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Everything posted by jzarley

  1. I think the coaster itself will be very similar to Wave Breaker at SWT (just with a snowmobile theme instead of a jet ski one). I do think that being indoors with (hopefully) good theming will do a lot for the experience. Wave Breaker is just ok and really doesn’t do much to visually integrate it or interact with the lake around it.
  2. I saw a great Tweet today that I think really sums up this thought: “Six Flags is the Spirit Airlines of theme parks” I must admit I have some real sympathy for the team at SIX. I was with the SeaWorld organization during a few of the bad years. It was very disheartening for everyone to be working hard to turn things around and have to report bad quarters when the rest of your peers were doing gangbusters. (We frequently blamed the timing of Easter too) Granted, SEAS issues were more related to the activist crowd then business decisions, but still…I know it feels bad.
  3. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/six-flags-stock-tumbles-as-big-attendance-miss-leads-to-surprise-revenue-decline-2022-08-11 Not a good quarter for Six Flags—especially since Cedar Fair, SeaWorld, Universal & Disney all reported fantastic quarters and are doing very well. It’s interesting that they’re blaming the timing of Easter and Spring Break as one of the main reasons…I guess Easter hit at a different time for the other park chains :-)
  4. No one seems to be mentioning the 2nd largest location based entertainment company in the world…which already has a foothold in the US
  5. Of course, a lot of little kids in the Sesame Street demographic probably have older brothers & sisters, so it may help even out the offerings for them. In full disclosure, I do work for the company and these are just my thoughts—not representing those of the organization
  6. It is a complete re-theme and expansion of the existing Aquatica park in Chula Vista https://sesameplace.com/san-diego/ The Aquatica park is near SeaWorld San Diego, but not immediately adjacent to it. It’s the water park that was previously Knott’s Soak City before being purchased by SeaWorld
  7. The Enchanted Voyage is the ride that I credit with starting my life-long love of theme parks. As a six year-old riding for the first time, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen! While I grew into a coaster aficionado over the years, I still have a soft spot for the classic dark ride (especially one with a boat!)
  8. This is a great article...thanks for sharing. I’ve often felt the same way about any “enthusiast” community. It’s almost like people “love” something so much, they criticize it mercilessly for never being able to live up to the imaginary expectations they’ve set for it. Star Wars, Star Trek and Marvel “super fans” are very similar (when was the last time you heard a Star Wars fan say they actually enjoyed a Star Wars movie?) The Disney super fans are pretty intense too...Disneyland paints a bench a new color and people freak out :-) It’s nothing new...back in the old rec.roller-coaster days I used to read the boards and think “these people actually love coasters?” I used to read and post a lot more on this site, but for multiple reasons don’t do so much anymore. Mostly because I’m in a job now where its not appropriate, but also because after many years on the site (going way back to when it was PKICentral and was the merger of two competing ethusiast sites...I can’t recall the name of the other one), the conversations and debates never really changed. (Still, as far as enthusiast sites go, I still enjoy this one more than a lot of the others...)
  9. I realize it's hard to believe, but I actually preferred the Togo stand-ups to the B&M ones...I always found the B&M stand-ups to be kind of headbangers. It would be interesting to see one with the new "vest" style of B&M OTSRs to see if that would make a difference. I was kind of surprised to see that the B&M catalogs at IAAPA listed the stand-up as one of their available models for installation...granted, it was toward the back of the book
  10. The Wilds are actually in Cumberland, OH, East of Zanesville and is managed (although, not technically "owned") by the Columbus Zoo. The Wilds is on reclaimed strip mined land that was donated by Ohio Power (now, currently part of AEP Ohio) as a non-profit wild animal refuge. The Columbus Zoo took over management several years ago, and the economies of scale (not to mention the Zoo's management acumen) has really helped it thrive and remain viable. In addition to the safari and animal encounters you mention, they also have a really cool zip lining course. https://thewilds.columbuszoo.org/
  11. An interesting article in the NYT...it feels a little biased (toward Staggs), but interesting none the less. (I predict another updated chapter to the book "Disneywar" soon ) http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/04/08/business/media/behind-the-scenes-at-disney-as-it-purged-a-favorite-son.html?_r=1&referer=http://lnkd.in
  12. Yes, any concerns with ESPN have to do with the whole "unbundling" phenomenon facing the entire cable channel industry itself...operationally, ESPN is as strong or stronger as it's ever been. What's funny is that I did actually read one article that mentioned Jeffrey Katzenberg as a possible replacement for Iger...considering the ugliness that went down between Eisner and Katzenberg in the 90s that would be sort of like Cedar Fair hiring Jack Falfas to be the next CEO! :-)
  13. According to this Reuters article, the board would not guarantee Staggs the CEO/Chairman role, so he ("mutually") elected to leave the company...the article also quotes one analyst who believes that Disney is looking for someone with a stronger technology background to lead the company into the future (Sheryl Sandberg--who is already on Disney's board--was rumored as one potential candidate...) http://finance.yahoo.com/news/disney-expands-search-ceo-coo-000518883.html If they're looking for someone from tech, I also wonder about someone like Jeff Williams (Apple's COO) or B. Kevin Turner (from Microsoft).
  14. For some reason, I got a good chuckle at this line in Al Weber's bio on the Apex Parks corporate site: In 2002, he was appointed CEO of Paramount Parks, operator of five major theme parks in America. Weber led the organization for four years before selling the parks to Cedar Fair Entertainment for a near record valuation. Just a nice little reminder to say "wow, thanks Kinzel—you paid a LOT!"
  15. Absolutely! Well, the room was in good shape, so you took good care of it :-) Also, I agree with your point about the coffee maker. They have all of the other convenience amentities (refrigerator, microwave, full-sized ironing board & iron, hair dryer, safe), so the lack of one of those room-sized Keurigs seems like an odd miss. Maybe it was an agreement with Starbucks as part of getting the franchise...or maybe since we both stayed in the same room, we just happened to get one that missing it for some reason! (Of course, I didn't really see a logical location for it, so that's probably not the case :-))
  16. Couldn't agree more with this. Hopefully they don't lose focus over the years, and that goes for both service and general property upkeep. With much of the furniture being bright white, I worry that it will be too easy for things to start looking crappy after a few years of wear and tear. I was in 5318 as well! (At least I'm pretty sure that was the room number...directly facing the lake). I was there Thursday & Friday night :-)
  17. I'm just back from my annual few day end-of-season trip to CP. Once again, I stayed at Hotel Breakers. I was very anxious to see the final results of the two-year renovation project, and was very impressed! I've been staying at Breakers every year for the past ten years or so...I've complained quite a bit (including posts here) about the horrible quality of the property and the lousy service (but continued to stay there solely for the convenience and location), so while I was happy about the major renovation—I really wasn't expecting a whole lot of improvement. But, I was pleasantly proven wrong! Having spent the first several years of my corporate career in the hotel business, I'm no stranger to "surface" (read: half-a**ed) hotel renovations. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the changes to Breakers. This is truly a complete top-to-bottom renovation. The rooms and public areas are very well done with quality finishes, and the enhancements to the beach front are great. They did a very nice job of updating the hotel with modern amenities while keeping the historic charm of the property. The addition of the Starbucks and Surfside Bar in the rotunda (facing the beach) were both good adds. We stayed in a fifth floor room in the rotunda, and the room's shape gave it a unique layout. The furnishing, decor, and room amenities were done well. My only nit-pickey complaint (and it's *very* nit-pickey) was that for the size of the bathroom (which was huge) there weren't a lot of towel hooks or places to hang wet things. (But, when that's my biggest complaint about the room that tells you that overall it was done pretty well...) The other thing I really noticed was a significant upgrade in the service. Even for the end of the season, the hotel was well-staffed, and the staff was professional, hospitable, and very friendly. That tells me that they didn't only work to improve the physical property, but their training and processes as well. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain that level of service—it's easier with a shiny new product to promote a feeling of pride and quality from the staff. The real test of management will be to see if they can sustain that quality of service a few years down the road. I think the best thing I can say about The Breakers is that it's *finally* a hotel that provides legitimate value (property, service, and location) for the average $300 room rate they've been charging for years. Great job on this renovation, Cedar Fair!
  18. That's too bad, but kind of surprised it's hung around this long. If internet rumors are to believed, lack of parts and the difficulty in keeping it operating was what did in King Cobra (which, it's hard to believe now how long ago that was!). I was always a fan of the Togo stand-ups...much more so than the B&M model. In fact, the only Togo I think I've ridden that wasn't a standup was the one at NY/NY in Vegas, and that coaster was horrible!
  19. I realize that the annual TEA/AECOM attendance report is far from "official", but I still really enjoy reading it every year. (And, in the lack of other industry metrics, for good or bad--it's become the source most often quoted...) However, comps to previous years do need to be taken into context...for instance, let's say that USF happens to drop 5% in next year's report from 2014 to 2015...that's still UP 12% from 2013. Sometimes in business metrics the worst thing for management is to have to compete with exceptionally good comps from the previous year. Does anyone know what the maximum daily attendance for KI is (when they close the gates and won't allow anyone else in)? I'm guessing in the neighborhood of 40-50K? With 120 operating days (roughly) that would put KI's MAXIMUM annual attendance in the neighborhood of 5.4M or so, which means they're currently hitting around 60% of absolute maximum. While I know that wouldn't be stellar occupancy in the hotel business, I wonder how that metric would be "interpreted" in the theme park industry? (And, I'm assuming Terp can provide some color here )
  20. I was actually here for the first time this past weekend, which is kind of strange considering I grew up in Zanesville and used to work for the corporation that donated all of the land (and they were always encouraging us to visit...) We did the zip line tour and it was a blast! The first time I had ever zip lined and loved it. I didn't get to do the full safari experience, but saw quite a few animals...it's a cool facility. It feels really hard to believe you're in Southeastern Ohio! From what I've heard from others, the operational professionalism has really stepped up since the Columbus Zoo began managing operations and back-office functions several years back...
  21. Actually, change of plans...booked a week in Italy (Rome & Capri) in July instead of London. (I was last in London in 2012, and decided to do something different...might be doing a post-Christmas London trip instead.) Yes, I too have done the "7 destinations in 10 days" European trips a few times...in Spain, France and the UK. (I drove over 1,500 miles around Spain...swore I'd never do that again) This time, I've decided to take it a little easier...just a week and no more than a few destinations and a few hotel changes. (Maybe I'm just getting old, but that just sounds a lot more enjoyable to me now )
  22. Thanks for the advice guys...after looking around, I think I'm going to try to visit Thorpes instead of Alton Towers. I think Alton Towers looks amazing (I always have), but the public transportation getting there from London just looks too daunting. And, while I might be willing to give it a go, my traveling partner isn't quite the same level of "enthusiast" as I am and he probably would use a veto vote on the 7+ hour round trip :-) Thorpe looks like a lot of fun as well...I don't think the theming is on quite the same level as Alton, but their thrill rides look amazing! (And, it will only be about a 45 minute train ride from Central London...) I'll be sure to post a trip report afterward.
  23. Hi...just wondering if anyone has visited Alton Towers in England? I've always thought it looked like a cool park, and I'm going to be in London for several days in July so was considering making the trek up there. Unfortunately, getting there from Central London is a little more involved than what I was anticipating (about 3.5 hours each way requiring train & bus transport), so I was looking for some opinions on whether or not it would be worth the travel effort. Thanks! Edit: Also, if anyone has any thoughts on Chessington...that looks like it's a much easier trip from Central London (only about 30 minutes and directly on the train line...)
  24. ^ I agree...I saw the first Transformers movie and bits and pieces of others on cable. And, while I have an understanding of the overall premise, I had to Google "All Spark" after riding the first time just to figure out what had happened. (Good storytelling on a theme park attraction shouldn't require you to do research...) I also had a hard time following the preshow in Transformers...there was so much ambient noise with the crowd and the audio didn't seem very clear to me. (Or, maybe I'm just old! )
  25. I'm actually trying to decide whether to buy some SEAS stock right now (it's not at the 52 week low, but pretty darn close). There's still a long way to go down, but I'm figuring some sort of buy out (either acquisition by other player or private equity) is likely. Of course, I'm only looking to drop a few hundred dollars into it, so the risk is pretty minimal regardless :-)
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