Cedar Fair says goodbye to Nickelodeon
It would appear that Cedar Fair is saying goodbye to Nickelodeon sooner rather than later.
Canada's Wonderland, Kings Dominion, Great America, and now Kings Island have all announced that Planet Snoopy will be coming in 2010, marking the end of Nickelodeon's stay in the former Paramount Parks. While still a sort of rumor, Nickelodeon appears to be moving forward with Southern Star amusements in a partnership at the now closed Six Flags Jazzland site in New Orleans.
I don't know if there were any negotiations, but the only reason I can come up with for this dissolution is money. Nickelodeon is one of the most relevant child franchises out there, and was always one of the biggest draws for all of the old Paramount parks, and they probably know that. I know that Cedar Fair's current business model (albeit successful) seems to contain an utter refusal to develop themed areas and rides, and that in order to maximize the potential of Nick, those attractions must be built.
In the end, I don't think that either party will benefit from this move. While Cedar Fair seems to have the confidence in them, it's now up to the somewhat disconnected, aging Peanuts to fill the large shoes of Dora, Spongebob, and the other Nick characters at the Cedar Fair parks. Meanwhile, Nickelodeon loses it's national theme park presence and if the rumors are true, will toil in the small obscure market of New Orleans with a reportedly undersized budget. I have a feeling that both companies will revisit their decisions and think that perhaps they should have stuck together.
Ever heard of Nintendo, Cedar Fair?
Carowinds has also announced Snoopy is coming and I for one am very excited. I know a lot of people that do NOT like Nick and are so thrilled to see it leave the parks. Maybe now the parks will get back to having characters that have moral standards that are obvious. But on the other hand I do agree that CF should do themeing, it really does make a difference in the amount of time a person spends in a park and revisits that park. This is especially true in the smaller parks that get cookie cutter rides and smaller thrill rides.
I think it should be quite clear that theme parks are not a significant part of Viacom's corporate strategy. If they were, the company wouldn't have unloaded the Paramount Parks in the first place.
This is sad, but it was inevitable. People who are excited to see Snoopy coming to their park need to realize that it won't be that great. The Peanuts will not have the same presence as the Nick characters did. I will assure you of that. You will hardly ever see Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Woodstock, etc. walking around hugging kids and taking pictures with them, at least not as much as the Nick characters were out and about. As for getting a renewed license with Viacom, that would have most likely cost Cedar Fair a fortune. This is a very bad thing, and may ultimatly cost Kings Island the Golden Ticket for Best Childrens Area, which is a very big marketing tool.
As you've mentioned, the Peanuts are becoming so irrelevant. These are characters that do not appeal to kids. This seems like a stupid move for both parties.
There hasn't been a new Peanuts strip since Schulz died
I loved the Peanuts stuff when I was a kid, but the characters are almost completely unknown to my kids. My daughter, who hugs every character she sees at a Disney park, is actually scared of Snoopy when she sees him at Worlds of Fun. So much so that she makes me scout ahead and make sure the costumed characters are not out and about before proceeding into the Camp Snoopy area of the park.
It's been quite a few years since I've been to Cedar Point. In fact, I think it was when Top Thrill Dragster opened - 2003. We dropped the kids off at Grandma's in Cleveland and drove on over to visit the "Roller Coast". This was before I was a theme park writer, but I distinctly remember noticing the lack of theme especially in the kids area not only in the rides dept, but in everything - t-shirts, other assorted Peanuts toys. We struggled to find a baby-sized Snoopy t-shirt. All emphasis was on those coasters (as a new dad, I didn't mind that so much).
The park at the Mall of American is totally Nickelodeon themed, so they aren't totally out of the parks.
Ok, break out the pitchforks and torches again. My kids love Camp Snoopy, Planet Snoopy, Snoopy on Ice, etc. at CP. They are now 14 and 10, and still enjoy spending time in Camp Snoopy, and when they were littler we always had to watch the shows in the outdoor stage of Camp Snoopy. We never had problems finding Peanuts-themed items, but CP doesn't flood every shop in the park with them- they are usually much more plentiful in the shops in the children-themed areas. Just because CP doesn't have hidden Snoopys all over the park, and didn't rebuild the Ballroom as Snoopy's doghouse doesn't mean they don't know how to theme. Camp Snoopy is a wonderful area, beautifully landscaped and designed and loaded with rides for kids of all ages. Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters don't usually wander around the park- if you want to see them, you know where to find them- in Camp Snoopy and Planet Snoopy. I've seen lots of kids and adults line up to hug and get pictures with Snoopy. Not everyone is fond of him- not everyone is fond of Micky Mouse, either. My wife made me promise her that I would let her know if I saw a Disney character approaching her at WDW, because she really doesn't like costumed characters coming up to her. There are lots of pictures of kids crying on Santa's lap- should he be replaced with the Nick character dejour? Not every park has to be Disney!
Hey, is it too late to change it to the World of Sid & Marty Krofft? I want to see kids hugging H.R. Pufnstuf when I go to King's Island! I want to ride the Lidsville spinning hats and run through Dr. Shrinker's play area. I can't wait for the Bigfoot and Wildboy musical extravaganza. That's what kids today will enjoy.
I don't have anything against Snoopy and the Peanuts. I grew up watching them...even though my kids haven't The issue isn't necessarily that the kids won't like the Peanuts. The kids will learn to like Snoopy eventually, but the departure of Nickelodeon leaves some huge shoes to fill. The fanbase of Kings Island contains just as many families with children as it does thrillseekers, whereas a park like Cedar Point caters almost exclusively to thrillseekers, and the kids areas seem almost like an afterthought. They can get away with Camp Snoopy at Cedar Point because most people don't go to Cedar Point for Camp Snoopy. They come to go high and fast. At Kings Island, a large portion of their customers were families that came for Nickelodeon Universe. There were days that you couldn't move in Nick Universe, yet other areas of the park were only marginally busy.
I think it will be a great change of scenery. Nickelodeon has been at these parks for many years, and now it is simply time for a change! However, as I read that someone said on CarowindsConnection.com that scenery does not change the ride....Kids will get the same ride, just with a newly painted up-do! I love Nickelodeon, however, many of the rides are themed after shows that are not on Nick any more! The Rugrats, Wild Thornberries, Hey Arnold.....etc....now many of the cartoons on TV are just plain crap! Not to go off on a rant, but think of it....when I was younger, the Flintstones and the Jetsons and Snoopy were big and violence in schools was nearly unheard of......now look at the cartoons....Pokemon, and all of those other violent cartoons.....not that a TV should play babysitter....but anywho, it is time for a change and I look forward to something fresh and NEW!!!
The problem with theming to a current childen's channel stable of characters is that by the time the contracts get signed and the attractions built, the shows are nearing the end of their lifecycles.
I love Nickelodeon very much!!!!!
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