Cedar Point will stay Cedar Fair's flagship

Thursday, May 25, 2006 2:16 AM


SANDUSKY - Cedar Point won't suffer as its parent company expands the family.

The Sandusky-based amusement park and resort with the unique peninsula location will remain the flagship park, even with the addition of five parks, company officials promise.

Cedar Point usually gets a bulk of the capital dollars, which will continue, said Dick Kinzel, president, chairman and chief executive officer, on Wednesday.

Cedar Fair spends $50-60 million annually at its seven amusement parks and five waterparks annually. A capital plan will be in place for Paramount Parks for the 2008 season.

For the 2003 season, Cedar Point got the $25 million Top Thrill Dragster. This year, it got $7-8 million for improvements, which includes the giant swing, Skyhawk.

Stacy Frole, director of investor relations, said Cedar Point is really the only park in the Cedar Fair chain that has a number of hotels right on the property. Cedar Point is a multiple-night stay amusement park, she said.

Kinzel said the 1,400 hotel rooms at Cedar Point resort are a great reason to keep bringing new attractions to the park. The partnership doesn't want empty rooms, he said.

None of the five newly acquired Paramount Parks have lodging with the exception of Kings Island where a Great Wolf Lodge is being built, Kinzel said.

The $1.24 billion acquisition of Paramount announced on Monday did not include the indoor waterpark at Kings Island, near Cincinnati, Ohio. CBS, who owned the Paramount Parks, is maintaining its stake in Great Wolf.

There's nothing like Cedar Point, Kinzel said. The Sandusky Bay on one side; Lake Erie on the other. When guests are driving to the park they see the water and steel in the air, he said.

"A park like Cedar Point can justify a major new attraction every two or three years," Frole said.

Cedar Fair parks, Geauga Lake, Aurora, Ohio, and Knott's Berry Farm, near Los Angeles, have some lodging.

"Cedar Point will remain the flagship," said Beth Robertson, vice president of communications for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. "It will remain the destination."

Robertson said Paramount's Carowinds, near Charlotte, N.C., is a destination as well because of the weather and the park being half in South Carolina and North Carolina.

"It's a fun hook," she said.

Even so, Kinzel said, "Cedar Point is on a peninsula. It is just a beautiful piece of property."

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