The BLOGFlume—Are You Ready?
News from the Super Bowl, Legoland, and Marine World.
Written by Russell Meyer
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LA Times 1/28/05
The Super Bowl has always been a huge market for advertising everything from theme parks to fly-by-night websites. Disney has been a staple of Super Bowl advertising for many years, and this year will be no different, with three ad buys already in place for “The Big Game.” However, one of Disney’s most famous and longest running ad series will be absent from the Super Bowl for the first time since it began in 1986. Traditionally, just after the game is completed, the MVP of the game is approached and asked, “Hey Mr. MVP (or Trent Dilfer if you don’t like the image of an accused felon advertising the “happiest place on earth”), you just won the Super Bowl. So what are you going to do now?” The player inevitably responds, “I’m goin’ to Disneyland/World!” The end of the series comes in a year that Fox is broadcasting the Super Bowl, and ABC is still uncertain of its future as the broadcaster of Monday Night Football. What is very interesting is the absence of this ad is drawing just as much publicity as the ad itself. So chalk one up for Disney for getting a Super Bowl ad for free. Unfortunately this type of publicity will only work once, but they could use the $2 million or so the ad would have cost to add to their MNF bid.
Legoland California has announced plans to install a new attraction for the 2005 season. The new $5.8 million attraction, Knights Tournament, should debut Memorial Day weekend, and will be the first Kuka Robocoaster to be installed in the United States. For those who may not know, a Robocaster is an attraction that straps riders at the end of robotic arms that can toss and turn the guests in just about every direction possible while moving down a roller coaster track. It is likely that this very will be similar to robocoaster installations at Legoland parks in Europe. The last few years at IAPPA, the robocoaster has been receiving a lot of buzz, but there still has yet to be another park chain, aside from Legoland, to give the robocoaster a try. The current Legoland versions of the attraction have yet to use the design to its fullest potential, and it is likely that Knights Tournament will not push the envelope. Sooner or later, a major chain is going to give the robocoaster a chance and create a great attraction, but until then, if you want to check out a neat piece of coaster technology, there will soon be one in the US that you can ride for yourself.
Give Me A Break
Six Flags Marine World has announced plans to add a new “hands on” dolphin exhibit that will be similar to those offered in the three Sea World parks. The new Caribbean-themed “Ocean Discovery” will be a 200,000-gallon tank that will allow guests to touch and feed some of the park’s Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. There will also be a small stingray touch tank and a sea lion show (sound familiar?). However, the story is not that Marine World is copying Sea World attractions, but that animal rights activists claim that these new exhibits represent animal abuse. Many activists have equated these touch tanks to “circus acts,” and that they serve only to fatten up animals and teach them aggressive behavior. While I would agree that if not monitored, these types of exhibits could get out of control, but the way they’re run at the Sea World parks is impeccable. There is only a limited time that guests can feed the dolphins, and many of the fish are spiked with vitamins, like their normal food. There are also many trainers in the exhibit area during the feeding time that help guests and ensure that the dolphins exhibit positive behaviors towards the guests. I guess I should not be surprised that some people would be furious about an exhibit like this, but some people just cannot see the benefit in anything. I found the dolphin interaction exhibits at Sea World very educational and fun, and the staff and animals all seemed to be having a great time as well. The only concern I would have would be that this exhibit is going to be at a Six Flags park. I’m sure that if they follow many of the routines that Sea World follows, the exhibit should be a resounding success.
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