Jump to content

Herschend Family Entertainment Considers Future Acquisitions

Recommended Posts

Herschend must have big plans if they are creating a new group to handle acquisitions.




Dollywood executives are transitioning to new roles as the company considers future acquisitions.


After 10 years of leading The Dollywood Company, president Craig Ross will return to Herschend Family Entertainment, Dollywood's operating partner, in a new role and new group.

Industry veteran Eugene Naughton, currently vice president of Dollywood parks operations, will take over as president.


As chief operating officer of the new Herschend Growth and Opportunity Group, Ross will support the acquisition of new theme parks, attractions, aquariums and investment partners.


Link to post
Share on other sites

What would be some parks worth acquiring? I can see Great Escape switch hands.


Maybe Magic Springs, which is about on par with Wild Adventures being an amusement park (just no animals). I'm sure there are more tourist traps out there, but this would give the company virtually a monopoly with parks in three tourist trap cities.


I was also thinking of a park in the Pacific Northwest, not sure which one though. Personally, I see Silverwood a good fit as a lower tier Cedar Fair Park (between Worlds of Fun and Kings Dominion) as they could experiment with more Northwestern US themes, but not go full tilt like the Ohio Parks, Carowinds, Wonderland, or Knott's.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think with the state of the economy right now anything is possible. We could even see them merge with another company (like SeaWorld). I'd guess a few of the Paques Reunidos locations could be candidates for sales since they've been having financial issues https://www.parquesreunidos.com/en/global-operator/

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to see them take a crack at the Wisconsin Dells.  They could buy up some of the misc. attractions and entertainment in addition to Mt. Olympus or Noah's Ark.


With aquariums being mentioned, I was thinking they might acquire Palace Entertainment from Parques Reunidos.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

It would be interesting to see what they could do with Kentucky Kingdom.  Maybe Herschend could tie the park into The Keys to the Kingdom tv/film rights they own.


Edited by Medusa42
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

I wrote a story about the Paidia Group (who are a group who want to rebuild Six Flags New Orleans) and I gave them a media arm with Power Rangers, SeaWorld's shows, and maybe The Muppets. They also own Kentucky Kingdom in the first 3 books in the series and planned to turn it into Busch Gardens Asia-but it didn't work out after they rethemed T3 (Its queue is a graveyard).


Anyways, didn't know Hershend had a media arm and it reminded me of that.


Just to get one thing off my chest, I guess Frogkisser! is cancelled as Blue Sky is dead.


End of tangent, DM me if you want to hear more.

Link to post
Share on other sites



Park News - (2/20/21) Screamscape sources have provided me with some new details regarding what is going on at Kentucky Kingdom. According to our sources Kentucky Kingdom’s Ed Hart has been in talks with Herschend Family Entertainment for months now, and many members of Herschend’s corporate team have been seen at the park since December, including Craig Ross, the former President of Dollywood who was promoted up into a new corporate spot to head up future growth opportunities for Herschend. In fact, we’ve heard that Craig Ross had an on-site office set up for him to work at Kentucky Kingdom back in early January.

    From what I’ve been told the deal they have been working on since October 2020 would see Herschend come in to purchase a majority interest in Kentucky Kingdom, along with $7 million in capital funding into the park. Apparently the last few years have not been kind to Kentucky Kingdom on the financial side of things, and 2020 was just the icing on the cake that made a bad situation even worse.

    In early January 2021 many senior members of the upper staff and management in the park were let go, along with the message that it was happening as part of the pending Herschend deal, though later on others who survived the culling claim to have been told the cuts came from Ed Hart’s direction and not as a directive from Herschend. Currently the deal is pending a required payment to the State Fair Board to cover the land-lease still owed from the 2020 season. I’ve also been told that the park has many other accounts still owed to various park vendors from the 2020 season that they have arranged to push those payments out to July 2021 due to lack of funds last year.

    Apparently the deal was to be finalized and the lease-payment made, but as I was told from our source, at the 11th hour Ed Hart was not yet willing to sign off on the deal for an unknown reason, which resulted in the social media posts teasing the big announcement being deleted.

    This is what we know as of today, and after months of work on the deal, I don’t think things would have fallen completely apart, so perhaps there are just some final tweaks and details that need to be worked out before it can be finalized and the announcement made. Otherwise, our source did not paint a bright picture for the future of the park if left to go it alone. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...