Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Universal Studios Japan – The park reported that attendance at this park was up 7.7% to 10.5 million guests during an off year where no new attractions opened. I take that back. There was a new attraction. Funny enough it was the same attraction that Universal Studios Hollywood has this year… construction. An extra 700,000 guests went to the park to see how much progress was being made on the Harry Potter expansion. I get the feeling that the summer opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is going to be met by a massive cosplay riot that breaks out between the Slytherin and Gryffindor students while the Ravenclaw students figure out a way to get into the park early and the Hufflepuff students get lost in the parking garage.
Disney Studios Paris – While it’s no massive line to see the Frozen princesses, Spiderman’s debut was marked by nearly an hour and a half wait to see the webslinger. What is it with people shooting weird things out of their hands?
Is that now really popular? What would happen if Spiderman and Elsa held hands? Who would win if they battled it out? What if they were to team up and have the webbing strengthen the ice like Pykrete? Their kids would be scary… Maybe we should vote on this…
Sochi Amusement Park – Hey! The park built for the Olympic Games will open just in time for…crap…we missed it…again. Is it open now? Nope. July. At least it is so long past its required opening date that it really doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, in the history books of parks that opened way later than planned, Universal Studios Singapore opened 18 months after it was scheduled to. Now granted it was in “previews” and “soft opening” for more than a year, but still. Two months late for the Sochi park and needs another 3 months….yeah, it was really close to being ready for the Games…
Liseberg (Sweden) – The new Mack art exhibit of a roller coaster called Helix should be open this weekend when the park opens for the season. If you just happen to be in Sweden. Sweden seems to be getting all of the good coasters in Europe. If you are going to sit right between Norway and Finland to keep them from bickering, then you probably deserve the best new roller coasters. It is kind of weird that the roller coaster called helix really doesn’t have a helix in it. It would be like naming a kiddy coaster “loop” or “barrel roll.”
Efteling (Never Never Land) – The park has confirmed that they are getting a 123-ft tall B&M dive coaster for the 2015 season. It should be similar in design to the one below.
Knotts Berry Farm – Back when the Berry Farm still had some berries being grown and the chicken dinner was something unique and worth driving to the park for, there was the Calico Mine Train. But in recent years, its age has been showing pretty badly. Much like what they did with their flume ride, this attraction is getting a makeover. Yes, it needed it. But how about making over Bear-y Tales or Kingdom of the Dinosaur and turning that back on?
Mega Cave (Louisville) - Speaking of long lines, this seemed like something interesting to mention. This is one of those crazy ideas that I would get a brainwave on…right before I had to lie down. Kudos to those dreamers who were able to pull this off.
Kings Dominion – Kings Island gets a roller coaster. Carowinds gets a bunch of land and a huge coaster for next year. Cedar Point gets anything they want. Kings Dominion gets the following…which is some historical attraction that was rebuilt for their 40th anniversary. At least they are not Michigan Adventure that is just ignored. But really? Singing Mushrooms? That’s almost as bad as a slow boat attraction that keeps playing the same earworm song over and over again…wait…nevermind…
Six Flags Great America – A family of five who had season passes last year to Six Flags Great America jumped at the opportunity to renew their season passes in December. Tragically, in January, the father was diagnosed with cancer and lost his fight to the illness in March. The mother, while trying to sort things out and get the family’s business in order, called up Six Flags and tried to get a refund for the unused and never would be used season pass. But, Six Flags has a no refund policy. They were willing to transfer it, which I also believe is also against their policy, but completely unwilling to give the grieving widow back the $72 for the season pass. The media outlet she contacted was able to get the woman her $72 back, which means that there was some leniency in the rules, but only if you holler really loud. Why would Six Flags want to put their reputation on the line for a stinking $72? Why would you take the risk that jerks like me will pick up the story and make Six Flags look like a bunch of greedy stooges?
What this shows is that Six Flags doesn’t care about listening to specific mitigating details that could factor into a decision because they have hard and fast rules that they are not allowed to deviate from. For $72, Six Flags was completely willing to burn four other year-over-year customers before the media caught onto this. Yes, I am aware that loose policies have been abused. But there is nothing wrong with listening to the circumstances and making the right decision whether it is on a company policy statement or not. Other companies are successful because they build a culture of customer service, and not eternal suspicion.Tweet
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