When will Austin TX get a theme park in the next decade or two?

September 30, 2019, 3:59 PM

Sorry I know I’ve posted about this before but their was once an article on here that listed the US Cities that don’t have a theme park that should get one. This question is for Robert Niles actually I saw you left off Austin on the list Austin is a rapidly fast growing city that will continue to grow years and years from now. I know the city doesn’t have a theme park neither does Houston even though it’s more likely Houston is to get a park before Austin does. I notice the state of Texas only has Six Flags and SeaWorld presence but no Cedar Fair presence which is a little bit surprising TX being the second largest state California being number 1 which does has CF and Six Flags parks. Why can’t Texas have it? Schilliterbahn was just purchased by Cedar Fair and I know it’s not likely Cedar Fair won’t build a dry park in Texas and they won’t build another six flags park for sure. But Austin seems like a nice city to have a small to medium sized theme park. Not anything big like the size of Six Flags America in Largo, MD. Just my thoughts. But TX has no Herschend, Cedar Fair, Palace Entertainment presence I’m not sure if Disney and universal will ever make a splash in Texas one day I think out of all the US states Texas has a lot of potential to build a ground up theme park in the future because since the state is the 2nd largest in the county they have room to work with the question is where. This Question is mainly for Mr Robert Niles but anyone else can also answer.

Replies (19)

Edited: October 1, 2019, 9:03 AM

Cedar Fair has a presence in Texas after their purchase of Schlitterbahn. With SFFT and SWT about 90 minutes away, there's absolutely no reason to add another theme park to the Austin/San Antonio market. The risks are just far too great to invest the kind of money it would take to open and operate a park in the Austin region. Despite Austin on a stead growth curve, it's still 30 percent smaller than San Antonio, along with many other cities that don't have major theme parks within a 2-hour radius like Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Indianapolis.

October 2, 2019, 9:09 AM

Not that it matters but I saw Austin is the 11th largest city in the United States larger than Indianapolis, Orlando, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Denver and a few other cities even Nashville I think and it doesn’t have a theme park. If the city continues to grow you still don’t think it can support a theme park? I mean San Antonio yes is very close by but I thought if a city brings in more people and the population grows I thought it was a good thing to possibly attract tourism. I mean they also thought new braunfels and San Marcos area is fast growing as well. I know Houston is really the winner in terms of getting a theme park but Austin is really stepping up in terms of growth agree or disagree.

October 6, 2019, 9:42 PM

Also I don’t mean to double post Austin’s population will continue to boom and rise over the next decade and in 2030 going forward. I hear the city doesn’t really need a theme park but with the surging population of more people coming into the city I don’t even know why like JC VanHouten was saying San Marcos and New Braunfels is a booming area with no theme park meanwhile it has.one of the best waterparks in the country. I hate to say that central Texas does lack things in the tourism area. Not trying to be harsh Austin is a city mainly for arts, music and college sports plus outdoor activities. But Houston should get a park first before Austin. My question for Robert niles is do you think Austin can support a small regional park?

October 8, 2019, 10:55 AM

I live in Austin, and as much as I would love a theme park in close proximity, I don't think it would do super well. The dynamic of the city is more about music and the arts, as stated above, and I don't think a theme park would add anything to the city. Austin has so much to offer, it isn't lacking draw for tourists or people looking to move. Also having a theme park in Austin would be difficult due to size restrictions. The theme park would need to be out of the city limits to properly accommodate the size needed for success.

October 8, 2019, 4:30 PM

Well I just noticed the booming population of the city and the has a great economy plus good infrastructure. Also it is the 11th largest city in the U.S I wish the mayor of Houston could also bring a theme park to Austin. It is bigger than Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Indianapolis so with the huge population what’s holding Austin back to not bring a park? I thought population surging population is a huge factor.

October 8, 2019, 5:48 PM

If I may play devil's advocate... A Theme Park Attraction does not have to be a destination in its own right, they work perfectly well as "me too" attractions, particularly at the lower tiers... it's even possible for a "Me Too" attraction to graduate into a destination park equalling or even eclipsing the original tourist attractions that helped support its growth... And Parks can do well in just over the other side of city limits.

October 9, 2019, 10:09 AM

I know this topic has been discussed previously ad nauseum, but Russell, Miami has Orlando within driving distance, Phoenix and Vegas has SoCal in driving distance and who would put a major theme park with the weather in Seattle? One thing about Austin is it is hot as hell pretty much year round, and traffic is damn near SoCal, but I think the population could easily manage a Disney park depending on where it is placed.

October 9, 2019, 10:43 AM

I don’t think you’re likely to see another International destination class park (ie Disney and Universal) in the US, outside of the Orlando area... unless there is a major change to the availability of cheap domestic flights in the US (at which point the whole term “International destination” would likely be rendered meaningless by high international travel costs anyway)

October 9, 2019, 8:51 PM

I know but when Robert Niles came out with his list of US cities that could support a theme park their was a lot of cities on the list even Houston which is the fourth largest city in the United States without a theme park. I know Austin is mostly a college town with great music, arts, and great restaurants, college sports but I think the city could support a theme park since the city’s population is larger than San Francisco, Denver, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Miami, just to name a few. Even though Six Flags and SeaWorld are like an 1hour and 36 minutes away I still don’t think that would be considered a local theme park in Austin. Even Schlitterbahn which is now owned by Cedar Fair is closer to Austin. I just think since the city is continuing to grow more people moving into Austin I think it would be a great place like JC was saying for a third Disney park location in the lone star state. I know some people however will be against this but I think it’s a great idea in the next few decades.

October 10, 2019, 8:48 AM

"Even though Six Flags and SeaWorld are like an 1hour and 36 minutes away I still don’t think that would be considered a local theme park in Austin."

Why???? Is SFGAdv not the "local" park for NYC (and Philly). It's easily a 60-90 minute drive from anywhere in NYC aside from maybe Staten Island.

SFNE is the "local" park for the Boston region, yet it would take you almost 2 hours to get there from historic downtown.

@JC - Are you really suggesting that the Orlando parks are "local" for Miami residents (3.5+ hour drive) and that the SoCal parks are "local" to Vegas (4+ hour drive) or Phoenix (5.5 hours)? Just because a theme park is within driving range, doesn't mean it's going to significantly draw from neighboring metro regions. I can drive to WDW (12 hours), but that doesn't mean I visit it multiple times a year like I do my local theme parks. Disney (or Universal) has absolutely no incentive to build another resort in Texas, especially under the current unsettled economic conditions (and skyrocketing construction costs resulting from Chinese tariffs).

October 10, 2019, 2:00 PM

Russell, yes I am. Driving around five hours is a huge deal for a family to avoid the airline cost. Also, let’s not forget that Austin (or the area within 30-50 miles away) would draw from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and elsewhere. Disney and Universal has a huge draw with families, but a major impediment is the cost of flights for a family of four or more. Texas is a massive population area. I have many times counseled people to consider DL instead of WDW as you can sometimes get cheaper flight than to Orlando from my part of the country.

Edited: October 10, 2019, 2:23 PM

No doubt that many people will drive to mitigate the costs of airfare. Heck, up until our upcoming WDW trip in January, we ALWAYS have driven to Orlando (12 hours) for trips we were paying for out of pocket to reduce costs (mostly because of rental car costs more so than airfare - flights from the DC area to MCO can typically be had for under $200 RT).

I just don't see the market for another theme park in the Austin/San Antonio area because of the presence of Sea World and Six Flags. Houston might be able to support a regional park (maybe a new CF gate). Certainly a destination park/resort from Universal/Disney is always a possibility, but it just doesn't make sense for either company.

1. They'd be entering into a brand new market for them that already has competition.
2. They'd be hurting their own destination parks that already draw from the region (cutting their nose off to spite their face).
3. The economic climate and current trends within the industry don't favor adding extra gates in already mature markets. As exciting as Epic Universe sounds, I'm worried that the new gate from Universal is being built at a time where construction and labor costs are going to be difficult to recoup in a reasonable time, and that's with the advantage of being linked to an already successful resort.
4. Hard Rock Park

October 11, 2019, 6:52 AM

I am sure you are correct about the cost and risk, so I agree that it will never happen, at least not for my lifetime. I also agree the new Universal Park is a bit of a gamble but one I hope pays off. My point was simply the population density of that region would work, as it is growing almost too fast, and it is warm year round. All that being said, one major economic downturn coupled with a few bad business decisions and these companies could be in trouble with a lot of capital outlay, so there is no way they would build a new domestic theme Parkin a third location in the near future.

October 11, 2019, 6:07 PM

I agree with JC the booming population could help bring a theme park to the Austin/San Antonio market. I think Austin population and economy will continue to grow. It sucks though that Houston’s mayor wants to bring a park but Austin’s mayor is unaware that the region could support a park. It’s nice though that they have Schlitterbahn New Braunfels close by as a waterpark, Kalahari Resort is coming in November 2020, typhoon Texas is a small waterpark. So they have the waterparks in the vicinity not to mention Hawaiian Falls in Waco too. But their still lacking a dry park in my opinion. With Schlitterbahn being bought by Cedar Fair I would like to see a cedar fair park built somewhere in central Texas San Marcos/New Braunfels is booming like JC was saying. I’m surprised something hasn’t even proposed yet for the Austin region. I am wondering will more theme park talk heat up in the next decade or two. Again I just don’t think the city realizes it can use a small to medium sized theme park. Something like Adventure Pointe in Houston the size of that yes that was supposed to come. Even a dinosaur park like the failed Earthquest Adventures in Houston would do good in the Austin region.

October 23, 2019, 8:11 PM

So you don’t think this is a good discussion to have I mean yes their might never be any new ground up theme parks coming to the U.S for years to come but its just surprising that the city of Austin hasn’t even had any proposed plans to bring a new park to the central Texas region. I’m not saying I want it to happen but central Texas San Marcos & new braunfels areas are just going to continue to rapidly grow it’s getting close to a 1 million people in Austin now. I’m not saying cedar point size no but something like Six Flags discovery kingdom size in Vallejo,CA.

Edited: October 24, 2019, 10:54 AM

The discussion has run its course. I'm not sure the reasoning behind perpetuating it here.

The Austin/San Antonio region already has 2 full size theme parks and one of the highest rated water parks on the planet. I'm not sure how even a growing population could support another gate. Building a new theme park from scratch is risky business, and trying to do so in a market where there's already competition is borderline suicide.

If you're so intent at building a theme park in Austin Halo, please feel free to pony up the $1 billion it will take to do it, and then watch that money vanish into thin air with little chance of ever seeing a return on the investment.

November 7, 2019, 11:40 AM

I’m not trying to run the conversation into the ground I just look at the statistics and a city that is on the rise. The metro is booming in a year or two it will be home to 1 million and on pace in the next 2 decades will have 3 million people. I can also argue that their are many US cities that don’t have theme parks that can also use them personally their are a lot of empty gaps in the US that don’t have any theme park presence. New Orleans, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Nashville, states like iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

November 7, 2019, 11:51 AM

There is a developer working with the Formula One race track. It won't be a typical theme park, but I think everyone will be happy with the ride selections.

November 7, 2019, 1:02 PM

Bad form to keep bumping your own thread....

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