Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Worlds of Fun 2008

From "Celebrating 35 Years" in 2008 to finding themselves in danger of being put on the chopping block in 2009... Who woulda thunk it? Let's rewind a year and see if we can nail down the reasons why Cedar Fair would ponder ditching this fine park. Surely it must not be on par with the rest of the parks in the chain!

Well shucks, these folks look pretty happy! And that coaster in the background sure does look flashy. Then again, I suppose most two-year-old coasters do look flashy. The prospect of shedding this property must have been far from the minds of Kinzel & Co. when they brought Patriot to Worlds of Fun back in 2006. (Or was it? Hmmm...)

If a picture speaks a thousand words, these pictures scream "fun" [pun intended]. The text, on the other hand, screams "huh?". But I think we all catch their drift: It's good to occasionally pry ourselves away from our high-tech gadgets in order to enjoy some simpler, more carefree forms of entertainment. [Unless you're reading NPN--You should never deprive yourself of that!!]

The irony, of course, is that these words of wisdom appear on a page featuring a thrill machine that would not even exist without the aid of modern technology! In its comparatively short lifetime, Worlds of Fun has seen many coasters come and go. But I think it's safe to say that Mamba, which celebrated its 10th birthday in 2008, is a keeper.

So let's take stock. Thrills? Check. Signature rides? Check. Wet fun for everyone? Check. Why is this a "lesser" park again?

This park is not lacking in the theming and entertainment departments, either. As you might imagine, Worlds of Fun features areas themed to geographic regions throughout the world. The experience is enhanced even further by festivals such as Celebrate America and Oktoberfest.

OMG, this park is so good people are DYING to get in!! Dying, I tell you! Seriously Cedar Fair, what more must the public do to convince you of the value of this park? I mean, we've got folks making the ultimate sacrifice just to experience this place. Thousands of maniacal fans can't be wrong!

Well I don't know about you, but I'm scratching my head here. Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun look like buckets of fun to me. The only thing the park is really missing is one of those newfangled GCI woodies. Oh wait...

Which brings us to the question: Exactly how long has Cedar Fair been contemplating this potential sale? Have Patriot and Prowler been mere pawns in the covert game of sprucing the place up to make it more valuable and attractive to potential buyers? With Patriot, I'd say it's a stretch. But I have a hard time believing that the decision to build Prowler was made without a hidden agenda. In any event, it's certainly shaping up to be a great coaster and I hope that Worlds of Fun's owners--whoever they may be a year from now--do their best to ensure that the coaster as well as the park are around for another 35 years!


Ron Toomer Fan said...

1. Cedar Fair is not desperate to sell the park. They will only sell for a favorable price.
2. Worlds of Fun does not compete with any other CF park making it a more comfortable sell. Why do you think GL was scrapped and never put on the market?
3. CF has owned WOF since 1995. Their big rides, concrete, and trash can strategy has not produced the major increases in attendence and profit that have occured at DP, KBF, and MIA. However, WOF has seen growth through locally intiated concerts, special events, and marketing of season passes. CF would simply rather have all of their parks fit the "Ride Warriors" management and marketing method.

jmerritt said...

While I am sure CF planned to close Geauga Lake from the start, I think the WOF sale is a more recent decision due to the need to raise some cash to cover the debt incurred when they purchased the "Paramount Parks" chain.

Another point-- the brochure doesn't show the vacant lots where beloved attractions once stood. CF has torn out as many attractions as they have added and the new ones are not what they could have been.

I am a new reader and have been enjoying your site. Thanks.

Sabrina said...

All good points, and all very true. I have no doubt that the debt incurred as a result of the Paramount purchase is the primary motivating factor behind this potential sale. I found it odd that CF would consider shedding a park that has a virtual monopoly over its local market, but the point about WOF being geographically distant from the rest of the CF parks from a competition perspective is well taken.

NewsPlusNotes said...

Another reason it's odd that they would pick WoF to ditch is that it's one of a very limited # of parks that the company has that has its own hotel (of sorts) - the company obviously identified growth potential in the property.

But really, I think they're desperate to stay afloat right now all things considered.