Ever Glorious, Ever Ambitious, Ever Grand

At its height, Evergrande Group was the largest real estate developer in the world, with contracted sales amounting to more than 700 billion RMB (~$100 billion) in 2020, and a billion square feet under construction at nearly 800 projects around China. Appropriately for its ambitions, Evergrande was also in the stages of building theme parks […]

A History of Theme Parks

“Location-based” entertainment for the masses has been around a long time; Ancient Rome is remembered for their games of gladiatorial combat and sporting events in the Colosseum, the Mayans played a ballgame called pitz in large stadiums, and medieval Europe regularly hosted carnivals and fairs centered around religious holidays and markets. All of these forms […]

The Saudi Gigaprojects

Once primarily of appeal to religious tourists, Saudi Arabia is now positioning itself to become the ultimate leisure destination. Under the Vision 2030 Plan, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016, the kingdom is focused on diversifying its economy away from a reliance on oil revenues. The tourism and leisure industry are expected […]

The Japanese Theme Park Bubble

Japan in the 1980s was a legendary time. The country experienced a stock market and property boom the likes of which has never been duplicated.  The Nikkei stock index hit a peak of over 37,000 in 1989 and a trailing P/E ratio of 60x.  It was an explosive boom, followed by a long bust: 30 […]

How to Size an Attraction (of Any Kind)

Sizing an attraction correctly is one of the primary issues in the planning phases of development. Size too small, and operations will suffer during peak days, leaving money on the table. Size too large, and you’re simply overbuilt – and wasted money. So how do we build an attraction to the right size? As with […]

The Mega Chinese Theme Parks

In the last decade, China has gone from being an attractions backwater to the world’s most significant theme park and attractions market.  But perhaps more than in any other market in the world, China’s theme park industry is extremely bifurcated, with what we can call top-tier, world-class theme parks on one end, and government-supported zombie […]

Common Mistakes in Opening a Theme Park

Courtesy of Parques Reunidos and IQPC Middle East, the content below is a summarized version of a talk that Jose Maria Letamendia delivered at an IQPC Theme Parks conference. Mr. Letamendia is VP of Business Development at Parques Reunidos.  Be sure to download the entire presentation here.   Common Mistakes in Opening a Theme Park […]

Attraction & Theme Park Funding and Financing – A Primer

Due to their size, theme parks and attractions are typically financed through creative and diversified sources. When done right, attractions generate enormous economic impacts.  Daily, they can become engines driving a population of people the size of a city within their gates. This results in trickle down impacts to neighboring businesses, like restaurants, parking lots, hotels, and […]

Managing Extremes: Seasonality & Peaking of a Theme Park

Variability causes chaos.  And variability when it comes to the attraction world, is perhaps nowhere so present or prominent as it is when designing and operating a theme park. Compared to other types of real estate or property, theme parks might be the most extreme in terms of variability.  Compared to commercial properties that provide […]

Theme Park Signatures

Besides the branding, what makes a Disney or Universal different from a Seaworld or Legoland?  Are there true differences to speak of?   Well, based on these charts, yes. This is the third installment in our ongoing series where we dissect the economics and characteristics of attractions.  Previously, we reviewed the economics and business models of […]