reginaphalange

Sea World ride hours changed?

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I was in the park last weekend and Jet Rescue and the Flume ride both had signs saying opening at 11am as did the battle boats. Does anyone know if that is going to be the case from now on or was it just a one off? It was quite annoying!

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There was talk that they were going to start cutting hours again soon and it's sad to see it happening. While I'm glad to hear that it's only two rides, and it's true that each of those rides may see less that 50 riders in the first hour, I think it's worth saying that all those people who want to ride are still paying guests, and if the park is open at 10, the rides should be open at 10.

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But isn't that 3 rides? And really with BT gone that only leave Sea Viper, the kids area the monorail and skyway and a adventure playground. I guess they are trying to push the people to see the animals first, but I could see some guests upset that they couldn't get to do what they want when they want, after-all when you pay $70 to get in you expect to be all up and running and I'm guessing this would leave some guests unsatisfied which not good for the park, company or the return rate of these guests.

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But isn't that 3 rides? And really with BT gone that only leave Sea Viper, the kids area the monorail and skyway and a adventure playground. I guess they are trying to push the people to see the animals first, but I could see some guests upset that they couldn't get to do what they want when they want, after-all when you pay $70 to get in you expect to be all up and running and I'm guessing this would leave some guests unsatisfied which not good for the park, company or the return rate of these guests.
sea viper was also closed for maintenance and skyway closed as well with signs saying due to high winds.

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This really isn't acceptable, but it's a sign of the VIP epidemic. We all knew something had to give at some point, and, just like the shops on Main St @ MW, i'm sure this is a temporary low season measure. I agree with Joz that all potential riders are paying guests and all should be open, but we can't have cheap-as annual passes, and a fully stocked, staffed and serviced park for a full day, when the attendance peaks somewhere around the patronage of a best & less store in november.

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Well, since people are paying full price for entry into the park TO GO ON RIDES!!!!!!!!!!!! But since they are receiving a lesser product, There should be a discounted weekday/early bird special as compensation.

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Yeah they should charge $70 and give you unlimited entry for all parks. Call it a VIP pass or something.

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My post was a joke of course but it does raise an interesting psychological point. The customers are paying a heavily discounted price yet are still expecting the full product... That's a very tricky model to manage. To be fair though, if SW want to change their ride times that is their choice. It is their business and they are allowed to choose what hours they operate it. Especially when IMO the roses are a secondary attraction at that park.

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DJ, The change in opening times would be fine if VRTP advertised, as a consequence of purchasing the VIP pass, that I would have limited access to the parks (compared to when they were purchased), or that full paying Guests would have limited time to visit the attractions. VRTP management knew exactly what would happen when they introduced the VIP pass (this is of course the second season this pass has been available) and, when you launch a cut price product such as the VIP pass, it is on the understanding that you maximize revenue by increasing casual spend through F&B, retail etc and, subsequently, you amend your offer accordingly so that there is a compelling reason to spend money when you are in the parks (a great example of this is the Disney Annual Pass and the introduction of Mini Bean Bag Plush, Pins, Koosh, Vinylmation, D23 etc). This is something VRTP have failed to introduce - money was spent on the new attractions at the fish farm and on up-charge attractions at Wet 'n' Wierd - however, they have missed the simple fact that 'build it, and they will come'. The simplicity of theming, of creating an environment of escapism upon which theme parks rely. Instead, money is 'saved' by just not opening the stores until the afternoon; by posting signs saying that the outlets will be open at midday, 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock etc. I hate walking through the parks listening to Guests asking where they can buy a drink - people want to spend money. Why should the Guest who arrives when the store opens have any less of an experience than someone who turns up at 2.30pm (who, ironically, is one of the people who is more likely to not spend any money). Why should the interstate Guests; who aren't as lucky as someone like myself and can just pop into the park for an hour when I am bored, have any less of an experience. It is false economy - and, depressingly, there is no way back. Having introduce the VIP pass, there is no way for VRTP to go. We all received the questionnaire online last week asking whether we would prefer to pay $99.00 for the VIP pass, or if we would prefer to spend $129 and receive 10-15% off purchases in the park. VRTP can never again charge full price for entrance - all of Queensland will hold off until the prices are reduced as we all know that the tickets aren't worth full price. Unless... Unless the parks invest heavily into the 'Theme' park. Until they provide a unique and compelling offer. Until they provide that magic 'value for money' proposition which will have the crowds returning to the parks on their own merit. I hope they do. I love the Gold Coast parks; I love Movie World and Sea World and Wet 'n' Wild - and I want a reason to keep returning. Only operating half of the parks for half of the day with half of the staff and half of the rides and attractions is, sadly, not the way to do it. Cheers! Axl.

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I'm not offering an opinion on the subject, just making observations at this point in time. But you make valid points. However I bet you there IS a clause on those passes allowing for a change in operating hours etc. I would also like to say yes I agree the concept is to increase in park spend per head BUT that only works IF people spend. If the passes are being used by kids/teenagers that aren't spending any money then the concept won't work. I do argue though they couldn't return to higher pricing if the climate/market dictates. Disney who you mentioned did just that. Good discussion though. The parks and the VIP model will continue to be an ever evolving business/product.

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the passes are being used by kids/teenagers that aren't spending any money then the concept won't work.

I've always felt like challenging that notion. It might be the case at parks in the US etc, but Australian kids have money, and tend to spend it.

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There is a clause that states they can close entire parks without notice or compensation. I'm looking at you WnW... Obviously, the problem is they've sold a butt load of these VIP passes, and now no one is spending money in the park, and the company almost seem surprised that this has happened. It shouldn't be a shock though, It's long been known that season pass holders don't tend to buy much in the way of souvenirs, so that leaves F&B as the main revenue source in the park. Unfortunately for VRTP, when people can come back any day they like, the captive audience pricing model goes out the window. All of a sudden guests aren't turning up early and staying all day, they are stopping in for a few hours, and eating either side of their visit. Movieworld's F&B is effectively competing against the McDonald's, KFC, and Subway across the road, and when it's $10 for a burger and small chips it's not surprising that it's not going well for them. Solution? $150 for a VIP pass, ($99 is simply too cheap) improve the value, efficiency, and quality of F&B, and include an additional 10% discount on F&B, retail and special events for pass holders. I think those few tweaks would go a long way to fixing things. I don't think the situation is hopeless, but I do think that fleecing the few people who are still spending in the park, while and reducing hours, and the number of attractions on offer is (to put it at its mildest), a short sighted recipe for disaster.

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In relation to the point that VIP members do not spend (myself included), price is only half the story. I love spending money - there is simply nothing to spend it on. The same old T-Shirts, low quality, iron on prints... Where are the collectibles, where are the limited releases, where is my compelling reason to purchase? I used to work for the mouse - back in the days when mini bean bags were the rage - and every Tuesday morning, we would have lines upon lines of people waiting to give us money. Annual passholders (VIPs), begging to buy something. The VIP pass is a fantastic business idea - the trick is to tailor your offer to make people spend; not to price yourself out of the food market and then close everything down so people can't buy anything, even if they want to. Gazza makes a good point; on the Gold Coast people are generally not short of a few quid - give us something to buy! Cheers! Axl.

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I'll back that up. I have gift cards from MyFun for renewing my VIP pass. I've had them for almost 9 months and haven't used them yet - because theres nothing in the park that interests me. All you have to do is look at the items that disney do. Ok fair enough - during Eisner, a lot of the retail outlets sold identical kit in every park across the world - and the same stuff you could get at Disney stores too... but that is slowly changing. HKDL have special edition stuff featured around each chinese new year. Marketing need to think smarter - Do it as a test case, a one off increase to their budget to source, and supply unique, different items for the parks. Plush seals and dolphins won't cut it at SW. Plastic Oscar statues aren't working at MW. You need plush at a park - especially licensed characters for kids, but not the whole shop. And change it up - every 6-12 months \ change in season \ fit your theme (such as white christmas) and bring out different merchandise for that season... just don't order 10,000 of them... order smaller, and change more often. I tell you what too - Wonderland had the right idea at one point - they sourced THOUSANDS of different items, had a graphic designer make up a custom colour \ sized logo for the item, and they slapped a W on everything. These generics are small, don't cost much, AND they tend to be things people will buy because they collect them... Stamps, Hat-pins, Thimbles, Stubby coolers, bottle openers, teaspoons - these items tend to be things people collect as a hobby. All you need to do is make sure you offer 3 or 4 different designs, and change those designs every 6-12 months or whenever you sell out. Movie World used to have these really classy Polo shirts. These I would buy... now, all you can get are screen printed t-shirts with a slightly more childish print than something an adult would buy. Sure, the kids are going to want it "mummy mummy i want that" but its the adults reaching into their pocket to buy it. Over the years, i've purchased a cooler bag, stubby holder, and a few polo shirts \ boxers. The last purchase was more than a year ago as there hasn't been anything worthwhile in the park - it's all the same stuff, and the things that I used to buy - aren't there anymore.

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The majority of our family has the VIP pass, now not one person in that family eats at the park, when they go to WBMW they all get a stamp out, go across the road eat at Macca's or KFC and then come back for the afternoon and they do the same if their at WnW and when their at SW they go to the Macca's at Marina Mirage. We all have a bad taste in our mouth after getting charged too much for food at the park and then eating it and feeling very ripped off at the poor quality. Three people, granted two of them were kids, went to Macca's and spent as much as what one meal at MW cost. We one day went in a big group to the parks and taking friends with us and guess what our family did... don't eat here go across to Macca's its a lot cheaper and so now word spread with them and whole large group left the park, and those people now do the same, my friends don't eat at the park anymore, they go across the road and every time we're getting a stamp out so is a lot of other people and sure enough a couple of minutes later they're ordering across the road with you. What I want is for someone in management to realise this and offer a better tasting, more competitive option at the park and then advertise this heavily to say to customers 'our product has changed, give it another go' Also with merchandise a great example of catering to the crowds was during the DC parade everyone was cramming into the stores to buy superhero merchandise before the parade such as capes and then wearing them during the parade and thats more of what the parks needs to get into to sell more and keep them open. With the parks shorting hours, I've never got it, we've had these hours for how many years and they've never changed, only got shorter, while other parks around the world extend their hours. I've always thought of great marketing campaign it would be to say, hey look we're the only park to open longer than our competition so if you come to us over them then you'll get a longer day and more value for your money. I've always thought it would be a great selling point especially for people who say were undecided between MW and DW, this could be the tipping point and its something I think that WnW haven't pushed enough in summer. Its clear from TPR being here that we really do have excellent parks and that sometimes we can be a little harsh maybe because we're always at them and can notice the small things, but we really I would say we have world class parks and definitely world class attractions, with SE and Dolphin Cove, which i always thought was better than just a tank. But nobody wants to see reductions when its operated as such for so many years, especially when their seeing more people then ever come through the turnstiles.

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I just want to touch on 2 points. One, our parks will never have the brand loyalty of Disney, comparing limited edition collectables us just not realistic. Disney is just one of a kind with regard to customer loyalty and die hard fans that will buy anything they can. Our parks sell souvenirs and that's something tourists, not locals buy. I also think you guys need to get real in that you don't represent the majority of people who aren't dying to buy merch, who buy the pass in order to ride the rides when they want. Secondly the parks can never offer the food maccas sell for the same price. The big chains just have way lower running costs. Now sure I think the parks should offer good quality food, buy it's always gonna cost much more than it would at maccas.

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I know our parks will never be as cheap as the big chains, but as you said djrappa they should offer good quality. I remember some years ago the food quality was good and prices were high but they weren't rude and they offered options. Now granted I haven't been to the parks for a while, nor ordered food from their in much longer but when I ordered I noticed there wasn't as much on offer as their use to be, drinks were put on as an extra and not part of the meal deal and the only drink size I could get was a Large and when I asked did they have smaller size's they told me they didn't stock them anymore, I'm not sure if they still offer the kiddie size? And prices had gone up significantly, not just a small rise. I haven't seen the new Gotham City Cafe, has the menu or offering changed since its refurb. merchandise doesn't interest me, but for people who make the trek up once a year and would generally buy something, they aren't going to buy the same thing they saw last year and bought last year. I agree no company has been able to replicate the brand loyalty of Disney, but Looney Tunes and Batman has always proven to be popular, instead of Mickey ears, maybe Bugs ears? :P The whole VIP issue is interesting and I'm interested to see if they offer the pass again come June and if they tweak it or leave it as is.

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Regarding the assertion that not everyone wants to buy merchandise and especially limited edition collectibles; I may have given the wrong idea of price point. True, I will happily purchase Ltd edition sericels and maquettes , however, I was thinking more along the lines of $10 beanies (branded seasonally) or $5 pins. It doesn't have to be expensive. I have a six year old son who saves up his pocket money and every Saturday will buy a Bakugan or Beyblade or Hot Wheels - it doesn't have to be expensive; it's a constant revenue stream. Soon after the VIP pass was introduced, the first department to adapt to the changing demographic was Food & Beverage. They realized the VIP Guest would not be going for sit down meals and so the offer shifted to grab and go. Unfortunately for us, they then got greedy and started to try and increase GP by increasing prices; by removing drinks from meals until the perception now is that all food is stupidly expensive. Actually it isn't that bad... I went to skilled park last week to watch the Titans - now that is expensive! As a final thought, I know Disney are the masters at manipulating the brand - their cleverest trick is adding 'perceived' value. Their stuff is insanely expensive; the difference is that most magical of sentences to any retailer/attraction... "but it was worth it!". As long as the Guests have a great time, they don't mind spending - and that is the same the world over. And, another final thought (doh!); forget Disnry, if Movie World cannot leverage off the Warner Brothers and DC brands and the Guests truly just want to 'come in and ride rides', then ditch the (very) expensive licenses, don't worry about theming and just buy some off the shelf rides. That will save a stack of cash! Cheers! Axl

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Oh I agree completely! IMO one of the smartest things the parks have done in YEARS is the DC Comics Parade last year, it ticked all the boxes. Firstly, it brought all the VIP pass holders into the park, to check out something new. Secondly by having it almost 'after dark' it was a real point of difference to regular operations/park experience. Similarly by having it at the end of the day it kept guests in the park ALL DAY, it was truly amazing to see main street packed with guests at 5:00pm every day. When you're in the park that long you will buy more food and beverage, even if you've left for lunch, you will most likely have another snack whilst waiting for the parade. Thirdly it was themed and all of the merchandise was branded accordingly so people bought up, not to mention all the cheap flashy toys and stuff guests would buy from on street vendors. Finally it delivered a top notch product! As you said it perfectly, at the end of it all everyone thought "it was worth it." Halloween and Christmas are more good examples of this, frankly I'm surprised we haven't seen anything else so far this year.

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The point I was trying to make with collectibles wasn't to try and emulate disney, but just to reinforce the seasonal aspect, and changing it up. Firstly - you don't need google (Just Bing! will do) to know that there are thousands of people who have closet collections. Spoons, thimbles, hat pins and stamps just to start. Belt buckles, baseball caps, pilsener glasses or beer mugs. Most people have some sort of collection, even if they aren't RABID fans of the product type. I know personally that I will seek out the "hat pin" style pins at every tourist destination, holiday, theme park or whatever, and pick up at least one. Disney pins are obviously easy to come by in each park, but the other parks i've been to (USH, USS, SFMM, SWSD, Knott's and more) all have a selection of pins to choose from, some generic, some just the logo, and some bearing the relevant parks licensed characters. These pins don't cost much, so manufacturing wouldn't, and you could carry 10 or so different styles year round for those collectors. Spoons, Thimbles etc are all the same story. Instead of the same 5 t-shirts in 4 stores in the park, spread them around, and make room for diversity. I'm not sprouting a pin-collector's mecca like a disney park is, i'm just saying, offer things that people will buy simply to "add to the collection". And even then, even if you don't buy that, i'm not just saying to bring in these odd little knick knacks. Bring back a more mature offering - i've a number of polo shirts that I bought from WVTP properties back in about 2001-2004. They simply don't do them anymore in favour of the iron-on transfer t-shirt. I can tell you that i'd buy at least 1 shirt per visit (and more if they were good value or in a buy-one-get-one-for-XXXX combo) so long as they weren't the same shit that had been on the rack for the past 4 years! Original said it best though - whether the VIP demographic is your target audience or not, those who visit periodically may buy the first time, but will stop when they keep seeing the same tired stuff in the same tired stores. Before I moved to queensland, my annual queensland trip involved at least two parks, and i'd always come home with something reasonably valuable from each of them. Now that I live here, I don't do that, but it isn't because I visit so often... its just that the crap in the window never changes!

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Wow so many interesting points here, just going to have to randomly dive in here: * I think the retail division is getting a bit of a bad rap for the products it sells here. They tried the experiment several years ago of trying to sell 3 park branded stuff, and that didn't work, so now, almost everything at the Village theme parks is unique to the park that's selling it. The shirts are mostly designed in house by an incredible graphic artist, and there are some good bargains to be had. I think what axltk421 said about offering more of the sort of stuff that VIP pass holders want is probably right. The thing is, it's not quite as easy as introducing a new product. There's designing, testing, storage, finding the shelf space, and all sorts of other things, so to make it worth while, there has to be some volume to it, and I wonder if collectible stuff would go out at the volume needed to turn a profit (not arguing or disagreeing, just thinking out loud) * Alex mentioned how everything at Wonderland had a 'W' on it, well mostly everything at the Village parks has an appropriate park logo. Compare it to Dreamworld, who've gone more in the direction of having named surf brands and that sort of thing. A huge amount of their stuff doesn't actually Dreamworld written on it. If you haven't noticed, go to emporium at Movieworld, and have a good look at the merchandise, then do the same at Dreamworld; you will notice the difference. * As for Skilled Park, well from my experience, I can say when I'm drunk, there's no price I won't pay for some chips and a pie, and you are a captive audience there. May only be there for 3 hours at a time, but drinking does make you surprisingly hungry, and it's a long walk if you want to wait till after the game for something. It does sort of go along with what I saying though, you aren't a captive audience at the parks any more, it doesn't matter if you 'waste time' going over the road to eat. I suspect that were they to introduce a no pass out policy, you'll just eat before or after your visit instead of in the middle. * I also don't think our parks have to match Maccas, but the prices do need to be more reasonable. Like it or not, they are competing against them, so they can't gouge like they always have done and expect to keep all their customers. * DC parade WAS well done, still think they could have sold more flashy crap, but otherwise perfect. Same high marks for the Xmas and Halloween retail efforts, but I feel I need a need to ask, what happened to the small flashy or glowing crap that used to exist? Why do they only seem to have those giant bloody swords these days?

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