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brady

Why does Queensland have the main theme parks

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Why is it that queensland has the most and the beast theme parks. Submit your opinion. For many years has this paradox boggled the minds of intellectuals.

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Now the only reason for that Brady, is because QLD has a government that supports everyone. If a park want's to close because of Finnancial Difficulty, the government will help them out. All th other states and territories go: If you want to build a tourist attraction, you will have to do everything yourself. We won't help you at all. That's why Canberra's Downunderland is in such dispair. And if N.S.W was governed by the people that govern Qld, it wouldn't have closed because the government would have supported and said: No don't close. We'll help you.

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aahh yes, the eternal question of "why does queensland have the greatest theme parks." some say it is due to queensland's thriving tourism industry and established infrastructure. others say it is simply because "queensland is cool". you be the judge.

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Because QLD is warm and a major tourist destination, and becasue nobody seems to think its wothwhile building a good park, even a waterpark in Australias two biggest cities. I serously just want to get a swag of cash, build a park in melbourne or sydney and blow the GC parks out of the water and show the australian GP what theme park really means and that there is more to a coaster than 2 loops.

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Exactly. And show everybody that the only reason why theme/amusement parks have failed in Sydney in the past is because they have all been totally CRAP. Build something decent of a real world class standard and watch it thrive

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becasue where the theme parks are located which is on the Gold Coast is apart of an area where it really is only for tourists. Surferes Paradise is not Queenslands CBD, Brisbane is, therefore on the Gold Coast you will find that the area is all for tourists and for holiday purposes, tehres really no other place including Sydney where there is very limited buisness areas and all large holiday resorts.

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For many years has this paradox boggled the minds of intellectuals.
So why are you asking the question? Oh yeah, welcome to the forum. The reason theme parks will never be huge in Australia like they are in North America is simple. Why would the general public want to spend 5 days in a theme park when they have the best beaches in the world on their doorstep? When families go to the Gold Coast they spend more time on the beach then they do anywhere else. The same goes for Sydney, the general public would much rather leave the city and go to some of the great beaches just a short distance away than to stay in the city and go to a theme park. A big theme park in Sydney or Melbourne will never be a long term success. "The Bus is now leaving for Success Well, Western Australia"

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Wonderbus I don't really understand your point. You said "When families go to the Gold Coast they spend more time on the beach then they do anywhere else. The same goes for Sydney". So if it works for the Gold Coast then it should work for Sydney, right? The Gold Coast does have great beaches but families are still able to drag themselves to the theme parks. I will say it again - the only reason theme parks don't do well in Sydney is because none of them have been good enough. None of them have had the kind of carefully controlled finanical investment that the GC parks have received

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Settle down boys and girls for a history lesson :) Lets go back to a sea side town called Elston. Built on sand dunes in the middle of nowhere. With little more then a hotel, a pub, and sandy road, it was a minor blip on the map between Sydney and Brisbane. It was always somewhere for a weekend away, but was struggling. In desperation, the local council looked upon reinventing the town, and renamed it Surfers Paradise (after the hotel which by a huge coincidence, was called the Surfers Paradise). The name change, and the advent of surf life savers - which made bathing safer - injected a new energy, and the area became a popular tourist destination. With the influx of visitors, many half day attractions had opened by 1958. These include the Jack Even's Porpose Pool, Marine Land (On the current day site of Marina Mirage on Seaworld drive), Magic Mountain, Pleasure Island and the speedway. However, easily the most influential half day attractions was Keith William's Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens. The show proved hugely popular, and by 1970 had really out grown its site (and was also staged on a public river which made the logistics of the show somewhat difficult). At the same time approx 60 acres of crown land was made available. Keith Williams was the only person who showed any interest in the site, and teamed with John Menzies, created Ski Land in 1971. At the same time Keith founded the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau, which he headed for 3 years which was instrumental in promoting the Gold Coast as a tourism destination. Keith added marine animals to Ski Land, and renamed it Seaworld (Interestingly the name was 'borrowed' from the US Seaworld before the copyright laws kicked in). Within a few years he had bought Jack Even's Porpose Pool and Marine Land and moved the animal stock to Seaworld. He turned Marine Land into a bird sanctuary and then sold the land a few years later. Around the time all this was happening, Peter Longhurst (the lawn mower man) was compelled to build his own park. After finding no suitable land in Sydney looked elsewhere to build his park. The success of Magic Mountain and Seaworld on the Gold Coast inspired him to build Dreamworld (Which at the time was a mixture between the Aussie bush and Disneyland). Then 2 very important things happened. Firstly Seaworld was placed on the Australian stock exchange. This injected $20million of capital into the park, and gave birth to the Seaworld property trust. Around the same time, Cade's County Water Park (Now Wet 'n' Wild) opened. Seeing the potential of a water park on the Gold Coast, SWPT took over Cade's County and renamed it Wet 'n' Wild. In 1989, SWPT began steps to open its third park, which would be like nothing seen on the Gold Coast before. By this time the Gold Coast already had 2 well established theme parks, and Movieworld, squeezed its way into the market. Hence why we have the parks we do. It all boils down to 2 men, Keith Williams and John Menzies who opened Seaworld, which was the first of the parks, and really paved the way for bigger attractions in the years to come. Keith Williams was also instrumental in promoting the Gold Coast as a destination, hence we have a theme park industry.

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Too much reading for me Joz, my attention span sucks. Sum it up in no more than 5 lines will you? :D I'll take your word for it and back up whatever you said. I generally agree with what you've got to say.

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More or less what joz said. The success of the Gold Coast as a place of theme parks is not really a result of the Gold Coast being a key tourism destination, it's very much the other way around. From this stems the fact that no other theme park development has been up to the standards of the Gold Coast. Nothing illustrates this better than John Menzies, WVTP's CEO. Over 30 years in more or less the same job (albeit, his responsibilities have significantly grown as Sea World's attendance did, and the introduction of Movie World, Wet'n'Wild and Paradise Country) shows a passion for the industry and intuition which simply must be there unmatched in Australia or virtually anywhere in the world. Almost all our other parks, Dreamworld inclusive have all been steered by someone that seemed to be in it for anything but long term; a plan in which failure seems to be hardwired (be that in the sense of just a pathetic attempt, or a good plan that through mismanagement or ulterior motives fails). Dreamworld's come close to some undesirable outcomes more times than you'd like to think. I agree very much that all it will take is one park elsewhere that is done well to show the Gold Coast parks how it is done. We needn't be talking something the scope of Islands of Adventure either. That park was a hefty USD$2 billion, on land already owned by Universal (Vivendi at that time). Word has it they're having serious problems with the investment, as profits from the park aren't doing much towards paying of this $2 billion loan, instead relying on revenue from other sources (Universal Studios etc.) to meet interest repayments. I'm probably also one of the only people out there to think that IOA is a joke as a major theme park, but that's irrelevant. Something that simply shows knowledge of the industry and a respect for what it can offer will do wonders in Australia. I'm not talking everyone's dream parks or anything, just something that doesn't rely on gimmicks, of even the fact that it may be located an untouched market (thereby "milking" the area of everything it's worth). The funny thing is, I just wanted to post a quick few words, not something like this. :)

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The story with that goes as follows. Walt Disney had a lot to do with the 1964 New York World's Fair - he designed quite a few attractions for companies (it's a small world for Pepsi, Carousel of Progress for General Electrics). The man behind the World's Fair, Robert Moses wanted Walt to build another Disneyland on the east Coast. Studies proved that it was feasible to build another park on the east coast, but New York wasn't the answer, for reasons rabid was alluding to - weather primarily, but also have easy access by car. He bought up a lot of land (it's something like 46 square miles). Initially it was to be used for Walt's dream of EPCOT (the real EPCOT, not the Epcot we see today) as well as theme parks and resorts. Long story short, he created the Magic Kingdom. Competitors saw the very lucrative market. Beer company, Anheuser-Busch, acquired SeaWorld and Cypress Gardens, which, along with Busch Gardens, were the only competitors. Universal also came in with Universal Studios in 1990 and then Islands of Adventure more recently. Warmth, as well as the fact that the Gold Coast was already a key "weekend holiday" location for SE Queenslanders would be among the key reasons the parks were developed at the Gold Coast, not in the more populous areas of the southern states. Substitute Disney with Sea World Property Trust (now Warner Village Theme Parks) and Dreamworld with Anheuser-Busch and ignore Universal and you have two destination holiday areas that are strikingly similar to one another.

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The initial idea for EPCOT was actually a living, working enclosed city. Walt envisioned it to be the "city of tomorrow" where people would actually live & work etc...

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pffft, Walt Disney was such a jerk, although he started the theme park industry so, well, I dunno back to the point of this thread, why are they at the gold coast? well thats been explained, but surely there can be some good theme parks in Sydney as well? If Six Flags, Knotts, Universal, Disney and probably a couple more theme parks can flourish around Los Angeles, then surely one kick-butt theme park can survive around Sydney? location isnt important, seeing as Dreamworld can survive very nicely and its quite the way inland. As said before, the only reason why theme parks havnt survived around Sydney recently is because they sucked. Wonderland use to be ok, up until about a year or two after the Space Probe was built if you ask me, thats when it started to turn ugly, if a new roller coaster or kick-ass attraction was built shortly after this, Wonderland would have continued to flourish, unfortunately, it didnt.

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I'd like to hear your reasoning behind "Walt Disney was such a jerk". Just on EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community/City of Tomorrow), it was all set to go. Plans were being drawn and finalised, investors and corporate partners were in discussions with Walt and his EPCOT team (they were more or less his closest and most senior Imagineers). Walt died in 1966 but the work continued on plans for EPCOT and even gave them fresh interest and inspiration to complete it. After he died, his brother Roy Disney (Snr.) was now in charge and wasn't quite the dreamer that Walt was (he was the financial brains behind the Disney empire). He wasn't convinced it would work and is quoted saying to Marvin Davis, the guy in charge of EPCOT's team, "Marvin, Walt's dead," which was more or less the end for EPCOT and in its place the Epcot Center (now just Epcot). Dreamworld's location is key to its success. It's on the major highway from Brisbane to the Gold Coast and only twenty minutes from the heart of the Gold Coast. Even so, take Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland - they're half an hour or so from Downtown LA. Six Flags Magic Mountain is more or less out in the country, I think it was around an hour fro Downtown.

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Well, I can think of some sites where a park would work in Melbourne. I think our goventment would back it well. But Rich, why do you think IOA si a joke? it has good rides coupled with good themeing, which would be what I would be trying to achieve. Im sure if you stuck down a tivoli, a fume ride and a rapids ride, a couple of nice dark rides, a spattering of flat rides and top it all off with a unique floorless coaster and a woodie, with good landscaping then I think people would like it, and as long as you put in a new ride very year that would beat whatever the GC was doing, then you would have a sure fire sucess.

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pffft, Walt Disney was such a jerk, although he started the theme park industry so, well, I dunno
I too am interested in why you think he was such a jerk. Being someone who is highly interested in his life & achievements, ranging from the theme park industry to animation, I think thats a fairly ignorant statement. Have you read much about him at all?

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Ok, I've got 5 lines, here goes: Gold Coast had a sprinkling of half day attractions. Many of which died off. Keith Williams and John Menzies teamed up and turned one of the half day attractions into Seaworld which was the first of the modern day parks on the Coast. This spear-headed the Gold Coast's growth as a tourism market, hence the involvement of Dreamworld. John Menzies helped create MW, and also WnW into what it is today.

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Islands of Adventure fails in one key area - crowd management. It is far far far too small for the attendance it receives. It is just painful to get from one place to another unless the park is virtually deserted. We needed to get from Jurassic Park to The Lost Continent in 20 minutes to get seats for their Sinbad show. Look at a map - it's about a 150m or so distance. We didn't make it, in 20 minutes! Then there's horrible bottlenecking at the key ride destinations which make it impossible to get through. Also, if you're going to offer free locker hire for rides, make it so that there are enough. The rides aren't all great. Outside of the two/three B&Ms, there's in fact very little of interest. Dudley-Do-Right Ripsaw falls is nothing more than your average flume with a very nifty drop and some cardboard cutouts - it's like Six Flags style. Dueling Dragons for our entire visit (12 days in Orlando, with probably half a dozen visits to IOA) ran only one train on each side. We queued for over 90 minutes at one stage because of one-train operation when there were two trains for each side (a total of four spare trains) free in the storage shed. Jurassic Park River Adventure was tacky and a fraction of the ride it was in Hollywood. Animatronics didn't work, some of the dinosaurs were falling apart. In short, when you want to try and compete with Disney, you've got to actually meet their standards, that's what I don't like about it. Islands of Adventure tries to be a Disney-standard park when it's really not. Back on topic a little more, in regards to issues of State Government support. I'm not totally convinced Queensland will exactly save a park here should they go belly up, but there sure are incentives from the Government, including investment money. Why not? Tourism is one of our key industries and theme parks are pretty integral to that. No government in Australia will support anything that isn't in the best interest of the community they represent.

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Well I'll add my 2 cents worth of info in here. As a tourism student I just spent 6 months studying the Gold Coast and as Joz and Richard have said the Gold Coast was a nothing little dot of a town. The land isnt all that good but the beaches and weather are what drew people to Queensland. At the beginning of last century the QLD goverment decided that the tourism industry was the way to go (remember this is the BIGGEST industry in the world) and began developing and aiding entreprenuers (That ain't spelt right) with funding thus the Gold Coast was born. It's been a tourist destination way before the parks were there.

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