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Who is the best big park chain operator?

roomraider

Best Topic Starter
Note - From the off I'd say we should exclude Disney and Universal because they are in a class of their own.

But looking at the threads throughout this forum there are countless topics slamming CF, SF, Merlin and PR about some of the decisions in parks they run.

I'm intrigued how people rate the big chains out there.

If Paultons or Knobels were being bought out by a chain tomorrow who would you most be OK with buying them and who would be your big No No?

And let's set a mild disclaimer here. Don't say someone who has only one park in their portfolio. So no I wish Alton would be taken over by Amanda Thompson 😉
 

Indy

Mega Poster
My pick would easily be Herschend. While on the smaller side so they might not be fully in the spirit of the question, Dollywood and SDC are two of the nicest parks in America. And while Wild Adventures could use some extra love, they still do a decent job of running that park.

Honorable mention might honestly be Compagnie des Alpes. I finally visited one of their parks this year and was quite impressed with their more recent additions. I've been equally impressed with the recent additions I've been seeing at the parks that I haven't visited. It feels like they are really moving their properties in the right direction.
 

CineramaMax

Roller Poster
I'd have to pick Compagnie des Alpes. Their parks look incredibly well after and I like how they're plussing Walibi Belgium with new themed areas. Their recent coaster investments seem to always be on the strong side and Untamed is easily in my top 10.
 
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Wazzupnerds

Mega Poster
I'll get hell for this but whatever.

When Six Flags is on all cylinders, they are a force to be reckoned with. With the recent developments, it seems we are coming closer to that late 90s to Mid 00s peak Six Flags where everything seemed great. I think a Six Flags comeback is in the cards.
 

cookie

Hyper Poster
I was mightily impressed with both Walibi Belgium and Parc Asterix this past summer, so CDA is my easy pick. Even beyond their ride additions, there’s a commitment to quality and guest experience even Disney and Phantasialand weren’t always able to provide.

Granted, that’s probably in some part because their COVID safety precautions were close to non-existent, but I was willing to let that slide.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
I'll get hell for this but whatever.

When Six Flags is on all cylinders, they are a force to be reckoned with. With the recent developments, it seems we are coming closer to that late 90s to Mid 00s peak Six Flags where everything seemed great. I think a Six Flags comeback is in the cards.
That "peak period" had a major downside, though: they were spending way more money than they were making. This eventually landed them in hot water as they just piled up debt without getting a return. If I recall correctly, the crash of Six Flags happened even before the financial crisis, which should tell how bad it was: a lot of businesses were struggling back then, but Six Flags managed to get in trouble independently of all that, while everyone else were riding the peak of the bubble.

In other word, "going peak Six Flags" might not be a good idea.
 

shaunthatkid

Mega Poster
I'd have to pick Compagnie des Alpes. Their parks look incredibly well after and I like how they're plussing Walibi Belgium with new themed areas. Their recent coaster investments seem to always be on the strong side and Untamed is easily in my top 10.
they surely have to be up there as one of the richest operators after the big two, They own some very large lucrative ski resorts. Maybe with covid there, situ has changed but they certainly have a lucrative financial avenue.
 

Fi

Mega Poster
Herschend gets my vote as they have donning really well with Dollywood and SDC, both having an excellent line up, operations, shows, theming and staff. The whole package. I think it will be interesting to see what they do with Kentucky Kingdom, hopefully it gets treated like a Dollywood and not another Wild Adventures.
 
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