Parks visiting other parks?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 7:02 PM
I was just wondering if parks send workers from their parks to other parks to see what other parks are like.

Looking through the photo gallery @ pointbuzz, at the Golden Ticket Awards @ Cedar Point, there were people from SFFT which I'm sure pulled into the parking lot and said "I wish our park was like this" ;), being totally surprised by 3 train operation on nearly every coaster, and actually having friendly (ok, not always friendly) and fast ride ops.

Do you think, for example, Six Flags sent people to Cedar Point to check out Top Thrill Dragster to see if they should put one it at SFGadv.? Or do they just hope for the best and built it without even riding a ride like it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 7:08 PM
From what I hear, they usually do visit the other parks. Especially for multi-million dollar investments, it just wouldn't be good business if they didn't.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 7:14 PM
My uncle used to be the head of shows at Six Flags Great America and he used to visit other parks, such as the Disney parks, to see what they were doing for shows. In fact, when he wasn't doing auditions, this was the bulk of his off-season work.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 7:18 PM
It is almost a part of business....checking out competition. I am a photographer for a major company that has studio's all over the US. We are always checking out's a way to make money and draw more business. I go once a month to a neighboring studio of a different company and see what they are offering.

Now back on topic....

Parks have to be on top of their game, they need to keep drawing in crowds. Whether it's a new ride, or lower prices. Doesn't matter they will do what is necessary to make the GP happy and the business thriving.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:00 PM

Ride of Steel said:
I was just wondering if parks send workers from their parks to other parks to see what other parks are like.

Yes, it happens all of the time and throughout the entire year. Most of the time, a park visit is pre-arranged between parks, and is generally not some super secret "spy mission..."

The industry is a pretty tight knit group, and many park GM’s and Directors know each other. So, park visits are often accompanied with tours, comp passes and often a lunch or dinner with industry colleagues. And even in this day of corporate secrets and proprietary information, you would be surprised with the open sharing of information that some GM’s and Directors share with each other, off the record.

*** Edited 4/14/2005 12:00:41 AM UTC by Hanging n' Banging***
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:15 PM
The "BIG 3" in Missouri always visit the other parks. SFStL seems to be the one that travels the least though, but HFEC people can be seen at WOF and SFStL throughout the year.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:17 PM
What is HFEC?
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:20 PM
Kinzel parked his car at a gas station across the street from Superman: Ultimate Escape at Six Flags to watch the ride before deciding to install one at Cedar Point. Some Cedar Fair folks most recently visited Kings Island last year to check out Delerium.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:25 PM
HFEC - parent company of Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, Celebration City, and others.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 8:26 PM
I think it was 1 of the Travel Channel shows that said that people from Nagashima Spaland went to WOF to see Mamba and they liked it so much that Steel Dragon basically became a supersized version of it.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 11:28 PM
These non-super-secret-spy-mission-attenders-from-another-park wear nice park logo polo style shirts and casual dress pants while visiting. They are sometimes accompanied by managers from the park that they are visiting. They may even carry a clipboard and/or a notepad. In my case, they were very friendly when they introduced themselves.
Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:22 AM
To expand on what 'Moosh said:
HFEC = Herschend Family Entertainment Co.

Of course park representatives visit each other's parks. They talk to each other, they look each other over, they swap "secrets", and they conduct formal and informal visits of each others' facilities.

It's all a part of good business!

Furthermore, you can tell which ones pay attention and which ones don't... :)

--Dave Ahthoff, Jr.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:47 AM
Sometimes they do more than visit. Prior to it's opening, Kennywood filmed their award-winning ad for Raging Rapids .... at Kings Dominion.
Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:21 AM
PKD's rapids ride is still one of the best around!

SFFT certainly needs NO lessons on hospitality from ANYONE....throughput maybe, friendliness not a chance....

bill, heard a rumour at one point about SFNE getting a copy of HP's Rollersoaker....seems there were some people wearing SFNE gear riding the ride while the park was deserted due to BAD weather..;)

Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:24 AM
Actually, it's quite fun to visit with folks from other parks. Most of us are cut from the same cloth--we have a good time sharing ideas and telling stories.


Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:32 AM
Paula, would you kindly tell other parks how to avoid installing trim brakes on their wooden coasters? Thanks in advance! :)
Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:34 AM
Oh...and we talk about enthusiasts, too. :)


Thursday, April 14, 2005 10:39 AM
Duly noted...;)
Thursday, April 14, 2005 11:01 AM
LOL! to both Paula and 'Gator. I was in line for a soda once, when a manager from PKI was next to me in first, I thought it was odd, but I was 19 at the time and definitely NOT thinking about the business world.
Thursday, April 14, 2005 2:10 PM
Even seasonal employees visit other parks. A group of Geauga Lake folks visited Kings Island this past weekend. It was great having members of the Beast crew praise our park! I think it fairly well known that Mr. Kinzel likes to visits competition, especially Disney!

Now if only I could get to know more people at all of these parks...

-Sam (who is desperately trying to break into the industry full time. Any full timers that read this board need a good group sales or PR guy?)

*** Edited 4/14/2005 6:11:15 PM UTC by Avalanche Sam***


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