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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

P. 401: Herschend Enterprises named majority partner and park operator

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If he is able to recapture the drive/plan he did with the park originally, it will last at least 10 years lol......I'm sure this first year he should get close to the attendance goal just out of the novelty of having the park back open, but there will have to be some real major changes to T2 or TT if he really wants to keep things going. I just don't see T2 or TT with a refurb as enough to keep the locals coming back.

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I have no doubt the first few years will be successful...but I really wonder what the future is once the initial excitement wears off.

 

In a market that was far less competitive when he last owned the park, he had to resort to spending lots of capital on new rides to sustain what he had built. Now he has more competition to worry about and may have to keep taking on debt (or ask for more from the state) to sustain the park.

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Ed originally set out to make KK a "Thrill Park" adding either first of their kind and/or record breaking rides. Everything that was invested up to 1998 was part of a 10 year capital investment plan, and it did work well (even with the Starchaser accident, and Vampire's uncontrollable urge to valley) from an attendance stand point. Who knows how things would have panned out if he owned the park when KI fully rolled out the Action Zone. The coaster investments seemed to be more specific answers to coasters KI installed (Top Gun 1993; T2 1995/King Cobra; Chang) but those major coasters would have been added no matter the type. I wish I could locate some of the news articles that came between Chang and Twisted Twins, but I believe right around the opening of TTs, he said there would be a shift in direction (focus on the waterpark) although he'd still invest in unique flats for the dry side, coaster installations wouldn't be as frequent as they had been.

 

I don't know if this can be said for everyone in Louisville but almost everyone I'm in contact with here in the city never chose one park over the other. Even when KK was in it's heyday with Chang, my family would go to Kings Island once a year, Holiday World 2-3 times, and KK just about every other weekend since we had passes. Most of the people I work with or talk to did the exact same thing; each park had something different ride/entertainment department to offer so visiting every park was justified. As long as Kentucky Kingdom is able to provide a unique ride/experience on the dry side every other year I don't think it will have a problem succeeding in this now very competitive market. But it will fail if investments are not made to both the dry/wet side.

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I wonder if the focus on the water park has to do with the way the park has been forced to operate during fair previously. It was definitely weird that you could ride Chang like it was a carny portable. I can only imagine how much potential revenue was lost because Joe Schmoe could go ride Chang for $1.50 (or whatever) the year it opened instead of paying for a full day pass.

 

And that is still the biggest reason I see this as an extremely tough thing to overcome. I'm sure that if the restrictions from the fair weren't on the park, Six Flags would still be operating it, but between the fair getting parking revenue and the way they open it (and then allow outside vendors to set up portable rides right around it too!) makes it one of the oddest operating environments I've ever seen...

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^^I didn't even take that into account when thinking about it's long term chances of success. Now I'm even more doubtful. Has Ed Hart addressed that at all?

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Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy . . .

 

Reading the news on Screamscape got me excited to know that Kentucky Kingdom will reopen next season, so I still wish Ed Hart the very best to get this park up and running well. It might be several years for me to visit that park ( if I have the urge to travel Interstate 64 west on my way to St. Louis ), but I'm hoping by that time the park will have some new attractions, T2 has been reviewed as a great ride, and everybody is going crazy about how wild the brand new Twisted Twin coaster is. I did forget about Deluge, their water coaster, but I didn't forget about the Roller Skater.

 

"I'm not perfect; I just love to ride!!!"

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^I believe it's a similar arrangement to when he operated it before he sold it to Six Flags no? If so, I'd have to figure that he knows how to figure that into things. Why are some people so keen on dumping on this development?

 

I would like nothing more for than it to be successful. I just feel the long term viability is questionable based on how things are currently: dealing with the fair board, going down to the wire on financing, not owning the land & the Governors comments about other developments, etc...

 

I really hope I'm wrong, as I don't have those credits yet and would love nothing more to have another awesome park to add to my list of places I have to visit!

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Why are some people so keen on dumping on this development?

 

I wouldn't say that people are so keen on dumping on it, just being realistic about the environment that it operates in. If it was a moneymaker, do you think that Six Flags would have shed it like they did? As part of bankruptcy, Six Flags was essentially able to walk away from the contract to rent the land... and they did.

 

If the park was making money, even if it wasn't much money, do you think they would have walked away from it?

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Why are some people so keen on dumping on this development?

 

I wouldn't say that people are so keen on dumping on it, just being realistic about the environment that it operates in. If it was a moneymaker, do you think that Six Flags would have shed it like they did? As part of bankruptcy, Six Flags was essentially able to walk away from the contract to rent the land... and they did.

 

If the park was making money, even if it wasn't much money, do you think they would have walked away from it?

 

Six Flags stopped caring for the park in 2004. Six Flags could not wait for the lease to expire, but the way they approached ending the lease was poor.

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Why are some people so keen on dumping on this development?

 

I wouldn't say that people are so keen on dumping on it, just being realistic about the environment that it operates in. If it was a moneymaker, do you think that Six Flags would have shed it like they did? As part of bankruptcy, Six Flags was essentially able to walk away from the contract to rent the land... and they did.

 

If the park was making money, even if it wasn't much money, do you think they would have walked away from it?

 

Six Flags stopped caring for the park in 2004. Six Flags could not wait for the lease to expire, but the way they approached ending the lease was poor.

 

 

2005- Tornado

2007- Deluge

2008- Mega Wedgie

 

Yeah, Didn't care at all.

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^ I can't tell if your being sarcastic or not, but I really hope you're not because three water slides in four years are not big additions.

I doubt that they "didn't care" about the park, they probably just didn't have the money. 2004 and 2005 is when the problems with debt reached it's peak and they started selling and closing parks. And the money they did have went more towards the big parks that brought in a lot of money. The fact that they didn't add much after 2004 probably means that they park didn't bring in a ton of money for the chain, because the breadwinners of the chain still saw healthy expansion during the years of debt problems.

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Demo pic on their Facebook page of the old "Goody Two shoes" candy building. It's near the Tin Lizzies, so I'm wondering if this was demolished due to being beyond repair or because it's in the way of the new coaster.

 

www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=604013689632807&set=a.599973010036875.1073741827.150584424975738&type=1&theater

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Soon after Six Flags went into bankruptcy they looked into selling off a few lesser parks like Elitch and Astroworld. Unlike those parks in which they owned the property, Six Flags leased the area that Kentucky Kingdom sat on. They tried to amend the lease deal they had with the fair board. The fair board refused that offer but instead were able to work out a deal to allow Six Flags to walk away with both cash in hand as well as any debt forgiveness over the park. I think that is how it went. I am sure somebody else could come up with a more detailed explanation.

Edited by Erik Johnson
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