PKI extends season...again

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:15 AM
Just writing to let y'all know that PKI has once again extended their season by a weekend, so closing weekend is now Nov 5 & 6, with operating times of 10am - 6pm both days.

http://www.pki.com/visit/visit_calendar.cfm

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:57 AM
I saw that a couple weeks ago. They did it really quietly. Even Guest Relations didn't know about it!

I know where I plan to be that weekend!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:34 PM
Geez, open that weekend, then Winterfest starting within 3 weeks?

Short prep time...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:38 PM
So which formerly seasonal park will be the first to slip into year-round operations?

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')?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:46 PM
"Geez, open that weekend, then Winterfest starting within 3 weeks?"

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 ;-)

Shaggy

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:10 PM
Gonch,
you have to remember that Winterfest (and Dollywood's Christmas Event) have pretty limited operations, with the draw of the "Christmas" elements as the marketing hook to get people through the gate while suffering reducde ride operations and potential coldness. There's no such hook to get people in these wintery regions to go to ride rollercoasters in February.

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.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:18 PM
I understand, but it seems like each year more and more parks try to squeeze extra time out of the season.

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.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:19 PM
It still sounds like Nick Central will be taking over HB Land in '06. I'll be interested to see whether the antique cars make their return over there and if we'll see the SpongeBob water coaster or possibly a spinning mouse/coaster. I bet the water play area is probably out.

+Danny

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:46 PM
My best bet for (nearly) year-round ops?

Herschend, Dollywood and/or SDC...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 3:36 PM
Dollywood was the one that came to my mind.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 3:43 PM
Dollywood is "almost" year round. Don't they open in March?

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.

-Tina

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 7:58 PM
I agree with Theme Designer...to an extent. Yea, our areas of the country do get lots of cold weather, and also lot's of unpredictable weather too. We have some totally frigid winters up here at times, but then there's always times like 2-3 years back when we had sunny 60 degree weather for most of December that year.

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***

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:16 PM
But still, those thousands were there at Dollywood to buy Kountry Krafts just in time for christmas and soak in the holiday decorations. There's nothing to get them in the gate during the bleak midwinter.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005 11:47 PM
Let me stress again, that I don't necessarily think this would happen anytime soon, if at all. I'm just noticing how many seasonal parks have found ways to squeeze extra operating days into the scheme of things.

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. :)

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Thursday, August 25, 2005 12:59 AM

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.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005 1:50 AM
Dollywood is too, isn't it?
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Thursday, August 25, 2005 3:26 AM
But Dollywood doesn't have a waterpark.
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Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:34 AM
"But Dollywood doesn't have a waterpark."

Dolly's Splash Country - right next door.

Shaggy

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Thursday, August 25, 2005 10:17 AM
I guess that both Dollywood and Silver Dollar City could be open year round. I just see SDC doing it before DW. For one thing SDC has more to offer inside on the colder days then DW does. As for temperatures both SDC and DW have relatively the same averages for the two months (Jan & Feb) and for the most part they are in the upper 40's to mid 50's - which is what is required for the coasters to run.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005 1:26 PM
I doubt Dollywood could be open during January/February. Weather gets far too rough in that area about that time of the year. Lots of ice storms and things of that sort.

They tried opening in March this year...didn't go too well.

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