Vote of the week: What would convince you to visit more in 2012?

August 5, 2011, 10:33 PM · This week's chaos in the stock market illustrates how unsure even the rich folks in America feel about the economy. That's troubling news for anyone who runs a business, including the people running the nation's theme parks. When incomes get lean, vacations are among the first expenses cut from and the last restored to family budgets.

But... for the right experience at the right price, theme park fans will continue to find ways to afford visits to their favorite parks. What would it take for your favorite theme or amusement park to convince you to make a visit (or to visit more often) in 2012?

Star Tours 2 at Disneyland
The new Star Tours drew visitors to Disneyland this summer, and won the Theme Park Insider Award for Best New Attraction.

That's our vote of the week. I'm giving you three options. They boil down to quantity, quality and price. Which of the three is the single most important factor that drives you to make a theme park visit, even when a family vacation's a stretch for you?

Theme Park Insider readers collectively spend about $3 billion a year on theme park visits, according to a survey I did a year or so ago. So you've got buying power, and you've got the ear of major park executives. Tell them what you want to see in 2012 and the future to win your business, even in a tough economy.

Do you want to see more attractions in their parks? Or are you okay with the number of options in the park, but want to see the parks eliminate some of the weaken alternatives in favor of new or improved attractions of higher quality? Or are you okay with the number and quality of attractions in the parks, you just need a better break on the price?

Pick one:

Then let's get specific in the comments. Address your comment to your favorite park, and tell us what you'd like the management do to win more of your business.

And, on behalf of the management around here (okay, that's me), thanks again for reading Theme Park Insider!

Replies (15)

August 5, 2011 at 10:47 PM · I picked more attractions mostly because it helps with the line lengths. Glad they added Little Mermaid and openned Goofy's Sky School so hopefully people will get out of my way so I can go on Toy Story Mania faster!
August 6, 2011 at 1:42 AM · Bigger, faster coasters!!!
August 6, 2011 at 4:13 AM · For me, it's 2 things that make me want to attend a park - new offerings (however small as long as they are of good quality) AND maintaining/refreshing the existing attractions.

If I heard that Disney had fixed the Yeti at AK or updated Country Bears with new tech, then I'd hop on a plane to check them out, never mind the Fantasyland expansion!

Wizarding World has got us travelling to Orlando from the UK this year and Cars Land will get us to LA in 2012, but if I see the rest of a park in disrepair then I'll be in no hurry to return.

August 6, 2011 at 5:44 AM · Were already getting a crap load of rides next year, so lets just hope they are quality. For Universal and Disney (both FL and CA resorts), we are getting a total of 10 (5 at each state) new rides and attractions.
August 6, 2011 at 6:14 AM · I say quality even though that can be a little treacherous since it's so subjective. We've had execs mistake "new" with "quality" at the expense of some great rides. But all in all, I would rather have a few awesome rides than a ton of mediocre ones. WWHOP is a great example of that. Forbidden is so awesome, Dragon and Hippo aren't even on my radar. It, along with Spidey, are enough to keep me coming back every year.
August 6, 2011 at 7:00 AM · I voted for better attractions, but my feelings are actually a combination of better and more attractions. I feel like I can always find ways to stretch the dollar by dining and hotel choices, but there's not much you can do if parks aren't offering exciting new attractions. I feel that Disney World in particular has rested on its laurels too much in the past 3-5 years assuming people will go anyway. They're getting their act together now, but it's been too long.
August 6, 2011 at 8:39 AM · Our family, with two elementary-age children, likes to visit local theme parks in Southern California. New attractions are nice, but I'd say the biggest factor is the visitor's experience. Being able to spend a pleasant day at the park without massive crowds and long waits is most important. Paradoxically, having new attractions with huge media and marketing hype (the new Star Tours, Little Mermaid ride) makes us less likely to visit more.
August 6, 2011 at 9:04 AM · T-minus 61 hours and my 12yo grandson Zachary & I will be headed down to Disney World & Universal. The cost of driving the 2500 mile round trip will be $500 if I'm lucky. Add in 10 day theme park/water park Disney tickets and 2 day Universal tickets, and the cost is now in the OUCH range. Add in 6 days at Pop Century & 5 days at Caribbean Beach and the cost is now in the BOING range. Add in food, other entertainment, gifts and other expenses and I'm now in the DON'T ASK range. So people, give me a little help with cost, will you PLEASE.

Sorry to say Disney & Universal, this will be my last trip down from Pennsylvania, you have priced yourself out of MY range. Zachary has been down 8 of the last 10 years. Before that, I brought my daughter down. And before her, I brought my wife down. But you guys have nickeled and dimed my family right out of your theme parks. I have spent 28 vacations down there since 1978 and it was great while it lasted. But you guys chose making more money over making memories and that hurt my wallet to much. So goodbye old friends. Sorry for the double post, I realized I made a mistake on the number of vacations I've spent down there and ended up posting it accidently.

August 6, 2011 at 10:44 AM · Disneyland Resorts maybe great for the kids but at $80 a pop, I don't think so. I could feed my family on that for a week eating at Subway alone. I am not shelling that much times 5 just to get in and pay $15 a head to feed them. Also, there are not that many rides for me to enjoy there. I'm either too tall or too old.

Universal is the same boat and worse. If I were to attend all the rides, shows and tram tour, I'd be finished in around 3 hours. For $75 a pop, you are not getting your money's worth. Citywalk and their $40 one minute iFly air tunnel is a joke. No one wants to shell out that kind of money for a one minute service. The prices for movie tickets and the products there reflect the theme park. So if I remortgage the house, take out another loan, max out my credit cards, and steal from a bank, then maybe I can afford all that. But I'm not going to take the route because it's not worth going there in the first place.

Not every one here have salaries like the CEO's of Disney and Universal. Some of us have salaries like the workers who make the park what it is today. So, treat us and them with respect and dignity and we'll do the same. Increasing prices so you can live comfortably in your mansions is not the way to make people appreciative of the product you are trying to sell.

Disneyland just became the Bel Air of theme parks where only the rich can attend and Universal became the Beverly Hills version. You can have it! I don't need to dole out a weeks work of my job pay in order to spend it all on one day and if I'm lucky, maybe get a chance to eat lunch there with what I have left. Give people half off tickets and maybe we would consider it.

The best value I've seen in 2011 have been Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Coasters I can ride on and discounted price I can afford. These parks are well worth the price of admission and at more than half of Disney's prices if you know the discounts to look for.

August 6, 2011 at 2:27 PM · find a way for members of the current and retired military visitors to eat at a discounted rate; while it is true we can purchase Disney tickets for a GREAT value we are NOT able to do the Disney Dining Plan with these tickets :(
August 7, 2011 at 11:32 PM · My biggest gripe with theme parks these days has always been the price....

Because of the outrageous mark up that most theme parks have placed on their entrance fees I haven't been able to set foot in one since January of this year!!

If Disneyland wants MY money anytime soon I better see a resonable price reduction instead of the jack up I saw towards the end of June this year. Untill then, I'm heading to Knotts Berry Farm or Six Flags Magic Mountain during the off least there I'm getting exciting rides for a resonable price (As long as I got a discount voucher of some sort with me!).

So long were a nice luxury while you were still affordable for the regular working class people....

August 8, 2011 at 8:42 AM · I go now because I love the theme parks in Florida. I would go MORE if I got a break in the price. It's that simple.
August 8, 2011 at 8:49 AM · It would have to be discounting. Since I live in Southern California and Disneyland is only 15 minutes away, I decided to skip it this year. Why go this year when Carsland will open next year? Instead, I will visit San Diego and they offer lots of discounts to the Zoo, SeaWorld, and Legoland. Its a much better value to visit anything but Disney, although I do think the $139 special is a great deal. Maybe next year for Disney.
August 8, 2011 at 10:13 AM · I feel like next year is going to be the year of the "Other Parks." Look at all the attractions going in next year. Hershey Park with a new coaster, Dollywood with a new coaster, Busch Gardens Williamsburg with a new coaster, Holiday world with a new water coaster, Sea World San Diego with a new coaster, Canada's Wonderland also getting a new coaster. There should be a lot to keep people out of Orlando. I imagine Disney/Universal will have to do some sort of promotion to bring those people in.
August 10, 2011 at 3:14 PM · I'm all for quality over quantity. Discounting? Fortunately I get a little bit of a discount from work, but I feel for anyone with a family of 4... heck, anyone with a tight budget!

Yes, quality is subjective, but attractions that are in the same realm as Pirates, HM, Little Mermaid, Soarin, or Aladdin are great reference points. We want Disney to set the bar high (but not necessarily all E tickets)

This is opposed to something like Rocket Rods, Finding Nemo, Innoventions, Superstar Limo, or Pooh Bear where they went and cut corners.

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