Actually, I was kinda hoping they'd be the ones to buy Busch Entertainment...
Legoland offer a number of great themed attractions primarily aimed at a younger audience. An expansion into Central Florida would allow them to expand their horizons and target a different demographic, such as the 18-30 market which Disney seem to be neglecting more and more as the years go by.
There's plenty of space on South International Drive.
Perhaps if they placed it well off I-4, that wouldn't be as much of a problem, but then what's the point of going to Central Florida?
I'm not against it, heck, I'd love to see Legoland there. But this creates a significant design and pricing challenge that Legoland does not face in Carlsbad.
Plus, um, Legoland! That would rock completely. :-)
So that might give the question to Legoland, by default. The other companies simply aren't in the business of building theme parks. They acquire and manage them.
It would have to be a pretty special amusement park to grab such attention, but if a park that's open 120 days out of the year can record 3 million visitors (Cedar Fair has a few of those), I'm sure it would do just fine in Orlando. It's likely out of the question that any of the current thrill park companies will ever build in Florida for various reasons, so my answer is this. Which park company should build a new park in Orlando? The Derek Potter park company...I'm likely as close to building in Orlando as the rest of them are anyway. I'll design and build, and hire away the management from Holiday World to run day to day operations.
If I could only get around that darn money issue.
You have to remember the majority of people coming to Orlando are coming for (one) Disney, (two and/or two-and-a-half) Universal and/or Sea World). A new park (business model) would be (for a sizable majority of those travelling to Orlando) choice number three. If you throw a coaster park into the mix, those families with small children who don't do tear-your-face-off attractions ain't gonna pay for the gate.
Legoland (on the other hand) boasts an all ages brand. It is (would be) the best choice for a new Orlando park.
But if they are going to pull the trigger they need to do it sometime in the next two years.
The Orlando renaissance is coming.
Sea World reportedly had a great year in a recession. What did they build again? Oh yeah, a well dressed, yet unthemed B&M flying coaster. What other ride at Sea World is highly popular? Oh yeah...Kraken, the unthemed B&M floorless looper. What do you think are the 10 most popular rides at Busch Gardens aside from the safari? Islands of Adventure? Oh yeah they have a couple of those multilooping machines as well that have had "limited" success. The argument that coasters can only have negligible success is skewed at best, and myopic at worst. I'm not sure how or where said research came from, but if coasters were so marginally successful, then why do the Orlando parks (sans Disney) build them, and why do the vast majority of parks around the world anchor their operations around them?
A good thrill park would be less expensive to maintain, and a big construction budget would bring a lot of rides and attractions for the money. Of course there would have to be other rides, shows...etc. It can't just be iron and concrete. There has to be balance, but I have no doubts that a well funded, well designed, well managed thrill park would fly in a high tourist area such as Orlando.
By the way, Florida regulations require a light for aircraft at 200 feet, which is why Disney made the castle 199 feet...they didn't want a light on it. Structures can be built higher than 200 feet in Florida.
Oh, but they'd BETTER advertise on I-4 - I STILL don't know what exit to take for Cypress Gardens & I drive between Orlando & Tampa weekly.
SeaWorld could just have easily added a top notch dark ride, and the same or a better attendance increase would have occurred. Heck, several parks added new coasters last year and actually saw attendance drop (Worlds of Fun, Magic Mountain, etc). Furthermore, as much as I like Kraken and as much as I am sure I will like Manta, they will take up about 90 minutes of my entire day at SeaWorld, while the other ten and a half hours will be spent watching shows and exploring the sights. If all SeaWorld had was Kraken and Manta...would anyone even visit? Coasters do not make the park, but they are a nice complement.
IMHO, the best attractions in Orlando are not uber 200 ft tall, 75mph coasters. I'll take Spider-Man, Mission: Space, Tower of Terror, Revenge of the Mummy, Expedition Everest, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Mickey's Philharmagic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dinosaur, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Haunted Mansion, Ripsaw Falls, and Terminator 2 3D over Kraken and Manta any day of the week. While I love a good uber coaster, I love a good story even more. And when I go to Orlando, I want story and thrills, not just thrills alone.
As far as how a coaster park like Cedar Point would compete in Orlando, you need look no further than Southern California at the flagship of the Cedar Fair empire (attendance-wise), Knotts Berry Farm. Situated within 10 miles of Disneyland the park pulls less than 25% of the visitors of the original Disney park. Sure, Knotts pulls some nice numbers, but they are not really in the same league as the non-coaster focused Disney parks. Furthermore, even if you combine KBF's attendance with Six Flags Magic Mountain and its 16 coasters, you are still at less than half Disneyland's attendance.
If all it took was a few roller coasters to build the world's most successful park, then Cedar Point would have the #1 per day attendance in the world, which is just not the case. Not even close. CP averages about 23k a day (3.5 mil/150 days), while the Magic Kingdom (the number one theme park in the world) averages about 47k a day (17 mil/365 days). Furthermore, even Epcot, which has NO coasters of any sort, averages 30k attendance a day.
Coasters are great. I love them. But I can drive 20 minutes from my house and ride three of the best in the nation. On a vacation, I expect a lot more than a 200ft drops, high speeds turns, and a few inversions. For me, it is about park experience. Which is why Herschend offers the best Orlando alternative to Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld. Immersion, family experiences, great shows, great food, and even a few real nice coasters thrown in to keep adrenalin junkies happy. Go Herschend!
I still think a thrill park like Cedar Point or Six Flags would flop in Orlando. Yes, I agree that parks with coasters have done well in Orlando, SeaWorld and Islands of Adventure being prime examples.
However, these parks aren't just thrill parks. SeaWorld offers a host of shows and exhibits as well as the highly themed Journey to Atlantis and to a lesser extent Wild Arctic. For me there has to be this mix at an Orlando park, you have to meet the needs of a wide range of customers and not just a small market of thrill ride fans, which is what a thrill-park would do.
I think the best bet would be Herschend!!!! The parks that they already have like SDC/Dollywood are beautiful parks that are very clean, have a great atmosphere/good theming and a place where families/coaster fans can have a very good day at the park. They also have very good food and IMHO do the best job(besides the big boys like disney/Universal/Busch) of giving a theme park fan a very good day at the park for the money you pay.
Six Flags/Cedar aim too much at the teen and adult market. While Legoland is too kid-centered.
Let us not forget the failure of Circus World/Boardwalk and Baseball.
I have to run to the drug store for the wife, then I will get cracking!
James, how do you know WOF attendance is down? Is there a database which shows attendance, or did you ask an employee?
And yay for SDC page!
Some may point to the fact that Knotts Berry is in a very crowded market with Disneyland, Universal, and Six Flags out in California. But, Cedar Fair purchased Knott's; they didn't choose to locate there. And, Disneyland is not Disney World.
CF seems to be sinking their cash right now into rides. Alsom, they have to convert a whole boat-load of kids areas to Peanuts.
LEGOLAND seems to me to fit - "Best Kids Park" according to Amusement Today out in Carlsbad. (Kids = one of WDW big audiences). Merlin has the cash to do it.
So, I think Merlin will do this if they can and CF won't really make a play for Orlando.
1) The statement by Cedar Fair that "The [1 million admissions] decrease in attendance [through second quarter 2009] was the result of a decline in group sales business at most of our parks" and "a decline in the number of season passes sold for the year, combined with a reduction in season pass visits..."
2) I talk to people who work at Worlds of Fun all the time. And while the info they give me is not "gospel" I trust it. And when everyone is telling me business is "way down" you tend to trust it.
However, the verdict is not completely out, yet, and by the end of the season, I sure hope WoF has a good year. Lord knows they need it if us locals ever want to see another ride as good as Prowler.