(Hershey, Pa.) – Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (“HE&R”), in conjunction with Palace Entertainment, the U.S. subsidiary of Parques Reunidos (“Palace”), today announced the completion of a Sales Agreement for the sale of Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park and related properties in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Palace.
Formal negotiations regarding the potential sale have been ongoing since the parties entered into a Letter of Intent in May of this year. HE&R purchased the Dutch Wonderland complex, including the Old Mill Stream Campground, in 2001 from the Clark family, who founded Dutch Wonderland in 1963.
“We were attracted to Dutch Wonderland because of its position as an outstanding family amusement park – especially for families with younger children. It is our goal to continue to operate the park in a manner which maintains its impeccable reputation, focusing on the highest level of customer care and memorable experience for which Dutch Wonderland is known,” said Fernando Eiroa, CEO of Palace Entertainment. “We are very sensitive to the unique position that Dutch Wonderland has within its community. We will strive to maintain and enhance the Dutch Wonderland brand, while keeping the special family appeal of the Park.”
Palace Entertainment is the nation’s largest operator of water parks and family entertainment centers. Based in California, Palace operates a total of seven amusement parks, 10 water parks and 21 family entertainment centers in 11 states. It has three theme parks and one water park in Pennsylvania: Kennywood, Idlewild, Soak Zone and Sandcastle, which are located in the Pittsburgh area. In total, Palace Entertainment hosts over 14 million visitors annually at 38 locations across the United States.
Parques Reunidos is an international entertainment operator that with this new acquisition operates in total 70 theme parks, water parks, zoological parks and family entertainment centers around the world, distributed in 10 countries mainly throughout Europe and the USA. Parques Reunidos is the second largest leisure park operator in Europe and the third largest worldwide.
“While Dutch Wonderland wasn’t advertised as being for sale, it didn’t surprise us that we received this offer from such a well regarded operator in the amusement industry, given the outstanding brand reputation that the park maintains,” said Ted J. Kleisner, CEO of HE&R. “It was a very difficult decision for us to make; however, the sale will allow us to continue to focus all of our resources and energy on our operations in Hershey.”
Over the past 10 years, HE&R has prioritized the enhancement and growth of its legacy properties in Hershey, including marquee expansions at The Hotel Hershey and Hersheypark. The proceeds from the sale will be used to continue that growth strategy for “Destination Hershey” for both the short and long term.
The change in ownership will be effective November 12, 2010.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts is a privately held company that was founded in 1927, when Milton S. Hershey separated his chocolate manufacturing operations from his other businesses. All of these non-chocolate producing divisions were reorganized under the name Hershey Estates, which is known today as Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts and its subsidiaries own and/or operate the Hersheypark entertainment complex, Hersheypark Arena & Stadium, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, Hershey Bears AHL Hockey Club, Giant Center, The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, Hershey Highmeadow Campground, Hershey Golf Collection, Hershey Nursery, and Hershey Laundry and Textiles.
For more information about Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, visit www.HersheyPA.com.