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Could some parks close for good because of the pandemic?


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  • 2 weeks later...

It's nice to hear that Fantasy Island in NY might reopen in 2021! A company called Empire Adventures is trying to buy or lease the property and have it open for next season. As of right now pretty much everything has been removed except for the Silver Comet coaster and some water slides!

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Economic impact has been bad on a lot of businesses. I work in IT for specialty retail (mall stores). We are in fancy malls where a lot of entertainment venues are (Cesar's in Vegas for example) While the majority of our stores are now open and traffic is around 80% of what it was (better than we expected as mall traffic was already dying) we lost right under 100 Million during the end of March and month of April. That doesn't include May and June. We opened some stores starting May 1st. A little perspective our stores do very well compared to mall stores. The income at our stores is several hundred times higher than stores like American Eagle, Gap, and those places. We have around 100 stores so 100 Million is a lot of money lost.

 

0 of our stores closed for good as of now, and we are actually opening new stores but several new stores that were planned were scrapped

 

Did this just affect us? Nope, it traveled down to our vendors when we stopped ordering. It traveled down to our cleaning crews that are no longer cleaning

 

I have friends who work for Regal (theater chain based here in Knoxville, I'm sure most have heardbof) and was told if they didn't open soon, they wouldn't open at all ever again. That's how much money and revenue they lost

 

And just seeing the first week of Dollywood. Splash Country had more staff cars in their parking lot than guest cars.. how can you make money if staff is higher than guest? (I only checked them out one day). Dollywood had crowds worse than the crowds they see mid September when school is in session. It's the middle of summer here! Today they show as booked up and so is tomorrow so maybe these early signs are a fluke

 

With that being said, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are slammed packed so people are traveling. That tells me that

 

1.) Polices are keeping people away from these places (Mask, No Mask, people are afraid that closed seats on rides make lines longer and so on)

2.) The economic impact, people now have less money but still want to travel. So they are traveling to areas like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and other places that have parks but they are doing other stuff that cost less

3.) Less money so people are traveling local. I was never furloughed, my company didn't do that, but my wife was. This was one reason we cancelled our trip to Disney, on top of several others such as the week were are going, half the parks are listed to be closed the first few days we are there.

4.) Airlines kept cancelling our flights (not Disneys fault but the ripple effect). This is causing people to stay local so while the areas around Dollywood are full, maybe they are all locals and don't spend much time at Dollywood

5.) No guarantee we can even enter a park due to reservations and limits (another reason wife and I cancelled our Disney Trip)

 

My opinion is that many parks won't close, maybe some smaller parks, but projects will be postponed by several years. Example, Dollywood was about to announce their new spending plan that was larger than the last 10 year, 300 million dollar plan. I bet that will be scrapped for several years now and possibly even scaled down greatly. I feel Six Flags will file for bankruptcy again but can probably restructure without closing parks.

 

I'm also afraid if Disney has to operate under the restrictions placed on them they will have serious financial trouble. A lot of their profits didn't come from movies, they came from the parks. With theaters probably doing very poorly, the parks doing very poorly, people not buying DVDs anymore or Blu-ray due to streaming. $10/month for Disney plus isn't going to cut it for them. No sports so ESPN is probably bleeding money and so on and cord cutting hitting new record highs quicker than ever. With hotel rooms sitting empty due to capacity limits, parks sitting at very low capacity, where is Disney going to get money to operate their empire? And please don't say cash that is stockpiled. Companies blew through that by using it for the first few weeks of the closure on payroll.

 

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Keep in mind that even though a park may still be operating at a loss, if the loss is less than if they were to stay closed, then it's still worth it.

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It depends on how long they have to operate at a loss.

 

Parks have been hush hush about drawing on their lines of credit unlike retail and other travel or entertainment companies. I've heard of retail companies drawing down their entire line of credit. That has to be paid back.

 

Six Flags for example, is bad with Debt and always has been. Operating at a lose while better than operating with no income will just "slow" the process if they are bringing in enough money for payroll and non essential expenses to operate vs just paying essential to stay closed

 

And then there is the unknown. If we bring back 75% of our furloughed staff, are we going to have the income to make it worth it or is it best to stay closed and just pay the essential expenses. Personally, I believe this is why a lot of parks haven't opened. They want to see what the crowds look like at places that have opened. I dislike analyst, they are a lot of times wrong, but several have said the same thing about Disney and that they would lose less money by staying closed.

 

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Dollywood brings up the issue of value for money in the current operating environment.

 

One day tickets are $79, with minimal discounts available...interesting they've put up $10 off online this (Father's Day) weekend. Parking is $15.

 

Last visit to the area we considered spending that on the local alpine coasters. The shows made us go back to Dollywood.

 

With few shows and other limitations that calculation changes.

 

The higher end (DreamMore) guests are the wild card...how many will choose a resort stay with limited operations?

 

If the answer isn't great Dollywood will, I suspect, have to push short-term local discounts before long. We shall see.

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One interesting thing I noticed is that the older crowd was way down at Dollywood

 

Local older folks don't really care about the pandemic here, they want to be out. I believe the lack of shows has them staying away

 

You are exactly right that shows are a draw folks and I believe that goes for a lot of parks. I can see a lot of folks using their income to travel and eat at some of the great restaurants in the area but outside the park. See some of the attractions like alpine coasters outside of the park and so on

 

Interesting you mention discounts, yesterday or maybe Thursday the Dollywood app had season passes listed at $99 but no way to buy them. I saw when when making my reservation. It now has them listed at $139 again. I bet, July when the "extended pass" ends, they will drop to $99. Normally this never happens. I'm sure someone pushed something to production on accident vs staging so it popped up in the app early

 

I'm sure other parks are going to start discounting as well, just to bring in income. It's a fine line though, it really depends on crowd level's. If they are having issues hitting their max capacity, then discounts will help. Parks like Disney, I'm sure they will hit their max at least more often than not. Wife was surprised they didn't try and keep us when we cancelled and I told her, I'm sure they are trying to weed people out right now anyway and we helped that. These parks will not want to discount as they already lost a lot of revenue

 

But parks that have to discount the discounts are also going to compound this problem

 

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^Exactly. I've thought a lot about my Disneyland Flex Passports...bought as upgrades to a SoCal 3 day pass. Developing the Flex infrastructure last year was prescient to say the least.

 

I hesitated at the time, concerned about capacity limits. Who decides when I can make a reservation?

 

As it turned out we luckily got on ROTR (the most amazing park attraction yet IMO) on two different days, which made it feel worthwhile.

 

But now, in the new world, "democratic" access to super-headliners may be replaced with resort guest ride reservations. Disneyland Resort rooms were $800/night with tax for their proposed reopening.

 

If you were them, in this financial situation, how could you, uh, resist making those guests happy?

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Social distancing looks marginal...but face coverings look OK

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Four of the Boomers! parks Palace sold to Apex closed permanently June 8:

 

Boomers! San Diego

Boomers! El Cajon

Boomers! Fountain Valley

Boomers! Upland

FEC's like Boomers change hands all the time. Wouldn't be surprised if someone picks them up. I mean, that Boomers (Bullwinkle's) in Fountain Valley has had how many different owners over the years?

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It's nice to hear that Fantasy Island in NY might reopen in 2021! A company called Empire Adventures is trying to buy or lease the property and have it open for next season. As of right now pretty much everything has been removed except for the Silver Comet coaster and some water slides!

 

Dont hold your breath.

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I'm curious to see if Magic Mountain continues 365-day operation once they re-open or if they'll go back to weekends only at the end of summer.

 

I think they'll go weekends only for a while then go back to 365 when the virus is eradicated.

 

I don't think they'll go back to weekends only when summer ends but I could see them being closed two days a week like Tues-Wed for awhile.

 

Another angle to this is we might see some parks like SFoG or SFStl actually add to their calendars with year-round weekend ops in an attempt to boost attendance figures. After all, closed parks do not make any money and these two SF parks would be the next logical choices within the chain to go year round after the Texas properties did it.

 

I could see Georgia doing this but doesn't St. Louis have brutal winters?

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But now, in the new world, "democratic" access to super-headliners may be replaced with resort guest ride reservations. Disneyland Resort rooms were $800/night with tax for their proposed reopening.

 

If you were them, in this financial situation, how could you, uh, resist making those guests happy?

Resort guests at the Disney parks have always had earlier access to FastPass reservations over non-resort guests and passholders... 60 days in advance versus 30. In this current situation, current resort guests are being given a several-day advantage to reserve (a) day(s) at their park(s) of choice over passholders and non-resort guests.

 

As capacity limits increase, or IF they increase since Florida is now apparently becoming the Darwinism state, I could see Disney keeping the "amount" of available reservations the same for passholders and non-resort guests and opening up the increased number of reservations to resort guests only.

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Actually I have to admit that I am a little skeptical about Empire Adventures re opening Fantasy Island. We will see. At least if they don't I really hope someone buys the Silver Comet and rebuilds it somewhere else. Everything is all up in the air right now. Most parks are not open yet. Some are but limited crowds. Revenues are low and debts increasing. The amument industry is walking on thin ice. It is moving forward though. But let`s hope there is no second wave this Fall.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wasn't sure where to post this, but in the UK the government have today announced that VAT will be cut from 20% to just 5% for the hospitality sector until next year. Along with restaurants and pubs, this of course includes theme parks.

 

The cut will not only mean admission will be less (in theory, anyway, I suppose the parks could put prices up to offset these savings), but most things within the park too such as food and drink. Idea is to encourage people to support the hospitality industry.

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Closest thing to that in the USA that I've heard is a proposed tax credit for traveling. It's a nice idea, but the benefits would not be realized until when income taxes are filed next year (unless it's retroactively applied). It would not directly reduce the cost of taking a trip like the VAT cut does. I'm sure that will greatly help UK's hospitality industry.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it's great! The goverments have to come up with some plans to save the amusement industry. A lot of people are worried about 2021. I don't think parks are making any money right now. And unfortunetly next year does not look very promising in this Covid world.

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Smaller individually/family owned parks tend to communicate with each other frequently, and the general consensus is that things are very bad. Something along the lines of "If we knew it was going to be this bad, we would never have opened" has been said several times.

 

Not going to speculate which parks could close forever, but I expect a ripple effect of slowed expansion for a few years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well now some parks that have reopened are shortening their schedule and only operating a few days a week. Some will stay closed this season and many might end the season on Labor Day. So the Halloween events might be rare this year.

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I really hate to bring it up.... but this means there might be a few of

(if not several) the usual Parks' Holiday Season Events not happening at all, either.

 

Brace yourselves.

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^^ Like I said before... and although not exactly theme-park related....it's still a Holiday Event, now not happening. The first one announced, of that nature, that I have read about.

 

For the first time since its premiere in 1933, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been canceled. MSG Entertainment called off the beloved show at Radio City Music Hall due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. This year's run was scheduled from November 6 through January 3, 2021.

 

"And the Jingle Jingle goes on..."

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Having seen one of these productions, I can happily say, "It's a Theme Park In & Of Itself!" (o:

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