Disney, Universal and every other company that owns and operates theme parks have been playing a multi-billion-dollar game of chicken this year.
Do you go ahead and open your new attractions in the middle of a pandemic, or do you hold them until the travel industry recovers? New capital drives attendance in the theme park business. But if an external circumstance such as a pandemic is going to keep people from visiting, is now the best time to roll out an expensive new investment? Or is now the time when parks most need something new to draw reluctant visitors?
California Governor Gavin Newsom made this question irrelevant for California theme parks by keeping parks closed throughout the spring and summer. In Florida, where parks reopened in June and July, Universal Orlando went ahead and premiered its new Jason Bourne-themed stunt show, but Walt Disney World delayed the Ratatouille-themed dark ride that would have opened this year had the pandemic not happened. Busch Gardens Tampa also delayed its record-setting Iron Gwazi roller coaster, which was testing before the pandemic closed the parks.
Busch Gardens owner SeaWorld decided to delay all of its new-for-2020 roller coasters until next spring, including the dive coaster Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego. Knott’s Berry Farm owner Cedar Fair postponed its 150th anniversary celebration and new water ride at Ohio’s Cedar Point but went ahead and opened its new giga coaster, Orion, at Cincinnati’s Kings Island. Independent parks such as Hersheypark in Pennsylvania and Indiana’s Holiday World also opened their new rides for the season.
Parks that delayed are betting that a new ride in 2021 will drive attendance more than a new ride in 2020 would, delivering a higher return on their investment. Parks that chose to go ahead this year hoped to book some much-needed income now while also wishing that fans who sat out 2020 will see their year-old attractions as new to them once they decide to travel again.
There’s no guarantee at this point that 2021 will be any better for travel than 2020, of course. But when the travel industry does recover — whenever that might be — competition for visitors’ spending will be fierce. The parks that have the most attractive new rides and shows opening in that season should enjoy a huge marketing advantage over other parks that are promoting nostalgia to draw fans.
Everyone in the industry has been postponing and canceling attractions that had been scheduled to open in 2021 and beyond. Universal paused its planned Epic Universe theme park in Orlando and Disney also shelved several projects in Orlando. But both companies are going ahead with some new projects, including a Jurassic World-themed roller coaster at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy and Tron-themed coasters at Walt Disney World.
That puts pressure on everyone else in the industry not to play it too conservatively during this pandemic. Yes, you need to save money when there’s less coming in. But parks that don’t start preparing for the travel recovery now might not get to be a part of it when it happens.آموزش سئو