Surf Dance Chris <surfd...@aol.com
: Does it seem like parks are closing early way more often than they used
: to? Seems like everyday on social media parks are closing early, or not
: opening at all, due to expected weather or other reasons.
It sure seems like it. I think there are a couple of factors involved;
first of all, the existence of social media makes parks think they can just
post something on Twitbook or TickFace saying that they're closing early
and that will be enough to notify everyone. Then the visitor from 200 miles
away arrives at the gate on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon only to find that
the park is either closed or is closing in an hour or two. Yeah, I've been
there, done that, and repeated behavior of that kind got me free tickets to
Kennywood more than once.
There's something else at work here, and I suspect it's part of the reason
Kennywood closed early for "inclement weather" on that particular beautiful
Sunday afternoon: their season pass dining package. It would not at all
surprise me if they figured out that the vast majority of the relatively
small crowd they had in the park that day consisted of season pass holders
there to take advantage of a day of prepaid entertainment and
food....meaning that in the aggregate, the park might have been operating
at a loss that day. No business wants to do that, so they simply shut down
for an evening. Giving everybody in the park a ticket to come back another
day costs almost nothing, but serving up a bunch of "free" meals gets to be
expensive. Note this was pre-COVID; I want to say it was 2018. It certainly
makes me think twice about committing to that drive if the weather forecast
is anything less than perfect!
: I think doing this regularly will make guests think twice about going
: to parks, getting passes, and workers not wanting to work at places where
: they?re given the day off without pay all the time.
: What does everyone think?
Of course, then along came COVID to really screw things up. Everybody
shortened hours as we came out of the pandemic restrictions, and lots of
those hours have never been brought back. My all-night grocer still closes
at 10pm and I can't buy a loaf of bread *anywhere* in this major city after
Midnight. I curse and lament the loss of the 24-hour world, and even worse
is what has happened to amusement parks. Here in Ohio, Kings Island and
Cedar Point are finally back to 10pm closes, but in neighboring
Pennsylvania we're seeing major parks schedule closing times before it even
starts to get dark! Given labor challenges, I can understand trying to cut
the operation down to one shift, but why does that shift have to start at
the crack of dawn? If the operating hours need to be shortened, why not
shorten them from the other end? Instead of running from 9a-7p, operate
from 12n-10p! Take advantage of the fact that most parke become so much
more magical after the sun goes down. Not to mention the fact that people
who are working during the day can stop in after work if the park is open a
few hours in the evening.
Summer nights are special. Let's preserve them!
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
/X\ _ *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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