Zippin Pippin a summer blockbuster

Posted Monday, August 29, 2011 12:49 PM | Contributed by Jeff

It’s Green Bay’s version of a summer blockbuster — great reviews, repeat business at the ticket office and a surprise ending. Since opening in May at Bay Beach Amusement Park, the Zippin Pippin has proven itself to be genuine, heart-racing, hair-flying, high-fiving feel-good hit. It zipped by its expected ridership of 200,000 for the whole season already on July 14.

Read more from The Press-Gazette.

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Monday, August 29, 2011 1:21 PM

This should be a valuable lesson for communities across the country; providing people with wholesome, family-friendly "fun" does pay off when executed correctly. There is definitely a vital role that the recreation/leisure industry plays in building and sustaining communities.

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Monday, August 29, 2011 2:19 PM

Got rides on this thing on Saturday - holy schnikes that airtime is amazing. TGG, I <3 you! :) :) :)

edit: At a buck a ride, they're leaving so much money on the table...we waited thru the line of about 45-60 minutes three times, and if they'd doubled the price, that line would have been the same length. The place was crowded to the point where the overflw parking was at capacity....and there's really not a lot there, ride-wise. Oh, and SCAT was down all day...bummer. :(

Last edited by rollergator, Monday, August 29, 2011 2:21 PM
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Monday, August 29, 2011 2:30 PM

One 49-year-old man comes to ride it every day and expects to hit the 350 milestone by this weekend.

Which CoasterBuzz member is this? :)

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Monday, August 29, 2011 3:43 PM

It's me...j/k

I have a lot of friends up in Green Bay so I visit there quite often. One can only visit Lambeau Field so many times and then there's a train museum and the NEW Zoo. For people living up there, Bay Beach is da bomb. If you would have stuck this coaster at a bigger park I don't think it would have gotten as much traction as this is getting as pretty much all of NE Wisconsin is coming to ride it.

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Monday, August 29, 2011 5:10 PM

I was in Green Bay in 2000 and I visited their Train Museun, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. They have a Train that was used by General Eisenhower as his Offic during World War II, the Locomotive is a "Mallard", which was the worlds fastest Steam Locomotive, one was clocked at over 120 MPH. They also have one of the few remaining "Big Boy" Locomotives, which at over 120 feet long was the worlds largest Locomotive, along with lots of other Trains on Display. Kudos to Green Bay for saving ZP from the Toothpick Factory, in 2004 during the ACE Preservation it waqs the Highlight of my trip there, I'm sure all those in the Memphis Ares SORELY miss it, but at least they can still ride it if they desire to travel to Green Bay.

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Monday, August 29, 2011 5:30 PM

rollergator said:
Got rides on this thing on Saturday - holy schnikes that airtime is amazing. TGG, I <3 you! :) :) :)

edit: At a buck a ride, they're leaving so much money on the table...we waited thru the line of about 45-60 minutes three times, and if they'd doubled the price, that line would have been the same length. The place was crowded to the point where the overflw parking was at capacity....and there's really not a lot there, ride-wise. Oh, and SCAT was down all day...bummer. :(

Bill, do you think if they changed around the station, they would have a higher capacity - and thus a higher profit?

Glad to hear you loved it! That is one heck of a ride!!!

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Monday, August 29, 2011 9:25 PM

Quick, where's aamilj with his post on how its too early to say I told you so? (cause we all know it's coming)

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Monday, August 29, 2011 11:27 PM

Regulus said:
I was in Green Bay in 2000 and I visited their Train Museun, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. They have a Train that was used by General Eisenhower as his Offic during World War II, the Locomotive is a "Mallard", which was the worlds fastest Steam Locomotive, one was clocked at over 120 MPH. They also have one of the few remaining "Big Boy" Locomotives, which at over 120 feet long was the worlds largest Locomotive, along with lots of other Trains on Display. Kudos to Green Bay for saving ZP from the Toothpick Factory, in 2004 during the ACE Preservation it waqs the Highlight of my trip there, I'm sure all those in the Memphis Ares SORELY miss it, but at least they can still ride it if they desire to travel to Green Bay.

Train museum is nice...once or twice in a lifetime ;)

As for the ZP being saved from the toothpick factory, wasn't the GB ZP made from plans from the original but with all new wood, ect? Which would mean that the old ZP is now toothpicks or firewood or termite food?

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 7:44 AM

ZP GB has very little if anything from the original ZP Memphis The lifthill motor and trains came from Thunder Eagle. Possibly some of the lumber as well.

ZP Memphis was bulldozed.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 11:03 AM

CoasterDemon said:

Bill, do you think if they changed around the station, they would have a higher capacity - and thus a higher profit?

Yeah, somewhat, but not really in a major way. The early crew was busting two trains in and out of there like crazy - the line never seemed to stop moving. Later in the day, they went to the Busch Tampa mentality of checking seatbelts and THEN lowering lapbars, and that slowed the line in a significant way.

Having the ride line enclosed in the "infield" does squish the amount of room for the station - so the exit does kinda have to be on the loading side since you don't want customers over on the transfer tracks. Given that limitation, they do pretty well since off-loading riders semed to exit very quickly and the gates opened promptly. Overall, one restraint-check after seatbelts announcement and lapbar lowering would make a *much* bigger difference in throughput IMO.

A buck a ride is simply ludicrous for any adult coaster - one that good should NEVER run for less than $2 a lap.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:24 PM

A buck a ride? Carousels have been getting at least $2 a ride for nearly a decade now. I'd say the powers that be better plan increasing that for next season, especially if they don't want to explain to Joe taxpayer why they had to dip into the general funds to keep it open.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:34 PM

Potentially they're only charging half-price since you only spend half the time actually IN the seat... *wink* :)

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:57 PM

Good one....;)

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 2:11 PM

I'm not familiar with their business model, so forgive me if this was already discussed.

The question really comes down to whether the city runs this park as a service to the community or as a for profit business. I supose there could be some ground in between too. But, for simplitity's sake, lets just stick with the 2 options.

If they're running this as a service to the community, they may already have this at a price point where they will have enough money to staff and maintain the ride. They did say that they're doing better than expected.

If they're running this as a for profit business, then I'm in agreement. $1 is too low. But, being a smaller community park, you don't want to shoot the price up to high and scare everyone away. $2 seems reasonable if all the other rides are $1. I'm not sure I'd go much higher. As a refrence, Knoebels is charging $2.25 for Twister and Phoenix.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 5:04 PM

I don't think it matters what their intention is. If it was criticized as a waste of time and money (which wouldn't be surprising in this climate of anti-government-for-the-sake-of-being-anti-government), then I think getting your ROI as quickly as possible would be a top priority. In fact, what I would do is try to build up an endowment for the ride, to make sure that it could be maintained even during budget crunches and other unforeseen bad times.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 5:20 PM

^It was criticized on EXACTLY those grounds (both here and in the Green Bay news articles' reader responses). Further, I agree completely that they should charge "appropriately" to gather some revenues for a rainy-day fund. Right now, the ride is perfect....the layout means that maintenance won't likely be a huge issue anytime soon. That being said, eventually they'll need to replace some wheels, some track, maybe a lift chain or lift motor. And the trains themselves will need some rehab. At $1 per ride, it takes a LOT of riders to afford any of those expenses...too many, IMO. At $2 per ride, you won't get any real decrease in ridership, or complaints about price, and you'll be able to shoot down any ridiculous arguments about how government is funding things that some citizens find disagreeable.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 5:22 PM

Lakemont Park in Altoona PA is said to be operating as a service to the community, but I think it is a for-profit business. The reason I mention this particular park is that it is one of the least expensive amusement parks that I have ever been to. Free admission, free parking, and all day ride and slide POP is $9.95, except for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, which is $5. They charge $7.95 after 5pm. Leap-The-Dips, the worlds oldest operating roller coaster is $2.50 per ride.

Lakemont Park is a great value. It is larger than, and has more to do than, my home park, Camden Park, in Huntington WV, which charges twice as much.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011 6:13 PM

^But the Travis guide guy wasn't at Lakemont, when I was there last week :(

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