Do Seasonal Parks Have An Advantage?

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:01 PM
Has anyone ever thought that seasonal parks have an advantage because they have the whole winter to improve there park vs. a park like SFMM which doesn't have a long break. Does anyone think this could be why parks like SFMM are getting bad reviews but CP is getting good reviews. Also this is not a CP vs. SFMM thread.


Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:13 PM
It could have something to do with management. Back in the days Disney used to quite well with year round operation.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:14 PM

Year round parks seem to be able to build improvemnts. Year round operation makes construction a bit mor complicated, but it can be handled.

Probably the biggest disadvantage of year round park is the need to pay higher wages to get year round employees. However, I suspect this is probably more than compensated for by the ability to keep making money on your capital investment all year round.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:37 PM
No. Because if year round parks thought that seasonal parks had a significant advantage, they'd just close for the off season. Granted, there may be some positives to seasonal operation, but it's not like MM *has* to stay open.

You must be this dumb to ride Viper. -SFGAdv.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 5:51 PM
Good point, Andy!
Tuesday, October 22, 2002 6:14 PM

However, if MM closed early for the season, they would be giving all of their customers to their competitiors (Knotts, Disney, Universal).

The difference between MM closing for the winter and CP closing for the winter is that every park in Ohio closes each October, while in Southern California, no park has seasonal operation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 6:36 PM

Obviously if you stay open all year, your going to have more wear and tear on your rides which will mean you need a top notch maintanance staff, as well as year round employees.

And Matt is right, there is NO way in hell SFMM could ever consider closing for the winter with year rould tourism so high in So-Cal.

"Escuse me, can you tell me where the heck the Mystery Lodge is"?

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 7:42 PM
I dont think seasonal parks have any advantage!!! As for the theory that the off season is used to spruce up parks that may happen but i see no evidence of it at my local park SFGAM!!! If that was the case everything should be like brand new when the park re-opens but i havent seen it. The year-round parks IMHO do alot better job of keeping their parks looking fresh because they have too.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002 8:31 PM

Year round operations have a steady cash flow, which is a tremendous advantage. However, In my opinion, speaking from personal experiences of myself and peers, we (seasonal) treat this as 'going into battle' for 4 months, and are mentally prepared to do so. Decisions are faster, decisive, and 'to the point'. We can seek out the best food items, prizes, and retail items that are hot, as we do not want anything left over in the fall. Give people the best bang for the buck here and now, on their summer vacation, and not bs anyone on what is coming in the future.

Very few managers that are in year round ops have made a transition to seasonal operations. Money is fast and furious, and you have to be ready.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 9:52 PM

I would think that seasonal parks have an easier time of performing maintenance, adding new rides, upgrading, etc. whereas our parks have to do EVERYTHING either at night or with people in the park....creates a different set of challenges in terms of ensuring guest safety and always having to look good.....

"CCXXVI....will the drop ever stop?"
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle....unless you've got a spare planet!

Tuesday, October 22, 2002 9:59 PM
If you worked in this gig, you would understand that nothing is easy with spring timelines and employee turnover. It is much easier to maintain a park with year round employees. Reguardless when you scrape the gum off the ground.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002 10:30 PM
That's very true. It is quite an ordeal at SFOG (and I would assume the same for seasonal parks) to rehire a staff... so much paperwork, and an HR department and fulltime staff that doesn't grow in number to adjust to the large influx. In the off-peak months, when [generally] fewer people come to the park, you can do more maintenance with a smaller disruption than you may think possible.

the member formerly known as MisterX

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 8:47 AM
One factor I'm surprised nobody's mentined yet is that seasonal parks have a big problem that the year round parks do not. the weather, which is why they are seasonal. Particularly the northern parks (ie CP), it's impossible to really spruce up the park during cold weather where rain and snow can be unpredictable, while the year round parks usually have less severe weather to deal with during the off-peak season.

I'm sure the seasonal vs. full time - year round employee has a lot to do with it as well, since the seasonal employees may not be the same ones and are therefore less familiar with the park than a year round employee would be.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 11:57 AM

Year-round cash flow would be a bonus, but maintenance and overhauls have to be worked into a schedule, I should think. I mean, it's interesting that CP hires almost twice as many full-timers in the off-season, and everything gets stripped down and tested. I don't know if that's how they account for the 96% uptime though, since the park down the street would have the same opportunity but certainly doesn't deliver it.

What goes on at SFMM and KBF in the "off-season?" I've heard of Ghostrider getting its annual overhaul for about a month, but what about the rest of the rides? Is there some kind of "down" rotation?

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -
"There's nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, when it's all in your mind. You gotta let go." - Ghetto, Supreme Beings of Leisure

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 12:03 PM

I very much agree with the "rush" of seasonal parks. So much has to be done just before opening to get the park back to status quo. Winter weather (rain, sleet, ice, wind) take a big toll on the parks. They are not kept clean (within reason) as they are during the season. Depending on the location, it may have to be winterized (plumbing issues) which takes a huge chunk of time. Imagine 3 plumbers trying to winterize an entire park. WOF does that every year.

Even after the park opens, things like painting and maintanence go on during the week. They will even repaint during the season if necessary.

I think each way has it's advantages/disadvantages. A seasonal park can do more of their maintanence during the offseason and may defer some non essential repairs for that time. Year round parks can defer as well, but since they have been year round for years, are used to making quick effective repairs and performing preventative maintanence.

Waiting for the CP announcement to be made so that about 1000+ posts will be made complaining about it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 12:46 PM

Agent Johnson is on the money. I have worked in both environments and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The greatest disadvantage, in my opinon, is staffing.

Seasonal parks like Cedar Point must hire several thousand employees every single year. Then, more importantly, they have to train them. Year 'round parks have a constant flow in and out but there is a great deal of consistency in the daily operation.

In my opinion, Cedar Point and Busch Gardens Williamsburg deserve bonus kudos for hiring and training extremely well on a massive scale year after year. Full time parks really have no excuse for some of the poor training that goes on.

If a ride goes down at a full-time park for a significant length of time for any reason, it isn't a huge problem because most people understand that maintenance must be done. If a ride goes down at Cedar Point or other seasonal parks for a significant length of time it becomes a huge problem. "You had six months to get that ride running and it is down."

If you aren't at the seasonal parks during the off-season you would be astonished at how much work goes into "winterizing" the facilities, only to get them going again in the spring. It is an amazing undertaking.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:01 PM

Jeff - IIRC in the past few years Ghostrider has had bi-annual maintenance, just before Solace and again just before Scary Farm. Tumbler has been down for a few months now...not sure what's going on with it. Other rides, especially the flume, also go down for 2-4 weeks in the winter.

Over at the Mountain I've noticed they try to keep the coasters running when doing train maintenance. They'll post a sign at the front of the queue that states that "due to annual maintenace this ride is operating with one train." Gotta hand it to them...better than closing it completely. The only time a coaster is closed completely [other than Flashback] is for track work and painting, I believe.

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable on the subject will correct me if needed.


Coaster & Amusement Park Christmas Cards and Merchandise...coming soon! Details in new sig any day now!

Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:23 PM
One of the reasons BGW has such good employees is because The College of William and Mary is located fairly close by. College students tend to be a little more serious than your average 16-year old (and yes, I realize I just offended 1/2 , if not more of the CB readers).
Dude, you're getting an Intamin!
Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:37 PM
I-Fan, I'm not offended at all, esp. since I'm getting an Intamin! Just what I always wanted, how did you KNOW?....;)
Wednesday, October 23, 2002 1:39 PM

No, gator, I'm getting an Intamin!



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