Vote of the week: The emerging Blackstone theme park empire
The week's big news was Blackstone Group finally announcing its deal to buy the Busch Entertainment Corp. theme parks
, including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. In separate investments, Blackstone holds a major interest in the Universal Orlando theme parks, as well a majority control of Legoland California. Essentially, with this deal, Blackstone's now got its money in just about every top-quality, high-budget theme park in the United States not owned by Disney.
My questions for the week are about your experience with and opinion of the parks now owned (wholly or in part) by Blackstone.
What would you like to see Blackstone do with the Busch theme parks? Post your suggestions in the comments, please. Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading Theme Park Insider!
Update: At around the 400-vote mark, I crunched the numbers a bit. Here's a ranking of the parks, dividing the number of people who claimed each park as their favorite by the number of people who voted that they'd visited that park in the past five years:
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg - 70% of visitors claim as favorite
- Universal's Islands of Adventure - 38%
- Legoland California - 25%
- SeaWorld San Diego - 21%
- Universal Studios Florida - 15%
- SeaWorld Orlando - 14%
- Busch Gardens Tampa - 14%
- SeaWorld San Antonio - 12%
- Sesame Place - 9%
This is an open thread for theme park news that happens over the weekend. Please post it in the comments.
I would like for them to not do a whole lot of change. Expansion, however, would be great. It's about time for a new country at BGW. It would be great for them to keep up the animal and conservation causes, and would be in their best interest, too. Since I've only been to Orlando once (5 years ago) and haven't gotten to Tampa yet, I can't say much about them. It just would be nice for Blackstone to funnel some money into these parks for improvements without taking anything away that makes the parks so great now.
I'd like to see Blackstone maintain the high quality of food and entertainment without raising prices beyond the range of inflation. Oh, and come up with more perks for platinum pass holders...
I would LOVE to see more interactive attractions. Even simple ones are fine.
I agree - add another country to BG: W. That want has been discussed endlessly over the last several years among BG: W fans (as well as EPCOT fans) and I think the obvious choice would be Spain, a country rich in heritage and still different enough from the other nations to stand out.
I would like to see them offer transportation between orlando parks and Tampa. the "flex" ticket has always been a great option for guest. witha few more perks a blackstone orlando vacation would be way more exciting then a disney park hopper.
I would like to see more highly themed dark rides. DarKastle was a great start at BGW, but they shouldn't stop at that. BGT needs some dark rides, and it wouldn't hurt if Sea World got one as well, even though they have Journey to Atlantis and Wild Artic. Other than that, I don't think they should change anything else, except for always improving upon what they already have, and more dark rides.
more roller coasters
Free beer, need I say more ;)
Alas, I don't think the free beer will be returning. Come to think of it though, I would have to pay for a few good beers before drinking a free Bud Light.
Sorry, no free beer.
I wish there was a "none of the above" since I might have not been to any of those in the past five years.
There are more places in the world than the US!
You're right; I should have offered none if the above as an option. My bad. On the European parks, I was afraid the response rate would be too low on those, but you are also right, I should have added 'em anyway. My bad again.
I hope they add more rides to Busch Gardens Europe. I realy disliked them taking out the Big Bad Wolf and cetanly hope they add something better.
I think the real reason that Blackstone is buying all these theme parks is for the cash flow.
I'm not a great believer in monopolies like this. There are plusses admittedly in that any part of the Empire that's falling short can be subsidised by the more profitable areas. The downside is that without any competition ( Disney apart ) the whole portfolio of that business can become complacent.
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