CoasterBuzz Podcast #88 posted

Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 7:37 PM | Contributed by Jeff

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

  • Six Flags says guest satisfaction is up. Did it really have anywhere else to go but up?
  • The Astroland story has to resolve itself before the end of the year, if not sooner, because of the expiring lease. Greg says the place was better than he remembered on his visit this year.
  • Kids get their five minutes over alleged tampering with restraints on Busch Gardens Europe's Griffon. They got the ban hammer.
  • Skee-Ball licenses the brand to Hasbro. What will they come up with?
  • Six Flags Great America busted by OSHA. Workplace safety is no accident.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland misses targets. Were they too ambitious to start with? Why does Disney always get a bad rap when opening new parks?
  • Six Flags Great America boots a smoker. Pat (a smoker) says he can't understand how anyone wouldn't have the expectation that smoking is limited. Mike says it's an expectation for outdoor areas.
  • Cedar Fair results: How long can per caps go up while attendance goes down?
  • Pat says it's not time to worry, but Jeff and Wall Street are not pleased.
  • Jeff (big surprise) says the value proposition is screwed up, starting with the ridiculous food pricing. While not evidence, he sees a lot of tailgating at the parks.
  • We mostly agree that ticket pricing could go higher in a lot of markets.
  • What do amusement parks truly compete with? Is it as simple as other entertainment venues?
  • Sidebar: Competing on quality instead of price.
  • Jeff opened Halloweekends at Cedar Point, starting a week earlier this year.

Link: CoasterBuzz Podcast

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 9:34 AM
I heard my name mentioned in conjunction with the skee-ball machine and some questions about the machine. We've had our machine for about 5 years now. It's 13 ft long and not quite 30" wide. The lane is 10 ft long and is one piece. The scoring area does separate from the lane. We haven't had any problems with the electronics as of yet. The only problem we have is the red light on top of the machine that lights for a winning game. It keeps blowing the light bulbs, but it's not that big of deal to us. Being it's an older model, the scoring only goes to 50. The newer machines that have the 100 scoring are 10 ft in length, if I remember correctly.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 12:19 PM
I used to work at Hardee's, and you're quite right in your comments about quality vs price. In fact, Hardee's knew that was what they were doing- trying to give customers food they wouldn't mind paying a little extra for. It seems to be working, at least at the Hardee's outlets near me here in MD, as the places are always busy, despite plenty of other options. I wish the parks would try something along that line. At SFA, there's a place called Uncle Roy's Bangin Burgers, which, while priced up there with the other park fare, is definitely worth it, while the in-park Subway's prices also compare favorably with their out-of-park outlets.

As far as the comp tickets, yes, the park is losing the gate, but would those guests have visited the park without the comp? Maybe not. Also, are they spending while in the park? Probably. Maybe it all evens out in the end.*** This post was edited by ilovethewildone 9/18/2007 12:19:44 PM ***

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 12:48 PM
Jeff's avatar What difference does it make if they went to the park and spent no money, or at least not enough money to pay for the cost of entertaining them?
Monday, September 24, 2007 7:41 PM
Gemini's avatar I'm behind on my podcast listening and no one may ever see this, but I'll type it anyway. :)

Regarding food prices and per caps, I think it comes down to the following. The per cap is up and food prices are up ...

1. If per caps are up more, maybe the food price isn't a big deal.

2. If the food prices are up more, that may indicate that food prices are not in line.

3. If both are up the same amount, it may indicate a "false" per cap increase (for lack of a better term).

A lot of comparisons get made to Disney. To be honest, I think Disney has great food at a fair price. I was actually impressed by the quality and value (at least as far as what you can expect to pay at a theme park).

But there are a lot of people who think the food at Disney is overpriced. Right or wrong, if you ask someone what they think of Park ABC, they'll tell you two things, "the lines are long and food costs too much." For the general public, that seems to be the perception no matter what park you're talking about. I don't believe most think about it to the point where they look at Disney as a good deal and Cedar Point as a ripoff.

Monday, September 24, 2007 8:26 PM
Jeff's avatar Or...

4. Attendance is down and fewer people are spending more on food. :)


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