Cypress Gardens long-term viability not yet obvious

Posted Friday, December 9, 2005 11:28 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Cypress Gardens Adventure Park owner Kent Buescher says there are many challenged ahead for the park, which nearly doubled its expected attendance and one year. Most of Cypress Gardens' attendance came from 300,000 season pass holders who needed only to show up three times for one of the park's 50 weekly concert events to account for more than half the park's annual visitors. About 80 percent of the first year crowd was residents who live within an hour's drive. That means the park attracted only half as many bigger-spending tourists as Buescher hopes to draw.

Read more from The Ledger.

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Friday, December 9, 2005 12:09 PM
rollergator's avatar Sure, the majority of visitors may be locals, but anyone who's been in Polk county recently knows that there is *incredible* growth going on in that area...

The problem with local visitors is they're a lot less likely to provide the kind of in-park spending that AP, LLC is looking for....locals at Elysburg spend a lot more money in-park because they feel like they're getting good value for the money they spend...the prices for food, andd drinks, and souvenirs, and parking, at WA and CG are just out of the range of what people are willing to pay unless they're on a "major vacation". (read: international tourists, like those at Disney, don't have the same expectations as locals).

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Friday, December 9, 2005 12:17 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

"One drawback with locals is they eat at home, so we'll try selling food and drinks at concerts like you see at a baseball game," Buescher said.

My girlfriend and I never eat before going to Kennywood but will wait until after our day at Cedar Point to eat outside the park somewhere.

Make the food good, and worth paying for. It will sell.

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Friday, December 9, 2005 3:58 PM
I went once and I live in Orlando. The real problem in my opinion is that the park is nowhere near I-4 (the freeway). It is a good 20-35 minutes before you get there, and I don't think tourists are willing to stray that far from the comforts of Disney, Universal, Sea World, and Busch.

Now if they would add a few world class attractions (Intamin mega coaster, etc), I am sure people would find a way to get there! Right now, it is just a glorified kiddie land.

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Friday, December 9, 2005 7:08 PM
Jeff's avatar Huh? Busch Tampa isn't exactly next door.
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Friday, December 9, 2005 7:34 PM
eightdotthree's avatar Busch however is only two turns from I-4. I don't really think the distance from the interstate is really an issue for most folks. But when you compare Cypress to the other parks in the state its not all that attractive.
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Friday, December 9, 2005 8:59 PM
Jeff's avatar My point is that it's an hour from Orlando, and that drive doesn't seem to be stopping tourists from visiting. (And you know they're tourists when every other person is clearly a Brit! :))
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Friday, December 9, 2005 9:57 PM
Wasn't the whole idea behind building the park to be more of an area attraction for the locals? Was it a mistake to market the park as such?

I agree that perceived value could help to make a park more money. I haven't been there yet...What are some of the food and drink prices like?

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Saturday, December 10, 2005 12:41 AM
Jeff- do we stick out that much??

Its our funny accents- or maybe our dress sense :)

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Saturday, December 10, 2005 4:40 AM
When I was down in Florida last month, I was actually going to give Cypress Gardens a shot until I saw admission being $40 and $7 to park. Not enough for a full day for me to justify paying that but that is my opinion.
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Saturday, December 10, 2005 11:40 AM
Jeff's avatar No, it's not the accents, it's the fashionable soccer, er, football, jerseys!
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Saturday, December 10, 2005 6:17 PM
Mamoosh's avatar ...the long black dress socks worn with tennis shoes and shorts is a dead giveaway, too ;)
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Saturday, December 10, 2005 7:39 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar So I'm actually British and not a geek?

Woohoo! ;)

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Saturday, December 10, 2005 7:54 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ You can't be both? ;)

To me, it IS the accents...LOVE 'em... :)

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