Another post on theme parks

After visiting two theme parks now, I simply don’t understand how these parks can get away with the product that they offer. Let’s look at the balance sheet for our ROI.

The debit side,

  • you have to queue to get into the park.
  • you have to pay an entrance fee, typically anything up to £70 each.
  • the bigger the park, the further you have to walk from one attraction to another and so the less time you have to queue for the rides you want to go on.
  • you have to queue for a ride, typically forty minutes for a two minute ride This means in an eight hour day you might realistically get twenty minutes of ride time for seven and a half hours of queuing.
  • you have to queue to get out of the park. If you came by car, getting out could take hours.

The credit side,

  • you er., see stuff that is ‘themed’ to whichever park you are visiting.
  • you might get twenty minutes of fun, if you are lucky (I say lucky because some rides are a huge disappointment when you eventually get to go on them).

That’s it basically. So for twenty minutes of fun people pay up to £70 each. Does that sound like a convincing return on investment to you?

The cinema could provide hours of entertainment for a fraction of that cost – an imax cinema can even give the sensation of movement if you want the ride experience. A walk in the countryside can provide hours of fun for free and no queuing (just think of it as a huge park with a countryside theme). A large Natural History museum can also provide hours of absorbing entertainment, sometimes for free.

Equally, finding a dipping road and driving over the bumps can provide as much fun as some of the rides on offer at these parks.

The public is being had. In years to come we look fondly back at theme parks and comment how stupid people must have been to pay good money for standing in line. They might as well create the theme park that is themed on theme parks. You queue for forty minutes only to be told some mildly disappointing news at the end. That sort of thing.

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