Posted Monday, December 22, 2003 10:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Amusement Business posted their annual survey of attendance estimates for the top 50 parks in North America for 2003. The big winner was Disney's California Adventure, showing a 13% increase, while Epcot, SeaWorld Florida, Cedar Point and Paramount's Kings Island all showed significant gains. Six Flags saw a decrease across the board, significant losses in certain markets.
Get the report from Amusement Business (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).
Orlando's tourist industry optimistic about the coming year. Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.
The Motley Fool thinks that the amusement industry as a whole is ripe for a successful year. Read more from The Motley Fool.
Monday, December 22, 2003 1:43 PM
Funny how everyone who blamed the weather cited cold and wet except for Camp Snoopy who lost business because of good, dry conditions. Maybe they need a retractable roof?
Monday, December 22, 2003 4:42 PM
I wonder, given the fact that SFI lost attendance at most, if not all of the mentioned parks in the report if this will spell the end of Burke. His contract is up for renewal.
Monday, December 22, 2003 7:43 PM
Just goes to show you that, no matter how good your product is, if you have lousy customer service your customers will not come back.
Monday, December 22, 2003 8:04 PM
Yikes, it's bad to see how many of my favorite parks did badly in comparison to last year such as Knoebels and Hersheypark, and judging by my visits I can't say I'd disagree. For an example, we were at Hp during the week on a slightly misty day, and we walked on to the white-water rapids ride, Roller Soaker, as well as the waterslides. The white-water rapids ride typically has a wait of one-hour, so I'd never been on it. Maybe it was peoples way of saying "Down with that Ham and Rye simulator that replaced Conestoga".:)
I was shocked to see that SFA made the list, but wasn't shocked at the 8% drop. Besides the awful weather that started the season, I don't think Penguin's Blizzard River was enough of a draw, as well as many rides that were having maintenance problems (some continuous like Batwing and Iron Eagle). Then you add in the infamous Two-Face stall, the power outage on a busy Saturday, and you have some unhappy customers. It'll be interesting to see the fall-out from the S:ROS incident on a very busy second to last day of Fright Fest.
Monday, December 22, 2003 10:15 PM
While I'm not surprised that DCA saw an increase in attendance this year with FFF and Aladdin, as well as many great promotions offered for SoCal residents, I was not expecting a 13% increase. Personally, I'm expecting yet another increase next year in DCA's attendance with the opening of ToT on May 4th.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003 3:30 AM
The reason DCA had the increase, and what nobody bothers to mention in these reports, is that they had the two park promotion which brought a lot of people in that wouldn't have bothered with it otherwise. So the results are definately skewed for that park.
And really, most of these parks either lived or died by one thing...marketing. How else to explain how Sea World Texas can be up (and saying "great weather") while SFFT is down (citing "hot weather"). I don't think Sea World had much to offer in new attractions this year, and I know from experience that it can be like the Sahara desert there in the summer. So it can't be weather related either...especially since they are in the same city!!!
It's just like playing RCT. If you spend the money and advertise, people will come, and if you don't, you will have flat attendance at best. Having a new ride helps, but as these results show, is no guarantee of success. Likewise, not having a new ride doesn't mean your attendance will go down either if you market agressively.
Certinaly the weather and the blackout played parts in the decreases, but those type of things are too easy to point to as excuses sometimes when in fact it was other factors that were the real cause.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003 2:50 PM
DL/DCA had a two-for-one promotional deal, but USH (in the same market) was giving away a year-for-one, and still saw attendance dip. So, *something* good happened at the park everyone loves to hate.
Personally, I can't wait to see DCA this winter. Based on how everyone bashes the place, my expectations are sure to be exceeded!
Tuesday, December 23, 2003 10:58 PM
Really neat to see that SDC beat all but 6 Six Flags parks on attendance - and that Dollywood beat all but 4. Goes to prove that customer service is what is really important. For cryin' out loud, these parks are out in the middle of nowhere! Way to go HFEC! (I look for a huge spike next year in DW's attendance with the opening of Thunderhead)
*Razorback - the OTHER white meat - Go MIZZOU!*
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 1:24 AM
Dustin, it's the same thing going on in the SFWoA thread, LOL....HFEC does exactly right what some of the others seem to be missing....
Guest, or customer, as Dave was noting....it's a crucial difference in perspective...and *eventually*, the bottom line will always end up reflecting the way the company treats the people coming in the gates...and, ultimately, their employees as well....
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 1:36 PM
The European Six Flags parks had a great season. Two of them even had record visitor numbers. (both Belgian parks)
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 9:40 PM
Yep gator. You know eventually SFInc might catch on to what these smaller chains and family parks have known for years - treat the customers like special guests, make sure that they enjoy themselves and help to make sure that their visit is something that will stand out in their lifes.
Belglan, glad to hear that the Euro parks aren't going down with the Americana ship.
*Razorback - the OTHER white meat - Go MIZZOU!*
Friday, December 26, 2003 9:18 PM
Brian, USH may be in the same market, but it's not just mere steps away from another park that draws huge numbers such as DL. If it was, no doubt Universal would post higher numbers. So it's not the same apples to apples comparison.
That being said, I would expect virtually all of the L.A. area parks next year to post increases (expect perhaps SFMM) as they will all have new attractions. Even Sea World! First time that's happened in awhile. I'm sure DCA will draw higher numbers as the float in the Rose Parade will be a HUGE advertisement for ToT and the park in general. I am sure that will generate visits all year long.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003 3:53 PM
looks like the big boys won out again this year also . and rightly so. the more to offer the more peeps that you can attract. But if any one hasnt been to Kennywood . You have to go . This place in so nice. Clean ,friendly and the rides are the best! and if any one has not been to Hersheypark, Well you have to go. This place is such a suprise when you walk in to there gates. It has an entry like Busch Gardens and is kept up like Busch . As clean as possible and and the gardens and the area are just breath taking.The ride package that this park has in like no other.There coasters are world class.(favorite is the B and M Great Bear. And there Racing coaster.) Hersheys chocolate tour is the best. you will not be dissappointed if you spend the time and money . this place is truly a gem.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003 6:17 PM
Parks near my hometown Erie PA were affected, Conneaut Lake Park, in Meadville PA, had a 25%
drop in attendance, and Waldameer Park, in Erie PA, had a 5%
drop in attendance. Both of these were due bad weather. In addition to this, both parks had their best seasons in 2002. I hope this improves in 2004.
Monday, January 5, 2004 1:43 AM
We just got back from Splash Lagoon up in Erie , and had a GREAT TIME! I'll be coming back up there soon again, probably winter of 2004/05! Only dislike I had was the chlorine residue vapors in the air, which the air is filtered 6 times an hour isn't enough, but would also lower the air temperature, so I can live with it. And that Mean Gene's Pizza was better than Pizza Hut & Dominos! Kudos to ERIE, PA :)