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Dreamworld sits in a state of limbo following its toughest year ever

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That's an interesting, but depressing read. I really do hope they have some plan going forward. It does seem embarrassing if they put the old mine ride back into operation. You wouldn't think any kind of sprucing would get it back up to scratch. Surely, it's time to bite the bullet and purchase some family friendly e-ticket attractions.

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So sad to read the park is in such a sad state, next year will actually be the first year we go and have no intention of going to Dreamworld (although I will be stopping by the Lego store to pick up some exclusive sets). I'm hopeful that Dreamworld will make some out-of-left field announcement regarding a new ride or development but reading that article and seeing the pics doesn't give me much hope at all. Which is a shame because the staff were some of the best I've come across at any theme park, but the park in its current condition is just an eyesore.

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ardent really needs to go they don't GAS anymore if they are going to sell the park to someone who cares and will bring it back to life than they better do it now while they still can.

Edited by bladex
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13 hours ago, MickeyD said:

Spot on read there. Thanks Parkz Crew for delivering the hard facts of our beloved DW as it continues to struggle.

It's difficult to watch as the progress of development inside is running so slow that the ageing line up of attractions appears to be falling further and further behind. 

It is becoming sadly obvious that Ardent are deliberately dragging their feet until the Coronial inquest is finalised. I believe this is somewhat of a guise to Shareholders etc that Ardent remain committed to a future DW.  Carrying out work on revitalizing Mine ride , Log ride, WipeOut etc but doing it all at such a Glacial pace that the rest of the Park is falling apart around them - all with little to know contingency. Hmm.. 

My fearful prediction is this is all intentional stalling. A muti-gazillion dollar court ruling would lead to inevitable closing the gates once more by mid 2018 - Only this time for good (at least as we know it today anyway).

I hope I am wrong. The only good thing I can see coming out of all this is Ardent is found negligent and charged. They sell off the DW asset and bow out of Theme Parks all together. GC City Council steps in to preserve DW as a sort of Heritage listing, preventing it from ever being anything other than a Theme Park. New Owners buy it for a song, commit sizeable Capital into new Attractions and remove all the old dated crap. The Park closes for an extended time (say a year) reopens all shiny and new..

Guess we will have to wait and see? I sincerely feel for the Staff that have been part of the DW family for a longtime. No matter what the future holds, I hope their loyalty can somehow be salvaged.

It is does look like dreamworld is slowly  dying I lived in sydney and I was there for the end of wonderland sydney and sega world. Now I live north of Brisbane’s but am a regular to our Gold Coast parks. Movie world is smashing out world class rides but dreamworld has built average rides for too long and now after these deaths dreamworld has done nothing still Memorial (I was there’s two weeks ago and asked what’s happening was told they haven’t asked the family if it is ok to build it yet). 

A lot of rides are down for maintenance but I hope I’m wrong but I do A very hard year 2018 hopefully dreamworld is still open or with a new company runnning it. It’s a great opportunity for another theme park group to take over and bring the public back

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17 hours ago, MickeyD said:

My fearful prediction is this is all intentional stalling. A muti-gazillion dollar court ruling would lead to inevitable closing the gates once more by mid 2018 - Only this time for good (at least as we know it today anyway).

I hope I am wrong. The only good thing I can see coming out of all this is Ardent is found negligent and charged. They sell off the DW asset and bow out of Theme Parks all together. GC City Council steps in to preserve DW as a sort of Heritage listing, preventing it from ever being anything other than a Theme Park. New Owners buy it for a song, commit sizeable Capital into new Attractions and remove all the old dated crap. The Park closes for an extended time (say a year) reopens all shiny and new..

 

God you talk a lot of nonsense. Have you heard of this thing called insurance? 

What are the council going to do? Cough up a couple hundred million and go into business themselves with a board that is basically voted in by popular vote every 4 years and not on their abilities?

That would bankrupt the park, the shareholders and probably the council too. 

Life will go on. I wonder if they lost any staff after the accident that might be making things harder as far as annual maintenance goes. Given all that has happened, it would have made a mess of your schedules after all the inspections, losing staff would make that worse. Its not like you can just grab anyone and put them to work. Im not worried about things being closed now. Its when everything remains closed through the busiest time of the year that you start to wonder what is going on.

Edited by Levithian

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Insurance and negligence are an odd couple. 

If I don’t maintain my car and am driving with bald tyres & my brake pads are worn to the metal, and I have a blowout at 110km on the highway and slam into a guardrail, you reckon my insurer will pay for the damage? Nope... they’ll inspect my car, claim it wasn’t maintained to a reasonable state and wipe their hands of any claim... 

IF Dreamworld is ultimately found negligent, then more than likely the insurers will push for a non-payout and breach of insurance contract... Ardent will then be liable for any payouts associated, and re-payment of any already paid out by insurers. 

If the park lost crew off their maintenance teams after the incident, they have had 12 months to re-hire & train. There is zero acceptability to that being an excuse a year later 

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Its nothing like keeping your car roadworthy and your insurance company using a clause to get out of paying. 

With such a large work force, you insure your business against employee negligence too. Not just for injury. Thats the biggest part of public liability. You can be found at fault and you are covered.

You just have to make sure you have coverage high enough to cover everything. Injury or death, but also loss of earnings/business as a result of the accident too. 

Edited by Levithian
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Fingers crossed that Dreamworld can turn this around. 

Some hope comes from the recent appointment of 2 Ariadne Australia (biggest Ardent shareholder) members to the Ardent board. Ariadne had been protesting for a while decision making by the then board and the underinvestment occurring in Dreamworld. 

Originally the Ardent board resisted allowing 2 Ariadne Australia members to join, though as tensions have grown amongst shareholders, Ardent allowed the 2 members to join in September prior to the AGM this month. 

Some further reading for those of you interested from the GCB:

Quote

 

http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/a-year-after-gold-coast-tragedy-dreamworlds-ardent-leisure-is-yet-to-recover-can-new-board-help/news-story/9a5aef3bfd2da4235b1f0ac14f5520e6

Alister Thomson, Gold Coast Bulletin
September 5, 2017 12:00am

AN activist shareholder appointed to the board of Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure has firmly backed plans to revitalise the ailing theme park.

 Gary Weiss — executive director of Ardent’s largest shareholder Ariadne Australia and fellow director Brad Richmond were yesterday installed to the board ahead of a planned shareholder vote. Ariadne has spearheaded fierce criticism of Ardent in the wake of the Dreamworld tragedy last October, accusing the board of strategic errors and “losing its way”.

Dr Weiss told the Gold Coast Bulletin they wanted to see more investment in the Coomera park to restore its fortunes. “We are here to assist in delivering better outcomes for all the component parts of the company and to improve returns for all security holders,” he said.“We are strong believers in Dreamworld and its future because it does have a good future.”

 In July, Ariadne released a rescue plan for the company, which it said could unlock $1 billion of additional value. Ariadne accused Ardent of underinvesting in its theme parks over the past decade, leading to the company falling behind Movie World operator Village Roadshow.

It called for the sale of 25ha of surplus land adjacent to Dreamworld at Coomera, which would be reinvested into the park to fund improvements. Yesterday, Mr Weiss backed the plan but said he was open to learning more about how the company functioned.

 “We think that (the July plan) is the pathway to restore value,” he said. “It was devised from the outside from our own analysis.“Now we are inside the tent we can get a better understanding of the important levers (driving the company). It is critical to properly examine the future requirements moving forward.”

Ardent had opposed the appointment of Dr Weiss and Mr Richmond until releasing a statement on Sunday that called for a “collaborative and unified board”. Last week Ardent outlined a $62.6 million loss for last financial year, largely due to the Dreamworld tragedy.

The Dreamworld closure and drop in visitor numbers reduced group revenue by nearly 15 per cent to $586 million while the theme parks operations suffered a 34 per cent fall in revenue to $70.9 million and an earnings loss of $3.4 million.

 

 

Edited by cheski
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14 hours ago, Brad2912 said:

Insurance and negligence are an odd couple. 

If I don’t maintain my car and am driving with bald tyres & my brake pads are worn to the metal, and I have a blowout at 110km on the highway and slam into a guardrail, you reckon my insurer will pay for the damage? Nope... they’ll inspect my car, claim it wasn’t maintained to a reasonable state and wipe their hands of any claim... 

IF Dreamworld is ultimately found negligent, then more than likely the insurers will push for a non-payout and breach of insurance contract... Ardent will then be liable for any payouts associated, and re-payment of any already paid out by insurers. 

If the park lost crew off their maintenance teams after the incident, they have had 12 months to re-hire & train. There is zero acceptability to that being an excuse a year later 

You're wrong, kinda. When insuring something as simple as a car you are asked if it is roadworthy, and similar to a home, asked if it is structurally sound and secure and stated in your documents it says you need to maintain these conditions. After such an accident though, through investigations they may pay out a partial claim depending on circumstances. You are also able to claim on your personal liability if you are responsible for other  damage.

 

13 hours ago, Levithian said:

Its nothing like keeping your car roadworthy and your insurance company using a clause to get out of paying. 

With such a large work force, you insure your business against employee negligence too. Not just for injury. Thats the biggest part of public liability. You can be found at fault and you are covered.

You just have to make sure you have coverage high enough to cover everything. Injury or death, but also loss of earnings/business as a result of the accident too. 

You're correct.

 

Source: Work in Insurance. My company insures some major attractions around Australia for various things.

Interesting is that usually more than 1 underwriter will insure for different divisions / sections of the park. Such as the actual rides could be insured by a different company to the liability.

Finally since this could possibly have such a large payout, the insurer may also have to dip into their re-insurance plan.

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17 hours ago, Levithian said:

God you talk a lot of nonsense. Have you heard of this thing called insurance? 

What are the council going to do? Cough up a couple hundred million and go into business themselves with a board that is basically voted in by popular vote every 4 years and not on their abilities?

That would bankrupt the park, the shareholders and probably the council too. 

Life will go on. I wonder if they lost any staff after the accident that might be making things harder as far as annual maintenance goes. Given all that has happened, it would have made a mess of your schedules after all the inspections, losing staff would make that worse. Its not like you can just grab anyone and put them to work. Im not worried about things being closed now. Its when everything remains closed through the busiest time of the year that you start to wonder what is going on.

@Levithian Everybody has their own view but there's no need to start by being rude about it. Please show some respect.

90% of Australian Heritage listings are Privately owned. I never suggested GCCC step in and buy DW, just acknowledge it's relevance to the future of the GC. Giving the area iconic/historic/heritage status would protect the land from being re-zoned and forever keep the bulldozers away. -Something that should have happened decades ago with Nobby's Castle and arguably Cloudland in Brisbane.

Maintenance within the Park seems to be impeeded by the many revitalization projects going on. These projects should not be taking hours from daily Operations and have entirely separate contracting budgets. I'd say this has not been the case, given how things are playing out right now.

Insurance and Negligence are not mutually exclusive. For whatever reason, DW altered the original design of the Conveyer system at TRRR, making the gaps wide enough that allegedly lead to the tragic accident. If this retro-fitting was done entirely in-house (it was) and without notification to it's Insurers to advise of the change, then it's entirely possible that DW be found negligent. While Liability Insurance will all but certainly cover the family's of those affected, I can't say the same for the Park and it's Owners.

 

 

 

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My initial thoughts are that it's going downhill and likely won't recover while owned by Ardent.  There has also been some very questionable management decisions:

- why they persisted to repair wipeout.  It's now been closed over 12 months... has there been any indication of opening it again? If it does reopen, will the public trust it after such a long time being repaired and the fact it's still near 30 years old.

- reopen the mine ride? A ride that basically reached its use by date 10 years ago, and was very average to start with....

- no water ride for the summer? assuming it doesn't reopen by then. Granted there is a water park next door though..

There has been so much bad publicity etc that the Dreamworld brand is probably damaged beyond repair.  I also think a lot of people hold Ardent responsible (irrespective of legal proceedings) and therefore aren't willing to support them.

If it was sold off and opened under new management and ownership I think the public will respond differently.

 

EDIT: just checked their website, it says 30 November for Wipeout reopening... we'll see...

Edited by mission
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3 hours ago, MickeyD said:

@Levithian Everybody has their own view but there's no need to start by being rude about it. Please show some respect.

90% of Australian Heritage listings are Privately owned. I never suggested GCCC step in and buy DW, just acknowledge it's relevance to the future of the GC. Giving the area iconic/historic/heritage status would protect the land from being re-zoned and forever keep the bulldozers away. -Something that should have happened decades ago with Nobby's Castle and arguably Cloudland in Brisbane.

Maintenance within the Park seems to be impeeded by the many revitalization projects going on. These projects should not be taking hours from daily Operations and have entirely separate contracting budgets. I'd say this has not been the case, given how things are playing out right now.

Insurance and Negligence are not mutually exclusive. For whatever reason, DW altered the original design of the Conveyer system at TRRR, making the gaps wide enough that allegedly lead to the tragic accident. If this retro-fitting was done entirely in-house (it was) and without notification to it's Insurers to advise of the change, then it's entirely possible that DW be found negligent. While Liability Insurance will all but certainly cover the family's of those affected, I can't say the same for the Park and it's Owners.

 

 

What you said is nonsense though. Even if you care to believe it. It literally doesn't make sense. If I wanted to be insulting, I would have used something other than nonsense.

If you were to simply forget about dreamworld as a business, saying it's practically worthless, what it sits on isn't. So if you float the notion of a buy out,  ardent isn't going to go bankrupt and have someone swoop in during a fire sale.  Additionally, what is left of dreamworld that makes it a historic landmark? yeah, the park itself has been there a long time, but it has gone through so many changes that there is very little left of the original development. Rides have gone, park layout has changed, buildings have been removed/and or re purposed and developed. It's quite a bit different now than it was in the 90's, let alone the 80's. Aside from the park as a whole being a tourist destination, I don't think it really has historic value that would make it onto a heritage register.

Back to reality though, just focus on the land mass. If the park shut tomorrow and was turned into a housing estate, given its location basically next to railway hubs and a MAJOR shopping center in development, combined with the fact that Coomera on the northern end of the coast is going through MASSIVE growth; the land is worth a fortune by itself.

Even if you use the ultra generous 1/3rd rule to develop the land into housing, that provides for over $100,000,000 just in land development value alone. In reality there is probably more potential than that, given the actual cost of housing in the area, along with how many lots you can actually build given the area; then combined with the fact there are 4 major developers all fighting for space along the corridor between foxwell and yawalpah roads. As it stands, there is probably more value in potential development contributing to the value of dreamworld than there is as a theme park.

The local council may only be able to tie it up during development application process, but given the area has thousands of lots going in and/or in development nearby, along with the infrastructure to support a major suburb; if they were to object any application the matter would surely end up in court where it might be tough to build a case against this small parcel of land when the rest of the area is booming having already been approved.

Aside from that, along with development comes more revenue for the council. All the money tied up in development applications aside, the rates alone could be into the millions. So im not so sure if they would rush to stop any development going on if a worst case scenario happened.

Given the park isn't the one actually doing the works, they would have contracts in hand with companies to perform the job that would usually see them lose money if they back out on the agreement; so you could lose a few million dollars just by putting them off until a later date as the companies would suffer a loss of income.  Anyway, when would you rather the works are completed? If you talk about capital works, one side of the park in particular is closed off providing an excellent opportunity to make use of the quiet period between holidays. You could argue that rocky hollow is closed due to addressing existing issues of safety, so what is the issue? Aside from that anyway, it's not like their own workers would be taken off existing development works going on, halting any other progress in the park. I don't think any of the parks have a work force big enough to take on large scale developments without help from outside works.

It's the same across any park you visit, they try to limit the disruptions for building and repair works to periods where attendance is lowest.

See, this is the nonsense I am pointing to. That is exactly what liability insurance is for. It even covers loss of business. You can be found completely at fault, your staff members were negligent and caused the death of patrons; yet your business is covered. All those millions being wiped away would have been underwritten by an insurance company. The only question is how much coverage did they actually have and how accurate their estimates would have been when factoring into loss of business. If you think loss of life isn't one of the factors calculated when acquiring insurance coverage, then you don't really understand risk analysis.

Besides which, the changes you speak of, you know they were the cause of the deaths? under what circumstances any modifications might have been performed? who performed them? when they performed them? were they inspected and audited following their modifications and years following to maintain their accreditation with the state government? That's a whole lot of assumptions unless you have inside knowledge of what the investigation found.

Then you come back to the simple notion of insurance. You run a theme park based on the assumption that at some point you may seriously injure or kill a guest or guests. It's basically the same for any business dealing with members of the public. You couldn't operate such a large scale entertainment complex without having a policy that protects your business from financial ruin following lawsuits if something terrible happened. No matter how good your intentions are, how good  your training is, or how much faith you put in your employees, there are far too many variables to run the risk. Insurance companies have entire departments that operate to calculate these risks. It's very much part and parcel with doing business.

The problem lies in what happens after everything settles down and if your business is strong enough to recover following an incident. Im very much in the camp that dreamworld is, and that some people are seriously out of touch for expecting everything to be back to normal, or even improving 12 months on. 12 months is still short term. 5 years, 10 years, thats the sort of projections you'd have to start talking. Especially with village reporting that their numbers are way down too, revenue having dropped, so it's not like the industry is in a great place even with exciting new rides being used to stem the tide and turn it around instantly. It will be interesting to see what impact rivals has had on it's attendance figures each quarter. See if it's a short term bump or a long term increase; and if figures continue to rise steadily, how do they compare to the same time prior to the dreamworld accident. It was pretty quiet around Christmas time at movie world last year, nowhere near the sustained busy period it normally endures. If you hedged everything on one attraction turning your fortunes around instantly and returning everything back to normal, we might be in for a rough couple of years for both parks.

Edited by Levithian
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9 hours ago, mission said:

My initial thoughts are that it's going downhill and likely won't recover while owned by Ardent.  There has also been some very questionable management decisions:

- why they persisted to repair wipeout.  It's now been closed over 12 months... has there been any indication of opening it again? If it does reopen, will the public trust it after such a long time being repaired and the fact it's still near 30 years old.

- reopen the mine ride? A ride that basically reached its use by date 10 years ago, and was very average to start with....

- no water ride for the summer? assuming it doesn't reopen by then. Granted there is a water park next door though..

There has been so much bad publicity etc that the Dreamworld brand is probably damaged beyond repair.  I also think a lot of people hold Ardent responsible (irrespective of legal proceedings) and therefore aren't willing to support them.

If it was sold off and opened under new management and ownership I think the public will respond differently.

 

EDIT: just checked their website, it says 30 November for Wipeout reopening... we'll see...

Last weekend when I peaked through fencing to the Wipeout, and excuse my lack of technical knowledge here, the big left cog looked all rusty and old, and the big right cog looked shiny silver, brand new (with cling film like plastic over it eg when something is new).

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With all due respect, I believe dw needs a very big overhaul. Whether it's ardent selling off, or just having a big review of how they're operating the park, something needs to be done. Very much lately, and even before the tragic accident, dreamworld seemed to always be putting band aids on a gunshot wound. Rides like the wipeout needed to be gone ages ago, before they had massive bad for business ride closures, that probably have cost them more than it would to demolish and retheme with store/restaurant etc. And once trr and eureka mountain are demolished,a nod if the log ride is, I believe the whole gold rush area should be retheme Perhaps a space theme? Would go good with buzzsaw and giant drop. Dreamworld could just theme everything up and wouldn't have to build a new ride. Advertise it like a massive new thing and the gp will roll in

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Im coming up in January to the theme parks with my 7 and 5 year old. 3 years ago we went to movie world, sea world, WNW. This time they want to go to dreamworld and WWW. Looking at the photos and reading the report i fear that the experience will be a total let down. Should i be reconsidering and take the kids to 3 fully functioning theme parks as opposed to sadly Dreamworld a nd WWW?

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1 hour ago, Ryno said:

Im coming up in January to the theme parks with my 7 and 5 year old. 3 years ago we went to movie world, sea world, WNW. This time they want to go to dreamworld and WWW. Looking at the photos and reading the report i fear that the experience will be a total let down. Should i be reconsidering and take the kids to 3 fully functioning theme parks as opposed to sadly Dreamworld a nd WWW?

I would aim for MW SW and WNW and hope you can get a sweet deal on DW to knock em all over.

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1 hour ago, Ryno said:

Im coming up in January to the theme parks with my 7 and 5 year old. 3 years ago we went to movie world, sea world, WNW. This time they want to go to dreamworld and WWW. Looking at the photos and reading the report i fear that the experience will be a total let down. Should i be reconsidering and take the kids to 3 fully functioning theme parks as opposed to sadly Dreamworld a nd WWW?

In my opinion, DreamWorld is better with rides for young kids. You have the 5 rides in Shrek/Madagascar, then all of the Wiggles Rides, and also the animals at the back of the park. Good luck with choosing!

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