I know where I plan to be that weekend!
Short prep time...
Seems more and more parks are sneaking in an extra weekend or two at the beginning and end of the season. Many now offer some sort of X-mas/winter event.
So who will be first to try to run things all 12 months of the year (even if it's just weekends during the 'offseason')?
If you are referring to the changover time from Halloween theming to Winterfest themeing, it's hardly a concern. Much of the prep work will be done beforehand. Heck, Disney does it overnight.
But more interesting to me is how they will hide or disguise (if at all) the significant area that will be undergoing a big change for 06. Surely they'll announce before, but one of the areas accessible during Winterfest is home to the 06 expansion.... I believe ;-)
I can't see any park north of Alabama trying true year round operations, weekends or not, the way Wild Adventures does. Even SFOG's location gets pretty chilly with occasional snow and ice storms. The only bigger parks I see with even remote potential to do this would be Visionland, SFFT, SFAW, SFOT, and SFNO, and even most of these can get chilly mid winters when the last thing on people's minds is amusement parks.
IMHO PCar, PKD, PKI, Dollywood, HW, SFstl, SFKK, etc all see too much winter to make it worthwile to give up the benefits of down time.
Most open now in early spring depending on location (SFGAdv opened in March this year!) and with the addition of Halloween events, bonus weekend dealy-o's and an X-mas event can easily run through the end of December.
That just leaves January and February. Granted two of the most dismal months of the year weather-wise, but maybe some type of limited operation with reduced pricing?
Just tossing the thought out there as it seems many 'seasonal' parks now could, in theory, easily run 10 months out of the year.
Herschend, Dollywood and/or SDC...
Dollywood was the first park I had visited in the "winter" and it was quite invigorating riding Thunderhead at night in the chilly weather. :-)
That's TN, though, not Ohio. Actually, closing day last year at PKI was quite nice in early November. I think it was in the mid-70's. PERFECT riding weather.
And if parks like PKI offer enough attractions to do under shelter, or give people plenty of spots to warm up at when needed...I think a lot of people would be surprised how many might come out.
Also three years ago we went down to Dollywood the first week of December and even with the temps. in the high 30's the park had thousands in it. And most rides were open, (including Tennessee Tornado), but not the water rides, obviously.
Lastly, with all these parks now adding indoor waterpark resorts, it moves the possibility that much closer that they might start re-opening the parks in some capacity for nice weather during winter months. *** Edited 8/25/2005 12:00:13 AM UTC by Floorless Fan***
You inch up you're opening date to Mid-March (quite a few parks in all regions except the northernmost are there already - or very close so it must be a viable time), then run weekends/holidays (including spring break) until mid-May. Go to shortened daily hours until school lets out. Run a normal summer season. Cut back to weekends/holidays in early September with some 'extended schedule' days (even most parks do this already. Roll out a Halloween event in mid/late september and run through October and maybe toss an Octoberfest thing in there somewhere. Add these 'bonus weekends' for the first 2 or 3 weeks of November (PKI is in Cincinnati and thinks it's a good idea) then kick into a Christmas/Holiday celebration through New Year's.
So again, I find myself with about 8 to 10 weekends from the 2nd week of January to mid-March. What to do?
Cut back to Fri-Sat-Sun schedule with limited operations based on staffing, weather and refurb schedules. A rotating line-up of sorts. Make this something along the lines of a "Winterfest" - simply a celebration of the winter season. Bring in special entertainment, crafts, hot chocolate and crap like that. Essentially an X-mas setup minus the lights. The lights alone aren't the only thing pulling crowds.
Heck, I went to Hershey's Christmas Candylane in 2001 - there were a handful of light displays and Santa was there, but aside from that, they just roped off the back parts of the park, opened the kiddies and some flats, added the aforementioned 'wintery' extras and packed the park. And I mean packed the park with people.
You could even break up the whole 'Winter Celebration' with some extras the week of Valentine's Day.
I know when Jan/Feb rolls around and I'm getting all stir crazy from being holed up for the last few months and a short afternoon letting the kids ride the carousel and stuff would seem like a welcomed change.
People don't have to be thinking "amusement park" during those months and that weather and that's not exactly what you'be be selling them. It'd be a chance to get out and enjoy the winter. (Which, believe it or not, many people do :) )
I don't know. I doubt anyone would have the balls to give it a go anytime soon, but then again, I'd never have thought I could visit PKI the first weekend in November either.
Just some thoughts. :)
Lord Gonchar said:
So which formerly seasonal park will be the first to slip into year-round operations?
Silver Dollar City - they are only closed January and February each year.
Dolly's Splash Country - right next door.
They tried opening in March this year...didn't go too well.
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