2007 Attendance Report

Friday, March 14, 2008 3:23 PM
"Ooooh! That's a good one. Why isn't SFA doing higher numbers?"

Because SFA is the armpit of the chain? :)

Actually, SFA doesn't seem to be getting much love from corporate lately. However, at least we're getting the new waterpark addition this year. Interestingly enough, though, they will be one of the only SF parks without a Johnny Rockets. If any more parks end up on the chopping block, I'd put my guess at SFKK first, then SFA.

Kings Dominion and Hersheypark both seem to have a better reputation in this area than SFA does, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

*** Edited 3/14/2008 7:24:33 PM UTC by rablat5***

coastin' since 1985

Friday, March 14, 2008 3:28 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Ooooh! That's a good one. Why isn't SFA doing higher numbers?

I agree for the most part with your idea that parks in touristy areas do better, but there are certainly exceptions. Another park that comes to mind is Fiesta Texas. San Antonio is a huge tourist town, but Fiesta doesn't seem to draw large numbers of visitors like it should.

Friday, March 14, 2008 3:44 PM
Thats what Im wondering about Dubai's mass development.

How many rich 60 year olds are going to go to SIX FLAGS? Yet alone Dubai in the first place?

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:05 PM
matt.'s avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
Why isn't SFA doing higher numbers?

Garbage park in a highly competitive market. I'm not quite as on board with many of you guys here pitting parks in direct competition with many other recreational activities but for SFA it's inevitable - there's just a ton of parks better then SFA within a few hours and too much other stuff to do without the parks considered.

With the kind of population SFA sits in it should be dominating, but the changes needed would amount to a head-to-toe reboot of the entire place.

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:15 PM
Olsor's avatar ^^^I'd guess that SFFT doesn't perform better due to stiff local competition from SeaWorld and Schlitterbahn. And mind you, a lot of locals here don't even know that SeaWorld has thrill rides now.

I don't know the tourist figures, but it might also hurt attendance if more people visit San Antonio in the winter months. Just last year, SeaWorld extended their calendar throughout December, and SFFT is looking to do the same. All I can say is that I've been to SFFT in the non-peak months, and staffing is painfully light.

We also had two months last summer where it rained almost every day, which is extraordinarily rare here. That couldn't have helped attendance at any of the three local parks. *** Edited 3/14/2008 8:24:36 PM UTC by Olsor***

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:18 PM
^^ Well stated, Matt. SFA just isn't up to par with the other major parks in the area, and there is plenty to do and see besides parks, such as the major DC attractions, the downtown Baltimore attractions, and even visiting the ocean during the summer.

coastin' since 1985

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:26 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

...there is plenty to do and see besides parks, such as the major DC attractions, the downtown Baltimore attractions, and even visiting the ocean during the summer.

That's the key.

This is further evidenced by digging up a list of the 30 most visited cities in the USA:

1. Las Vegas
2. Los Angeles
3. Orlando
4. New York
5. Chicago
6. Washington D.C.
7. Atlanta
8. San Diego
9. Houston
10. Dallas
11. Philadelphia
12. Phoenix
13. Anaheim
14. San Francisco
15. Miami
16. Boston
17. San Antonio
18. St. Louis
19. Tampa Bay
20. Minneapolis - St. Paul
21. Seattle
22. Indianapolis
23. Detroit
24. Austin
25. Denver
26. Charlotte
27. Nashville
28. Kansas City
29. Ft. Lauderdale
30. Baltimore

Think about the park(s) associated with those cities (if any).

There seems to be a big difference between near a tourist attraction and being in or near a city that draws a lot of visitors.

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:30 PM
rollergator's avatar

Olsor said:^^^I'd guess that SFFT doesn't perform better due to stiff local competition from SeaWorld and Schlitterbahn.

LOL, I was thinking that if HP or BGW/E (both places people visit for historical interest) had as much park-oriented competition as nearby as SFFT/SWT/S-bahn - then they'd be thankful to do as well as SFFT does...

Las Vegas being ranked #1 in Gonch's "most visited cities" brings me back to tghe Dubai question....who on EARTH could have predicted Vegas springing up from nowhere. Field of Dreams - if you build it.... ;)

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:38 PM

Why isn't SFA doing higher numbers?

Because they can take a 2 hour trip and go to Williamsburg/VA Beach.

That explains it for the locals, but not for the tourists. I think for the tourists, it is a matter of access/perception.

BGE is smack inside the "tourist zone" for Williamsburg. Same for Dollywood and the Smokies.

To the average DC tourist, anything outside the Beltway may as well be in West Virginia. Anything that is outside the beltway *and* can't be reached by Metro may as well not even exist.

Another park that comes to mind is Fiesta Texas.

I'd be interested in seeing the comparison between SFFT and SFA. However, note also that SWSA is also missing from the top-20 NA list, while SWSD and SWO are both present.

Perhaps San Antonio doesn't do the tourism business we think it does?

Edited: I see Gonch confirms San Antonio's position in the pecking order above. I also had to reverse the polarity of "beltway" and "not on metro". *** Edited 3/14/2008 8:41:00 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

Friday, March 14, 2008 4:38 PM
Not sure if this has any relevance, but it seems like it may.

Disney-owned family Web site ranks Sandusky as one of top 50 destinations.


*** Edited 3/14/2008 8:39:10 PM UTC by tambo***

Friday, March 14, 2008 5:22 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Olsor said:
I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the Six Flags execs discuss how a park in between Toledo and Cleveland and a park outside of Cincinnati consistently outperform their parks near the three largest metropolitan areas in the country.

So would I.

The article tambo posted has some relevance to SFGAdv's and SFGA's "weak" attendance. Its proof that location does matter, its just not only proximity to large cities, but proximity to other stuff to do. Like BGE.

In the case of Kings Dominion & SFA, they prove that you need more than that to be successful.

Still impressed at that 12% boost. Does that pay off the ride?

Friday, March 14, 2008 5:28 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

eightdotthree said:
Its proof that location does matter, its just not only proximity to large cities, but proximity to other stuff to do.


If you expect more than locals to show up...and in order to get on the most attended list (and probably spots #21 through #30 as well) you most certainly need more than locals showing up to your park...the key is to either be Disney, be near Disney or be near other attraction-type things to do.

Friday, March 14, 2008 8:29 PM
I'm baffled by the earlier comment that few people even noticed Griffon at BGE. That is all I heard people talking about when I was there. People definitely noticed it. I would even hear people checking into my hotel talking about how excited they were at the thought of riding it.

Having ridden both Griffon and Maverick, I easily give the nod to Griffon. The "karate chops to the neck" that Maverick gives you (to quote a Cedar Fair executive who said as much during Coastermania last year) just keeps it from being as good as it could be for me. People have Cedar Point rose-colored glasses when they ride Maverick. Had they built that exact same coaster at a Six Flags park, people would complain bitterly about how much of a headbanger it is....

Everyone I saw getting off of Griffon looked really happy to me and raved about the experience. Perhaps the ride is not all that much to some coaster enthusiasts, but with the general public, I saw looks of awe and amazement when I was there, and I think it had a great impact on attendance.

Of course BGE does well because it is in a tourist area. But it also does well because it is a beautiful park with plenty to do for people of all ages. Something you no longer see at places like Kings Island and most Six Flags parks. *** Edited 3/15/2008 1:54:44 AM UTC by Mikewhy***

Friday, March 14, 2008 8:42 PM
^You had me until that last sentence, please tell me how BGE's ride profile is more diverse then KI's or SF, because I dont see it. All of them have kiddie areas (but KI has the kiddie area on steroids) all of them have coasters ranging from mild to wild, KI has more flats then BGE which has more flats then your average SF, but BGE defiantly has more shows. All in all, I would say that works out to about even.

2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

Friday, March 14, 2008 9:22 PM

Spinout said:
Magic Mountain must have not picked up any attendance because you can't even see it on the list of parks. Will X^2, and Thomas Town bring the people in? I really doubt it.

Magic Mountain took a huge hit in dropped attendance because of the one big mistake Shapiro made back in 2006 when he publically announced the park would be put up for sale. That news spread like wildfire across Southern California --- every major and small media outlet covered it: from newspapers, online articles, radio stations to TV news segments.

Nothing, even the specially tailored radio and TV ads that depicted two people talking about how "Magic Mountain isn't closing" last year had any effect on the damage that was already done.

The thing is it was really a "last nail in the coffin" kind of thing --- Magic Mountain's attendance had already been steadily declining every year since after Goliath in 2000. I believe the last real attendance spike was with The Riddler's Revenge back in 1998.

This park used to draw upwards of 3.5 million visitors back in the late 80's and early 90's. Now it has fallen to a dismal 2 to 2.4 million attendance mark (from 2.7 in 2005) --- which is why it doesn't even place in the top 20 most visited parks list in the USA anymore. That's a huge drop in numbers.

Friday, March 14, 2008 9:53 PM
I was not talking solely about rides when I said BGE has more appeal to people of all ages. Although I think rides like the train (which is longer and more scenic than most), the Rhine River cruise, and the sky rides, along with Dark Castle, are enjoyed by people of all ages. The many high quality shows, incredible theming and atmosphere, shops with high quality merchandise, animal exhibits and high quality food make BGE in general more friendly with a larger assortment of people than many SF parks or Kings Island. (Now the Kings Island of the 70's and 80's, that was a different story...) *** Edited 3/15/2008 1:53:44 AM UTC by Mikewhy***
Friday, March 14, 2008 11:18 PM
The Busch parks in general (this includes their Sea World properties) appeal to a wide range of people for the same reasons we recently discussed in a thread about Six Flags' lack of attention to detail. The parks have plenty of rides for all guests (even the Sea World parks have thrill rides, especially the San Antonio one with two major coasters) and the theming is generally exceptional. I'd go as far as saying that the Sea World parks are better themed that some Disney parks, like DCA and certain parts of MGM (or whatever they're now calling it). When it comes to Busch, they really know what they're doing.
Saturday, March 15, 2008 3:06 AM
LostKause's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

I didn't say I wished you listened to it. ;)


Sunday, March 16, 2008 10:54 AM
delan's avatar Wow, isnt this a record year for Magic Kingdom? The highest I have ever seen them go past 15. I must have given them good luck..last year was my first time :)
Monday, March 17, 2008 12:57 PM
I was surprised to see Hershey pulling in nearly 3 million. I had read somewhere that they had topped 2.7 million, which was a record. A 9 percent gain is pretty large year to year, especially since by mid summer last year, people around this area were talking about the economy slowing down.

Which do you think played the bigger part-- the Boardwalk or the 100th anniversary? Hopefully, the Boardwalk since it obviously has the staying power that a one time anniversary has.


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