Vote of the week: Who are the biggest villains in the theme park industry?
Published: December 5, 2008 at 11:33 AM
His words echoed in my mind as I read this week through a bunch of old TPI posts. We used to have some great villains on the site: Paul Pressler and his inept management team for cutting the magic out of Disneyland, the post-Frank Wells Michael Eisner for promoting Pressler and driving away Pixar, former Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier for his ego-driven reign of
terror absurdity over Universal, the Premier Parks management team for taking over Six Flags and saddling it with enough debt to nearly drown the chain, and CBS for its negligence of the Paramount Parks chain.
But who are our villains now? Who are the managers, bosses and bumblers standing in the way of our enjoying great, creative, immersive theme parks?
So much has improved over the past few years. Roy Disney (citing ThemeParkInsider, BTW) helped lead a revolt that ousted Eisner and led to Pixar's John Lasseter (a former Jungle skipper!) assuming creative control over theme parks and animation at Disney. NBC bought Universal and kept the parks. Dan Snyder ousted the OKC bumpkins (okay, that one's still in progress). Cedar Fair's brought some stability to the former Paramount Parks, though not many new coasters. At least a Kings Island pass works at Cedar Point now, though, and vice versa.
So whom do we complain about now?
Moaning about the "global economy" just doesn't provide the sharp focus and emotional satisfaction that railing against J6M (gag) did. InBev, maybe? For not embracing the Busch theme parks and their management the way so many fans have?
C'mon. Every great theme park story needs a bad guy. Think Zurg in Buzz Lightyear. Doc Ock et al in Spider-Man. The singing dolls in Small World. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
In the comments, please nominate your picks for current theme park villains, the folks that you think TPI needs to rail against to help make theme parks a better, more entertaining value for us all.
And for the vote, let's pick baddest of the bad guys from our past.