Viacom gave Cedar Fair a couple years with Nick to help get the park sale deal done. After that, Viacom wanted its properties out of the parks.
Viacom management doesn't get the cash-cow, cross-promotional potential of theme parks and has shown no sign of wanting to learn. If they did, they would have stayed in the business, then bought the Busch parks when they became available, giving them the all-important Orlando and SoCal presence that they'd lacked. As well as a park management team that could have challenged Disney/ABC and Universal/NBC across the country for visitor loyalty.
Given that that means that there has not been and will not be any new Peanuts content produced during the entire lifetimes of all the new Camp Snoopys' target audiences, yeah, I'd agree that this is not the franchise around which to build a kids' area.
It's a franchise around which to build an aging baby boomer manager's concept of what a kids' area should be.
I am dreading this here in my hometown Kings Island, namely because it has always been a well-themed area. I remember Hanna-Barbara land as a kid. There was the Scooby-Doo roller coaster and the Smurfs Enchanted Voyage. The parking lanes were names after characters - who could forget their car was parked in Wilma Flintsonte Row 3? My kids have grown up with the Nick area. I don't believe that "growth" in the kids area was necessary, only maintenance. Heck, there are 3 coasters in the area including the rare kid's suspended coaster. But, I fear we're bracing for a decline.
Don't think kid theming is important? I know this mouse...
One of the best features of the old Paramount parks was the quality (and huge draw) of their children's area. Anyone who has been to Kings Island (Paramount and before Paramount) has seen a kids area that's vibrant in color, has characters everywhere, a parade, and rides that aren't all necessarily themed, but at least all give reference to the characters in their name and appearance. Cedar Point's Camp Snoopy has nowhere near the look of Nick Universe, and doesn't generate the same kind of excitement with kids because frankly the only time they see Snoopy is when they go to the park. If Cedar Fair learned a thing or two from the Nick parks about designing a kids area and they follow the example that Kings Island set, they may be able to make up for the shortcomings of the franchise they are using. If they come in, strip everything down, and take the minimalist approach, they run the risk of losing some business from the large family fanbase that has developed as a result of the Nick brand and KI's ability to package it in an amusement park. They won't sell as much food, drink, and merchandise
The question is, how will the large family market that Kings Island has collected over the years respond to a drastic change in appearance and perhaps quality as well? Granted, Cedar Fair probably had little choice in the matter when it came to keeping Nickelodeon. Customers however, really don't care about why Nick is gone. They only care that it's gone. They also care about at the very least maintaining the standards that have been set, be it with or without Nickelodeon. If they can deliver the goods with the Peanuts with a good design, they they will do great because the fans will respond and adapt. If they do a half-arsed job with the design, the family business that made a ton of money for the park will be a shell of it's former self.
Don't let me down Kings Island. My kids loved Nick Universe. My family will be back with me at least once next year. The question is, how many times will they return with me next year?
The only sets of characters to buck this trend are the Disney characters (taken), and the classic Warner Brothers characters (taken). Even the Hanna Barbara characters are aging poorly (except for Scooby Doo who should have buried long ago if not for those meddling kids). Other than those, you are down to only specific shows that have enough staying power to stick around (Seseme Street (taken), Thomas the Tank Engine (taken), SpongeBob (taken), ...
I think Derek nailed this one from the beginning. What other stable of characters have been around for 15+ years and is still popular? Well, that would be the Nintendo characters: Mario, Luigi, Sonic, Yoshi, Bowser and their compadres. A kids area themed to this group would be good because the characters will maintain their popularity for many years.
Although take this another step further...why not sign a deal with a different video game publisher like EA or Ubisoft? Ubisoft would bring Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia, the Rabbids, Assassin's Creed, Petz, and the Tom Clancy games. EA would bring Rock Band, Command & Conquer, Sims, Spore, as well as their stable of EA Sports products.
You would think that if you went with a video game publisher, they would be much more willing to keep up the theming of a land in order to keep an audience focused on their latest and greatest. In fact, I could see a really good kiddieland themed to either Rock Band or Guitar Hero...not that those games are really focused on that age group...but it might work...maybe a Tweenland would be better for this idea...? Or maybe just buy these properties for the adults...I would personnally ride the Teacups again if it was themed to Guitar Hero or Brutal Legend...
The fact of the matter is that if you don't have Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, you are going to need to refresh occasionally. At least with Cedar Fair they are going with a long term solution by taking on a classic character that won't need to be refreshed any more now than in 20 years...
and i hate some new cartoons there///;(((((((((((