Sunday, July 3, 2022

Cedar Fair Sells California's Great America Land + Plans to Close Park


© California's Great America
Last week Cedar Fair announced that they have sold the land that California's Great America sits on and plans to "wind-down" the operation of the park and close it permanently.  As part of the sale of the land the company will immediately lease back the operation of the park.  The land was sold to Prologis Inc., a company who "acquires, develops and maintains the largest collection of high-quality logistics real estate in the world" - basically they develop and own warehouse operations.


The land was sold for $310 million, and if you recall Cedar Fair purchased the land under California's Great America in 2019 for $150 million.  Ironically, at that time Cedar Fair's CEO commented that the purchase "underscores Cedar Fair’s long-term commitment to California’s Great America."  That commitment appears to have lasted until the land more than doubled in value.


But, to be fair, the pandemic got in the way.  Cedar Fair's press release on the sale points out that the money from the land sale will be used for "reducing debt to achieve its $2 billion target, investing in high-return projects within its portfolio such as upgrading resort properties, and reinstating a sustainable unitholder distribution."  I think the restart of the distribution is key here, as the company has long sold itself to investors as a solid and reliable dividend payer - and obviously the dividend was stopped during the pandemic.  Slapping a bunch of cash against the debt they took on to survive the pandemic will allow them to restart the dividend in just a couple months from now.

 

© California's Great America
Cedar Fair put some additional details in their filing with the SEC about the sale.  The lease they have runs for six years, and has an optional 5 year extension.  So the maximum the park can operate is 11 more years.  However, Prologis can notify Cedar Fair they want the park closed with a 2 year notice.  Cedar Fair will pay $12.2 million in rent each year to operate the park, with the rent going up 2.5% each year.  Without knowing each parties' exact intentions it is still hard to believe that the park will operate beyond the initial 6 year lease, and potentially will cease operations well before that.

 

California's Great America was poised for a large expansion period that started back in 2017 when Cedar Fair started talking with local officials about adding large rides and making a big part of the park a shopping and dining area with no gates.  Things did get a bit suspect over the years as none of these big plans ever materialized, aside from the waterpark expansion, which in hindsight makes sense. We actually wrote a post back in 2016 that referenced a story of another developer wanting to raze the park for housing, so uncertainty has always been floating above the park.  Going back further, in 2011 Cedar Fair actually agreed to sell the park only to have the sale fall through - though that was very much tied to their unhappiness with the development of the giant stadium next door.

 

The sale of the park is only the land, Cedar Fair retains all rides and structures, so there is a possibility for some of the attractions to be relocated or sold to other operators.


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Dorney Park 6.26.22 Park Update


© NewsPlusNotes
Time for a small update as Dorney Park's summer season kicks into full gear.  The park recently extended their hours starting July 1st running through August 7th, during this time the amusement park will be open from 10 am until 10 pm, which are now what I consider pre-pandemic "old school" hours that we haven't seen in quite a while.  Anecdotally, the park seems pretty darn busy this year so I'm guessing the daily attendance levels are working to make extended hours fiscally smart.  Either way, this means true night rides are back if you are interested - plus a nighttime parade during Grand Carnivale!


Up top I noticed the park is proudly flying a pride flag out front, nice move on their part!


© NewsPlusNotes

© NewsPlusNotes
The park is starting preparations for Grand Carnivale, which will run July 23rd through August 7th this year.  Aside from many signs throughout the park advertising the awesome event, the park has also started to put up the main performance stage for Grand Carnivale - located on the back side of the Carousel on the Main Midway.  Dorney has the Grand Carnivale website updated for 2022, so if you want to start to plan your visit click on over.


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© NewsPlusNotes

Some early Halloween Haunt news - the facade / building that was created for CornStalkers has been torn down.  While perhaps it's being rebuilt, the dumpster collecting its remains looks to make it clear that it is gone, at least for now.  CornStalkers is still one of the most popular Haunts at the park, so I have to wonder if they are refreshing it for 2022 and in order to do so the house structure had to come down.  If the entire Haunt was going away, I would think they'd at least remove the CornStalkers sign out front!


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Dorney Park has done some great things in recent years to honor their history, and I pray that continues at the park with its new leadership.  One of the great surprises for 2022 was the recreation of the Alfundo House, which has been placed in back of the Zephyr train station.  


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The new Alfundo House is colorful and fun, just like Alfundo is.  It servers as a place for guests to meet and have a photo taken with Alfundo himself, but also Morgan, the character from the Steel Force logo.  There are also games and activities that guests can take part in.  It also obviously (and literally) gives Alfundo a residence within the park, which is great for guests to get to know him since he hasn't been around in quite a while.


The park used the original Alfundo House as their inspiration for the new location at the park.  The above is from one of the park's old brochures - explaining that the Alfundo house was an information center, ticket office and souvenir stand.  Hey Dorney, time to get a pos out there next to the new Alfundo House to sell some of that awesome merchandise you've had created!


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I know it's not a new ride or anything too thrilling, but it is great to see Dorney Park spend time and money on something that doesn't immediately turn a profit - instead honors the park's past and connects new generations with Alfundo.  Well.  Done.


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© NewsPlusNotes

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© NewsPlusNotes

I've noticed some new merchandise being added to the park's stores as items probably get off delayed shipping containers - lol.  These magnets are definitely new and definitely cool.  I've seen other Cedar Fair parks do similar designs with their rides for decoration and also souvenirs, and I love these Dorney versions.  The Steel Force and especially the Possessed ones are fantastic.  And the inclusion of Demon Drop is always nice as well!


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I admit I had a little flutter of excitment when I saw 'stuff' back behind Stinger Field... however I do believe these are items that will go out for Grand Carnivale.  I don't remember those fancy benches before, but they certainly fit with the theme.  Plus, there's a ton of other chairs and tables being brought out of storage for the event in this area as well.  Aww, shucks.


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 Otherwise, Stinger Field is just as green and vacant as ever!  Till next time!


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Canada's Wonderland Releases Info on Lazy Bear Lodge Restaurant


© Canada's Wonderland
Canada's Wonderland announced last year that they would be constructing a massive new restaurant within the theme park, but we have been waiting a long time to hear all the details of the project.  Wait no more, as the park has produced a new blog entry about Lazy Bear Lodge: Wood Fired Grille that includes concept art, construction photos and even a video tour.


The project is of interest to me since Cedar Fair is making it well known that they intend to keep spending capital dollars on food and beverage projects at the parks.  Lazy Bear Lodge is one of the largest ones we've seen the company do, and it just may set a precedent for the future of projects at the other larger parks in the chain.


© Canada's Wonderland
Lazy Bear Lodge will feature two levels and a large outdoor seating area as well (seen above), allowing for 500 people at a time.  The rustic lodge themed structure is built into a hill overlooking the Frontier Canada themed area, and that hill is how it easily has two levels of seating for guests.  There will also be a deck area overlooking rides including Yukon Striker.  There will be a gas firepit outside, and two fireplaces located inside the building and many black bear statues located around the seating areas.  All together, this is quite a lot of theming, a huge size, and numerous amenities for a regional theme park dining facility - impressive.


Two different meat smokers will be uitilized to create dishes such as "Lazy Bear Spice-Rubbed Wellington County Smoked Beef Brisket and Bradford Bay Smoked BBQ Chicken."  Other treats include "Loaded Ontario Potatoes, the Catch of the Day, and – at the restaurant’s indoor/outdoor bar - a new lineup of Canadian drinks including the classic Caesar."

 

Be sure to stop by Canada's Wonderland's blog entry for more photos and details on the Lazy Bear Lodge - it will open at the park later this summer.


Sunday, June 12, 2022

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tops Off Wonder Woman Flight of Courage


© Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain has topped off their brand new coaster, the park's 20th, Wonder Woman Flight of Courage.  A near clone of the single-rail Rocky Mountain Construction coaster the Jersey Devil at Six Flags Great Adventure, Wonder Woman is a highly anticipated attraction at the Southern California theme park.


Featuring golden yellow single rail track and bright red supports, the coaster is fully decked out in honor of its Wonder Woman theme.  Crews had been making quick process on installing the ride at first, then things slowed down for a while, but now all the track and supports are in place.  The ride's highest point, seen above, was just installed and completes the layout.


© Six Flags Magic Mountain
Wonder Woman Flight of Courage stands 131 feet tall and features 3,300 feet of track.  The first drop is taken at a 87 degree angle, pushing trains to a top speed of 58 miles per hour.  The layout includes three inversions, a Raven Dive, Zero G Roll and a 180 degree Stall.


No official word just yet on when Wonder Woman Flight of Courage will open, aside from a general "summer 2022" note from Six Flags Magic Mountain.


Saturday, June 4, 2022

SeaWorld Orlando Confirms New First-Of-A-Kind Roller Coaster for 2023


© SeaWorld Orlando
I mean we all knew this was coming, but it's certainly nice to see SeaWorld Orlando make it official!  The theme park has confirmed the addition of their 7th roller coaster, coming in 2023.  They say it's a first of a kind, and from what we know it is... mostly?


From the track and supports that have arrived on site, the park is definitely adding another B&M roller coaster to their thrill arsenal.  The ride is a rumored "surf coaster" which goes back to patent filings done way back when.  From the latest construction photos it looks like the ride's site is totally clear and footer drilling may have commenced.


© SeaWorld Orlando
Probably most interesting is that the video clip that SeaWorld Orlando released, embedded below, does have some brief shots of the ride's trains.  They are two across, not 4 like a usual B&M, and the riders are... standing.


Now the B&M stand-up coasters stopped being built for a reason - my opinion - but I'm going to have faith that the manufacturer figured things out and maybe this new generation will be great?  Either way, the ride will be launched and will be easily visible from the theme park's main entrance.


Here's the video the park has released, with more details coming this summer, of course.



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Names New VP & GM


© Dorney Park
Dorney Park has announced the transitioning of the Vice President and General Manager role from Michael Fehnel to Jessica Naderman, who will be the first female in the park's 128 year history to hold this role.  Congratulations to Jessica!


Michael Fehnel is moving into a position with the corporate side of Cedar Fair, now serving as the company's Director of Business Intelligence.  He started at Dorney Park in 1992 and worked his way up to the highest position at the park, becoming VP & GM in 2013.  He also led Carowinds as their VP & GM for two years before returning to lead Dorney Park in 2016.


Jessica Naderman © Dorney Park
Jessica has had an equally impressive history with Cedar Fair, and the amusement industry in general.  She most previously was the Assistant General Manager of Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston, but also held jobs at Kings Island, California's Great America, Valleyfair and outside of Cedar Fair for Herschend Entertainment and Palace Entertainment.


“I am thrilled to take on this new role and lead the talented team at Dorney Park,” Naderman said. “My passion for the industry will contribute to our mission of inspiring lasting connections and lifelong memories for all by delivering amazing experiences. I am honored to be Dorney Park’s first female general manager.”

 

While Jessica moves to the front lines of Dorney Park's operations, Mike Fehnel will move to a behind the scenes role.  He will "focus on evaluating and implementing strategic initiatives aimed at maximizing the operational performance of the company’s premium products such as Fast Lane."

 

“I am enthusiastic for this new opportunity to draw upon my past experience at Dorney Park and Carowinds to impact another area of our company,” said Fehnel. “Business Intelligence has become an important part of Cedar Fair, and I couldn’t be more excited to join that talented team.”


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Heard On... Six Flags Entertainment's Q1 2022 Earnings Call


© Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Company also had some generally good news to share when they recently announced their Q1 2022 earnings.  The company is moving ahead with their new CEO at the helm, and the bulk of their priorities have shifted to a focus on guest comfort visit experience.  To that end, let's take a look at some notes from the call.


•  In the first quarter, revenues were $138 million, up from $82 million in 2021.  That translated to a EBITDA loss of $16 million, improved from a loss of $46 million in 2021.  Attendance was 1.7 million guests, up from 1.3 million guests in 2021.  Total guest spending per capita was $75.46, an impressive increase from $56.16 in 2021.

 

•  Comparing 2022 to 2019 we see that revenue increased by $10 million, based off a $15 admission per capital increase and a $12 in park per capital increase.  2022 saw a 22% reduction in attendance when compared to 2019, and EBITDA in 2022 improved by $16 million over 2019.


•  Active pass base at the end of the quarter was 3.6 million, down 12% from last year.  They've stopped selling memberships, so that is to be expected.  The 3.6 million is split evenly between 1.8 million members and 1.8 million season pass holders.  The company expects their active pass base to decrease over time as they raise prices and legacy memberships end.

 

© Six Flags
•  However, the Six Flags leaders do recognize that someone people like to pay on a monthly basis for budget reasons, so they'll probably bring back a payment plan option for season passes this summer.  But it won't be a membership... it sounds more like how Cedar Fair lets you pay over a certain number of months.

 

•  The new CEO seems to really hate the all season dining plans that he eliminated.  He went on for a good while about how people would pay $80 for an all season plan and it was very unprofitable for the company, and made food lines super long and terrible.  And alienated day visitors who just wanted to get their family dinner.  By increasing admission prices, eliminating season dining and getting rid of free tickets they are pleased with the guest quality, noting that security incidents this year are down 80% compared to last year.


•  Interestingly, Six Flags has almost 3 million non-paid visits last year, a result of various program benefits.  They've eliminated that for this year, and are trending about 20% less attendance year to date than 2019.  However, guest scores and spending are up.  They believe that running at 30 million visitors a year is far too many guests for the parks to hold, and having all season dining attracts a certain kind of visitors that clogs the parks up.  They think that an overall decrease needed in attendance is probably between 10% and 15%.


© Six Flags
•  Progress is being made on six initiatives listed three months ago; priorities set out by the new CEO.  Ride throughput has been helped by adding single rider lines at many parks on busy days.  Second, staffing levels have been improved and more training is creating friendlier employees.  Third is the appearance of the parks, which is being worked on through brand new entrances at a couple parks, improved landscaping, renovated restrooms and improved dining facilities.  Fourth is offering better food, which a new executive chef has debuted items like rotisserie chicken, salads, and better versions of park staples like hamburgers and pizza.  They also debuted their own brand of coffee shop - Roller Coasters Coffee.  Fifth is guest amenities, and more benches, sun covers, more dining areas, seat cushions and improved wifi.  Sixth is upgrading park apps for guests to use, allowing them to reserve a parking spot, plan which lines to pay to skip, order food on their mobile, and in the park actually posting digital sign with ride wait times listed.


•  The park has been able to bring up the daily ticket price, part of their strategy of not giving away the gate, and that resulted in an $5 or so average increase per visitor in admission revenue.  They note that their competitors, Cedar Fair and SeaWorld, have 25-30% higher ticket prices across all types.  But, they expect to close that gap this summer or by the start of 2023.


•  2022 full year capital expenditures should be a bit higher when compared to 2021, as they have a balanced approach of "several exciting roller coasters and a focus on guest facing technology and amenities" that they are spending on.  I could not find any updates on what they plan to spend next year and moving forward.


•  The company has opted to no longer just try to grow attendance, now they're focusing on their premiumization strategy and improving guest experience to build a base to grow from.  That means reducing attendance for more comfortable visits that in turn create higher guest pending on premium products - everything from reserving lounge chairs to being able to sit and buy fancy coffee drinks and pastries.  The new CEO does a lot of defending of how that is a good plan, which makes sense, since it is his plan.  There was even a lot of justifying how parks will be busy since people want to get out of the house post-pandemic... things we already well know.  But he says that his plan is working, referencing how they plussed up the France area of Six Flags Over Texas and added a shop to buy coffee and pastries and the guests are loving it and spending money. 


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Heard On... Cedar Fair's Q1 2022 Earnings Call


© Cedar Fair

Cedar Fair announced record results for the first quarter of 2022, with strong indicators of a busy season ahead.  It seems that theme parks are still experiencing a post-pandemic rush, which is a great thing for us fans.  Cedar Fair had their usual conference call after the earnings came out, here are some notes from that:


• The January through April period had record revenues of $193 million, a $48 million increase over the first quarter of 2019 (the last really comparable quarter).  For the first three months revenues were $99 million, per capita spending was $58.86, and out of park revenues were $16 million.  Operating loss was $84 million, up from a loss of $92 million last year.  EBITDA was a loss of $68 million, up $15 million from last year.  Attendance was 1.45 million, up 24% from 2019.


•  At quarter close deferred revenue was at $234 million, up $36 million from the end of the calendar year.  Specifically, season passes were up $59 million over 2019 at the end of April, and "add on" features to passes were up $17 million.  Resort bookings were also ahead of 2019 levels, and bookings for the Cedar Point Sports Center are "very strong."


•  This year out of park revenues will be bolstered by the reopening of both Castaway Bay and Sawmill Creek resorts, which were closed last year.

 

© Cedar Fair
•  The labor market so far this year is somewhat better than last year, though hourly rates are still at a history record high.  They've introduced a "wage scale based on seniority, responsibility and job specialization" and are participating in the J-1 Visa Exchange program as much as they can.  This year Cedar Fair expects 2,400 total operating days across all parks and operating hours of 23,000, which is up 60% from 2021.  In 2021 the average seasonal labor rate was just over $17 per hour, so far this year it's 2-3% above that.


• With a big focus (and big spending to match) on culinary operations at the park, Cedar Fair reports that through the first 4 months of the year they had a F&B transaction count increase of 6%, which equates to 150,000 additional transactions, over 2019.  The average value of each transaction also increased by 25%.


•  The company is spending around $200 - $215 million on capital expenditures this year, $40 million of that was for Castaway Bay and Sawmill Creek.  Another $25 million will be for a full renovation of the Knott's Berry Farm hotel over the next year.  $60 million is being used to upgrade in-park culinary offerings and food delivery systems.  The rest (around $75 million to $90 million) is for "traditional investments in new rides, attractions and events designed to drive visitation, as well as technology and park infrastructure enhancements aimed at improving the overall guest experience." 

 

•  The CEO commented on capital expenditures and noted that he is excited about plans for 2023 and 2024.  He explained they're contracted on rides for those years and you always have to be contracted 24 months out for a new ride, and that manufacturer slots are filling up very fast as a sign of the strong industry recovery.

 

© Cedar Fair
•  The company aims to reduce long term debit to less than $2 billion, and last December paid off 50% of the loans they had to take out during the pandemic.  At the end of the first quarter total debt was $2.6 billion.  They also intend to reinstate the quarterly dividend by the 3rd quarter of this year, or sooner. 


• It sounds like the company is done giving out financial guidance.  Instead they will give updated trends at earnings releases that go past the quarter end, and trends after Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends.  So our next updated form the company will just be a couple weeks away or less.


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Dorney Park Opens For 139th Season - Let's See What's New


© NewsPlusNotes
Dorney Park opened this past weekend for the official start of its 139th season, the weekend before marked a preview for only season pass holders.  The park is operating pretty much as they did pre-covid which is a nice thing to see - granted some smaller changes (like smoking) that took place during the pandemic stuck, but things are generally back as they were.  I want to write something about being happy I won't be alive in 100 years for the next pandemic, but I'm not ready to risk jinxing things quite yet.


I digress.  The park is open!!  Granted I didn't have the best photo-taking weather but I can't complain.  Let's start at the start and take a look at all that's new or changed for 2022... a tradition we've been doing here on NewsPlusNotes for many years.


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When you approach the parking booths you may notice that the booths are brand new.  Finally!  That capital request must have been lost behind a desk for the last twenty or so years.  I kid.  They look nice and are much more comfortable appearing for cashiers.  Granted we didn't get a really nice structure built over them as we've seen at other Cedar Fair parks in recent years, but it's still a welcome change.


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Always fun to see what the park wanted to advertise on their giant posters... this year we've got season passes, plenty of jobs, and Grand Carnivale. That checks out.  However regarding staffing I will say that on my visit the park appeared very well staffed, and I hope they're able to maintain that during the summer.


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All Cedar Fair parks are cashless now, and that's not really news.  You can find several cash conversion machines throughout the park, with the above one located outside the entrance near the ticket booths.  The process seems about as seamless as you'd expect considering you can do most anything at a kiosk these days.  I have heard a few people mention they feel the cards are only valid at Dorney, obviously untrue, so hopefully the messaging on that will get stronger in time.


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I am not sure why anyone would show up anywhere without having purchased tickets online beforehand, or at least researched purchasing tickets online beforehand... but if you do that at Dorney Park the gate price this year is $70.00.  As always, all the more reason to get a season pass, which is only $109.

 

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I also noticed that the main entrance turnstiles are no longer turnstiles!  Yes, as most parks have in recent years the area has been opened up with lanes for guests to easily pass through.   This makes stroller entry much easier and just makes sense considering most guests just have their phones scanned by the host as they pass by.  Also, and not a surprise, park maps are still a thing of the past as far as I can tell, with them not returning this year.

 

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The park has cleared the mini-stage that was in the middle of the Main Midway just past the Carousel, originally the location of a water fountain, then a planter, then a box stage.  This should help open up the area during Grand Carnivale which is smart.  This part of the park is quite busy during Grand Carnivale season.


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Like the other parks in the Cedar Fair family, Coasters Drive-In has had some renovations take place that make the restaurant much more efficient this year.  Plus, the food offerings are somewhat different and definitely improved.


© NewsPlusNotes
The inside of the restaurant features cafeteria style serving, akin to what you find at Tidal Wave Cafe in Wildwater Kingdom.  After the serving area there are 4 different registers that can be staffed, and beyond that a self serve drink station.  This is a giant improvement on operations, it wasn't crowded on my visit but I'm anxious to see how it holds up during the busy summer evenings.  


Food choices were also changed, but still include hamburgers.  Now there are other dishes such as meatloaf, hand breaded chicken tenders and pot roast as well.

 

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There is a chance that some items I note in this article were new last year, and I just missed them, but I'll mention them regardless.  I believe that Talon's on ride photos got a snazzy new sign. 


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The arcade on the main midway has been changed considerably inside.  This comes as Cedar Fair has partnered with an outside company to run the arcades at many of their parks, Dorney included.  There is new paint on the walls, all new games to explore, and a new prize area as well.  It looks great this year, and still serves as an excellent place to get a bit of air conditioning on a hot day.  Also of note, I think the same company is handling the vending style games that are located down by the gift shop across from Possessed.


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Also on the Main Midway is a brand new game, the Soccer Challenge, located next to the Wild Mouse's exit ramp.  Pretty straight forward game, kick the ball through the goal and win!


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White Water Landing has received love in the past few off-seasons, as the ride ages the park is spending considerable cash to keep it in tip top shape.  This year the ride's supports have been repainted a much darker shade than they've ever been before.


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The lighting on the day I visited was poor due to the cloudy sky, so here is a photo from last year that gives a decent comparison to the above photos - you can definitely see the supports rocking their new look.


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The Seasons of Fun marketing message is popular with many Cedar Fair parks, and I don't recall seeing it at Dorney before.  As the year just is getting started, we still have the hot summer season, the fun of Grand Carnivale, and spooky Halloween activity (spooky, thank goodness) to look forward to.


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A look at the live entertainment being offered in 2022 at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom.  The park should be proud, as the Uprights dueling piano show has really taken off and is now featured at several parks in the chain!  I could be wrong, but I think it originated at Dorney.


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The change in pavement here made me think something was new, and yes, this planter is new.  Why does that matter?  It doesn't, I just noticed it was different, then doubted myself, but then thankfully...


© Google
Google Street View to the rescue!  The park has a lot of large mature trees, and unfortunately sometimes they get diseased and have to come down.  Such is life.


© NewsPlusNotes
Dorney has been making strides in upping the comfort level of the park, with additional seating in recent years.  They definitely took another step forward this year by adding these nice little covered seating areas for guests to relax in.  I spotted at least 4 of them, and did take a minute to relax at one.  Great improvement!


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I'm not sure if the more permanent sign about Thunderhawk being an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark is new or not, but it was new to me.  The ride will have its 100th season next year, and it's 100th anniversary the following year.  #bringbackthetunnel


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Stinger field is looking.... grassy.  And undisturbed in any way.  However I did notice that the park cleared the treeline that was bordering the entrance road, back behind that green fence you can see.  They planted some small bushes in place of the removed trees, some of which were pretty big.  


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And luckily because I take far too many photos of an empty field each year I have one from last year for comparison.  I put a rectangle around some of the trees you could see along the road that are no longer there.

Does this mean anything?  Maybe.  Probably not.  I'm not ready to get too excited yet... let's wait a bit longer.


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Monster got a brand new entrance marquee, looking good with the tentacle font!  I'd like to use the tentacle font to type these stories, if available please.


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The Whip had some work done to the roof, very noticeable as the facade that was applied to the top of the roof line was removed.  I'm thinking the roof needed some work, or the facade was just at the end of its life, but either way the building has a cleaner, simpler look now.  The inside got some new popcorn lights, I believe.  I adore that the park takes such good care of such a classic ride.


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There is a nice covered seating area (again, might have been last year) that is situated next to the ice cream and funnel cake outlet in the lower part of the park.  Plus, the park relocated the ice cream sign that was located at the soft serve stand which was removed a couple years ago.  That sign is very much a part of older-Dorney, nice to see it back.


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Last but not least, in fact probably most importantly, the park now offers six custom designed Made to Thrill posters.  Alfundo gets his own, Steel Force, Talon, Thunderhawk and Hydra each have one, and Hercules has one too!  Just so awesome.  I cannot reveal how many of them are already in my home!  They're exclusively available at the park, so make sure to grab one, or six, while visiting.


That's it for now, stay tuned for future updates this season!