Building A Successful Theme Park

By studying the Theme Park industry we can gain valuable insights into the design of our own new amusement park in North Central Massachusetts, created by us, the local residents.

Learn From Disney

It's difficult for a new organization to develop brand recognition, brand identification and product differentiation. We can learn a valuable lesson from Disney, who is the number one theme park operator in the world. Remember, even though a new Whalom Park would not be in the same league as Disney, most of the guidelines will still apply, and others need to be scaled down.

Whalom Park has one big advantage: it has been around much longer than Disney (107 years vs. 56 years) and already has a solid reputation in the minds many generations. The task will be to reinvent the concept of the park and educate the public on why they should visit the New Whalom Park when it opens, and more importantly right now, why ordinary residents should get involved with the New Whalom Cooperative, LLC to make it a reality!

Disney's main strength is in its resources and in the experience in the business. The company clearly has developed a very strong and well-known "brand-name" over many years. Disney has also been able to diversify its operations and products to hedge against decreasing sales in product lines.

In recent years it has diverted into Home Video, Film, merchandise, Radio broadcasting, Network television and of course in theme parks. It has also effectively globally diversified its operations from USA to Japan and Europe. The main strengths in internal resources refer to human resources and financial stability.

Employees in the Disney studios appear to be extremely innovative and in recent years they have produced several box-office productions. A Company without new ideas is doomed in today's competitive business environment.

Theme Parks And Tourism

The relationship of theme parks to tourism is complex and highly dependent on the park’s scale, quality, and uniqueness. Typically, residents from within 1.5 to 2 hours will account for 80 percent of traditional theme park visitation. Even the tourist visitors are often in the area for other reasons (such as visiting friends and relatives). Thus, just having a theme park does not automatically insure an influx of tourism. Rather, to impact destination tourism, a theme park must:

Themed to country/region
New parks will have stronger theming tied to the country or local region. Theme parks are increasingly becoming a symbol and showcase for regional pride, culture, and technological achievement. The danger here, of course, is that by being too serious about “cultural” tourism the parks can cease to be fun. The primary purpose should be first and foremost; entertainment!

Part of larger mixed-use destination projects

Greater visitor participation and interaction

Use of simulation experiences and virtual reality
Perhaps one of the most exciting areas of development is in the area of simulation. Advances in technology have allowed attractions designers to realistically duplicate virtually any natural or special effects experience. By combining extremely high quality visual imagery with seats that are programmed to move with the action, visitors can realistically enjoy experiences that were previously unavailable in a theme park environment.

Greater water orientation
A greater use of water related activities, attractions and landscaping is occurring in theme park design as well as in nearly all forms of real estate development. Several parks (Ocean Park, Hong Kong; Dreamland, Australia; Walibi, Belgium) combine an active water park with more traditional themed rides and amusements.

Animal displays and performance
Parks such as Sea World are still popular but future expansion will be limited by restrictions on capturing and displaying aquatic mammals. We see a continuing acceptance of new, high technology aquariums using acrylic tunnel concepts which combine a scuba diver’s view of the undersea world with a ride experience. Some of these will be developed in the open ocean.

Design for all-weather operation/artificial environments
New theme parks are designed to have more covered attractions as well as climate controlled walkways and rest areas. This allows for shorter amortization of high capital investment and fixed cost components. New theme parks are being designed with a greater degree of weather protection in order to enable a longer operating season and longer operating hours per day.