it's Tuesday and RD is back with another one of his great articles.
Kind of a new series within a series, he's taking another look at Cedar Point today, but from a different point of view. Not necessarily what's "wrong" with Cedar Point, but what RD would do if he ran Cedar Point.
Written by RD Sussman
Starting with this post, every now and again I'll be taking a look at existing parks, and how I'd run them if I were the GM. To that end, I'll be using the park's own financial data, layouts, etc. to keep it within a reasonable window of actual financial & operational means - that is, I'd be running the park, but not in 'sandbox mode'.
This week, I decided to use Cedar Point as if I were GM. To start, I looked carefully at my past visits, as well as to what the park has done over the past 15 years. I looked at their financial records, attendence records & other factors, and then put myself in the position of GM.
As I look at the park currently, it is in relatively good shape. Most of the park is kept up with, with some areas needing more attention than others. I'm also discouraged with how I see the park has neglected certain areas. CP has some of the tallest rides on earth, as well as basic collection of coasters of different shapes & sizes. Flat rides are a relatively good balance, again different shapes & sizes. Food outlets tend to be placed in somewhat prominent areas, but in some cases necessary facilities such as restrooms & guest service areas are quite a distance from each other. Landscaping is pretty, but could use a few touch-ups.
First, let's address the coaster collection: CP has a broad base of coaster technologies. However, looking at the past 15 years, no real strides forward have been made in the balance of the collection. I see a huge problem in this, especially with the neglect of older attractions that have lost their lustre & their glory. Of note:
So, looking at these rides, I've come up with this:
As for the rest of the coasters, this is a hard picture to settle out. While many of the coasters are in good condition, some have outlasted more than they should. In this, there are a few that I would consider either retooling or replacing entirely with newer technology. The issue is, of course, space & placement. Some rides are squeezed into locations that would make efficient replacement nearly impossible.
Flat rides: Most of CP's flat rides are in good condition, but much like many parks around the world could always use a boost. The critical issue with most flat rides is capacity, something that CP has tended to try and boost as much as possible. To this end, there are holes in their lineup which could be easily filled with good, thrilling rides. Gerstlauer, MACK, Zamperla & many others offer new-generation thrills in a small space, some of which would be exceptional additions to CP's lineup. A SkyRoller from Gerstlauer, for example, would give a great new visual to the existing skyline, as well as giving a totally new concept in thrill rides at the same time.
Water rides: This is an area where CP, much like their sister parks in the chain, has pretty much turned over to their water parks. I find this to be a HUGE mistake, and one I'd rectify as a priority. While rides such as Shoot The Rapids have been added, classic rides are missing, including a standard Log Flume. What parks don't realize as these rides may not be top-ten thrillers, they do draw an audience, and on a warm day they are well worth the audience. River Rapids rides (Such as Thunder Canyon) do a good job - but some people don't want to get that wet, especially if walking around a theme park all day. Smaller water rides & other such attractions would work.
Family/Junior rides: This is an area where CP is failing at, particularly in the nature of additions & upgrades. While CP has added smaller flat rides over the past 15 years, the key focus on the total demograpic has been forgotten about. None of the coasters added in the past 15 years have addressed the family audience, and two family attractions were removed. This is a huge mistake, especially as there is a major demographic change going on throughout the USA. while families are getting smaller, parks are only focusing on the thrill audience (at high expense no less) who will soon want more middle-of-the-road experiences. Having a good, well maintained allotment of family rides & coasters will pay large dividends in attracting a slowly shrinking demographic to the park. Building a good audience base here is critical in a changing era of park operations.
Food & dining: This is an area where Cdear Point does a decent job of offering a broad base variety, as well as having plenty of options throughout the park. But there is always room for improvement, as well as differentiation of dining experiences. Having additional options is always a plus in a park, particularly a park as large as CP.
Shows: CP has a broad variety of stage shows & other related attraction areas. However, the removal this year of the CP theater (Formerly the Charles Schultz theater) is a step backwards. Every park needs a good air-conditioned theater where guests can rest & cool-off prior to heading out into the park again, and having one less theater is going to make that more difficult.
So, let's look at what I'd do specifically, year by year, starting in 2016:
So there it is, folks. My vision if I were running Cedar Point. Not too extreme, but in my opinion choices that are not only necessary, but would allow CP to flesh out the future very nicely, and keeping the feel & look of the park well into the future.
So what do you think of RD's plan? Are you on board? Anything you'd like to change or add? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.