Our Thoughts on Cedar Fair’s 2017 Announcements

With Cedar Fair dropping almost all of their “new for 2017” announcements on us last week, the C101 team decided to share our thoughts on what’s coming to Cedar Fair’s parks next year. Our recap video of the announcements, in case you missed any, can be found below, and you can read all the individual posts here.

Overall Feelings

Eric: So, the first question, with almost everything out there now, what are the general feelings on the announcements? Did they leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, or scratching your heads?

Andrew: I think all of the parks that made announcements are making great improvements. After seeing how the Carolina Harbor rebranding affected Carowinds’ water park this past year, I think the Cedar Point Shores transformation is going to be a great addition at Cedar Point. Mystic Timbers is definitely going to be in the conversation for “Best New Coaster of 2017,” and I think the addition of “tweener” flat rides across the chain is a step in the right direction for many of the parks.

Nick: Overall, I’m glad to see almost all the parks getting something and they’re solid additions that help improve each individual park. But there’s no rides (with the exception of maybe Mystic Timbers) that make you go “wow” or “I have to ride that next year.”

John: I think my overall impression of the announcement was an indifferent “meh.” I think the chain is smart to invest in the overall guest (or more specifically, family) experience. But that appears to have come at the cost of big-money thrill rides and coasters. But it appears that U.S. parks in general are taking a break from high-octane coaster additions in 2017. I think these cycles are normal, and I have no doubts that we’ll again see years where Cedar Fair, Six Flags and other chains are announcing multiple coasters in a single year.

Kyle: While obviously we all would love to see a new shiny coaster each year, there’s always room for improvement elsewhere and I think Cedar Fair is doing a great job of that for the 2017 season. If we got new coasters every year or even every other year, the parks would soon run out of room for expansion.

Mike: I’ll have to piggyback on what Nick said. Being based in Central Florida, the nearest Cedar Fair park to me is Carowinds, which is a nine-hour drive away. None of these announcements entice me to want to make a trip to any of the CF parks in the upcoming year. However, with a toddler son, I have an appreciation for all the flat rides and additions to make the parks more “family friendly”.

Eric: I think I tend to agree with Nick and John on this one, good to see so many parks getting some kind of improvement, but there isn’t really anything that feels like a “must see” for 2017. But hey, in some ways maybe it’s good that they’re taking a bit of a break from the “bigger, faster, louder” we usually hope for.

Flat rides, water parks, and park improvements dominated Cedar Fair's announcements.

Flat rides, water parks, and park improvements dominated Cedar Fair’s announcements.


Eric: Was there anything that you surprised you guys? Something you weren’t expecting, or something that we WERE expecting and didn’t get announced?

Andrew: My biggest surprise was the stand-up “Vortex” at California’s Great America becoming the floorless “Patriot.” It may be my East Coast bias, or I could have just missed entirely that Great America was making an announcement, but I was under the impression that no news would be coming out of Northern California on August 18th. The fact that the news broke around 10am eastern (7:00am California Time!) added to the surprise. With the success of Rougarou at Cedar Point, it made sense for other B&M Stand-ups to be converted to floorless, I just wasn’t expecting it at all.

As for something that I was expecting but didn’t happen, I look to Kings Dominion’s “Hurler,” which has been standing but not operating all season. The fact that it wasn’t even mentioned during KD’s announcement on August 20 was a total shock to me, especially after using it some during their social media teases of the announcement. I’m hoping that the line on the last slide of the announcement that read “There’s really more to come” is a prophecy that comes true for Hurler.

Nick: Where are all the Amusement Dark rides? You know, the ones they said they were planning on adding to every park. I figured at the least we would see more Plant vs Zombies style attractions. The Wildwater Kingdom was both equally surprising and not surprising. I don’t think anyone thought it would be around forever but they’ve hung onto it for nine years so it seems odd that they’re pulling the plug now and not letting it limp on.

John: I agree with Andrew — I was most surprised by California’s Great America’s Vortex conversion. I am very pleased to see Cedar Fair investing in this park. And while it’s no major addition, it will add a nice splash of color to the park’s skyline following Flight Deck’s recent repainting. And most park guests will likely see the conversion as a “new ride.”

I was also surprised by Kings Dominion’s uneventful announcement (despite holding an actual event to make the announcement). Visiting the park for the first time last summer, I was very pleased with the park’s coaster lineup. But I was shocked that the park hadn’t received anything of substance since Intimidator 305 in 2010. Especially considering the park’s proximity to other parks, I’m baffled as to why Cedar Fair doesn’t invest more in this park.

Kyle: I have to say I was surprised that Kings Island would get a new coaster so soon after Banshee made its debut. Banshee was a huge investment for the park, the largest in the park’s history if I am remembering correctly. I’m definitely not complaining though, I think that Mystic Timbers will be a wonderful addition to Kings Island’s already great line-up of coasters.

Mike: No real surprises here, although I guess the Vortex conversion raised my eyebrows slightly. I get the conversion to Rougarou at Cedar Point. Mantis was almost universally panned, enough that I skipped riding it during my one trip to CP. But I’ve enjoyed the other B&M stand-up coasters I’ve ridden, including Vortex at Carowinds. I hope the trend doesn’t lead to the conversion of the rest of the B&M stand-ups to floorless.

Eric: I was also surprised that there weren’t any dark rides announced, both with the Amusement Dark thing they laid out in 2015 and the partnership with EA that led to Mass Effect and Plants vs Zombies (which they talked about in a recent investor presentation). I was sort of expecting another one of those, especially since there are still Action Theaters sitting around in parks waiting to be converted.

On the positive side, I was not expecting so many Winter Fest announcements! I figured they would slowly add it to more parks depending on how it went at California’s Great America this year, but was not expecting three (four?) more to be already announced for 2017. Love having more parks open for more of the year.

Vortex going floorless at California's Great America might have been the most unexpected announcement.

Vortex going floorless at California’s Great America might have been the most unexpected announcement.

Most Exciting

Eric: So, does anything stand out as the most exciting announcement to you? What’s the highlight of Cedar Fair’s 2017 plan?

Personally I’m excited that California’s Great America is doing the Vortex floorless conversion, since it’s my home park and we can at least pretend it’s a new coaster, but overall Mystic Timbers at at King’s Island, if only because it makes me happy that GCI is still getting lots of projects in the era of RMC. I’ve been a fan of every GCI coaster I’ve ever ridden, and imagine this will be another winner.

Andrew: I’m biased, but I’m a huge fan of the flat rides and new County Fair area coming to my home park, Carowinds. The addition of the Top Scan, Music Express, Wave Swinger and Troika will add a lot to Carowinds’ already stellar ride line-up, and their location near Carolina Cobra will add some new life into an area of the park that has been wide open for years. If I have to pick something not from my home park, I’m excited to see how Mystic Timbers turns out, and of course, #WhatsInTheShed.

Nick: Kings Island is the closest Cedar Fair park to me so I’m thrilled they’re the one getting the new coaster. Mystic Timbers looks like it will be pure fun and a great fit for the family friendly market.

John: I have to go with the only (new) coaster coming to the chain in 2017. I’m a sucker for GCI coasters, and I have no doubts that Mystic Timbers will be a hit with both enthusiasts and the general public.

Kyle: As stated above, I am pumped for Mystic Timbers. I am happy that it is another woodie for the park; I love a good traditional wooden coaster.

Mike: Gotta be Mystic Timbers for me. I’ve come to appreciate woodies more and more over the last few years (although The Voyage gave me a mean headache during our meetup weekend). Plus I’m stoked to find out #WhatsInTheShed!

Eric:  Ok, so safe to say we all definitely want to know #WhatsInTheShed.

The real best announcement for 2017 will be when we find out #WhatsInTheShed, right?

The real best announcement for 2017 will be when we find out #WhatsInTheShed, right?

Most Disappointing

Eric: The flipside, was there anything announced or not-announced it that really disappointed? I imagine there’s some disappointment that nothing was announced for Michigan’s Adventure or Canada’s Wonderland, at least not yet.

EDIT: Alright, we got our Michigan’s Adventure announcement!

EDIT #2: Canada’s Wonderland has been announced! Muskoka Plunge and Soaring Timbers!

Andrew: As a coaster enthusiast, it’s rough seeing only one truly “new” roller coaster announced for next season from one of the largest theme park chains in the world. At the same time, I can’t really say that I’m disappointed with any of the announcements that were made. All of the parks that made announcements are adding things that are improving the overall guest experience, whether it’s rides or slides, new entertainment options, or special events. Recently, Cedar Fair parks have put a focus on becoming more of a family destination, and these announcements are all steps towards accomplishing that.

Nick: Well, according to our friends at Great American Thrills, 98% of the comments on the Kings Dominion announcement were negative, so there was obviously a lot of disappointed coaster fans.

John: Going back to Kings Dominion, this was by far the most disappointing announcement in my eyes. Watching the live stream of the announcement event, I was so hoping the park would end the presentation with a “gotcha!” moment and announce the real headlining addition. I suppose there’s still hope that the park will announce something related to Hurler later this year, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Not for this park.

Kyle: Yeah, Kings Dominion had it rough this year. I felt sorry for them seeing all of the negative comments coming across social media. Their day will come (hopefully soon) that they will get a new major coaster.

Mike: No real disappointments here. I agree that King’s Dominion deserves something better given all the A-list coasters that other CF parks have gotten over the last few years. Hoping Hurler gets a major announcement sometime sooner than later.

Eric: Yeah, definitely weird that KD seemed to make a big deal for their announcement, but then…didn’t announce a whole lot. Presumably SOMETHING is happening with Hurler. The only other thing for me that kind of disappointed was Knott’s only doing a Soak City addition. I was really hoping they would announce something about extending (or bringing back next year) Ghost Town Alive. I’m crossing my fingers that’s still a possibility.

Hurler at Kings Dominion 2017

What’s happening with Hurler at King’s Dominion is still a mystery…

Looking Ahead

Eric: Ok, so with all of these announcements made, any guesses on whether we’ll be getting any more for Cedar Fair in 2017, or what might be coming in 2018?

Nick: Hopefully there are some surprise announcements before next season, maybe at the Iaapa convention in November. Cedar Point has said any announcement of what will replace Mean Streak will come after the ride’s last operating day, Friday, Sept. 16, the opening night of HalloWeekends.

Andrew: I’m hoping we get announcements for Hurler 2.0 and Mean Streak 2.0 before the end of 2016. In a world where it seems like every news story is leaked early, it’s interesting going into 2017 not knowing exactly what is happening to those two wooden coasters.

John: This is obviously a “breather” year for Cedar Fair, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The parks in general are making quality improvements to the overall guest experience (Carowinds’ flat ride package and Dorney Park’s park enhancements come to mind). But these types of quiet years will always be hard to swallow for us coaster enthusiasts. We just have to hope that this slow year is preparing for a much more exciting 2018.

Kyle: I am anxious to see what Cedar Point has planned for Mean Streak. There has been talk for years on how a RMC conversion would do wonders for the ride, but we may or may not see that. It sure will be interesting to see what becomes of that large plot of land in the back of the park.

Mike: Patiently waiting on a Mean Streak announcement. Cedar Point has not disappointed over the last several years in continuing to add quality coasters. But other than that, I’m cool with this being a quiet year for Cedar Fair. There are still a ton of coasters they have recently added or upgraded across their parks over the past few years that I have yet to experience, so perhaps this can be a catch up year for me.

There you have it, thoughts from the whole Coaster101 team on the recent Cedar Fair park announcements. Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments, or check us out on Facebook and Twitter, we try to reply to every comment/message we get over there. And keep checking Coaster101 for any more announcements on what’s coming in 2017!

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2 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    Michigan’s Adventure once again gets the shaft. The water park crap is probably hand me downs from the recently announced closure of the water park by Guega Lake in Ohio. This park always seems to get slighted and receives old hande down rides other parks get rid of. Shame on Cedar Fair for their lack of caring for a potential great park.

  2. Heiko Hartmann says:

    Whenever I see the new investments of Cedar Fair (or Six Flags) into their parks, I wonder how the decisions are made within the groups. Is this really 100% centrally decided which park gets what or is there something like a ‘local’ budget for each park of the chain?
    The second seems to match a little bit closer to the observations: Parks with good revenue seem to invest way more money than smaller parks of the chain.
    Does anybody know more here?

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