Thursday, September 21, 2023

Cedar Fair to invest $200 million in 2023 across portfolio of North American parks

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company has unveiled plans for the 2023 operating season across multiple properties in the U.S. and Canada. These include new themed areas at Carowinds in North Carolina and Cedar Point in Ohio, several major upgrades at Knott’s Berry Farm in southern California, and 50th anniversary celebrations at Worlds of Fun in Missouri and Carowinds. In addition, several parks will be introducing a new generation of guests to some iconic rides and attractions from the past – such as the Wild Mouse at Cedar Point and Zambezi Zinger at Worlds of Fun — that have been reimagined and recast for today’s thrill seekers. There will be plenty of delicious new food and beverage options across the board, and park event calendars will be full of seasonal festivals and special celebrations that offer something fun for everyone in the family throughout 2023.

“The investments we will be making in 2023 across our park footprint are focused squarely on what matters most – making people happy and providing our guests with a best-day experience on every visit,” said Cedar Fair President and CEO Richard A. Zimmerman. “Guest satisfaction ratings at our parks this season have been among our highest ever, validating that the investments we’ve made to improve the guest experience are paying off. Our capital plans for 2023 are aimed at taking those experiences to a new level, whether you’re a diehard coaster fan, a foodie with a taste for something unique, or a festival lover who enjoys great live entertainment.”

Zimmerman said Cedar Fair’s capital investments for 2023 will be the largest ever at approximately $200 million. Among the highlighted plans and developments for next season:

Snoopy’s Racing Railway (L) and Tundra Twister (R)
  • Canada’s Wonderland is adding Tundra Twister, a giant looping ride with rotating gondola arms that will have guests spinning, twisting and twirling 360-degrees, upside-down, at increasing heights and speeds. This is the only attraction of its kind in the world and offers a unique thrill experience unlike any other. Also debuting next year is Snoopy’s Racing Railway, the park’s 18th roller coaster, which will take guests on a railway adventure inside Planet Snoopy. This family-launch coaster accelerates from zero to 50 km/h (31 mph) in a matter of seconds before zipping through dips and turns as the train narrowly avoids the traps set by Woodstock and his Bad Seed Gang.
  • Carowinds will celebrate its 50th anniversary by unveiling its fourth rethemed area since 2017. At the center of the anniversary celebration will be Aeronautica Landing, where guests can immerse themselves in a land celebrating the Carolinas’ spirit of aviation invention and exploration. Construction is now under way in the Crossroads areas of the park, which will be completely renovated and renamed, complete with the introduction of five new themed attractions opening in 2023. In addition, Aeronautica Landing will feature two new and one upgraded dining venues.
The Boardwalk
  • At Cedar Point, the excitement and nostalgia of the park’s classic lakeside experience will be celebrated in a whole new way in 2023 when the park opens The Boardwalk, a new themed area just steps away from the Lake Erie shoreline that made Cedar Point famous. The Boardwalk is a modern interpretation of the Cedar Point of yesteryear. A new ride, along with dining and entertainment experiences for the entire family will round out the improvements coming to the former Lakeside Midway. Cedar Point’s legacy of roller coaster thrills continues with the addition of the Wild Mouse roller coaster. A nod to the park’s original Wild Mouse coaster, the modern version will provide a ride experience the original couldn’t – its cars will spin 360 degrees as they navigate the ride’s 1,312 feet of bright orange track. Cedar Point’s Grand Pavilion, serving as the all-new anchor to The Boardwalk, commemorates the park’s original Grand Pavilion entertainment space, which made its debut back in 1888.
Re-envisioned Fiesta Village
  • Knott’s Berry Farm and the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel have major changes coming in 2023. Inside the park, Fiesta Village will be completely revitalized to further celebrate the Hispanic cultural influences present in Southern California. The unveiling of the new Fiesta Village includes a reimagined Montezooma’s Revenge. The historic coaster will be renamed MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress, with an immersive storyline and new surprise thrills for its riders. Next door to the park, every aspect of the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel will be transformed, from common areas such as the lobby and the pool area to conference rooms and a new outdoor banquet venue designed to elevate the experience for both corporate and leisure groups alike.
Original Zambezi Zinger
  • When Worlds of Fun opens its gates for the 2023 season, guests will be treated to an exciting 50th Anniversary celebration that not only looks back on five decades of fun, but also launches all new experiences to enjoy for years to come. Among the new fun for guests in 2023 is a reimagined Zambezi Zinger, a new coaster in the heart of the African Serengeti that will bring back memories of the original Zinger while offering an entirely new experience built on a hybrid structure of galvanized steel and wood. The original Zinger was one of the park’s most popular rides – and one of three coasters – when Worlds of Fun opened in 1973. The new Zinger is designed to delight a new generation of guests while providing a nod to the past. A season-long celebration of memories and adventure, full of new experiences and entertainment will tell the stories of the park’s first 50 years. The hallmark event will be “50 Nights of Fire,” a new evening stage show will feature some of the greatest top 40 hits from 1973-2023, along with a finale filled with pyrotechnics.
PEANUTS at California’s Great America
  • California’s Great America will include an expanded lineup of events, live shows, new attractions, rides, kid-sized activities and waterpark adventures in 2023. The PEANUTS Gang comes out to play in a big way with a PEANUTS Celebration, a limited-time, special event where Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang take over the entire park. Park guests can also enjoy the recently expanded and upgraded All-American Corners area. It includes The Corner Notes musical song and dance show, expanded food options and two classic rides. Liberty Twirler is a brand-new spin on a classic midway ride that has been thrilling guests for decades. Long-time guests of Great America will instantly recognize Orbit, which spins back into action as part of the expanded area. Great America will be open for weekends all year long beginning in January.

In addition to new rides and attractions, Cedar Fair will continue to upgrade and expand food and beverage facilities across its portfolio in 2023, with a focus on providing signature menu and beverage items that tap into consumers’ cravings for unique flavors and experiences they can’t find anywhere else. These capital investments also will be aimed at improving the capabilities, technologies and efficiencies of the parks’ food preparation and delivery systems.

Also on tap for 2023 is a full lineup of seasonal events. The popular Grand Carnivale celebration will return to a half-dozen parks next summer, including Carowinds, Dorney ParkKings DominionKings Island and Worlds of Fun. Carnivale at Orleans Place will return to California’s Great America, while the Frontier Festival will be back at Cedar Point. In the fall, 10 parks will offer Halloween-themed special events such as Tricks and Treats or Halloween Haunt that are sure to appeal to those looking for some frightful family fun or a good scare. And as temperatures drop, WinterFest will return to Carowinds, California’s Great America, Kings Dominion, Canada’s Wonderland and Kings Island. This one-of-a-kind holiday spectacular is filled with millions of lights, themed areas, live holiday entertainment, sweet and savory treats, and a variety of additional activities for the entire family.

“Each season we introduce a full slate of immersive rides and attractions, limited-time special events, and innovative food and beverage programs,” Zimmerman said. “It’s clear from Cedar Fair’s financial results that consumer demand remains healthy and that guests are responding well to the quality and breadth of the entertainment experience we offer. With 2023 season passes now on sale, we look forward to raising the bar even higher as we continue delivering on our commitment to make people happy.”

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