January 6, 2005
Sandusky, OH -- Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN), a publicly traded partnership which owns and operates seven amusement parks and five water parks, today announced that combined attendance in 2004 at its twelve parks totaled 12.6 million guests, up 3% from the Partnership's total attendance of 12.2 million in 2003.
Dick Kinzel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, noted that the 2004 figures include results from Geauga Lake, which was acquired by the Partnership before the start of the 2004 season. On a same-park basis, combined attendance was down 2.5% between years.
"Although our attendance expectations for 2004 were higher than we achieved, we cannot be too disappointed with our results, particularly given our relatively modest capital investment program for 2004 and the unusually cool and wet weather we experienced at most of our seasonal parks," said Kinzel. "For the entire year, attendance at our seven amusement parks increased 5% to 11.3 million guests, and attendance at our five water parks totaled 1.4 million, down 11% between years. Excluding the impact of Geauga Lake, combined attendance at our amusement parks totaled 10.6 million, down 1% from 2003. Meanwhile, average in-park guest per capita spending improved approximately 3% between years."
Cedar Fair's seven amusement parks are Cedar Point, located on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo; Knott's Berry Farm near Los Angeles in Buena Park, California; Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom near Allentown, Pennsylvania; Geauga Lake & Wildwater Kingdom near Cleveland, Ohio; Valleyfair near Minneapolis/St. Paul; Worlds of Fun, located in Kansas City, Missouri; and Michigan's Adventure near Muskegon, Michigan. The Partnership's water parks are located near San Diego and in Palm Springs, California, and adjacent to Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm and Worlds of Fun.
Commenting on results at the individual parks, Kinzel said, "At our only year-round park, Knott's Berry Farm, good weather and favorable tourism and pricing trends in the Southern California market combined to boost the park's 2004 operating results, with attendance up almost 2% at just over 3.5 million guests. We were also satisfied with the 2004 performances of Dorney Park and Worlds of Fun, both of which overcame poor weather conditions during key points of the season to produce steady operating results. For the year, attendance at Dorney Park increased 2% to slightly more than 1.4 million guests, and attendance at Worlds of Fun increased 1% to approximately 900,000 guests. However, inclement weather and the lack of a major new ride negatively impacted results at our other seasonal parks in 2004. Attendance at our flagship park, Cedar Point, was down 4% to 3.2 million guests, Valleyfair was down 7% to 1.0 million, and Michigan's Adventure was down 2% to slightly more than 470,000 guests. At our newest park, Geauga Lake, attendance totaled just over 700,000 guests, well below our original expectations. On a positive note, results have been very encouraging at Castaway Bay, our new indoor water park resort that opened in Sandusky, Ohio, in early November. Through its first two months of operations, hotel occupancy levels and room rates were up strongly between years, and Castaway Bay guests have been very pleased with the new water attractions which make it a year-round family resort."
The Partnership also reported that the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, which underwent a change in control in 2004 with a new managing general partner, has given the Partnership notice of its intention to terminate the management contract under which the Partnership operates Camp Snoopy, effective at the end of March. "We are disappointed by this development, especially after this past year's outstanding operating results, but the loss of the Camp Snoopy management contract would not have a material financial effect on the Partnership," said Kinzel.
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