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Cedar Fair Corporate Development Discussion Thread (FUN)

P. 70: Cedar Fair unveils 2022 operating season plans

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28 minutes ago, Manic Monte said:

Agreed. Smart move to have a recovery year and up the infrastructure of each park.

Sea World and Six Flags have previous year coasters to open next year, otherwise I'd imagine they'd be doing much the same.

SeaWorld and Six Flags are also making money because they decided to actually open their parks this year while Cedar Fair is not.

For comparison- Q2 income:

SeaWorld: +$82 million dollars

Six Flags: +$70 million dollars

Cedar Fair ... a $59 million dollar loss

Some things are not their fault. The membership program is just inherently more pandemic-proof than the Season Pass model but nobody could have really predicted this. Also, Canada's Wonderland's inability to open wasn't their fault. That said, those two companies are in much different positions than Cedar Fair.

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1 hour ago, coasterbill said:

 

SeaWorld and Six Flags are also making money because they decided to actually open their parks this year while Cedar Fair is not.

For comparison- Q2 income:

SeaWorld: +$82 million dollars

Six Flags: +$70 million dollars

Cedar Fair ... a $59 million dollar loss

Some things are not their fault. The membership program is just inherently more pandemic-proof than the Season Pass model but nobody could have really predicted this. Also, Canada's Wonderland's inability to open wasn't their fault. That said, those two companies are in much different positions than Cedar Fair.

Great points!

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10 hours ago, jedimaster1227 said:

(Snip)

 In the fall, parks will offer Halloween-themed special events that are sure to delight adults and kids alike. Six parks will host Tricks & Treats events, with two others hosting Family Halloween.

(Snip)

Am I the only one concerned about the wording of this?  No mention of Haunt/Halloweekends anywhere in that press release, just Tricks & Treats and "Family Halloween," whatever that is.

Otherwise, nothing surprising.  As much as it pains me to admit it, much preferring CF parks to other chains, Bill is right - they have absolutely bungled their entire post-pandemic re-opening.  Short hours, shorter calendars, a whole lot of food stands and rides not running early in the season*....I get it, there's staffing issues everywhere....but it screams "trying to make up for increased salaries and the fact that we gave passholders a whole year for free, including all of their add-ons."

I'll probably renew my Platinum Pass for next year, but I'll probably not splurge for the all-season Fast Lane add on until I can see some calendars for next year.

*That said, everything appeared to be operating at KI today...the last Friday they're open until Haunt...maybe, since they haven't posted a calendar for September/October like other parks have.

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  • 6 months later...

Cedar Fair Q4 Earnings were released today: https://ir.cedarfair.com/news/news-details/2022/Cedar-Fair-Reports-2021-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-Results/default.aspx

SANDUSKY, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and immersive entertainment, today announced its 2021 fourth-quarter and full-year results, ended Dec. 31, 2021.

Highlights

(Note: To offer more informative comparisons, highlights for 2021 below are compared to 2019. During 2021, the Company’s parks had 1,765 operating days compared to 2,224 operating days in 2019.)

Net revenues for 2021 totaled $1.34 billion compared with $1.47 billion for 2019, driven by:

Attendance that approximated 70% of 2019 levels (85% on a comparable operating day basis) (1);

Record in-park per capita spending of $62.03, representing a 28% increase over 2019 in-park per capita spending of $48.32, with double-digit increases across all key revenue categories; and

Out-of-park revenues of $168 million, which was comparable to 2019 levels.

Net loss and Adjusted EBITDA(2) for 2021 totaled $49 million and $325 million, respectively, compared with net income of $172 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $505 million for 2019.

Through early February, sales of 2022 season passes and all-season products are pacing ahead of the then-record pace set for the sale of 2020 season pass products.

“We are extremely pleased with our 2021 results, particularly given the level of uncertainty with which we entered the year and the ongoing headwinds of the pandemic,” said Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman. “Our key strategic initiatives focused on broadening and enhancing the guest experience are clearly resonating with consumers. As a result, we produced revenues over the second half of 2021 that outpaced the record revenues of the comparable six-month period in 2019 by 14%, an increase of more than $130 million. Our outstanding performance is a testament to the agility and insight of our talented team as they overcame unprecedented challenges of 2021.”

“Our strong 2021 performance gives us the financial flexibility to continue rapidly deleveraging our balance sheet while investing in high-return organic initiatives,” continued Zimmerman. “In fact, with a strengthened balance sheet, we’re increasingly confident that Cedar Fair will be able to reinitiate a unitholder distribution by the third quarter of 2022, if not sooner. The Cedar Fair Board and management team are focused on extending our track-record of enhancing value for unitholders, and we are confident we are taking the right steps to achieve that objective.”

For capital expenditures they said: “We are focused on continuing to advance our strategic initiatives in 2022, including investing more than $200 million in new attractions and entertainment offerings, as well as the completion of several resort renovation projects that were delayed over the last two years. With a strong balance sheet, we also maintain the flexibility to continue to expand our park offerings and develop new revenue centers, and technology enhancements, such as cashless parks, touch-free transactions, and labor management tools, all aimed at improving the guest experience and creating a more nimble, efficient, and cost-effective operating model. We are confident that we have a strong foundation for the future and are well positioned to deliver exceptional performance for our team, guests and unitholders in 2022.” I assume that the resort renovations projects are the Sawmill Creek and the Knott's hotel, and the attraction and entertainment offerings are Tumbili at KD and ??? (Grand Carnivale?) 

Seems to me that their rebound has begun and that they are focusing on reducing their debt and interest in the short term. The park's seem to be performing well with in and out of park spending near on par with 2019 levels, although overall attendance was of course still down. They also seem really optimistic about the 2nd half of 2021, so I hope that bodes well for 2022 for them.

SeaWorld and Six Flags report next Thursday, so it will be interesting to compare.

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  • 3 months later...

Today, Cedar Fair posted their 2022 Investor Presentation! Here is the link if you want to read the whole thing: http://archive.fast-edgar.com/20220523/AO2WK222H22292T2222P22E2J2NGZ222A242/

Here are the highlights though:

- In-Park revenues are down slightly from 2019 (they of course don't talk about 2020...), but per-capita spending is up. Out-of-park revenues are comparable to 2019.

- Their research indicates: "Rides and events remain the top reasons guests visit our parks, while family coasters and water parks/rides are strong motivators to visit among our most engaged guests." and that "top reasons to visit parks are family rides, thrill coasters, water rides, seasonal events/festivals, and anniversary celebrations." They also say that guests seem to be motivated to visit parks by "Something for everyone - a menu of rides and activities that offer guests a wide range of entertainment choices, wholesome, simple and fun entertainment that allows guests to foster connections and interactions with others, 'Never before' experiences, an atmosphere with a 'sense of place' celebrating local authenticity and cultural diversity."

- Their long range plan includes "Expanded use of use of limited duration events and more immersive experiences" (They use Knott's and Forbidden Frontier as examples), aiming to "drive more visits from existing guests and incremental visits from new, unique guests", "Food and Beverage will continue to play and outsized role in the overall guest experience", and finally (the park we all want to hear!) "Traditional rides, such as roller coasters and water attractions, still play an important role. They also say that want to continue the "evolution of our accommodations and resort offerings."

- Attendance at haunt events was up 8% over 2019...and they represent some of the highest attended days of the year...(Valleyfair and CGA like...). WinterFest and Merry Farm had 1.8 million combined, and "opportunities for expanding WinterFest, or a comparable event, to other parks being explored."

- Their strongest growth channel was apparently season passes, which now represent about 55% of full-year attendance. They want to more broadly roll out the PassPerks program to encourage more visits. All-season add-ons (they use Dining, Drinks, Fast Lane, Parking, and Lockers as examples) are also growing in popularity, and represent a "growing percentage of revenue and attendance".

- As mentioned earlier F&B is becoming a bigger part of their business, so they say "Consumers want unique experiences, offerings they can't get at home, we [CF] have enhanced existing F&B facilities and added more immersive dining experiences, executive chefs and additional culinary talent [has been] hired at each park." They show Backbeatque and Hugo's as examples...I'm honestly not even sure what parks those are at...?

- For 2022 they plan to "Invest $160-175 million to support growth initiatives at our parks and further enhance the guest experience.", pay down debt, and restart shareholder distributions by Q3.

 

From my perspective it seems that a couple things are going on. First, the company is on the move and doing all right. They are not in a "batten down the hatches" or "we are in trouble" mode. They seem to be focusing on "guest experiences" and food and beverage more than anything. I don't know if that's code for budget cuts or "we don't want to go crazy on cap-ex now" or what, but I mean if they want to improve guest experience and food, I'm not sure I would be opposed. It is disappointing that they seem to be putting more emphasis on those kinds of things rather than adding more good/great rides, which I ultimately think is what is needed for a park to succeed, but it also seems like they aren't shutting off the spicket entirely. Secondly, I think it's interesting that they seem so optimistic about season passes, especially the add-ons. Six Flags seems to be moving away from a focus on that, and I'm not even sure what SEAS does with it's passes, but CF seems to be sticking with it. Maybe all-season dining is here to stay after all?

Oh, and I think the haunt thing is hilarious...

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  • 1 month later...

You could... ya know... link to an article or something.

https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2022/06/28/gilroy-gardens-is-no-longer-managed-by-cedar-fair.html

Quote

Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park quietly ended its relationship with amusement park operator Cedar Fair L.P. at the end of last year, the Business Journal has learned.

Cedar Fair's contract to manage and operate the venue expired at the end of 2021 and the two sides mutually chose not to renew it, Michael Fulcher, the amusement park's marketing director, told the Business Journal. Gilroy Gardens Inc., the nonprofit that owns the park, now manages its own operations, Fulcher said.

"We decided not renew our contract to focus on ourself," he said. "It just was in the best interest of our park to proceed as Gilroy Gardens."

Gary Rhodes, a spokesman for Cedar Fair, confirmed the contract had expired and that his company no longer operates the park. Rhodes did not respond to questions about which side ended the relationship or why.

Neither Cedar Fair nor Gilroy Gardens nor the city of Gilroy, which owns the land underlying the park, had previously announced the end of the relationship. A city representative was not available for comment.

Prior to this year, Cedar Fair had listed the venue as being among the themes parks it owned or managed. But it omitted mention of Gilroy Gardens in its annual report for last year, which it made public in February.

The non-profit decided not to announce the change in management, because it's led to few noticeable differences for park visitors, Fulcher said.

"That's why there wasn't a need to announced it," he said. "It doesn't really change anything."

Cedar Fair L.P. had operated Gilroy Gardens since 2006, when it took over the contract from Paramount Parks when it bought the company. Paramount had managed the park — then known as Bonfante Gardens after founder Michael Bonfante — since 2003, two years after the venue opened.

In 2019, the last year for which Gilroy Gardens reported its financials to the IRS, the park recorded $14.2 million in revenues and had $13.4 million in expenses. At the end of that year, the park listed $4.3 million in net assets. Cedar Fair was managing the park during that reporting period.

News of the change in management of the park follows Cedar Fair's $310 million sale Monday of the ground underlying California's Great America. As part of that deal, the Santa Clara theme park is scheduled to close by 2033 — or potentially as early as 2024.

Despite the end of Cedar Fair's relationship with Gilroy Gardens, holders of gold passes to Great America will still be able to use them to get free admittance to the Gilroy park, Rhodes said.

 

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11 hours ago, KBrylczyk said:

They must be bleeding like a stuck pig to be offloading assets like this.

I am assuming Cedar Fair wanted to much money and ownership decided to run the park them self's 

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