Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by GodsOnSafar » Wed, 01 Oct 2008 11:57:15


To the surprise of most and to the comedy of few, it turns out that
America went and built itself a few exits away from the city too far,
purchased a car that was a touch too big, and liked way too many Coach
bags, and now the whole the whole system is a mess. Oops! So the
situation is dire and will probably be that way for a few years. I've
always tried to do a list of parks that may/may not open ever again
and so I'll go ahead and bring that back. In that time span, all these
parks have closed and/or disappeared:

-Williams Grove
-Conneaut
-Bushkill
-Joyland
-Margate
-Rotunda
-Pavilion
-Six Flags Astroworld
-Six Flags New Orleans
-Santa's Village (IL)
-Nara Dreamland and a few other Japanese facilities
-Bell's
-Geauga Lake
-Astroland
-Libertyland
-Thrillville USA

Going with them were 13 wood coasters and a whole bunch of other
unique attractions. In the time since, things have changed. The bottom
falling out of the real estate market means that if not in the
immediate future, the cost of the land that many of these parks reside
on will fall, making them less susceptible to replacement by condos.
The downside to that is the real estate market is dragging the entire
service economy of the US into the black hole with it, with no set
date on when its coming back. This is not a good thing if you're
loaded up with debt, which Cedar Fair and Six Flags undeniably are.

What's interesting about the list in 2008 is how tough it was to put
together. Before you could expect a ton of potential facilites. Most
are gone now, which means that the industry may have bottomed out at
least at the traditional level. How many really quirky small parks are
left in the US? Honestly? The Williams Grove type of traditional is
gone, replaced by large FECs anchored by generic steel coasters,
impressive mini golf, and some rev limited go karts. Is that an
improvement? Not in my eyes. I suppose I'm probably an "ol'
curmudgeon" to most of the still e***d 16 year olds who are in a
dead rush to ride plug and plays, but oh well.

THE LIST IN 2008:

1) Clementon: One of the last of its kind. Has new owners, but who the
hell knows what they're thinking.

2) Six Flags...all of them: In danger of being delisted for much of
the year, its been a pretty awful year for them and their final
destiny seems to be at hand for sometime in 2009. There is no credit
to keep them going, their debt load is supermassive, and you have to
think in a tanking economy that regional themers reliant on $15
parking and $60 entry tickets are in a bind. While you can't
necessarily expect SFOT to become a parking lot for the new Dallas
Cowboys stadium, its more successful parks will likely end up in new
hands and some may end up being closed for a time while investors are
found.

3) Amu***ts in Primm: How on earth are these things still running?
Well, the Turbo Drop hasn't in years, but that's the least of their
worries. Primm is a wasteland these days and if attendance in Vegas
begins to fall (some developments are at a standstill for
construction), this outpost will undoubtedly fall before most.

4) Hard Rock Park: It may have just closed for the year early and be
in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but its a fully developed site near a major
tourist destination that under different owners could have a long
run.

5) Wild Adventures/Cypress Gardens: Into bankrupcy. I honestly don't
even understand WA's business plan. CG makes slightly more sense, but
I worry greatly about it.

6) Wet And Wild Orlando: Well discussed elsewhere given Aquatica's
opening.

7) Beech Bend: Every generation needs a racetrack/amu***t park, and
now they're the lone remaining one. I have no idea what their
financial situation is like, but I can't imagine it being markedly
better than Williams Grove. At least WG had a couple big yearly events
to depend on for money.

8) Cedar Fair (some of them): No chain is gonna be recession proof
when you bought a lot with credit. CF did just that. Now, to their
benefit, they bought things that made money, but the decisions to cut
costs with licensing are creating massive headaches for the patrons
and the marketing departments. Kings Island had a pretty mediocre 2007
and I can't imagine 2008 being a vast improvement. If they choose not
to re-up the Nick trademarks, they will be selling off parks within 3
years of that choice. Mark my words.

9) Busch Gardens/Sea World: Again, can't imagine them going under
totally, and if a situation arrives where they and SF or several CF
parks are on the market simultaneously, I imagine they'll be the ones
to get bought first. They might also suffer from "nicest on the block
syndrome". Either way, there's not a lot of talk about InBev wanting
to keep them around, and if they cut drastically on both's 2009 and
2010 budgets, they could kill some of the goodwill.

10) PNE: Will they move? Will the price of real estate in Vancouver
finally drop? The saga continues....

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

-Western Washington State Fair: Economic hard times and the decision
for the public and private sectors to diverge led to most of the fair
grounds coasters being destroyed. Can it survive another eventual
storm?

-????: The financial crisis could be worldwide and thus could bring a
lot of parks to a stop.

 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by Ricky Summerset » Wed, 01 Oct 2008 14:25:23

Lakeside?

Since my first visit in 1980 I have wondered how this wonderful place
manages to keep their doors open.
In my opinion this would be one of the most tragic losses we could
experience, too.

God Boy

 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by Wolf » Fri, 03 Oct 2008 11:00:07

Quote:
> THE LIST IN 2008:

> 1) Clementon: One of the last of its kind. Has new owners, but who the
> hell knows what they're thinking.

They don't seem to think much of their wooden coaster, given my success this
year. I still have that fscking replacement ticket in my wallet, the fscks.

Quote:
> 7) Beech Bend: Every generation needs a racetrack/amu***t park, and
> now they're the lone remaining one. I have no idea what their
> financial situation is like, but I can't imagine it being markedly
> better than Williams Grove. At least WG had a couple big yearly events
> to depend on for money.

They seem to mainly cater to a locale audience that uses the hell out of
their water park. It seems a manageable niche.

BTW -- to be really pedantic, Lakeside is a racetrack/amu***t park.

Quote:
> 8) Cedar Fair (some of them): No chain is gonna be recession proof
> when you bought a lot with credit. CF did just that. Now, to their
> benefit, they bought things that made money, but the decisions to cut
> costs with licensing are creating massive headaches for the patrons
> and the marketing departments. Kings Island had a pretty mediocre 2007
> and I can't imagine 2008 being a vast improvement. If they choose not
> to re-up the Nick trademarks, they will be selling off parks within 3
> years of that choice. Mark my words.

Which 3?

They only have 5 parks that even have competitors, and that's only because
KI/CP/MIAdv cross-compete. Who has real local threats? Knotts and CGA?

Quote:
> -????: The financial crisis could be worldwide and thus could bring a
> lot of parks to a stop.

You know, our last "financial crisis" came two years before the last coaster
boom.

--
|\-/|
<0 0>
=(o)=
-Wolf

 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by Rastus O'Ging » Sat, 04 Oct 2008 02:27:12

Quote:

> You know, our last "financial crisis" came two years before the last coaster
> boom.

> --
> |\-/|
> <0 0>
> =(o)=
> -Wolf

Yeah, but we didn't elect a socialist as President during that
"crisis".

-R

 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by 182fee » Sat, 04 Oct 2008 07:34:13


Quote:
> Which 3?

I think GOS meant within three years, not three parks.  I think also
that letting the Nick association drop would spell doom for CF.  They
need to ante up for a new contract, there's no way Peanuts can carry
the kids' areas at the ex-Paramounts.

I also think Wild Adventures will be OK for some time, they're under
Herschend now. Even with an attendance dip at Dollywood this year,
they're the only chain operator outside of Disney & Universal that
isn't saddled with debt, or trying to run too many parks, or are the
object of a selloff by a new parent company.  They're doing OK.

 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by BaSSiStiS » Sat, 04 Oct 2008 08:28:34


Quote:
> Yeah, but we didn't elect a socialist as President during that
> "crisis".

Yes, we did (well, the Supreme Court did). Or did you somehow miss Comrade
Bush's plan for "the state" to take over numerous banks, lending
institutions, and insurance companies?

Sadly, I think you scored more points trying to paint Obama as a Turrrist.
Maybe you could blame Rev. Wright for the parks that are failing?

 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by GodsOnSafar » Sat, 04 Oct 2008 11:50:35

Quote:
> I think GOS meant within three years, not three parks. ?I think also
> that letting the Nick association drop would spell doom for CF. ?They
> need to ante up for a new contract, there's no way Peanuts can carry
> the kids' areas at the ex-Paramounts.

That's exactly what I was going for. Killing something that is a clear
winner and replacing it with something that, well, isn't, simply isn't
gonna cut it. This is especially true as buying power decreases and
you're likely looking more to families and group outings than
***agers. Understand that I don't think Cedar Fair is equated to Six
Flags yet in my mind. What Six Flags was in 1999-2000 was, while
exciting in terms of expansion, astounding in the lack of quality
control. Cedar Fair seems to have at least some of the basics down,
but they lack in the execution and the little things.
 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by GodsOnSafar » Sat, 04 Oct 2008 11:53:10


Quote:


> > Yeah, but we didn't elect a socialist as President during that
> > "crisis".

> Yes, we did (well, the Supreme Court did). Or did you somehow miss Comrade
> Bush's plan for "the state" to take over numerous banks, lending
> institutions, and insurance companies?

Even Marx stood back in awe with that one. Maybe Rastus is really
e***d to own parts of a number of investment properties in the
Phoenix and Denver suburbs?
 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by GodsOnSafar » Sat, 04 Oct 2008 11:58:16

Quote:
> They don't seem to think much of their wooden coaster, given my success this
> year. I still have that fscking replacement ticket in my wallet, the fscks.

We will miss you Clementon.

Quote:
> They seem to mainly cater to a locale audience that uses the hell out of
> their water park. It seems a manageable niche.

> BTW -- to be really pedantic, Lakeside is a racetrack/amu***t park.

Didn't even realize there was a track there at one point operating.
Apparently its still there in a sense too. Funny that at Lakeside, the
racetrack is the decrepit thing laying around while at Williams Grove
its the coaster.

Quote:
> > -????: The financial crisis could be worldwide and thus could bring a
> > lot of parks to a stop.

> You know, our last "financial crisis" came two years before the last coaster
> boom.

True. I wonder if there's a reasonable comparison between the park
closures between 1985-1987 and 2005-2008.
 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by Victor Canfiel » Tue, 07 Oct 2008 23:17:30

Quote:

> I think GOS meant within three years, not three parks.  I think also
> that letting the Nick association drop would spell doom for CF.  They
> need to ante up for a new contract, there's no way Peanuts can carry
> the kids' areas at the ex-Paramounts.

I am curious about that.  Do you think that the tie-ins increase the
number of families with children who go to a park, either by influencing
the choice of an amu***t park rather than another entertainment
activity, or by affecting the choice of which amu***t park to visit?
Or do the tie-ins significantly increase merchandise sales?  I am
skeptical.  But then, my local park's tie-ins involve chocolate bars and
other candies.
 
 
 

Endangered Parks: Just who is?

Post by GodsOnSafar » Sat, 11 Oct 2008 12:01:24


Quote:

> > I think GOS meant within three years, not three parks. ?I think also
> > that letting the Nick association drop would spell doom for CF. ?They
> > need to ante up for a new contract, there's no way Peanuts can carry
> > the kids' areas at the ex-Paramounts.

> I am curious about that. ?Do you think that the tie-ins increase the
> number of families with children who go to a park, either by influencing
> the choice of an amu***t park rather than another entertainment
> activity, or by affecting the choice of which amu***t park to visit?
> Or do the tie-ins significantly increase merchandise sales? ?I am
> skeptical. ?But then, my local park's tie-ins involve chocolate bars and
> other candies.

I think the success of the Paramount kids areas, particularly PKI,
comes down to them having characters the kids know and love. Peanuts
is nice and all, but Nickelodeon is far more current. Kids now those
intellectual properties far more intimately in general, and we're at a
point now where Nickelodeon has been able to affect significant change
on those demographics for 20 years. Get rid of those and try to cheap
out and there are going to be consequences, just as there were when CF
decided that the Paramount IPs weren't worth the money.