We are opening new park and want your input!

Saturday, May 28, 2005 10:52 AM
Dear Coaster Buzz enthusiats,

I have been with a company working to build the worlds largest indoor amusemant park. We have thought of crowd control, line designs, affordable pricing, healthy food choices etc..

I am looking for any input you may have. We want a park for all ages to enjoy.

We are working with Terry Vangorder the man who brought us Camp Snoopy in "the mall of the americas". We are working with such great artists as Andrew Probert and others in the park design world.

My job is to make sure people show up in masses and have a great time.

I was born a coaster junkie and have been to every coaster park on the west coast and most on the east coast. I have my own opinions but I want to hear yours. I have been a fan of coaster buzz for years.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


Brian Garrison

Saturday, May 28, 2005 11:54 AM
Serve breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches...Not enough parks offer this valuable commodity!
Saturday, May 28, 2005 12:42 PM
You should call ITPS in Cincy. Enthusiasts don't even remotely represent a majority of amusement park guests.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 2:17 PM
Jeff's absolutely right. We enthusiasts will not be your bread and butter, as you already know, I'm sure. Most of us would love to make it to the park after it opens, but how many actually will is bound to be a smaller number.

Focus groups from the people living in the area where the park is going will provide a lot more insight in how to make this endeavor a success.

Still, if you wondering about general questions from people with experience in enjoying parks, you've come to the right place. Just read the TRs. Clean walkways and restrooms (easily accessible), polite and courteous staff (not to mention energetic), rides that are actually open (with coasters running more than 1 train, when it's busy), etc, etc.

And to maximize profit, give people reasons to spend all day at your facility. If there is not enough to do, folks leave without plunking down more cash than the entry fee. Coasters, flat rides, dark rides, sim rides, magic show, comedy act, water rides, gardens,... The more to do, the longer patrons stay, therefore the more money they spend on food, drinks, games, souvenirs; you get the idea.

Again I'm sure you and the team all know this, so good luck and let us know how things progress. And when it's time to hire your staff, from management to ride ops to sweepers, let us know that too. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2005 2:21 PM
I agree. Build a park with enthusiast's input and you will get a park that doesn't appeal to the majority. Approach a real research firm like mentioned above.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 2:52 PM
Ok, height and speed in the rides don't matter. Make them interesting, fun, and unique. Have a lot of rides for all ages. Don't over or understaff. Build rides for all ages. Extreme and soft. Make sure the place is actually open a lot with no downtime except those few problems that are inevitable. About walkways...don't make dead ends or rides that are down a single pathway.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 3:15 PM
I say make it a THEME park instead of an amusement park. The general population nowadays is more attracted to exciting family attractions, specifically themed, story-telling, and imaginative attractions. I would suggest taking hints from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Parks, and the current focus of Paramount parks. I predict you will have much more success with this kind of vision than you will if you just try to buil "the biggest indoor Six Flags-style amusement park". If so, I know I won't venture out to see it...
Saturday, May 28, 2005 3:30 PM
I think that a very good type of ride to put into these smaller parks now days is the Maurer Sohne spinning mouse coasters. They are very fun rides and have exciteing moments for all ages. Your main interest should be family enjoyment, as that is where you will probably get your most attendance.

I just have a quick question. Where is this park going to be located at?

Saturday, May 28, 2005 3:43 PM
Yes, where will it be located? Have a wide variety of things and you will be successful, especially coasters :P
Saturday, May 28, 2005 3:59 PM
Two words, Huss Giants.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 4:21 PM
Well, I would have to say an enthusiast's input can be valuable as they/we tend to have more experience of being to different theme parks than much of the other GP. The enthusiasts know which attractions are the biggest draws to the GP and have a slight idea how a park should or shouldn't be operated. I am sure that there parks out there that makes their expansion decisions by looking at boards like this one.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 4:46 PM
Yes, and if you look around at enthusiast events, we're mostly male, child-free and cheap. Hardly the kind of people I want to attract to a park.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 5:13 PM
Well then, since I'm married, will have a daughter in a few weeks and have wads of cash filling up my living room just waiting to be spent, here's my opinion... OK I'm kidding about the cash thing, I'm a cheap bastard too.

I agree with pretty much everything Robocoaster mentioned. But the one thing that will make non-repeat customers is having poor customer service and apathetic employees. I work at a store that really stresses those 2 things, and we have adopted a system of "secret shoppers." (which I'm sure this is pretty common in customer service type fields) Stress customer service as the most important thing, and back it up with those secert folks. I can actually get written up and eventually fired if I do not get passing grades on my secret shopper reviews. So even if problems arise and your rides have downtime or other unforseen problems, be willing to go the extra mile to make the customers leave happy, even if all things didn't go perfectly.

Saturday, May 28, 2005 5:39 PM
Here's a suggestion I would make of ANY new business that serves food. Keep readily available at all food stands, a list of what menu items contain what food allergens. Increasingly common food allergies/sensitivities can make it an issue to eat out, and it's NOT always obvious when something contains, say, soy or wheat.

Common allergens to list include

    wheat/gluten ("gluten" also includes barley and rye, and some would argue oats).

Some of those might seem obvious enough ("don't order the fried fish then"), but there are a LOT of stealth ingredients out there, especially in the soy and wheat categories.

For an example of the kind of labeling that's very allergy-friendly, take a look at the statement AFTER the ingredients on any bag of Frito-Lay chips, or a ConAgra frozen meal (Healthy Choice, etc.). One doesn't need to see all the ingredients (although if that's available as well, even better), but a statement that says "This product contains soy and wheat ingredients" makes life MUCH happier.
*** Edited 5/28/2005 9:43:41 PM UTC by GregLeg***

Saturday, May 28, 2005 7:01 PM
The food labeling probably isn't a key to success for a park, but it certainly is nice for those of us with food allergies. I'm gluten intolerant.
Saturday, May 28, 2005 7:03 PM

96 said:
Two words, Huss Giants.

Fat chance of that happening considering that the Top Spin can't run to full capcity, the Jump2 requires an enormous amount of power, and that other one that looks like 4 Frisbees hasn't even been produced. (I don't even want to think about the problems and issues a ride like that might have) The only Giant ride we may or ever will see again is the Frissbee, if the park can afford the $6-7 million dollar price tag. But don't take my word for it, ask any one of the Marketing/Communication Directors of Paramount for their opinion on those rides.


Sunday, May 29, 2005 12:12 PM
Agreed, Jim. It's not a key to success, but it sure makes life easier for your customer. And a happy customer is a paying customer.

--Greg, also gluten intolerant.

Sunday, May 29, 2005 1:42 PM
Oh my goodness, i thought i was the only gluten intolerant person in the world! This is so weird!
Sunday, May 29, 2005 3:14 PM
OK, I'll still through in my male childfree cheap 5 cents, because there are some things that I have encountered at every park:

To me, a big problem of amusement parks is that so much valuable human lifetime gets wasted in waiting lines for amusement attractions. At most parks I have been to, I have spend by far more time waiting in some line than actually experiencing some attraction. Nothing has ever turned me away more from parks than that dumbed state of trance that you are forced to go through in those waiting lines.

A great coaster is a great coaster, but none of them can transport all guests at the same time: If anyone can ever solve that problem successfully, that will be the E=m*C2 of amusement parks - and I'm a total believer that it can be done.

There could be a pre show - interacting with some light show projected onto the ride - some polling thing - some collective influence on the ride program - interactive games - an adventure parcours, some educational exhibit - a progressive story- some "plan your ride" thing - there's tons of ideas! Problem is of course they all cost money + development time.

I know there have been attempts at this, for example at the Universal Studio rides, and some are somewhat successfull such as the T2 pre-show, but there remains so much more to be done!


Thanks for reading.

*** Edited 5/29/2005 7:20:47 PM UTC by superman***

Sunday, May 29, 2005 3:46 PM

Oh my goodness, i thought i was the only gluten intolerant person in the world! This is so weird!

It's estimated that as many as 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, most of them undiagnosed. Not the most common condition out there, but far from rare.

To put this sort of back on topic, I'm going to spell out right here, how parks can make additional money off of that group.

Take a popular food item that celiacs can't normally eat. We'll even make it one that most people wouldn't think of, even if they're aware of the condition -- how about corn dogs (and by extension, their more-appealing-to-me kin, the cheese on a stick). Despite the "corn" moniker, there's actually far more wheat than corn in that batter, making it a no-no.

Come up with a gluten-free version. Charge a buck or maybe even two more than the regular version, but spell it out right on the menu board, "Gluten free, $x". I'd buy a safe cheese on a stick in a heartbeat even with the premium.

(Of course, there may not actually be any profit even with the premium -- to really be considered gluten-free you should use a separate fryer that hasn't had flour in it, the hot dog in the corn dog would need to be wheat- and barley-free as well, etc.)
*** Edited 5/30/2005 3:02:50 AM UTC by GregLeg***


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