to get to Kennywood ASAP.

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Don't forget that Parques Reunidos is also running Parque Warner in Madrid... it seems that this company is becoming the European (or Spanish) Six Flags... getting so many parks.


At least Parques de Atracciones and Parque Warner suck in terms of operations and they hardly ever theme any ride and just plonk them there... let's see how this take-over turns out...


Hopefully, Kennywood will stay the same, but they also said that when they took over Parque Warner and then they have been trying to get ride of the old staff from the Six Flags era and not investing really much on the park itself, but cutting costs instead.

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Before I became a park enthusiast, information like this would have been considered great news. Now that I have seen what corporate places do to nice parks I am terrified.


I am hoping against hope that things stay the same, but I believe this is all down hill. The only positive I see is that unlike CF and SF this company seems to have experience running and smaller park and may not try to make a smaller park into a giant park.


Maybe they will offer a company wide season pass.

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