In other words, people are still willing to spend for what they want - no matter how non-essential.
Something I've been saying all along, BTW.
(yes, this is just a poorly disguised, "I told you so" :) )
Seems to me that a waterpark style attraction would be more likely to elicit repeat visits. You know - summertime, it's hot, let's spend the day keeping cool - that sort of thing.
So as far as the 9% increase goes - all they had to do was draw 1-in-10 people back again (or 1-in-20 back twice and so on) to get a big increase like that.
Not to take anything away from that increase - it's most impressive, but waterpark-style additions are exactly the kinds of attractions that would get people coming back again and again.
I think Gonch touched on a great point about the inherent repeat value of waterparks. It's probably why places like Schlitterbahn, which is in a metro area of around 2+ million people (if you count Austin), gets 800,000 plus visitors per year. Can you imagine SFGAdv drawing 40% of the population from the 28 million people in the NY/Philly metro areas? Those are approaching Disney numbers.
The thing is, I think the large regional amusement parks are demonstrating that they've really gotten too big for themselves. I think we're going to see a lot more rides being retired and replaced rather than being added to parks. I imagine places like BGE/BGA and the Orlando parks will be largely unaffected, since they're located in tourist destinations. But I think it's crazy to keep building $20 million rides in regional parks that won't show a long-lasting increase in attendance. I'd really love to see them revert to what they were originally: theme parks. Fewer rides, but more elaborate theming.
But if you really miss the 2HR lines for Batman - just visit on a Saturday during Fright Fest :)
PS: I can't wait to see everyone's reactions to the drastic change in Parking this year at SFGAM :)
However, I think that the big areas of growth I expect to see is adding water park attractions and beefing up/upping the quality of Halloween events. The former, as has been mentioned on this thread has been a slam dunk for way too many parks for their peers not to take notice. As for the latter, its apparent that these have also been slam dunks for the industry, however they must at all times compete with the local haunted houses for guests.
While each side has obvious advantages (the parks have their rides/name, the houses can be more edgy and touch you) I look for the parks to also assert the advantage they have in capital to invest in better sets and animatronics to not only draw more summer guests back for another trip, but also draw guests who would never otherwise would go to a park (ie haunt enthusiasts.)
2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona
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