Globalisation of commercial theme parks: the walt Disney Company
Part of book or chapter of book, Conference object
DE GROOTE, Patrick
- Publisher: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
The Economics Research Associates (ERA) defines a theme park as ‘A gated attraction that contains rides and/or shows in a themed environment, offers a pay-one-price ticket for its guests and attracts at least 500,000 annual visits’ (ERA, 2007). A more detailed description for theme parks is given by Philip L. Pearce (in Jafar Jafari, 2000, 124-5): ‘Theme parks are capital intensive, highly developed, self-contained recreational spaces which invariably charge admission. The entertainment, rides, speciality foods and park buildings are usually organized around themes or unifying ideas such as a specific period in history or a particular geographic region. These themes are crucial to the operation of the parks as they create a feeling of involvement in a setting which is in stark contrast to daily life. A distinction can be drawn between the commercial theme parks, which are well described by the theming and entertainment elements mentioned, and outdoor museums or historic theme parks, which may be less commercial in emphasis and have goals in heritage preservation and public education’. Theme park is the basic term for a compilation of rides and other amusement attractions pull together for the purpose of entertaining a group of people. The theme park is more complex than a simple city park or recreational area. This park is a type of amusement park, built around one or more topics (i.e. American Far West theme or Pirates of the Caribbean).Theme parks developed in Europe from leisure gardens. The oldest amusement park of the world (since 1583) is ‘Bakken’ at Klampenborg (north of Copenhagen) which is still in operation. In the USA, world fairs and expos induced a real expansion of the amusement park business (www.weitzlux.com). A theme park includes a combination of attractions which can be classified into several categories: thrill rides, roller coasters, family rides, water attractions or (indoor) dark rides. Major part of theme parks’ revenue comes from entrance fees. Standard admission for a pay-one-price park is (normally) more than $30 with discounts for children and senior residents. Most theme parks also charge for car parking and ticket prices do not include food, which can be very costly. Almost all amusement parks operate using one of two admission principles: Pay as you go (= pay for rides individually) or Pay one price (= one big admission charge, for (almost) all of the attractions).