There was a rumor a while back that SFNO had sold over 200,000 season passes before the month of June was over. Well, all I can say is it had to be at or near that figure with being the only park out 39 others to cut SFI's attendance figures in almost half! If SFI holds true to their word that parks get attraction based on performance and attendance, well SFNO is in store for some more massive expansion in 2004 and 2005!
Here's the story from sixflagsnews.com: La Ronde blames weather for attendance dip Monday, August 18, 2003
The weather has been enough of a headache. La Ronde could have done without the bouts of bad publicity that have also dogged the amusement park through the year.
Six Flags, the U.S. company that bought La Ronde from the city of Montreal in 2001, said this week that attendance at its 39 theme parks throughout North America and Europe dropped 3.9 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with last year. And if you delete the attendance from a New Orlean's theme park that it didn't own last year, the drop was 7.2 per cent.
The company won't provide attendance records for individual parks, but Anne-Marie Desautels, representing La Ronde, confirmed Montreal's park has seen "a small decrease since 2002, but we're still over what we did in 2001."
How could it be otherwise. It opened in May to lots of rain, headed into "a very, very hot June," she said, then "it rained almost all through the construction holiday" in July. Rain and intense heat are both a curse to outdoor theme parks with little means of shelter and no water attractions save the aging Pitoune log ride.
And even though the park draws the lion's share of its clientele from the local population, Pierre Bellerose, vice-president of research at Tourisme Montréal, said La Ronde is also feeling the pain of a 10-per-cent drop in tourism in Montreal since April - the result of a weak U.S. economy, fears about severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and a general reluctance to travel much. Read More From...
They're talking about the total number of visitors to all Six Flags parks there. Of course adding SFNO's attendance equals an increase--an increase from ZERO the year before. This doesn't mean SFNO is setting new records, meeting its own projected numbers or even paying off the investments made this season. As for massive expansion to any SF park, don't hold your breath. Next year's big project will be an attempt at profitability.
Don't get me wrong--I wish them well. I'm just clarifying what the numbers do and don't say.
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*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya 8/20/2003 9:50:12 AM ***
If you have ever looked over an Annual Report you will see that this is the case. Cedar Fair reported revenue figures including and not including Knott's Berry Farm after the purchase. Come to think of it, I think that is still noted in the Annual Report.
Let's declare that last year, the chain-wide total attendance was 20 million people.
Now let's declare that the chain-wide total attendance for this year, not counting SFNO, is 18 million people. That means that the parks that existed last year, are down 10%.
Now, let's say that SFNO has drawn 1 million people. Adding them in means that the total attendance is 19 million, down 5% from last year. That's deceptive, though, because last year's numbers wouldn't have included SFNO, since Jazzland didn't exist AS "SFNO" yet.
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Take for example, Sears. In their latest 10-Q (Quarterly Results) Filing. They point out that Sears Canada total sales increased 1.9% in the second quarter of 2003 despite a same stores sales decrease of 6.5%.
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I do have to congratulate Six Flags New Orleans for having the ability to keep the majority of their rides up and running as much as possible. They have a large number of flat rides (more than many larger parks) yet they usually have less down than parks with a smaller amount of rides. The maintenance department of Six Flags New Orleans definitely deserves a pat on the back. There have been days when they have had all rides running at one point or another.
*** This post was edited by Cameraman 8/20/2003 12:29:13 PM ***
Also, all parks have their "great days with exceptional numbers" ... By your logic, I could say that Williams Grove had 500 people in it, it was a great day with exceptional attendance! (No disrespect to Williams Grove, I have no idea what their attendance is like outside Con 2001).
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your park is a fairly nice park (when I go I don't care what you say, I'm NOT riding the Jukebox) and yes, it probably has some potential. Do you think it will come next year? With Six Flags announcing they're only spending $75 million in new capital next year, hardly. Do I think you'll get something? Yes, I don't think Six Flags wants to repeat Alfa's mistake. Do I know what? Not at all. And neither do you so please don't start that argument.
It's not about all about attendance, it's about per cap. I've said it before, and I will say it again... a theme park operator would rather have 5000 people in the park spending $20 each than 15000 spending $5.
In this slow economy and with their massive debt, it's going to be an extremely slow year for six flags next year. Most parks hope for a new attraction is the ride rotation program. Just don't get your hopes up, you'd be silly to do so. Sides, you might just wind up with shockwave from sfgam... its cheap.
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Quite a few of their rides had some big problems this year but they were all fixed promptly. One of Lex Luthor's Invertatron's motors blew out opening day they got a new one and installed it ASAP. Spillway Splashout's chain broke, they ordered a new one and installed it within a couple of days after they got it. Voodoo Volcano uhm..."erupted" and they also fixed that promptly. Lex Luthor's Invertatron was rumored to be down all season long due to a problem with the ride computer but they were able to get it running once again in a week's time.
My point is they have so many complex flat rides that can pose such a maintenance problem but they always get them up and running as soon as possible. I've seen so many other parks with less rides have several of them down for much more of an extended period of time.
I'm not kidding when I say great days with exceptional numbers. When they've had events (and even some days when they didn't have any events) they've seen attendance figures that were very high for a park its size.
*** This post was edited by Cameraman 8/20/2003 2:15:07 PM ***
They can't do that this year at SFNO.
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SFNO, as the *new park on the block*, should expect a little better than average in terms of rides and maintenance....SFEV, same deal. Apologies to those with Frontier City as their home park, but SFI isn't going to start pouring money into a park with a small ROI....
SFNO holds *promise*....it can be a big money maker in the future...but even IF the park improved 1000%, it still wouldn't make too big of a dent in what happens to the chain...."the big four" DOMINATE the statistics (and the finances) of the chain...
bill, who can't help but wonder why it is that SF poured SO many millions into rides the past 5 years or so, but did NOTHING to improve staffing at most of their parks...
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Money. I don't care what you say, for a kid/young adult, money is a huge deciding factor in a summer job. Amusement parks are not paying much, certainly compared to all other summer jobs. How much would it really cost for parks to address this? I did some calculations and it was far less then I thought it might be.
Training. Most of the park companies are still woeful when it comes to training. In many cases kids are put online on their first day without being properly trained. If they are trained in their specific job responsibilities the training falls far short in the area of customer service.
Oversight. With a few notable exceptions, many of the full-time managers at amusement parks I am familiar with are not getting out and seeing what is happening at a ride, food stand, game, etc. If I am wrong then they are just inept because they are missing some obvious signs of problems in their parks.
To me this is an industry wide problem. I see it at all of the chains and if it isn't addressed soon then they are in for some problems. You can't keep raising prices while not meeting or exceeding the guest expectations. Something is going to give.
Given the still-soft labor market, I am surprised that staffing has been this big of a problem this year.
The problem is that the park jobs aren't "coveted" like they once were. Kids can make $6.50 an hour doing a lot of different things. I pay my part time employees $9 an hour (to start) but I get what I pay for. Employees who are considerate and understand good guest service.
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