Family-owned parks surviving the downturn

Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:29 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Amusement park owners around the country say the weather, not the housing downturn or job losses, played a bigger role in their fortunes this past summer. The fact that most of the independent parks are owned by families may insulate them a bit from the normal business cycles

Read more from The New York Times.

Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:52 AM
BDesvignes's avatar

It probobly helped the smaller family owned parks that many families canceled large vacation plans and didn't travel as much. So, instead of going away more people stayed local.

Da Bears

Friday, September 25, 2009 8:50 PM

I am having trouble following this article. First off, I would take any credibility from the University of Pennsylvania. I am quite certain that guy has never worked a day in his life at a park.

What are the 'Great Adventure Parks'? Some simple research would have given accuracy. It could have read "Six Flags, Inc, operator of New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure, the largest theme park in the nation-wide chain, filed for Chapter 11."

Morey's Piers do not have 'older bumper cars and a carousel', unless those rides built in the 1980's count as such. By the way, the 2 sets of bumper cars and 2 double decker carousels at Morey's are in very good condition, and quite impressive.

What three parks closed due to 'family issues'? Kiddieland, well they just retired, and what are the other two? That park in Atlantic Beach, NC, was barely a park, I can't recall any amusement area closing in New Jersey since a small family park closed in Sea Isle City in 1996. It was in less then stellar condition at best. Sea Isle did not lease back any land, they created a developed piece of land from landfill and cleanups on the bay. Not ocean front where the last park was.

Maybe its me, but the NY Times never impresses.

Friday, September 25, 2009 10:33 PM

I thought the marketing guy from Lagoon would have known that Elitch's isn't Six Flags anymore.

Dave Dragon, go Dave Dragon, and the Star Force Five!

Saturday, September 26, 2009 11:25 AM
Jeff's avatar

Great Adventure parks, as in, amusement park and zoo thing? Kiddieland was a family issue. The operating family wanted to keep it, the owning family wanted to sell it. Furthermore, the reporter is quoting a source, not making stuff up on his own.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Sunday, September 27, 2009 11:52 PM

Some of the article I agree with, other parts I don't. I think it's pretty simplistic to say that family owned parks can get by because the whole family will work for the summer and forego compensation and bonuses. Even the smallest parks employ hundreds of people, who aren't part of the owners' family and have to be paid. The article makes it sound like Jim Bob and Mary Ellen do everything from maintain the rides to grill hot dogs and work the whack-a-mole stand.


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