UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Owen
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:43 pm

Burniel wrote:
I don't know loads about Gardaland and Heide, but it does seem true that overseas parks haven't suffered quite so much, although I'm not a fan of some of their decisions, with Ghostbusters' exterior and area being a recent example, or the fact that Colossos has gone rogue as another. 

I think on the whole, Merlin are indeed better than, say, Six Flags *shudders*, but I just think there are so many other solutions that would work out much better. Maybe I need to accept the idea that whatever SeaWorld needs may not be so great for us based on recent reported financial figures, but I still really hope that selling to someone like Merlin, who aren't terrible by any means, but are certainly a downgrade in my opinion, isn't necessary.

Oh, and thank you for correcting me about Nitrogenie. I now realise obnoxious pop music in immersive areas is exactly what Busch Gardens is missing! :P

Weirdly I really like the Ghostbusters exterior, but I wish it were the firehouse...
That's probably the best way to put my point across, they aren't perfect but they aren't going to destroy the world after all. My main worry is the summer events would be cut, but who knows at the end of the day.

Again, funny you should say about pop music, I remember in a vlog from 2014 the person was saying how immersive the music was during Howl-o-scream, only to cut to a walk way with the speakers playing Nicki Minaj's Anaconda on full volume :lol
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Burniel
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:57 pm

Owen wrote:
Again, funny you should say about pop music, I remember in a vlog from 2014 the person was saying how immersive the music was during Howl-o-scream, only to cut to a walk way with the speakers playing Nicki Minaj's Anaconda on full volume :lol

All they need now is a few tins of bright purple paint and a load of overpriced ice cream and they'll be sorted! :lol

Overall, I would agree that we need to wait and see what happens. I personally would much rather see the parks come out of this unchanged, but hey, maybe this could be the perfect opportunity for Merlin to prove themselves if the purchase happens.
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jackf1tz
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:15 pm

Umm, MM, why have you posted the same thing 3 times?

Merlin, like all companies, occasionally make mistakes. In my opinion, Nitrogenous would have been a much better fit on towers Street, and we should have had a themed f&b stall in flint wood instead. They also seem to have an obnoxious obsession with shipping containers, and utilise this obsession profusely, mainly at the shipping depot like no other, Thorpe Park. However, I believe Merlin create world class attractions year upon year. The Smiler, Th13teen, The Swarm, Derren Brown's Ghost Train, The Gruffalo, and even the new Chessington carousel are examples. They have also shown significant experience with handling animals, with the zoo at Chessington, and (if accepted) Tiger Falls. They are rapidly expanding, and own the four most visited theme parks in the UK, a world class one in Italy, a great theme park in Germany, and countless, well themed Lego havens dotted all across the world. With 2 or 12 new theme parks ( depending on whether they purchase the whole chain or just bg) They will have extra cashflow, and I have no doubt that they will utilise that money to the best of their ability. There are better companies to buy SeaWorld, but in my opinion, Merlin isn't a bad shout.
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Alex
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:54 am

Personally if I was Merlin I would hold off a few years as I think in 5-10 years they'd get a better price for the group. With all the developments at Disney and Universal I think Busch and SeaWorld might see a bit of a hit in terms of visitor numbers which could impact on the financial performance.

2018 - Toy Story
2019 - Harry Potter
2020 - Star Wars
2021 - Nintendo
2022 - Magic Kingdom 50th anniversary

Plus Universal will be looking to open their new park at some point around that timeline which might change plans of families to Universal and Disney only.

Their latest earnings report has been quite disappointing leading to shares falling a further 7%


"In the latest earnings report, SeaWorld generated $373.8 million in revenue, falling short of analysts’ expectations of about $394 million, according to Reuters. The company also warned its debt rating or outlook could be downgraded by credit rating agencies.

The company reported a net loss of $175.9 million for the second quarter as admission revenue fell $340 million for the first half this year compared to $361 million — a nearly 6 percent decline— from the same period last year."



Plus the CEO has said that costs will be further cut, so maybe it's not just Merlin.....  :-k


"We are increasing our investment in national advertising to generate sufficient awareness of our brand attributes and strong new rides and attractions, developing a new national marketing campaign emphasising our distinct experiences, and reinvesting in our reputation messaging to target perceptions in key markets, particularly California. We will offset this increased advertising with additional cost reductions.” 

The company says it is still on target to achieve its US$40m (€33.8m, £30.6m) net saving goal by the end of next year, with the operator “identifying additional areas for cost reduction”. 

“We are committed to our capital investment strategy and will continue to invest in new rides, attractions, and festivals across our parks,” said Manby. 

“At the same time, we are maintaining our rigorous cost discipline, and while we are on schedule to achieve our targeted savings by the end of 2018, we are identifying an additional US$25m (€21.2m, £19.2m) in potential savings, which we believe could be saved outright or reinvested in our marketing efforts. 
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:59 am

The Q2 decline was caused by Orlando & San Diego. Tampa, Williamsburg & San Antonio have all performed well. San Diego is seeing a turnaround but will take time and Orlando is in a kind of painful transitional phase where it is neither an internationally nor regionally focused park. With major new attractions coming to both Orlando and San Diego in 2018 I would hope for some sort of improvement.

SeaWorld parks have had budget cuts, but they have managed to do it in a way that doesn't involve shuttering lots of attractions (only 2 across all 12 parks), closing F&B units or cutting operating hours.
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Owen
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:22 pm

MakoMania wrote:
SeaWorld parks have had budget cuts, but they have managed to do it in a way that doesn't involve shuttering lots of attractions (only 2 across all 12 parks), closing F&B units or cutting operating hours.


You forget some of the attraction closures by Merlin were for refurbishments, which is something particular area's of SeaWorld would benefit from. Then if you really want to count, Merlin have technically closed approximately 4 rides across 123 attractions and 13 theme parks.

Also, I'd keep in mind things are going to get much worse for SeaWorld in Orlando especially in the coming months and years unless something major happens...
Last edited by Owen on Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MakoMania
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:06 pm

We'll have to wait and see about that Owen. Not everyone will be able to keep up with the rising prices of Disney & Universal (I certainly won't be visiting them on my next Florida trip), SeaWorld is ready to fill the gap.
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Alex
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:19 pm

You wont be going to Disney or Universal on a Florida trip? That's an interesting idea. :-k

Yes the prices may be rising but for most families the experience justifies the cost. With Universal being as aggressive as they are, building new hotel rooms and new theme parks, I feel like families will end up making a more Uni v Disney choice and SeaWorld might not necessarily feature in their plans
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:20 pm

I agree with Alex, SeaWorld need to up their game to stay relevant to families with smaller budgets, and with all the upgrades Orlando is getting, SeaWorld need something more. Also, BG Tampa Bay may see a decline in visitors due to families feeling that is too far to go when there's so much stuff to do in Orlando. Merlin could honestly make a positive impact on this company, and aging then on to the us annual pass wouldn't be a bad shout to get more visitors.
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:31 pm

I guess there is a lot of disagreement between us on this topic, which to be honest is not a bad thing! There are those of us who would be devastated if Merlin took over BGT and others who think it would be a good move, such is the nature of life!

On another note, It'll be interesting to see if the Sand Serpent dark ride materialises for 2018, I think it could be quite fun if done well!
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Jack
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:50 pm

Where has the saltiness for Merlin even stemmed from? They have done brilliantly in my opinion. Around £40 Mil spent on an innovative dark ride, refurbishments at a family theme park, new attractions and hotels constantly opening with better than average theming. The thing people forget is that it isn't Merlin that screwed up the parks, that was pre Merlin buy out in 2007. Merlin didn't ruin the parks in the slightest. They've been clearing up that mess.

A Merlin buy out of SeaWorld or Busch Gardens is nothing but a good thing in my opinion. They would heavily invest in maintenance and new additions which seems to be an issue to me when looking at the state of older SeaWorld attractions.
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:54 pm

Jack wrote:
They would heavily invest in maintenance and new additions which seems to be an issue to me when looking at the state of older SeaWorld attractions.


Such as?
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Jack
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:01 pm

The TLC program is a pretty good start in terms of Merlin's maintenance. They spent £1 Million on getting a single authentic stone for Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park are doing everything in their power to sort out DBGT but cannot justify the cost for Loggers Leap and such. Chessington are revamping Dragon Falls, Colossos at Heide Park is being retracked, the list goes on.

In terms of SeaWorld attractions go I'd say their parks look rather run down, fading colours everywhere. Their 4D attraction is one of the most outdated I've ever seen and kids areas looks awful.

Enter Merlin and id expect most issue would be rectified within 3 or 4 years.
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:27 pm

Jack wrote:
The TLC program is a pretty good start in terms of Merlin's maintenance. They spent £1 Million on getting a single authentic stone for Warwick Castle, Thorpe Park are doing everything in their power to sort out DBGT but cannot justify the cost for Loggers Leap and such. Chessington are revamping Dragon Falls, Colossos at Heide Park is being retracked, the list goes on.

In terms of SeaWorld attractions go I'd say their parks look rather run down, fading colours everywhere. Their 4D attraction is one of the most outdated I've ever seen and kids areas looks awful.

Enter Merlin and id expect most issue would be rectified within 3 or 4 years.


That's interesting as the SeaWorld parks are renound for being some of the most well kept and beautiful in the industry. For example Busch Gardens Williamsburg has won countless landscaping and park appearance awards. Personally I have never seen a single particularly run down area in the 6 SeaWorld owned parks I have visited/done work experience at.

As for Wild Arctic, yeah, it's pretty awful and hopefully it won't be around for too much longer!
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:57 am

BGT and BGW are the only SeaWorld parks that I believe are more well kept than AT, but each to their own.
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Robert.W
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:44 pm

I would agree with that, Jack. From what I have seen with the Seaworld parks, they are a little run down in some places.
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:51 pm

I really am quite surprised about hearing that people have this view, SeaWorld parks appearing run down has never even crossed my mind as one of the parks' flaws. SeaWorld San Antonio looks a little dated in certain places, but definitely not run down. The Orlando park is beautiful throughout except Wild Arctic which is dated and is a terrible ride but is not run down.

Anyway, we are straying off topic for the BGT thread!
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Robert.W
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:16 am

I've read numerous articles about rides not being properly maintained or maintained to a high standard... it's just from what I have seen though as I said. I too agree that some of the rides at the Orlando park are beautifully created. I find that Seaworld other parks lack a bit of imagination in some ways from what I have seen.
Anyways, back to the original topic! I think it would be good all round for Merlin to buy the two Busch parks, but ONLY those. The reason behind my logic is that Seaworld parks can then get some bigger investment from the sale of Busch and as Merlin would want to be seen as willing to invest in the new parks and I think if Merlin had only the Busch parks, they would be free to invest much more money in them rather than having to invest in all the parks.
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:36 am

The park have confirmed that there will in fact be two new scare mazes out of the 7 mazes for this year's Howl-O-Scream.

So far we have 4 returning mazes confirmed:

Death Water Bayou
Unearthed
Motel Hell
Zombie Containment Unit 15
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MakoMania
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Re: Busch Gardens Tampa

Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:53 pm

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby says that Busch Gardens is NOT for sale:

http://www.tampabay.com/things-to-do/tr ... ld/2333353

Thank goodness!

(Just a side note, the attendance figures at the bottom of the article do overstate SeaWorld's attendance decline by a few percent.)
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