Former Disneyland President plans new competition for Disney’s Parks

Former Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line President Matt Ouimet has been President of Cedar Fair amusement parks for half a year now. This week he gets the title of CEO as well. The Associated Press has checked in with Ouimet to see how things are going and to discover his plans for the future. As you might guess, Ouimet is bringing a lot of what he learned at Disney to Cedar Fair’s fleet of amusement parks.

He sees adding more rides that entire families can enjoy together and using technology to better connect with guests before they arrive and once they’re inside the parks. And there might be a few surprises added along the way.

“We’ve always got to be known for great thrills,” Ouimet said in a recent interview. “It has served us well. But I also want to be known for great connections, and that this is where families come together.”

Of Cedar Fair’s 17 amusement and water parks, Knott’s Berry Farm is Disneyland’s closest competitor by geography, but the real competition is the ‘staycation’ experience provided by its regional parks. If Cedar Fair ups its game for family entertainment to something approaching a Disney experience, then families will be much more likely to stay closer to home and invest their vacation dollars in their local economies.

Yes, that’s easier said than done. Ouimet took over a company buried in debt and struggling with maintenance issues. However, if Cedar Fair can over come its problems, letting Matt Ouimet leave the Mouse House may turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of Jay Rasulo’s reign at Disney’s Parks.

More at Yahoo Finance.

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9 Responses to Former Disneyland President plans new competition for Disney’s Parks

  1. Doug says:

    Generally, competition is good and helps create an improved product. Matt Ouimet has a wonderful reputation for what he did with Disneyland and I wish he were still a part of Disney Parks management.

    We live close to one of the Cedar Fair parks and I’m hopeful for a more family friendly park. I grew up near the park and saw the park shift from family friendly to a more teen oriented park. I haven’t taken my young family there because quite honestly the atmosphere was no longer appropriate so we have shifted our local amusement park visits to Busch Gardens and Hershey Park. I wish Ouimet well in his endeavor and am hopeful for an improved park option locally.

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  3. Tim says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic that Ouimet can make the Cedar Fair parks better. A lot of their DNA has to change before meaningful differences will be seen. We grew up with Cedar Point and it would be wonderful if it could regain some of the charm it once had in abundance.

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  6. Michael Hammon says:

    Parks like Cedar Point in Ohio have swung so far towards the thrill seekers and away from family that it will take years to even begin to balance that. It must be a long term plan because if the advertising changes too much the other way, they’ll lose more money from the lack of the “teens” and thrill seekers. On the other hand, the addition of more family focused attractions, while good, will probably not be well recieved as successful additions the first few years since that is not the current focus of the park. It will take time.

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  8. Sandra says:

    Looking forward to changes at Knotts. I’ve always appreciated the perks they’ve had and keeping the prices down so families can actually afford to go. An annual pass at Knotts is $69.99 and an annual pass at Disney around 400.00 500.00 bucks? Come on!

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