Vote of the week: Which theme park company should build a new park in Orlando?
I realized that I was a bit heavy with California posts this week, writing about theme parks in the rain
and hard ticket parties at Disneyland
. So I'll offer a Florida-focused question as the Vote of the Week.
Central Florida is, as Theme Park Insider readers know, the world's top market for theme parks. Disney, Universal and Busch are three of the biggest theme park chains in the world due in large part to the success of their Orlando-area properties.
But not every big chain is in Orlando. Which one of those should be? That's our vote of the week.
Here are the candidates, along with some of their other, notable U.S. theme, amusement or water parks:
- Cedar Fair: Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island
- Herschend: Dollywood, Silver Dollar City, Wild Adventures
- Legoland: Legoland California
- Parques Reunidos: Kennywood, Idlewild, Raging Waters
- Six Flags: Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Great America, Six Flags Magic Mountain
Tell us in the comments why you voted for your pick. What kind of park do you wish your pick would build in Central Florida, and where?
Six Flags, without a doubt. Six Flags arguably has the most coasters per park of any of the contenders, and you can never have enough thrill rides in Central Florida.
Legoland East! That way I don't have to travel all the way across the country to visit. :)
Sorry. Voting reset when I fixed a typo in the question. Working now.
I went for Legoland because it quite frankly fits best in the atmosphere that Orlando holds. However, if a Six Flags were to be "Central Florida-ized" I would be all for that!
I'm for Cedar Fair. I think they run the best traditional amusement parks, with great rides and good line management. Every 6 Flags I've visited seems to have unreasonable waits and not very interesting attractions. IMHO
I voted Legoland, simply because their style of park fits into Orlando better than the others.
Without question it should be Legoland. As Mr. Niles has noted on the site before Legoland has a business model which bases its success on drawing smaller crowds. Since any new park would base its strategy around being a secondary destination -- behind WDW and Universal -- Legoland would be a better fit. It would add a new dimension to Central Florida's family-oriented entertainment.
My biggest fear with Legoland Orlando would be that the park's design is inherently aimed toward a smaller crowd than a Central Florida theme park attracts. I don't think that a Legoland park, with its smaller-scale attractions designed for active play, could handle 5-million-plus visitors a year.
People go to Orlando to enjoy amazing rides with the latest technology that have some sort of theme that fits in with the park around them. Six Flags contains none of this. The only park that comes close to this is Legoland.
Definately Legoland. The theme will fit perfect in orlando with a company like that. If i saw another six flags pop up, this time in orlando, it would just be a disgrace. Six flags doesn't deserve to be there at all. but cedar fair would fit quite nicely in too.
I went with Herschend. Their commitment to the whole-family experience would mesh nicely with the existing Orlando tenants.
Six Flags, heck no! I can't stand Six Flags parks. Yeah, they always have awesome roller coasters, but they are horrible at everything else. They nickle and dime everyone to death with extra fees, expensive lockers, etc. Plus their employees are not very friendly. I think they would detract from the other parks in the area.
I don't know enough about Parques Reunidos, but of the other four, Legoland (Merlin) is the only company that's
Wow them with your roller coasters CF!
I would like to see what a really good, well stocked, well run thrill ride park would do in Orlando. Actually, Busch Gardens Tampa comes pretty close, but if one could transplant the almost 400 acre Cedar Point resort to Florida and replace the few bum rides they have...well lets just say that people would show up, and many of those international tourists would likely be curious about rides that are faster, steeper, and physically dwarf Disney and Universal attractions.
florida has a 200 foot limit on coasters because of hurricanes,so a great big coaster park won't be coming anytime soon.
A coaster park would be a BAD IDEA for Orlando. The VERY QUALIFIED opinion from TPI poster "E Ticket" pointed out that slam bang coasters have only negligible success because it plays to a narrow audience (only a portion of the buying demographic).
I choose Herschend. Herschend has great theme parks and water parks, they are all high quality attractions and never loose sight of there target audience, families.
The answer is none. Central Florida would be a money pit for any other theme park operator to build at this late point in the game. The area is already saturated with parks and lacks a local base to sustain a park. The international visitors are dwindling with the continuing global recession and ultra-stringent visa regulations (the weak dollar is the only hope). We'll see more closures in Central Florida in the next few years, and it would be suicide for any other operator to open in the area.
I'm trying to figure out what Disney is putting in their water. I don't buy that argument TH, and I'll tell you why.
Thank God Six Flags could not afford to buy Busch!
Speaking of Herschend Entertainment why is Silver Dollar City not listed on Theme Park Insider? They receive over two million visitors a year, twice as many as Holiday World.
Legoland could buy up and take over the area where Cypress Gardens is. It's up for sale and could tie Orlando & Tampa together. Heck, maybe it would even garner a train stop when they finally build that Tampa-Orlando connector. :)
I went with Six Flags.....only because of the many thrill rides.....but I must agree with one of the other reviewers....the 'entertainment' leaves much to be desired....something like DollyWood would certainly fill the bill....and Ms. Parton does have her 'rodeo' near Little Lake Bryan!
The age old argument rears its ugly head, once again...
NO MORE!!!! We have enough in Florida. This state has more than enough things for themepark enthusiasts and Central Florida is a mess of hotels, highways and kitsch. Support the parks that are already here. We have enough issues with water shortages, the impact of more construction on our ecosystem and the quality of life. Themeparks are fun, but they're not always the best neighbors.
And to Steven's question about SDC, Robert if you put up a SDC page, I will dress it up real pretty with ride descriptions, reviews, ratings, and pictures! Heck, you can even get rid of SFSTL and/or Worlds of Fun if you need the space! =)
Looking at both Derek and TH's comments I think they've both made good points.
Anyone building a new park in Orlando is foolish, has too much money, or both...
Lets pray that FLA isnt saddled with a SF park!!!
I agree with TH creative even though one roller coaster in a park could increase visitors an iron ride park is not the same it excludes all groups espicially families except thrill seekers. I think Six Flags has the ability to do great though I believe they can leave their iron ride theme. They do have the looney tunes and DC comics hasnt been sold to Disney yet. Looney tunes could make some great family rides/water rides, they could easily make their park similar to IOA.
As much as I love Parques Reunidos (Kennywood rocks!!), what they are good at is restoring and updating classic parks. Without something to start with they would have problems.
I completely agree with James. Herschend's parks create the perfect blend of theme and thrills for Central Florida.
I HEART U, Robert Niles!
Dolly's Stampede closed in Orlando by the way.
Robert, I submitted listings for most of SDC's main rides and attractions. I will add restaurants, key shows, and picures over the next few weeks, and flesh out the park's background and touring strategy. Rome wasn't built over night, you know! =)
It should be Cedar Fair. When it comes to coasters who can beat them. They run some of the nicest amusement parks in the country. We have some of the best parks in the world here in Orlando, but its time to put a park in that is dedicated to just having the best coasters and rides in the world. That what Cedar Fair does. If a park like Cedar Fairs Cedar Point was to open in Orlando it would make the Orlando area complete. Then know matter what type of park you would like to go to you would find it here in Central Florida year round.
I have heard good things about the other parks, but I would like to see a Legoland. We have one in the UK that I have never been to but always wanted to and surprisingly I think I would find it easier to visit one in Orlando in the future. I also think it would complement the existing parks well, although I also think Orlando needs some more proper coasters, which I doubt Legoland would really provide.
Im going to take a guess at this and say, Cedar Fair is probably the only one that could afford to build a, year-round, park in Orlando!
Sorry, Adam, but Cedar Fair blew its cash on the Paramount Parks purchase. Merlin's got more ability to raise capital than CF or Six Flags.
James, but people going to Orlando already have a whole list "themed" parks to go to, and Hershend's theme would not top, nor come close to, Disney's or Universal's. This park could be an alternate park to Disney, with more coasters then theme, but still have theme (coasters like Bizarro, Evel Kneivel, Terminator Salvation:TR). This would not appeal to as many people, but it would still draw those who are looking for more. I am not saying build a SFGADV or Cedar Point, as this would not be unique. As long as the park just incorporated theme, and did not go all out, I think it would do fine.
Honestly, it doesn't make sense for Cedar Fair to enter that market. They are spread thin as it is. Their strong suit is almost a Six Flags approach in that they have many regional parks where they are the only game in town. Ride experience is paramount (as opposed to Disney where it's experience immersion).
Jason you are correct Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede did close in Orlando but if I remember correctly it was said it sold for $25 million and it was only a $20 million investment. After five years of profit and a $5 million profit from the sale I would say it was a success. Prior to the economic downturn Herschend/Dixie made the comment that they are looking for a new location to locate in central Florida now. I'm sure with the economy that has been prolonged though.
In response to the question about Worlds of Fun's attendance, two items of note lead me to my observation:
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