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Cedar Fair Corporate Development Discussion Thread (FUN)


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^If I'm not mistaken, between all the CF parks, there are 3 different models of enterprises. There's the Schwarzkopf version that CGA and I believe the other former Paramount Parks have, the Huss version, and whatever the Carowinds version is.

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Cedar Fair is dumb: part 3,472 Meanwhile... at regional parks that decided to not close right before a Holiday week  And down the road from Kings Dominion...

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^^^Not to mention how AE has individual lapbars AND seatbelts, yet it still has a 48" height requirement. That thing could easily have a 42" requirement without the seatbelts. In comparison, Goldrusher at SFMM has the same height requirement with only buzzbars.

 

I should also note Cedar Fair's love of extra seatbelts, particularly on on Arrow rides. Most Arrow loopers in Cedar Fair parks have seatbelts, while most in other parks do not. Same goes for mine trains and suspended coasters, even though the height requirement is still the same, if not higher. Cedar Fair must have a deal with its insurance company.

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I really don't understand the point of the extra seatbelts on coasters with no airtime (Loopers, Mine Trains). Even if the lap bar(on mine trains) wasn't there, you wouldn't fall out, and if for some bizzare 1 in several trillion accident, the OTSRs popped up, I doubt you would exactly fall out of the seat.

 

As for the very high height restrictions, I really hope that they are lowered a few inches at least. Families can really get cheated out of a fun visit if their kids can barely ride anything.(Although, it was their fault for not looking into what rides their kids could ride on the park's website)

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^ Let's pretend an idiot rider thinks it would be fun to maneuver his way out of a lap and stand on top of his seat during the ride. He is consequently ejected and killed. His family then sues claiming that the lap bar was defective.

If the ride had a seat belt he would need to unbuckle it in order to stand up and ultimately be injured. A park can use an unbuckled seatbelt as evidence that the rider deliberately broke the rules and was attempting to work his way out of the restraints.

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One thing I didn't get with Cedar Fair's seatbelts was I visited 4 of their parks in 2010 (Carowinds, KD, CP, KI), and every single Arrow coaster train had had seatbelts added to them EXCEPT for Iron Dragon. It blew my mind they left one ride without them.

 

Although speaking of seatbelts and CF...I LOVE the way they have done retractable belts on their wooden coasters. It can really hurt your back fastening empty seat belts all day, so I approve the way CF has helped that problem!

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While I completely agree more interactive characters on the midway, bands, and even shows would be a good addition to all CF parks making them more attractive to the entire family, I'm a bit concerned after looking at the Cedar Points numbers, listed on their web site:

 

Coasters 17 24%

Thrill Rides 15 21%

Family Rides 20 28%

Just for Kids 19 27%

Total 71 100%

 

Call me crazy, but when I look at the numbers Cedar Point has a nice balance of rides. I'm afraid they are listening to a "consultant" who is just validating his Disney experience and playing into his comfort zone. While families within their 300 mile market will travel for a family ride, potential customers outside of that radius generally won't. World record coasters is what put CP on the gloabal map and hope they don't abandon that successful formula moving forward. I for one will be very disappointed if CP's next ride is something like Cheetah Hunt or Verbolten, especially given their respective cost, and certainly won't make the effort from Boston to go there.

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CP is known for its coasters so I'm not surprised that the number of people who come for the coasters is that high. Families will most definitely come for a new ride, but that doesn't mean that people won't be attracted by the 17 roller coasters the park has to offer.

 

I think this president is good for CF. SF's family ride formula was pretty successful for the chain, getting it out of debt and bankruptcy as well as turning their image around. If CF focuses more on family rides and quality over quantity, they'll go back to the way they were in the early 2000s.

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Could this mean lowering some of those ridiculously high height requirements?

 

What exactly do you mean by this? Are you referring to Jaguar at Knott's?

 

For example, Demon at CGA has a 48" requirement while the identical Demon at SFGam has a 42" requirement. All CF enterprise rides (Orbit, Witches Wheel, etc.) have an unnecessarily high requirement of 54" while all Six Flags enterprise rides have a 42" requirement. CF rapids (not sure if all) carry a 46" requirement, while other parks have much lower requirement. The list goes on.

 

In some jurisdictions the height requirements for rides are determined by manufacturer specefications,and in such cases state law says they must be adhered to by the park.

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While many states have laws requiring it, most parks height restrictions are AT LEAST the manufacturer minimum. It's not really new. Even without the laws their insurance providers are going to require it anyway. However, as we see with CF, they have decided to raise the restrictions higher for some reason. Heck, a few years ago the (now former) operations director at Alabama Adventure raised the height restrictions on two rides because he didn't feel like his son was big enough for them even though they met the manufacturer requirement. He felt safer with the rides having a higher restriction. The real question is why does CF have the different restrictions?

 

I can kind of understand having all of your Enterprise rides having the same restriction system wide regardles of manufacturer, but different restrictions for Arrow mine trains doesn't really make sense to me, but I'm not in charge for CF.

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"We've always got to be known for great thrills," Ouimet said in a recent interview. "It has served us well. But I also want to be known for great connections, and that this is where families come together."

This worked soooooo well for Mark Shapiro and Six Flags too...

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Choosing a better team over a major attraction like a roller coaster? I get nervuos when park executives attack the hand that feeds them to make a point. There should be no choosing. There should always be an appropriate/ great team in place. If not, fix it, but not at the expense of being a theme park and adding attractions, roller coaster or otherwise.

 

Hopefully they will do family attractions right, more along the Busch parks line and not Six Flags. Maybe they'll re-imagine their kids and family attractions formula: Take a selection of off the shelf circle rides, plop randomly on asphalt, add a dash of Snoopy and call it a day.

 

The use of technology to enhance the experience for all guests while in the park is a great thing. Looking forward to the new websites

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SF's family ride formula was pretty successful for the chain, getting it out of debt and bankruptcy as well as turning their image around.

 

The family friendly approach did not help SF get out of debt, debt relief was result of restructuring the company debt.

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Part of that interview with Mr. Quimet stated he wanted increase the length of time that patrons spend at the parks; for them to stay at least 2 days. I don't see that happening unless the corporate management makes some major changes in Cedar Fair's operating philosophy.

 

Looking back at the Taft/KECO legacy parks, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Canada's Wonderland, and CA Great America, before the Paramount days, the corporate management back then had a winning formula in keeping patrons in the parks for more than one day. The bottom line for that formula was investing almost as much in park entertainment/shows as they did in rides and attractions.

 

I am really speaking for Kings Dominion since that is my home park that I have visited at least twice a season from the time the whole park opened in 1975 though the end of the 2011 season. Back in the day, KD produced on average 10-13 shows during the prime summer season. There was no way to see all the shows in just one day and that did not take in consideration the rides and attractions!!

 

KD received a reputation throughout most of the east coast for their quality and variety of the park's entertainment/shows as well as having a good, well rounded selection of rides and attractions that focused on the whole family participating in, as well as thrill rides. Keep in mind that they only had the "Dry" side of the park to work with. There was no water park back then! Take a look at the youtube videos about KD provided by the user "KDfanPre91" and see what the park looked and felt like back in the day of the Taft/KECO years. pay attention to the video about the entertainment available back then (part 3a). In that video, there is a still photo of the old show time signs that used to be scattered around the park. Count how many show productions that were available that season. KD, back then, is like a Dollywood or Busch park today.

 

The Paramount purchase of the Taft/KECO park chain was the beginning of the end for the entertainment division as well as many family attractions. They eliminated the steam train, sky ride, and monorail safari by the 2nd full season of ownership. They pretty much eliminated the entertainment division of the old park chain. They eliminated 3 entertainment venues at KD during their ownership as well. I am sure Paramount initially had good intentions for the park chain, but they realized, after a few seasons, that they really could not make these seasonal parks into mini Universal Studio's or Disney Studio parks. They just could not get an ROI for the amount of money needed to build major movie related attractions. Then, after 3-4 seasons, the park chain became the "ugly corporate step-child" that no one wanted and was passed from one corporate entity to another under the corporate umbrella that owned the Paramount studios. And the neglect was evident in the parks especially in the last couple years under CBS before Cedar Fair took over.

 

Now that Cedar Fair has taken over the old Taft/KECO/Paramount park chain in 2006, they have really worked hard to turn the parks around and it shows. But, KD is still a shadow of what it was in the Taft/KECO years. Cedar Fair is known for their rides, especially thrill rides. But, they are not too good in the entertainment area. That always appears to take a back seat in their capital investments. It is a shame that Cedar Fair was not able to buy the parks directly from KECO (Kings Entertainment Company). They would have gotten a park chain in its prime and inherited a superb entertainment division that could have dramatically improved the entertainment offerings in the legacy Cedar Fair parks.

.

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I totally agree and believe his experience with Disney sealed the deal for his selection. Increasing the number of shows and mobile entertainers within the park is certainly something all the CF parks would benefit from. My only concern would be that world record breaking rides could take a back seat to more family friendly "thrill" rides. I personally don't understand how rides like Cheetah Hunt fall into this category given it has a loop along with it's height. The one thing I completely agree with Dick was his philosophy that rides with loops eliminate 50% of the general public. I'm sure the next CP coaster is well under development and hope it continues their tradition of world class thrill rides.

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I totally agree and believe his experience with Disney sealed the deal for his selection. Increasing the number of shows and mobile entertainers within the park is certainly something all the CF parks would benefit from. My only concern would be that world record breaking rides could take a back seat to more family friendly "thrill" rides. I personally don't understand how rides like Cheetah Hunt fall into this category given it has a loop along with it's height. The one thing I completely agree with Dick was his philosophy that rides with loops eliminate 50% of the general public. I'm sure the next CP coaster is well under development and hope it continues their tradition of world class thrill rides.

 

This is what worries me as well & I've said it before because the disney parks never really focused on big thrill rides of the type you see in a typical SF/CF park & while families are an important target demographic they mut not forget that there's also a target demographic that perfers thrill rides & coasters as well.

 

Sadly the taft/keco parks will never be ablt to recapture the majesty & charm of their early years as things have just changed at these parks far too much in the 30 plus years since they originally changed hands but in many respects I have to agree that paramount tried,and failed to make the parks into their version of the big resort parks such as disney & USF.USH.

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I totally agree and believe his experience with Disney sealed the deal for his selection. Increasing the number of shows and mobile entertainers within the park is certainly something all the CF parks would benefit from. My only concern would be that world record breaking rides could take a back seat to more family friendly "thrill" rides. I personally don't understand how rides like Cheetah Hunt fall into this category given it has a loop along with it's height. The one thing I completely agree with Dick was his philosophy that rides with loops eliminate 50% of the general public. I'm sure the next CP coaster is well under development and hope it continues their tradition of world class thrill rides.

 

This is what worries me as well & I've said it before because the disney parks never really focused on big thrill rides of the type you see in a typical SF/CF park & while families are an important target demographic they mut not forget that there's also a target demographic that perfers thrill rides & coasters as well.

 

Sadly the taft/keco parks will never be ablt to recapture the majesty & charm of their early years as things have just changed at these parks far too much in the 30 plus years since they originally changed hands but in many respects I have to agree that paramount tried,and failed to make the parks into their version of the big resort parks such as disney & USF.USH.

 

Why do you feel that CF is going to do a 180 concerning thrill rides? There will still be new coasters in the future. I would not expect a 600 foot tall aqua-trax with teens running around bragging they rode 100 times in a day and had blood coming out of their ears.

 

Secondly, Paramount took over the park chain late in the season of 1992. They had control of the parks for only 13-14 seasons until Cedar Fair bought the park chain in the middle of the 2006 season. The 2012 season will make it the 7th year for them. So it has only been 21 years since the KECO ownership changed hands. Why not bring back the majesty and charm of those years back to the parks? True, time marches on, but that should not stop CF from trying to take the old and make it new again.

 

Balancing out the thrill with more entertainment/family attractions is needed to hopefully bring in more people and keep those who come to the park longer. Which, in turn, could increase in-park spending (course CF needs to work on their food offerings and service; but, that is a totally different topic). More money in CF's bank account allows them to pay down the debt faster and increase their capital spending for all their parks. As I stated in my original post above, the mini movie park concept did not work for Paramount. What makes you think, just because Mr. Quimet has taken over the helm of Cedar Fair, that he wants to make all CF properties mini Disneys? I think I will give him the benefit of doubt on that endevor until he proves it otherwise.

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Isn't Disney a chain that's known for its charm?

 

Personally I'd love to see the CF parks becoming mini-Disney parks focused on quality rides/attractions and more shows (all the better to nab a few extra trips to KD) while adding a major thrill ride every few years to keep things balanced.

 

As mhuff has said, KD (and the other former Paramount properties) used to have plenty of family friendly rides/attractions before Paramount took over. By trying to convert all the parks into seasonal movie parks, Paramount stripped away the old themes and took away many classic rides in favor of movie tie-ins. When that didn't work out, the additions got smaller and smaller until Paramount scrapped the chain altogether.

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Isn't Disney a chain that's known for its charm?

 

Personally I'd love to see the CF parks becoming mini-Disney parks focused on quality rides/attractions and more shows (all the better to nab a few extra trips to KD) while adding a major thrill ride every few years to keep things balanced.

 

netdvn,

 

My point was addressing those who fear that KD, or any Cedar Fair park for that matter, becoming a over-sized kiddy park. I get the feeling that they think in another 3-4 years, when you walk in the front gate of a Cedar Fair park, your head will start rocking back and forth; you will start holding the hands of the people around you and break out into the song "It's a Small World After All" !! (Ain't gonna happen).

 

I am all for the charm and atmosphere coming back into the former Taft/KECO/Paramount parks and coming to the CF legacy parks as well.

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"We've always got to be known for great thrills," Ouimet said in a recent interview. "It has served us well. But I also want to be known for great connections, and that this is where families come together."

This worked soooooo well for Mark Shapiro and Six Flags too...

Yeah that's true, but for some reason I think families are more attracted to CF properties in the first place anyways. I always see hordes of families at Knott's all the time, not just during Christmas. Six Flags have been known as teenage amusement parks for almost twenty years I believe, and SFMM's reputation is still tarnished for people I've talked to, so adding family rides to SF wouldn't make them want to go more than usual, while adding a new family ride to Knott's would give them an incentive to go to the park to check out the new attraction/addition.

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Isn't Disney a chain that's known for its charm?

 

Personally I'd love to see the CF parks becoming mini-Disney parks focused on quality rides/attractions and more shows (all the better to nab a few extra trips to KD) while adding a major thrill ride every few years to keep things balanced.

 

netdvn,

 

My point was addressing those who fear that KD, or any Cedar Fair park for that matter, becoming a over-sized kiddy park. I get the feeling that they think in another 3-4 years, when you walk in the front gate of a Cedar Fair park, your head will start rocking back and forth; you will start holding the hands of the people around you and break out into the song "It's a Small World After All" !! (Ain't gonna happen).

 

I am all for the charm and atmosphere coming back into the former Taft/KECO/Paramount parks and coming to the CF legacy parks as well.

 

KD has always done fairly well at covering both ends of the market by adding thrill rides one year & family oriented rides/attractions the following year alternating back & forth,that's far different from the wiggles world/thomas town in every park strategy/idea Shapiro had tried to do with the SF chain.

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"We've always got to be known for great thrills," Ouimet said in a recent interview. "It has served us well. But I also want to be known for great connections, and that this is where families come together."

This worked soooooo well for Mark Shapiro and Six Flags too...

 

THIS.

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