Former Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line President Matt Ouimet has been President of Cedar Fair amusement parks for half a…
The Paul Pressler/Cynthia Harriss era at Disneyland was controversial among park fans. Many saw it as an era of cuts and rollbacks to the park’s decades of magic. Matt Ouimet was moved over from the very successful Disney Cruise Lines to repair not just the damage years of neglect had done to the park, but also repair the parks reputation in time for its 50th anniversary.
Ouimet left Disneyland behind when the opportunity came to be CEO of a major hospitality company. Unfortunately that was not the right fit for Ouimet’s skillset. It is, however, well suited to running a themed entertainment company. So, I’m very happy to hear that Ouimet will be taking over as president of Cedar Fair.
Cedar Fair owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels. Amusement parks in the Company’s northern region include two in Ohio: Cedar Point and Kings Island; as well as Canada’s Wonderland, near Toronto; Dorney Park, PA; Valleyfair, MN; and Michigan’s Adventure, MI. In the southern region are Kings Dominion, VA; Carowinds, NC; and Worlds of Fun, MO. Western parks in California include: Knott’s Berry Farm; California’s Great America; and Gilroy Gardens, which is managed under contract.
The reality is that Americans are valuing their entertainment dollars more than ever these days. But a company that is built around attracting local business like Cedar Fair is, has the potential to flourish. That’s not to say I expect miracles from Ouiment at Cedar Fair, at least not immediately. He has to deal with a company that’s been teetering on the edge of profitability for a number of years to the point of shareholder revolt. This move is definitely an attempt to assuage those fears.
One of Ouimet’s first moves will likely be to reach back into his operations experience to implement some efficiencies and improve customer service. That will help put Cedar Fair on stronger financial footing and allow for more growth in the future. In any event, I wish him the best of luck. A stronger amusement park industry benefits everyone.
The full press release is below the jump: