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Countdown to Opening Day for the 2021 Season: May 15th 11:00 AM!

Kings Island is now open for 2021.

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Yesterday while I was outside of the fence the site leader from RMC came out and gave us stickers and talked about the industry. That really made my day! Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G928A using Tapatalk

Back to the topic at hand... I got sneaky and took some pics while at the Fairgrounds this weekend... Enjoy!

Guys I received a large surprise from the Kingdom today. I learned I was being promoted to be in charge of the operation of the Thunder Zone. Apparently I have really impressed in the last few months

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22 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

Does that surprise you?  

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I seems the person "tweeting" for KK is doing so emotionally - and in a seemingly erratic way.  

My personal take is, the owners of the park were preparing press releases, they pulled back due to a complication internally... but the local "In-park Tweeter" had already proceeded with the tease campaign.  

I have no idea if that is indeed what happened, but I've been in the professional world long enough that I have seen similar circumstances arise in my own line of business.  Marketing pulls back on PR or press because a business, administrative or contractual decision delays them.

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8 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

I seems the person "tweeting" for KK is doing so emotionally - and in a seemingly erratic way.  

My personal take is, the owners of the park were preparing press releases, they pulled back due to a complication internally... but the local "In-park Tweeter" had already proceeded with the tease campaign.  

I have no idea if that is indeed what happened, but I've been in the professional world long enough that I have seen similar circumstances arise in my own line of business.  Marketing pulls back on PR or press because a business, administrative or contractual decision delays them.

Right. In fact, my understanding is that ink and paper has been involved already so any delay would be for some sort of internal reason, not to be misinterpreted as possible cancellation. 

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17 hours ago, BeeastFarmer said:

^^Borrowed time?  Ed Hart has said several times at events that KK is a gold mine.  It takes time to build a business and it is nothing short of remarkable what they have accomplished in 5 years.  They advertise heavily in the local market, reach out to Nashville and Indy to meet their contractual agreements and use social media more effectively than many other parks.  I would say the pandemic hit them hard, though.  Seeking out a solid operator is a wise decision, if this is indeed happening.

I'm not necessarily saying they were right, but a couple people were vocal before and during 2014 about how much of a salesman Ed Hart can be. If you look at facts, he DOES have a history of "flipping" parks and selling them to chains. So, if that's his MO and if that's what he's looking to do with Kentucky Kingdom a second time... I mean, I wouldn't market the park I'm looking to eventually sell as anything less than highly successful, either.

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^Salespeople are not all bad.  Tony Clark, Don Helbig, webmasters, the game people are all salespeople, putting the best foot forward of their product.  The context of being a gold mine was to enthusiasts, not potential operators at these events ;)  It was specifically in trying to sell himself to the fair board about the highest possible use of the land being an amusement park (infrastructure, existing assets, location etc).  That being said, if he and his associates want to sell the park to a qualified operator, nothing at all wrong with that if it is completed within the terms of the contract they signed.

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I dont know if this has any truth behind it but screamscape is now reporting that Ed Hart was making a deal with Herschend but he backed out at the last moment which is why the social media posts got deleted

 

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Official. Looks like its Herschend.

Kentucky Kingdom to change hands, state officials say

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The local group that owns Kentucky Kingdom amusement park plans to sell it to a "big player" in the theme park business after a punishing drop in business during the pandemic, state officials said Monday.

https://www.wdrb.com/in-depth/kentucky-kingdom-to-change-hands-state-officials-say/article_4b30482e-752e-11eb-9771-7bb3912ffbd0.html

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4 minutes ago, coaster sally said:

I wouldn't consider Hershend a "big player".  They have two smaller parks and a couple aquariums and a few more small parks.

They operate SDC and Dollywood, both of which are fairly major parks. I would not call Dollywood a "smaller park".

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I wonder if this sale could be the reason why Keys to the Kingdom hasn't been announced yet for this year. I also wonder what that means for any fall operations in particular Haunt season. They brought it back for 2019. Then last season they decided to close the park at the end of Sept.

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34 minutes ago, stashua123 said:

They operate SDC and Dollywood, both of which are fairly major parks. I would not call Dollywood a "smaller park".

Yeah, not exactly what I would call small..

"Dollywood consistently entertains more than two million visitors annually" (source)

"Lisa Rau, spokeswoman for Silver Dollar City, said attendance in 2019 was 2.22 million." (source)

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2 minutes ago, jsus said:

Yeah, not exactly what I would call small..

"Dollywood consistently entertains more than two million visitors annually" (source)

"Lisa Rau, spokeswoman for Silver Dollar City, said attendance in 2019 was 2.22 million." (source)

That's why I consider them small.  3million plus or lots of properties is a "big player" to me.

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Herschend will be good for KK.  They will likely keep focus on family entertainment and keep the sea lion and bird shows since they also own the Newport Aquarium.  Like the news article says they also want to bring festivals and other seasonal events (Maybe hope for the return of their Halloween event?) which will bring more people to the park.  A nice infusion of capital will help pay off the past due bills/lease payment as well as add some new little things to the park.   I wonder what (if anything) will be said at the winter walk through in March about the sale.

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1 hour ago, Winterfestguy said:

Herschend will be good for KK.  They will likely keep focus on family entertainment and keep the sea lion and bird shows since they also own the Newport Aquarium.  Like the news article says they also want to bring festivals and other seasonal events (Maybe hope for the return of their Halloween event?) which will bring more people to the park.  A nice infusion of capital will help pay off the past due bills/lease payment as well as add some new little things to the park.   I wonder what (if anything) will be said at the winter walk through in March about the sale.

What do you think the food will be like. Right now Kentucky Kingdom has some amazing food. It's up there with Dollywood in my opinion but not the same type of food. I haven't been to any of their other parks beside Dollywood. Do you see the type of food offered switching to the more southern grandma inspired home cooking they are known for. I would hope not. Also would they pull out all the alcohol?

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I dont know what the deal is with the confused look, the player in the game has park season passes at $100+. so it should be me that shows confusion as to why you don't think they will do the same with this park..... and Im not speaking specifically of Herschend.  Like Shaggy said, not yet, there are others at that price point as well.

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15 hours ago, IBEW_Sparky said:

Like Shaggy said, not yet, there are others at that price point as well.

For clarity - my "not yet" was in regards to the post saying it was official.  I posted that because, as I understand, the Herschend deal has stalled several times.  So until it was formally announced to the media, and by the state, it wasn't official.

:-)

As far as admission rates, I would suspect they will increase naturally over time as investments and offerings increase.  Right now, they have to remain sensitive to the market and not rock any boats.

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I think they will increase prices, but over the long term. You are not going to see an overnight 20-30$ increase, especially in a deep economic recession and global pandemic. Two cons that would already give people reasons not to visit the park. 

Kentucky Kingdom has always been a niche favorite park for me. I love Dollywood. I love Holiday World and Kings Island(which, after working there from 2017-early 2020 will always be my #1 in my heart). There's something about Kentucky Kingdom that is so interesting. The amount of changes, the fact that it was one of the last theme parks built from the ground up. It has a history for a 30 year old park that would put a number of 50-60 year old parks to shame in how much and how dynamic the ups and downs were. The location of the park. The uniqueness. How much they care for some of their rides. Thunder Run, an underrated woodie in my opinion, has seen more TLC than almost any other park I know of with their wooden rollercoasters. Yes, Kings Island loves of their woodies, but they do not retrack every year or two a large portion of the ride like Kentucky Kingdom did, or even purchase a brand new spanking PTC train for them like Kentucky Kingdom did for Thunder Run in 2017. 

Their social media presence is what I would describe as a perfect set. I personally know the team behind their social media(Jefferson, Kaley), and they are amongst the nicest people I know. 

Ed Hart may be a businessman, and may have gotten out at the right time, but I do think he truly cared for the park. I still remember the talk in January 2013, right when the Kochs pulled out and before Ed Hart made another bid. NOBODY saw it reopening. Yet he came in here.

Yes they never reached the 1 million attendance by 2018 goal. They got to around 850,000 iirc. There were weekends in late Summer 2019 were I know they broke attendance records not seen since the late 1990s. (18,000 in a Saturday in early August 2019) But almost always Kentucky Kingdom had something unique in the second Ed Hart era. They had branding that stuck out. Their Kingdom radio station, cheesy as it may be, set it apart from other parts that just play music without branding interlaid. The Big Kahuna is still the BEST wave pool I have ever been in. Hurricane Bay to me as a whole is on par with Splashin' Safari and a million times better than Soak City. 

Herschend will be a great operator. Some of the uniqueness may go away. But the park is set for a great future. I do think Herschend will not Wild Adventures this park. Wild Adventures is located far away from major metropolitan areas. The placement of Craig Ross as interim GM is also a bold move that shows they are serious about their efforts.

They are not gonna add the every 4 year 20 million dollar attraction like Kings Island. But I think this could allow Kentucky Kingdom to be a serious competitor against Holiday World, which has already been facing a few difficult years since 2014. Kings Island will probably look at this with an occasional glance over, but I dont think this is quite the late 1998 Six Flags about to invest 75 million dollars into Kentucky Kingdom situation. 

Yes you see the Facebook comments and such. But I can genuinely tell you I have never had a bad experience or witness something vandalizing or criminal at Kentucky Kingdom since I had been there in 2017. I do genuinely think they have rehabilitated their image compared to how it was in 2009. Not to where it was in the late 1990s, but getting there. Herschend will I think complete this image rehabilitation. 

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