ScreamScape said:According to the latest rumors Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE) and CNL Lifestyle Properties may have decided to part ways when it comes to HFE’s management contract for Elitch Gardens. CNL announced that HFE would take over the management duties of Elitch Gardens and Darien Lake back on January 25, 2011.
While I have yet to hear an official announcement, it is worth noting that HFE has already removed any mention of the Elitch Gardens theme park from their official list of attractions. The deal to manage Darien Lake, another CNL property, is apparently still in effect however, and still listed on the website.
So far there has been no word on who CNL might hire to manage Elitch Gardens for the 2014 season, though I would think that one of the four other management partners would likely have the inside track to run the park. That would be either:
Amusement Management Partners – Magic Springs and several FECs
NorPoint Entertainment – Wild Waves (doubtful)
Palace Entertainment – Waterworld
Premier Attractions Management – Frontier City/White Water Bay and Splashtown
If I had to bet, I’d say Premier might have the edge here anyway, as Kieran Burke is a former Six Flags CEO and is already familiar with Elitch Gardens and helped broker the deal to sell it from Six Flags to CNL in the first place. Plus Premier and CNL just signed a new deal to run the Wet 'n' Wild waterparks in Hawaii and Phoenix.
This is kind of hilarious since I just put together this Herschend forum on Thursday or Friday...