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Park of Doom
7 June 2005 - 3:00pm
I was asked recently to name my favorite HoliBlog post.
We started blogging in April of 2005, but there was no need to sift through the thousands of posts...
...my favorite post is "Park of Doom."
Just about the most important part of my job is giving tours of the parks to reporters and travel writers.
The PR department focuses on getting writers to visit; presumably, they will have a great time and will eventually write an article or two about their experience. So when they're here, we like to tour the hundred acres and tell stories. (That was where the idea for the HoliBlog came from, in case you came late to class.)
I just returned from one of the most enjoyable tours ever. Laura and her four boys were a blast.
Laura's from northern Indiana. She writes for newspapers and magazines. She was interested in learning more about our southern Indiana theme and water parks.
Her sons, though, they already know this business.
They're Roller Coaster Tycoons.
I grew up with three brothers. I have three sons. So I feel right at home among the ruckus. All the talking at once, untied shoe laces, interrupting with far more important questions - plus the singing of silly songs - are nothing but fun in my book.
We could hardly take a step without a question or comment.
Hey! Is that one of those free-fall tower rides?
Yes, it sure is. It's called Liberty Launch.
We've got one of those in our park. We call it "Tower of Doom." When the line gets long, we jack up the price to make more money.
Oh? Do you charge at the front gate and charge again for individual rides?
Sure! We make $27,000 a day! That helps us pay off our big bank loan.
Next, I pointed out one of our Pepsi Oasis buildings.
What are you giving drinks away for? When it's hot and humid at our park, we jack up the cost of soda an extra buck. We jack it up to $4.
Don't your guests complain?
Sure, but we don't care. When it's hot, we also jack up the price of sitting under an umbrella.
You guys know Donald Trump?
Hey! Have you got a log ride?
Sure do ... it's called Frightful Falls.
We've got one in our park --
(It was my turn to interrupt) Let me guess -- Flume of Doom?
Not quite. It's the "This Log Should Be Burning Flume of Doom."
When I pointed out the Free Sunscreen kiosks, they sensibly helped themselves and slathered it on.
At our park, we charge for sunscreen. It's 50 cents per glob. But when it's extra sunny, we jack up the price.
I shamed them when they admitted they only pay their maintenance crew members $55 a month.
We've got to pay off our loan!
And they shamed me for not charging for inner tubes.
Hey! When it gets really hot, you could...
I know, I know ... jack up the prices.
This went on and on and I could barely contain my laughter. I resisted the urge to group-hug those tycoons.
Before we parted so that they could ride The Legend, they made a solemn promise to pay their employees better (We couldn't afford to pay the staff, so we drowned a bunch of them!) and to rethink their pricing structure.
We talked short-term versus long-term strategy and I think they were coming around.
Time to finish this and post it -- I have a meeting with Will. I'm proposing this idea I just came up with: Since we're giving away so many soft drinks, I think we should start charging for toilet paper. And for the restrooms closest to the Pepsi Oasis buildings, we could jack up the price...