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Six Flags Darien Lake (SFDL) Discussion Thread

P. 408: Predator retracking under way!

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In changing the topic a bit, does anyone know what happens with any future ideas for the park when they change ownership/management? I distinctly recall SF saying at one point that the had at least 4 coasters designed for the park already,it was just a matter of time and money. I am sure HFE had plans and drawinfgs for future attractions and things they wanted to add to the park over time. Do we think those things have been passed down to new ownership/management?

 

I do understand that each company invested money into those projects, but could sell them off to new owners for a fee. Its like buying a house and negotiating the appliances in. It would at least keep some synergy to the park and make it not look like three different companies with three differnt visions ran it, which is exactly where it looks like we will be in the coming years.

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In changing the topic a bit, does anyone know what happens with any future ideas for the park when they change ownership/management? I distinctly recall SF saying at one point that the had at least 4 coasters designed for the park already,it was just a matter of time and money. I am sure HFE had plans and drawinfgs for future attractions and things they wanted to add to the park over time. Do we think those things have been passed down to new ownership/management?

 

I do understand that each company invested money into those projects, but could sell them off to new owners for a fee. Its like buying a house and negotiating the appliances in. It would at least keep some synergy to the park and make it not look like three different companies with three differnt visions ran it, which is exactly where it looks like we will be in the coming years.

 

My understanding is that as part of the bidding process for rides, manufacturers will "design" rides as part of their bid. They'll come up with rough layouts free of charge before doing any of the real legwork in the hopes that they will land the contract.

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The amount of time a company can get back to a park inquiring for a new attraction can be very brief. For example, in speaking with a former engineer from GCI, he shared that Six Flags gave them only a few days to come up with a proposal for a coaster. Coincidentally, they went through their "stock" of randomly designed layouts and Evil Knievel/American Thunder was given the green light. So even if a former management group's project was scrapped, a new one can be developed fairly quickly.

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Speaking of changing ownership/management, although not official, this should stir up some speculation:

 

"Park News - (11/6/14) Have Herschend Family Entertainment and Darien Lake parted ways? It seems so, as Darien Lake is no longer listed as one of their theme parks on the official HFE website. Herschend was also quick to remove Elitch Garden’s from their corporate page as soon as they had ended their management deal to run that park for CNL Lifestyles Properties. The management of Elitch Gardens was picked up by Premier Attractions Management, so I wonder if they will make a grab for Darien Lake too, or if CNL’s planned sale of all their theme park properties may keep future management deals from being signed."

 

Per www.screamscape.com/html/darien_lake.htm

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I think we all pretty much knew Premier was coming in to manage DL. My bigger concern is how are they doing at EG and the other parks they are managing for CNL? I know that with CNL holding the pocketbook, it is tough, but did they make good investments into the park? HFE did alot with a litle when they built Rowdy's Ridge and Boardwalk.

 

Which parks other than EG is Premier managing for CNL? Do we know what they added to those parks since taking over management?

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I wonder what's going to happen to Darien Lake and Elitch Gardens when Premier take over as their owner?

 

DarienLaker, Premier is not taking over as the owner. They've already managed Elitch for almost a year now. It should be interesting to see what will come to Elitch during this off-season, as that would be Premiers first real project there. In terms of day-to-day operations, I heard they ran a couple of car load sales this past season.

 

Sk - Premier manages several other CNL properties - Frontier City, Elitch, and a bunch of waterparks. I haven't followed any news on those parks so I don't know of any changes that have occurred at them.

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Is this a common arrangement in the industry? I'm not aware of any other parks operated by dedicated management companies separate from the owners? Quite an interesting concept but it seems to be working at a lot of these properties.

 

Not that I know of. It's because these properties are owned by an investment company rather than an operations orientated company. While it is working, but I think it could be debated how well its working.

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^ Aah, fair enough - I haven't been following the parks too closely, maybe I've just been believing the hype

 

Back when Tussauds was a thing it was owned by Blackstone and then the Dubai investment fund before being sold to Merlin and there was never a management company involved. I guess the existing structure was just maintained for the years it was owned by the investment people.

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I do think Premeir wants to get back into park ownership, and managing a few for CNL may give them an inside track when CNL goes to sell. Seeing as Kieran Burke is still in charge, much like he was when the original Premier owned DL, I am very interested to see their additions they have made to their parks.

 

Also, does anyone know how the new additions go? Does the management group get a budget? Does CNL have to approve of the ride? Does CNL just make the additions to the park and tell the management group to do something with what we are putting in?

 

Lastly, I hope a new owner continues to theme the park as they started. I also hope they expand the Boardwalk area over to Predator as what goes better with an area that is supposed to be out of the 50's than a wooden coaster. All it would take is some concrete in the walkway and to finish off the area around lasso to match that around blast off and the giant wheel

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Premier has done a great job managing Frontier City, and I don't hear any bad things about Elitch Gardens either. It's a good company that really understands the fundamentals of the amusement park game.

 

They will surely bid on some of the CNL properties, and I think they will at least end up with Elitch and maybe Wild Waves as well, but if HFEC bids on DL they won't be able to outbid them on that one property.

 

As we've discussed earlier, CNL definitely seems to control the capital investments of each park they own, but they follow the guidance and planning of the company hired to manage the parks. HFEC got to oversee two area make-overs at DL that are similar to what HFEC does in its own parks, and Premier oversaw the addition of a family waterpark addition to FC that they had experience with from their other properties.

 

Anyhow, doesn't sound like anything is changing from what we've already discussed. Premier looks like it will manage the park into 2015, then who knows what will happen. I just wonder when they'll put out the call for bids.

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I have to say that I am not surprised that Premeir is running their parks well. First off, they are parks they already owned and operated once, and did so very well. second, I think they know how to operate a good park, just not on a large scale. I thought they did great in their first run with DL, but once they bought SF they had too many parks to operate and got in over their heads.

 

As i have said previously, I fully expect some type of coaster at DL next year. That is how premeir boosted attendance previously, and they will do the same next year most likely. I do agree that when bids go out HFE most likely will buy DL outright, but in the meantime llet Premeir add a new coaster or two and then buy the park and turn it into the HFE vision they had for it in the first place

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But remember through all this any person can manage the park and put their ideas in. It all comes down to whether or not CNL pays up. This is why they need to go. They don't want to put much into the park and expect to get a lot out.

 

I highly doubt we get a coaster next year unless it's something small. A flat package would be nice as it was mentioned before but now Herschend is gone. But whatever the addition is it needs to be something. This park cannot go two years without something to fill in the holes. I mean who knows, next year more rides could die. Corn Popper has been down a lot last year.

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^ You are 100% correct the CNL has to pony up the money first, and that may be a tall task. But don't forget that some new flats could easily still be added to the park for next year. They don't take long to install, so its still a possibility. The park didn't announce Rowdy's Ridge until like February and had those 3 new flats in the park and ready by opening day. It can easily still be done for 2015

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Screamscape has reported Premier will now manage Darien Lake.

 

Park News - (11/14/14) A Screamscape source has confirmed to us insider information revealing that Premier Attractions Management LLC has been selected as the new management company for Darien Lake, following the departure of Herschend. Nothing official has been confirmed by the park or CNL at this time.

 

 

EDIT 11/17/14

 

Screamscape has reported that a new GM, Chris Thrope, from Elitch Gardens will now run Darien Lake. According to his LinkedIn profile, Chris has a lot of expirence with Darien Lake. He was GM of Darien Lake from 2008-2012, and Promo Manager from 1995-1999. Also, he has given an explanation on why Herschend is no longer managing the park.

 

11/17/14) The latest update from Screamscape sources confirms to us that Premier is indeed the management company running Darien Lake, for the time being at least, to keep things going while they finalize the details. I’m told that Chris Thorpe was pulled over from Elitch Gardens to serve as GM for Darien Lake.

I’m also told that another wedge that drove HFE and CNL apart was the pending sale of the parks, where CNL is wanting to sell all their parks as a package, and HFE was apparently willing to buy Darien Lake, but not the rest, as they had some plans ready to put into action that they felt would really improve Darien Lake over the next few years, which sadly, will likely never see the light of day unless they are able to come to some kind of agreement down the line.

Edited by coasterchitchat
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Screamscape has reported Premier will now manage Darien Lake.

 

Park News - (11/14/14) A Screamscape source has confirmed to us insider information revealing that Premier Attractions Management LLC has been selected as the new management company for Darien Lake, following the departure of Herschend. Nothing official has been confirmed by the park or CNL at this time.

 

Thoughts?

 

My thoughts are that Screamscape is once again two+ weeks late to the story and there's nothing new here. Lance hasn't been very serious about keeping up with the latest news for years now.

 

If I had to guess at when a sale would occur, I'd assume it will come at or towards the end of next season.

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Yes Lance has not been as good about reporting news in recent years as this is something we all knew about a few weeks ago. I do not think that CNL will be in a hurry to sell any parks just to sell them. They have investors that they have to make sure they are getting the best price. I would expect the park to be sold in the middle of the operating season or at the end of 2015 operating season most likely. That is when the value of the park would be highest

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