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Was Wet N Wild Sydney a failure?


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Wet N Wild Sydney was hyped up to be a major theme park for NSW. It promised a buffet of rides, attractions and experiences. Posed as Sydney's answer to the big Gold Coast Theme Parks, everyone though it was going to be the new hit. Then it opened. For the most part, the park was a hit with locals. Look at it now and it's debatable if it can even hold up to Jamberoo. Heck, it was sold and rebranded. So I pose two question: 1. Was Wet N Wild a financal failure, 2. Was it and is it still a good park in your eyes. 

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well to start with, Wet N Wild Sydney doesn't exist - and that fact speaks to it being a failure.

Village Theme Parks sold it almost 2 years ago now to Parques Reunidos, hence the name change to Raging Waters Sydney.

The Sydney market just wont sustain theme parks. 

It has some strong local support, but that's not enough to keep it financially viable, which is why VTP sold it. 

It's too far from the centre of Sydney and other tourist attractions to be of real attraction to overseas or interstate travelers. That may change with the opening of Badgerys Creek airport, and thats probably why it was a somewhat attractive prospect for the new owners.

 

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I agree there's no reason that WnWS shouldn't have been able to succeed where it is. I've never been, but Google Maps says it's a 30-minute drive from the CBD. Most visitors to the Gold Coast stay around Surfers Paradise/Southport/Broadbeach. From there, it can easily take 30 minutes to get to Dreamworld depending on where you are. That never detracted from its attendance at its peak. If people want to go to a park, they will go.

Like I said, I haven't been to WnWS, so I can't comment like most people can on its operations, but it seems like a bit of a cheap cop-out to blame it on its location and a poor market. Wonderland was right across the road for quite a significant amount of time, and even if Sydneysiders didn't have the stomach for theme parks, it's one of the most visited cities in Australia and should pick up a decent number of tourists. Definitely stinks of poor management and marketing, not a park that was doomed to fail because of aspects out of their control.

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It was a concrete jungle, that didn't look nice, had no shade, bad service, asked people to pay for extras that were free at the other park, oversold passes and overcrowded the park. It left a bad taste in the mouth of locals after the first season and it's struggled (I think) to get people to give it another go. 

That and it appears they didn't much to try and fix the problems, no extra trees planted and no new slides were installed since it opened to give people another reason to give it another go and visit there. 

So yeah, bottom line is, not great management. 

If we had of ended up with the original artwork, free parking, not overcrowding or overselling passes and friendly staff, it would have been wildly successful! 

Edited by Original
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15 hours ago, Brad2912 said:

It's too far from the centre of Sydney and other tourist attractions to be of real attraction to overseas or interstate travelers. 

To add to what Alex said, Featherdale is just down the road too. And it alone is the 1 wildlife park that every tour group goes to despite making Piss Weak World look like Disneyland and having both Taronga and WLS in the dead centre of the city. Hell, heading down the highway, it would also be a shorter trip to just go to Auburn Gardens.

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3 hours ago, AlexB said:

And the tower designs - fitting as many slides as they could on one tower - meant queueing was a disaster.

It was really only the twin tube slide tower (I refuse to call them Tower 1, Tower 2 etc 🤢 )that had that issue, but that has since been rectified with additional stairs.

The Proslide Towers each had one stair per ride and a separate one for fast track, the Racer/360Rush tower only had the two rides so never a real issue, though i thought it was silly splitting the 360 rush slides on each side because that introduced crowd crossover.

The ugly colour scheme of the racer was inspired by NSW surf club cap colours.

Image result for surf cap club colours

The park had the wrong concept from the ground up, it was heavily inspired by Sydney beach culture, specifically places like Manly, so the park was modelled LITERALLY off that, from things like the Norfolk pines, to the pavers and sandstone walls, to calling the dining area “The Corso”

https://www.google.com/maps/@-33.7943181,151.2874465,2a,60y,359.41h,90.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suAFMLGcypbDmLfcH_TxFOg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

In the end, surprisingly enough, modelling yourself after council open spaces means you too end up feeling like a council park.

The park didn’t have enough landscaping…Large expanses of lawns and bark chips so windswept and hot. I think it was overly spread out. Walking 400m from the twin raft slide tower to the T5 tower sucked…No shortcuts etc.

Single day tickets were too expensive, ostensibly to get people to buy passes, so you got this weird mismatch. Too expensive for a one day visit, but too far out of the way to make good use of the annual pass.

One of the biggest issues was a lack of things for families, and that is a huge sin when it comes to a waterpark IMO. They had some good kids slides, but then the rest of it was a fairly bland splashpad....needed more wading pools, more shade over the splash pad, and of course the main thing, no play structure!

 

Edited by Gazza
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3 hours ago, AlexB said:

The Sydney market has great capacity to sustain theme parks. Wonderland operated for 19 years. Luna Park has had several incarnations and is in the midst of transforming into a new, modern era. Heck, Disney has explored Sydney as an option numerous times, and got really close to breaking ground once too (check out Disney Wharf on YouTube).

This. ☝️ Anyone who thinks that Sydney cannot sustain a theme park simply does not understand the Sydney area or market or cannot look deeper than a superficial level. AlexB is 100% spot on here.

To summarise and completely dispell this myth before it is perpetuated further-

  • Luna Park has survived deathly fires , resident opposition and developer coveting to transforming and evolving in its 85th year of operation with a $30 million dollar expansion. Confidence for the park has never been higher and only Luna Park Melbourne has operated longer in Australia. 
  • Wonderland Sydney successfully traded for 19 years and was a tourist magnet for locals and internationals alike. If not for the decision of then owners Sunway in deciding that the land was worth more to them that the amusement park, this would still be operating and thriving today, especially considering its location next to the major freeway that was built after its demise- another factor in why it was sold in the first place. 19 years in operation should not be seen as a failure at any rate and as an example that the Sydney region CAN sustain a large theme park.
  • WNW Sydney promised so much on its announcement but failed to deliver on the original plans. Despite that setback and despite the numerous management and operations issues that plagued its early years, the park still proved quite popular. As AlexB has expertly expounded upon, Parques Reunidos would not have bought the park if they did not see potential in the market or the region. Fingers crossed that once COVID is done and dusted and normality returns, the whispers of Parques Reunidos having plans for a second gate come to fruition. If that occurs then this will give Sydney a much needed large theme park backed and onboarded by an already exisiting large succesful water park- this will be second only to Dreamworld in Australia in being able to offer this at one location. Luna Parks announcement of a $30 million dollar expansion- one of the biggest single park expansions in Australia in recent memory-should only boost confidence in Sydney as an amusement park destination and add fuel to the fire for any case of Parques Reunidos adding a second gate.

  

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13 minutes ago, Ranger said:

What's with this second gate talk??? Did I miss something?

Not really- here is the quote from AlexB.

7 hours ago, AlexB said:

If Covid hadn't have come along, I feel strongly we'd have seen early whispers of Palace \ Parques exploring second gate options. Covid has now stuck a pin in that, so it's probably going to be a long time before we see additional development - but that still doesn't point to failure, as the park still continues to operate.

AlexB has heard whispers- nothing concrete- about Parques Reunidos exploring the options of adding a second gate to Raging Waters- ostensibly a theme park to complement the exisiting water park.

I have heard the same rumours but of course thats all they are at this stage. But they certainly come from reputable sources and of course, where there is smoke there is fire.

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16 hours ago, Jobe said:

AlexB has heard whispers- nothing concrete- about Parques Reunidos exploring the options of adding a second gate to Raging Waters- ostensibly a theme park to complement the exisiting water park.

Thanks Jobe. To be clear, I haven't heard anything.

23 hours ago, AlexB said:

If Covid hadn't have come along, I feel strongly we'd have seen early whispers of Palace \ Parques exploring second gate options.

I said "if" covid hadn't happened, I feel we'd have heard whispers. But covid happened, and i've heard nothing...

...i can't smell anything either...

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I think one of the biggest things that sticks in my mind about WnWS/Raging Waters is the lack of wider advertising. I live in Canberra and I have never seen an ad on TV, a newspaper ad or even online advertising for WnWS/Raging Waters since it opened. 

When Wonderland was still around we would get all of the above, especially around the school holidays and, that being said, we still definitely get Jamberoo ads.

Further to this Murray's buses used to run day trips to Wonderland from Canberra on weekends, but hasn't done the same with WnWS/Raging Waters. My friends and I would probably do 2-3 day trips up to Wonderland each year but we haven't done a single one to WnWS/Raging Waters, but we certainly have for Jamberoo, because its advertised so when we want a day trip it comes to mind, but the same can't be said for WnWS/Raging Waters.

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1 minute ago, DJKostya said:

I live in Canberra

I'm sorry.

43 minutes ago, Gazza said:

What 2nd Gates have Palace/Parques built at their other properties?

I guess using '2nd gate' implies the same property \ right next door, which wasn't my intention.

I've always viewed (and I know others have too) that Palace\Parques bought into WnWS as a cheap, established buy into a new market, with a view to expansion. I don't necessarily think they'd build right next door necessarily, but its a big step and a long way away from other properties they have if they never intended to expand.

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Agree with most above - WnW Syd ended up being far from what we all hoped and expected from early concept art, and the operations were abysmal. It should have been a success, but for Village it was a disaster. It may be a different case for Parques Reunidos as they acquired the park for only $40 million. It cost Village $120 million to build. In theory they may have got a deal, but the park still needs to be profitable

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My sister and family live in sydney and myself and family on the GC. 

She purchased annual passes to wnws but I cost her alot more than what our passes did for the gold coast parks.

On top of that there are 3 parks on the GC in that pass and they also didn't close over the winter.

But somehow sydney still cost more 🤔😒

 

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honestly that says more about how cheap the GC passes are, than how expensive sydney is (although sydney IS expensive).

That said, the GC has the established market and passholders make up quantities that the Sydney park simply can't accommodate.

WnWS was regularly hitting its capacity early on - and pissing off a lot of passholders who were denied entry. With capacity that low, you need to make more off of each ticket to remain profitable.

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