Yesterday the regional operator announced an ambitious plan to upgrade the Geauga Lake property that it bought from Six Flags
Back in September, we explored how parks that have added water parks to their existing thrill havens -- and included them as part of the daily admission -- have thrived. Holiday World opened its Splashin' Safari water park in 1993 when attendance clocked in at just 330,000 guests during its summer season. This year, Holiday World drew roughly 880,000 patrons. The Paramount parks, owned by Viacom
While larger operators like Disney
"We figured adding a water park would make us more sensitive to the weather," Holiday World President Will Koch explained back in September. "It wound up having the opposite effect, as having a water park and a theme park expanded the range."
In other words, guests who may have stayed away from a day at a water park if the weather was too cold or from a traditional park if the temperature was steaming still have a reason to make the trek.
Yes, Geauga Lake already had some water park offerings, but they weren't worth bragging about. Because of the park's mishmash Frankenstein history (it was two separate parks before Six Flags acquired both the Sea World Ohio marine park and the traditional Geauga Lake attraction and merged them into one gated park), it's easy to see why the park is still in sore need of an identity.
After three troublesome years, Six Flags sold the park to rival Cedar Fair in a $145 million transaction earlier this year. It was no surprise that the park's woes continued under new ownership. Cedar Fair simply didn't have the time. The deal was announced in March and closed in April, and by May, the park was greeting guests for the 2004 season.
The improved park will also come with a $10 price cut on its daily admission. No, that's not Cedar Fair selling the park's prospects short. It's the perfect way to draw back the locals who may have abandoned the park under Six Flags' rocky tutelage -- and hopefully convert more than a few into becoming season pass owners.
It's a smart move to help tap the potential of a park that has always promised far more than it delivered. That's why in 2005 Cedar Fair is hoping to make a big splash at Geauga Lake.
Are you a thrill seeker or do you prefer to sit by as others go on daring coasters and twisted water slides? Are there any rides that are too scary for you? All this and more -- in the Rollercoaster Loving Fools discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to chase coasters and made it out to both Knott's Berry Farm and Cedar Point this summer. He owns shares of Disney and Cedar Fair.