BLOG: Cedar Point's Dinosaurs Alive! may face evolutionary pressures

Tom Sherer
May 16, 2012

 

Cedar Point’s new attraction, Dinosaurs Alive!, is showing some teeth in its early existence.

“We’ve been thrilled by the reactions we’ve seen in people of all ages, especially children, as they step back in time on Adventure Island,” said Cedar Point spokeswoman Annie Zelm. “They seem to be amazed by the sheer size of (the dinosaurs) and the fact that there are so many varieties. … They really get a sense for how these dinosaurs behaved and what it might have been like to live among them millions of years ago.”

As I mentioned in my last blog, I thought Dinosaurs Alive! was well worth the $5 fee, at least to do once. It’s something to see and experience.

But that also got me thinking, mainly because I majored in marketing as an undergraduate and spend a lot of time at amusement parks.

The big problem that seems apparent — above and beyond the public relations of some people being unhappy about paying extra — is the question of will people return to the attraction? It’s not like Millennium Force or Top Thrill Dragster in that most people probably will do it again and again and again. (I’ll ride Millennium Force until they kick me out of the park at night, but I wouldn’t do the same with Dinosaurs Alive!.)

So, unless someone is a dinosaur junkie, I would think most people won’t make too many — if any — return visits to the attraction.

Perhaps this is a prime reason it’s a good idea to charge the extra fee: To make back some money quickly — get while the gettin’ is good — before the well dries up somewhat.

To a certain degree, there has to be some level of diminishing returns on the attraction during the next several years. Similarly, the same people typically don’t go to the same museum over and over, unless the museum uses traveling exhibits that change from time to time to lure repeat customers.

This all just leads to speculation — only a few days into its public existence — about what evolutionary pressures Dinosaurs Alive! could face.

There will come a time when Cedar Point needs to spice things up a bit.

Too bad lawyers and insurance costs would make it all but impossible to allow guests to ride the dinosaurs or to have a safari in which the dinosaurs hunt the humans. I can see my headline announcing the changes to the attraction now: “T. wrecks guests.”

But I’d also settle for adding electrified handrails to give it more of a “Jurassic Park” paddock feel while also encouraging guests to stay off the park’s handrails.

Then we’d be in business!

At that point, though, it’d really belong in Challenge Park, not the main park.

As is the case with many attractions, if left unchanged, interest probably will cool after a few years. It will be interesting to see how the life cycle of Dinosaurs Alive! unfolds.

Today, it’s worth the time and money. But in 10 years, will it still be walking the park? Or will it be extinct?

Tom Sherer is an award-winning graphic designer with the Sandusky Register and a Cedar Point enthusiast who visited the park 53 times in 2011. He chronicles his adventures in coasterland here at "Belaboring the Point."

Comments

lifetimeresident

I think the plan is to bring back the paddle wheel boat next year to go around the island.  We will see how it turns out.  If it is not making money, then its gone.

William Jeffers...

The individual charge for an "attraction" is not a good idea.  They are supposed to reinvest in their park and that's why they charge for parking and admissions. 

Crystal

I enjoyed the exhibit.  My daughter, 2, and stepson, 10, both love dinosaurs.  I took my daugther and Monday and that is all she has been talking about since.  I didn't mind paying the $5 extra, and it didn't appear that all of the people who were in the exhibit with me, cared too much either.  I can guarantee I will be back in the exhibit a couple of more times this summer (I DO have a couple of dinosaur lovers in my house).  I wish they would have made it a season pass extra to add on.

 

Kelly

Our family paid over $800 for season passes & they can't give us even one visit to the dinosaurs for free? I'll just let my little guys see the few they have scattered around the park because there's no way they're getting another dime. I wonder how much they'd charge for Jungle Larry's if it was still here?

Uputwhatwhere6

Well now that I know I will be charged an extra $5 to go to this attraction I can say I will NOT be taking my kids to see it.  With a family of 8 that's an extra $40.  At the price I have to pay to get in to the park that is just insane!

donutshopguy

 Cedar Point is in business to make money.  If you don't like the cost of admissions, do't go. If you don't like the extra fee for the dinosaurs, don't go.

All you bellyaching and whinning mean nothing.  Talk with your dollars. A business will listen when their income is reduced.

It's pretty simple.

srreader

They don't make enough money on admission and parking, which is now $12 or $20 if you want to park anywhere near the entrance. Seems to me no one will be able to afford going back to the park let alone pay extra for attractions.

 

Just Thinkin

Not Worth it, One time for a fee was too much, The only way we'd return to the area was maybe for a break, But then only if it was free. What a shame they removed the boats for this childish junk!!

msmous

CP isn't the only to ever charge an additional fee for the Dinosaurs.  They were at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo a few years ago and the cost was extra to your zoo admission.

 

If it was included in the price and you didn't want to see the dinos, people would complain about that too.

Kelly

If you had a season pass you got a discount to see them at the zoo and several times we got to see them for free

BW1's picture
BW1

"So, unless someone is a dinosaur junkie, I would think most people won’t make too many — if any — return visits to the attraction."

Tom, just a guess, but you don't have young children, do you?  I've seen kids of a certain age watch the same movie over and over, long after they've memorized every line - and these days, far too few parents have the spine to say no to the little tantrum tyrants, even if it drives them into debt.   Marketing to snot-nosed little kids is the fastest way into their parents' wallets, as the youngest members of most American families drive their discretionary spending.  The best part is, as they outgrow the attraction, new ones are being born every day to take their place.

Keep in mind, if the anklebiters are under 48" their gate price is reduced more than the $5 dino-fee.

Far too many people judge business propositions like this one based on their own tastes.  Anyone who reads their news is so far removed from the typical consumer as to almost be another species.