Cedar Fair

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Cedar Fair L.P.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
Company typePublic
NYSEFUN
IndustryAmusement Parks
Founded1983; 41 years ago (1983)
HeadquartersSandusky, Ohio, U.S.
Number of locations
16
Area served
United States
Canada
Key people
  • Richard Zimmerman​ (president and CEO)
RevenueIncreaseUS$1.82 billion (2022)[1]
Increase US$520 million (2022)[1]
Increase US$308 million (2022)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$3.38 billion (2022)[1]
Number of employees
4,400 full time, 48,800 seasonal (2022)[2]
Websitewww.cedarfair.com

Cedar Fair, L.P., formally Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, is a publicly traded master limited partnership headquartered at its Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. The company owns and operates eleven amusement parks, thirteen outdoor water parks, one indoor water park, and fourteen resort properties in the US and Canada.[3]

In November 2023, Cedar Fair announced plans to merge with Six Flags. The merged company will retain the Six Flags name and be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, but Cedar Fair will maintain majority ownership.[4]

History

Cedar Point Amusement Park began as a bathing beach resort in the 1870s, and its growing popularity as a recreational destination led to the formation of Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company in 1887. The company was founded with the purpose of expanding the resort commercially. An economic depression in the 1890s threatened the resort's future, however. A newly formed business, Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company of Indiana led by George Arthur Boeckling, purchased Cedar Point for $256,000 in 1897. It was later reorganized as the G.A. Boeckling Company.[5]

The resort thrived under Boeckling's leadership, which lasted through 1931.[5] G.A. Boeckling Company continued to control operations at the amusement park for much of the 20th century.[5] A proposal in 1974 to build an amusement park in Cambridge Township, Michigan, was contemplated and later abandoned the following year.[6] Then in 1978, Cedar Point acquired Valleyfair amusement park. Parent company Cedar Fair Limited Partnership, commonly known as Cedar Fair, was formed in 1983.[7] Its name was derived from both parks – "Cedar" representing Cedar Point and "Fair" representing Valleyfair. The company went public on April 29, 1987.[7] Under Cedar Fair's leadership, Cedar Point grew to become one of the largest amusement parks in the world, and the company increased its portfolio by acquiring other amusement properties throughout the United States.[5]

Dick Kinzel era

The first acquisition of the new Cedar Fair company came in 1992 when Cedar Fair bought Dorney Park from Harris Weinstein. Cedar Fair also bought Worlds of Fun from Hunt-Midwest in 1995.[8] One of the biggest acquisitions came in 1997 when Cedar Fair bought Knott's Berry Farm from the Knott family.[9][10] This marked the first time Cedar Fair operated a year-round amusement park. The acquisition included operations of the Camp Snoopy indoor park at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. In 2005, Cedar Fair withdrew from the lease arrangement leaving Mall of America to manage the park on its own. Mall of America formed a partnership with the Nickelodeon franchise in 2007 and continues to operate under the name Nickelodeon Universe. Several new water park properties named Knott's Soak City opened around the southern California area since the acquisition which included Buena Park in 1999, Chula Vista in 2000 and Palm Springs in 2001.[11][12] Michigan's Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan was purchased for $27.6 million in 2001.[13]

Cedar Fair opened its first indoor water park in November 2004, Castaway Bay. It was added to the former Radisson Hotel which was then renamed. The indoor waterpark resort is open year-round.[14]

Larger acquisitions followed in 2004 with Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. Cedar Fair purchased the park for $145 million, reverting its name to Geauga Lake, as it was before its Six Flags branding in 2000.[15][16] Subsequently, Cedar Fair stripped the park of all references to Looney Tunes and DC Comics characters which were licensed properties owned by Six Flags. The zoological and marine life portion of the complex (SeaWorld Ohio), which was annexed to the theme park in 2001, was also shuttered. Six Flags retained ownership of the animals.[17] The amusement park remained in Cedar Fair's portfolio through 2007,[18] and the water park continued to operate as Wildwater Kingdom through 2016.[19][20]

On May 22, 2006, Cedar Fair announced it had outbid competitors and intended to purchase all five parks in the Paramount Parks chain, including Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton and the management agreement of Bonfante Gardens. On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair announced that it had completed its acquisition of Paramount Parks from CBS Corporation in a cash transaction valued at US$1.24 billion.[21][22] Shortly following the transfer of ownership, Cedar Fair began the process of integrating the two companies. With the purchase of the Paramount Parks, Cedar Fair LP announced that it would do business under the name Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. Cedar Fair LP remains the legal company name.[23]

WindSeeker opened at Cedar Point in 2011, and the ride was also added to other Cedar Fair parks.

The individual parks continued to operate under their Paramount names during the 2006 season, however Cedar Fair began removing the Paramount name and logo from the parks in January 2007. The names of the parks were changed back to their original pre-Paramount names (the Paramount's prefix was removed) with the Cedar Fair corporate logo added. Bonfante Gardens was changed to Gilroy Gardens. Cedar Fair began removing references to Paramount Pictures. Although the acquisition granted Cedar Fair a ten-year licensing deal for Paramount names and icons, such as Star Trek, Cedar Fair opted to terminate the agreement and not pay an annual licensing fee. All references to Paramount/CBS-licensed properties were removed before the beginning of the 2008 season.[24] This deal also included a four-year licensing deal for Nickelodeon names and icons, such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Rugrats, this agreement was retained until it expired prior to the 2010 season.

In December 2009, it was announced that

hostile takeover.[30]

On September 16, 2011, JMA Ventures, LLC entered into an agreement to purchase California's Great America from Cedar Fair and take ownership of the Gilroy Gardens management contract.[31][32] The agreement required approval of Santa Clara's city council which was scheduled to vote on the matter on December 6, 2011. However, JMA canceled its plans to purchase Great America and bowed out of the agreement.[33][34]

Matt Ouimet era

On June 20, 2011, Cedar Fair announced that long term CEO

Dick Kinzel would retire on January 3, 2012, and that Matt Ouimet would take his spot as the CEO of Cedar Fair.[35][36] Ouimet had been employed by The Walt Disney Company for 17 years, including serving as president of Disney Cruise Line and president of the Disneyland Resort. He officially became CEO on January 3.[36]
Cedar Fair launched new websites for their parks in 2012 as well as a new marketing campaign, Thrills Connect.

On November 20, 2012, Cedar Fair announced it had sold its Knott's Soak City: San Diego location to

On September 5, 2016, Cedar Fair closed Wildwater Kingdom, the last operating part of the former Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom. A portion of the land that once contained both properties has since been redeveloped.

Richard Zimmerman era

On October 4, 2017, Cedar Fair announced that Ouimet would step down as CEO and be succeeded by COO Richard Zimmerman on January 1, 2018. Ouimet would remain with the company, taking the newly created position of executive chairman of the board of directors.[39]

On March 27, 2019, Cedar Fair announced it was purchasing the land occupied by California's Great America from the City of Santa Clara.[40] The 112 acres beneath the park cost $150 million. Cedar Fair had been previously leasing the land from the County of Santa Clara for 6 to 7 million per year.[41]

In April, 2019, Cedar Fair announced a partnership with Feld Entertainment to bring a Monster Jam Thunder Alley Area to select Cedar Fair parks.[42]

On June 13, 2019, it was announced that Cedar Fair had signed a $261 million deal with Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts to buy their Galveston and New Braunfels locations, with the option to buy Schlitterbahn Kansas City for an additional $6 million,[43] and the rights to the Schlitterbahn name.[44]

On July 2, 2019, it was announced that Cedar Fair had acquired the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio.[45] The property cost $13.5 million.[46]

In October 2019, Six Flags offered to buy Cedar Fair for $4 billion, however the offer was turned down.[47][48]

On July 29, 2021, Cedar Fair announced the submission of plans to the City of Sandusky to build a $28 million esports arena expansion of the Cedar Fair Sports Center. Targeted opening in the first half of 2023 [49][50]

On December 31, 2021, the contract to manage Gilroy Gardens expired. Both Gilroy Gardens Inc., the nonprofit that owns the park, and Cedar Fair agreed not to renew the contract.[51]

On February 1, 2022, news broke that

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment made an unsolicited all-cash bid to buy Cedar Fair for $3.4 billion.[52] Exactly two weeks later, on February 15, 2022, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment issued a statement that the offer had been rejected.[53]

In June 2022, the company announced that it was selling the land occupied by Great America to Prologis, a real estate development company, for $310 million.[54] Cedar Fair signed an 11-year lease from the buyer and intends to close the park at the conclusion of the lease.[54]

On November 2, 2023, Cedar Fair and

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation announced that they would merge; the combined company, worth an estimated $8 billion, according to the company, and will become the largest regional amusement park company in the world.[55] Described as a "merger of equals",[55] the combined company will have 27 amusement parks, 15 water parks, and 9 resort properties in its portfolio. It will operate under the Six Flags name but will retain Cedar Fair's stock exchange ticker symbol, FUN.[56] President and CEO of Cedar Fair, Richard Zimmerman, will serve as President and CEO of the new combined company, while Selim Bassoul, President and CEO of Six Flags, will become the executive chairman of the company's board of directors.[55] Some financial and administrative functions will remain at Cedar Fair offices in Sandusky, Ohio, while the company's headquarters will be located in Charlotte, North Carolina.[56]

Properties

Amusement parks

Kings Island's original fountains with the Eiffel Tower
Corkscrew coaster at Cedar Point
Entrance to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
Aerial view of Carowinds
Entrance to Pup's Pier at South Bay Shores waterpark
Name Location Year Opened Year Acquired Roller Coasters Notes
California's Great America Santa Clara, California 1976 2006 9 Open year-round. Acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Canada's Wonderland Vaughan, Ontario, Canada 1981 2006 18 Cedar Fair's most visited seasonal park, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Carowinds Charlotte, North Carolina 1973 2006 14 Open year-round. Acquired in Paramount Parks deal. A portion of the park is in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Cedar Point Sandusky, Ohio 1870 Founding Franchise 16 Cedar Fair's flagship park and the oldest park in the chain. Cedar Fair's corporate headquarters are at this park.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Allentown, Pennsylvania 1884 1992 7 First park acquired under the Cedar Fair name, acquired from Harris Weinstein. Purchase price $48M[57]
Kings Dominion Doswell, Virginia 1975 2006 13 Open year-round. Acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Kings Island Mason, Ohio 1972 2006 14 Acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Knott's Berry Farm Buena Park, California 1920 1997 9 Acquired from Knott Family in 1997, the park is open year-round and is the most-visited Cedar Fair park.[58]
Michigan's Adventure Muskegon, Michigan 1956 2001 7 Acquired from the Jourden family. Purchase price $28M[59]
Valleyfair Shakopee, Minnesota 1976 1978 8 Acquired by Cedar Point. Cedar Point and Valleyfair then formed Cedar Fair in 1987.
Worlds of Fun Kansas City, Missouri 1973 1995 8 Acquired from Hunt-Midwest. Purchase price $40M[60]

Water parks

Outdoor

Included with admission
Name Location Year Opened Year Acquired Notes
Carolina Harbor Carowinds 1982 as Ocean Island 2006 Located within Carowinds, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Oceans of Fun Worlds of Fun 1982 1995 Located adjacent to Worlds of Fun. In 2013, the water park became included with admission to Worlds of Fun.[61]
Soak City Kings Dominion 1992 as Hurricane Reef 2006 Located within Kings Dominion, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Soak City Kings Island 1989 as WaterWorks 2006 Located within Kings Island, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Soak City Valleyfair 1983 as Liquid Lightning Built by Cedar Fair Located within Valleyfair.
South Bay Shores California's Great America 2004 as Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay 2006 Located within California's Great America, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
Splash Works Canada's Wonderland 1992 2006 Located within Canada's Wonderland, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.
WildWater Adventure Michigan's Adventure 1991 2001 Located within Michigan's Adventure.
Wildwater Kingdom Dorney Park 1985 1992 Located within Dorney Park.
Separate admission/property
Name Location Year Opened Year Acquired Notes
Cedar Point Shores Sandusky, Ohio 1988 as Soak City Built by Cedar Fair Located adjacent to Cedar Point.
Knott's Soak City Buena Park, California 2000 as Knotts Soak City USA Built by Cedar Fair Located adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm. Opened under the name, Soak City U.S.A.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Galveston, Texas 2006 2019 [62]
Schlitterbahn New Braunfels New Braunfels, Texas 1979 2019

Indoor

Name Location Year Opened Notes
Castaway Bay Sandusky, Ohio 2004 Cedar Fair's only indoor water park, located about a mile from Cedar Point.

Former

Name Location Year Opened/Acquired Year Closed/Sold Notes
Geauga Lake Aurora, Ohio 2004 2007 Purchased from Six Flags in 2004 for $145 million. Closed ride side in 2007, the water park, Wildwater Kingdom, closed on September 5, 2016.
Gilroy Gardens Gilroy, California 2006 2021 Acquired in Paramount Parks deal, formerly managed by Cedar Fair until December 2021.
Knott's Camp Snoopy Mall of America 1992 2005 In 2005, closed for renovation. MOA and Cedar Fair dissolved their agreement in 2006. Now operates as Nickelodeon Universe.
Knott's Soak City: Palm Springs Palm Springs, California 2001 2013 Opened under the name, Oasis Water Park. Sold to
CNL Lifestyle Properties.[38]
Knott's Soak City: San Diego Chula Vista, California 2000 2012 Opened under the name, White Water Canyon. Sold to
Sesame Place.[37]
Star Trek: The Experience Las Vegas, Nevada 2006 2008 Acquired in Paramount Parks deal. Closed in 2008, Cedar Fair lost rights to reopen the attraction from CBS Studios in 2010.
Wildwater Kingdom Aurora, Ohio 2005 2016 Located on former SeaWorld Ohio site.

Fast Lane

Fast Lane is Cedar Fair's version of an expedited queue system. It was first announced for Kings Island on July 18, 2011.[63] The park served as the testing park for it. For an increased cost, visitors get a wrist band which gives them the ability to wait in a shorter queue for most attractions. Originally, it could only be used from noon to 7:00 PM, but it was soon expanded to be available all day. On January 19, 2012, it was announced that Fast Lane would be rolled out at all the Cedar Fair parks for the 2012 season.[64] There is also Fright Lane, which is Fast Lane for the haunted attractions during the Halloween events.[65] For the 2016 season, Cedar Fair began testing all season Fast Lane at Valleyfair and Dorney Park. By the 2019 season, all parks offered all season Fast Lane. For the 2020 season, Cedar Fair began offering all season all park Fast Lane for $849 or more.

See also

References

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External links