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Cedar Fair and Experimentation?

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The 2010s was a huge decade for Cedar Fair and with that came risks that were taken to push the envelope as they became a much larger chain following the Paramount Parks buy. Within 10 years we saw Dinosaur Parks, interactive dark rides, first generation coasters, next generation coasters, new thematic elements, and so on…

Fast forward to the 2020s where we’re still only 3 years in, yet it seems like the chain has taken a seat and shifted their focus to other priorities such  as food, theming, and overall experiences with VIP suites and so on. Again, we’re only 3 years in and had a pandemic to contend with. That being said, do you see Cedar Fair experimenting like they did in the 2010s or will it be toned down? Do you think the 2010s was a standalone decade considering all the large corporate changes they made?

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I think a big focus for all of the park chains right now is free cash flow…yes, attendance and revenue have come roaring back since the pandemic ended (well, at least I *think* it’s finally ended), but nearly a year (or more in the case of CA) with no revenue coming has to have an impact on spending in subsequent years. The focus on themed lands, food upgrades and a few smaller off-the-shelf rides are a lot more CapEx friendly than a $30m new generation coaster. Plus, I think these experiential things have proven popular with customers, so it’s kind of a win/win.

One of my major peeves with the Paramount Parks was their tendency to over promise then under deliver on themed experiences. (Every year it was going to be the most “fantastic, incredible, Hollywood-ized experience ever!!!”). From what I’ve seen so far, CF doesn’t seem to be over promising on their new themed lands, but is delivering a good, solid quality experience.

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