CoasterBuzz Podcast #130 posted

Posted Monday, December 22, 2008 6:42 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Jeff, Mike and Pat review this week's news in the amusement industry.

  • The boys can do without the cold.
  • Hard Rock Park goes up for auction, nobody bids, PARC kinda thinks it's interested. Great write-up in paper on the saga that is HRP.
  • Seriously, while there were the smaller issues that contributed to the failure, if coaster dorks didn't understand what the park was about, how would the public at large?
  • Disney limits the bleeding on 1Q room booking by way of their 7-for-4 deal.
  • Disney vs. Universal: They're different kinds of vacations. Who spends time at the pool at Disney?
  • Kennywood president steps down: Conspiracy or just the course of business?
  • Lack of state funding for road at Lake Compounce seems somewhat short-sighted.
  • Merlin picks up aquarium at Mall of America. Interesting to see how they diversify.
  • Legoland Malaysia? Locals don't get the brand. Remember how Lego nearly died prior to the licensing deals for Star Wars? Jeff wants the Millennium Falcon Lego set. The Lego video games are sweet.
  • New York Times has a nice write-up on Christmas events at various theme parks. Gonch asks if all parks would do it, but it probably depends on location and weather. Universal and Disney have amazing holiday events.
  • Random TV sidebar: What Jeff is watching.
  • We appreciate your support of CoasterBuzz by joining the club. It's still just $20 per year.

Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 7:04 PM

Lego sold off the parks to the Blackstone Group a couple of years ago. They get income from the licensing, and the sale of Lego products, but no direct income from the parks themselves.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009 6:04 PM

  • That HRP possibly shouldn't have been called a "theme park" in the first place really struck a chord for me. Perhaps marketing it as the "Hard Rock Experience" instead? Bill it as a Hard Rock Super-Cafe with multiple venues and shows, etc, etc... and some rides.
  • I was always trying to "fix it" as a theme park in my mind, but maybe if it wasn't advertised (poorly) as a theme park to begin with?
  • As far as the Kennywood thing, it's much more involved that what it's being made out to be.
  • A friend of mine who's a supervisor at Universal told us when we were down there recently that Green Eggs and Ham only opens on very busy days.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009 2:26 AM

Yeah, I still think 'experience' is a more correct descriptive term than 'park' was.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:53 AM

Just listened to the show...

• It's as though Gonchar and I visited two different Hard Rock parks. The Hard Rock park I visited was downright desolate. I don't recall any Live-E at all except for a couple of scheduled shows, and the one I saw (in the waterfront shed that is kind of plopped down in the middle of the midway) was competently and energetically performed, but hampered by being a lousy show. Oh, and the Banana Splits were around to do their little show.

My guess is that between his visit and mine (I went on Labor Day weekend) they did some cost-cutting...

• The big surprise: That when Jeff brought up the whole Hitchhiker's Guide thing, Pat and Mike both sounded like they were completely unaware. The secret is to keep banging the rocks together, guys! :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009 2:55 PM

They must have, and if that's the case it probably helped kill them. There was as much live entertainment and shows as there were rides when we visited.

Just what we experienced:

* Malibu Beach Party - so entertaining my 6 year old begged to see it twice and adult enough that mom & dad didn't put up a fight

* Roadies Stunt Show - far and away the most entertaining action/stunt show I've ever seen at an amusement park

* BMX Show on the midway with pro-quality riders doing crazy stuff 4 times a day.

*Country On The Rocks - a solid ice skating show with a country/rock soundtrack in the Ice House Theater

* at Phonehenge we saw a european dude do a fire-eating/juggling kind of act as he entertained with worldly stories about himself and his travels - very intimate setting and show

* Live music outside the Taste Of Paradise Grill during early afternoon(Jimmy Buffett style music), at the Cool Country stage from about 4pm until the fireworks show (country music), outside the Whammy Bar from after the fireworks until close (90's rock), the Fab 2 on the balcony of the Carnaby Street Cafe at least three different times throughout the day (british rock oldies).

* Lots of interactive roaming entertainment - the Stilt Guy, the Swingers, the Royal Guard Girls, the Banana Splits, the Bear Metal Family, Winston Bulldog

* Scavenger hunt for the kids where they gathered stamps in each area of the park then took the completed form to I Want Candy for a free goody bag full of candy.

* Guitar In The Stone was a play on the Sword In The Stone where kids were invited up to try to pull the guitar from the stone and be named the Right-On Ruler of Rock

* Not live entertainment, but the movie in Origins Theater was a nice look at the origins of rock music...and a show that gets you out of the heat.

That's just the stuff I remember doing/seeing that day. No idea how much more there was. If they axed that stuff, then yes, the park would be a bit disappointing - the shows/entertainment were a big part of the experience.

It was fourfold if you ask me:

1. Rides
2. Entertainment
3. Shopping/Food
4. Exploring

Removing any of those from the equation would have made the experience less than great.

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