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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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Yeah good point but attendance was up and the park was headed for the right direction even if Premier Parks/Six Flags didn't add rides they would have been fine with attendance still around 1 million but Six Flags removed rides and people did not like that and stop coming which caused what happened in 2010. EDIT: The first time they did choose Ed Hart to operate the park they just wasn't interested with the idea of him borrowing money from the state to finance the project.

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Yeah good point but attendance was up and the park was headed for the right direction even if Premier Parks/Six Flags didn't add rides they would have been fine with attendance still around 1 million but Six Flags removed rides and people did not like that and stop coming which caused what happened in 2010. EDIT: The first time they did choose Ed Hart to operate the park they just wasn't interested with the idea of him borrowing money from the state to finance the project.

 

Worse than removing/not adding any rides, they let the park go to crap. It was dirty, faded, rides had half finished themes and advertisements. There just was nothing good going for the park during the six flags era, and the park got a terrible repuation, which was well deserved. Really the whole six flags brand got a bad reputation during/prior to the premier bankruptcy. It will take a few seasons of good rides and atmosphere to turn this around. This year seemed like a good start though!

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Yeah good point but attendance was up and the park was headed for the right direction even if Premier Parks/Six Flags didn't add rides they would have been fine with attendance still around 1 million but Six Flags removed rides and people did not like that and stop coming which caused what happened in 2010. EDIT: The first time they did choose Ed Hart to operate the park they just wasn't interested with the idea of him borrowing money from the state to finance the project.

 

Worse than removing/not adding any rides, they let the park go to crap. It was dirty, faded, rides had half finished themes and advertisements. There just was nothing good going for the park during the six flags era, and the park got a terrible repuation, which was well deserved. Really the whole six flags brand got a bad reputation during/prior to the premier bankruptcy. It will take a few seasons of good rides and atmosphere to turn this around. This year seemed like a good start though!

Not to completely defend Six Flags for much of the choices they made in that era (and I think there had been a similar conversation here many moons ago on the same topic), but there was a very late point in time when the park started looking better (mostly in '09). Things were a bit cleaner, and there was far more greenery (large bushes and trees) to remove the urban feeling of the surrounding area outside of the park. A friend and I had actually bumped into the park manager at that time and we talked for a little before continuing.

 

But you're right for the most part. It was far too late for the park, because the dirty (a better suited, but more distasteful term used was "ghetto") reputation that had built-up before then had already stuck, so people didn't like to visit for many of the reasons you listed. The park looks 100x better now than what is used to look like.

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Yeah good point but attendance was up and the park was headed for the right direction even if Premier Parks/Six Flags didn't add rides they would have been fine with attendance still around 1 million but Six Flags removed rides and people did not like that and stop coming which caused what happened in 2010. EDIT: The first time they did choose Ed Hart to operate the park they just wasn't interested with the idea of him borrowing money from the state to finance the project.

 

Worse than removing/not adding any rides, they let the park go to crap. It was dirty, faded, rides had half finished themes and advertisements. There just was nothing good going for the park during the six flags era, and the park got a terrible repuation, which was well deserved. Really the whole six flags brand got a bad reputation during/prior to the premier bankruptcy. It will take a few seasons of good rides and atmosphere to turn this around. This year seemed like a good start though!

Exactly I strongly agree.

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As much as I support continuous expansion or upgrades for any park, I still question the long-term outlook for Kentucky Kingdom. No doubt the park has come back in a roaring fashion, and I applaud their efforts. However, a park that size in that market is likely unable to continue to expand at their current rate. Of course the first few years will be front-loaded as old rides come back to life and new rides are added in, but I then wonder what Kentucky Kingdom's core competency will be a few years down the road in a market sandwiched by the epitome of guest service, Holiday World, and arguably one of the very best regional parks, Kings Island. It just seems like a slippery slope to be always obligated to invest at least $1 million dollars in "upgrades" annually. That number might not sound like a lot when you compare it to other parks, but the size and scope of Kentucky Kingdom makes me worry about such an obligation. Two rainy or cool summers in a row, and that extra "upgrade" money will become very hard to come up with.

 

I hope my questioning is wrong, but a leasing agreement with a State Fair Board just discourages me.

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As much as I support continuous expansion or upgrades for any park, I still question the long-term outlook for Kentucky Kingdom. No doubt the park has come back in a roaring fashion, and I applaud their efforts. However, a park that size in that market is likely unable to continue to expand at their current rate. Of course the first few years will be front-loaded as old rides come back to life and new rides are added in, but I then wonder what Kentucky Kingdom's core competency will be a few years down the road in a market sandwiched by the epitome of guest service, Holiday World, and arguably one of the very best regional parks, Kings Island. It just seems like a slippery slope to be always obligated to invest at least $1 million dollars in "upgrades" annually. That number might not sound like a lot when you compare it to other parks, but the size and scope of Kentucky Kingdom makes me worry about such an obligation. Two rainy or cool summers in a row, and that extra "upgrade" money will become very hard to come up with.

 

I hope my questioning is wrong, but a leasing agreement with a State Fair Board just discourages me.

 

The park has always been leased from the Fair Board and Hart and his investors have planned to spend $70M over the term of the lease. Yes KK is between 2 major parks, but that doesn't mean it can't carve out its own Niche. I've said all along that KK needs to install unique rides. People may not choose to go to your park OVER their annual trip to Kings Island or Holiday World, but they may choose to go instead of other local non-amusement park attractions if you offer them something different.

 

The biggest problem that the current staff is fighting against currently is the Six Flags perception of the park. It's not one that is easy to shake, but given time, I think that will change. Kentucky Kingdom is never going to overtake either of the surrounding parks as a "destination," but I do believe it can be a great park that serves the city of Louisville and provides visitors with a fun way to spend a day.

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As much as I support continuous expansion or upgrades for any park, I still question the long-term outlook for Kentucky Kingdom. No doubt the park has come back in a roaring fashion, and I applaud their efforts. However, a park that size in that market is likely unable to continue to expand at their current rate. Of course the first few years will be front-loaded as old rides come back to life and new rides are added in, but I then wonder what Kentucky Kingdom's core competency will be a few years down the road in a market sandwiched by the epitome of guest service, Holiday World, and arguably one of the very best regional parks, Kings Island. It just seems like a slippery slope to be always obligated to invest at least $1 million dollars in "upgrades" annually. That number might not sound like a lot when you compare it to other parks, but the size and scope of Kentucky Kingdom makes me worry about such an obligation. Two rainy or cool summers in a row, and that extra "upgrade" money will become very hard to come up with.

 

I hope my questioning is wrong, but a leasing agreement with a State Fair Board just discourages me.

 

The park has always been leased from the Fair Board and Hart and his investors have planned to spend $70M over the term of the lease. Yes KK is between 2 major parks, but that doesn't mean it can't carve out its own Niche. I've said all along that KK needs to install unique rides. People may not choose to go to your park OVER their annual trip to Kings Island or Holiday World, but they may choose to go instead of other local non-amusement park attractions if you offer them something different.

 

The biggest problem that the current staff is fighting against currently is the Six Flags perception of the park. It's not one that is easy to shake, but given time, I think that will change. Kentucky Kingdom is never going to overtake either of the surrounding parks as a "destination," but I do believe it can be a great park that serves the city of Louisville and provides visitors with a fun way to spend a day.

 

I for sure think there is room in the market for KK. Kings island is a good 2hour drive from louisvilke, so it's had to make a day trip there. I bought a season pass for KI once and just couldn't go often enought to really justify it. The water park expansion was a grea idea. Locals get tired of rides, but a good waterpark will keep local families buying season passes year after year. Holiday world also had a terrific water park, but I don't want to drive so far when I just want to spend a few hours Putin the sun on a Saturday.

As far as the dry park, I like where they seems to be going. KK doesn't need a 300ft BM or anything. Smal unique rides will rides could really put the park on the map. Lightning run was a GREAT start! But it wouldn't have worked out for KI or holiday world anywhere near as well IMO

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does anyone know if FearFall has LED's?

 

I'm 99% sure it doesn't. I like the light packages, but I have mixed feelings about them on permanant attractions.

cool i saw other versions with LEDS didnt know 100% if it did.

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Putting LED"s on a Ferris Wheel like KK's will cost around $1 Million, I think that's what Cedar Point spent on theirs, and that was a few years ago and their wheel is smaller, though it was the largest in the states when it was built. But I'm sure that LED's have dropped in price since then.

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I hadn't seen any previous discussion on it, but Kentucky Kingdom posted their 2015 operating schedule at http://www.kentuckykingdom.com/park-info/calendar/

 

A few things stuck out to me:

  • The park lists its hours as TBA for May 18-22 and May 26-27, but nothing for May 28-29
  • The Big Surf Wave Pool will be open during the State Fair from 4-7 PM, but the rest of Hurricane Bay will be closed
  • The last two weekends in September also have its hours listed as TBA

 

The omission of the Thursday and Friday from Memorial Day Week seems really curious to me, as these should be decent draws.

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Seems like larson giant loops are turning up everywhere so I'd expect one... Darien just annouced their plans just recently so it must not be a ride that takes long to set up or manufacture. There is also the Zamperla air race but Fun Spot noted problems with their transportable model. Maybe a water slide.

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Seems like larson giant loops are turning up everywhere so I'd expect one... Darien just annouced their plans just recently so it must not be a ride that takes long to set up or manufacture. There is also the Zamperla air race but Fun Spot noted problems with their transportable model. Maybe a water slide.

 

I didn't even consider a water slide. Thats a big draw for KK, and literally half of the park is a water park. They seem to have one of everything there already though. The water park is almost on par with Holiday World, and much better thank Kings Island's, so I could see them investing more into it.

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Sky Catcher's gonna need cranes, and there was some groundwork going on in the area when I was last there. So it's a slight possibility they could be going vertical with it soon. Just a thought as I haven't seen it yet, and won't be around if they do go vertical soon.

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