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Kings Island Lays Off 15...Restructures


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First off, hello all! Being my first post, I figured I'd post on a most controversial topic. I'm a supervisor in the park but did hear about the restructuring. I heard most of the names of those who were released, and as far as I heard they were all full time employees (most of them Vice Presidents of their respected divisions). What's it mean? Not much honestly. I knew four of those who were released, but it was by no means a secret. I'm low on the chain and knew of the meeting that Friday a week before it took place, and knew that it began the restructuring. We didn't know who was going to be released obviously until after the meeting but they were aware that they might not have a job.

There was a little bit more that came out of the meeting, but guests won't really notice any difference from the meeting, just employees.

And a little fyi, all layoffs were specifically at Paramount's Kings Island. Most of the other parks had their layoffs before us.

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Here's my question. 15 people have been laid off from PKI and judging by the last post and common sense, other folks were let go at the other parks.

What about the former Paramount Parks Corporate HQ in Charlotte? Were those folks laid off, too, or can they keep their jobs?

As a middle class American, it always breaks my heart to see someone laid off. I hope that those folks will find new and hopefully better jobs soon.

And I hope that CF drops the "Paramount" name from the parks soon as it's now obsolete. Plus with the money they would save, they could invest in something else.

Have a great day!

Italian Chef

chef.gif

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^Bill was a super nice guy, an dI hope he prospers in future careers elsewhere.

What about the former Paramount Parks Corporate HQ in Charlotte? Were those folks laid off, too, or can they keep their jobs?

Well its known for a fact that Craig Ross has returned from Charlotte back to the park. I believe the corporate headquarters in charlotte are still ocuppied, wasnt there an article not to long ago about Kinzle wnating to possibly move CF headquarters from sandusky to charlotte?

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And anyone who thinks that changing managers will not have an effect on the park visible to guests (or to the employees) probably doesn't have a lot of experience in large businesses.

Lilbubba, this means a lot more that "not much." This move is the first step in major changes at Kings Island. Paramount is gone. Viacom is gone. CBS is all but gone. Their influences will remain, but lessen more and more over time. And people, good people, are being affected.

And there will be more. For most of us, Kings Island is or was about fun. For the people who work there, it is their livelihood, their way of feeding their families, and for many, a major part of who they are.

CBS took $1.24 BILLION out of Cedar Fair's future profits, and delivered in return a bunch of assets worth something...and a most important part of those assets was the people who made Paramount Parks what it was. Cedar Fair is already seeing a good part of those assets as being what the British call "redundant." I doubt that any people from the old Cedar Fair were made redundant by this acquisition.

This is a company that, among the first things it did, made sure that associates know their place and do not go where only the uppity-ups are allowed. That made sure reserved parking places are available for the Cedar Fair folk. That put up large signs to warn park personnel not to walk by the admin offices and disturb the senior staff engaged in high level thought processes about...something.

This is all very, very sad.

Lastly, I truly doubt that Cedar Fair's bench was deep enough to do all that they think they can. This is going to be an interesting ride. I just hope and pray it ends well for everyone involved, or at least for as many of them as possible.

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...This is a company that, among the first things it did, made sure that associates know their place and do not go where only the uppity-ups are allowed.  That made sure reserved parking places are available for the Cedar Fair folk.  That put up large signs to warn park personnel not to walk by the admin offices and disturb the senior staff engaged in high level thought processes about...something.

This is all very, very sad... 

While cutbacks and reorganizations are to be expected (anyone who has spent ten minutes in corporate America knew that was coming), this quote is the thing that really bothers me...

So, management at Cedar Fair can't be bothered by the sight of hourly employees? What kind of management doesn't want to see and interact with their front line service employees? I can certainly bet that Mark Shapiro doesn't subscribe to this philosophy at SF...I bet he actually <GASP> speaks to the hourly employees (maybe even knows a few by name).

As a Cedar Fair unit holder, this really makes me question how my company is being managed, and why they now seem to believe this "Sandusky Royalty" treatment is appropriate in a guest-focused, human resource dependent business!

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Well, if they're talking about the cut through over by the administration building, there very well could be other reasons for the redirecting of folk.

One, it's right over near first aide and (if they have not moved them) communications and the cage (ie - moneyroom).

At one time you could only use the cut through if you were going to or from the cage.

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What could be on the horizon for our family friendly amusement park King's Island. After hearing a lot of things since the aqusition i am not so sure tht this i going to bold well for KI. It looks like Cedar Fair will give all their attention to their baby and leave our own KI partially hanging out to dry with maybe only a new ride every 5 years while CP gets one seemingly every year.

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A few things. The reason that the walkbacks have gone back there, is because there is literally a sea of people sitting right where the ACE walkback used to meet. Normally, we would enter the park right next to first Aid, and not through the cut through. Secondly, in past years, we would sneak by Oscar`s (now Backstage Cafe) but that was when more of the park was open from 9-10. It really depends which employee from GR is walking ACE members back. I was there on Sunday, and we just ducked under the ropes and got tons of rude looks, as is to be expected. And all the times I`ve done the ACE walkback this year, it has been to The Beast or IJST. (On Sunday we went to The Beast, but they weren`t ready so we walked over to Vortex.)

I don`t think that Cedar Fair will completly neglect Kings Island. They haven`t neglected any of there other parks. Yeah, they make take a year off an not add anything, but they are not going to go five years without adding anything. A lot of the cuts that were made were with duplicate positions. Although I was a little surprised to hear that Bill Balfour, who was in charge of entertainment and special events at the park was let go.

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Uh, my sources tell me Sunday's walkback was to Flight of Fear, as Beast was not ready, Face/Off was "busy" and Racer was not available. I am also reliably told that the first train on Flight of Fear launched without incident, but after that the second launch with people aboard was after about 15 trains were sent out empty...and that the Sunday walkback went through the admin path.

Perhaps you meant Saturday or some Sunday other than August 13?

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So, management at Cedar Fair can't be bothered by the sight of hourly employees? What kind of management doesn't want to see and interact with their front line service employees? I can certainly bet that Mark Shapiro doesn't subscribe to this philosophy at SF...I bet he actually <GASP> speaks to the hourly employees (maybe even knows a few by name).

I am not sure if there was a level of sarcasm directed at the person you were quoting, but I will say that I have seen the Cedar Folk on a daily basis and I have spoken with them. They make themselves seen throughout the park... walk around, help guests, speak with associates, clean up trash, etc.... I think they have a done job getting themselves known at their new home.

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Having PKI on your resume' is one of the best things you can have.

I just got word that Bill Balford was released by Cedar Fair with this restructure. PKICentral wishes him the best.

Was Mr. Bradford in Marketing? His name sounds familiar. Who is he?

PS - I hope he finds new and better employment soon.

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Yep, the Interpreter, I meant on Saturday, my bad. We went under the roped right next to the ACE brick. But that was in part because the person doing the walkback that day normally doesn`t do it, she was simply filling in for someone who was sick.

Mr. Balfour was the person in charge of entertainment and special events at Kings Island. He had been with the park for a number of years.

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Well, if they're talking about the cut through over by the administration building, there very well could be other reasons for the redirecting of folk.

There was. For one, we were never really supposed to use that entrance. Associates just did it for various reasons, some wanted to avoid guests (I hope this wasn't a majority view), and some wanted to save a little time. All they did was make it clear that we were not supposed to use it (unless we had a purpose to go back there, such as money room). But I've noticed on a few occasions where people were EXTREMELY loud and inappropiate, which I'm sure would be hard to work under, otherwise I highly doubt they'd care as much.

And Interpreter, you're right. I didn't phrase it accurately. I meant for this year the changes won't really be an extreme change (why bother when the year's almost over?) I think they'll wait and observe and see how minor changes affect the park before they go making the extensive restructuring of the park for the 2007 season. That's when you'll honestly see the changes, this is merely setting the foundation. Also, do note that the positions haven't all been filled (though I have heard a new director (yes director, no longer Vice President) of Resale has been decided upon). And a really interesting thing to note, Food won't really be seperated this year, but look for it to be next year as Dave Zellner was appointed the Director of Food And Beverage. I'm personally glad to see Food seperate from Games and Merchandise.

~ Steven

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Cedar Fair can't be bothered by hourly employees? Go to Cedar Point anytime and you will find upper management out and about. Go on Saturday and you will for sure. Don't forget that most of the upper management were "lowly hourly employees" as well (Kinzel was a fryguy when he started). I really wouldn't worry too much about the future of Kings Island. It's in the best hands that it possibly could have been in. Cutbacks are to be expected when a company spends 1.24 billion dollars and doubles the size of its staff, overhead, and property. I would give them a chance to move in.

The non Paramount merchandise is surely a sign that Paramount is on it's way out. It's also a sign that Kings Island will be profiting more from selling its merchandise. Whatever percentage they were paying for licensing can now go into the parks pocket. Pepsi's coming too, so get ready to like it.

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"It's [Kings Island's] in the best hands that it possibly could have been in."

"...so get ready to like it."

I see you have already adapted to the Cedar Fair culture.

"...so get ready to like it."

We are Cedar Fair. We are the best parks on earth. We make the right decisions. We know what is right for the guests.

"...so get ready to like it."

People have CHOICES. They do NOT necessarily have to "get ready to like it."

They can go to a Family Entertainment Center. They can save up and go to Disney. They can go to Six Flags (at least for a while). They can watch DVD's.

Perhaps THIS typical Cedar Fair attitude is part of why Cedar Point attendance is down, Dorney attendance is down, Geauga Lake attendance is down, etc.

And that's even after they lowered prices at the gate and in the park.

Cedar Fair seems to forget people have choices. They do not have to put up with just anything Cedar Fair dishes out.

Sigh.

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Well, if Pepsi comes, I will be less inclined to buy drinks when I`m in the park. I`m not a huge Pepsi fan, so I "will not get ready to like it."

I think people might be a little too quick in critiquing Cedar Fair here. While we probably have only seen a fraction of the changes that they intend to implement at Kings Island, they really are not affecting the way things have been run this season. It will not be until next season when they open under Cedar Fair, that we will better be able to analyze the changes that Cedar Fair has implemented.

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Cedar Fair can't be bothered by hourly employees?  Go to Cedar Point anytime and you will find upper management out and about.  Go on Saturday and you will for sure.  Don't forget that most of the upper management were "lowly hourly employees" as well (Kinzel was a fryguy when he started).  I really wouldn't worry too much about the future of Kings Island.  It's in the best hands that it possibly could have been in.  Cutbacks are to be expected when a company spends 1.24 billion dollars and doubles the size of its staff, overhead, and property.  I would give them a chance to move in.

The non Paramount merchandise is surely a sign that Paramount is on it's way out.  It's also a sign that Kings Island will be profiting more from selling its merchandise.  Whatever percentage they were paying for licensing can now go into the parks pocket.  Pepsi's coming too, so get ready to like it.

Which was exactly my point...this perceived approach at PKI seemed contrary to the understanding I've always had of CF labor relations. However, lilbubba's post cleared up a few points and put this specific situation in a little more perspective for me. To be honest, I was reacting specifically (and somewhat emotionally) to one statement without a full understanding of the whole situation. I regret that now...

There is no need to lecture me on Cedar Fair's management history. I don't buy into a company without a full understanding of its management style and background. Although, Interpreter makes an excellent point on recent disturbing business trends...and, GL certainly proves that CF isn't above making missteps, regardless of their excellent overall track record. (Including a few PR blunders in the early ownership of GL that makes your head spin...)

"Cutbacks are to be expected when a company spends 1.24 billion dollars and doubles the size of its staff, overhead, and property."

Yeah...you're preaching to the choir on that one. (What was the line in my post--anyone with ten minutes corporate experience saw that one coming?) Trust me...my personal experience in corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, and various other aspects of life in Corporate America runs pretty deep. I really don't mean to be insulting, but there isn't much insight you could add to these topics for me.

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Well, if they're talking about the cut through over by the administration building, there very well could be other reasons for the redirecting of folk.

There was. For one, we were never really supposed to use that entrance. Associates just did it for various reasons, some wanted to avoid guests (I hope this wasn't a majority view), and some wanted to save a little time. All they did was make it clear that we were not supposed to use it (unless we had a purpose to go back there, such as money room). But I've noticed on a few occasions where people were EXTREMELY loud and inappropiate, which I'm sure would be hard to work under, otherwise I highly doubt they'd care as much.

And that's kinda what I figured.

It was just an example of good principals that were disregarded during "the Dark Years" while Paramount was in control.

Simply an example of CF bringing the park back up to standards.

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It looks to me that some people are a bit to quick and over-willing to jump on the 'I hate Cedar Fair' bandwagon. Some of those people were the very same ones that were complaining about CBS a few months ago, and Viacom last year. Just goes to show you...some people are never happy and in fact, thrive on being unhappy.

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It looks to me that some people are a bit to quick and over-willing to jump on the 'I hate Cedar Fair' bandwagon.  Some of those people were the very same ones that were complaining about CBS a few months ago, and Viacom last year.  Just goes to show you...some people are never happy and in fact, thrive on being unhappy.

Ok...if you're going to make a statement like that defaming "some" individuals ("some people are never happy and in fact, thrive on being unhappy" is a pretty over the top statement on a friendly little theme park discussion board), you should be fully prepared to back it up with some specific examples...

So, WHO exactly are you talking about?

BTW...just because you don't think that everything a company does is absolutely fantastic and wonderful doesn't mean you hate the company. Quite the contrary--it shows that you care enough to express an opinion. After all, the opposite of love isn't hate--it's apathy.

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People have CHOICES.  They do NOT necessarily have to "get ready to like it."

They can go to a Family Entertainment Center.  They can save up and go to Disney.  They can go to Six Flags (at least for a while).  They can watch DVD's.

Perhaps THIS typical Cedar Fair attitude is part of why Cedar Point attendance is down, Dorney attendance is down, Geauga Lake attendance is down, etc.

And that's even after they lowered prices at the gate and in the park.

Cedar Fair seems to forget people have choices.  They do not have to put up with just anything Cedar Fair dishes out.

Sigh.

This probably explains why Geauga Lake had their Halloween Haunt stripped away from them, and why Valleyfair is now getting all of GL's spare parts in the form of ValleySCARE, because HH apparently drew people away from Cedar Point's HalloWeekends.

I don't want to be a part of the 'I hate Cedar Fair' bandwagon, but a lot of their decisions are ones that I personally disagree with. Like the whole flagship park deal, for instance. Yeah, it's great that there's a park with a ton of coasters to ride (Cedar Point, duh), but if you add coaster after coaster every two to three years at one park, and you own other parks that get one coaster within a 4-5 year span, then there's something wrong.

Another prime example is the debate over Knott's Halloween Haunt and Cedar Point's HalloWeekends. The Haunt has been around for 34, 35 years now, and it just keeps getting bigger and better, with very original concepts and ideas. Meanwhile, compare the 13 attractions that occupy the Haunt with the measly three at CP, yet upper managment feels that it should be necessary to rid Geauga of their first attempt at a Halloween event simply because they don't want to innovate CP's event.

And I don't think budget/finances should be a problem here. If Cedar Fair can come up with $17 to $22 million every two years for coasters at Cedar Point and continue to innovate ONE Halloween event every year, then they certainly have enough money to repair the theming on the rides from the five parks they were able to cough up $1.24 billion for (off-topic, I know).

Of course, I believe it was apparent that Cedar Fair was a little in debt prior to the acquistion of the Paramount Parks. huh.gif

But I doubt this little spiel of mine made any sense, so I'll shut up now.

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