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Cedar Fair Corporate Development Discussion Thread (FUN)

P. 70: Cedar Fair unveils 2022 operating season plans

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I got to speak with Mr. Quimet during Gatekeeper media day. He was a class act. Happy to talk and give interviews with anyone who ask. Very friendly and upbeat. I am still amazed they (Cedar Fair) fed several thousand people for free all day long, gave out free gifts and pictures, and opened two additional coasters for people to enjoy along with the privelage of riding Gatekeeper before the GP. Cedar Fair made me a lifelong fan that day.

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I hope that I've got the right thread. Maybe Knott's would be more appropriate. But here goes.


I need some information to help make a decision.


We're thinking about buying a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass for 2014. According to the CF sites, the $180 price offer ends today.


We're visiting Knott's next month and the 2014 Platinum Pass allows one visit in 2013.


I think it pays to get it if we also visit Canada's Wonderland, California's Great America, and Kings Island next year to get the credits we're missing at those parks, but it would help me if I knew what the admission fees were at those parks.


Does anyone know the approximate online ticket price for those three parks this past season? If you know the parking price too, that would be a bonus. I've been assuming $40 and $15 for my calculations. If the prices are higher in reality, then the the Pass makes sense.


However, we have another concern. If we buy the 2014 Platinum Pass online, will we be able to get it processed at Knott's during our visit in November? If not, we would have to get it processed at one of the other parks, and I'm afraid that it might be a hassle getting a pass purchased on Knott's website processed at another park. Knott's had problems even allowing us entry with our Dorney Platinum passes some years ago. Have they improved their national pass processing issues? Six Flags had no problem letting us process Great Adventure passes at SFOTx once.


Any insight would be greatly appreciated.



I think that you are pretty close in your estimate of online tickets and parking.


Regarding the season pass processing, I can say from experience that mine hasn't been a pleasant one.


Four years ago, I bought my Platinum Pass at Cedar Point during Halloweekends because they were offering a good deal. The next spring, we were down in Virginia so we decided to stop at Kings Dominion (before CP was even open). They simply processed and issued me a Kings Dominion Cedar Fair Platinum Pass without any issues.


That fall, I tried to renew my PP on the Cedar Point website, but it wouldn't allow it because I had a Kings Dominion PP. After several attempts via phone during a span of several weeks, I was finally able to get it straightened out and renew the pass through Kings Dominion.


The following year we were in California in February so we tried to process our PP's (had internet receipt) at Knotts. After having to call in their manager, they said that I could not renew my PP there because Knotts wasn't my home park. I told them that Kings Dominion wasn't either but they still processed my PP last year with no issues.


What they ended up doing was bringing in the manager, calling someone at Cedar Point and then told me that when I first visited Cedar Point to process my pass there and all would be squared away. They gave me a voucher so I could still visit Knotts for free that day.


Fast forward to when we went to Cedar Point in May...


They also had to call the manager in because my old card was Kings Dominion and apparently that threw them for a loop. When I mentioned that someone from Knotts had talked to someone at Cedar Point about it in February and said that this would all be taken care of when I came here to renew, they had no record of that ever taking place. After about a half hour of utter confusion, they issued me a new Cedar Point Platinum Pass (which I simply renewed this year).


My partner buys his PP at the gate because they give a senior discount. When he bought his pass this year, he received a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass which is essentially what they should have been doing all along versus having one specific card for each park that covers all CF parks. We had suggested that to them two years ago so it was nice to see that they listened to the feedback. I certainly hope that by changing to a basic CF PP that this will eliminate a lot of the past confusion in processing.


I would certainly interested to know how you fare to see if they have gotten this issue finally straightened out with the new passes....good luck!

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I've been renewing my Platinum Pass, which I originally purchased through Kings Dominion, via the KD Web site, and I used it at Cedatr Point earlier this season with no issues at all. (Then again, pass processing at KD tends to be pretty well organized and reasonably quick.)

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Thanks for the responses, Philrad71 and Chuck!


I made two phone calls, the first to Cedar Point's admissions office. They said that if I walked in with home-printed Platinum Pass paperwork that had been purchased on the the Knott's website, they would have no problem issuing a PP. Actually, I called investor relations, hoping to get someone at the corporate office to answer these questions, but they transferred me to CP. Investor Relations is the only phone number available at the corporate website for some reason.


The second call was to Knott's. It took a long time for my call to get picked up, but when it did, the person I spoke to assured me that the 2014 PP would be processed before we could go into the park.


Thanks again.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...



Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, reported record financial results for the year ended December 31, 2013.




  • The Company reported record full-year net revenues of $1.135 billion, up 6% from 2012, reflecting strong growth in all aspects of its business; net income of $108.2 million, or $1.94 per diluted limited partner (LP) unit, was up $6.3 million from a year ago.
  • Adjusted EBITDA for the full year was a record $425.4 million, up 9% from last year on a 5% increase in average in-park guest per capita spending, a 2% increase in comparable park attendance and a 6% increase in out-of-park revenues.
  • The Company reduced its Consolidated Leverage ratio to 3.6 times debt to Adjusted EBITDA, down from 3.9 times in 2012.
  • The Company remains confident in its ability to achieve its FUNforward long-term growth goal of $450 million in Adjusted EBITDA earlier than its original target of 2016.
  • Commenting on the results for 2013, Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's president and chief executive officer, said, "We are pleased to report 2013 was a remarkable year for Cedar Fair and we expect this momentum to continue into 2014. Our long-term FUNforward strategy is working well as we experienced solid increases across all aspects of our business this year, including record attendance and in-park guest per capita spending."


Ouimet added, "Our focus on continually enhancing the guest experience has been the unifying theme of our long-term strategy. In 2013, guests responded favorably to all of our investments in new world-class rides, family entertainment and premium guest experiences. For example, GateKeeper, a record-breaking winged coaster at Cedar Point, experienced one of the best ride openings in the park's history, while the new Boardwalk area at Knott's Berry Farm in southern California brought more families to the park than ever before. We are also seeing a great response to our expanded water park offerings, most notably at World's of Fun which experienced record results as well.


"For 2014, our teams are working harder than ever to find new ways to surprise our guests as they walk through our gates," continued Ouimet. "Our capital projects are currently scheduled to open on time and on budget, including Banshee, our record-breaking roller coaster at Kings Island, and Wonder Mountain's Guardian, our interactive 4-D dark ride at Canada's Wonderland. After this cold and snowy winter, our guests will be ready to get out of the house to enjoy some nice warm summer days on our midways with their friends and family. We are looking forward to providing even more thrills, screams and smiles as we kickoff the 2014 season."


Ouimet concluded by stating, "I am pleased with our current financial condition, including our liquidity and cash flow performance. At the end of the year, our Consolidated Leverage ratio was 3.6 times, which is down from 4.2 times as recently as two years ago. As we look ahead, we expect 2014 to be another record year in terms of net revenues and Adjusted EBITDA, and we are confident we will continue to build on our decades of success for many years to come."


2013 Full-Year Results


For the full year ended December 31, 2013, Cedar Fair generated record net revenues of $1.135 billion and net income of $108.2 million, or $1.94 per diluted LP unit, compared with net revenues of $1.068 billion and net income of $101.9 million, or $1.82 per diluted LP unit, in 2012.


Contributing to the $66.1 million, or 6.2%, increase in net revenues for 2013, average in-park guest per capita spending rose 5%, or $2.20, to $44.15; attendance increased by 1%, or 219,000 visits, to 23.5 million guests; and out-of-park revenues improved 6%, or $7.4 million, to $124.2 million. Excluding two non-core stand- alone water parks that were sold in November 2012 and August 2013, attendance on a comparable park basis increased 2%, or 453,000 visits.


Cost of goods sold decreased to $91.8 million due to savings initiatives in the Company's food and beverage programs, while operating expenses increased to $472.3 million and selling, general and administrative expenses increased to $152.4 million. The increase in these costs and expenses was largely attributable to the parks entertaining a record number of guests in 2013. Also contributing to these increases were higher staffing levels to support additional revenue growth initiatives, investments in new revenue and customer relationship management platforms, higher normal operating and maintenance expenses associated with enhancing park infrastructures, and higher incentive compensation due to the strong current-year performance. As a percentage of sales, these costs decreased 90 basis points to 63.2% in 2013, from 64.1% in 2012.


Adjusted EBITDA, which management believes is a meaningful measure of the Company's park-level operating results, increased 8.8%, or $34.5 million, to $425.4 million, compared with $391.0 million last year. At the same time, Adjusted EBITDA margin improved 90 basis points, increasing to 37.5%, from 36.6% a year ago. The strong increases in Adjusted EBITDA and the Adjusted EBITDA margin are the result of record net revenues combined with strict controls over costs. See the attached table for a reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA.


Cash Flow and Liquidity Remain Strong


Brian Witherow, Cedar Fair's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said, "Our liquidity and cash flow remain strong. With our record 2013 performance, combined with the sale of two non-core assets and the first-quarter refinancing of a large portion of our debt, we continue to improve our capital structure and operating flexibility. We intend to maintain our strong financial position for 2014 and beyond as we continue to manage our cash flows and capital structure, creating value for unitholders over the long-term."


As of December 31, 2013, Cedar Fair had $618.9 million of variable-rate debt (before giving consideration to fixed-rate interest rate swaps), $901.8 million of fixed-rate debt, no outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit facilities and cash on hand of $118.1 million. The Company's credit facilities and cash flows from operations are expected to be sufficient to meet working capital needs, debt service, planned capital expenditures and distributions for the foreseeable future.




The Company's capital program is designed to drive positive results in both the short- and long-term. For the 2014 season, the Company plans to invest approximately $145 million in capital across its properties. The highlight of the 2014 capital program is Banshee, the world's longest inverted steel coaster, which will make its debut at Kings Island, in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition, Cedar Fair will introduce the first edition of its "Amusement Dark" portfolio, Wonder Mountain's Guardian at Canada's Wonderland, which is an interactive 4-D dark ride featuring the world's longest interactive screen. Marketable capital for 2014 will also feature a complete revival of the Camp Snoopy area at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, a major waterpark expansion at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania and a refreshment of the Gemini Midway, including several new family-oriented attractions at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. For the 2014 season, resort guests at Cedar Point will experience a new outside look at the historic Hotel Breakers as the first phase in the property's two year renovation is completed. The Company also plans to introduce new cabin accommodations at two of its properties and will launch a new company-wide in-park TV network, allowing further interaction with its guests.


Ouimet concluded, "While it is still too early to identify a trend, we are pleased to see both season pass and group business sales pacing ahead of where they were this time last year. With this in mind, we are confident in our ability to achieve our FUNforward long-term growth goal of $450 million in Adjusted EBITDA earlier than our original target of 2016."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, seeing the actual figure of capital expenditures this year, it's amazing what they're doing across the chain, and that they're only building one coaster this year.


$145 million is being put into good use, between Kings Dominion and all of the 40th Celebration additions, Guardian going in at Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Point with the Gemini Midway additions and the Hotel Breakers face lift, Knott's Camp Snoopy expansion and upgrades, Route 76 at Valleyfair, major water park additions at Carowinds and Dorney, SteelHawk at Worlds of Fun, the restaurants being added to a few parks, the cabins being installed at CP and KD, the coaster re-tracking and re-profiling with GCI going on at Carowinds and CA Great America, the major point-of-service and infrastructure install happening at Michigan's Adventure, the Cedar Fair in-park TV network going in at all of the park, and of course Banshee going in at Kings Island. Then I'm sure there's probably a major list of painting and other capital improvements going on across all parks.


I really can't wait to see what they have planned next year. Carowinds is for sure going to be the highlight park next year with the major coaster installation and who knows what else they have planned across the chain. Until then, it's going to be a great 2014 season for the chain!

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Mainly it has to do with the cash register system and getting an in-park network established. The upgrade has already happened at the other CF parks, just MiAd was the last one to be done because there was no infrastructure to build off of, it all has to be installed from scratch. It pretty much allows corporate to view in real-time all of the purchases and cash flow being done throughout the day and how they're able to do promotions like the all-day meal ticket.


I believe Ouimet said that during one of the quarterly teleconferences why MiAd is the last park to get the upgrade. All I know is that a fiber line is being installed around the park and will finally automize the cash register system instead of the old punch-in registers and also get rid of the separate credit card readers. It'll just help speed up the process for guests and will be nice for the park to at least be current in technology.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Cedar Fair registered the trademark for FUN TV on March 10, 2014.


Television broadcasting services at amusement parks for programming that guests will view while waiting in line at an attraction at an amusement park


If it makes standing in line for hours for TTD and Millennium Force more tolerable, it seems like an interesting idea.

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Yea, because watching multiple commercials on hair gel and mayo make waiting in line for 2 hours a lot more tolerable.

No, it will probably be similar to the Six Flags TVs.


Well, Six Flags TVs show commercials about hair gel and mayo all the time anyways...

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Cedar Fair registered the trademark for FUN TV on March 10, 2014.


Cedar Fair is finally catching up to other companies in terms of extra revenue. Good for them!


Yeah, and unlike Six Flags where I thought these TVs often went in at weird spots since there used to be theming there (the one in SFGAm's Batman queue is the worst - take out a bunch of theming to add a TV), Cedar Fair has little of that to worry about.


And I mean that completely seriously and without animosity. I actually have quite a bit of money invested with Cedar Fair, and I am absolutely fine with the majority of their rides having no theming other than name. That's what they do, and they do it well

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You have to wonder that in the age of smart phones, will people even pay attention to these televisions? They're going to have to put some really compelling content on this system to compete. Certainly offer up a lot more than random commercials and terrible music videos that Six Flags would run on their system.



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