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The Interpreter

Should Disney Buy Cedar Fair?

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Which is to say you want Viacom to run the parks again...and they sat by while the old Viacom company was split up and let CBS have the parks.

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In my opinion, Disney is more likely to purchase Great Wolf Lodge than Cedar Fair. From my experiences and observations, the Great Wolf Lodges are closer to Disney in terms of theming, design, amenities, and service than any of the CF parks.

And by owning Great Wolf Lodge, folks can get a taste of Disney, but not an alternative to a Disney park.

I love Great Wolf Lodge - and I'd love it even more if Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse replaced Wiley Wolf and Bilko.

I'd be thrilled if Disney purchased CF and less inclined to travel to Florida or California to enjoy a Disney park. And I think that is one reason why Disney wouldn't purchase CF - less visits to the main parks in Florida and California.

I couldn't agree more!

I've been saying for over a year that GWL is an outstanding acquisition target for someone. (And, again, I still think would have been a better acquisition for CF than Paramount Parks...)

The GWL's are in diverse touristy markets which are ideal for the Disney brand, without dilluting the market for the "real" parks. The theming and quality of GWL is already on par to Disney. (In fact, GWL has always reminded me a lot of Disney's Wilderness Lodge.)

Plus, to be honest, GWL needs a parent with deep pockets if they're going to continue to grow the brand.

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There would be so many people that would expect KI to have mickey mouse and donald etc. and not having them would probably make things worse. Little kids would wonder why they were going to the disney island and cant find any of their disney friends.

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Talk about a thread bump!

I don`t think that Disney is interested in purchasing anything right now.  They are still integrating the Fox purchase.  

The Parks, Experience and Products division of the company has been successful lately, I do not think they would want to acquire a seasonal operator such as Cedar Fair.  Stranger things have happened though.  Back in 2005, had you told me that Paramount Parks would become part of Cedar Fair, I would have thought you were crazy.  By and far, I believe that all five of the Paramount Parks are better off having been under the care of Cedar Fair for the last 14 years!  Hard to believe that Cedar Fair has owned the parks since the spring of 2006!  My does time fly when you are having fun.

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I think Disney's interest in an operation like Cedar Fair (.... or Six Flags, etc...)- is pretty far left of negative numbers.  "IF" Disney was interested at all in the Cedar Fair markets they would rather start from scratch and build to their specs rather than attempt to upgrade CF's mismatched attempts at theming. 

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I can already see the nightmares fathoming in my head....

The Beast being themed to The Beast in Beauty and The Beast, all the kid rides being themed to Disney characters, etc.. OH GOD PLEASE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2 hours ago, CoastersRZ said:

I don`t think that Disney is interested in purchasing anything right now. 

I think they’re ALWAYS interested in purchasing something...they just wait for the right time. :lol:

I sometimes wonder if I’ll live long enough to see our planet officially renamed Disney World...or something related to Amazon. :(

P.S. I am a big Disney fan...but still get disgusted with them buying up everything.

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In that scenario one would get excellent theming and price jumps annually and maybe more.    

Cedar Fair has been doing great theming on their own as of lately so Disney is not needed!

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I'm sincerely glad that Cedar Fair has helped Kings Island flourish, as well as hold onto its roots. Disney would make Paramount's Kings Island seem like the Smithsonian.

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On February 21, 2020 at 3:43 PM, standbyme said:

P.S. I am a big Disney fan...but still get disgusted with them buying up everything.

Agreed. I love Disney films, but the 20th Century Fox acquisition is worrisome. Sure, Fantastic Four and X-Men come to Marvel Studios, but my thoughts are on the entire Fox library, especially catalog titles pre-2000 and the MGM/UA films not acquired by Turner (which includes Rocky, Robocop, and countless others). All of these seem to be at the mercy of whether the new regime feels like releasing them on new discs, and Disney's recent history with catalog titles hasn't been great (ex. "Disney Movie Club Exclusive," VOD only, etc.). 

 

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1 hour ago, Joshua said:

Agreed. I love Disney films, but the 20th Century Fox acquisition is worrisome. Sure, Fantastic Four and X-Men come to Marvel Studios, but my thoughts are on the entire Fox library, especially catalog titles pre-2000 and the MGM/UA films not acquired by Turner (which includes Rocky, Robocop, and countless others). All of these seem to be at the mercy of whether the new regime feels like releasing them on new discs, and Disney's recent history with catalog titles hasn't been great (ex. "Disney Movie Club Exclusive," VOD only, etc.). 

 

Robocop is owned by the Mouse now? That's heartbreaking.

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56 minutes ago, CorkscrewMcPuke said:

Robocop is owned by the Mouse now? That's heartbreaking.

I don't think Disney owns the IP itself. But this does affect DVD/Blu Ray releases of the original films. 

Fox has home video distribution rights to a massive selection from MGM/UA's library, basically every MGM film made since the mid-80s and the majority of films produced by Orion Pictures (including the Robocop trilogy, Silence of the Lambs, and the first two Bill & Ted films), while Warner Bros. (via a previous Turner deal) has the distribution rights to most MGM films produced prior to 1986. But even then, things get a bit muddled. MGM/Fox keeps hold of a number of MGM war classics, including Battle of Britain and The Great Escape, as well as the entirety of the 007 and Rocky franchises. Yet, WB owns the first Poltergeist, released in 1982, but MGM/Fox holds its sequels, released in 1986 and 1988. Plus, despite being an Orion film, WB has Caddyshack. 

But the IP itself is still in the hands of MGM and their contemporary output is distributed by whatever studio they have a deal with at the time. For example, when Robocop was remade, Sony was handling the theatrical distribution for MGM at the time. But if you look on the Blu Ray, the disc was distributed by Fox. As of today, MGM has joined with Annapurna Pictures to form United Artists Releasing  and No Time to Die will be the first 007 film released under that agreement. 

 

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I have no idea if a Disney purchase of CF would be good for KI and the chain or not.  I do know that while the business model is relatable, there are significant differences between the way Disney runs its park and the way CF runs it.  The seasonal factor is a big factor, but so is the IP rights.  Disney could certainly enhance their brand with a chain of well run seasonal parks, but they would also need to recognize that what they do at Disney may not work work for KI, Cedar Pointe, Kings Dominion, Valley Fair, etc..  Heck, what works at KI doesn't automatically work at ValleyFair.

 

Anyhoo...some thoughts on the comments made.

Why are we worried about Disney or any other company deciding which films to release on DVD/Blu Ray.  That format is going to be mostly dead in short order, its going to be about streaming, and I would think it would be vastly easier to make a larger library of old films available for streaming than it would on physical DVD/Blu Ray discs.  I would think no matter if a film's distribution rights were owned by Disney or anyone else, making it available in the digital age would make it more available.  Its going to be a heck of a lot easier to recoup their money by making Robocop available for streaming on Disney+ than it would be simply pressing out new copies.  I imagine the market for physical copies of Robocop is failry limited.

While some rides themes have strong ties (like The Beast), and I have no idea if the Marvel Universe can last a lifetime (as well as forgetting Universal's claims on IP rights for that stuff in theme parks) imagine a world where KI was themed to Iron Man, Cedar Pointe was themed to Captain America, Carowinds was themed to the X-men, etc...  Could be kind of fun to theme each individual park around a central IP theme that would be different at each park.  Just with the IP rights alone, there would be a ton of potential to make each park feel significantly different than another while also being significantly different than what you'd expect at Epcot.

It would cost Disney a small fortune to get each park up to Disney Standards for both service and theming, they'd almost have to market them separately as a Disney owned, but non-Disney World experience.  Given that cost, I'm not sure the upside would be worth it for them, they are not lacking for a place to market their IPs.

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I don't think Disney would ever be interested in a seasonal theme park. They make good money by making WDW and Disneyland destinations where people have to come and spend a week. And I think buying a chain of regional parks that they would then have to retrofit to bring up to Disney theming, cleanliness and friendliness standards would just be a waste of money -- and the fact that prices would likely shoot up and keep away visitors (who often go to parks like Kings Island and Cedar Point because they're cheaper family options than a week in Orlando) would likely also prove that it would be an unwise standard. 

Disney isn't threatened by CF, and I don't think CF views itself at competition with Disney. They are different business models that exist for different reasons. 

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32 minutes ago, Enchanted Voyage Lover said:

I think if Disney wanted a thrill park they would build one at Disney World. Lord knows they have the land to do so. Must be nice owning almost 45 square miles of land.

This might sound strange, but Disney World is out of usable space.  Obviously they have a lot of unused land, but environmental regulations limit the percentage of land they are allowed to develop, and Disney has effectively hit that limit.  They have worked out a deal with the regulators where they are purchasing land in Florida and setting it aside as wilderness preserve which they are then trading those development rights to use at Disney World.  But its not 1 to 1 because the land they are purchasing also has limits on how much can be developed.

Right now the Disney Wilderness Preserve is 11,500 acres, which is almost 18 square miles, and the park is basically out of development rights again.

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On February 24, 2020 at 1:44 PM, medford said:

Why are we worried about Disney or any other company deciding which films to release on DVD/Blu Ray.  That format is going to be mostly dead in short order, its going to be about streaming, and I would think it would be vastly easier to make a larger library of old films available for streaming than it would on physical DVD/Blu Ray discs.  I would think no matter if a film's distribution rights were owned by Disney or anyone else, making it available in the digital age would make it more available.  Its going to be a heck of a lot easier to recoup their money by making Robocop available for streaming on Disney+ than it would be simply pressing out new copies.  I imagine the market for physical copies of Robocop is failry limited.

I wouldn't get hung up on Robocop, that was just an example of an MGM film currently distributed by Fox. My thoughts are on lesser known films

The market is going to digital, which is unfortunate because physical media is better. Digital isn't reliable. Recently, Ultraviolet went out of business and there are situations like what happened last year where Amazon Video pulled Warner Bros. titles from its service due to a dispute. A lot of streaming services like Netflix are focusing on original content and there is recency bias in their selections. (Prime Video seems to have the best Pre-2000 selection, including silent films and Laurel & Hardy shorts.) There's also the fact that when you buy films digitally, you don't own them. There are instances, though I believe they are rarer than many claim, of purchased titles disappearing from their library due to licensing issues. 

It also potentially affects licensing deals with Shout Factory and Criterion, showings at revival and arthouse theaters, the price of digital copies (Disney charges more for digital copies on their catalog titles than other studios, even when they're on sale), and the availability of the film itself. Keep in mind that not every film has been made available on the digital market. For example, The Abyss is technically out of print and can't even be purchased digitally. 

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On 2/24/2020 at 2:57 PM, Kenban said:

This might sound strange, but Disney World is out of usable space.  Obviously they have a lot of unused land, but environmental regulations limit the percentage of land they are allowed to develop, and Disney has effectively hit that limit.  They have worked out a deal with the regulators where they are purchasing land in Florida and setting it aside as wilderness preserve which they are then trading those development rights to use at Disney World.  But its not 1 to 1 because the land they are purchasing also has limits on how much can be developed.

Right now the Disney Wilderness Preserve is 11,500 acres, which is almost 18 square miles, and the park is basically out of development rights again.

I know there are environmental regulations, but I have never heard about Disney World reaching their limit on the land that they can use.  Do you have a source for this?

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2 hours ago, Joshua said:

I wouldn't get hung up on Robocop, that was just an example of an MGM film currently distributed by Fox. My thoughts are on lesser known films

The market is going to digital, which is unfortunate because physical media is better. Digital isn't reliable. Recently, Ultraviolet went out of business and there are situations like what happened last year where Amazon Video pulled Warner Bros. titles from its service due to a dispute. A lot of streaming services like Netflix are focusing on original content and there is recency bias in their selections. (Prime Video seems to have the best Pre-2000 selection, including silent films and Laurel & Hardy shorts.) There's also the fact that when you buy films digitally, you don't own them. There are instances, though I believe they are rarer than many claim, of purchased titles disappearing from their library due to licensing issues. 

It also potentially affects licensing deals with Shout Factory and Criterion, showings at revival and arthouse theaters, the price of digital copies (Disney charges more for digital copies on their catalog titles than other studios, even when they're on sale), and the availability of the film itself. Keep in mind that not every film has been made available on the digital market. For example, The Abyss is technically out of print and can't even be purchased digitally. 

Thanks for the thoughts, and I'm not hung up on Robocop, just using the example you cited..  There is a really, really small audience for those lesser known films, even smaller for those that want to purchase a physical copy of that film.  I would think that a digital marketplace would make distribution of those films significantly easier at a significantly lower risk/cost factor.  Then factor in the current generation growing up, not sure how old you are, but I know you are young enough that you are in what I would guess is their core audience of media purchasers.  How much larger is your collection or access to digital media vs physical media?  Take Disney+ for example, my kids can watch 100s, if not 1000s of different shows/movies for $7 a month, $84 a year.  B/w 3 kids with different tastes, I'd easily spend that much a year b/w birthdays, Christmas and "just because" gifts on only a small handful of films.  Those small handful of films, eventually take up a significant amount of space, the disney+ takes up not more space than roku stick in the back of my TV (never mind about the server space that doesn't affect me personally, but is likely less than the space required to manufacture physical copies of these films.

Your situation is unique, you care about Abyss, among perhaps thousands more, nothing wrong with that, but there are not many that do.  I would think in the long run, digital media will give you more access to films like that than you currently have.  I believe that access will trump physically owning a copy.  There might be some slight exceptions for obscure movies that you want to watch on a regular basis, but in the grand scheme, how often do you really want to watch robocop or Abyss?  I think you fall into what will be considered a niche market moving forward, similar to those that love owning/listening to their music on Vinyl.  Sure I can listen to a great copy of Pet Shop Sounds, but digital allows me access to a ton of music that would never find the light of day in a music store.

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1 hour ago, CoastersRZ said:

I know there are environmental regulations, but I have never heard about Disney World reaching their limit on the land that they can use.  Do you have a source for this?

I have read about this issue before.  This Orlando Weekly post touches on the issue.

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6 hours ago, CoastersRZ said:

I know there are environmental regulations, but I have never heard about Disney World reaching their limit on the land that they can use.  Do you have a source for this?

Depends on exactly what you are looking for, but here is a piece from the website for D23 which briefly touches on when Disney started the wilderness preserve.  They got the right to develop 550 acres of land in exchange for a 12,000 acre preserve.  I do think it’s noteworthy that I keep seeing different numbers for both the size of the initial purchase and how much land they were allowed to develop.  Considering the preserve is 11,500 according it’s own website and I believe 3,000 of that was added on because the airport is under similar restrictions.

2015 Orlando Sentinel the company purchasing another 3,000 acres for more land exchange and discusses that as of then about half of the land they were allowed to develop from the 1992 agreement has been used.  According to the article it says Disney got 600 acres of development which contradicts what I linked above.

Either way every single acre requires permission and usage rights, building a fifth park is not impossible, but Disney is going to have to really want it, both because the cost of building the park and the cost of offsetting the land use.

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