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Published: Tuesday, 3/13/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Details come to light on new park attraction

Cedar Point to offer fireworks, DJ to keep customers later

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Traditional rides such as this that draw customers during the day will be supplemented with a nighttime show that includes laser lights.
Traditional rides such as this that draw customers during the day will be supplemented with a nighttime show that includes laser lights.
CEDAR POINT Enlarge

Cedar Point's upcoming attempt this summer to get customers to stay later -- and presumably spend a little more money -- will be a mix of singers, dancers, drummers, acrobats, lights, lasers, and fireworks. And if that isn't enough, a DJ will get a dance party started afterward.

The Sandusky amusement park has been tight-lipped about the new after-dark event -- Luminosity: Ignite the Night -- that it plans to unveil in June.

But details of the Disney resort-inspired extravaganza leaked out recently on the independent Cedar Point aficionado Web site "Point Buzz" following an "off-season tour" Feb. 25 that offered insights of the upcoming season and an up-close look at the park to a group of roller coaster enthusiasts.

Point Buzz operators said they were told that Luminoisty will feature "25 dancers, 3 drummers, 2 [acrobats], a DJ, and singers."

The 40-minute show also will feature four sections: land travel, sea travel, space travel, and a finale with fireworks, the Web site said.

A Cedar Point spokesman confirmed most of the details.

Point Buzz said the show will cost Cedar Point $6 million, but the Cedar Point spokesman wouldn't confirm that.

By contrast, its new attraction for the season, Dinosaurs Alive!, will cost just $1 million.

After the fireworks, a DJ will host a dance party on a new stage to be built on the midway area near the Iron Dragon roller coaster. The new area will be dubbed Celebration Plaza and it will be used during the day for a show featuring Peanuts characters, Point Buzz said.

In January, new Cedar Fair LP Chief Executive Officer Matt Ouimet told Wall Street analysts that Luminosity would be tested at the company's Cedar Point flagship park and, if successful, would be duplicated at the chain's other amusement parks. Mr. Ouimet said at the time that in his 17 years as an executive at Disney Co., he had learned that lights and fireworks were the only two things that get customers to extend their stays at an amusement park.

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services Inc. of Cincinnati said Luminosity's reported $6 million price tag, if accurate, is inexpensive by current standards.

"Specifically, one of the best indicators of what is happening in the industry is what Disney's California Adventure [in Los Angeles] has done with the introduction of their new light and water show. That cost $100 million," Mr. Speigel said.

"So what we're seeing with [Luminosity] -- and this is what we here have been talking about for several years as it pertains to the changing demographics and to the families -- is what Cedar Point needed to do," Mr. Speigel said. "Cedar Point may be the roller coaster capital of the world, but there comes a point when some people stop riding these attractions as aging occurs."

It's past time, Mr. Speigel added, that Cedar Point began adding more family attractions, and Luminosity is a positive step. "This is exactly what we forecast that Matt [Ouimet] would be bringing to the park. This is his history, coming out of Disney and its resorts, of knowing how to make people stay longer, make them spend a little more," Mr. Speigel said.

Bryan Edwards, the Cedar Point spokesman, said Luminosity is to be launched around June 1 and start around dusk each evening.

"It's unlike any other show we've ever done here at Cedar Point. It's really going to revamp the whole midway," he said, adding that new lighting and sound systems are being installed on the midway from the front gate to the new Luminosity stage.

Mr. Edwards said the show "is really kind of our way of rejuvenating the night. After a seven or eight-hour day of riding some of the best coasters in the world, you can feel a little run down by the end of the day."

Park officials see the show as being a "high-energy, must-see event with something for all ages," Mr. Edwards said. "It will be really neat. We don't want the public to think this is just another laser show because it isn't."

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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