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  1. #31

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    That's been my problem with many of Kevin's news articles lately. They've been less researched than many of the posts I find on the forums. If you're going to post an article it needs to be well researched and well written. Most of Kevin's articles seem to just be his thoughts on the matter at that moment. Rarely does it seem that he does a ton of fact checking on what he writes. Its just a matter of here's what I'm thinking at this point.

    I guess that's ok if you want to just be seen as a blog writer and nothing more, but everyone else who writes on this site goes so much deeper. Al goes months sometimes before writing because to him its not worth writing if its not news, and he does tons of checking and cross checking before he writes. The author on trains have some of the most incredibly researched articles I've ever seen, and even the Monday in the parks has more research and opinions backed up with facts than these do.

    If these were just forum postings I wouldn't say a word. I'd debate some ideas back and forth and then go on. But when you write as a reporter for micechat you're setting yourself up to be an expert on a subject whether you proclaim it or not. If I got up in front of my students and just rambled about why I hate Microsoft (I teach IT in a college setting) with no backed up facts, spouted off half baked generalizations, and was just plain wrong on much of what I said they'd all drop my class in a heart beat.

    I'm not asking for you to stop writing for miceage, just spend some time making sure what you write is worth us taking the time to read. Lately, they've been no more important than any other forum post on the site. I'm not criticizing you because I want to hurt your feelings, I'm criticizing you for the same reason most of us criticize the parks. I expect more from you and I'm routinely disappointed every time I read your articles. It not only hurts your credibility, it hurts the entire site.

    Jim Hill has very little credibility to most people, but his articles are more researched than these have been as of late. Do you really want people to think of you as Jim Hill the second?

  2. #32

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Two points:

    1. ANIMAL CONSERVATION: Where does Kevin get the idea that Animal Shows=Animal Conservation? What animal conservation has Sea World really done (besides sometimes helping stranded animals)? And what do their shows have to do with this? Their shows are mostly silly affairs that have little to do with Education and nothing to do with "Animal Conservation".

    2. RIDES VS. SHOWS: One of the reasons that Sea World moved into rides and away from shows is because it has become harder and harder to capture marine mammals. Sea World originally built its reputation on "Shamu". As we know, orcas don't live very long in captivity (the average lifespan of a captive orca is 7 years) - but capturing a wild orca has become very expensive. This is partly because Sea World is banned from capturing orcas in U.S. waters (since they were found to be using explosives as part of their capture technique) and they were forced to capture in the open waters of the Northern Atlantic (near Greenland). While it used to cost a million dollars to capture an orca, it now costs many millions of dollars. So Sea World found it couldn't base its future on Shamu and was forced to expand into other arenas (such as rides). This would be a major consideration for any future owner: what is the future of Sea World?

  3. #33

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Aside from the fact that Cedar Fair doesn't have the money to buy the AB parks, they have already passed on owning/running a wildlife park. CF acquired the old Six Flags Ohio (which was a comination of Geauga Lake and Sea World Ohio) and focused on the amusement side and expanded the water park. The animals were retained by Six Flags but I believe Kinzel, the CEO of the company, made comments to the effect that CF was not interested in running a park with animals.

  4. #34

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Quote Originally Posted by kcnole View Post
    I'm not criticizing you because I want to hurt your feelings, I'm criticizing you for the same reason most of us criticize the parks.
    Agreed. Like I told someone last week here in these same forums, the opposite of love is not hatred, it's indifference. So I sense that strong feelings here are not meant to injure me, but are meant in the (positive) spirit of criticism.

    Apparently, it was not my best work. Despite appearances, there was research done (I certainly don't carry around in my head the owners of the World of Discovery or Sumner's net worth, among many other things). But that's besides the point. If the article didn't resonate with readers, the problem lies squarely with me and the way I phrased things, ordered ideas, left other notions only half-explained, whatever. So it's good feedback for me to hear.

    And, as always, thanks.
    Kevin Yee
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    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  5. #35

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Of the many good emails I got, one in particular made me want to share the idea: would the sale of AB yield enough money to the Busch family that they could possibly buy the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks back, for themselves?

    August Busch III seems to have 1.4 million shares. At $70 each, that doesn't seem enough, just on the sale price alone, to come anywhere close to the parks' price. But if he were interested, and attracted fellow investors to let him run the place... I dunno; seems intriguing.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  6. #36

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Apparently, it was not my best work. Despite appearances, there was research done (I certainly don't carry around in my head the owners of the World of Discovery or Sumner's net worth, among many other things). But that's besides the point. If the article didn't resonate with readers, the problem lies squarely with me and the way I phrased things, ordered ideas, left other notions only half-explained, whatever. So it's good feedback for me to hear.
    While I've had some major problems with the fact checking on some of your articles its a response like this that makes me still respect you. Some other authors would just say, "You don't like my article, screw you, nothing I do will make you happy." I hope you do learn from it. I look forward with anticipation to reading Al's articles because they're not mere speculation, they're full of hidden info that no one else has. Sure, he's got a ton of ears on the ground who report to him, but he spends a ton of time researching and digging before giving us a post. I sometimes get annoyed that it takes a few months between his posts, but when they come they're quality.

    I'm very glad that we have an ear on the ground in Orlando I just want more. As an east coaster who will probably make it to California maybe once in my life if I'm lucky I'm not as interested in what happens in Disneyland (although I still care a great deal). The park that impacts me is in Orlando and its what I want to read about most often. I really wish there was a source in Orlando who had near the info that Al does in California. I hope that one day that can be you.

    Of the many good emails I got, one in particular made me want to share the idea: would the sale of AB yield enough money to the Busch family that they could possibly buy the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks back, for themselves?

    August Busch III seems to have 1.4 million shares. At $70 each, that doesn't seem enough, just on the sale price alone, to come anywhere close to the parks' price. But if he were interested, and attracted fellow investors to let him run the place... I dunno; seems intriguing.
    This is something I've thought of and even posted about briefly on some of the other threads. I did the math as well and didn't see where Augustus could afford the parks either, but it certainly would be nice to see it happen. The Busch family always loved their parks and treated them like their personal playgrounds. They may not have had quite the emotional investment in them that Walt had in Disneyland, but it seems they were owners who truly cared about them and didn't just see them as a profit center. It would be nice to have someone to run them who still views them that way.

  7. #37

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Quote Originally Posted by Rotel1026 View Post
    Aside from the fact that Cedar Fair doesn't have the money to buy the AB parks, they have already passed on owning/running a wildlife park. CF acquired the old Six Flags Ohio (which was a comination of Geauga Lake and Sea World Ohio) and focused on the amusement side and expanded the water park. The animals were retained by Six Flags but I believe Kinzel, the CEO of the company, made comments to the effect that CF was not interested in running a park with animals.
    Rotel: Its interesting that you bring up Geauga Lake. Cedar Fair closed that park last year. All the rides that weren't already moved to other Cedar Fair parks or sold at auction are being torn down for scrap. I'd shudder to think of that happening to any of the Busch entertainment parks. I'm also old enough to remember Jungle Larry's Safari and the dolphin show at Cedar Point.

    Fortunately, I think neither Six Flags nor Cedar Fair are in any position to take on any more parks.

    What surprised me about Kevin's article was that he completely missed some of the more obivous possible suitors:

    Herschend Family entertainment: Runs Silver Dollar City and Celebration City in Branson, Part owners of Dollywood and recently bought Wild Adventures in Valdosta.

    Parc Management: Bought Darien Lake and Elitch Gardens from Six Flags a couple years back.

    And on the international front: Parques Reunidos: Owns and operates some european parks like Mirabalinda and Bobbiejailand. They're in the middle of acquiring Kennywood park in Pittsburgh.
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  8. #38

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    I did think about the smaller (well, up and coming) operators, including also Hershey, but Busch parks are such a much larger operation. The biggest problem is not scale, though, but money. InBev will want billions.

    It'll be an institution buying the parks, and almost certainly an internationally-based one. With the dollar's value sliding against world currencies, the American companies are essentially on sale. That argues perhaps for Parques Reunidos, but I think what it really means is some giant corporation (or someone with oil money) interested in the diversification.
    Kevin Yee
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    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  9. #39

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Nice clip but ignores the fact that Bud is sold internationally. Be it pure import or canned abroad I do not know. But it is certainly available in Europe.
    And in Europe it is marketed as "Bud" and not "Budweiser." The Czech beer sold as Budweiser in Europe (sold in the U.S. as "Czechvar") is not an A-B product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Dewd View Post
    Two points:

    1. ANIMAL CONSERVATION: Where does Kevin get the idea that Animal Shows=Animal Conservation? What animal conservation has Sea World really done (besides sometimes helping stranded animals)? And what do their shows have to do with this? Their shows are mostly silly affairs that have little to do with Education and nothing to do with "Animal Conservation".

    2. RIDES VS. SHOWS: One of the reasons that Sea World moved into rides and away from shows is because it has become harder and harder to capture marine mammals. Sea World originally built its reputation on "Shamu". As we know, orcas don't live very long in captivity (the average lifespan of a captive orca is 7 years) - but capturing a wild orca has become very expensive. This is partly because Sea World is banned from capturing orcas in U.S. waters (since they were found to be using explosives as part of their capture technique) and they were forced to capture in the open waters of the Northern Atlantic (near Greenland). While it used to cost a million dollars to capture an orca, it now costs many millions of dollars. So Sea World found it couldn't base its future on Shamu and was forced to expand into other arenas (such as rides). This would be a major consideration for any future owner: what is the future of Sea World?
    At Sea World San Diego they have a 43 year old Orca named Corky, which I'm guessing brings the average up a bit. I was recently at Sea World San Diego and observed the shows as well as their other exhibits. The animals are well-cared for and the relationship between the trainers and their animals seems to be a unique and two-way partnership. The animals trust their trainers and vice-versa. As for conservation, if I recall correctly, Sea World under A-B has bred more than 20 orcas in captivity as well as Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, short-finned pilot whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals and many other animals, including manatees. They have a rather successful manatee breeding program. Seems like conservation to me. Also, I wouldn't call Sea World's animal rescue "occasionally saving a stranded animal." It's a far-reaching service that protects animals that get caught up in humanity's machines and accidents. They are always on the scene of an oil spill or a beached whale or an injured animal. I'd say they have a pretty good record on conservation.
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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Excellent analysis, Kevin. My source tells me that the A-B folks are preparing contingency plans in case the combined Board of Directors decides to jettison the theme parks. If so, then it is expected that an investment group (led by the Busch Family Trust) will bid on the parks. With suitable financing (and the Saudis may be courted) the Parks Division could do quite well as a standalone company.

  11. #41

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Not to turn the thread crass or anything, but at the men's room, on the walls there are all sorts of posters which point out, in quiz format, just how many millions SeaWorld and Busch give to conservation of habitat, rescuing animals, and so on. It's not just lip service, though. I was cynical about that myself the first year, but have become persuaded over time.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080715/anheu...nbev.html?.v=3

    An AP news story from this evening mirrors much of the discussion of this thread:
    "I would say in all likelihood, the theme parks are the No. 1 thing to go. The only question is: 'Is it now, or later?'" said financial analyst Juli Niemann of Smith Moore & Co. in St. Louis. "It's not (InBev's) business. They do one thing and one thing well. They brew."
    Likely suitors might include Merlin Entertainment Group, based in England, or Spain-based Parques Reunidos, Ruben said.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  13. #43

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    That's been my problem with many of Kevin's news articles lately. They've been less researched than many of the posts I find on the forums. If you're going to post an article it needs to be well researched and well written. Most of Kevin's articles seem to just be his thoughts on the matter at that moment. Rarely does it seem that he does a ton of fact checking on what he writes. Its just a matter of here's what I'm thinking at this point.

    I guess that's ok if you want to just be seen as a blog writer and nothing more, but everyone else who writes on this site goes so much deeper. Al goes months sometimes before writing because to him its not worth writing if its not news, and he does tons of checking and cross checking before he writes. The author on trains have some of the most incredibly researched articles I've ever seen, and even the Monday in the parks has more research and opinions backed up with facts than these do.
    You have a point, but the site is MiceChat, not the (insert your favorite hard-hitting journal here). I'm all for the mix of research and Kevin's speaking from experience to form an opinion. If this site were purely a stodgy news site, I wouldn't come here as much. The key facts in the article are true; AB has been offered $70/share and they are considering the deal. Also true is that AB owns SeaWorld and both Busch Gardens. That's the basis for the story. Everything else can be (probably is) speculation and I'll still read it. I'm intelligent enough to agree or disagree with speculation.

    Kevin is quite capable of research--if you doubt that check out one of his books. The problem--which you acknowledge--is that research takes time. If everyone took two months to properly research (not including peer review, for true 'journal' standards), Al would have to shut down the site since there wouldn't be fresh stories to chat about. As editor, Al could have told Kevin this wasn't ready for prime time, but he knows in publishing sometimes something is better than nothing.

  14. #44

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Rides seem to be the direction EVERY park is going nowadays. Observe:

    Knott's Berry Farm - heavy theming and charm, now all rides.
    Universal Studios - a fascinating look into the world of making movies, now all rides.
    SeaWorld - an animal park that teaches respect and conservation, now all rides.
    Legoland - a tiny park that no one wanted to drive to Carlsbad for, now all rides.


    And then of course Magic Mountain has always been about the rides. Ironically, a few years ago Disney might have been the only company not relying on rides. They relied on restaurants and shops instead.

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Quote Originally Posted by Athlonacon View Post
    Rides seem to be the direction EVERY park is going nowadays. Observe:

    Knott's Berry Farm - heavy theming and charm, now all rides.
    Universal Studios - a fascinating look into the world of making movies, now all rides.
    SeaWorld - an animal park that teaches respect and conservation, now all rides.
    Legoland - a tiny park that no one wanted to drive to Carlsbad for, now all rides.


    And then of course Magic Mountain has always been about the rides. Ironically, a few years ago Disney might have been the only company not relying on rides. They relied on restaurants and shops instead.
    Sea World San Diego is not all rides... It has three things that could be considered rides, not counting the sky tower or the skyway buckets. One of the rides is just a prelude to a rather immersive and well-themed exhibit that is all about conservation and respect. The rides at Legoland have all been additions. The LEGO aspect of the park is always there. As for Knott's, the charm can still be found, mostly in the Calico ghost town. It's easy to spend a couple hours there getting lost among the exhibits in their museum or exploring the vintage buildings.
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