Holiday World expansion pays off year after year

Posted Monday, September 11, 2006 8:48 AM | Contributed by ColtsFan

Holiday World says it will spend $4.5 million to build all that. Across the country, amusement parks dole out millions of dollars every year just to keep people coming back. But that doesn't always work. Holiday World is the exception. It is doing phenomenally well compared with the industry as a whole. From 1990 to 2005, attendance at Holiday World jumped 161 percent, while attendance at U.S. amusement parks overall rose 32 percent.

Read more from The Indy Star.

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Monday, September 11, 2006 9:09 AM
According to that article, the Voyage cost $16.5 million dollars. I don't think that's right. :) Subtract $10 million and it might be!

It's an interesting article though. What exactly is Holiday World doing that the other parks aren't? Cedar Point lowered its cost significantly this year (roughly 10%), lowered their food costs across the board and apparently they are still not pulling higher numbers than last year. Six Flags took the opposite route, and priced themselves higher to get per-cap spending up, and yes, that did work, but not enough to make up for their drop in attendance.

I guess the difference must be perceived value. Holiday World only has three roller coasters, but the park is clean and they give away free stuff. Other parks don't do that. Cedar Point, as a one-year "experiment," should make parking free and simply raise admission prices by $3 or so. I bet attendance would rise then.

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Monday, September 11, 2006 9:27 AM
Jeff's avatar The article implies that the entire industry is going down the tubes, as if 32% growth isn't good enough (and with Six Flags dragging that number down, that still sounds good to me).

The only thing I find surprising about Holiday World's growth is its location. The product and the people in charge get most of the credit, but the fact that they haven't leveled out in attendance, because of the location, really surprises me. I think Will is going to get his million sooner than later.

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Monday, September 11, 2006 9:34 AM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar I think that is the craziest thing about Holiday World is its location. It's out in the middle of nowhere yet they are pulling in people from all around the area. The other thing are the additions to the park and the reaction of the enthusiast community when they are announced. They don't roll out the biggest and fastest rides and for the most part the enthusiast reaction is that its the perfect addition to the park.

Will looks like he's got it all figured out and its paying off. Holiday World is VERY family friendly because they aren't rolling out with record breaking rides and attractions, they are adding things that the entire family can do. I haven't been to the park this year, but I do plan on making the 6 hour drive in the future with my own family because of all the things we can do together.

~Rob Willi

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Monday, September 11, 2006 11:54 AM
There is some interesting interstate highway construction going on near Holiday World, with a major span bridge crossing the river. It just seems obvious a lot more traffic is heading close to the park, with the park expanding to accommodate the probable influx of people.

Its not a family coaster, grandma won't be riding this thing. Holiday World was aiming to build something extra-ordinary, something beyond a record-breaker. After looking at the Voyage, I'm not surprised it cost 16 million to build. No wood coaster comes close to how elaborate this thing is. Over priced? Sure it is, but then so is Picasso.

I think it's great that Holiday World is setting the standard for efficiently run parks. Spoil the customer and they'll shower you with success. Maybe they can offer a class to Six Flags?

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Monday, September 11, 2006 12:41 PM
Holiday World should market the park more in Chicago now that Santa's Village is gone. Of course, the park is too far away for a daytrip but fine for an overnight, a weekend, or a stop on a vacation.

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Monday, September 11, 2006 6:18 PM
Mamoosh's avatar Travelling to the HWN event in May I used St Louis as a hub. Just over the MO/IL border and 2+hours away from the park we were stopped by an Illinois highway patrolman for speeding. One of the questions he asked was, "Where are you going?" When we replied "Dale, Indiana" he said, "Going to Holiday World, eh?"

Methinks the word about the park is getting out to a bigger audience than we think. It's a shame Will didn't get booked on the Colbert Report earlier in the season, LOL!

What is HW doing right that others are not? Easy: guests feel as if they are getting a great value for their money. Rides are open and fully-staffed, there is something for every member of the family to enjoy, the park is clean, the employees are friendly, food is affordable, soft drinks are free, parking is free, etc.

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Monday, September 11, 2006 9:16 PM
Ummm...The Voyage was not $16 million, it was maybe half that. The entire capital budget for '06 inched up to that amount, but we also added Gobbler Getaway and Bahari River, plus all the extra stuff to create the new section.

Thanks, Paula

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:30 AM
rollergator's avatar ^ Not at ALL surprising to see the figures confused between "the '06 expansion total" and the *cornerstone* of said expansion. Happened MANY times before, it's a surprisingly tricky distinction that reporters often miss....

Plus, there's a HUGE difference between "how much goes to GG" versus "how much did the coaster cost to build"...tree removal (however minimal, hehe), station, that BRIDGE couldn't have been cheap, and of course, the TUNNELS... ;)

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Friday, September 15, 2006 9:37 PM
It all proves my point, People would rather drive a hundred miles and feel value and like their wanted than drive 20 miles and be treated like a tool for the parks stockholders and vendors.

Chuck

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