Nov 11 Kinzel Article

Monday, November 12, 2007 10:34 PM
Lord Gonchar said

So your logic is that if Soak City was included and the park did free drinks and parking, then you'd accept the 80% gate increase in Sandusky as they've done in Santa Claus?


When was Holiday World's admission $22.22? That is an awesome admission price. *** Edited 11/13/2007 3:34:52 AM UTC by raser*** *** Edited 11/13/2007 3:36:17 AM UTC by raser***


Intimidator 305 the tallest most hated coaster nobody has ever ridden...

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Monday, November 12, 2007 10:49 PM
matt.'s avatar

PCWCoasterBoy said:
Is anyone going to bring up the incredibly bad US economy

Polls have shown that Americans are very pessimistic about the economy as a whole but relatively optimistic when it comes to their own personal finances.

Which is a very interesting point from a sociological/cultural standpoint but I think more pertinent is that the economy as it is now should be negatively impacting the destination parks, I would think, more than the regional parks, or at least affecting them first. Rising gas prices, all that. From the sounds of it plenty of parks are doing very well so I still think it's early to start blaming a soft economy for some of CF's woes.

An awful lot of it still has to go to demographics, having a huge amusement park in the rust belt-ish area is going to be a tough game for a long time unless you adapt to the changes.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 10:51 PM
What I cant understand is why CP hasnt instituted a meal plan type deal (even if just for resort guests) like Disney or Universal. Basically you give them one meal at a sitdown resturant (TGI Fridays, Famous Daves, Gameday Grill, Midway Market, Bay Harbor) a "counter service meal" (in park stands) and a snack for a set price (which actually for CP's case I would probably change this option to one of those free refill cups.) For arguements sake lets make this meal $40, people do the math and figure out, hey $40 is what I would pay for the sitdown meal (including the free desert and soft drink plus tip I get with said meal) and buy the thing.

However, the rub is a vast number of guests never use the sit down meal option. It takes too much time out of their day, and people are stupid, so for most you may only make a slight profit (assuming they actually eat all their options, so they actually get their meal for less then the list price but still enough for you to turn a profit) but on a sizable amount you make an absolute killing (the ones who dont eat at the sitdown resturants) and the customer feels like he won ("free food") and you make a very happy customer.


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Monday, November 12, 2007 11:07 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

raser said:
When was Holiday World's admission $22.22? That is an awesome admission price.

$22.95 prior to free drinks.

1999 or 2000, I think.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 1:01 AM
Jeff's avatar Touchdown: If you think only sit-down restaurants take time out of your day (and honestly, why is that bad in the first place?), you should try to get food at the counter service joints on a busy day. Ridiculous service speed there.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 8:11 AM
^I dont, John C. Normal does. Im just making a point that at places where they have those meal deals there is a sizable amount of people who buy the dining plan and then decide to opt out of the sit down meal because it takes too long.

TGI Fridays, at the bar (thus no wait for table) is where youll find me for my one meal when I go to CP :).


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 10:55 AM
I think that it really comes down to delivering the experience that they advertise, and I think that this is a problem that most if not all regional parks encounter. Bear with me for a moment...

If a park advertises a ride like TTD (or Kinga Ka, Deja Vu, Chiller, etc) as their big attraction and the ride does not perform well, or even if it performs well but it simply doesn't have a high enough capacity to get all the guests through it in a day, then there will be many guests who are disappointed, guests who will tell others that it wasn't worthwhile to attend the park. And, for those willing to brave those longer lines, perhaps the ride wasn't worth the two hour wait that they did for it. That isn't a good sign either.

Take a quick look at the numbers on Dragster. Even working at 100%, if it truly can get the 1000 / hr numbers quoted on RCDB, if the park is open for 12 hours, it can get 12,000 people through it in a day. Since they will run out the line, lets even say they get through 13,000 people in a day.

Cedar Fair has an operating calendar that is probably around 150 days, give or take, but it will make this comparison more simple. The average attendance to get 3 million is 20,000 per day. That means that on an average day with perfect operation, only 65% of the attendance will get to ride the ride.

Add to this the fact that the park isn't open 12 hours a day, and the fact that the ride can't run during weather and things like that, it would be realistic to say that TTD -- the marquee attraction at the park -- can only deliver thrills to 50% of the guests who come through the doors in perfect operating conditions. Add in downtimes due to weather or just routine things happening, and that number gets lower still.

Ultimately, I think that the bottom line is that parks would be even more popular, but parks have felt that the best way to lure people was by making bigger rides even if they had a lower capacity. Hell, while TTD's capacity isn't great, compare that to the real world capacity of Deja Vu (let's even be nice and say they could get 600 an hour -- that's 7800 / day, or 39% of your "average" 12 hour operating day crowd) and what has happened is simple -- parks add huge rides that don't have enough capacity to handle the crowds they already have, and when more people come to the park, everyone has a worse experience because of it.

The additions that these parks are making are literally shrinking what clientèle are able to ride, and therefore what clientèle want to come back. Last interesting point (data from RCDB, assuming 3 mil attendance w/ 150 12 hr + 1 hr run out operating days):

1989 - Magnum 2000 pph, serves 130% of guests
1991 - Mean Streak 1600 pph, serves 104% of guests
1994 - Raptor 1800 pph, serves 117% of guests
1996 - Mantis 1800 pph*, serves 117% of guests
2000 - Millenium Force 1300 pph, serves 84.5% of guests
2002 - Wicked Twister 1000 pph*, serves 65% of guests
2003 - Top Thrill Dragster 1000 pph, serves 65% of guests

*'s I don't believe are close to real time numbers, but I'm using them.

Regardless, the trend is obvious to me...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:15 AM
But you're assuming that 100% of the customers want to ride Dragster. Kids and families probably account for 30% of the crowds, at the least. And of the remainder, probably a good chunk aren't even interested in riding Dragster.

It's an interesting model, but it just doesn't hold up. Yes, it's true that weather and mechanical issues will keep people from getting on all the rides they want, every time they come to the park. But CF has a very good track record for maintaining its rides well. Most of the time, if people want to ride a given ride, they can do it -- although it may come at the expense of waiting two hours to do so.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:31 AM
In fact, Maverick's lack of extreme-anything may well be a testament to how few people actually want to ride TTD. If you've read interviews etc. with CF execs, they've basically said as much.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:50 AM
^^^

"1989 - Magnum 2000 pph, serves 130% of guests
1991 - Mean Streak 1600 pph, serves 104% of guests
1994 - Raptor 1800 pph, serves 117% of guests
1996 - Mantis 1800 pph*, serves 117% of guests
2000 - Millenium Force 1300 pph, serves 84.5% of guests
2002 - Wicked Twister 1000 pph*, serves 65% of guests
2003 - Top Thrill Dragster 1000 pph, serves 65% of guests"

Too bad, I don't care to ride Magnum, Mean Streak, and Millenium Force again. You also have to remember that they blocked off rows when I was there 3 years ago in June for Magnum. So, they are lowering capacity by doing that.

They blocked off rows for Thunderhawk at Dorney Park, and only ran one train also when there was still a small line. Of course, they won't let you reride the ride either.

You are forgetting the people that just don't want to ride that particular ride because it's not there type of tea. Just because it can get so many number of people, doesn't mean that, that many people want to ride that particular ride.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:51 AM

Jeff said:
Holiday World is/was a smaller product to begin with, and has made drastic increases to its overall product offering, while delivering on a great value proposition. Cedar Point hasn't done that since 2000.

There's the reason why I'm still of the mindset that steadily increasing theme park prices is going to backfire, especially when upcharge options like q-bots are doing everything they can to jack up prices.

As Jeff said, Holiday World gets away with charging more because they are constantly expanding their offerings... "plussing" the experience, if you will. New roller coasters, new flat rides and new waterslides all make for something that warrants an increased admission price. As for the "old man" parks like Cedar Fair and a few dozen others, they key is getting people to return when there's not much else they can do in terms of additions and innovations. I'm not sure if higher prices that make the experience cost even more money is the long-term solution.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:00 PM
It's been said over and over again, but CP has successfully built themselves into a premier thrill park. Now, they simply need to build themselves into a premier pseudo-resort destination (at least for the Midwest).

Brandon | Facebook

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:12 PM

Ensign Smith said:
But you're assuming that 100% of the customers want to ride Dragster.

The point is and was that if you build an attraction like that and people want to ride it, the longer the wait the less likely they will come back for it. Lets say that only 50% of the people want to ride Dragster, but I bet that on a busy day at Cedar Point the park could have 30,000 people in it, which means that of those 15,000 people who want to ride it, 2,000 of them still won't.

And I think that you could definitely make an argument that if you add a ride that only 50% of your client base wants to go on, then it might not be the best attraction to add. Based on the lines that I have seen at parks for under capacity rides (TTD, Deja Vu(s), etc), I don't think that people in the park don't want to go on them, but I definitely know people who have talked with me and who have said that there is no ride that they would ever wait more than an hour for.

The difference of 1000 pph on Magnum to TTD means that there are those people who might otherwise ride it, but won't simply because the amount of time that it takes to get on it. Even if they don't want to go on it, if someone attends on a regular day and sees that the wait for TTD is two hours, I think that hurts the perception of the park. What if it is busy and the wait is three hours?

I definitely think it is a factor -- and perhaps a limiting one, as parks can't always add attractions with even larger capacities -- to the growth of a park's attendance.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:19 PM

Spinout said:
Too bad, I don't care to ride Magnum, Mean Streak, and Millenium Force again. You also have to remember that they blocked off rows when I was there 3 years ago in June for Magnum. So, they are lowering capacity by doing that.

Cedar Fair does that to force people to have a wait in line for various reasons, the biggest being to force people to stay in the park longer. Personally, I've never thought it was a great guest service move to do that, but maybe others on here feel different. I'd rather walk on a ride on a slow day and get off when I want to get off...


You are forgetting the people that just don't want to ride that particular ride because it's not there type of tea. Just because it can get so many number of people, doesn't mean that, that many people want to ride that particular ride.

But isn't that another whole part of the problem?

Maybe 2000 pph don't want to ride Magnum now, but they did when it opened. Maybe 1600 pph don't want to ride Mean Streak either, but when it opened, it was very busy.

Tastes evolve, and the "newest" flavor is usually something that people want to experience. If the newest flavors only attract 50% of the customer base again, and if not all those people can even ride it in a day, I do see that as a problem.

After a number of years have passed (and the park attendance goes down) I do expect that these rides will have less and less lines. But to me, that doesn't mean that they were built right to begin with.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:43 PM
The tricky part about attracting families (which is where the loot is) is that in some ways "the hassle" is directly related to attendance--in the sense that the greater the crowds, the bigger the hassle, the less likely it is to be seen as "worth it".

My family just moved back to OH this year, and as excited as I was to get to CP at some point during the summer with the kids, we never did make it this year. Somehow the only times we could potentially find to go were around weekends and we figured the crowds would be ridiculous, so we kept putting the trip off. We did finally take the kids to KI for a daytime visit during the Haunt last month and it was horrendous--no way was it "worth it" to wait in long lines for kiddie rides all afternoon. The kids were miserable and so were we.

So, yeah, capacity looks great for the park's bottom line, but how well a park can make those large crowds not feel so overwhelming is hugely important in attracting (and bringing back repeat-visit) families.

Its such an interesting thing--until I had kids I was enough of a coaster junkie that I'd put up with almost anything. So if I think something is a "hassle" now with kids, I can only imagine what the rest of the GP is thinking.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 4:12 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

brunus76 said:
The tricky part about attracting families (which is where the loot is) is that in some ways "the hassle" is directly related to attendance.


Give that man a prize! The hassle isn't the price (which would demand a lowering of price), it's the crowds (which would demand an increase of price). I'd still like to see more parks doing a Discovery Cove/Exclusive Adventure type of thing.

One thing I STILL don't get after all these years is why parks don't jack up the price on weekends. Or for perceptions sake, jack up the price across the board and then offer "mid-week discounts." If the parks are overcrowded to the point of people not being happy on mid-summer Saturdays, it means they're charging too little. *** Edited 11/13/2007 9:14:36 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 4:18 PM
^Because it wont work, people traditionally have weekends off, if they have a weekday off odds are its a vacation day. And add church, and wanting a day to recover and you get why Saturday is always the busiest day of the week.

You are not going to enact cultural changes by changing the price of admission.


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 5:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

The hassle isn't the price (which would demand a lowering of price), it's the crowds (which would demand an increase of price).

Yup. :)


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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 5:26 PM
Why wouldn't raising prices on weekends work? Ski resorts and golf courses have been doing it for years.

*** Edited 11/13/2007 10:26:36 PM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007 5:29 PM
^Golf is an half day affair, people can skip out early on a weekday to do it (and they usually stick to their hometown golf courses) or wake up really, really early.

Ski resorts, are for the most part (I know there are exceptions) multi day affairs, especially the big ones, thus a vacation activity (much like the Orlando Parks, which do not get a weekend "bump" in attendance.)

Amusement Parks are in the (not so) happy medium: a whole day affair. Just long enough that people know they need to be there pretty much the whole day (unlike golf) but will don't need to be there multiple days.


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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