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Sea World's wooden coaster delays changes the theme park landscape this summer – potentially for the better


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Sea World's wooden coaster delays changes the theme park landscape this summer – potentially for the better

With Sea World's Leviathan delayed until 2022, Village Roadshow prepare to lean on a lineup of new attractions at Movie World, Wet'n'Wild and Paradise Country for the forthcoming summer. Dreamworld are set to benefit by not sharing the limelight when they launch the Steel Taipan roller coaster later this year.

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Interesting article and its great to get insight but it seems to be preaching to the choir.

It points out problems with supplies and professionals being core reasons as to why the rides wont be opening this summer, but for many people that wont matter. The general public will see the large, mostly constructed roller coaster at Sea World and wonder why they heard about that project first yet Dreamworld has managed to finished theirs before it. It's an unfortunately bad look for the theme park and beyond educating the masses, there is very little they can do.

For most people they will lose in the court of public opinions. Another shortcoming for a theme park that desperately needs attention and sadly people aren't going to settle for 'We're sorry for your less than stellar day, but be sure to come back in a few months when it's better!'

I still think the Easter opening is incredibly risky. Yes, things are dicey now - But we are on track to have 90%+ of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021. Easter will be most families opportunity to travel after the Dec/Jan school holidays and if international travel is open then I can imagine that a lot of families will be using that opportunity to visit overseas relatives, catch up with friends or visit their favourite international destinations and considering that the government has already insinuated that they will let Australian's out before letting tourists in then I imagine that there are going to be some quiet theme parks in Australia. 

 

Edited by Dom
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I don’t think that MOST people will think that at all. Sure most theme park enthusiasts my think that, but majority of people visiting the park (especially those visiting from interstate) will just see a ride opening soon and be eager to get to come back and ride it. It’s not like these same people have been visiting the park for 2 years and are sick of waiting. 
 

I’d also say there will be just as many people desperate for an interstate getaway (many because they can’t afford OS trips) as there will deserting the country on the still expensive and relatively  low numbered flights out of it. 

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4 minutes ago, Park Addict 93 said:

I do hope they include the bat nipple suit from Batman Forever.

I did actually love this brief diversion in the article because it was so out of nowhere. 

"So look, coaster ain't on it's way... BUT MEERKATS ARE"

My wallet leapt out of my pants and straight into a One Pass. 

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Kiwi's keen to get out of New Zealand and we love the Gold Coast so when we can travel we will be visiting the parks for sure, looking like Jan / Feb 2022. Good to see the Village Roadshow Theme Parks still investing in the parks and the Atlantis project I recall is around around $50 million. Delays are frustrating but that's the covid world we live in. 

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Thanks for the great article - an excellent summary of this multi year saga. I do think April will be a challenge for them. But perhaps an even bigger challenge will be convincing the Australian public that wooden coasters can be just as worthy as steel coasters

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That was an excellent read.

I do have to agree, even though Leviathan is still yet to open this summer at Sea World, all these other additions coming to both Village and Dreamworld parks should be enough to make this summer "the best summer ever" for the Gold Coast and the tourism industry. Not to mention the night events, the return of Dreamworld Express and Dreamworld's plans for the summer due to arrive these holidays also, looking forward to see how everything goes.

Yeah, these two may miss the party:

- Leviathan at SW

- Trident at SW

But we have these to make up for it:

- New waterslides and water activities at WNW

- Meerkats at PC

- New studio showcase at MW

- Revamped rides at MW

- Opening of Steel Taipan at DW

- Revamped Dreamworld Express

- And the day and night events covering the course of the Summer Holidays...

Edited by Im Hungry
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8 minutes ago, DaptoFunlandGuy said:

One observation - the article talks about Sea World narrowly avoiding the worst of the timber shortage, but in the next breath:

I noticed this on second read as well. It mentions that Sea World avoided the timber problem, then says it's one of the primary reasons why it got delayed. 

A lot of the excuses seem very convenient, especially as you mentioned the ride was meant to be opened pre-pandemic. It's easy to point the finger at external influences but I think the real reason is exactly what you said - a calculated 'non-compete' move. 

It allows them to halt construction around the holiday season, recoup some dosh from the parks over this same period, and then start fresh come the new year. I don't think people would blame the company for doing this. Ever since Wonderland swung their arms around like a helicopter trying to point the blame at anybody but themselves, the whole situation just comes off as disingenuous.

I feel like Richard probably didn't write this article alone and had some insider information, but I wouldn't exactly trust the source to be providing the right information, just the best information that reflects positively on the business. 

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I think something has gotten lost in translation here. 
The first paragraph in the article is referring to them missing the shortage of timber supply that is now the case. Ie, availability and cost. 
Now once you’ve bought it, getting it here is a very different story. And the logistics of shipping from Europe say to America are also very different. 
Likewise is bringing people in from Europe and the US. 
You also have to remember that Leviathan needed experts the whole way through. The other rides need some commissioning right at the end. 
So the two projects can’t really be compared on the above points. 
 

But FWIW ST was meant to open last month so in the end both rides will open with the same delay. So maybe we can compare after all 😛

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6 minutes ago, rappa said:

But FWIW ST was meant to open last month so in the end both rides will open with the same delay. So maybe we can compare after all 😛

Steel Taipan was originally meant to open late 2020 and will open late 2021 so about a one year delay. Trident will open two years late and Leviathan one year and four months late... there's your facts only comparison.

16 minutes ago, rappa said:

You also have to remember that Leviathan needed experts the whole way through. The other rides need some commissioning right at the end. 

So they had them on-site last year in August when construction started and went vertical, then sent them back home stalling construction knowing that in a years time Covid would ramp up and they would delay the ride opening again? Very big brain of VRTP...

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22 minutes ago, rappa said:

But FWIW ST was meant to open last month so in the end both rides will open with the same delay. So maybe we can compare after all 😛

We never had an official opening date released for Taipan, let alone during September pieces of theming and what not were still going to place so it couldn't have "meant to open" then anyway. From what I've seen, the majority moved on past the 1 year delay given a late, very late-2021 opening is looming by...

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Hmmmm 

 

Seaworld-

Unfortunately we have had to suspend and significantly defer opening of the final 2 rides in our Atlantis precinct- specifically the Trident Starflyer and Leviathan wooden coaster. This is due to COVID related issues that have contributed to the delay. It has been completely unavoidable.

Luna Park Sydney-

Hang on. Hold my beer. 

Gears up to reopen an entirely new ,refurbished precint totalling 9 new rides, 3 new coasters, on time and on budget.

 

😆

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1 hour ago, MrLukeCarroll said:

 

 

Very big brain of VRTP...

 

I think its an absurd stretch to say VRTP lacked thinking by not predicting the country’s Covid response, travel restrictions and worldwide situation a hear in advance. Especially given our government didn’t even know. Come on. 
 

Given some people here insist in being pedantic about dates and times for some reason I should clarify my comments about ST delay were more meaning just they are both delayed. And given one is entirely more complex to construct than the other, its all pretty understandable. 

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17 hours ago, Dom said:

It points out problems with supplies and professionals being core reasons as to why the rides wont be opening this summer, but for many people that wont matter.

No it doesn't. It points out that pandemic related delays gets us to now, but the further delays to April seem to be driven by business decisions.

17 hours ago, Dom said:

Yes, things are dicey now - But we are on track to have 90%+ of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021.

Hence the article expressly stating that decisions were almost certainly made amid lockdowns and the shambles of a vaccine rollout months ago. Disagree with the decisions all you want, just acknowledge when they would likely have been made.

17 hours ago, Dom said:

I did actually love this brief diversion in the article because it was so out of nowhere. 

"So look, coaster ain't on it's way... BUT MEERKATS ARE"

It's literally in the first sentence that Village are relying on a slate of other new attractions without the coaster. The entire premise is that there's every possibility it'll be a decent summer for Village without Leviathan, and likely even a better summer for Dreamworld as a result.

2 hours ago, DaptoFunlandGuy said:

it seems a bit rich to blame shipping delays and material shortages when materials were already on site, and global shipping had about the same impact on Taipan as it did on Leviathan. 

No one's blaming timber shortages. It was outright dismissed as a plausible reason for delays; we all saw how construction progressed at a steady pace once it started (albeit behind schedule). There's possibilities that the timber cost more than originally planned and that may have affected when and how it was supplied (depending on contracts, who's fitting the bill for market fluctuations etc.), but it has never been unobtainable.

You're right that shipping delays probably ended up having about the same impact on Steel Taipan and Leviathan given physical construction on both wrapped up around the same time.

1 hour ago, MrLukeCarroll said:

Steel Taipan was originally meant to open late 2020

Despite the non-committal "late" provided publicly, Steel Taipan was absolutely planned to be operational by September 2020. Leviathan was originally earmarked for December 2020. Make of that what you will; it's splitting hairs when both rides have suffered different avoidable and unavoidable delays.

2 hours ago, Dom said:

I feel like Richard probably didn't write this article alone and had some insider information, but I wouldn't exactly trust the source to be providing the right information, just the best information that reflects positively on the business. 

This article is entirely my words and opinions. I speak with industry sources all the time but no one person, company or viewpoint coloured this article. Most of it is simply educated speculation and I'm not exactly going out on a limb with any of it. The first 750 words are a play-by-play of avoidable and unavoidable delays over the past few years. The remainder is a fairly succinct synopsis of what summer will look like for VRTP, including the thin attraction count and the optics of numerous dormant rides at Sea World, while also spelling out how Dreamworld will benefit here. I called it a comedy of errors in the second last sentence... who's this apparent puff piece for exactly?

Is there a particular piece of information you think is wrong, or that I chose to omit or spin? Is something more sinister at play with the delays?

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48 minutes ago, rappa said:

I think its an absurd stretch to say VRTP lacked thinking by not predicting the country’s Covid response, travel restrictions and worldwide situation a hear in advance. Especially given our government didn’t even know. Come on. 

I was pointing out you saying they needed specific people the whole way through construction yet those people would have had to have been in the country constructing it last year and then sent back home when things stalled way before Covid hit.

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I'm not really sure what you're getting at?

The project was halted during the middle of Covid as we well know, like everything else. 
So of course people would have to have come here after the border was shut in March 2020.

Are you implying that this isn't true and the article is making up reasons why the project is late?

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1 minute ago, rappa said:

I'm not really sure what you're getting at?

The project was halted during the middle of Covid as we well know, like everything else. 
So of course people would have to have come here after the border was shut in March 2020.

Are you implying that this isn't true and the article is making up reasons why the project is late?

I'm saying if one of the big reasons behind the delays is getting people into the country how did they start construction and why did the stalls happen before that current wave of lockdowns, if the people were here to start construction why were they sent home before this current wave hit?

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Very valid points Richard and I promise that I'm not trying to attack or tear apart your article, merely provide my side of things to promote healthy discussion. I want to reiterate that I think you've made some excellent points, but there are still things I don't agree with. 

1 hour ago, Richard said:

It points out that pandemic related delays gets us to now, but the further delays to April seem to be driven by business decisions.

Fair point, I misinterpreted a part of the article directly after "The ultimate reasons for Leviathan's delays seem to be about as predictable and humdrum as you'd expect." That's my bad!

1 hour ago, Richard said:

Hence the article expressly stating that decisions were almost certainly made amid lockdowns and the shambles of a vaccine rollout months ago.

That's a bold stance to take when mentioning that most of the article educated speculation. Staff and guests a like were privy to the information since last week. There is nothing that indicates the decision was made weeks or months ago, and speculating such a thing places a lot of faith that is all part of their business decisions. 

1 hour ago, Richard said:

It's literally in the first sentence that Village are relying on a slate of other new attractions without the coaster.

I honestly missed that first paragraph. From my experience with blogs I usually just go straight to whatever is under the main image and author information which is my bad. 

I think my main disagreement with the article is that its not written as conjecture, but insinuates that these are the current play of events which is what made me assume that there was a third party involved regarding insider information. There is a lot of faith placed in the conclusions that are made within the article, and whilst that would be fine with evidence to back it up, it does bring up questionable neutrality considering we don't know if there is something further at play here. Personally speaking to others in the industry they believe the decision is considerably suspicious, and whilst its safe to assume that it's solely a business decision, it could also be giving credit where it's not due. It paints the situation very positively, whilst also taking the opportunity to highlight some of Dreamworld's historic downfalls, but we don't know whether positivity is earned yet.

VRTP has been very open with their launch dates and have so far missed almost all of them. Vortex was originally slated for late 2019, a time pre-pandemic, but missed the mark and then got muddled in with COVID. Trident was for April 2021, a ride whose pieces seem to have only arrived on-site in the last couple of weeks, and Leviathan has been covered extensively. First late 2020, then June 2021, then late 2021, and now Easter 2022. I really don't see how this inspires any faith. 

I think it's a good opportunity to showcase why Dreamworld, a theme park which has fumbled its way along in the last decade, has managed to have such a smooth opening despite the same hurdles which face Sea World and I also don't think it touches on the mess that is Trident anywhere near enough.

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1 hour ago, Richard said:

What are your suspicions?

Personally? Rumours suggest that something has happened behind the scenes causing an additional delay but considering its on the backbone of several other delays they're dressing it up to be a simple business decision. I think if they could open, they would open.

Also @Jobe brings up a really good point that I feel is ignored. Luna Park Sydney is still on-track to open 9 new rides by the end of the year. Their project was announced during the pandemic, has been at the epicentre of one of Australia's worst outbreaks and is still chugging along despite the NSW situation. If anybody has a good excuse, it's them. But come next week they're expected to open their 8 new rides and the single rail is still on-track for December. 

I'm fine with delays. They are a part of the industry and there is nothing you can do about them. But I hate being treated like an idiot by businesses that think we can't think for themselves. From what I can gather your conclusion is derived from talks within VRTP that suggest this is a business decision, so I'm placing this on you. But the suggestion that delaying a landmark attraction for 'business reasons' before one of the most critical periods in the industry seems almost as daft as Apple coming out and saying removing the headphone port was 'courage'. They hope that people wont look any deeper, but when you do it ultimately makes sense. 

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