|Cedar Fair Entertainment Company|
Number of locations
|Revenue||US$ 1.474 billion (2019)|
|US$ 309.4 million (2019)|
|US$172.3 million (2019)|
|US$ 2.581 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
|2,200 full time, 45,100 seasonal (2018)|
Cedar Fair, L.P., doing business as the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, is a publicly traded master limited partnership headquartered at its Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. The company owns and operates twelve amusement parks, four outdoor water parks, one indoor water park, and five hotels in the US and Canada. Cedar Fair also manages Gilroy Gardens under contract with the city of Gilroy, California.
Cedar Point opened in 1870 as a recreational area. The park was developed over the years rarely changing management. The park belonged to the Cedar Point Pleasure Company. In 1974, Cedar Point Pleasure Company proposed building an amusement park in Cambridge Township, Michigan on the former Frontier City amusement park site. Those plans were abandoned in 1975. Three years later, Cedar Point acquired Valleyfair. The name Cedar Fair then was derived from the names of both parks, "Cedar" coming from Cedar Point and "Fair" coming from Valleyfair. Cedar Fair was founded in 1983 then went public on April 29, 1987.
The first acquisition of the new Cedar Fair company came in 1992 when Cedar Fair bought Dorney Park from Harris Weinstein. Cedar Fair also bought Worlds of Fun from Hunt-Midwest in 1995. One of the biggest acquisitions came in 1997 when Cedar Fair bought Knott's Berry Farm from the Knott family. This marked the first time Cedar Fair operated a year-round amusement park. The acquisition included operations of the Camp Snoopy indoor park at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. In 2005, Cedar Fair withdrew from the lease arrangement leaving Mall of America to manage the park on its own. Mall of America formed a partnership with the Nickelodeon franchise in 2007 and continues to operate under the name Nickelodeon Universe. Several new water park properties named Knott's Soak City opened around the southern California area since the acquisition which included Buena Park in 1999, Chula Vista in 2000 and Palm Springs in 2001. Michigan's Adventure in Muskegon, Michigan was purchased for $27.6 million in 2001.
Larger acquisitions followed in 2004 with Six Flags World of Adventure. Cedar Fair purchased the park for $145 million, reverting its name to Geauga Lake, as it was before its Six Flags branding in 2000. Subsequently, Cedar Fair stripped the park of all references to Looney Tunes and DC Comics characters, which were licensed properties owned by Six Flags. The amusement park remained in Cedar Fair's portfolio through 2007 (when it closed, then after that year, only the waterpark portion of the park was accessible to the public), and the water park continued to operate as Wildwater Kingdom through 2016.
On May 22, 2006, Cedar Fair announced it had outbid competitors and intended to purchase all five parks in the Paramount Parks chain, including Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton and the management agreement of Bonfante Gardens. On June 30, 2006, Cedar Fair announced that it had completed its acquisition of Paramount Parks from CBS Corporation in a cash transaction valued at US$1.24 billion. Shortly following the transfer of ownership, Cedar Fair began the process of integrating the two companies. With the purchase of the Paramount Parks, Cedar Fair LP announced that it would do business under the name Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. Cedar Fair LP remains the legal company name.
The individual parks continued to operate under their Paramount names during the 2006 season, however Cedar Fair began removing the Paramount name and logo from the parks in January 2007. The names of the parks were changed back to their original pre-Paramount names (the Paramount's prefix was removed) with the Cedar Fair corporate logo added. Bonfante Gardens was changed to Gilroy Gardens. Cedar Fair began removing references to Paramount Pictures. Although the acquisition granted Cedar Fair a ten-year licensing deal for Paramount names and icons, such as Star Trek, Cedar Fair opted to terminate the agreement and not pay an annual licensing fee. All references to Paramount/CBS-licensed properties were removed before the beginning of the 2008 season.
In December 2009 it was announced that Apollo Global Management would offer Cedar Fair $11.50 per share, a 28 percent premium over the market price, as part of a takeover plan which would also make Cedar Fair a private company. The deal included a cash payment of $635 million in addition to assuming Cedar Fair's debt of over US$1.7 billion putting the total value of the transaction close to US$2.4 billion. Cedar Fair planned to hold a shareholder meeting on March 16, 2010 to vote on the transaction but postponed the meeting to April 8, 2010, implying that two-thirds of the shareholder vote needed for approval wasn't yet secured. On April 6, 2010, the deal was terminated, and Cedar Fair paid $6.5 million to reimburse Apollo for expenses incurred from the proposed transaction. Cedar Fair also adopted a unitholder rights plan as a preventative measure to help protect unitholders in the event of any future hostile takeover.
On September 16, 2011, JMA Ventures, LLC entered into an agreement to purchase California's Great America from Cedar Fair and take ownership of the Gilroy Gardens management contract. The agreement required approval of Santa Clara's city council which was scheduled to vote on the matter on December 6, 2011. However, JMA cancelled its plans to purchase Great America and bowed out of the agreement.
On June 20, 2011, Cedar Fair announced that long term CEO Dick Kinzel would retire on January 3, 2012, and that Matt Ouimet would take his spot as the CEO of Cedar Fair. Ouimet had been employed by The Walt Disney Company for 17 years, including serving as president of Disney Cruise Line and president of the Disneyland Resort. He officially became CEO on January 3. Cedar Fair launched new websites for their parks in 2012 as well as a new marketing campaign, Thrills Connect.
On November 20, 2012, Cedar Fair announced it had sold its Knott's Soak City: San Diego location to SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. About nine months later, Cedar Fair announced it had sold its Knott's Soak City: Palm Springs location to CNL Lifestyle Properties.
On September 5, 2016, Cedar Fair closed Wildwater Kingdom, the last operating part of the former Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom. All land that once contained both properties has since been redeveloped.
On October 4, 2017, Cedar Fair announced that Ouimet would step down as CEO and be succeeded by COO Richard Zimmerman on January 1, 2018. Ouimet would remain with the company, taking the newly created position of executive chairman of the board of directors.
On March 27, 2019, Cedar Fair announced they were purchasing the land occupied by California's Great America from the City of Santa Clara. The 112 acres beneath the park cost $150 million. Cedar Fair had been previously leasing the land from the County of Santa Clara for 6 to 7 million per year.
On June 13, 2019, it was announced that Cedar Fair had signed a $261 million deal with Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts to buy their Galveston and New Braunfels locations, with the option to buy Schlitterbahn Kansas City for an additional $6 million, and the rights to the Schlitterbahn name.
|Name||Location||Year Opened||Year Acquired||Notes|
|California's Great America||Santa Clara, California||1976||2006||Acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Canada's Wonderland||Vaughan, Ontario, Canada||1981||2006||Cedar Fair's most visited seasonal park, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Carowinds||Charlotte, North Carolina||1973||2006||Acquired in Paramount Parks deal. A portion of the park is in Fort Mill, South Carolina.|
|Cedar Point||Sandusky, Ohio||1870||Founding Franchise||Cedar Fair's flagship park and the oldest park in the chain. Cedar Fair's corporate headquarters are at this park.|
|Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom||Allentown, Pennsylvania||1884||1992||First park acquired under the Cedar Fair name, acquired from Harris Weinstein. Purchase price $48M|
|Gilroy Gardens||Gilroy, California||2001||2006||Currently in a management contract with Cedar Fair, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Kings Dominion||Doswell, Virginia||1975||2006||Acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Kings Island||Mason, Ohio||1972||2006||Acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Knott's Berry Farm||Buena Park, California||1920||1997||Cedar Fair's only park open year-round. Most visited Cedar Fair park, acquired from Knott Family. Purchase price $300M|
|Michigan's Adventure||Muskegon, Michigan||1956||2001||Acquired from the Jourden family. Purchase price $28M|
|Valleyfair||Shakopee, Minnesota||1976||1978||Acquired by Cedar Point. Cedar Point and Valleyfair then formed Cedar Fair in 1987.|
|Worlds of Fun||Kansas City, Missouri||1973||1995||Acquired from Hunt-Midwest. Purchase price $40M|
|Name||Location||Year Opened||Year Acquired||Notes|
|South Bay Shores||California's Great America||2004||2006||Located within California's Great America, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Carolina Harbor||Carowinds||1989||2006||Located within Carowinds, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Oceans of Fun||Worlds of Fun||1982||1995||Located adjacent to Worlds of Fun. In 2013, the water park became included with admission to Worlds of Fun.|
|Soak City||Kings Dominion||1992||2006||Located within Kings Dominion, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Soak City||Kings Island||1989||2006||Located within Kings Island, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|Soak City||Valleyfair||1983||Built by Cedar Fair||Located within Valleyfair.|
|Splash Works||Canada's Wonderland||1992||2006||Located within Canada's Wonderland, acquired in Paramount Parks deal.|
|WildWater Adventure||Michigan's Adventure||1991||2001||Located within Michigan's Adventure.|
|Wildwater Kingdom||Dorney Park||1985||1992||Located within Dorney Park.|
|Name||Location||Year Opened||Year Acquired||Notes|
|Knott's Soak City||Buena Park, California||1999||Built by Cedar Fair||Located adjacent to Knott's Berry Farm. Opened under the name, Soak City U.S.A.|
|Cedar Point Shores||Sandusky, Ohio||1988 as Soak City||Built by Cedar Fair||Located adjacent to Cedar Point.|
|Schlitterbahn Galveston||Galveston, Texas||2006||2019 |
|Schlitterbahn New Braunfels||New Braunfels, Texas||1979||2019|
|Castaway Bay||Sandusky, Ohio||2004||Cedar Fair's only indoor water park, located about a mile from Cedar Point.|
|Name||Location||Year Opened/Acquired||Year Closed/Sold||Notes|
|Geauga Lake||Aurora, Ohio||2004||2007||Purchased from Six Flags in 2004 for $145 million. Closed ride side in 2007, the water park, Wildwater Kingdom, closed on September 5, 2016.|
|Knott's Camp Snoopy||Mall of America||1992||2005||In 2005, closed for renovation. MOA and Cedar Fair dissolved their agreement in 2006. Now operates as Nickelodeon Universe.|
|Knott's Soak City: Palm Springs||Palm Springs, California||2001||2013||Opened under the name, Oasis Water Park. Sold to CNL Lifestyle Properties.|
|Knott's Soak City: San Diego||Chula Vista, California||2000||2012||Opened under the name, White Water Canyon. Sold to SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, who would later turn it into a Sesame Place.|
|Star Trek: The Experience||Las Vegas, Nevada||2006||2008||Acquired in Paramount Parks deal. Closed in 2008, Cedar Fair lost rights to reopen the attraction from CBS Studios in 2010.|
|Wildwater Kingdom||Aurora, Ohio||2005||2016||Located on former SeaWorld Ohio site.|
Fast Lane is Cedar Fair's version of a virtual queue system. It was first announced for Kings Island on July 18, 2011. The park served as the testing park for it. For $50, visitors get a wrist band which gives them the ability to get to the front of the line on the park's most popular attractions. Originally, it could only be used from noon to 7:00 PM, but it was soon expanded to be available all day. On January 19, 2012, it was announced that Fast Lane would be rolled out at all the Cedar Fair parks for the 2012 season. There is also Fright Lane, which is Fast Lane for the haunted attractions during the Halloween events. For the 2016 season, Cedar Fair began testing all season Fast Lane at Valleyfair and Dorney Park. By the 2019 season, all parks offered all season Fast Lane. For the 2020 season, Cedar Fair began offering all season all park Fast Lane for $849.
Cedar Fair has some of the most visited seasonal parks in North America with a combined 27.9 million people visiting their parks in 2019. Cedar Fair's most visited park is Knott's Berry Farm while the most visited seasonal park is Canada's Wonderland.