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Michigan's Adventure (MiA) Discussion Thread


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You have got to be kidding right?

 

Are you aware that the park has one of the highest profit margins in the chain? It's been mentioned numerous times over and over again in conference calls, papers sent out etc... The profit margin of Michigan's Adventure, despite being the park with the lowest attendance each year (and this is due to market size), pulls in profit margins that are in-line with some of the major parks in the chain. This is the furthest thing from a "dying park". Also, why in the world would you sell a park with such a high profit margin? You remember when the chain put parks up for sale? Guess what park wasn't on the list?

 

Simple business, high-profit margins and attendance is still increasing each year. So why fix what isn't broke? If the park can wait and save before dumping some money into a big attraction, why not? Build it when attendance is starting to slip. Don't count on a $20 million mega coaster because the market just isn't there to support it. Muskegon isn't a big market and the closest decent sized markets you have are Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo & Lansing.

 

This park is what it is. As long as it is making money and maintaining the high profit margin and increased attendance, then why does it matter? Another case of a park not needing the next "biggest, latest & greatest" to survive or be good.

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This park is what it is. As long as it is making money and maintaining the high profit margin and increased attendance, then why does it matter? Another case of a park not needing the next "biggest, latest & greatest" to survive or be good.

 

There's a big difference between "survive" and "be good". One is objective - a park either is turning a profit and/or keeping the doors open or it isn't. The other is a subjective statement. Michigan's Adventure no doubt makes money, but is it a "good" park? Maybe if you're a shareholder. I'm not.

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^It's good enough to make money, increase attendance and stay open annually. Must be good enough for many people then. Personally, I don't mind the park. But I attend many parks yearly. Shivering Timbers is still among one of my favorite coasters.

 

Point is, you can't say a park is dying when it is making money.

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You have got to be kidding right?

 

Are you aware that the park has one of the highest profit margins in the chain? It's been mentioned numerous times over and over again in conference calls, papers sent out etc... The profit margin of Michigan's Adventure, despite being the park with the lowest attendance each year (and this is due to market size), pulls in profit margins that are in-line with some of the major parks in the chain. This is the furthest thing from a "dying park". Also, why in the world would you sell a park with such a high profit margin? You remember when the chain put parks up for sale? Guess what park wasn't on the list?

 

Simple business, high-profit margins and attendance is still increasing each year. So why fix what isn't broke? If the park can wait and save before dumping some money into a big attraction, why not? Build it when attendance is starting to slip. Don't count on a $20 million mega coaster because the market just isn't there to support it. Muskegon isn't a big market and the closest decent sized markets you have are Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo & Lansing.

 

This park is what it is. As long as it is making money and maintaining the high profit margin and increased attendance, then why does it matter? Another case of a park not needing the next "biggest, latest & greatest" to survive or be good.

If MA has such a high profit margin, why don't they invest any of that money back into the park?

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^^They do. It took them forever to get things going with the city to make the infrastructure updates that were needed since the late 90s. The park has been focusing on upgrading infrastructure and such the past few years now to help it get on par with the other parks infrastructure wise.

 

As for building big rides. Why would you do that in a saturated market and when attendance is still increasing. Thunderhawk was a large investment for the park and it paid of well.

 

Remember, profit margin isn't how much money is made overall, but it is net income compared to sales. If you're pulling in so much more than you're spending, then why jump to spending so much? It's not a broken product so it doesn't really need to be fixed. When attendance starts to slip, then you can count on seeing more things added. But you have to remember the size of the market that the park is in while factoring all of that up.

 

The park has always been one of the highest in profit margins. This is why Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun & California's Great America were for sale when the park was looking to dump parks to earn some money back. Thankfully things were figured out and they weren't sold, but MiA was never threatened.

 

^Very true. Some have been announced in December before. Honestly, I'd expect a waterpark addition either this year or next year to go in line with the rest of the CF waterpark additions as of late.

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^It's good enough to make money, increase attendance and stay open annually. Must be good enough for many people then. Personally, I don't mind the park. But I attend many parks yearly. Shivering Timbers is still among one of my favorite coasters.

 

Point is, you can't say a park is dying when it is making money.

 

I can't argue that it is making money and not dying. Yet is it really maximizing what money it could make? Being "good enough" for many current visitors does not necessarily make render criticism of the park invalid, nor wash away any questions about whether or not improvements could increase its attendance. Referencing that it is profitable is a pretty tired tactic when discussing theme parks, actually, and I'm probably as guilty of it as anyone.

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MiA is, more or less, what it is. It is never going to be Cedar Point, heck it will probably never be Dorney but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The water park is the draw and so that's where the money goes. Would it be nice to see some thrilling flats and a new coaster? Of course. But the fact is that for the vast majority of MiA's market it is the place for this type of entertainment. While this board isn't necessarily the best representation of this, most families would choose the 45 min drive to MiA over the 3+ hours to SFGAm or CP so that's who they cater too.

 

As has been stated, the park is doing very well financially. They don't have 11 coasters because they don't need 11 coasters. There is a breakdown of CF park profit margins floating around from 2012 (I think) that shows that MiA is one of the most profitable parks in the chain.

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^^Thank you. That is what I've been trying to say. The park is almost at market capacity as it is (in a very saturated market). The park has yet to break 1 million people in a season but yet pulls in a high profit margin (one right up with the large parks). It's just not a good idea to drop $15 million on a new scream machine if it might not take you anywhere (and lower that profit margin).

 

I've been trying to say it, but a lot of the responses have seemed to think that money made should be immediately spent.

 

^Michigan's Adventure's profit margin is higher than Valleyfair's. Remember, profit margin is NOT the same thing as profit. The profit margin for Michigan's Adventure is up with the bigger parks. This was directly referenced during FunForward a few years back saying its profit margin was higher than the parks in the immediate 1 million category above them (including Valleyfair & World's of Fun).

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I wouldn't be surprised with a water park expansion at all. I know they're in pretty dire need of a new entrance to the water park along with a new arcade building. So maybe they'll add a new slide complex along with a new water park entrance.

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I wouldn't be surprised with a water park expansion at all. I know they're in pretty dire need of a new entrance to the water park along with a new arcade building. So maybe they'll add a new slide complex along with a new water park entrance.
What if they put the water slide to go over the entrance? THAT would be pretty sweet.
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^^Thank you. That is what I've been trying to say. The park is almost at market capacity as it is (in a very saturated market). The park has yet to break 1 million people in a season but yet pulls in a high profit margin (one right up with the large parks). It's just not a good idea to drop $15 million on a new scream machine if it might not take you anywhere (and lower that profit margin).

 

I've been trying to say it, but a lot of the responses have seemed to think that money made should be immediately spent.

 

^Michigan's Adventure's profit margin is higher than Valleyfair's. Remember, profit margin is NOT the same thing as profit. The profit margin for Michigan's Adventure is up with the bigger parks. This was directly referenced during FunForward a few years back saying its profit margin was higher than the parks in the immediate 1 million category above them (including Valleyfair & World's of Fun).

 

I know I'm not the only person being responded to in this, but one of the tough parts with discussing Michigan's Adventure online is that it turns into a never ending volley of strawmen. "The park is at market capacity" is known how? How do we come to the arbitrary $15-20-25 million dollar price tag for attractions? Frankly, Michigan's Adventure should make a substantial profit margin. It doesn't have shows and performers to pay. Existing infrastructure like buildings are often spartan in adornment and design, requiring a minimum of maintenance. They don't keep animals beyond some carp in the pond. Food options are limited, so they order lots of the same few items rather than a variety of things, simplifying the process. Most of the undeveloped land is left to grow wild, and where they are isn't exactly expensive land to begin with for the purpose of taxation. They've removed costly to maintain attractions and taken over a year to replace them. They should make money hand over fist, especially since there isn't a substantive competitor in the state. None of this goes against the subjective opinions about the park.

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^Muskegon is a city of 37,000 people. The next closest decent sides markets are an almost an hour and 1.5 hours away. It is well over 2.5 hours to both the Detroit & Chicago markets. When your "competitors" are over 3 hours away, why the heck do you need to build something up if you're already performing extremely well? Why take the risk? The park is "expanding" on its own timetables based on its success for the market. Not because people are stating its dying and demand more goes into it. Anyone listening to conference calls or FunForward presentations over the past few years could see how successful the park really is. Even in the first FunForward presentation in 2012, Ouimet mentioned that the market was small and the park was already performing in the upper level of it. So how do we know? The CEO does, and he told us. Pulling in 800,000 people for a park this size and in the middle of nowhere during a 3.5 month operating season? Call me crazy, but those are pretty good numbers.

 

The state relies on tourism and the lake is the biggest draw in the area. As with most of Cedar Fair parks, 90% of visitors are return visitors, pointing out that a majority of locals attend the park. Those from out of state that attend the park make it a stop as part of a bigger trip to the beach and places in Northern or West Michigan.

 

And how do we arrive at that $15-$20-$25 million price tag. Just based off of what Thunderhawk cost ($10 million). So people saying it "needs" (does a park really ever "need" anything, or do people just "wish" it has something) a bigger coaster, it would probably be more than $12 million, with $15 million being a good median number.

 

As for not having a haunt (not directed at you, just remember someone stating about how there isn't a haunt here). The weather turns very sour in that area of the state, specifically near the lakeshore, in October. More so than it would in Sandusky or even Shakopee. By Mid-October, you're already facing temps in the Mid-30s and howling winds in the evening and many rides wouldn't even be operating. Wouldn't be worth it. Hence the reason the park isn't open past Mid September. There is an attraction called "The Haunt" which is open in Walker, Michigan about 40 minutes away that is open in October and it is usually freezing. However, most of the attractions are indoors there and that's how that can be pulled off. It's also a bit further inland and isn't as affected by the lake.

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As for not having a haunt (not directed at you, just remember someone stating about how there isn't a haunt here). The weather turns very sour in that area of the state, specifically near the lakeshore, in October. More so than it would in Sandusky or even Shakopee. By Mid-October, you're already facing temps in the Mid-30s and howling winds in the evening and many rides wouldn't even be operating. Wouldn't be worth it. Hence the reason the park isn't open past Mid September. There is an attraction called "The Haunt" which is open in Walker, Michigan about 40 minutes away that is open in October and it is usually freezing. However, most of the attractions are indoors there and that's how that can be pulled off. It's also a bit further inland and isn't as affected by the lake.

I just checked the weather averages for Muskegon, and based on what I saw, I can see why being open in October wouldn't work. However, I also think that the park should at least be able to open on weekends through the end of September. 66 and 48 are the respective average high and low temperatures for the last weekend in September, so I feel like closing on the weekend after Labor Day is wasting an opportunity. Even if there is a little extra breeze from the lake, considering that it's Michigan, the people there are probably used to the cold. Just my thoughts...

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Muskegon actually has a population of 170K people. The city it self only has about 38K. The Muskegon, GR, Holland area has around 1.3 million people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muskegon,_Michigan

 

As far as rides (if they get anything at all) Hopefully a flat ride. I have lived in Muskegon my whole life. Being a local it is a great little park. But after going back every year the little bit of thrilling rides they have get old after a while. Nothing crazy big or fancy, just something new would be nice.

 

P.S I really miss the falling star

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^Thanks for jumping in. Let me clarify that a bit. I was speaking about the city itself. The metro area (throwing in Norton Shores and surrounding areas) has 170,000. When you finally add in Grand Rapids (which was the semi larger market I was talking about), then you can reach 1.3 million. But Grand Rapids is also almost an hour away.

 

Of course, its not just the immediate market of 1.3 million that is included, but the Lansing and Kalamazoo markets are as well. Directly from Cedar Fair's website:

The combination amusement and water park located near Muskegon, Michigan serves a total market area of approximately 5 million people, principally from central and western Michigan and eastern Indiana.

 

This is compared to Cedar Point at 23 million. The next highest on the list compared to MiA is World's of Fun at 7 million. WoF doesn't have the profit margin that MiA has (though I know it has a good one). WoF pulls in roughly 1 million for a 7 million person market. So MiA is doing good to pull in 750,000-800,000 a year in a 5 million person market right? Surprisingly, Dorney has the biggest market in the chain.

 

I miss Falling Star too. They did leave the power to that area though. Maybe something will be put in there...eventually.

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From the sounds of it, falling star needed a part that cost over 100,000 to replace so they ended up just scrapping it. I see that MIA was doing a which one do you prefer on there facebook page of what you choose the water park or Amusement park. Most people were complaining about the lack of rides on the dry side and I could agree. I know we wont get anything large, but even something similar to pipescream and i would be happy

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I still think a Chance Hyperlite would do well there. For the price and size, it would fit the park quite nicely.

 

I would like a chance hyperlite like the one kk got, just more around the 200 foot range. Never gonna happen. I would love for it to happen though haha. OR a huss frisbee

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^Muskegon is a city of 37,000 people. The next closest decent sides markets are an almost an hour and 1.5 hours away. It is well over 2.5 hours to both the Detroit & Chicago markets. When your "competitors" are over 3 hours away, why the heck do you need to build something up if you're already performing extremely well? Why take the risk?

 

We both know the actual number of people that Michigan's Adventure serves is far greater than the population of Muskegon proper, or even that of the Michigan Lakeshore combined with West Michigan's cities. At least, we should, given the number of resort towns up and down the shore. If the argument is "they shouldn't because they don't have serious competition," then you should probably consider application of that beyond West Michigan before relying on it too heavily.

 

The park is "expanding" on its own timetables based on its success for the market.

 

What expansion is happening?

 

Even in the first FunForward presentation in 2012, Ouimet mentioned that the market was small and the park was already performing in the upper level of it. So how do we know? The CEO does, and he told us.

 

I like Matt Ouimet, but I disagree with him about Michigan's Adventure. I would also like to respectfully point out that saying "senior management says so" in an industry where literally any of us couldn't have done a worse job than Gary Story (IAAPA Chairman of the Board Gary Story!) did operating Six Flags is a tenuous argument.

 

The state relies on tourism and the lake is the biggest draw in the area. As with most of Cedar Fair parks, 90% of visitors are return visitors, pointing out that a majority of locals attend the park. Those from out of state that attend the park make it a stop as part of a bigger trip to the beach and places in Northern or West Michigan.

 

Reading in between the lines, I see that he's probably worried about cannibalizing attendance from Cedar Point in making any improvements at Michigan's Adventure. Which is supposedly something that Kinzel was of the opinion of, and why the chain bought the park to begin with. At least, so the legends go.

 

And how do we arrive at that $15-$20-$25 million price tag. Just based off of what Thunderhawk cost ($10 million). So people saying it "needs" (does a park really ever "need" anything, or do people just "wish" it has something) a bigger coaster, it would probably be more than $12 million, with $15 million being a good median number.

 

The theme park industry in the US and Canada is mature and still in a period of consolidation. Do any parks "need" anything? Most don't because the majority of them don't have any serious competition. The problem for me isn't that Michigan's Adventure lacks a solid coaster lineup - there's three wood coasters and a significant steel coaster in Thunderhawk. Adding a steel coaster for me doesn't fix the greater issues, like how 3/4 of the buildings are made of plain painted cinder block.It doesn't have a single indoor attraction of any kind at all. The park has huge swaths of unshaded midway. It looks like a permanent fair with a water park. Personally, I liked the new beer garden area more than I liked the glacially loading flyers, but I'd like to see that kind of attention, you know, elsewhere in the park.

 

As for not having a haunt (not directed at you, just remember someone stating about how there isn't a haunt here). The weather turns very sour in that area of the state, specifically near the lakeshore, in October.

 

Michigan is filled with haunted attractions of all sorts: probably more than any other state I've ever been in. They have the option of using the picnic pavilions for haunted houses just like every other regional themer to keep tougher weather out. I know plenty of other groups have run haunted houses out west (Double JJ had one last year) and up north. I think pointing at weather as a significant concern when the blueprints on how to expand business into the fall season exist is more about making excuses than being really honest as to what the motivations are. I just think Cedar Fair doesn't want to risk cannibalizing any of the business they get for Cedar Point's Halloweekends because they know the people who would be drawn to Michigan's Adventure would almost entirely be Michigan residents who might otherwise have traveled to Sandusky.

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