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Cedar Fair Corporate Development Discussion Thread (FUN)

P. 70: Cedar Fair unveils 2022 operating season plans

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http://www.latimes.com/travel/themeparks/la-trb-cedar-fair-coasters-20150827-story.html
What new coasters are on tap for Cedar Fair parks?

 

By Brady MacDonald

August 27, 2015, 8:00 AM

 

If you took all 123 roller coasters at Cedar Fair parks and put them end to end they’d stretch for 58 miles. Stack all those lift hills on top of one another and they’d reach more than 10,000 feet into the sky..

 

“Coasters are in our DNA,” said Matt Ouimet, CEO of the Cedar Fair amusement park chain.

 

I sat down recently with Ouimet for a wide-ranging discussion about roller coasters at Cedar Fair’s parks in the United States and Canada. The chain has 11 amusement parks with some of the biggest coaster collections in the world: Cedar Point (16), Canada’s Wonderland (16), Kings Island (14), Kings Dominion (13), Carowinds (13) and Knott’s Berry Farm (10).

 

As a former Disneyland president, Ouimet was brought in to sprinkle a little Disney pixie dust on Cedar Fair. Some coaster enthusiasts thought his arrival would herald the introduction of more family-friendly rides and far fewer record-setting coasters.

 

Indeed, Cedar Fair parks have seen a host of family-friendly attractions under Ouimet’s watch, from water park and kiddie area upgrades to new tower swing and flying scooter rides. But since Ouimet took over as CEO in 2012, Cedar Fair parks have also added a steady stream of steel behemoths, from Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland to Banshee at Kings Island.

 

Over the last few years, Ouimet has employed an array of coaster strategies -- from rethemes to renovations to relocations to conversions. But so far the biggest weapon in his arsenal has been a new gate coaster concept unveiled at a pair of parks and designed to make a statement to visitors as they enter.

 

“I want you to be impressed at our doorstep,” said Ouimet. “When you get to the park and you see that coaster, you can’t help but think you’re in for a good day.”

 

The gate coasters -- Gatekeeper at Cedar Point and Fury 325 at Carowinds -- are known internally as “Deckerated” coasters, so named for Cedar Fair coaster designer Rob Decker, who hates the honorific, Ouimet said.

 

So can we expect a gate coaster at every Cedar Fair park?

 

“Now, if I could rewind history, would I do them at the front of every Cedar Fair park?” Ouimet said. “Probably. But it’s not going to happen.”

 

While several parks with beautiful promenade entrances like Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Island will never get gate coasters, Ouimet said a couple more Cedar Fair parks will eventually get “Deckerated.”

 

Paramount for Ouimet is making sure major new coasters are comfortable for riders and non-riders alike. That means adding plenty of shade and seating for parents and grandparents who might not want to climb aboard a 95-mph beast like Fury 325 while also stretching out the elements to make the G-forces more manageable for the coaster-inclined.

 

“I don’t want you to be so scared that you don’t want to ride it again,” Ouimet said.

 

This summer, Ohio’s Cedar Point converted the 1996 Mantis stand-up coaster into a floorless coaster known as Rougarou. The relatively rare conversion raised the obvious question: Which Cedar Fair coaster is next?

 

“We have a couple more we could do and I suspect you’ll see that happen,” Ouimet said. “But unfortunately it’s not one of those things you can play out in 10 different places.”

 

Last year, Ohio’s Kings Island rethemed the Flight Deck suspended coaster with a new paint job and a retro name: the Bat. The name pays tribute to another suspended coaster called the Bat that briefly operated at Kings Island in the early 1980s. Flight Deck itself was a rethemed ride that started life in 1993 as Top Gun, a tie-in to the Tom Cruise fighter pilot movie.

 

“One of the things that’s fascinating about this industry, and Disney has this in spades to some degree, is you have to be innovative and yet you have to give the nod to nostalgia,” said Ouimet, who only sees rethemes working when they pay tribute to a park’s historical legacy.

 

With coasters, the what’s-old-is-new-again strategy takes many forms. Shipping off an old coaster to a new location is the theme park equivalent of the witness protection program for aging thrill rides -- complete with a new look, name and city for the relocated attraction. Rival Six Flags has turned coaster relocation into a regular practice.

 

But Ouimet doesn’t see coaster relocations as a viable business model.

 

“If a ride is really popular, you don’t want to take it out,” Ouimet said. “And if it’s not, then it’s probably outlived its longevity anyway.”

 

One of the biggest challenges amusement parks face is maintaining aging wooden coasters. In recent years, Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction has solved the problem with wooden coaster renovations that turn existing rides into wood-steel hybrids with looping inversions.

 

“The revitalization or rejuvenation of wooden coasters is probably a card that gets played for the next 10 years,” Ouimet said. “We are obviously looking at our whole portfolio just to decide what we do with it.”

 

Cedar Fair has more than two dozen wooden coasters in its vast collection from manufacturers like Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and Great Coasters International, but none of the rides has ever gotten a Rocky Mountain makeover. Cedar Fair has several uncomfortably rough wooden coasters -- including Cedar Point’s Mean Streak -- that have long been prime candidates for renovations.

 

“The industry has developed some very good, solid players these days,” Ouimet said. “Rocky Mountain is a good example, GCI is a good example. We’ll probably work with all of them before we’re done.”

 

Knott’s Berry Farm has announced plans to renovate GhostRider in 2016 but has not yet said which company will do the work or revealed the changes planned for the wooden coaster.

 

Looking forward, the future of Cedar Fair coasters could be digital. In 2014, Canada’s Wonderland introduced the Wonder Mountain Guardian coaster-dark ride combo that added interactive gaming and digital screens to the traditional coaster experience. Ouimet said more digital coaster experiences are on the way this fall.

 

“We’re going to continue to invest in this digital world and they won’t all be rides,” Ouimet said. “It is clear to me that the integration of this digital entertainment world with the amusement park world is going to work.”

That was a great read

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Most of the information presented by Matt was exactly what I want to hear, as a fan of Cedar Fair. The only thing that could concern me is the comments about spacing elements, and not having coasters that are too intense.

 

On the other hand, I love hearing so much talk about RMC.

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The only thing that could concern me is the comments about spacing elements, and not having coasters that are too intense.

 

This concerned me as well, but in a good way. They may not want a repeat of i305, which is excellent for business I presume.

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I think that confirms that Cedar Fair does want to work with RMC.

 

 

Not nessesarily, it just means that they like the work that they have done and that they think they are doing great things in the industry.

 

See, I have to disagree with you here slightly, as I do feel like what he said was the most positive affirmation for an RMC at CF we've seen yet. And I quote:

 

“The industry has developed some very good, solid players these days,” Ouimet said. “Rocky Mountain is a good example, GCI is a good example. We’ll probably work with all of them before we’re done.”

 

Granted, he didn't say we WILL work with RMC, but he did say they will probably work with them, before they're done. Given their relative dismissal of RMC'ing wooden coasters in the past, I'd say this is at least a nice improvement in tenor.

 

The only thing that could concern me is the comments about spacing elements, and not having coasters that are too intense.

 

This concerned me as well, but in a good way. They may not want a repeat of i305, which is excellent for business I presume.

 

I think this business philosophy, moreso than other issues with Intamin, is why they've gone away from them in recent years. B&M does build milder rides, with more spaced out elements, than many of Intamin's end up being. While I have no doubt CF is happy with coasters like MF, TTD, and Maverick, I think they are a little more wary of overpopulating their parks' collections with rides of that intensity. Hence, the "obsession" we've seen by CF with B&M lately...

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I think this business philosophy, moreso than other issues with Intamin, is why they've gone away from them in recent years. B&M does build milder rides, with more spaced out elements, than many of Intamin's end up being. While I have no doubt CF is happy with coasters like MF, TTD, and Maverick, I think they are a little more wary of overpopulating their parks' collections with rides of that intensity. Hence, the "obsession" we've seen by CF with B&M lately...

 

B&M' are not only milder but they tend to be smoother rides and they just make the beautiful coasters in the world. I am not surprised a Disney guy wants the pretty coaster over the intense one.

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Manufacturers build the rides their customers want. If Cedar Fair wanted Intamin coasters that rode more like Thunder Dolphin or Millennium Force than I305, I'm sure Intamin would do that given that they clearly have in the past. I just don't think they want anything that Intamin themselves designs and fabricates, at least for the time being.

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I'm a big fan of B&M coasters, so I'm not complaining!

 

Yeah, I personally don't care. If Cedar Fair decides a park should get a ride like Maverick, hey, it looks like Gerstlauer and Mack will build you basically the same kinda ride. They might even do a better job of it too. Big crazy wood coasters? Well, RMC is already tops in the game, so why go anywhere else? There really isn't anything Intamin does that you can't get somewhere else.

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Sometimes I honestly wonder how insane the B&M giga coasters would be if Stengel designed them

 

Anyway, though Fury and Leviathan and even Millennium Force aren't anywhere near the stratosphere of intensity that Intimidator 305 is, they are still fantastic rides in their own ways. A ride doesn't necessarily have to be "intense" to be great, so to speak

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I think this business philosophy, moreso than other issues with Intamin, is why they've gone away from them in recent years. B&M does build milder rides, with more spaced out elements, than many of Intamin's end up being. While I have no doubt CF is happy with coasters like MF, TTD, and Maverick, I think they are a little more wary of overpopulating their parks' collections with rides of that intensity. Hence, the "obsession" we've seen by CF with B&M lately...

 

B&M' are not only milder but they tend to be smoother rides and they just make the beautiful coasters in the world. I am not surprised a Disney guy wants the pretty coaster over the intense one.

 

I like both companies. And I think Intamin and B&M are the 2 best in the planet. But I have never thought they were smoother. MF 15 years later is butter smooth, while fury is less then a year old and already has rattle. Im not a B&M hater, I am just saying there not always the smoothest company.

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Nice article. I really hope Cedar Fair will add a new B&M for Valleyfair in the next few years. B&M will be a perfect coaster with the line up that we already have and a good fit for the park. New coaster possibly in the dinosaurs alive front of the park. I have been wanting a inverted for my home park for a while now. Renegade 2007 was our last coaster so I think were due for a new coaster its going on 9 years now. I'm going to say 2017 will be our year for a new coaster.

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  • 5 weeks later...
The Summer Of "FUN" Continues At Cedar Fair; Company Announces Record Revenues Through Labor Day

 

SANDUSKY, Ohio, Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced that preliminary net revenues through Monday, September 7, 2015, increased 7% to a record $1.02 billion. As such, the Company expects 2015 to be its sixth consecutive year of record results.

 

The Company stated year-to-date net revenues through September 7, 2015, increased 7%, or $69 million, to $1.02 billion compared with $950 million a year ago. This year-over-year growth was driven by a 5%, or 1.0 million-visit, increase in attendance to 20.3 million visits; a 2%, or $0.73, increase in average in-park guest per capita spending to $46.21; and a 10%, or $10 million, increase in out-of-park revenues including resort accommodations to $108 million. On a constant-currency basis1, net revenues through Labor Day would have increased 9% and average in-park guest per capita spending would be up 4%.

 

"We are extremely pleased with the continued growth we are experiencing across all areas of our business," said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair's president and chief executive officer. "Our strategy of encouraging guests to visit our parks early and often has exceeded our expectations. This approach has resulted in higher season pass sales, higher season pass visits and more general admission visitors, while at the same time also generating higher guest spending."

 

Ouimet noted the Company had a very strong capital program this year where it introduced a world-record-breaking roller coaster at Carowinds, a new interactive dark ride at Knott's Berry Farm and a newly renovated hotel at Cedar Point. These investments, combined with the further development of its individual premium park brands and continued emphasis on enhancing the overall guest experience, were large contributors to its record results to date and will serve as anchors to its longer-term capital investment strategy.

 

"The consumer demand for our entertainment offerings has never been stronger and we are excited about the growth opportunities ahead of us," added Ouimet. "We have a solid lineup of new adrenaline-rushing and family-friendly experiences for our increasingly popular Halloween events this Fall; and our 2016 capital announcements have already been receiving national media attention. This includes Valravn, a world-record-breaking roller coaster at our flagship park, Cedar Point, and Carolina Harbor, the largest water park in the Carolinas, at Carowinds."

 

Ouimet concluded by stating the Company remains on track to achieve its FUNforward 2.0 long-term growth goal of $500 million, or more, in Adjusted EBITDA by 2018.

 

Full article can be found here.

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  • 4 months later...

They have just purchased 7 classic rides from over seas, are are planning on purchasing more. They mentioned that 5 rides are slated for carowinds, and some are going to world's of fun. I find this quite interesting and makes me wonder if the classic rides are better built and require less maintenance costs than the new ones. I also question the choice of parks they are going to. I would think that Michigan's adventure could use a couple of the rides.

 

Here is the link to the story.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/themeparks/la-trb-cedar-fair-flat-rides-20160206-story.html

A team of scavengers scouring the globe for vintage thrill rides to bring back to Cedar Fair amusement parks in the United States hit the mother lode in Europe and plans to continue the search in Japan.

 

The transcontinental trek took Monty Jasper and a small crew of Cedar Fair maintenance coordinators to Scotland, Holland, Italy, Switzerland and Germany where they collected seven classic flat rides — industry-speak for spinning thrill rides that travel near the ground and/or rise up into the air.

 

“To be honest, I was surprised at all we found,” said Jasper, a 42-year industry veteran and chief ride curator for Cedar Fair’s chain of 11 amusement parks.

 

Let's take a detailed look at the inventory of vintage flat rides — past and present — at Cedar Fair's amusement parks. (Brady MacDonald)

 

In all, Jasper spent $7 million — about $1 million per ride — on a Mondial Top Scan, Mack Music Express, Zierer Wave Swinger, Huss Condor, Huss Breakdance and a pair of Huss Troikas.

 

After extensive rehabs, five of the rides are heading to Carowinds outside Charlotte, N.C., and the other two are on their way to Missouri’s Worlds of Fun in time for the summer season.

 

Jasper likes the rides from the 1950s, '60s and '70s because they tend to be more robust and mechanically sound than their modern brethren.

 

“If you take care of them, they will last a long time,” Jasper said.

 

Inspired by the “American Pickers” reality television show, Jasper’s team of collectors departed for Europe with the goal of filling out Cedar Fair’s portfolio of mid-range rides — those unheralded but essential workhorses that fall somewhere between the mega coasters and the kiddie rides. Jasper hoped to even pick up a sturdy old coaster if found one he liked.

 

At Scotland’s Loudoun Castle theme park, which closed in 2010, the Cedar Fair ride pickers passed on a portable Schwarzkopf looping coaster but picked up a Troika, which is similar to the familiar Scrambler except it's suspended from overhead arms that tilt during the ride.

 

“They stuck the key in the ignition and it started right up,” Jasper said. “Troikas are stout rides. They’re built like tanks.”

 

In Germany, the pickers decided against a Funtime Star Flyer tower swing at Holiday Park but grabbed a Breakdance, which features a sloped spinning platform with hubs of cars that spin in the opposite direction. California’s Great America, a Cedar Fair park in Santa Clara, has a Breakdance ride called Peanuts Pirates in its Planet Snoopy kiddie land.

 

Switzerland and Italy proved scenic but fruitless, with the pickers deciding against a Huss Top Scan and a Mack bobsled roller coaster.

 

“Anything can run again if you throw enough money at it, but it might not be worth it,” Jasper said. “You don’t want to put some troublemaker into a park.”

 

Corroy Consulting, a ride-refurbishment factory in Holland that finds and resells classic flat rides, turned out to be a goldmine — with Jasper and the pickers snapping up five rides that will be stripped, repainted, repaired and updated with new electrical and lighting before being shipped to the United States.

 

Carowinds is expected to get the Scottish Troika, Breakdance, Music Express, Top Scan and Wave Swinger. The Music Express features a snake-like train traversing an undulating track, and the Top Scan spins riders in free-rotating gondolas. The Wave Swinger may replace the park’s Chance Yo Yo, a similar spinning ride with seats suspended from chains.

 

Worlds of Fun is expected to become home to the Dutch Troika as well as the Condor, a spinning tower ride with counter-spinning swinging gondola seats.

 

This month, Jasper plans to visit Japan on another scavenger hunt in hopes of discovering more rides like the ones he found in Europe while also looking for other classics like the Chance Trabant, Schwarzkopf Enterprise and Eli Bridge Scrambler.

 

“It may not be as good as that first trip,” Jasper said. “We will see.”

Edited by larrygator
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I think this was a brilliant idea. What classic ride would you like to see Cedar Fair source for your favorite or home Cedar Fair park? My dream would be a Rotor at CP, perhaps on the Gemini Midway. Cheers!

My homepark is WoF. We'll give you the rotor for Wicked Twister

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I think this was a brilliant idea. What classic ride would you like to see Cedar Fair source for your favorite or home Cedar Fair park? My dream would be a Rotor at CP, perhaps on the Gemini Midway. Cheers!

 

 

Did you ever ride the one that used to be on the main midway? I recall riding it once the first year that I ever visited the park and believe that it used to be close to where the Scrambler is now.

 

I think that would be cool if they brought this back as well as the double ferris wheel (that used to be at the front of the park). And while they're at it, bring back the Frontier Town Sky-way too!

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I think this was a brilliant idea. What classic ride would you like to see Cedar Fair source for your favorite or home Cedar Fair park? My dream would be a Rotor at CP, perhaps on the Gemini Midway. Cheers!

 

 

Did you ever ride the one that used to be on the main midway? I recall riding it once the first year that I ever visited the park and believe that it used to be close to where the Scrambler is now.

 

I think that would be cool if they brought this back as well as the double ferris wheel (that used to be at the front of the park). And while they're at it, bring back the Frontier Town Sky-way too!

 

Sadly, I never got to ride the Rotor at CP. I was a huge fan of the one at Geauga Lake though. I too would like to see the Frontier Sky-way make a come back too!

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