Media article on 2008 amusement parks

Monday, April 28, 2008 11:27 AM
Here's what the 'mainstream' media are telling the GP about amusement parks this year:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/04/28/theme.parks/index.html

I was somewhat disappointed that Fahrenheit didn't rate a mention.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 1:21 PM
Led Zep and Spongebob are the only coasters that did get a mention...other than HRP, seems mostly centered around Orlando and SoCal - they are the two biggest amusement areas.

No wooden coasters got ANY publicity....no mention of record-breakers was almost a pleasant change of pace, LOL...

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Monday, April 28, 2008 1:51 PM
Well, the article is called "Taking the Kids." Although it doesn't explain why Led Zeppelin is specifically mentioned.

It is disappointing in the sense that for someone only casually into amusement parks, it gives the idea you have to travel to Florida or California to visit a good one.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 1:58 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
It is disappointing in the sense that for someone only casually into amusement parks, it gives the idea you have to travel to Florida or California to visit a good one.

Interesting line of thought.

I think this goes back to the "What the GP thinks" discussions we seem to always come back to. I don't think the article is the cause, I think it's the symptom.

Or something like that. :)

It's not that the casual fan never finds out about some enthusiast-favorite parks because of articles likes this, but rather articles are written like this because that's what the casual fan is interested in.

That thing where SF and CF parks attract millions of visitors, but the 'good' parks enthusiasts dig do a fraction of that.

The only crime here is neglecting to mention Charmland.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 2:08 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
but rather articles are written like this because that's what the casual fan is interested in.

I doubt even that much thought went into it. The author probably did some brief research online and then blurbed whatever sounded the most remarkable or interesting to describe, and usually, that requires interesting concepts, not necessarily interesting rides. Hence, Spongebob and attractions in Orlando and SoCal that are a bit more "readable" than yet another wooden coaster.

In other words, theming a coaster to Led Zep might get you a mention on CNN, when naming a coaster Flight Deck might not, no matter how good a ride Flight Deck is. :) *** Edited 4/28/2008 6:09:21 PM UTC by matt.***

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Monday, April 28, 2008 2:34 PM
Yeah, let's not overanalyze things here. This is just some staff writer at CNN who happened to draw the assignment of writing an article about the 2008 season. I'm sure he did a minimum amount of research and simply wrote the article as such. At least all the "facts" seem to be correct...
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Monday, April 28, 2008 2:42 PM
Again, I gloss over the assumed in search of conversation. My apologies.

Obviously, it's a fluff piece.

So the writer becomes the subject with passing casual interest. The rides he chose to write about are just as telling. The things the writer thought would be a easy read or the rides that were easiest to sum up or find info on were the rides in the article.

Not the vertical lift and steepest drop of Farenheit, not the recreation of a long lost classic with Knoebels Flying Turns, not the general wackiness of Steel Hawg at IB, not the long awaited Ravine Flyer woodie at Waldameer.

I still think it backs the idea that the GP is looking for (or interested in) different things than the enthusiast community.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 3:40 PM
This is why my friends and associates are trained to come to me first regarding such matters.

And I agree. This writer's assigment was to come up with a travel piece on amusement parks. Oh, and let's put emphasis on the family, highlight places that people are likely to travel to, throw in a money saving coupon (since we have our eye on the economy), find things with kids specifically in mind, and spotlight some of the new stuff out there. Got it? She said "I'm on it".

She admittedly is no enthusiast herself, and she and her family vacation in the Bahamas. And... this is what we get.

So CNNtravel.com picks it up from Tribune Media and now, whenever anyone searches online for tags like the above-mentioned, this article and the associated ads show up.

It certainly wasn't the enthusiast's slant on the season, although an article like that would be a good one and recieve just as many hits, I'm sure, maybe from a slightly different audience.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 4:09 PM
I talked to a reporter at USA Today the other day, and the ride at Waldameer was an example of one she'd never heard of. Obviously she hadn't heard of the park either, and asked about wood coasters in general. I think for smaller, regional parks to break out into national attention, they need to be or do something very special, and most don't.

Also, consider the audience. The CNN piece was written by a syndicated service, so it has to be generic and interesting enough to justify printing it in a thousand different papers and Web sites.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 4:41 PM
^I buy that. Not really so much for "small" parks, but medium-sized parks, definitely.

An example of BEING something special - Kennywood. HW is on its heels despite not having the history and *gravitas* of Kennywood - thanks largely to Paula. :)

Two examples of DOING something special (granted, not current examples): Dorney building Herc, and Kentucky Kingdom with Chang. Breaking records is an easy way to get alot of attention. Well, WAS... ;)

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Monday, April 28, 2008 5:22 PM
I suspect it's a self-perpetuating cycle. These journalists, after all, are simply representatives of the GP who have pens and know how to put together a few coherent sentences. So it's sort of the ignorant informing the ignorant.
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Monday, April 28, 2008 5:35 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
I still think it backs the idea that the GP is looking for (or interested in) different things than the enthusiast community.

I don't see why anyone would question that but in this case I still think it's just more about what sounds more remarkable on the page. Describing a new wooden coaster halfway across the country will smack of "so what?" without some sort of marketing hook. It's different if the wooden coaster is an hour or two away.

Two big items when figuring out what's news and what isn't are proximity and the unusual factor. In this case if it's not close by, it should be unusual, if it's not unusual, it should be close by, etc.

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Monday, April 28, 2008 5:38 PM
Actually...I've met Eileen and she is considered to be a travel expert. Her specialty is "taking the kids." She's been doing this for years and is well respected in the industry. (She ain't no hack.)

Believe me, it always stings not to be included in these round-ups (yes, I sent her info months ago). But at the same time, Eileen probably received scores, if not hundreds, of info packets and had to make choices based on an assortment of criteria. And who knows what an editor might have done to her well-researched piece!

At the end of the article her web address is provided, inviting comments. Maybe some polite suggestions could lead to a future column about "off the beaten path" treasures that coaster enthusiasts know so well.

Thanks, Paula

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Monday, April 28, 2008 5:41 PM
^It's true, you only get so many words to get your story off! And then if you list too many parks you're suddenly appealing to the enthusiast nerds know already know exactly what you're already talking about, haha.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:05 PM
Flash forward ... and Eileen is now working on a column about water parks. Just got a request for Kima Bay photos. (Maybe they'll use the one with The Voyage in the background) :)

Paula

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 2:03 PM
^^Hey Paula,

You know how HW made a huge addition to the water park for 2008? Well, was most of that addition kid-oriented or not?

Also, just how busy do you think HW (and the water park) will be on Saturday, May 25?

While I know this is Memorial Day weekend (in addition to being a Saturday), every time I've been to HW over the past 3 years I have never found it to be crazy like some other parks! While I'm perfectly fine with "busy" (and fully expect that), I'm not quite sure what to really expect? And btw, assume the weather for my day in question is dry, but mostly cloudy with a stray peak of sun.

Thanks a lot!

-JM

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008 5:28 PM
Saturday, May 25 ... what year is that? :)

No, we won't be swamped that Saturday ... but the coaster crazies will be here for HoliWood Nights, so ... well, you know. :)

Paula

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