As an amusement park enthusiast, I'm always looking forward to Cedar Fair's (NYSE:FUN) first-quarter report. No, it's never really much to look at. With most of its parks run as seasonal businesses, the first three months of the calendar year are quiet and the turnstiles are locked unless you're at the company's Knott's Berry Farm park in California.

So, sure, the company posted a typical winterish loss and revenues grew from $21.5 million to $23.2 million. Beyond noting that the uptick in attendance at Knott's may bode well for that particular park, this year the quarterly report is practically meaningless. As the weather heats up, so will the company's financials.

So, why do I get excited about Cedar Fair's March quarter announcement? Well, it means that a new coaster season is now getting started!

Summers start early for regional park operators like Cedar Fair and Six Flags (NYSE:PKS). Cedar Fair's flagship Cedar Point park in Ohio opens this weekend. Other seasonal attractions have kicked off their operating schedules in recent weeks.

If you enjoy your parks with the smallest of crowds, now is the time to go -- especially if you can swing by on a weekday. The real action peaks in July.

After a tragic coaster accident at Six Flags New England this past weekend, maybe these amusement destinations are raking in headlines for all the wrong reasons right now. However, just try to keep the youngsters away once area schools let out.

Even companies like Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD) that run many popular parks all year long still see attendance spike over the summer.

That doesn't mean that one should buy park operators in the spring and ditch them as the autumn leaves fall. While tourism trends, recession lulls, and spending patterns may dictate peaks and valleys in operating performance, some companies have fared well through thick and thin.

Readers of Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter may appreciate a company like Cedar Fair that has raised its quarterly distribution 13 times over the past 10 years. Having hiked its tax-advantaged payout for 17 consecutive years, Cedar Fair's units have been a steady income producer.

As one of the earliest recommendations in the newsletter that eventually became Motley Fool Hidden Gems the units have nearly doubled over the past four years. While that may have been partly the product of yield-chasers in a low interest rate environment, and a reversal in rates may test that assumption, Cedar Fair's got more to offer than a pretty payout. What exactly? Ask me again in three months, when the quarterly reports start to matter once more.

Whether you plan on hitting amusement parks or national parks this summer have you checked out our Travel Center yet? Are recent coaster accidents scaring you away from thrill rides or do you strap yourself in anyway, knowing that more people accidents take place the way to and from the parks than at the parks themselves? All this and more -- in the Roller Coaster Loving Fools discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys his park. He will be kicking into Cedar Fair's coffers next month when he takes his family to Knott's Berry Farm. He was at Cedar Point last year. He owns shares of Disney as well as units in Cedar Fair.