Archive for March, 2010

Cedar Point holds final audition for this summer’s shows on April 2

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Cedar Point Press Release

SANDUSKY, Ohio, March 29 — Cedar Point will hold its final talent search for entertainers and technicians to fill more than 100 positions in the park’s Live Entertainment Division for this summer.

Representatives from Cedar Point will be holding open auditions and interviews in Sandusky from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 2, in the Live Entertainment Office at Cedar Point.

Positions that are available include:

* Performers — singers, dancers, singers/dancers and singers/musicians;

* Musicians — electric guitars, bass guitars, keyboards and drummer/percussionists;

* Technicians — stage managers, sound and light technicians, stage crews, ushers, costume shop personnel and dressers;

* PEANUTS characters — costumed characters and escorts; and

* Karaoke hosts and DJs

Applicants must be at least 18 years old by May to audition.  Each audition piece should be limited to 16-32 bars.  Applicants should select music that is upbeat and illustrates their personality and ability to interact with audience members.  A CD player and piano will be available, but other instruments and amplifiers will not be provided.  Interested applicants should bring a one-page resume with references to the audition.  Reporting dates run from late April to early September.

Cedar Point opens for the summer on Saturday, May 15.

Those who cannot audition in person can send audio and/or videotape with a resume to:  Cedar Point Live Entertainment, One Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870-5259.

With thrilling rides, award-winning live entertainment, special attractions and resort accommodations, Cedar Point is one of the most popular amusement parks and vacation destinations in the country.  It has been named the “Best Amusement Park in the World” for 12 consecutive years.

New this summer will be Shoot the Rapids, an exciting river-ride adventure that will feature two hills, rocky canyons with spraying water and a splashy grand finale.

For more information, please contact the Live Entertainment Division at 419.627.2388, by e-mail at liveshows@cedarpoint.com or online at cedarpoint.com.

Cedar Point builds fan base on Facebook, social-network sites

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From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

If you’re a popular person on Facebook, you could well have hundreds of friends. Maybe even thousands.

When Tony Clark is on Facebook, he stays in touch with more than 300,000.

When he’s at work, toiling away in the marketing building for Cedar Fair at the back of the amusement park, Clark is the “interactive marketing manager.”

But for hundreds of thousands of roller coaster fans, Clark has a different name. When he posts on the amusement park’s Facebook site, he’s identified as “Cedar Point.”

As of Saturday morning, Cedar Point had 309,180 fans. The number will be higher by the time you read this.

The growth has been rapid.

Clark said Cedar Point’s Facebook presence began as a fan page. The fan made it clear it was an unofficial page, and handed it over last year when Cedar Point asked to take it over. At that point, the page had 30,000 fans.

Cedar Point’s promotion grew that number tenfold in a year, and promotional efforts will continue. This summer, signs will urge Cedar Point visitors to visit the park on Facebook, Clark said.

“The great thing about it is, it’s exponential growth,” he said.

While many of those 300,000 plus fans probably don’t pay much attention to the page, hard-core Cedar Point fans often post comments there.

Sean Foley, 36, who lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh, frequently shows up on the page.

Foley’s profile picture on Facebook shows him standing next to Snoopy.

“That was taken right outside of TGI Fridays at the Hotel Breakers,” he said.

Foley, a national account coordinator for Verizon Wireless, says he’s at Cedar Point 15 to 20 days a year. The day he was interviewed last week, he had used a webcam to check Sandusky’s weather and noticed that it had turned sunny.

“It’s all I can think about right now,” he said.

Foley said Cedar Point’s Facebook page is a good source of information.

“It’s nice to interact not only with other fans but also with their staff as well,” he said.

The frequent answers Cedar Point posts to fan questions is a particularly nice feature, Foley said.

“You can often find the answer before even asking it,” Foley said. “You can see other people have asked the question.”

Because fans can post questions and comments, Facebook provides instant feedback, Clark said.

While the comments are overwhelmingly positive — it’s a fan page, after all — it also lets Cedar Point address potential problems.

For example, a fan posted she wouldn’t stay in Cedar Point’s hotels because they are too expensive.

“That honesty is there for everyone to see,” Clark said.

Cedar Point told the woman there are customizable hotel plans and ways to get discounts.

“You cannot purchase cheaper tickets than if you stay with us,” Clark said.

Hooking up with Cedar Point’s Facebook page — or subscribing to the park’s Twitter feed — has practical advantages.

The park has begun experimenting with offering discounts to its social media fans. Last week, Cedar Point was offering $99 stays at Castaway Bay, exclusively to Facebook fans.

“We will do that more this summer,” Clark said.

As the administrator of the page, Clark doesn’t just post to it. He removes posts that violate Cedar Point’s guidelines.

Personal attacks on other fans are banned, and foul language is taboo, too.

“We don’t want attacks on other people or things you wouldn’t let your child read,” Clark said.

Videos that obviously were taken while a rider sat inside a roller coaster are also forbidden.

“It’s a strong rule here at Cedar Point we don’t allow cameras on their rides,” Clark said.

That’s for safety reasons. If someone dropped a camera, “that could be a bad situation for the other riders,” he said. “Safety is No. 1 at the park.”

Facebook provides Clark’s biggest audience, but he also communicates with fans in other ways.

He also posts to Twitter, where twitter.com/cedarpoint had 5,944 followers last week. He uploads videos to YouTube’s Cedar Point channel. And he and Tyler Adams, director of sales at Cedar Point, write the posts on the official Cedar Point blog, Onpoint!

Clark, 31, a Perkins Township resident, worked in radio for several years in Milwaukee. He said he enjoyed talking to people in his radio job, and has found that interacting with fans on the Internet is similar.

He often posts status messages on Facebook to get fan discussion going.

When the flamboyant pop star Lady Gaga announced she was coming to Cleveland on her new tour, Clark posted, “Cedar Point wonders if Lady Gaga will visit the park before her Cleveland show.”

Reaction was split 50/50. Some coaster fans said they hoped she’d show up.

“There were some who said, ‘She’s a freak, keep her away,'” Clark said. “It just got a lot of reaction.”

Roller-coaster year for amusement industry may head uphill, analyst says

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From the Sandusky Register

SANDUSKY

The amusement park industry’s roller coaster ride is on the upswing, an analyst says.

Theme park revenues fell in 2009, but revenues in the industry should rise 1.7 percent in 2010, predicts Nima Samadi, an industry analyst at IBISWorld, a market research company based in Los Angeles.

Samadi said Friday his forecast of an upswing definitely applies to Cedar Fair.

“It’s a company that’s been a real cash flow generator in the past,” he said. “It’s definitely a company that has the potential to remain profitable in the future.”

Samadi said his forecast for an amusement park revival assumes the travel business will get better and the economy will recover.

Stacy Frole, director of investor relations for Cedar Fair, Cedar Point’s parent company, said Cedar Fair also is expecting better days ahead. She pointed to forecasts in the proxy statement the company issued earlier this year.

Cedar Fair reported on Feb. 11 that it had a rough year in 2009, with net revenues of $916.1 million, down from $996.2 million in 2008.

EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the company’s favorite metric — fell 15.7 percent, from $355.9 million to $299.9 million.

Cedar Fair didn’t provide guidance to analysts last year and hasn’t announced plans to do so this year.

But in its definitive proxy statement, filed Feb. 10 to make its case for the sale to Apollo Global Management, Cedar Fair revealed the four-year financial forecast it shared last year with Apollo officials.

The company projected revenues of $966.6 million in 2010, $988.2 million in 2011, $1,012.2 million in 2012 and $1,036 million in 2013. EBITDA also will steadily rise, the company forecast on page 58 of the proxy statement.

Samadi remarked that major amusement park chains have been acquisition targets. He noted that Apollo Global Management is trying to acquire Cedar Fair and that Apollo reportedly also is interested in buying the bankrupt Six Flags chain.

It might make sense for Apollo to buy both amusement park chains and achieve economies of scale by merging the two, Samadi said.

A special meeting to decide whether to approve Apollo’s takeover of Cedar Fair has been rescheduled for April 8.

The Blackstone Group, a private equity company similar to Apollo, bought Busch Entertainment Corp. and Comcast bought NBC Universal.

“Industry players have been a prime private equity target due to the massive amount of debt the industry had acquired over the last decade,” Samadi said.

“Major players have overpaid in the past to acquire regional players and increase their market share. But despite the cyclical downturn in revenue, private equity firms can still reap the benefits from these relatively stable cash producers in the long-term.”

Cedar Fair executives have explained that Apollo’s acquisition with the company will help Cedar Fair deal with about $1.6 billion of debt. Cedar Fair acquired much of that debt in 2006, when the company bought the Paramount theme parks chain.

Off Season Fun: Coasterfusion

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Another installment of Off Season Fun featuring coaster enthusiast site: Coasterfusion!  Coasterfusion is a coaster fan site with forums and news about the amusement industry.  The thing that stands it apart from the rest is that you can join the Fusion Club for coaster enthusiasts for only $10.  Which is waaaay cheaper than other clubs.

OK, enough about the site, how can this help you through the off season?  Well, you can read and post to the forums, watch coaster and amusement park videos, and you can buy Coasterfusion gear in the shop!  Also, every Monday night, you can join in the open chat room to talk about coasters and amusement parks!  To start your off season fun, you can join or login if you’re already a member!  Have fun!

Cedar Fair teams up with MTV Games for “Rock Band™, Live”

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Cedar Fair Press Release

SANDUSKY, OHIO, March 2, 2010 – Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a publicly traded leader in regional amusement parks, water parks, vacation resorts and entertainment, has announced a summer-long, multi-dimensional partnership with MTV Games, a part of Viacom’s MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) and the leading publisher of interactive music gaming worldwide.

An all-new interactive experience, called “Rock Band™, Live,” will pile into the tour bus and travel across nine Cedar Fair parks this summer. In addition, a summer-long version of the show will blast the speakers at Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto and the Company’s flagship park, Cedar Point in Sandusky.

The high-energy, concert-like stage show features talented singers from across North America. But the cast will be missing one key piece of the show – YOU!

Prior to each show, guests will have the unique opportunity to engage and play the Rock Band™ video game and compete against their “band mates.” Guests will compete playing the guitar, bass and drums gaming accessories. The rockers with the top score will be invited on stage during the live show to play Rock Band songs (on Rock Band instruments) along with the live singers. (The winners will play on a gaming accessory with the singers.)
The show will feature numerous songs straight from the Rock Band video games ranging from classic to contemporary rock.

“We’re extremely excited to merge the popular Rock Band video game with a unique, interactive live show for our guests this summer,” said Jack Falfas, chief operating officer for Cedar Fair. “Rock Band is a pop culture phenomenon and we know families have enjoyed playing the game together at home. But now it’s time for them to take it to the next level – on stage at one of our parks in front of a live audience.”

Christina Glorioso, vice president of marketing partnerships for MTV Games added, “We are very excited for Rock Band to contribute to the fun at Cedar Fair parks this summer. Music fans of all ages will have an opportunity to either rock out themselves or sit back and enjoy watching other park-goers transform into rock stars on stage!”

The “Rock Band™, Live” tour will kick off Memorial Day weekend at Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania and will travel to the Company’s other parks throughout the summer. The summer-long shows at Canada’s Wonderland and Cedar Point will kick off in May and June, respectively.

“Rock Band™, Live” is a collaboration between Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, MTV Games and RWS & Associates, a full service entertainment firm that provides custom-produced world-class events and live shows worldwide.

RWS will hold private auditions for the touring show on Thursday, March 4 at Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Ave (16th Floor) between 36th and 37th Streets (Press Room: 17B) in New York City. Auditions are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Media representatives are invited to attend to learn more about the show, view story boards and concepts and speak with show representatives. For more information, or to inquire about an interview opportunity, please call 212.391.1795, ext. 26.

A workshop preview of the show will be held in April for invited guests and media representatives. Details on this event will be released at a later date.

About MTV Networks
MTV Networks, a division of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world’s leading creators of entertainment content, with brands that engage and connect diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products. The company’s portfolio spans more than 150 television channels and 350 digital media properties worldwide, and includes MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Harmonix, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Noggin, The N, AddictingGames, Neopets, COMEDY CENTRAL, Spike TV, TV Land, Atom, Gametrailers and Xfire.

About MTV Games
MTV Games is dedicated to creating, marketing and publishing high-quality, innovative interactive products that are relevant to the MTV audience and complement the core values of the MTV Networks brands.

About RWS & Associates
RWS & Associates is an Emmy®-Award-winning full service entertainment firm headquartered in New York City. RWS provides high quality, custom-designed and pre-packaged entertainment throughout the world in theme parks, resorts, shopping centers and more.

About Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: “FUN”) is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. The Partnership, which owns and operates eleven amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and six hotels, is one of the largest regional amusement park operators in the world. Its parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, Virginia / District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, and Toronto, Ontario. Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in Gilroy, California under a management contract. Cedar Fair’s flagship park, Cedar Point, has been voted the “Best Amusement Park in the World” for twelve consecutive years in a prestigious annual poll conducted by Amusement Today newspaper.

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