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Kings Island is now closed for 2020.

Personal meanderings about Canada's Wonderland post COVID


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Most of the province of Ontario is under Stage 3 of reopening, the last stage in the reopening phases, and not mentioned was when Canada's Wonderland could reopen. While the powers that be in the Ontario government hinted that Wonderland could possibly open when all of Ontario enters Stage 3, I'll believe it when I see it. By that point, there won't even be much of a season worth salvaging.

Let us also remember that Ontario's caseload and deaths is lightyears ahead of that in Ohio, and I'm not saying this to brag or to say snide remarks but to simply state facts. We have recently entered the third consecutive day of sub-100 new cases in this province, a province of 14,500,000 and one that would be the 5th largest state in population if it were a US state. It's important to know that Ontario has tread incredibly lightly in this matter. Ohio has mostly had days with new cases above 1,000 since the beginning of July.

However, this got me thinking about the future of the park itself., just south of Rutherford Road on Jane Street, there is a new condo building which broke ground. The units in that building started from "the low $500s", consider this, if single condo units sell for that much, how much of a gold mine is Wonderland currently sitting on? As there is a metaphorical brick wall now on the "world's longest undefended border", a barrier which won't be eased anytime soon, this prevents corporate from even accessing Wonderland, or Wonderland's higher ups from going to Cedar Fair corporate. As well as a provincial government which has been extremely cautious with reopening (and most citizens here support the restrictions), at what point does Cedar Fair simply "cash out". The land itself is probably worth more than what Cedar Fair ever invested in the park, I'm sure the greedy developers would love to get their greasy hands on that prime land. As the land value should go up even higher around this area due to a new nearby subway station, as well as large developments near that subway station. Maybe Cedar Fair should consider selling the land entirely?

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48 minutes ago, MisterSG1 said:

Most of the province of Ontario is under Stage 3 of reopening, the last stage in the reopening phases, and not mentioned was when Canada's Wonderland could reopen. While the powers that be in the Ontario government hinted that Wonderland could possibly open when all of Ontario enters Stage 3, I'll believe it when I see it. By that point, there won't even be much of a season worth salvaging.

Let us also remember that Ontario's caseload and deaths is lightyears ahead of that in Ohio, and I'm not saying this to brag or to say snide remarks but to simply state facts. We have recently entered the third consecutive day of sub-100 new cases in this province, a province of 14,500,000 and one that would be the 5th largest state in population if it were a US state. It's important to know that Ontario has tread incredibly lightly in this matter. Ohio has mostly had days with new cases above 1,000 since the beginning of July.

However, this got me thinking about the future of the park itself., just south of Rutherford Road on Jane Street, there is a new condo building which broke ground. The units in that building started from "the low $500s", consider this, if single condo units sell for that much, how much of a gold mine is Wonderland currently sitting on? As there is a metaphorical brick wall now on the "world's longest undefended border", a barrier which won't be eased anytime soon, this prevents corporate from even accessing Wonderland, or Wonderland's higher ups from going to Cedar Fair corporate. As well as a provincial government which has been extremely cautious with reopening (and most citizens here support the restrictions), at what point does Cedar Fair simply "cash out". The land itself is probably worth more than what Cedar Fair ever invested in the park, I'm sure the greedy developers would love to get their greasy hands on that prime land. As the land value should go up even higher around this area due to a new nearby subway station, as well as large developments near that subway station. Maybe Cedar Fair should consider selling the land entirely?

Canada’s Wonderland is Cedar Fair’s second highest attended amusement park behind Knott’s Berry Farm. I doubt Cedar Fair would be willing to give up so much annual revenue simply for some quick cash in selling it. They are currently trying to grow attendance even more through new rides, new events, and a new hotel, and it is really working. Knott’s Berry Farm also sits on highly valuable land, so if Cedar Fair hasn’t opted to sell that yet, I doubt they will try to sell Canada’s Wonderland anytime soon. It is definitely not going anywhere right now.

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At the very least I’m expecting Canada’s wonderland to be open for Winterfest. As Fun&Only mentioned Canada’s wonderland is one of Cedar Fairs most important parks and brings in nearly the same amount of revenue as Kings Island. Also the land is not as valuable as you’re thinking as demolition costs alone would make it not viable to be sold for land. Let’s not forget what happened to Astroworld.

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22 minutes ago, Benjamin22 said:

At the very least I’m expecting Canada’s wonderland to be open for Winterfest.

Wasn't Winterfest basically cancelled everywhere else because everyone is forecasting higher numbers when traditional flu season occurs? It wouldn't make much sense to run Winterfest here only in that sense either.

Assuming the remaining bits of Ontario move into Phase 3 not this Friday but next Friday, and the park is given the go ahead to open, here's a few things you have to consider even in that best case scenario.

Sure, Wonderland has most likely hired an on call staff, but wouldn't there need to be a few dry runs of social distancing among the staff before opening. Let's just assume it takes them until the Monday after the go ahead is given on Friday to open. This puts you at August 17, which gives you three weeks of daily park operation up to Labour Day.

I assume beyond Labour Day, as kids will be back to school in some form or another, they will revert to the weekend only schedule like they usually have in September. Weekends in October could happen too, although before Fearfest happened at Wonderland, the park used to close the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving, which is the same weekend as Columbus Day. Weekend operation should be able to continue until the end of October as regular days without the Haunt .

You do the math, is it really worthwhile for Wonderland to open at all this year? This is what I'm getting at.

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^ Based off of what was said today Knotts Merry Farm & Canada’s wonderlands Winterfest events are profitable enough to justify opening. The company very much sounded open to hosting those events at those two parks.

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14 minutes ago, King Ding Dong said:

Any idea what percentage of attendance comes from the US?

Probably a very small amount.

What I was saying earlier was more into the regards of corporate cutting their losses with the pain of running a theme park in a different country.

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I don't think CF would give up Canada's Wonderland so quickly. This is all just a result of Covid-19. Heck the Toronto Blue Jays aren't even permitted to play in Canada at the moment. Cancelling all these events across the chain are a result of understaffed parks that have to abide by Covid-19 protocols. There isn't one chain that's not being negatively affected by this virus. Whether you agree with the response the globe has had to this or not, nothing is going to be entirely certain until there's a vaccine ready.

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26 minutes ago, SonofBaconator said:

I don't think CF would give up Canada's Wonderland so quickly. This is all just a result of Covid-19. Heck the Toronto Blue Jays aren't even permitted to play in Canada at the moment. Cancelling all these events across the chain are a result of understaffed parks that have to abide by Covid-19 protocols. There isn't one chain that's not being negatively affected by this virus. Whether you agree with the response the globe has had to this or not, nothing is going to be entirely certain until there's a vaccine ready.

In the case of the Toronto Blue Jays, both the city itself and the province of Ontario actually agreed to their plan, but the federal government did not. At the time, I thought it was a great plan because the Blue Jays play in a stadium that has a hotel attached to it. Confine the players to the hotel and you should be good. We saw what happened in Florida and the sort of domino effect that happened with baseball, so maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

Unless new cases numbers don't take a serious nosedive in the US, my guess is that the border will remain closed at least until next summer at the earliest.

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13 hours ago, Benjamin22 said:

Let’s not forget what happened to Astroworld.

Canada's Wonderland is a faaaar cry from Astroworld.

SF had basically stopped significant investments in Astroworld prior to its closure.  I believe in the final 5 years it was open - Diablo Falls (raft flume) and SWAT (S&S Skyswatter) were the only things added - and they were both installed in 2003 in necessity after the park removed The Tornado.  The park had fallen into general disrepair and neglect.  The area of Houston in which it resided had declined in overall prosperity, avg income and frankly - safety.  The park wasn't closed necessarily because the land became more valuable - it closed because it just wasn't seeing growth in attendance and profit margins.  Couple that with the fact that they were in litigation with the Texas Giants over parking issues.  (At AW, you parked near the Astrodome - then walked over a long causeway that stretched over the interstate before getting to the main gate.)  It had a bad reputation by the time it was demolished.  I believe the land did sit vacant and undeveloped for years.

SF AW 2 SOI.jpg

I attended AW a couple of times in those final years.  It wasn't even on par with SFKK at the time.  The rides were antiquated, and the park unkempt.  I personally didn't feel completely safe there... there were gangs of teens ruling the park, graffiti on some walls and I could smell pot the entire time I was there.  One time, I saw a young teen girl and older teen boy copulating right out in the open on a picnic table - they made no bones about it.

The first time I went to Wonderland - there was literally nothing around it.  It was all vacant land.  Now, you cant throw a rock without hitting a condo.  However, Wonderland likely has the largest metropolitan draw of any of the CF parks.  Its also a HUGE economic boost to both nearby Toronto as well as Vaughan itself.  The fact that CF has invested so heavily in CW is proof that the park is there to stay.

Oh - someone mentioned XLR-8... well here is a pic I took of it the last time I was at SF Astroworld (August 2003.)  I first went around 2001... and I had been looking forward to riding XLR-8 for years - then when I finally did... waaah waaah... it was slower and duller than Iron Dragon if you can imagine that!

SF AW SOI.jpg

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^ I didn’t say Canada’s wonderland was like Astroworld. I was referencing the fact that Six flags plan to sell Astroworld for land did not turn out so well given the fact they spent 20 million on demolition costs and only received 77 million for the land. 

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15 minutes ago, Benjamin22 said:

^ I didn’t say Canada’s wonderland was like Astroworld. I was referencing the fact that Six flags plan to sell Astroworld for land did not turn out so well given the fact they spent 20 million on demolition costs and only received 77 million for the land. 

And I didnt say you did - I was agreeing with you. :-)

SFAW wasn't supported in any way... that was my point... so SF took the easy way out by thinking selling it would be lucrative... it wasn't.

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1 hour ago, Shaggy said:

The first time I went to Wonderland - there was literally nothing around it.  It was all vacant land.  Now, you cant throw a rock without hitting a condo.  However, Wonderland likely has the largest metropolitan draw of any of the CF parks.  Its also a HUGE economic boost to both nearby Toronto as well as Vaughan itself.  The fact that CF has invested so heavily in CW is proof that the park is there to stay.

Yeah, I guess you’re right, it’s just I always get into arguments with someone who claims that wonderland will become condos in the future.

So when have you visited Wonderland, and how many times have you visited?

It has been said that the overall planning focus in the Greater Toronto Area changed when Wonderland was built, they originally wanted to develop more east of the city, but Wonderland made them develop more north of the city.

As for hitting a condo building nearby....it’s not that bad yet lol, when walking inside the park, you do feel like you are isolated from the real world for the most part. 
 

Wonderland does have a big advantage competition wise compared to other cities. First thing, there is virtually NO other major theme park nearby. You could say Darien Lake is close by, but remember that Darien Lake is behind an international border and most people aren’t adventurous to cross the border to go to a theme park. The only real other theme park in Canada is in Montreal, and not only is it a 5 hour drive away, but the predominant language spoken at the park is French.

Los Angeles is really the only larger metro area with a CF park, which has a population around twice the population of the Greater Toronto Area. But remember, in the LA area exists four major theme parks, well five if you split Disneyland from California Adventure.

While I’ve never been to SoCal, I’ve assumed, can someone correct me, that Knott’s and Magic Mountain are moreso “locals” theme parks, like how some off strip casinos in Vegas are known as “locals casinos”. Is this the case for the Knott’s and MM? 

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Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain are more regional parks compared to Disneyland and Universal, but what arguably helps these parks the most is tourists coming from across the country to go to Disneyland and Universal that have a better chance at visiting other local theme parks while on their trips. Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain still get plenty of local traffic though, but the general tourism in the area also greatly drives their annual attendance.

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51 minutes ago, SonofBaconator said:

Would it be accurate to compare Vaughn to Mason?

Somewhat, but what makes Vaughan different is that Vaughan is immediately north of the City of Toronto (which by itself is huge in area), Vaughan was known for many years with this slogan "The City ABOVE Toronto".

Distance wise, Kings Island is roughly 24 miles from the downtown core of Cincy, while in Toronto's case, Wonderland is 18 miles away from the downtown core. By distance wise, I'm looking moreso at the shortest distance between the two spots. This is important to discuss because I-71 passes by both Kings Island and downtown Cincy, while Hwy 400 which passes by Wonderland DOES NOT go into downtown Toronto. (there was a plan for this and exit numbers appear to acknowledge downtown as a starting point despite the southern extension never built but that's another story). If one uses an all freeway route to get to downtown Toronto from Wonderland, it ends up being 30 miles, but you get my point I'm sure.

It's also worth noting the high density developments that have sprung up at Hwy 400 and Hwy 7 in Vaughan, leading to a skyline of sorts. Much of this development is due to the brand new subway station which just opened in Dec 2017.

This is the kind of endgame they have for their new downtown area, which would sit around 3 miles from Wonderland:

spacer.png

The point I'm sort of getting at, Mason isn't nearly as big as Vaughan is right now or will be.

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I think if they wanted to sell the land to condo developers for a cash influx, they would have done that with the land the hospital is being built on, nor would they be looking at building a hotel by Rutherford road.

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While we're on the subject of Canada's Wonderland. If RMC was allowed to build in Canada do you think we'd see Minebuster or Wild Beast converted by now? Or you think Cedar Fair's current rocky relationship with RMC would've prevented it?

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  • 4 weeks later...

So as we saw, Wonderland did not have a single day open this summer. Yet in Niagara Falls, Clifton Hill, a glorified permanent midway of sorts was full of people this Labour Day Weekend:

 

https://www.narcity.com/news/ca/on/toronto/clifton-hill-crowds-this-weekend-are-leading-to-a-protest-to-reopen-wonderland

The article of course suggests that there is a protest happening for Wonderland to reopen.

 

This is how I personally see things, if the government allows museums, zoos, even Ripley's Aquarium in downtown Toronto to reopen, than why can't Canada's Wonderland open, as Wonderland clearly had a plan in place. It's somewhat hypocritical to be honest, but then again, most museums, zoos, are indeed public.  A zoo at the end of the day, in the case of a major zoo like the Toronto Zoo, has similarities to a theme park. While it doesn't have rides, it does have almost everything a theme park has, concession stands and what not.

As for rides, god only knows the hundreds of thousands who will ride transit in the Greater Toronto Area daily still, and there's not an explosion of cases from such crowds on public transit. Yet, Wonderland and rides are seen as dangerous.

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9 hours ago, MisterSG1 said:

As for rides, god only knows the hundreds of thousands who will ride transit in the Greater Toronto Area daily still, and there's not an explosion of cases from such crowds on public transit. Yet, Wonderland and rides are seen as dangerous.

Yeah, that doesn't seem to make sense to me either, especially with seeing the Clifton Hill article showing the rides and the crowded midways. 

 

Also, @Shaggy, just want to say that those pictures of Astroworld were awesome! I've always thought the S&S Skyswatter rides were super cool, but unfortunately, there are none left! I would have loved to see one go to KI!

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Well that's Canada and the USA so there is that. I mean I want to go there if mom and dad take me but the virus has closed it just like the stupid virus has closed other parks here and it's dumb. Dad said we was safer at King's island than we go to lowes but it's just me and him. 

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