This really is amazing news. We couldn't be more fond of Matt and his tremendous management abilities. While it is sad that Disney couldn't lure him back, this is a fabulous opportunity for Cedar Fair and Knott's Berry Farm in particular.
Cedar Fair never really understood Knott's. Most of the Cedar Fair parks are thrill parks and old school amusement parks. But Knott's Berry Farm was a real Theme Park (the first of its kind).
While the local team running Knott's is absolutely fantastic and understands the importance of their park, the company simply didn't support them with the resources and funding they need to keep the classic parts of the park fresh.
I have little doubt that Matt will help restore Knott's Berry Farm's luster and make it more of a competitor in the booming Southern California theme park industry.
Our very best wishes and congratulations to Matt Ouimet. Your new team at Knott's is likely doing back-flips of excitement right now.
I'd like to hear from our readers on what you think Matt's immediate priorities should be.
As for my hopes
1) Remove the sky coaster upcharge ride from Ghost Town and install a permanent haunted house which honors the legacy of the old Haunted Shack and the importance of Haunt to Knott's.
2) Give the entire park a Western, Ghost Town, Spanish, Indian theme of the same period and remove the lackluster Boardwalk and Roaring 20's theme.
3) Install more family friendly rides and bring back a dark ride or two to the park.
4) Hold festivals throughout the year (Food and Wine, Flower and Garden, Octoberfest, Craft Festival, Dickens Festival, Summer Fair, etc.)
5) Market the park as a family friendly alternative to Disneyland (Let Six Flags take the Roller Coaster focused 'Amusement Park' title in the LA/OC market).
6) Bring Ghost Town back to life and protect it from further encroachment by unthemed roller coasters and steel flat ride (Ghost Town is a gold mine which the park needs to embrace and the true heart and soul of Knott's Berry Farm).
At Worlds of Fun:
Return the theme elements which were stripped from the park when it was taken over by Cedar Fair. World of Fun was once an ambitious family park with an Around the World in Eighty Days theme. Cedar Fair ruined it nearly over night and like many other Cedar Fair properties, ran off the higher spending family crowds.
In short, Cedar Fair needs to realize that each of their parks are unique and have different audiences and potential. Don't run them all like they are Cedar Point. Let each be run by Presidents who fully understand their park and push for rides and attractions which accent that park.
You stepped into Cedar Fair just in time Mr. Quimet. Let's hope there are enough resources left at the company for you to save it. We are firmly behind you!!!