Written by Russell Meyer
Published: November 11, 2004 at 12:01 PM
On the coattails of announcing disappointing earnings, Cedar Fair L.P. announced additions to their lowest performing park, Geauga Lake. The property will create a massive new waterpark, appropriately named Wildwater Kingdom, that will not be fully completed until 2006. The first phase of construction will be completed on Memorial Day 2005, and will be located on the former Sea World side of the park. The park will also add 2 “new” attractions, Escape From Dino Island 2 and Robots of Mars. Dino Island will occupy the former Mission: Bermuda Triangle simulator and Robots of Mars will be staged in the former Pirates 4D theater. The park also plans to reduce daily park admissions by $10.
While these changes are steps in the right direction, is this really going to differentiate Geauga Lake from its nearby (80 miles away) sister park Cedar Point? The waterpark was an obvious move since the former Six Flags Worlds of Adventure waterpark was about as big as a county recreation center. In order for Cedar Fair to justify a separate admission, changes and improvements needed to be made. The 2 multi-media attractions do offer experiences Cedar Point cannot provide, but these additions are not what I would call “big.” Apparently, they will also be rehabbing The Villain and Raging Wolf Bobs, although little but demolition could improve two of the worst wooden roller coasters on the planet. It’s great that Geauga Lake is rising from the burning ember it was under Six Flags, but I doubt Cedar Fair is ever going to make it the park it was before the Six Flags acquisition.
Losses in Europe
EU Business 11/9/04
The Euro-Disney parks continue to bleed money, with losses double those of the same period last year. Attendance remained generally flat while hotel occupancy dropped nearly 5%. The parks are nearing a breaking point, and will need some serious help to dig out of a $187 million hole. These parks also felt a big sting for having to pay royalties to use the Disney characters (rather illogical, shouldn’t Disney’s partial ownership allow the use without fees?). Cloned e-tickets aren’t going to solve the problems with these parks. Disney doesn’t seem to realize that when Americans travel to Europe, riding Space Mountain is the last thing on their minds. In order to build a successful overseas park geared towards American tourists, you have to give people an experience they can’t get on a traditional summer vacation to Orlando or Anaheim. The Tower of Terror and Buzz Lightyear are never going to solve the problems at the European parks.
Theme Park in Branson
I was checking around, and never realized there was actually a theme park in Branson, MO. I thought it was all rodeos and casinos, but low and behold, there’s Silver Dollar City. They’ve recently announced Powder Keg, a new spin on the S&S air launched roller coaster. While the top speed is only 53 MPH, the layout is much more interesting than Dadonpa and Hypersonic with a lot more theming. Additionally, the coaster will utilize some of the track sections of the dismantled Buzzsaw Falls. I may just have to hitch my horse up in Branson in the next couple of years.
Six Flags Undercuts Competition
Yahoo Finance 11/10/04
In two interesting marketing moves, Universal Studios Hollywood counters Six Flags Magic Mountain’s $47.99 season pass with their own "Buy A Day, Get 2005 Free" promotion ($49.75). While the USH pass will have a number of blackout dates, I know I would much rather spend a season at USH rather than dealing with the mismanaged SFMM. To counter the move, Six Flags Magic Mountain used their “unlimited” resources to purchase the title sponsorship of the Hollywood Christmas Parade (SFMMHCP for the acronym fans out there). Take that, USH!
Will they EVER learn?
Business Wire 11/8/04
In more California news, Knott’s Berry Farm has announced their plans to formally open their newest roller coaster, Silver Bullet. The B&M inverted roller coaster recently completed construction and will begin testing in the coming weeks. Knott’s will introduce the coaster to the world with a “Silver Bullet Salute” (and no, Coors is not a sponsor). The event will take place on December 7, 2004 (Pearl Harbor Day) and will honor survivors, veterans, and active military personnel with free admission, and allow their family members free entry with a donation to Toys for Tots. This seems to me like a rather insensitive way to open a coaster. What a way to mark a “day that will live in infamy,” than to pile a bunch of military people on a roller coaster for a publicity stunt! On top of it all, you make the families of these incredibly distinguished people have to bring a $10 toy to get in for free. I can see it now, the Star Spangled Banner being played in the station by a marching band, and Semper Fi blasting through the speakers on the lift hill. How patriotic!
Congratulations, Russell. First week and you already got your first moron.
it's nice to know the theme parks are getting some cool rides!
I Respond: This is my last post. Robert the website has always been a wealth of great news and information. But unnecessarily abusive responses from Mr. Baxter make it classless.
I'm out of here.
I am inquisitive as to what daniel means, and how he could enlighten us as to the inner workings of Euro Disney. As I understand, the Euro Disney parks operate similar to the Tokyo parks with much more Disney influence. Euro Disney pays for rights and licenses just like anyone else, and must get Disney approval for any changes made to the parks, which means the parks are for the most part really controlled by Disney through a puppet company. The Tokyo parks are given more freedom, and are able to develop their own attractions and vision for the future, and merely purchase Disney licenses for use as branding and merchandise. From their success and ratings it's clear which way works better.
It took Kevin THAT long to push TH over the edge?
Kevin, if you're ever in my neck of the woods, I owe you a beer.
Silver Dollar City is a well done low-key theme park. They have a delightful cave that guests can tour and some decent entertainment. I believe they are even building a second theme park called Celebration City.
For those of you in the Southeast, you may be familiar with Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta which is managed by Silver Dollar City's parent company. The themeing at Stone Mountain's Crossroads section is very similar to SDC.
The whole thing was less mean than sarcastic, but I guess if you are the sensitive type it could come off as me being a jerk. I was trying to be funny (notice the familiarity of the last name). But if it really and truly got rid of THC, then I will certainly not apologize for it!
Y'all owe me!
I still never went to MM, but until Six Flags gets their act together to fix up the park, I'm not going in there.
The new ride at SDC, which is Powder Keg, uses up portions of the old Buzzsaw ride, but it won't be the same without the watery theming.
Lest we forget that the Geauga Lake before Six Flags wasn't really that good either. It was a charming place up until a few years before the owners sold it, then the signs of cost cutting and low funds were evident. What really helped it was the fact that Sea World was across the lake.
The $25 dollar admission price is the kicker for me. Once all the rides are up to speed and in place and the waterpark is finished, people will be hard pressed to find a better bargain anywhere in the country. If you ask me, things are looking better and better for GL.
The Knotts thing?? December 7th is kind of a morbid date to be opening a coaster called Silver Bullet. I'm sure that their intentions are good though, and they are giving some love to the military with the free admission. Magic Mountain?? do we need to send some white coats over to the management offices? THC and Baxter....kinda reminds me of a bad reality show. THC will be back for the grudge match in THEMEPARKMANIA 2 where Baxter will call him a moron and he will leave again in protest. Can't we all just get along???
What a moron.
TPI isn't what she used to be. I can't put my finger on what it is, but this site just isn't as good anymore.
I hope, Russell Meyer can pull it out and make it fun again. If anyone can do it, he can.
As a long time lurker and occasional poster what I've noticed is a creeping sense of political correctness has taken hold, in fact politics is injected far to often anymore.
As if it has any place on a message board about Rollercoasters, Log flumes, and Tea cups rides.
Has there been one post the last 6 months where one political party or the other hasn't been mentioned in derogitory terms? As if Bush and Kerry had anything to do with Legoland.
Not to point fingers but especially DNC centric views have really taken root. Oh Both sides have done it,injected politics where it doesn't belong, but Baxter and Niles do tend to wear their liberalism on their sleeves.
Talks about National health care in reguards to Euro Disney? Working your love of Al Franken into trip report about Legoland?
I know the "powers that be" can do as they please...it is Niles board after all.. it is a free country and opinions are like A**h*les everyone has one, but isn't it possible to leave the politics at home when talking about a mutual love of things? The occasional Jab is fine.Americans are by nature a hard core bunch of ball busters.its all in good fun...but things have taken on a nasty and persistant tone as of late.
This is like a family of people who like Amusment/Theme parks..and there are just somethings you shouldn't bring up
It is almost like post Election therapy is needed.
Kevin and Joe haven't been posting as much, and neither have I.
But... look for some new features on the most popular (by attendance) parks in the next few weeks, including a new Q&A format that I think folks will find more useful and lively than just the discussions we have here.
(Long time readers will know that when I get quiet, that usually means I'm working on something....)
Stay tuned. I'll entertain ya!
Also, as Robert pointed out, the news out of the theme parks has been phenomenally slow lately.
Still, long-term I know that some people are just interested in trip planning and reminiscing, and don't want to bother with the industry stuff (which often gets into broader economic and political issues.) So my next set of tweaks will be designed to help better distinguish between those two types of discussion.
We all have our personal convictions. Just the way the founding fathers intended. This is good and right, and what makes us strong in the history of the world.
But let this space act as a Continental Congress of Fun, a place to put aside those differances, differances we no doubt express forcefully in other forums. A meeting place of common goals and common ground.A place to come when the ignorance of the Yahoo chat boards have taken their toll on our sanity.
Yes there is room for discussion on the business and social aspects of the Theme/Amusment park topic.
I sincerly hope those discussions will be just that,Discussions. Lit with the flame of honesty, factuality, and mutual respect and not the torch of ignorance and hostility we've come to expect from society as of late.
I look forward to your coming tweaks, and will avail myself of all your site has to offer.
I think too often in your columns, financial issues are discussed very naively. Probably what I have written doesn't meet the right tone for your columns but like anyone else who likes Theme Parks I love TPI. I don't want to see it publishing things that don't make sense. This is probably my last ever comment, not because I am going off in a sulk but because I probably want to take it all too seriously.
Bjorn Borg was once asked how he was able to focus on the match when he was playing the likes of John McEnroe and Ile Nastase. He basically said; “I watch the ball and not the player.” You should apply the same philosophy to Kevin’s posts. Evaluate the content and ignore the context.
Speaking of context…..Are you crazy, Kevin? How in the world can you even begin to describe the BBC as an objective news source? I always though Robert was a bit out there with Salon, Slate, and Air America, but the BBC being objective about American politics? Uh huh. Yeah. Right. And Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real. ;-)
They took down Buzzsaw Falls?!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
I thought that was a really good ride.