Nine years ago, Cedar Fair announced that they would be shutting down Geauga Lake Amusement Park, and operating the property solely as a water park named Wildwater Kingdom.
Wildwater Kingdom opened two years before the property closed, and the reason for keeping it open was its new age, and because it was the highest rated portion of the property. But today, Cedar Fair once again announced a heartbreaking closure, as the water park will not reopen for the 2017 season.
What are the reasons? Well, there are a few:
1) Popularity. Wildwater Kingdom was a relatively small operation, and it had lost much of its clientele over the years. With the park struggling to staff the park, and profits getting lower by the season, it was time to put the property out of its misery. Cedar Fair does not want to lose any more money on the venture, as many people chose not to return once the ride side of the park closed. People are choosing to go to other, much large vacation destinations.
2) Debt. Cedar Fair is in by no means a bad financial situation, but they are coming close to paying off their Paramount Park purchases from 10 years ago. This is why they are becoming much more conservative with their additions and budgeting. By closing Wildwater Kingdom, they can sell the land that Geauga Lake once sat on for a good bundle of money, and have a few spare attractions that can be moved to other parks and be called additions for a year. This will save them a ton.
3) The Business Decision. Cedar Fair has a large portfolio, with many properties to oversee and take care of. Wildwater Kingdom was arguably the most miniscule one that they owned, and it did not get much attention because of this. Remember that ever since Geauga Lake closed in 2007 no additions have been made to this property. Now that they are finding themselves too cluttered and busy, Wildwater Kingdom is a dead ringer to do away with. They wouldn't get much money yearly off of keeping it open or selling to another chain. They can make a bundle off of moving the lightly used rides and selling the land for redevelopment.
4) Redevelopment. Cedar Fair gets that many locals of Aurora are still angry at the company for the closure of the park. It was a tradition for them, their local Disneyland. So, they want to leave the area, sell off the land where the bad memories remain, and hope that things kind of blow over. Two major properties are a day trip away from Geauga Lake, and they would like for some of those locals to forgive them, and visit one of their larger offerings. Many buyers, whether condo companies or retail giants, will be interested in transforming the land into something new, and something to help locals recuperate from the loss.
Unfortunately, due to the blunders of Six Flags and Cedar Fair with overexpansion and poor management of the property, now nothing will remain. But is it better to keep going on with only a fraction of the property being used as a water park, or to bulldoze it altogether and start over? If there is no chance of rebuilding the park, the latter seems to be a better option. Now Aurora locals can finally move on, and maybe hope for something better to come, even if that is a shopping plaza or something similar.