Richard

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Richard last won the day on February 26

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    http://www.parkz.com.au

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  1. Richard

    Coronavirus and theme parks

    If there's one thing they could do for their casual staff, it's offer some modicum of stability right now. Telling them to expect to be back at work in a few weeks time -- when it's all but certain they won't be -- seems grossly irresponsible when people are scrambling for temporary work or welfare support.
  2. Richard

    Ardent Leisure share price drops

    When your market cap is lower than the sum total of your assets - liabilities, and it’s only the start of a major global downturn, I’d be worried. With their current cash on hand + previously negotiated loan/credit facilities they can’t weather this for very long. And what bank is going to bail out a company that’s not even worth the sum of its parts? The last half was dismal for both Main Event and Dreamworld... and that’s without the impact of coronavirus. If they’ve got good insurance then we’ll likely see them shut up shop for a while as we’re starting to see happen around the world. That’s a best case scenario for the short term. First thing to go will be future capex. There goes the five year plan. And you can absolutely bet that there’s very real conversations happening right now about whether the coaster will go ahead this year.
  3. Richard

    Ardent Leisure share price drops

    The market on the whole has experienced huge losses in recent weeks so that's what we're seeing with Ardent to some extent. Few examples however have been as dramatic as Ardent. They've slashed about two-thirds of their market cap in the past month and they're one of the 'biggest losers' on the ASX in 2020. Inquest findings and growing coronavirus fears obviously play into it but inquest findings are not unforeseen and Ardent's share price losses outpace the rest of the market amid coronavirus uncertainty. Remember too that investors at the time of the accident completely wrote off Dreamworld in share price losses. Ardent also wrote down its book value of Dreamworld to the point where the land is presumably worth more than the entity. Dreamworld's value to investors is strictly in terms of potential, not performance. The half year results were not great. Main Event is floundering in a supposedly flourishing US economy. That business hit a wall several years ago and seems lifeless as ever of late. Dreamworld saw a 2.9% attendance growth off the back of Sky Voyager and a concerted effort at special events. That kind of negligible growth from historic lows following major investment and a more focused marketing strategy than we've seen in years is a big red flag and I wouldn't be so quick to say that the park is back on track because they've painted a few things and held some nice events. It looks like there are wider confidence issues surrounding Ardent Leisure. Three years ago a property developer and a corporate raider joined forces, bought up about 10% of Ardent and waged a public war to gain control of the Ardent board. Their pitch was that they knew how to fix Ardent with a three year plan to deliver $1 billion to investors. They got their board seats and now three years on about $700 million in market cap has disappeared. Their own investment in the company has lost them somewhere up near $70 million. On the plus side they've learnt a valuable lesson that just about anyone could have told them: you can't flip a theme park. Anyway that's the short version of the article I would have written in recent weeks if I had the time/inclination. Just throw in a bit more sarcasm and some big words.
  4. Dreamworld’s senior management team is appointed by and reports to Ardent. They negotiate and accept remuneration and bonuses tied to the performance of Dreamworld and in many cases share-based incentives that put their motives directly in line with that of the parent company. There were no evil corporate overlords forcing decisions upon a hapless Dreamworld team. Just systemic and cultural failings at every possible level of the organisation. You can perhaps argue that Dreamworld as a brand (or some other intangible concept) was a victim of its owners’ shortcomings but to suggest that Dreamworld as an organisation is a victim takes away a lot of blame that falls to them for many, many short-sighted, naïve and demonstrably reckless decisions in the years both before and since Ardent took ownership.
  5. Richard

    The New Atlantis - Construction Updates

    I don’t know anything about contractors pulling out and I never said you have to trust anyone, least of all me...
  6. Richard

    Rocky Hollow Log Ride officially closed

    For what it's worth, senior management at VRTP reached out to me many months ago when it became apparent that there'd be delays at Sea World and brought me in on the nature of these delays off the record. By the same token I've not had any communication from Dreamworld while public statements surrounding the past year's closures and delays are a shifting narrative riddled with inconsistencies and omissions. Speaking only for the editorial position of Parkz, we can either be on the outside looking in or the inside looking out.
  7. Richard

    Dreamworld’s biggest prize pack

    Second prize is a 10 year pass.
  8. Richard

    Arkham Asylum Maintenance 2020

    That's a lot of words to defend a ride that'll be closed pretty soon. 🙂
  9. Richard

    The Off Topic Topic

    Same goes for having a campaign that is all about having a campaign. VRTP are transparently emulating the Thredbo ads you see at Event cinemas but fall flat along the way — turns out you can’t fake heart. Dreamworld meanwhile realise they can’t focus on substantive in-park experiences because they’ve removed most of them, so they’re going all gimmicks and as a result not actually saying anything at all. It’s all a bit self-congratulatory and on the nose from both companies. Here’s one I prepared earlier. Mostly still applies for both brands. https://www.parkz.com.au/article/2017/04/27/487-VRTP_needs_to_fundamentally_rethink_their_message_and_marketing.html
  10. Richard

    Movie World - The Next Few Years

    As it stands they can't move a buggy carrying tensa barriers two metres down Main Street without half a dozen attendants passive aggressively shooing anyone in a 50 metre radius. Good luck with a permanent ride. By any observable metric, Doomsday and surrounds was wasted capital. It was a very well executed concept that was... doomed... from the start because it was all wrong. It was meant to draw guests away from the front of the park but the attraction they chose was simply not strong enough to be able to do that. Then throw in the interactive elements that are aimed at a totally different audience from the ride. What we have is a ~$10 million spend on something that looks nice but doesn't achieve what they wanted it to. You only need to look at how quiet this area is even at peak times to see that this is the case.
  11. Richard

    'Mexi Cantina' coming to Dreamworld

    Could just be the pizza oven is kaput for a month so they're bringing Mexican items back from that failed attempt to breath life into Parkway just so they've got something to sell in that prime location. And good to see paper straws? Nope. Plastic straws are wasteful. Paper straws are wasteful AND useless. Would rather see businesses ween functioning adults off sippy cups by not offering straws, period. And for my money the pizza on offer at Dough Bros is pretty much the best simple food on offer at any of our theme parks. Lightyears ahead of the decorated cardboard they call pizza at Movie World and beats any of the parks' attempts at burgers.
  12. Richard

    New Roller-Coaster for Dreamworld

    A few things worth considering: Rivals had a (planned) delay of several months between foundations being laid and track showing up. Like Rivals which started preliminary groundwork in late August, that's already happening at Dreamworld. Reports out of Germany suggest track is already being fabricated. So don't necessarily expect a delay between foundations and vertical construction this time.
  13. Richard

    Sky Voyager Discussion

    Is it a fun ride that will be popular for years to come? Yes. Does it have significant flaws in the ride system, film production and overall ride/pre-ride experience? Yes. Both of these are true statements whether or not you're familiar with similar rides around the world.
  14. Village doesn't own the Wet'n'Wild name in the US so that's a different set of circumstances. The Sydney local market directly impacts the Gold Coast tourism market unlike regional US water parks that have no bearing whatsoever on each other. Maintaining complete ownership of the Wet'n'Wild name in Australia would have been very important to Village in this deal. Not sure why anyone would feel disappointed about losing the WNW name in Sydney. VRTP did their very best to destroy the brand and associated goodwill with that park. It's just a name, logically it was always going to happen and it's in everyone's best interests. Village can restore faith in the WNW brand by investing at the Gold Coast (we're waiting...), Parques Reunidos can draw a line in the sand and operate Raging Waters without the baggage of six failed seasons (they get to disappoint people on their own terms).
  15. Richard

    Volcano Bay - Electricity Pun Olympics

    OK joke's been done. Can we try and stick to commenting on current affairs?