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KIC Off Season Poll Series 2016 Week VI: Should Cedar Fair Buy More Parks?

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(Sorry for the late post, have been very busy with getting work done before Christmas!)

 

In the past few days Mr. Ouitmet has hinted at making bids at parks like Hershey Park and Dollywood. For some this comes with hope for new expansion, for others, disheartening. With the acquisition of new parks means that Cedar Fair would have a more diverse portfolio, but at the same time parks like Dorney have yet to experience serious growth. What are some of your thoughts, should Cedar Fair buy more parks? Or should they add on to what parks they have?

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No, just... no!  Fix whats screwed up royally at the 11 parks they currently own, and leave the others alone.  We,the park going public, already have enough (too many) cookie cutter Corporate parks, leave the smaller parks (Indiana Beach and Adventureland come to mind) for those who cant, or wont, pay $9 for a subpar burger or pay-to-cut upcharges.  People seem to forget that competition can be a very good thing.  An example of how it can be good AND bad together, is the "my lift hill is bigger than your lift hill" contest that went on between CP and SF:WoA.  That created mass expansion on both ends, but also gross financial over-extention on both ends as well.  One was in a position to survive, one was not.  However, if all of the small parks are overtaken (and in my eyes, slowly destroyed) by the CFs and the SIXs of the US, all that will happen is a rise in price point to that of Disney levels, without the corresponding rise in guest service and experience.  The Corporations have to recoup the cost of park acquisitions somehow, and as you pointed out in the case of Dorney, it will be at the expense of those smaller parks... and the guests that visit them.... getting nothing in return.

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No, that would be a nightmare. Though I love Cedar Fair, they would absolutely strip all the charm that Dollywood and Hershey have. They are both extremely popular parks that have stellar attendance every year. Unless both parks are failing miserably there is no reason for Cedar Fair to acquire them. Plus, parks like Dorney, Worlds of Fun, and California's Great America need to grow. 

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I agree they should fix or take care of the parks already in the chain. Even though I liked the 4 Cedar Fair parks I have been to, I wouldn't want them to buy Hersheypark for many reasons.

Dorney is in a tough spot being almost in between Hershey and Great Adventure and with the water park being the main draw, the rides don't attract guests as much as the other 2 parks. Cedar Creek Flyers the most recent addition has never had more than a 1 cycle wait in any of my trips to the park. Opening weekend 2012 when Stinger was added, I waited 10 minutes. In almost any other park a new coaster added especially a lower capacity coaster like a boomerang would be at least an hour wait when it first opened and it was the same low crowds with Hydra, 20 minute wait the day it opened.

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No I don't think they need to expand.  I agree that they should take care of the parks they already own.  They would strip the charm away from places like Dollywood.  An owner like Herschend understands what to do with Dollywood.  Dollywood does theme first, coasters second and Cedar Fair would do coasters first, with theme a distant second.  CF does alright with the bigger parks in the chain but the smaller ones suffer and that would get worse with more parks.

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I think you interpreted that article a bit oddly BB1.  I think they gave Dollywood and Hershey as examples of how parks not in chains that aren't up for sale, as in the market for buying parks isn't there within the industry as it is right now.  I don't think CF actually approached those chains looking to buy.  In that light, plus the fact that CF overpaid for the Paramount Parks, I don't see it happening within the immediate future.  

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I've heard a few different times that the reason Dorney Park hasn't been expanded is due to the housing that's close to the park. I'm not sure if there is any truth to this, but I've seen people on other forums saying that Dorney Park gets slot of noise complaints. I would think having whole communities complaining about noise levels may scare CedarFait off somewhat from investing in the dry park. Like I said this is just hearsay. Have you guys ever heard this?

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Yes they have problems with neighbors. Talon and Hydra have sand in the supports so the coasters run without almost any noise. The park wanted to have daily fireworks years ago and residents forced them to only have fireworks a few times a year. Neighbors also were concerned with the noise from Possessed and the park wasn't allowed to build into the water again after Hercules was removed since the water is right near some houses.

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