Weather + new rides + better economy = strong summer for Cedar Fair parks

From the Sandusky Register


Cedar Point isn’t the only Cedar Fair property that had a strong summer.

Cedar Fair has seen a $32 million increase in revenues so far in 2010, according to company officials.

Most of the extra revenue comes from a major increase in attendance at its 11 amusement parks and six water parks. About 18.7 million people visited the Cedar Fair parks this year, up 5 percent from last year.

Officials attributed the strong performance to investments in new rides, a better economy and great weather.

Although the economy hasn’t seen significant improvement, most of the mass layoffs that dominated the headlines last year have ended, which has helped the parks, said Lee Alexakos, Cedar Fair’s vice president of marketing and advertising.

“I think, last year, people were really nervous with all the layoffs,” Alexakos said. “The economy hasn’t seen a marked improvement, but it has stabilized. All those layoffs — that has leveled off.”

Cedar Fair’s new rides have also drawn big crowds.

In Sandusky, the arrival of Shoot the Rapids, a water ride, perfectly coincided with a summer sizzling with record heat.

And two new roller coasters at Cedar Fair parks in North Carolina and Virginia drew major interest.

The southern region, which contains those two parks, has done especially well, with a 13 percent increase in attendance.

“Both coasters are unlike anything the South had before,” Alexakos said. “Those were a big hit down there.”

Online promotions, season-pass changes at California’s Knott’s Berry Farm and targeted marketing strategies to groups like the military and Facebook fans have all helped too, officials said.

“We are pleased with our overall performance this summer,” Dick Kinzel, the company’s chairman, said in a press release. “We are hopeful this will continue as we enter our award-winning Halloween season.”

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