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Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet Reveals the Secret of Running a Successful Amusement Park

Written by the Huffington Post.com
Posted: 07/28/2014 9:11 pm EDT Updated: 07/28/2014 9:59 pm EDT

For Matt Ouimet, the president and CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Co., a typical day at the office really is a walk in the park."To be honest, I don't think I'd like this job if I was forced to be cooped up in an office. When you work in the amusement park business, you have to see where things are working and you have to see where they're not," Ouimet admitted in a recent phone interview. "I couldn't be one of those guys who'd try and run a place like Knott's Berry Farm just by sitting in his office and working off a spreadsheet. I'm sure there are others who can do that, but I'm not one of them. I probably would not be as good at this job if I couldn't regularly get out in the parks."Mind you, given the 11 amusement parks that Matt rides herd on are spread across the United States and Canada, staying on top of what's going on at each of these Cedar Fair properties involves an awful lot of travel. "Take -- for example -- how I'll be spending the next two weeks. I leave Knott's on Sunday -- actually Monday morning -- and then I start my road trip. I'm going to Toronto to see our new dark ride, Wonder Mountain's Guardian. This attraction actually has a lot in common with Disney World's new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. It's a coaster track, though Wonder Mountain's Guardian has the longest interactive screen in the world which features a gaming element where you then try to get the top score," Ouimet explained. "And by the time I get back to Cedar Point toward the end of this month, l will have managed to have hit all of our parks -- and most of that is good."Of course, one of the biggest challenges that Matt faces is recognizing that each of these amusement parks is different. That they all have their own personalities."That's one of the main reasons Cedar Fair has different names on all of our parks. We don't try and put them under one big brand. They're all unique in their own special ways," Ouimet stated. "Take -- for example -- Knott's Berry Farm which is right in the middle of one of the most competitive theme park markets in the world. Within 60 miles of Knott's, you have LEGOLAND California, you have SeaWorld San Diego, you have Universal Studios Hollywood and you have the Disneyland Resort. So in the Southern California market, it's really important to figure out who you are and then be extremely disciplined about it."

 "I mean, think about it. Knott's Berry Farm can't be about the movies. And we can't be about fantasy. We have to be who we are," Matt continued. "So when it comes to Knott's, we want to be that place where having fun is still fun. Or as Raffi Kaprelyan -- the Vice President and General Manager at Knott's Berry Farm -- says 'where people can still have organically grown fun.' We want to be the theme park in this market that's uncomplicated, affordable, familiar but still has a few surprises.""So that's our goal with Knott's Berry Farm. To occupy that space in the highly competitive Southern California marketplace, to be comfortable with that space and not try and be one of those other guys. One huge advantage we have in this market is that people still have a strong affinity for what the Knott's family created," Ouimet said. "So I hope that -- with the respectful upgrades & improvements we've made to Ghost Town, the Timber Mountain Log Ride, the Calico Mine Train and Camp Snoopy over the past three years -- we wind up being known as the community park, not the corporate park. And to some degree, I think being a little smaller has probably worked to our advantage with Knott's."It's worth noting here that all of the changes that Matt & his team have made since he came on board at the Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. in June of 2011 have had a significant impact on Knott's Berry Farm's bottom line. Just last year, this Buena Park institution had the most successful year (from both an attendance standpoint as well as a profitability point-of-view) ever. And given that Knott's is the second most profitable park in the Cedar Fair system, that's a really nice feather in Ouimet's cap."And the good news is we're not done with Knott's. We've got a five year plan in place for this theme park. And I'm hoping that -- with Cedar Fair's help -- I'll then have the privilege of turning that into a ten year plan," Matt enthused. "It's not exactly a closely guarded secret that -- when it comes to Knott's -- we're trying to figure out what to do with the area where Kingdom of the Dinosaurs & Knott's Bear-y Tales used to be located. Assuming that the Wonder Mountain's Guardian ride works out, there will probably be some lessons that we learned up in Canada that we can apply down here in Buena Park."

 It's worth noting here that Knott's Berry Farm isn't the only Cedar Fair property to be singled out by Ouimet for some much needed TLC."Next year is Carowind's year. We've announced we're making a major investment in that park. $50 million over the next few years. And we're really looking forward to it," Matt said.But just as he did when Ouimet took his first stroll around Knott's Berry Farm and identified the areas in that theme park that could be plussed & improved, Matt and his team walked the length of Carowinds. Looking for ways they could improve that amusement park while still preserving its obvious charms.

 "In the end, I want people to think of the Cedar Fair parks like they do their best friend's house if they live out of town," Ouimet explained. "You know when you go there that you're going to have fun. You're going to be welcome. You're going to relive some memories as well as create some new ones. You're going to laugh. And it's always something you're going to look forward to."But again you just don't see those areas that can be plussed or improved if you're hunched over a spreadsheet. Which is why -- several times a year -- Matt hops on a plane, travels to all 11 amusement parks and then puts on his walking shoes."I've always prided myself on the ability to look at the amusement park experience through the guest's eyes which is why I still like to be out in the parks. I still like to walk around, make sure the guests are still having a good time," Ouimet said.

"I mean, it's honestly not that complicated. People don't want things to be too expensive. They want to be able to have fun with their friends and their family. They want to eat a nice meal while they're in the park. They want to experience some new rides as well as revisit some old favorites. And they want to laugh a little bit. If you can consistently deliver that experience -- and that's what we try to do at each of our Cedar Fair properties -- people will come back again and again," Ouimet concluded.

You have a special sale today only.. try to grab your tickets.



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Cedar Point Is Hiring 300 People For Hallo-Weekends

August 5, 2014 2:43 PM

Related Tags: Cedar PointCedar Point hiringHalloweekends 

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Do you have what it takes to be just scary enough to keep kids squealing — but now bawling — at the place billed as the “best amusement park in the world.”You’re in luck; Cedar Point is hiring.The amusement park is looking for staff to fill out its roster this fall, working as a “screamster.” More than 300 screamsters will be hired to be “transformed into witches, zombies and various other undead monsters whose “soul” job is to scare guests who dare to venture into the park’s haunted houses and outdoor fright zones,” according to the park.During HalloWeekends, Cedar Point transforms into a Halloween-themed playground full of family-friendly fun and entertainment during the day and spooky creatures, haunted houses, terrifying mazes and more. The fun starts after the sun goes down.HalloWeekends takes place on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 12 through Nov. 1. For more information, log on to cedarpoint.com.Don’t feel like you’re scream-tacular enough? A wide variety of other great jobs are available, including positions in park operations, food services, accommodations, games, merchandise and more.If you’re interested, snag an interview every Sunday in August from 2-7 p.m. at Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay indoor waterpark, 2001 Cleveland Road, Sandusky.You can also apply online at cedarpoint.com/jobs

Interested in cedar point tickets

FIRST LOOK | Cedar Point's new haunted attractions                   By Ryan C Haidet, WKYC  6:07 a.m. EDT August 15, 2014​

SANDUSKY -- Are you ready to scream?It may only be August, but Cedar Point has Halloween on the brain...Cedar Point is adding two new haunted attractions to freak you out for the upcoming HalloWeekends season: Hexed and Tombstone Terror-tory.Hexed will be housed inside a newly constructed building near GateKeeper's gift shop. Park officials say the attraction is "overrun by decrepit witches whose minions and spells have gone horribly awry."Tombstone Terror-tory, a new outdoor zone, will bring fresh frights to the back of the park. The ghost-town themed attraction will haunt the walkways of Frontier Town from Wave Swinger to the railroad crossing near Gemini. This scares from this "fright zone" also stretch back toward Maverick and Mean Streak.
 Cedar Point sent us the logos for each new haunt exclusively for you to feast your freaky eyes upon.(Look LEFT for the following image for more on the upcoming HalloWeekends)

 These additions elevate HalloWeekends to a total of 12 haunted attractions -- five indoors, seven outdoors.Indoors: 

  • Hexed (new for 2014)
  • Zombie High School (See photos)
  • Eden Musee
  • Eternity Infirmary
  • G.A. Boeckling's Eerie Estate


  • Tombstone Terror-Tory (new for 2014)
  • Cut Throat Cove
  • Blood on the Bayou
  • Maniacal Mechanical Screamworks
  • Fear Faire
  • CarnEvil
  • CornStalkers

Also making its dastardly debut at HalloWeekends 2014 is Midnight Syndicate Live. Edward Douglas and Gavin Gozka, the Chardon-based musically macabre masterminds, step into the spotlight for multiple live performances each night. The show includes makeup effects by Beki Ingram and David "House" Greathouse, both of whom previously competed on SyFy's reality hit "Face Off." Several segments of the show were filmed at creepy locations around the region, including Akron's Haunted Schoolhouse and Haunted Laboratory. Last year, Midnight Syndicate unleashed "Monsters of Legend," its 16th nationwide release.Do you have little ones too scared for some of the more intense options? There are family friendly attractions, too, including the Monster Midway Invasion Celebration parade and Howl-O-Palooza (cornstalk maze, mask-making station, pony rides).Interview sessions are being held each Sunday through August from 2-7 p.m. at Cedar Point's Castaway Bay for those interested in working at the HalloWeekends event.
 HalloWeekends is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 12 through Nov. 2. Hours and ride availability vary.2014 marks the 18th season for HalloWeekends.  

I need discount to go to Cedar point please!

The promo code for Michigan Days is "michigan" if you'd believe that.  Save $15 when you visit between 8/18-9/1  (price is $44.95).

Power surge strands visitors on rides at Cedar Point


SANDUSKY, Ohio — Some visitors to Cedar Point were stranded on rides after the park experienced a small “power bump” Sunday night.Cedar Point spokesperson Bryan Edwards said it happened at around 7:30 p.m. He said some visitors were stuck on rides, but park officials were able to get everyone off safely and quickly.Edwards is not sure for how long they were stranded. He said all ride safety systems worked as they were supposed to, and there were no injuries.Some rides including the Millenium Force and the Iron Dragon were still shut down as of about 9:30 p.m. as the park worked with Ohio Edison to inspect them as a safety precaution.The park was still open, although some of the rides affected were not lit as of about 9:30 p.m. 

VIDEO: Power outage shuts down portion of Cedar Point
STORY BY:  MELISSA TOPEY - Sandusky Register
AUG 19, 2014 topey@sanduskyregister.com

 Cedar Point suffered a power outage Sunday night to a portion of its park, leaving some visitors stranded on rides The outage happened about 8 p.m.
“All of the affected rides’ safety systems worked as designed and all guests were quickly and safely escorted off of those rides. All of the rides opened Monday morning at their normal times,” Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards said. He did not know how many visitors were stuck on the rides or how long they were stuck in the air. Edwards did not disclose which rides were affected.

Gary Mortus, spokesman for Ohio Edison, said one ride that was affected was the popular Millennium Force. The problem began when a piece of Ohio Edison’s underground cable failed, Mortus said. Crews arrived at the park and were able to reroute power back that portion of the park. They were there until about 1:15 Monday morning, Mortus said. Crews will be back in the park within the next couple of days to dig up and repair the underground cable itself. Work will be done at night to minimize any inconvenience to guests in the park. Failures do not happen often and the power company does not like them to happen at Cedar Point, he said. We do not want to strand riders,” Mortus said.This is not the first utility failure to hurt the park this season. In June, a water main break forced the park to close for several days.In July, the park had to contend with a cable breaking  on Skyhawk, injuring two riders and forcing the ride to close for several days.

A freelance photographer from Michigan and his girlfriend reported to a Michigan television station they were stranded for 20 minutes on Iron Dragon. They posted selfies from the ride during the power outage.  VIDEO - Power Surge Strands Cedar Point Riders - Fox 17 News 


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Cedar Point to host Color Run race 

ohio.com - Akron Beacon Journal
By CRAIG WEBB Published: August 20, 2014

 Runners will have a chance to circle around Cedar Point’s 17 coasters and get a splash of color at the same time.The park announced that it will host the "Happiest 5K on the Planet" as part of the Color Run’s 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour.The 5K run will be at 8 a.m. Sept. 20, 2014 and include four different color stations.Runners will receive an official race kit that includes a T-shirt, tri-color headband and a shoulder sling bag.Cedar Point is also offering special deals on admission and accommodations for runners. Participants can purchase one-day entry to Cedar Point for $35 during registration or on the day of the run at Cedar Point ticket booths. Runners also receive discounts at the Breakers Express.For more information or to register, visit Here 


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Dollar Days are coming to Cedar Point

Cedar Point celebrating Labor Day with its first-ever Dollar Days, fireworks, money-saving offers and exclusive deals. 

DOLLAR DAYS  Friday, August 29 - Monday, September 1 

Join us Labor Day weekend for special dollar deals on everything from food to games! 

PLUS, enjoy FIREWORKS on Saturday & Sunday, August 30 & 31 at 10 p.m.! 

Discounted 2015 Season Passes on main page.

Enjoy these deals at select locations throughout the park, August 29 - September 1. Food and other options available while supplies last, subject to change.

Hot Dogs $1 each Burger Patio
Hurricane Hannah's 
Sky Ride Refreshments
Pretzels $1 each Hurricane Hannah's
Gazebo (across from Wicked Twister)
Magnum Prezel Fillers (not including filled pretzels)
Ice Cream $1 each Ice Cream Cart (near Raptor)
Ice Cream Cart (across from Gemini)
Popcorn     $1 each Gazebo (across from Wicked Twister)
Good Time Refreshments (near Dodgem)
Town Hall Popcorn Wagon
Peanuts Straws $1 each Kiddieland Refreshments
Coaster Coolers (next to Happy Friar)
Cold Drinks (next to Scrambler)
Snoopy & Woodstock Sippers (filled) 2 for $5; or $3 each; refills are $1.99 Kiddieland Refreshments
Coaster Coolers (next to Happy Friar)
Cold Drinks (next to Scrambler)
Ring Toss 5 rings for $1 Main Midway
Goblet Pitch $1 per ball Main Midway
One In $1 per ball Main Midway
Ladder Climb $1 per climb Millennium Force Plaza
Hi-Striker $1 per hit Gemini Midway
Sidewalk Sale Rounded to nearest dollar Pagoda Gift Shop
Dinosaurs Alive! $1 admission Adventure Island, near Camp Snoopy

Season Passholder Appreciation WeekendCedar Point will be honoring all current passholders during Season Passholder Appreciation Weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 1, all 2014 passholders can purchase a special bring-a-friend ticket for only $19.99! Passholders can also enjoy exclusive ride time on some of the park’s most popular roller coasters, including Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster and GateKeeper.

 2015 Season PassesThe absolute best way to save time and money is with a Cedar Point Season Pass. 2015 passes are on sale now at their lowest price of the year! And with the installment plan, payments have never been easier and more budget-friendly. For a limited time, new passholders will receive a free admission ticket to Cedar Point, valid on any operating day in 2014 – including HalloWeekends!


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Cedar Point accident leaves lingering questions: Are these rides safe? And how do we know?

By Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer -Cleveland.com  

I took my daughter on her first roller coaster, Cedar Point's Iron Dragon, when she was 8.  She's 15 now, and we've probably been on more than a hundred high-speed thrill rides together, from Disney's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster to Kennywood's Phantom's Revenge to Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster.And rarely I've stopped to wonder: Is this safe?  As a parent, I worry about many things, but amusement-park ride safety has never been high on that list.An accident on Cedar Point's Skyhawk ride two weeks ago, however, forced me to confront a difficult question: How safe are these rides?And how would I even know?  First, let me answer the first question: I do believe these rides – especially at big, corporate-owned parks – are safe.Accidents can and do happen – whether caused by operator error, rider carelessness or mechanical failure – and it's the price we pay for getting out of bed every morning.I likely will be back at Cedar Point this summer. And I likely will allow my daughter to ride Skyhawk again (it's not one of my favorites).But I do think Cedar Point and other parks could be more upfront about what causes these accidents.And I do believe there is a greater role for government to play in keeping its citizens informed about any risks.Dr. Gary Smith agrees with me. He is the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. Last year, he and several colleagues published a study tracking amusement ride injuries among those 17 and younger.It was a tedious process – combing through thousands of emergency room reports between 1990-2010 – because no government agency tracks this information.His finding: More than 4,400 kids are injured every year in amusement-ride-related accidents, at both permanent parks and fairs and carnivals.Only a tiny fraction of those injuries – about 1.5 percent – result in hospitalization. The most common injuries are caused by falls, followed by hitting a body part on a ride or being hit by something while riding."Yes, these rides are relatively safe," acknowledged Smith, whose background is in pediatric emergency medicine. "But we can make them safer."The key to making them safer, he said, is by first getting a better handle on where, why and how they occur. "It doesn't make any sense to me that we have this patchwork approach to regulation," he said.Each state sets up its own oversight system. In Ohio, the Department of Agriculture regulates rides. Other states assign the task to their Departments of Insurance, still others to local building inspectors. A handful of states require no oversight.The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which oversees the safety of consumer products, regulates what are called mobile rides – amusement park rides that move with carnivals and fairs.But the agency hasn't overseen fixed amusement park rides for decades – not since the early 1980s, when Congress removed the commission's authority over permanent park rides. For more than a decade, from 1999 through 2011, Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, tried to eliminate what he calls the "roller coaster loophole" in federal regulation, but without success.Dennis Speigel, a long-time amusement park consultant, said the system works well the way it is."We have always, as an industry, felt that the federal government would not be that helpful, quite frankly," said Speigel, president of Cincinnati-based International Theme Park Services and a past president of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions."Safety is first and foremost in everything we do," he said. "If we aren't safe, we're out of business. That's the long and short of it."Parks regularly alter rides – and even close them – if they're deemed unsafe, said Speigel. As proof, he cited Son of Beast, the massive wooden coaster at Kings Island that was torn down in 2012 after a series of injuries.The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, an industry trade group, does its own tracking of injuries. In 2011, according to the group, 1,204 park guests were injured on rides at 383 permanent parks. That's out of 297 million riders and 1.7 billion rides.Some of those accidents are horrific – in Arlington, Texas, last year, a rider died after falling from a roller coaster, reportedly after her safety harness failed to latch properly. Others are more ordinary, including broken bones and scrapes from falls.Speigel said it's important to put even the most awful incidents in perspective."It's more dangerous for me to get in the car to drive to Cleveland on Interstate 71 than it would be to ride 30 or 40 roller coasters in a row," he said.Mike Vartorella, the assistant chief of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Division of Amusement Ride Safety, said every amusement park in the state – there are 235, including water parks – gets inspected at least twice a year.Additional inspections occur when there is an accident or a complaint is filed."We walk through the park, watch operators, make sure they're not on their cell phones, that they're checking height requirements," said Vartorella. "We audit all that."Want to play watchdog yourself? Any interested citizen can request ride accident information from the state. But if the incident did not involve admittance to a hospital – as with the Skyhawk incident – there may be no documentation to request.Last week, the department signed off on Cedar Point's decision to reopen Skyhawk, less than a week after a cable on the ride broke loose, injuring two (neither seriously).After the ride reopened, I asked Cedar Point why the ride malfunctioned. A park spokesman wouldn't say. ("Safety experts made all necessary changes and completed a full review of the ride," read a statement.)Then I asked the Department of Agriculture why the ride broke. I wasn't completely satisfied with the answer I got there, either."The cable connection on the ride came out from its connection point, which allowed the cable to drop to the ground," wrote Brett Gates, deputy communications director with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.But I already knew that. What I'd like to know is why.It might help me answer the larger question: Are these rides safe?I trust that they are. But I'd like some verification. 

Amusement park accidents and deaths - wikipedia 
Incidents at Cedar Fair Parks including Cedar Point - wikipedia 


Are there any 'special' deals for the 7th of September?

ttvissermi said:   Are there any 'special' deals for the 7th of September?As in "National Grandparents Day"?


Wow, it's so cool. Thanks.


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Cedar Point’s announcement of its 2015 announcement date further fuels speculationBy CRAIG WEBB - Ohio.com - Published: August 30, 2014

 Cedar Point’s announcement that it will have "big news" about its plans for 2015 has further fueled speculation.The phrase "big news" in the tweet by public relations manager Bryan Edwards has prompted some to believe the park will be announcing a new coaster or at least a complete redo of a coaster or two.And the tweet by Tony Clark, the park’s director of communications, that the announcement will come at "high noon" has led some to believe that whatever is announced will be in the park’s Frontier Trail area.Since the park’s Mean Streak wooden roller is situated there, some believe Cedar Fair plans to follow Six Flag’s lead with its Colossus wooden coaster and convert it into a hybrid coaster that combines wood and steel coaster elements.Mean Streak is a dominating presence in the back of the park, but it has failed to meet ridership expectations. Riders have complained the coaster is too jarring to enjoy.The expansive coaster is a walk on most days and the park has even closed its picture booth as the area around it resembles a ghost town even on busy days.The Mean Streak also was speculated to be renamed after Lebron James after the park offered naming rights to one of its coasters when the Akron native rejoined the CAVS.Further fueling the Mean Streak speculation was a tweet earlier this week by Clark who sent out a picture of the coaster with the message "You should ride this. #justsaying."Around the same time, Edwards countered with a tweet that included a link to a YouTube video of a front-seat ride on the park’s Mantis coaster."Bored at work today? Why not take a virtual ride one of our legendary scream machines! #RideOn," Edwards tweeted.The Mantis has also been the subject of much speculation as like the Mean Streak, riders have complained that the stand-up coaster is not comfortable. There’s also a small patch of green test paint that has appeared on a section of the coaster.Speculators believe the Mantis will be redone so more comfortable floorless coaster trains can be installed and its entrance moved to the Blue Streak midway.The Blue Streak midway is tucked out of the way and is also due for a rehab.It is also home to the former Pirate dark ride building that is also the subject of much debate.For years, Cedar Point has been expected to introduce a dark ride back into its line-up. And there are those who believe this is the year.Cedar Fair has already trademarked the name Rougarou that is linked to French lore of a werewolf that haunted swamps in southern Louisiana.When guests arrived at the park’s Coaster Campout event held in early July they were greeted with a sign welcoming them to "Camp Rou."There are those who believe it will be the name and theme of an interactive dark ride or themed indoor coaster in either the Pirate Ride building or a revamped Coliseum (now home to the arcade and ballroom on the second floor) on the main midway.This swamp part of the legend has led some to believe that a coaster bearing the name will take up occupancy in the swampy area in the center of the park.And then there’s possibility that Tuesday announcement that is to be sent via email will announce something entirely different like a paid attraction such as the SlingShot or a partnership with a food operator.Food court venues are becoming increasingly popular among park operators as they offer a place for visitors to keep dry in a storm or chill off on a hot day.They also simplify food operations as they provide a variety of options all under one roof. Cedar Point lacks a large hall for dining. 


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Is there anything You would like to see added/changed/removed For Next Year??  I am always open minded to hear from people to improve this Cedar Point Blog.  

Please...if there is any way I could qualify for two free tickets that would be amazing. My daughter and her husband desperately want to go. A good discount would be appreciated as well

Ok but my daughter wants to go in October. Thanks anyway


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Cedar Point dethroned as world's best amusement park in Amusement Today survey 

By Susan Glaser, The Plain Dealer  
September 07, 2014 at 5:36 PM 

SANDUSKY, Ohio – Cedar Point is no longer the world's best amusement park, at least not according to voters in an annual Amusement Today survey.The Sandusky park – which won the title for 16 straight years – was deemed second best this year, behind Europa-Park in Germany.WORLD'S TOP 10 AMUSEMENT PARKSPark name is followed by the percentage of votes they received in annual Amusement Today survey:1. Europa-Park, Rust, Germany, 25 percent2. Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio, 16 percent3. Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 9 percent4. Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, 8 percent5. Disneyland, Anaheim, California, 8 percent6. Universal's Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida, 5 percent7. Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida, 4 percent8. Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo, Japan, 4 percent9. Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia, 3.5 percent10. Holiday World, Santa Claus, Indiana, 3 percentSource: Amusement Today annual surveyCedar Point's Millennium Force, however, continued its run as the world's best steel roller coaster.The Golden Ticket Awards – the industry magazine calls them the Academy Awards of the amusement-park industry – were announced late Saturday during a meeting at SeaWorld San Diego.Reaction to the news on social media this morning was mixed."A park is more than just about the coasters. It's quality rides, food, employees, cleanliness, capacity, theming, landscaping, shows and etc.," wrote one fan from Lakewood on Facebook. "I do love CP but I have a bunch of parks I like better.""Sixteen years in row as the best and they lost it because they haven't done anything surprising like they did with Millennium and Top Thrill Dragster," wrote another, referring to two record-breaking coasters that were new at the park in 2000 and 2003. "They don't need a coaster but they need to do something to differentiate themselves from other parks! Take a risk other than moving rides or painting them different colors, renaming them, or removing them all together."The writer was referring to the announcement last week that Cedar Point would shut down Mantis, a stand-up coaster. The park hasn't revealed whether the ride will be removed or revamped into another kind of roller coaster.Jeff Putz, co-founder of PointBuzz.com, an online Cedar Point fan site, said he doesn't think too highly of the survey itself. "The Amusement Today poll is suspect at best, in part because the sample size is small, and because they accept advertising dollars from the winners," he wrote in an email this morning. "I don't put a lot of stock in the results."Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards released this statement Sunday morning: "To be named as one of the best amusement parks in the world is truly an honor and we congratulate Europa Park on winning the 'Best Park' award. We are thrilled that Millennium Force was once again named as Best Steel Roller Coaster in the World."In other award categories, Idlewild & Soak Zone in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, was voted the best children's park; Kings Island's Planet Snoopy was dubbed the best kids area.Also at Kings Island, the new Banshee roller coaster came in second for best new ride (behind Flying Turns at Knoebels Amusement Resort in eastern Pennsylvania), Diamondback was named fourth-best steel coaster and the Beast was named eighth-best wooden roller coaster.The Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer in Erie, Pennsylvania, was judged the sixth-best wooden coaster; Noah's Ark at Kennywood in Pittsburgh was awarded top prize for best fun house/walk-through attraction.Finally, Kalahari Resort in Sandusky was named the second-best indoor water park, behind Schilitterbahn Galveston Island in Texas.For complete results: goldenticketawards.com 

Best Amusement Park Europa-Park, Rust, Germany
Best Water Park Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Children’s Park Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.
Best Marine Life Park SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Seaside Park Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Best Wooden Coaster Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn.
Best Steel Coaster Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio
Best Kids’ Area Mason, Kings Mills, Ohio
Friendliest Park Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 
Cleanest Park Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind. 
Best Halloween Event Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla. 
Best Landscaping Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va. 
Best Christmas Event Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 
Best Food Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn
Best Shows Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 
Best Outdoor Night Show Production IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, Orlando, Fla. 
Best Water Ride Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best Waterpark Ride Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Dark Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Ride of 2014 – Amusement Park Flying Turns, Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best New Ride of 2014 – Water Park Verrückt, Schlitterbahn Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.
Best Carousel Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Indoor Roller Coaster Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios Orlando, Orlando, Fla.
Best Indoor Waterpark Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas
Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.


 Take The Last Stand On Mantis Cedar Point's massive stand-up coaster, Mantis, is closing for good on Sunday, October 19.

Since 1996, the 145-foot-tall steel bug has given more than 22 million rides. It was billed as the tallest and fastest stand-up roller coaster in the world when it opened. Mantis was built by the same legendary manufacturers that brought you GateKeeper and Raptor, Bolliger & Mabillard. 

“It’s time to say goodbye to one of the park’s coasters, and it’s certainly been a different kind of ride for our guests,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “But we’re extremely excited about what the future holds here at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World™.” 
So, get your last rides in. We're planning special closing day activities for Sunday, October 19, 2014 More details later. 

Please note: Mantis is NOT open on Friday nights during HalloWeekends. For a full list of rides operating on Friday nights

 On Friday nights, all haunted attractions are open. However, only select rides are in operation.  

Rides open on Friday nights include:

  • Blue Streak
  • Cadillac Cars
  • Cedar Downs
  • Dodgem
  • GateKeeper
  • Iron Dragon
  • Kiddie Kingdom (seven rides)
  • Lake Erie Eagles
  • Magnum XL-200
  • Matterhorn
  • Maverick
  • maXair
  • Mean Streak
  • Millennium Force
  • Midway Carousel
  • Monster
  • Ocean Motion
  • Pipe Scream
  • Planet Spooky
  • Power Tower
  • Raptor
  • Scrambler
  • Skyhawk
  • SlingShot
  • Top Thrill Dragster
  • Wave Swinger
  • Wicked Twister
  • WindSeeker

Town Hall Museum, Luminocity, Soak City will be closed.



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Cedar Point Makes Good on Its Promise and Establishes Long-Term Partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation

September 16, 2014

It’s time to make good on a promise – and it’s bigger and better than expected.

Earlier this summer, the park sent out a now-famous tweet stating that it would rename one of its coasters “King James” if LeBron James returned to Ohio. That outcome is now known. But the “ball” was back in the park’s court.

Today, Cedar Point announces a joint decision with the LeBron James Family Foundation on a multi-year partnership which includes benefits that go far beyond renaming a coaster.

The highlight of this new partnership will take place next summer when Cedar Point hosts all of the kids who are actively involved in the foundation’s “Wheels for Education ” program and Akron I PROMISE Network for a day of fun with their families in the program's annual "I PROMISE Family Reunion" event. Additionally, next spring, Cedar Point will hold a first ride auction with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the LeBron James Family Foundation.

“We are thrilled to have formed this partnership with LeBron and his foundation,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager for Cedar Point. “It’s great when two world-class organizations can come together for the benefit of kids, their education and their families.”

Based in LeBron's hometown of Akron, the LeBron James Family Foundation’s mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives. In 2011, in partnership with the Akron Public Schools, the Foundation began working on the high school dropout crisis facing the Akron community and launched the “Wheels for Education” program. Now serving nearly 800 Akron-area students, this groundbreaking initiative targets third graders and provides them with the programs, support and mentors they need for success in school. 

"The Foundation is extremely excited about this new partnership because it's a long-term commitment that will have benefits for our kids and their families for years to come," said Michele Campbell, Executive Director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. "One of the fundamental goals of the Wheels for Education program and the Akron I PROMISE Network is to provide our students with opportunities and experiences they might not otherwise have access to, and this partnership with Cedar Point does exactly that."

Once Wheels for Education students reach middle school, they graduate into the Foundation's Akron I PROMISE Network, where they will continue to receive academic support and interventions until graduation. The first class of Wheels for Education students will graduate in 2021.

Cedar Point won't rename coaster after LeBron James

 By: Ryan C Haidet, WKYC
September 17, 2014

SANDUSKY -- It has been nearly 10 weeks since LeBron James revealed his return to Cleveland.As the weeks have gone by, Cedar Point fans have been waiting to see how the Sandusky scream park would fulfill their promise to name one of their 17 coasters "King James."At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Cedar Point announced they would not be naming a coaster "King James," but was instead making a multi-year partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation.Park officials say the highlight of the partnership comes next summer when Cedar Point hosts all of the kids who are actively involved in the foundation's "Wheels for Education" program and Akron I PROMISE Network."One of the fundamental goals of the 'Wheels for Education' program and the Akron I PROMISE Network is to provide our students with opportunities and experiences they might not otherwise have access to, and this partnership with Cedar Point does exactly that," says Michele Campbell, executive director of the LJFF.Next spring, Cedar Point will offer a charity auction for a first ride with all proceeds going to the LJFF. First-ride charity auctions have become a common practice for Cedar Point with a new attraction.The LJFF, based in Akron, serves nearly 800 Akron-area students by providing programs, support and mentors for success in school.Cedar Point made national headlines with their push to lure LeBron back to the Cavs when they made their promise on Twitter.HalloWeekends has now taken over Cedar Point, which runs until Sunday, Nov. 2.Earlier this month, Cedar Point revealed that its Mantis stand-up roller coaster would close permanently on Oct. 19 after 18 seasons and 22 million rides. Some fans speculate the ride will be dismantled and moved to a different Cedar Fair amusement park, while others believe it will be converted into a sit-down floorless coaster with a new name.SAYING GOODBYE: Cedar Point closing Mantis  

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