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  1. #1

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    7/15: SeaWhirled

    Kevin wonders about the Busch theme parks after the sale, discuss it here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: http://miceage.micechat.com/kevinyee/ky071508a.htm
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    My guess is if some shiek(s) have the cash to build a man-made island and replicate all the Busch parks in the middle of the desert, buying the existing parks would be chump change. Seems to fit all of Kevin's criteria...

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Yes, not a bad thought at all. The UAE company which will own/operate the Worlds of Discovery island may in fact be interested in the whole thing.
    Kevin Yee
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    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
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    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
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    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

    Hey just one critique here. Busch beer did not create SeaWorld, they bought SeaWorld, and not even that long ago. So "Anheuser-Busch, of course, created and maintains the SeaWorld parks " is completely false.

    SeaWorld started in the early 60's in San Diego when some UCLA graduates originally planned to open a marine themed restaurant concept. The idea evolved into SeaWorld. Growing up in San Diego I remember when AB bought the parks, there was a definite shift in the look of things. This was in the early 90's I think. My first job was actually at Busch-owned SeaWorld. Anyhow, a publishing company owned it for many years before that.
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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    A couple of issues with the point about Dreamworks. Dreamworks is divided into two companies. Dreamworks Animation SKG, Inc. is publicly traded company, who distributes their films through Paramount. They are not owned by Paramount (parent company is Viacom), which owns Dreamworks SKG, the live-action end, which SKG is looking to buy back from the company.

    So with the premise of Dreamworks movies being all animal themed, yup, the animation ones, which is a company that has no ownership issues with Viacom. Not that Dreamworks Animation is going to buy the Busch parks, I just wanted to correct that error in there.

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Great article Keving. Like you I'm more than willing to take a "Wait and see" approach. I think the company I would like to buy the parks the least would be Cedar Fair. I'd even take Six Flags over them right now.

    And I do agree with this:

    I have no qualms about baldly stating the obvious: they have ruined Knott's Berry Farm, which went from a quaint and well-themed, immersive environment to a soulless collection of thrill rides. Theming and atmosphere has been recklessly tossed aside since Cedar Fair moved in.
    For those of us who grew up with Knott's, it's very sad to see.


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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Anheuser-Busch is a thoroughly deep company... Their holdings are darn near institutionalised in many cities beyond that of Seaworld... They practically own the city of St. Louis... Many investors believe that In-Bev doesn't really know what it is getting into... And, it proabably doesn't. So your question is on the minds of everyone this year...

    I think if the parks are for sale, it won't be for at least two, maybe three years, down the line untill a buyer would be found. Mostly because I don't think an private equity firm (like Blackstone which owns Merlin and finances Universal, Orlando in part) could get enough cash in that term to buy such a property. The Bank System is a little too wonky and I don't know if they would be willing to do it...

    I am not even convinced Cedar Fair would have been able to buy Paramount Parks under the financial conditions today. Of course they (Cedar Faire) are in as much debt as Six Flags is, yet the two stocks are miles apart I think because mistakes are happening in the Six Flags business plan - which is out prices most of the families they are trying to attract IMHO.

    Time will tell.
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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Quote Originally Posted by Not Quite Cpt Jack View Post
    Hey just one critique here. Busch beer did not create SeaWorld, they bought SeaWorld, and not even that long ago. So "Anheuser-Busch, of course, created and maintains the SeaWorld parks " is completely false.
    Whoops! You're right on that one... a slip of the typewriter (or something like that).
    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

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    I read something in the paper about Universal NBC saying the same thing when they merged, that they didn't want to keep those theme parks, but then changed their mind when they saw that the theme parks actually provided a positive cash flow. I think that will be the scenario, unless this recession takes a bigger bite out of the theme park business than it already looks like it will...

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    wow.. this article is so poorly researched it really comes off as a personal blog rant. Please Kevin - research your articles before you publish your thoughts. The credibility of these columns continues to sink lower and lower.

    The speculation and odd ball suggestions are so far off base or unresearched. And at the end of the article.. we don't even have anything more then what we started with. Just a journey between of baseless 'what-ifs' .

    British Petroleum now says that BP stands for "Beyond Petroleum" and its print advertising of late is dominated by green forests and pristine landscapes, so nothing is impossible
    Now says? It's a campaign and company initiative that is over 8 years old..

    Sony? Have you even looked at their behavior in the last 2-3 years? Shedding non-core things like mad... struggling to find financial growth.

    Sony PS3? The company has already stated they will probably never recover their earlier investment.

    Six Flags.. you go on about their debt problems (which are real) but ignore that Synder himself is worth billions and makes big purchases like this happen (Redskins... now interested in a Premier League team) while going on about the Viacom CEO.

    And the list goes on... please bring us some journalism, not personal thoughts on a whim.
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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    The publishing company that bought SeaWorld in 1976 was Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (which had been and later changed its name back to just Harcourt Brace, then got bought by Reed Elesvier, an Anglo-Belgian corporation). It was a rather odd place to visit in those days, with a certain amount of cross product promotion of the publishing business. They sold it to AB in 1989.

    And though the press speaks of InBev as Belgian, since its headquarters are still there, it came out of the acquisition/merger of the Belgian company Interbrew with AmBev, a Brazilian company. The current management of InBev is Brazilian...

    And we all know the tales of Brazilian tour groups...

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Research - And Sony doesn't operate MGM.

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Please Kevin - research your articles before you publish your thoughts. The credibility of these columns continues to sink lower and lower.
    I definitely got it wrong when I typed that AB built the SeaWorld parks. I'm not sure that I agree with you that the other points you mention constitute a lack of 'research.'

    The articles I put on MiceAge represent different types of writing week to week. Some weeks it is breaking news (Flamingo Crossing, contingency plans, etc). Other weeks it is an extended trip report, inflected through my own experiences and opinions (TSM impressions, Declining by Degrees). Other weeks it takes a more academic bent (Immersion Toward Interesting Illusion). And some weeks it is just pure speculation, and yes, more blog-like.

    I agree with you this probably lowers my credibility as a pure newsman, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I don't want to be a pure news reporter.
    Last edited by KevinYee; 07-15-2008 at 09:53 AM.
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by alphac2005 View Post
    A couple of issues with the point about Dreamworks. Dreamworks is divided into two companies. Dreamworks Animation SKG, Inc. is publicly traded company, who distributes their films through Paramount. They are not owned by Paramount (parent company is Viacom), which owns Dreamworks SKG, the live-action end, which SKG is looking to buy back from the company.

    So with the premise of Dreamworks movies being all animal themed, yup, the animation ones, which is a company that has no ownership issues with Viacom. Not that Dreamworks Animation is going to buy the Busch parks, I just wanted to correct that error in there.
    Yes, it's worth pointing out that it's all but a certainty in Hollywood that Dreamworks will be forging its own path in life, minus Paramount, starting next year - so just because Viacom is out of the theme park game doesn't mean that Dreamworks isn't a possible contender (although that's a LOT of capital to come up with). Speilberg in particular has been quite vocal about ending the the relationship; they're also expected to get back all the remaining DreamWorks Animation rights when that contract expires at the end of 2009.

  15. #15

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    Re: 7/15: SeaWhirled

    so many big words! my head just exploded!

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