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What does it cost a park to operate a ride?


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With Son of Beast being down (and some older rides being retired), it occurred to me that the park must be really saving a ton of money by keeping it idle this year.

 

So even though the price various from ride to ride and location to location, does anyone have an example of how much annually parks put into a ride when you figure labor, insurance, utilities and all the repair work to keep our favorite rides running?

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Well, I would guess they save a bunch on eletricity to power the station, electronics and lift hill motor. Repair they are saving a ton on since that SOB always needed repair. Other than that, probably not much more savings. The workers that would normally be there probably work elsewhere in the park. And they have to keep insurance on it in case it burns down, some idiot jumps the fence and gets or other reasons. And don't forget, whatever they are saving by not having it running they are paying right back out to settle lawsuits.

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While it may not seem like a lot, the cost of employees adds up. Figuring a minimum of 3 on the ride at all times (though since its a Cedar Fair park it would likely have more) working at $8 an hour makes $24 an hour, for 14 hours (12 hour operating day+start-up and clean-up) means $288 each summer day. Assume 3 months of summer and that's $26,000 just on ride ops. Son of Beast also might require additional mechanics or carpenters since it required so many repairs.

 

I don't know any specifics about how much it costs to run rides, but I would assume that rides vary a lot depending on what they do. For example, a launched coaster requires a lot of energy, while most lift hills will idle when a train is not on it.

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The workers that would normally be there probably work elsewhere in the park.

 

While the employees that may have been placed at SOB are now elsewhere, the total number of employees will be less as there will be, lets say 20 "open" line positions at SOB that are not going to be filled this year. Staffing is budgeted per ride not per department so just because the ride is closed does not mean that there is more employees elsewhere, they just did not have to hire the "20" associates. The other rides may have got 1 extra line spot but most likely the budget did not change.

 

Figuring a minimum of 3 on the ride at all times (though since its a Cedar Fair park it would likely have more)

 

Agreed, lets just make the math for 6 associates at all times! $52,000!!!

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Awesome question. I've wondered this many times, too.

 

While waiting in the station to ride the Dania Beach Hurricane last winter, a ride op told me that it costs about 15 cents every time the ride goes around the track. I'm not sure if this is completely accurate, but it's something to think about, anyway.

 

Keep in mind, the Hurricane is a pretty decent-sized wooden coaster.

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^Kidding aside, that number is probably a good "ballpark" figure for a major attraction.

 

Labor (don't forget it's not just ride ops...all the support staff has to be included as well: technicians, managers, office clerks, and all the other people that have an impact on the daily operation of a ride), maintenance (parts/labor for repairs & required maintenance, costs incurred keeping all the records up to date, parts stored, etc.), and electricity are definitely not cheap.

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