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Park News

CNL ends lease with PARC Management

CNL Lifestyle Properties has reached an agreement regarding the early termination of PARC Management’s leases on 18 amusement parks and family entertainment centres (FECs) in the US. CNL Lifestyle Properties has already entered an agreement with Amusement Management Partners (AMP), a company chaired by former Ripley’s Believe it or Not CEO Bob Masterson, to manage eight FECs. The company is now evaluating new operating strategies with leading experienced management teams for the eight amusement parks. CNL expects new management companies to be in place well in advance of the start of the 2011 season. CNL Lifestyle Properties, a real estate investment trust, has invested significant capital over the last few years to expand and strengthen the parks and attractions in question.

“Since our acquisition of these properties in 2007, CNL Lifestyle

Properties has remained dedicated to their success and ensuring they provide fun and memorable experiences to guests in a family-focused environment,” says CNL president and CEO, Byron Carlock. “We are excited about the changes that are planned for 2011. We are also committed to ensuring these properties are managed by industry-leading management teams.”

CNL expects no adverse changes in the consumer experience, employment levels or community involvement due to the management transition. Since there is no change in ownership, season passes already purchased for the 2011 season will be honoured. The affected properties are Elitch Gardens (Denver, Colorado), Frontier City (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), White Water Bay (Oklahoma City), Waterworld (Concord, California), Wild Waves & Enchanted Village (Seattle, Washington), Darien Lake (Buffalo, New York), Splashtown (Houston, Texas) and Magic Springs and Crystal Falls (Hot Springs, Arkansas). The FECs that will be managed by AMP include Zuma Fun Centers in Charlotte, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; North Houston, Texas and South Houston, Texas; Mountasia Family Fun Center (North Richland Hills, Texas), Fiddlesticks Fun Center (Tempe, Arizona), Funtasticks Fun Center (Tucson, Arizona) and Camelot Park (Bakersfield, California), plus Frontier City and White Water Bay in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. PARC Management, meanwhile, plans to focus on its existing US operations including NASCAR SpeedParks and on development and management opportunities, both in the US and internationally.

Dutch Wonderland sold

Palace Entertainment, the US subsidiary of Parques Reunidos, has acquired Dutch Wonderland from Hershey Entertainment. Set amidst Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the 43-acre family amusement park boasts more than 30 rides, a water play area and live entertainment. The property was founded in 1963 by the Clark family and sold to Hershey in 2001. Palace Entertainment operates seven theme parks, 10 waterparks and 21 family entertainment centres (FECs) in 11 American states and is the largest operator of waterparks and FECs in the USA. Over the past five years Parques Reunidos has acquired more than 51 parks in the USA and throughout Northern and Southern Europe. The group is owned by private equity fund Candover. “We are very proud of the integration of a leading park like Dutch

Bob Masterson, Curtis Parks, Bill Sims, and Eli Stovall, all of Amusement Management Partners LLC, pictured at IAAPA


Wonderland within our group," says Palace Entertainment president and CEO, Fernando Eiroa. "We are fully aware of the unique position that Dutch Wonderland holds within its community and we will be doing everything to enhance the Dutch Wonderland brand, while keeping the special family appeal of the park.”


Wiegand Wie Flyer

Due to open this coming spring at Inselsberg Funpark near Frankfurt is a new attraction from Wiegand called the Wie Flyer. The ride is essentially a suspended version of the company’s popular Bobkart. Passengers ride in glider-style twin seater vehicles beneath a rail at up to 20mph (32km/h). The rider in the front controls the swing, while the passenger in the back controls the speed.

An automatic distance control prevents collisions with other vehicles. As with many of Wiegand’s products, the steel rail is galvanised, ensuring minimum maintenance. On launching the ride recently at IAAPA in Orlando,

Wiegand encountered an encouraging reception and the company’s Jürgen Ruschke says he anticipates the product appealing to more parks than the Bobkart. The debut model at Inselberg will include 500-metres of track (as pictured below) and be operational in time for the start of the season in March.

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