I'm surprised at the chains. I figured that Cedar Fair would have better numbers than that. It could also be a regional thing...meaning some parks could really be bringing down the numbers. The same may be said for Six Flags. Some areas are harder hit with the recession than others, and I'm sure some of these parks are taking a beating. Who knows with Six Flags though. They've been advertising a pay kids price promotion heavily in some markets.
If you want to attract visitors in a brutal economy, you *have* to promote. Offering discounts is not enough. You have to beat people over the heads with information about those deals. And you have to do it where they make their decisions - online. (Yeah, I run a website, so I'm biased toward this medium, but that's still the reality about travel booking today.)
Universal's in a tricky spot this year. The new coaster didn't pan out when they needed it, and at this point, people are going to wait until Harry Potter is open. So I can give them a bit of a pass.
Busch should be going great guns on ads and promotions, but I'm just not seeing it. Ads in the older-skewing AAA magazine don't cut it anymore. Same for Six Flags. Cedar Fair has no national brand, so they're in a tough spot trying to gain lucrative out-of-market visitors.
I also think the "free on your birthday" and other celebration thing was smart marketing on Disney's part since its a special that is not really costing them much money. It seems like the "celebrate" success is cheap for Disney, but gives big emotional impact for the guests. I was skeptical at first, but it seems that their odd ads are working.
For it all, the economy is not great. It seems that it could have been much worse.
I am suprised that the average cost per person spending at Six Flags is so low. The figure given is pretty much the cost to get in. Aren't people eating? Parking? Flashpassing? Buying Pictures/Souvineers?
In reality, though, I sincerely hope for the best for all these companies as the summer winds down. Who knows, maybe by next summer this economy will turn around and all these chains will be talking about big attendance and profit gains instead of losses!
(That's me looking at the world through rose colored glasses again!)
Had an absolute blast. The weather was CRAZY hot. Parks were as packed as they were when we went in 2006. We had the FastPast system down to a T so we never waited long for anything.
When we arrived around 10am to check-in, the lobby was PACKED. We did the online check-in, however, so we had a different line AND they had a room available for us which nice since we took a red eye. I asked the cast member if something special was going on at the World and she said no, but all their rooms were sold out that weekend. I knew we'd be in for packed crowds.
Universal had its moments. We got to the park at opening and there were quite a few people already there. We had front of the line passes but rode stuff the first hour with no wait. By the time 10 o'clock came around, the park was packed. It was so hot, the worse waits were for the water rides. Front of the line definitely came in handy there. Towards the end of the day (5-ish), got hit with two awful rain storms. We got off the water rides and got soaked additionally from the rain storms. Talk about being water logged, BUT IT FELT GREAT. Same thing happened at Busch Gardens. Definitely did not put a damper on our trip, however.
All this to say that if attendance is down, we sure as heck didn't see it. We made sure to hit the parks early at opening, hit the must sees early and got out of that sun. Then went back to the parks later in the evening and back to the hotel before parks closed. Every park we visited was packed.