With Cedar Fair buying Schlitterbahn could Cedar Fair land a dry park in Texas one day?

June 13, 2019, 5:08 PM

I was just thinking since Schlitterbahn water parks will be sold to Cedar Fair after this year is their a slight possibility the state of Texas can receive its very first dry theme park? Perhaps in Houston or Austin since Dallas and San Antonio have their theme parks. Austin is a rapidly growing city and Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. not sure if Grand Texas is still on hold or still in development. I would like to see Cedar Fair do more in Texas just at least perhaps one dry park would do. Their is already 2 Six Flags Parks in the State just saying.

Replies (17)

Edited: June 14, 2019, 7:37 AM

It's a tricky market. This was more of an opportunity purchase than anything else as Schlitterbahn was in serious financial trouble due to the death on Verruckt. Cedar Fair holds the option to also purchase the closed park in Kansas City, but the specter of gloom still hangs over the Texas parks since the failed attraction was designed and developed directly by Schlitterbahn.

A growing population doesn't necessarily equate to theme park demand, and aside from the two (2) Six Flags parks in Texas (SFoT, the original flagship of the chain, and SFFT, the most unique park in the chain aside from maybe SFDK), the state also contains Sea World San Antonio, which has heavily invested in thrill rides in recent years. I would say that there probably is some demand in Texas (Disney once was considering a land acquisition in the state for a future project back in the 90's), but buying a couple of water parks is not necessarily a strong indicator that Cedar Fair is interested in directly competing with the established parks in the state. Aside from a few regions, Six Flags and Cedar Fair stay away from each other with the pairs of parks in California the most proximal (SFMM/Knotts and SFDK/GA are both @60 miles apart). Putting a theme park on the New Braunfels property would place it closer than 60 miles of both SFFT and SWSA, and trying to build a park with large roller coasters on or near the Galveston property would be foolish, because it would be frequently subjected to hurricanes and flooding.

This purchase was really just Cedar Fair seeing a deal that could add a new revenue stream to the company without much risk or investment. The Schlitterbahn parks in Texas are routinely rated among the best in the world, and being able to capitalize on their financial woes because of litigation was an easy buy from Cedar Fair that should pay for itself within a couple of years with minimal investment beyond the initial purchase.

June 14, 2019, 5:07 PM

I just think since Austin is a rapidly growing city and a good economy I just thought it would be a nice location for a new theme park. I know Houston has the better chance being the 4th largest city. I guess size does matter. It was just a suggestion since Cedar Fair is now owning a couple water parks in Texas now. They could be up to something else in the state you never know.

June 14, 2019, 6:07 PM

Realistically, the only way I see Cedar Fair getting a dry park in Texas is if they partner with the ride portion of the Grand Texas project. They aren't known for building parks from the ground up, and like Russell said Six Flags has the Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin markets covered. Houston, however, is lacking a proper theme park and is close enough to the Galveston property to be considered.

Do I think Cedar Fair has interest in a Texas theme park? No, and I wouldn't be surprised if they don't fully incorporate the Schlitterbahn parks into their chain for that reason. However, if they announced at some point in the next five years that they were creating a park in Texas, I wouldn't be overly surprised either.

June 15, 2019, 10:33 AM

Gonna have to slightly disagree. This area of the country is quickly becoming very similar to Southern California except with terrible humidity. The area between Austin and San Antonio is basically urban the entire way. Austin has become massively populated, and that area could easily support another theme park, especially one located in the area where Schiltterbahn is. I have thought the area north of Dallas or, but for the highway situation, the area that you are discussing, could support a central Disney resort. It is mild year round, the population is booming, the economy is vibrant, and there are multiple airports already present. I would never in a million years go to a Schitterbahn park after reading the articles about the management and reading the court filings, so it is good that someone else is buying it. I think they would have to make massive changes in any event.

June 15, 2019, 5:14 PM

I certainly hope your right JC Austin has great music concerts like the well known South by Southwest, a great college town, and a good place for Arts. I know Houston is more deserving for a theme park since it is the fourth largest city without a theme park but central Texas is lacking a theme park the area is just dead with no theme park presence around it. The economy is also great in Austin I agree. Question is if someone were to buy land close to Austin & San Antonio maybe more closer to Austin since SA has Six flags and SeaWorld maybe a Busch Gardens Park could work in Austin, Universal, Disney, Herschend, Cedar Fair can look to build more on in TX with the purchase of Schlitterbahn.

June 16, 2019, 6:59 PM

If Six Flags wants to sell Fiesta Texas... sure.

Okay... maybe.

June 16, 2019, 11:59 PM

The reason Astroworld closed wasn't really because Houston couldn't support a park it was more because mismanagement by Six Flags at the corporate level, so IMO a Cedar Fair park in that area could actually be a great business.

Sadly the waterpark they just bought is right next to an airport which makes building big coasters pretty much impossible. The only park I can think of that's right next to an airport is Kentucky Kingdom and they have some kind of height requirement (I know the old drop tower was 177 feet tall but I don't think they could build anything taller than that).

June 17, 2019, 12:30 PM

I just think the Austin/San Antonio corridor could support one more theme park even if they would have to add on to schlitterbahn in New Braunfels or Galveston waterpark close to Houston gets a theme park but they already have the pleasure pier park I think. So maybe the edge goes to New Braunfels if Cedar Fair wants to look at buying more land right next to schlitterbahn for future theme park use. We don’t know exactly what cedar fair has up theirs sleeve with schlitterbahn in Texas and what else they could have in mind for the state. Again I guess it doesn’t really matter of Austin is a rapidly fast growing metro if the city and it’s surroundings doesn’t get a new theme park in the next decade or so since the US hardly builds any new theme parks from ground up anymore then that’s totally fine it was just a thought.

June 17, 2019, 12:34 PM

Cedar Fair won't and no one else will put up a massive amount of capital to build a park from the ground up in Texas. SF Fiesta Texas and Sea World SA are the destinations for the Austin-Houston-San Antonio area. OG Six Flags is supported by the population around Dallas and partially Oklahoma. Houston also has the Kemah Boardwalk nearby that has one wooden roller coaster and some carnival type rides. Houston lost its major park due to the inept group that was managing Six Flags at the time. The land it was on mainly sits as a parking lot for the rodeo.

Hopefully Cedar Fair doesn't mess with the original Schlitterbahn too much and just continues to manage it well. It's a great park in a nice town. I can't see them expanding its footprint much since it is so entrenched in the original New Braunfels town area. I doubt they will purchase the KC park since they already own Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun on the other side of town.

June 17, 2019, 4:31 PM

I guess my point is that with the geography, economy, weather, population density, and all the airports, that part of the country would be ripe for any massive investment for a large, well-run theme park. Remember, nothing was in Orlando other than the beaches, and south Texas is becoming very similar to Southern California. You have a blossoming film and music industry, and it is near Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and not far from Dallas/Fort Worth. Six Flags has improved a lot in ten years, but it is a second tier park compared to some others in its same category and nowhere near Universal and Disney.

June 18, 2019, 8:12 AM

@JC - I have no doubt that if Disney or Universal wanted to build another domestic theme park resort, Texas would be the FIRST (and likely only) option. However, this is about Cedar Fair and their purchase of property in Texas. They are not a top tier operator, and for them to attempt to open a theme park in Texas would run right up against established competition. Perhaps if they wanted to create a park at the quality of a Disney or Universal park, they could do it, but there's nothing to indicate that Cedar Fair would ever invest the kind of capital it would take to building anything beyond one of their traditional iron parks.

Honestly, I think this purchase was more about the name and R&D that Schlitterbahn has established in the industry. Cedar Fair now has the rights to the name, allowing them to re-brand all of their current water parks with the Schlitterbahn name, and to utilize the ride technology that Schlitterbahn has developed over the past 2+ decades. That, along with the revenue generated by 2 of the best water parks in the US is more than worth the price that they paid.

Edited: June 19, 2019, 12:19 PM

"Honestly, I think this purchase was more about the name and R&D that Schlitterbahn has established in the industry. Cedar Fair now has the rights to the name, allowing them to re-brand all of their current water parks with the Schlitterbahn name, and to utilize the ride technology that Schlitterbahn has developed over the past 2+ decades."

I feel the exact opposite. I think they bought the parks because they are successful waterparks that will deliver consistent and predictable profits long term - but the chances of Cedar Fair renaming all of their waterparks to Schlitterbahn is pretty much 0. In Texas people may have built a bond with the name, but for a lot of people when they think of Schlitterbahn they think of that horrendous tv show with the rafts flying off the waterslide then the park letting it happening to a child.

June 19, 2019, 1:40 PM

I have to agree with the man. I love a good risk, and I have been to my state fair for as long as I can remember, but it appeared that they designed those rides with little to no engineering input to get on a TV show according to a criminal indictment (not a civil lawsuit). I would rather ride things on Redneck Thrill Rides than there (or whatever that show is called).

June 20, 2019, 10:33 AM

One thing that probably won’t happen is cedar fair just considering tearing down schlitterbahn’s new Braunfels waterpark and just rebuilding it with completely new rides. I wish JC was right that central Texas can support a dry park one day of course it won’t be anytime soon but in the near future. I understand also that schlitterbahn new Braunfels has like 2 water parks their are both not connected to each other with a resort and a golf course close by I don’t know if they own that or not. The question is what will they do with all of that land? Will they just change the name and it’ll be under new ownership and nothing will happen in terms of new rides and just change things like ticket pricing etc or will they like buy some more land nearby and build a dry park? That’s the least likely choice but I go back to Austin/Central Texas is a booming region and JC again I agree with on that they can at least support a small theme park which hasn’t been even considered or discussed at all. Yea it may sound silly because Six Flags and SeaWorld are close by like an 1 hour and a half away but where Austin is located the region is pretty much dead in terms of theme park presence. It would be nice to see a new ground up theme park since the economy is doing well in Austin it continues to grow with more people moving into the region so why can’t it support a park? If it’s not a new ground up park in central TX I’m hoping Cedar Fair will look at adding on to Schlitterbahn New Braunfels and build a dry park connecting the waterpark. Like I said the Austin area has no theme park presence but San Antonio does so I think this rapidly growing city is ready for a dry park. I hope building ground up parks in the United States will come back one day.

June 20, 2019, 1:02 PM

Take a look on google maps for yourself, but there isn’t room near Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels for Cedar Fair to add a regular themepark. The park is built in an established, older area of town and doesn’t have the infrastructure to support a “Six Flags” size park. Sure, they could build it on the outskirts of town, but it won’t be easily connected to the water park. The waterpark as it presently stands doesn’t have much breathing room to add a large expansion of any sort. That’s why this purchase seems more of an expansion of profits and like Russell mentioned, R&D knowledge accumulation. I hope the upkeep and management remains in place because it’s a great waterpark and unique in some ways because it’s not like the conventional Six Flags water park with a wave pool and a couple of slides.

I completely understand where most of you are coming from as far as Austin having the population and money to support a park, but if you know the area, there are a few things that hinder this from happening. One is location. Where would the park be built? Land is expensive and most likely it would be built far from the actual city of Austin. This then leads to the next problem, the proximity of other parks which has been discussed. San Antonio on any given day is about 90 minutes to two hours away. In terms of traveling in Texas, that isn’t that far away. The other factor that I could think of is whom the population increase in Austin is attributed to. Mostly it’s young professionals and (sadly) investors and expats from California. These two demographics aren’t the typical frequent visitors of parks like Six Flags.

As far as building a park from the ground up, that's is something very unusual for today. Corporations measure profitability to shareholders by quarter and sometimes by month. It would take much longer to reap the benefits of building a park from scratch. The only parks being built from the ground up today are in developing countries like China. It's much easier for Disney to build a new ride or overlay a ride and immediately see the return on investment than build an entire new park.

June 20, 2019, 1:18 PM

And it sucks that Cedar Fair and Six Flags won’t build new parks in the US they just buy existing parks now. Their is a proposed park being considered in myrtle beach South Carolina again so who knows I guess this is another crack at Hard Rock Park 2.0 So who knows Austin keeps growing and the economy is great. If they end up not getting a park 20 years from now I understand because of the close distance of San Antonio which is just 1 hr and 20 mins away I think. You can pick either Six Flags or SeaWorld. It’s just I hope a small park can be built. Not like a state fair park though.

Edited: July 25, 2019, 9:00 AM

Nice article, but i already seen it [url=https://www.google.com/]here[/url]

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