Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Written by Russell Meyer
Published: November 8, 2004 at 11:35 AM
I will be your friendly neighborhood BLOGFlumer for the foreseeable future, until mutiny unseats me, or Kevin gets tired of my blather. I would first like to thank Kevin for the wonderful opportunity to write about something that I truly enjoy. I’d also like to acknowledge all of the other competitors, who were just as worthy as myself to land this column. I would hope that you could provide lots of feedback, so that I can make this as entertaining as possible.
I thought it would be good for everyone to know a little bit about me, since we really didn’t have an opportunity to introduce ourselves during the competition period. I live in Alexandria, VA, so I frequent Paramount’s King’s Dominion, Six Flags America, Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, Dorney Park, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. I also like to try to make one or two trips to theme parks around the rest of the country every year, and while it may be sad, I even rode roller coasters on my honeymoon last March in Las Vegas. I’ve been to all of the major theme parks in the United States (Disneyland, DCA, KBF, USH, SFMM, SWC, CP, SFWoA/GL, Kennywood, Knoebells, MK, AK, EPCOT, MGM, USF, IOA, SWO, and BGT) all in past 5 years, so I have a pretty wide range of theme park experiences. I’m 29 and work as a geologist for an engineering firm as my day job. At night, I watch movies and contemplate the nature of the universe. But enough about me, let’s go to the news...
Associated Press 11/7/04
As expected, The Incredibles opened at #1 at this weekend’s box office. However, nobody expected it to be the most successful opening ever for a Disney movie, with an estimated haul of $70.7 million. Finding Nemo was the previous Disney record holder with $70.3 million in its opening weekend, and just for competition’s sake, Shark Tale opened a little over a month ago with $47.5 million. However, Pixar still is trying to catch the ogre-sized $108 million by Shrek 2 for the opening record by an animated movie. Maybe Eisner and Jobs will finally stop “monologue-ing” and start talking to each other to get a deal done. It’s very clear Disney/Pixar is a pairing that NEEDS to continue (for Disney’s sake at least.)
Yahoo Finance 11/4/04
The Cedar Fair, L.P. CEO released the park chain’s 3rd quarter earnings report. Revenue for the chain increased 8% from last year with a 5% increase in attendance and 3% increase in guest spending. Kinzel hinted that weather was the main reason for lower than expected revenue. However, some believe that the acquisition of Geauga Lake and then practically cutting the park in half by eliminating the animal portion of the park probably had a major influence in its less-than-stellar performance. Hello, let’s not also forget that Cedar Fair now has 2 parks less than 100 miles from each other. I applaud Cedar Fair for doing many of the things right that Six Flags does wrong with regards to park acquisition, but hopefully they will tread carefully as they proceed.
Orlando Sentinel 11/4/04
Disney and their labor union tentatively agreed to a 3-year contract that ended 8 months of talks between the two sides. The negotiation appeared to be going nowhere as the union leaders were asking their constituents for the authority to strike just last week. However, such a strike appears to have been alleviated, but still could happen if the union membership votes down the proposal next Thursday. While I’m totally against corporations taking advantage of workers, I’m also against unions taking advantage of corporations. There’s always a compromise, and hopefully the two sides in this case have found one.
A number of Korean news outlets are beginning to report word of Disney planning a theme park in the country. While everything seems to still be preliminary, Seoul’s mayor “promised” a major theme park like Disneyland would come to the city in the near future in 2002. I smell something like what happened with “Disney’s America” - supposed to be built in Northern Virginia, but what actually came to fruition was the announcement of Disney’s California Adventure. Just what the world needs, another $2 billion theme park with 4 boring attractions.
This is just a preliminary rumor, but Six Flags Magic Mountain may be hitting rock bottom. Oh, that’s right, everyone already knew that. SFMM is reportedly planning to add a new Batman Stunt Show over the winter. WOW!!! Nothing like a cheesy lip-synched stunt show to drive attendance. I guess since they slashed season pass prices in half and the park chain is investing somewhere around $30 million in a park on the opposite coast, there’s not much to work with. Here’s an idea, how about close the park for the winter and fix all of the problems that everyone keeps complaining about so people will actually want to pay $80-$100 for a season pass.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort