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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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I think ED, wants to focus on the main side/ Water Park. He will put some rides over there from the original side, I'm sure, but I don't think he has any plans to use that side, that way he can have a little less to do with the KSFB. KY Kingdom won't be the same, it has been but, Ed will come in again and turn it around like he has before.

 

When Ky Kingdom first opened it was just the side you entered before you crossed the bridge. There was a Double Decker Carousel at the entrance behind the fountains, where Hellavator was. There was a Force 10 where Breakdance was, A Log ride where Roadrunner and Skycoaster was, The Antique Cars have always been where they are, just modified. There was a Wave Swinger where the bumper cars where, A Super Round Up where the Enterprise is, a Trabant where the Rainbow was and A JET STAR enclosed in the building before it became the Thrill Park Theater . The bumper cars was in the building they used as a arcade, next to the Himalaya.

 

I look forward to what Ed has in store, might even try to go back to work there. I worked there for 5 summers, when it was going through the change. I loved it, just something about working with the public, it that setting, made my day.

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It's an apples to oranges comparison when talking about the old SFKK vs. the current (and future) SFKK. Almost everything (except the location of the park) has changed since then.

 

I think Robb is spot on about what the future holds. A water park (perhaps with some rides remaining) is much more economical for a small market like SFKK.

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Good to hear! However, it depends on your definition of marquee, but $8m isn't much wiggle room for a "marquee coaster," and won't buy you a marquee Intamin or B&M any time soon. It could be a GCI, Eurofighter, or a small steel from Premier or S&S like Kennywood's Sky Rocket, but I don't necessarily classify them as "marquee" (Eurofighter maybe, if done correctly). The only thing I could think of that would fit that term is a GG similar to the Voyage, which would definitely be interesting considering the two parks are so close.

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^

 

The Kentucky State Fair Board will be asked next month to consider a $55 million bond issue to help upgrade and reopen the old Kentucky Kingdom amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

 

Hart said he is proposing that the state spend $8 million of the bond money to add a “marquee” roller coaster.

 

Another $12 million of the bond proceeds would go to expand the Hurricane Bay water park, doubling its size and adding 16 new water slides along with four new water towers.

 

That would leave $35 million to use for whatever else...most likely including refurbishments of the current rides and coasters.

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Sooooooo many directions to go with this park.

 

And I think Hart is hitting it RIGHT on. Doubling the waterpark is a fantastic addition (as long as that doesn't happen in just one or two years). That's the one area I think competing with the other regional parks is an absolute must. I completely agree that the waterpark at KK should be a little bigger than Boomerang Bay but maybe not as big as Splashing Safari.

 

They should NOT try to compete with Holiday World in Waterpark size or Kings Island for coaster wars, those parks are simply going to win those battles in the early future. Carving a space with a waterpark that can keep the locals home is just perfect. A waterpark expansion, T2, Thunder Run (absolutely spend money on both of these to keep them in top form), the Kiddie coaster and the other rides is going to work for that market. TT and Greezed Lightning do look from the outside like losses (keep in mind Greezed Lightning is basically impossible at this point to maintain). I'm sure Ed will come up with a great solution for the two dead areas of the park, something none of us could predict at this point.

 

I'd go really really big on one main coaster next (as soon as possible, year 2,3 or 4). Really big. I think this is essential. The coaster line up is doable, but would desperately need an anchor attraction. Time Machine wouldn't cut it. Huracan or Evel Knievel wouldn't cut it. I'm thinking some sort of S&S creation, or the largest Maurer-Sohne launcher ever(or anything else that can truly compete with an Intamin for maybe half or 3/5 of the cost), or a humongous Wooden twister of some type. I really think the park would have the best outcome splurging for one big (150 ft+) coaster that the general public would consider on par with Voyage or Diamondback. Even if they sit on that for 3 years before anything else comes in, if the ride is powerful enough it will generate buzz, get national attention, and put a tremendous foothold into the Nashville, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati markets.

 

I think the way the market here treats this park is really a bonus. From everything that has transpired it looks like Louisville can sustain a park in itself as well as wants a theme park. As long as they don't overreach on things (like, say, a total rehab of the whole park plus 2 new waterslide towers in year one) then they can make this work.

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Maybe Impossible is way too harsh, but looking at the case against its reopening...

 

5 of these coasters have closed this decade (3 in Japan, Astroworld, and Great America). The one in Texas has been rotting in a field for 5 years. Turbine at Walibi has also been SBNO this season (Noise concerns I think though?). That makes 5/12 of these gone or in critical condition, 2 more SBNO. There are also three more operating that have been moved from their original location, for whatever reason (Probably just becase they're cheap to move).

 

While I would take one Shwartz Shuttle loop for 50 Vekoma Boomerangs, they are 30 year old rides and I am under the impression no one is creating cheap parts to keep these open. For a park that is planning on keeping whole sections of the complex closed in order to save money, the chances they keep the ride really don't look good from the outside.

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Why would greezed lightning be imposable to maintain?

 

Knotts has one that is running.There is also a whole rides worth of parts for it sitting down in Texas for sale right now.

 

These are Flywheel models! Greezed Lightnin' is a weight drop model! All of the parts were coming from the former Tidal Wave/Greased Lightning at California's Great America, which is now in SFDK's parking lot!

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While I would take one Shwartz Shuttle loop for 50 Vekoma Boomerangs, they are 30 year old rides and I am under the impression no one is creating cheap parts to keep these open. For a park that is planning on keeping whole sections of the complex closed in order to save money, the chances they keep the ride really don't look good from the outside.

 

Bingo. It's not that these rides can't be maintained...it's the cost to do so that is the problem. Pretty much everything on the ride now must be custom machined every time it needs to be replaced.

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I don't care what kind of coaster it will be, as long as it's not a woodie. The two big coasters left in the park hurts to ride and roller skater just doesn't cut it. I would still ride those two (maybe all three for credits) coasters because I like them both, but I think the park needs a new and smoother roller coaster.

Right now all I can say is that I am shocked at what the park is getting. Ed Hart does seem like he knows what he's doing, but I can't really say that until I can see what he's going to do with this mess to clean up.

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Tidal Wave has been moved out of SFDK's parking lot for years now. The only parts remaining at the park are the old hand rails/walkways backstage near Kong. As I recall they're welded to stacked storage containers.

 

Prolly cause it's all merged in with Greezed Lightnin' now!

I don't care what kind of coaster it will be, as long as it's not a woodie. The two big coasters left in the park hurts to ride and roller skater just doesn't cut it. I would still ride those two (maybe all three for credits) coasters because I like them both, but I think the park needs a new and smoother roller coaster.

Right now all I can say is that I am shocked at what the park is getting. Ed Hart does seem like he knows what he's doing, but I can't really say that until I can see what he's going to do with this mess to clean up.

 

I'll take a woodie if TT goes! If it doesn't, i still wouldn't mind a woodie too much as long as it's on the scale of Voyage/Prowler/Boulder Dash which may be a little hard cause KK is flat! I do love woodies though... I do believe a woodie at this point would work out better than a steelie! I think a steelie should be added 2-4 years down the line but woodies are more "family friendly" IMO

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http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100910/NEWS01/309100004/1003/business/Developer+wants+$50M+bond+issue+for+Kentucky+Kingdom+to+help+spark+economy

 

The Kentucky State Fair Board will be asked next month to consider a $50 million bond issue to help upgrade and reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park next to the Kentucky Exposition Center.

 

Developer Ed Hart, who was designated in May by the fair board as the park's preferred operator, said his proposal calls for park revenue to pay off the bonds over the next 20-plus years, covering an annual debt of about $3million. He said the park's reopening is dependent on a public-private partnership. He described the state's contribution as an investment in a community facility worth about $200million.

 

Among Hart's plans are spending $20million to add a major ride and to double the size of the water park. “My goal is to see Kentucky Kingdom flourish again, and it can. It will pay for itself,” said Hart, who headed a group that owned Kentucky Kingdom from 1988-97. He sold the park in 1997, for about $80million, to Six Flags, which closed it early this year.

 

Six Flags has filed for bankruptcy in Delaware. The court is expected soon to approve agreements with the fair board under which Six Flags would end its obligations for the park.

 

In an interview earlier this week, Hart said he will submit a business plan and a proposed lease for operating the park when the fair board meets in October.

 

Fair board president Harold Workman said the bond issue and the investment in the park make sense, but would require General Assembly approval in 2011. He noted that a new state-funded economic impact study found that the return on the investment would be “pretty significant, a little better than I thought it might be.”

 

The $50,000 study done by the AECOM consulting firm and paid for by the fair board and the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, found that revenue from a reopened Kentucky Kingdom would be around $11million and include more than $1million in annual lease payments from Hart, new tax revenue and money taken in by hotels and restaurants near the fairgrounds. The study said the park's reopening would eventually create about 1,200 jobs, primarily hospitality positions and some construction employment.

 

Hart said he is proposing that the state spend $8million of the bond money to add a “marquee” roller coaster. (The park plans to keep six existing coasters.) Another $12million would go to expand Hurricane Bay water park, which was renamed Splashwater Kingdom, doubling its size and adding 16 water slides along with four new water towers. Other improvements would include a wave lagoon and a quarter-mile adventure river. Hart's proposal calls for most of the rest of the bond money to cover upgrades of park infrastructure.

 

Both Hart and Workman said the goal is to have the park reopened by Memorial Day 2011. Hart pledged the reopened park will have free parking, other good deals such as free use of inner tubes, and $1 for all drinks. He said the cost of admission and season passes would be “very competitive” with other regional theme parks. He projected that the park would draw at least 1 million paid visitors in its first full year. Some of that gain would be achieved by sharply increasing advertising in regional cities, such as Cincinnati and Nashville, Hart said. He is proposing an initial annual lease payment to the fair board of around $1.2million. The lease would let Hart rent about 50 acres at the expo center for theme park facilities, with nearly all of the land outside of Ring Road. The proposed lease also would permit Kentucky Kingdom to use about 20 now-vacant acres for parking in the old Ashton Adair neighborhood owned by the fair board. A new park entrance would be developed off Phillips Lane, west of Gate 1. Hart said the business plan will call for him to set aside a “significant sum” every year — a figure he declined to disclose — for investing in new rides and other park improvements.

 

Chad Carlton, Mayor Jerry Abramson's spokesman, said the theme park would be a major job creator and have a positive impact on the region's economy. “We very much would like to see (the park) reopened as soon as is practical.”

 

Hart already has paid $3million to the fair board, which under a deal between the board and Six Flags, used $2.35million to give to Six Flags to acquire about 20 acres of amusement park land that Six Flags owns outside the road circling the exposition center. The rest of the $3million will go for maintenance, security and other costs. The state deal with Six Flags is subject to expected bankruptcy court approval.

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(The park plans to keep six existing coasters.)

 

They must be counting Twisted Twins as two coasters!

 

1. Greezed Lightnin'

2. Thunder Run

3. T2

4. Twisted Twins

5. Roller Skater

6. Deluge (The park has always counted Deluge in its coaster count.)

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$8 mil for a new marquee attraction....Me thinks wood, hopefully of the Balder variety (of course wishful thinking). But if you think about it, this area of the country seem to be all about the woodies, it would be something different to offer in this market, one that could be a big draw.

 

Although I stopped going to SFKK after they removed STOP, I'd like to see the park flourish again. Ed sounds like he still has a great vision for the park. Exciting news indeed!

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^I'd *love* to have an Intamin woodie just 100 miles away. But does $20 million buy an Intamin woodie and the water park expansion?

 

The water park expansion gives the park a lot of "bang" for the buck. Zoombezi Bay is doing great in Columbus, another medium-sized city sandwiched between a few well-established amusement parks.

 

I'd be more likely to make the drive for a coaster addition, but that's just one coaster enthusiast (read: minority customer) talking.

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Yeah that's kinda what I based it off of. With $8 mil they could practically build a Voyage, but there is NO way KK would be able to compete with the setting the Voyage has and wouldn't really work out to well in my eyes. But really it's still too early to fantasize about it, all this could go under.

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I wonder if $8 Million Fetches a Boomerang nowadays. Since the Skycoaster is gone and Roadrunner is leaving, that leaves the vacant space of what used to be a Boomerang's home... I hope not since Greased Lightning is a much better shuttle.

 

Ed Hart loves Vekoma rides... at least he did in the 90's, he also loves Zamperla as the whole kiddieland was made up of them.

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