Sunday, May 6, 2007

Richard Kinzel Interview

The Plain Dealer has a very nice interview with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company CEO, Richard Kinzel. You can read the whole interview through this link.

There were a lot of little gems in the article. I'm going to comment on some of them now.

• Mr. Kinzel tried to purchase Kings Island 10 years ago, but tax problems made the transaction fall though. There were 80 parties looking to buy the Paramount Parks when they went for sale in 2006. Cedar Fair just so happened to be the high bidders.

• "As far as Cedar Fair goes, we have no intention of going over 430 feet."

• Cedar Point hit an attendance high of 3.6 million in 1996, this past season was 3.1 million.

• Great Adventure ordered Kingda Ka while Top Thrill Dragster was under construction. Kinzel notes that they probably would never have gone through with it if they knew how it would operate.

• They planned a $100 million indoor water park for Geauga Lake. Had it ready to take to the board for approval, but Kalahari opened and they pulled out on the plans. Kinzel just called it a "$100 million water park at Geauga Lake," but it's in the section talking about the indoor water parks so I feel it's safe to assume their plan was for an indoor one. Plus, a $100 million outdoor water park would be INSANE.

• The focus for Geauga Lake will be on the water park side. Kinzel says the park would need to draw 1.2 million visitors to support the size and cost of the facility. The interviewer asks if Cedar Fair is in it for the long haul with Geauga and Kinzel sorta just says they are constantly evaluating how the property is doing. Interesting.

• The chain's most important parks are turning out to be Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island and Kings Dominion, and Canada's Wonderland has much potential.

All very interesting stuff!