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LP57

Why visit 2 theme parks instead of the same theme park twice?

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I am currently a final year university student undertaking a dissertation on whether innovation can cause repeat visitation to the same theme park. I am trying to find out how significant an impact innovation has on potential visitors when deciding to visit theme parks. If you have visited two different theme parks I would like to know why you chose to visit a different theme park instead of returning to the first one you visited? Do you think that innovation such as new rides, shows, new areas of the park or improvements to existing rides, shows and the use of mobile applications and devices could have caused you to return to the first park instead of visiting a different theme park? I would also like to know how your experience was affected by the park's use of technology (e.g. mobile apps to find out wait times or to book fastpass tickets)or by new rides, shows and themed restaurants?
Any information provided will be kept anonymous and confidential and would be greatly appreciated

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Do you have any knowledge of how the theme park ticketing works on the GC?

Seaworld, Movieworld & Wet N Wild are accessed with the same annual pass, if you can visit 3 different parks, why wouldn't you. 

For those that only purchase one of the two annual passes/memberships each year, that would be determined largely on what new attractions had opened or were planned for the following year 

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13 minutes ago, LP57 said:

If you have visited two different theme parks I would like to know why you chose to visit a different theme park instead of returning to the first one you visited?

Because I either haven't been there before, haven't been there in a long time, or won't be in the country for long and need to fit in as much as I can.

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Do you think that innovation such as new rides, shows, new areas of the park or improvements to existing rides, shows and the use of mobile applications and devices could have caused you to return to the first park instead of visiting a different theme park?

Yes - however more so just the new rides/improvements - however they would have to be decent improvements to warrant a re-visit. Mobile stuff I don't care for as I prefer to keep my phone in a locker. 

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I would also like to know how your experience was affected by the park's use of technology (e.g. mobile apps to find out wait times or to book fastpass tickets)or by new rides, shows and themed restaurants?

As above with mobile. New rides/new stuff in general can help the experience be a more positive one. 

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In the Gold Coast we're lucky enough to have 5 theme parks within a short drive of each other. 

I have two passes. One gets me into two of the parks whenever I want for the next two years. The other lasts indefinitely as long as I continue to pay a tiny amount of money each month, and gets me into the other three parks whenever I want. 

Why then would I limit myself to only visiting one of the parks?

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What a crappy topic for a dissertation.

What makes you go to McDonald's every day instead of having KFC or Oporto or Nandos or Hungry Jacks? Everyone has something different. If you like the variety, why wouldn't you do them all and change it up a bit?

Nobody likes a big mac everyday - even if they serve your fries in a little metal basket, and you can order without having to repeat it to the 16 year old child 4 times, and have it brought to your table - it's still just a big mac. Sometimes you want a whopper instead.

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My situation is different as I vist the Gold Coast once a year for holiday and do the 3 main parks (MW,DW,SW) regardless of what is or isn't new in the parks and once I've been to a particular park in my yearly vist then I don't go back again until the following year.

If I were a native of SE QLD then things would be a little different, but that's my point of view as an out of towner

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Well, since this forum mainly covers the Gold Coast parks, I'll do a brief bit about my experience there.

Went there last year with some of my family. They'd done all the parks there before, so simply got the ticket so they could do the usual (Movie World, Wet n Wild, Sea World). However, my wife and I hadn't, so we decided to do a separate trip to Dreamworld (which was fair enough, nothing special, not as good as Movie World in our opinion).

Why did we want to do Dreamworld, even though we'd been told it wasn't as good before we went? Simply, to do something different. It was our first time there (and so far, our only time there - though we will return) and we enjoy our theme parks. As such, even the chance to ride Escape From Madagascar will be leapt at by us.

And now that we're moving to Australia, we're keeping an eye on developments. New stuff at Movie World! Potentially a new theme park! Both of these have us excited, and roughly in equal measure (since it's much less likely the new theme park will be pulled off). A new ride at Movie World would definitely be ridden by us, and whilst we're excited for that, we're also saddened that we won't be able to ride the upcoming ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (not our home park, but it may as well be) before we leave.

Slight tangent - we're also happy that we got to ride Smiler at Alton Towers before the accident. Not all roller coasters (or rides in general) are the same, and we like experiencing them. Also happy that we got on Disaster Transport and Wildcat at Cedar Point, Jaws and Back To The Future at Universal, and some Skull Mountain water ride at Six Flags America before they went.

As I say, rides can be vastly different. Compare something like the Grand National or Wild Mouse at Blackpool Pleasure Beach to, say, Scooby Doo or Superman at Movie World. Completely different experiences (even though Scooby Doo is somewhat related to Wild Mouse coasters).

Technology - we don't really use the new stuff at parks. Mostly we see the queues and make a judgement call, or see one of the signs giving queue time updates. However, we do use Disney's "fast pass" queue-for-you thing at their parks, which is still pretty low-tech - simply get a fast-pass ticket for a particular time on a particular ride, for free. That way you should get to go on a fair number of rides in the day.

Going back to the first (and second) questions, when you're at a theme park you experience the park AND the rides. It depends entirely on what you want. I've been to Movie World and been on Scooby Doo a few times, but it's still fun. I'll quite happily go on it again. I've been to Florida before and Universal and Islands of Adventure are practically next door to each other - we've been in Islands, then Universal, and then back into Islands in the same day, just to experience different rides. Conversely, you can be quite happy in the same park obviously - we spent two days in a row at Cedar Point, and also at Disneyland Paris.

Think of it like a buffet with different tables offering different foods, and mix and match as you like.

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Long story short - yes, "innovation" can get me to visit the same park twice over visiting another park, because we all like something new - though it is obviously more noticeable when it's a new ride. I don't visit a park for the restaurants, or for shows, and I don't care about my mobile phone telling me that such-and-such-a-ride has short queues. Give me new rides, or ride improvements, any day.

Look at the amount of people who went to the Harry Potter world at Islands Of Adventure, for instance - so popular they decided to open one next door at Universal Studios!

Looking at your questions individually:

1 - why visit a different theme park instead of just one? As I've mentioned, to try different things. Going back to Florida, as it's a prime example of people visiting different parks for different reasons, look at all the Disney parks - Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Studios, plus the water parks. Then you've got Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Universal, IoA, other water parks, Legoland, a few other tiny tiny parks nobody really bothers with... the major ones stay in business because of their rides and franchises. Like Disney and Harry Potter? Well, that's a minimum of two parks. Want to do some kick-ass coasters? Busch Gardens has loads, and IoA has Hulk and Dragon Challenge, not to mention Universal has some good ones, and SeaWorld too. Four parks there.

2 - innovation? Well, if it's a new ride then I'm interested. Anything else - not so much. Though if a ride has been rethemed to make it quite a different experience then I'll have a look. Lightwater Valley here in the UK rethemed their "Sewer Rat" ride into "Raptor Attack". Basically, it's a roller coaster in pitch black, and always has been as Sewer Rat. All Raptor Attack did was add some dinosaurs and strobe lighting that comes on as you pass certain bits, which improves it quite a lot as it scares the living daylights out of kids.

3 - technology in parks, well, I'm not the target market - at least not yet. I think they're targeted at families with kids who have to make the best use out of their time, book character meals and so on. In a few years, possibly. As it stands, I'll just "eyeball" the length of the queue, or use the boards in some parks which displays wait times. When we go to the Pleasure Beach we'll just pass rides and decide, as we go, what we fancy going on and whether the queue looks acceptable, and the same for restaurants really.

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