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The Decline Of Movie World


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Hi all, long time reader, first time poster here. I’ve always loved Movie World and feel very lucky that we have it here in Australia. But I have to say, I’m really disappointed in the current state of the park and the absolute nosedive the overall presentation and upkeep of the place has taken recently. I’ve noticed this for a while now, but it really hit home during my visit yesterday and wanted to share my thoughts here. The park was the worst I’ve ever seen it, so bad it was embarrassing. The place just feels so tired with overgrown gardens full of weeds, cracked buildings and cement, faded signs and cobwebs at every turn. While these things could be easily overlooked, they are so consistent throughout the park that it is extremely noticeable and it doesn’t get much better when you look at the attractions themselves. 

As many on here have already discussed, Justice league is in an appalling state right now with countless issues throughout the attraction. Every time I ride it, it just gets worse and worse. Some of the “highlights” include “No Signal” and “Check Input” notifications being displayed on the pre-show screens, the Cyborg animatronic being way off-sync with his audio, the majority of other animatronic characters throughout the ride not moving at all, multiple audio/lighting cues not triggering, frozen/out of sync screens and perhaps worst of all, non-working laser guns (has happened on all of my recent ride throughs no matter what vehicle I was in). There was also plenty of damaged/worn scenery that hasn’t been mended.

Scooby Doo is also in very poor condition with many of the new “upgraded” effects either not working at all or terribly out of sync. Other areas such as the weird “mirror smash” section in the disco room was covered in dust and cobwebs and looked terrible.   

None of the interactive effects in the Doomsday precinct were working either.

There are so many things that the park used to do well that have now been neglected. One of these areas is atmosphere. Movie World used to be full of energy at every turn with music accompanying you wherever you went. Today, as soon as you leave main street, there is barely any background music being played, with some areas in complete silence. The worst offender for this is the Looney Tunes Kids area, which has absolutely no background music playing at all and has been sitting in silence for months now. Many of the speakers in the area are broken (and very noticeable to the public) and this (along with the overgrown gardens, damaged theming etc.) has made the land feel bland, boring and more or less a dead space, when it should be the exact opposite.

There are so many other things I could harp on about, but I think you’ve heard enough of my ranting. I understand I may sound a little nit-picky and am sorry to be so negative (especially on my first post). But this disappointment stems from my love for the park. Movie World and VRTP can do so much better, they have in the past and can in the future. This is arguably one of the only fully fledged theme parks we have in Australia that is capable of competing on an international level. It’s so close to being an amazing park or even a world class park in today’s market. The foundations are there, but there are currently so many little things that prevent that from being the case and that’s the most heartbreaking part. Simple things like attending to the gardens, repainting/repairing signs and architecture and just turning on background music will make a huge difference. While these are admittedly minor things, they make a huge difference to the overall quality of the experience and the guests will notice. But unfortunately, VRTP don’t seem to be interested in any of that right now. It seems their number one goal at the moment is to cut costs and squeeze every last dollar out of the park. Here’s hoping things will change.             

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Over the past few months I have been pondering the question...When did Movieworld lose its magic' 

Was it the closure of Police Academy for the bogan-fueled SD? 

Was it the lacklustre 'improvements' to Scooby?

Do we even go as far back and say the magic ended with the literal closure of the Special Effects show?

I remember recently travelling by bus to the park... And a family of tourists were sitting close by excitedly talking about what they were going to ride when they got there while I silently ticked off the rides in my head that were closed and thinking of the disappointment they might feel when they discovered the truth. 

I guess your pictures put into words the general feeling I have towards MW atm. All substance, no style. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@jozIt wouldn’t surprise me if the problems are out of managements hands.  I have a few theories.

1. The company that purchased VR had a shocking year and lost a lot of money so maybe they have been told to rein in the spending.

2. VR had major staffing issues over Christmas and maybe this hasn't been  100% sorted.

3. Covid.

 

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12 minutes ago, New display name said:

@jozIt wouldn’t surprise me if the problems are out of managements hands.  I have a few theories.

1. The company that purchased VR had a shocking year and lost a lot of money so maybe they have been told to rein in the spending.

2. VR had major staffing issues over Christmas and maybe this hasn't been  100% sorted.

3. Covid.

 

the only one of those that actually would make sense is the 1st one, hoping the last one is just an added in joke…

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I have considered making a similar thread for quite awhile, the Villains area is in particular need of attention.

I have noticed a large difference since BGH took control, the parks have raised prices on everything but the quality/standard has fallen. I have no problem with a One Pass being $189 currently, but the park should be operating at the same or better standards than when they were at $139.

For example it's near impossible to get VQ reservations for the major attractions now on a weekend only an hour after opening as the allocation is much smaller to push Fast Track/One Shot's.

23 minutes ago, New display name said:

2. VR had major staffing issues over Christmas and maybe this hasn't been  100% sorted.

The only department I am aware of having staffing issues and are continually advertising for staff is Show & Entertainment, not surprising considering someone with strong vocal ability is only paid $26.69 an hour part time.

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If I had to hazard a guess at why there's been such a downturn in quality overall it could be something as simple as they've got very little in the way of competition and even when they had multiple rides out of commission the park was still as busy as it could be so from a success side of things the people in charge don't see there's anything wrong. People are coming to our park in droves and not going to the one down the road = we're doing everything right so why spend money on fixing/tidying things. It's obviously a bad attitude to have but it happens to a lot of companies when they're at the top. Being at the top and pretty much unopposed means you don't have to try as hard to win over every guest.

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10 hours ago, joz said:

But I don't think even with that you get to have screens that say 'check input'.

100%. That’s just embarrassing. 
 

MW need to turn this negative into a positive.

Yes, closing a ride that is only 10 years old with half decent theming (when it’s working) is unfortunate, but you’ve got a decent sized show building ready to go to house the best dark ride Australia has ever seen. 

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TBH it's a pretty small building, I doubt you'd get much more ride in there than is already there. It's also flanked on a couple of sides so you can't expand it easily. I don't think it's worth getting rid of, but I think it is worth getting back up to a standard. Not sure how involved that is, but I would suggest the first step would be to check the input.

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Just put another motion simulator ride with extensive queue theming like it was when it was Batman. Sure it's probably nostalgia speaking but the atmosphere around that queue/pre-show experience was so cool even if the ride itself was a bit predictable. 

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5 hours ago, joz said:

TBH it's a pretty small building, I doubt you'd get much more ride in there than is already there. It's also flanked on a couple of sides so you can't expand it easily. I don't think it's worth getting rid of, but I think it is worth getting back up to a standard. Not sure how involved that is, but I would suggest the first step would be to check the input.

Agreed, it's actually a very small show building. I believe it's one of the reasons they couldn't have vehicles with freedom of movement to rotate etc. - there's simply not enough room in there for the required clearance. Sally managed to squeeze the ride into a small space. But even with the vehicles they used there are issues where they back up due to the small unload/load area and the ride then gets out of sync.

Edited by GoGoBoy
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To add to the JL problems and don't know if i mentioned this yet, but each screen was doing something different. Your 3 alleyway scenes had 1 screen off but still taking points, 1 in 2D and the other was over 3D'd. Like for that to work you would need to view it from the car park. The ghosting was bad even with the glasses on. Then the others set on the ship were all 2d.

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Yeah, just on the staff shortages thing "because Covid" or whatever.  To the paying customer when they can seem to find plenty enough staff to wheel around popcorn or churro wagons or operate cheap upcharge carny games but can't adequately staff the attractions people have paid for you tend to feel pretty ripped off.  I appreciate these are differing skillsets, but we are talking about by-and-large unskilled labour here for both, and Covid ain't new.

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It seemed like they had been replacing a lot of that old style speakers and audio with new Qsys equipment when we went over the holidays. Like the new overhaul at road runner is a good example. But why the hell do you need to leave the old equipment just laying there too? throw it out if it's been replaced or no longer in use. 

There is no way around it, they need to start spending money in park presentation, then focus on problems with existing rides and get things sorted and up to date if they even care about improving on their investment. 

I don't agree that the company (BGH) had a shocking year and told village to reign in spending because of it though. If they told village properties to tighten the budget it's because it's their management decision (perhaps they feel there is too much bloat and they are leaning out the company to see where the money goes?), not because they had a bad year. BGH don't do yearly, it's simply not how private equity works. They start by seeking partners to invest in a private equity fund which is used to provide capital for future investment purchases. These partners are typically things like super funds, pension funds, foundations, government/ sovereign funds, other investment groups, etc. They aren't shareholders trading shares on a publicly listed company, they are investors in this fund only and all the assets it has acquired. The private equity firm manages the fund and it's acquisitions, forming a partnership with the fund investors. It's literally designed to acquire private assets with a promise of return when the asset is sold, not by paying out yearly dividends in share trading. This is the difference with a private equity investment. 

The management firm uses the fund to buy assets at what they feel is below their value, they invest in strengthening the companies over the course of a few years, aiming to unload them within say 5-7 years at a profit.  This is how the partnership makes their money, it's longer term investments of maybe up to 10 years. The management firm retain the control of their investments as the companies purchased no longer have shareholders to respond to. They charge fees to the partnership for their investment services and receive a share of the profits when assets are sold or traded from within the fund. If you do well, partners get return on their investments and they all share the profits, the management firm develops a reputation for these investments and they find new partners to work with in another new (separate) private equity fund. If you do bad.... well... their aren't too many poorly performing private equity firms. They tend to go bankrupt or get their assets absorbed in a take over of their own. 

BGH is a relatively new company, but they raised about 2.5 billion in capital for their first investment fund when they formed. They have their hands in so many things it's crazy. I just found out the other day that all the fresh bread and baked goods you see in a lot of supermarkets like IGA, Drakes, etc are supplied by a company owned by BGH. You'll even find them in some coles stores supplying their sour doughs, turkish breads, french sticks, etc. In short, if you see any baked goods with Laurent in the title, it's supplied by them. Check next time you are grocery shopping.

They've bought into education, health care, security and produce, along with their entertainment options as part of their initial fund. They literally just raised another 3 billion dollars capital for their second investment fund. They aren't having a bad year. They also aren't in the business of making poor investments.

The question is when will we see a spend within village properties or because they purchased so well during the massive covid down turn, do they just need to continue business as usual and wait for the covid recovery to make money for them? Clark Kirby is still in control of operations, just keep that in mind. Remember they initially offered nearly double their eventual take over offer before covid hit. More of the same from village could mean hundreds of millions of dollars profit just from purchasing at the right time. 

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30 minutes ago, Levithian said:

I just found out the other day that all the fresh bread and baked goods you see in a lot of supermarkets like IGA, Drakes, etc are supplied by a company owned by BGH. You'll even find them in some coles stores supplying their sour doughs, turkish breads, french sticks, etc. In short, if you see any baked goods with Laurent in the title, it's supplied by them.

Does this mean VRTPs will start serving an improved bread offering beyond the stale products currently on offer?

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On 31/03/2022 at 1:20 PM, Levithian said:

It's literally designed to acquire private assets with a promise of return when the asset is sold,  
 

My thoughts when BGH purchased Village was it wouldn't surprise me if they spit the parks up and sold them off separately.

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On 31/03/2022 at 1:20 PM, Levithian said:

It seemed like they had been replacing a lot of that old style speakers and audio with new Qsys equipment when we went over the holidays. Like the new overhaul at road runner is a good example. But why the hell do you need to leave the old equipment just laying there too? throw it out if it's been replaced or no longer in use. 

The new speakers have only been installed around new/upgraded rides. All the existing background music speakers (such as those in Looney Tunes Village) have been completely neglected, hence why there hasn’t been anything playing there for so long. 

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