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Six Flags and Apollo interested in SeaWorld


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Thanks for sharing. Quite interesting.

If I read it correctly Sea World is putting them selves up for sale, right.

I really enjoyed Sea world when I went, and I just feel that a six flags presence wouldn't be that good (imo). So I am rather against this decision if six flags goes through with this. I also would like to bring up what happen to a park (or two technically) that had recently been brought and sold and then went out of business. I hope that no more sea worlds or any park to that matter ever meets it fate.

As for Apollo, I can't really judge but I would like to see sea world stay under the same management.

If that was completely confusing for either I read the article wrong (witch I might of), or that I just made absolutely no sense, Cause I know sometimes I make no sense.

(Snotty reply I foretell in the near future) Pfff tell me about it. (to sometime you don't make any sense)

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Oh, my.

This has me recalling how, some many years ago now, when the beer industry began consolidating on a global scale, Cedar Fair management was asked to begin preparing to consider acquiring the Busch Gardens Parks. They could not see the future which was, at least to some, clearly on the horizon.

Cedar Fair management had rebuffed earlier requests to consider acquisitions of properties such as Madame Tussauds wax museums, aquariums, and other leisure brands to develop a stable of properties operating year round which could be placed outside existing gates to enhance revenues and capture a larger share of the guest revenues, thus leveraging marketing expenditures.

InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch and began looking for a buyer for the Busch Gardens Parks. Cedar Fair did not respond to the opportunity. By that time Cedar Fair had paid a hefty price for the Paramount Parks acquisition and was stretched to thin financially to seriously compete for Busch Gardens without a partner. Kinzel and crew apparently couldn't stomach the thought of sharing control by partnering with another party. Thus Blackstone acquired the Busch parks.

Now we have the report Apollo may wish to acquire part of SeaWorld. Apollo earlier acquired Great Wolf Resorts for a song. Apollo also attempted to acquire Cedar Fair for less than a song. Reports at that time suggested Apollo was possibly interested in combining Cedar Fair with Six Flags.

Apollo acquired a fifty percent stake in Norwegian Cruise Lines and has recently launched a successful IPO selling the shares above the original suggested price range. Apollo has demonstrated quite an interest in the leisure sector. Smart money recognizes Great Wolf Resorts are, essentially, cruise ships stranded at a permanent docking. The business models can be quite similar; captive audiences, receiving food, beverage, entertainment, for extended stays, utilizing relatively low cost labor, sharing brand name resort style amenities, booked and paid for in advance.

Sounds remarkably like the amusement park business, no?

Disney saw the connections and developed its cruise line. Disney has been growing resort hotels adjacent to parks for decades to consolidate revenues and further leverage marketing expenses.

Where will the safe harbor be for Apollo? Where will Cedar Fair find safe harbor in a possibly further consolidating industry? Will lack of scale and intellectual properties--read "entertainment brands"--retard Cedar Fair's future potential?

It may well come down to "Any port in a storm."

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This just doesn't seem like the kind of deal Apollo would be into...Sea World isn't nearly "distressed" enough to fit their investment MO...

Maybe CF could get into this discussion with a partner of some sort...Kinzel may have hated the idea of sharing any control, but maybe Matt Ouimet is a little more flexible in his thinking?

What about Disney swooping in on this deal? Apparently they looked at Sea World pretty intensely back in the late 80s when Harcourt was tying to sell them (prior to the acquisition by Busch), but Eisner supposedly decided against it with the thinking that Disney would always be better off developing their own properties as opposed to buying someone else's. However, Bob Iger has already proved that the idea of buying existing property (Pixar, Marvel, Lucas, etc.) works in his strategy for Disney, so why not expand that to theme parks? (Plus, Sea World already has a great venue to introduce the rest of the Muppets into Sesame Place in Philly...)

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What about Disney swooping in on this deal? Apparently they looked at Sea World pretty intensely back in the late 80s when Harcourt was tying to sell them (prior to the acquisition by Busch), but Eisner supposedly decided against it with the thinking that Disney would always be better off developing their own properties as opposed to buying someone else's. However, Bob Iger has already proved that the idea of buying existing property (Pixar, Marvel, Lucas, etc.) works in his strategy for Disney, so why not expand that to theme parks? (Plus, Sea World already has a great venue to introduce the rest of the Muppets into Sesame Place in Philly...)

Disney's focus seems to be off of domestic park expansion, for now at least. Even their "boutique park" concept, a proposed 5th gate for Florida, was scaled down into what became Wild Africa Trek @ DAK. Iger wants to buy up IP to preserve access, but I don't see real estate expansion.

I have to wonder if the days of Sea World's current business model are numbered... While the traditional fish-in-a-tank aquarium concept will probably be around for a while, I don't know how much longer we'll see Shamu-style orcha shows.

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Remember, Cedar Fair has recently been in close talks with Blackstone. Cedar Fair sold Blackstone a California Soak City water park. SeaWorld intends to massively rebuild and theme this location.

Cedar Fair's Matt Ouimet had an extensive tour at Disney having developed Disney Cruise Line, timeshares, overhauled Disneyland for the 50th Anniversary, and other projects. Ouimet understands developing and carrying out comprehensive themes. Look at the attention he has already directed to Knott's Berry Farm theme integrity.

Ouimet repeatedly states the US market for theme/thrill parks has reached saturation. Growth, he says, must be driven primarily by wringing more profitability out of existing properties and acquisitions.

Things to keep in mind.

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  • 2 weeks later...


^^ And if it wasn't for Ouimet, California's Space Mountain might still be the color of oxidizing, rusty copper. The man knows how to preserve what should be preserved! But as for Disney being interested in SeaWorld, I just don't think it would happen.

brownmountain_withball2001ah.jpg

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^^ And if it wasn't for Ouimet, California's Space Mountain might still be the color of oxidizing, rusty copper. The man knows how to preserve what should be preserved! But as for Disney being interested in SeaWorld, I just don't think it would happen.

brownmountain_withball2001ah.jpg

Disney exec 1: "Hey! Our Tomorrowland is really dated looking. What can we do?"

Disney exec 2: "Well, the Jules Verne-esque Discoverland in Paris looks pretty sweet. Our Tomorrowland has needed a revamp for quite a while."

Disney exec 1: "We don't have the budget for much of anything... Head down to Lowes and get some brown and green paint."

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True! And if we're being honest, I was a big fan of the way the entrance to the land looked - aesthetically speaking - when it was in all golds. A radical shift in the land's content could have made that New Tomorrowland a real success, but as it was, it really was just putting gold paint over existing buildings. In other words, they imported France's fantastical, intelligent, fantasy-future on the surface, but those Discoveryland facades were placed over Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Innoventions, and Space Mountain... Not exactly the future Jules Verne might've predicted!

And shoehorned into Disneyland's minuscule footprint, the extra rocks, fountains, grassy hillsides, and waterfalls would cause very cramped quarters. Look at the park's Astro Orbitor, removed from its pedestal above Tomorrowland re-planted at the land's entrance, causing infamous backups and bottlenecks as people navigate around it and around the tracks of the now-vacant Peoplemover. A sore sight!

brownmountain_tlentrance2000ww.jpg

Now, what were we saying about Six Flags and Apollo? (Sorry, guys!)

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True! And if we're being honest, I was a big fan of the way the entrance to the land looked - aesthetically speaking - when it was in all golds. A radical shift in the land's content could have made that New Tomorrowland a real success, but as it was, it really was just putting gold paint over existing buildings. In other words, they imported France's fantastical, intelligent, fantasy-future on the surface, but those Discoveryland facades were placed over Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Innoventions, and Space Mountain... Not exactly the future Jules Verne might've predicted!

And shoehorned into Disneyland's minuscule footprint, the extra rocks, fountains, grassy hillsides, and waterfalls would cause very cramped quarters. Look at the park's Astro Orbitor, removed from its pedestal above Tomorrowland re-planted at the land's entrance, causing infamous backups and bottlenecks as people navigate around it and around the tracks of the now-vacant Peoplemover. A sore sight!

brownmountain_tlentrance2000ww.jpg

Now, what were we saying about Six Flags and Apollo? (Sorry, guys!)

Add to that the insult of leaving the old AstoOrbiter ride mechanism, still perched atop its proper platform, with goofy "satellites" in place of the ride vehicles, performing some sort of movements every hour.

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I think I've heard that, too - that the bulky Da Vinci apparatus was too heavy for it. Not sure if it can be believed, though, since its placement mirrors the nearly identical ride in Discoveryland, at ground level and surrounded by rocks. But that's the root of the Tomorrowland '98 problem, really. Same thing can be said of Rocket Rods and banked track. It's like they didn't look into it to begin with, and when problems arose, they were baffled and unwilling to accomodate. It was all paint and new 3D movie by the end of it. Woof.


I have to mention that the newest report from Al Lutz (the Disney fan community's much-maligned, but often-accurate scoop writer) makes note in his update this month that plans for a New New Tomorrowland in California are again the focus of Imagineering, and the plan is to completely seal off the land and re-open it altogether in a grand spectacle (a la Cars Land) as opposed to the piecemeal reveal of Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland, which is a beautiful addition to that park except for the acres of construction walls, cranes, steel, and rebar that's entirely visible in half of the land...

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Luckily, the monorail, subs, and train station are all sequestered in the same corner of Tomorrowland, which could theoretically remain open (so long as a complete renovation didn't close and tear-out the subs, as is rumored from time-to-time). Construction wall pathways are no stranger to Disneyland Resort guests, but my sincere hope would be that during a multi-month remodel of the whole land, Space Mountain and Star Tours might get some "plussing" that would require at least some closure. Couldn't hurt. :ph34r:

Sorry we've hijacked the thread everyone.

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Wasn't the 1998 Astro Orbitor supposed to go on top of the Rocket Rods platform, but they discovered that the platform couldn't support the weight?

That was the rumor, though I don't think it is true.

From what I've heard, a large enough faction within Imagineering knew that, because of the drastic cuts they were forced to make to the Rocket Rods concept, it simply wasn't going to work. They decided to give the new Astro Orbiter a Discoverland-like placement because they expected the old PeopleMover track to be completely demolished once the Rods flopped.

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I think it would be more likely for Palace to get scooped up by somebody.  While I couldn't see Cedar Fair wanting the whole company, Kennywood and Lake Compounce would be nice additions to the chain.  As far as Sea World it will be interesting to see who ends up with it.  Disney could use Sea World Orlando for the close proximity and turn Williamsburg into Disney's America but I doubt they would want the other locations.

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