A theme park is a type of an amusement park. An amusement park is a commercially operated park that offers various forms of entertainment that includes arcade games, roller coasters, performers, souvenirs, as well as food and drinks (Tucholka and Steffanie). However, the settings and attractions of theme parks have central themes such as the world of the future, the Wild West, African Safaris, and medieval Europe. Since they are commercially operated, theme parks charge a substantial admission fee besides the costs for the various forms of entertainment they offer. The present report evaluates the state of theme parks in the US and Illinois to make recommendations to TRC, Inc., which is interested in opening a theme park in the state.
The history of theme parks, particularly in America, dates back to the 19th century when amusement parks such as pleasure gardens and trolley parks flourished in the country. The early parks featured primitive and highly unsafe elements of entertainment such as roller coasters and rides. However, they also featured some themed attractions such as staged disaster spectacles and battle reenactments. Most amusement parks were closed down in the 1960s (Boyer and Dubofsky). Theme parks, which were creative in advertising and were better organized than the amusement parks, emerged to take over the outdoor amusement business (Boyer and Dubofsky). Some of the country’s earliest theme parks included Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which opened in 1955, Six Flags over Texas, and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
The theme park industry has enjoyed tremendous growth over the years. The growth is driven by factors such as increased international and domestic visitor numbers and increased consumer spending due to increases in the levels of disposable incomes. According to IbisWorld (2016), the industry has approximately 415 businesses that generate annual revenues of around $15 billion. It employs more than140000 people and enjoys an annual growth rate of roughly 1.8%. The growth rate is expected to rise over the coming years due to expected increases in travel spending as the economy improves over the coming years and increased number of tourists.
As indicated in the preceding paragraph, theme parks are very successful. Various factors are responsible for their success. For instance, most theme parks, if not all, are highly inclusive and attract all ages (Morgan). They do not limit their market by building attractions that cannot draw a significant percentage of customers. Instead, they design attractions that make it fun for people of all ages to be there. The location of most theme parks also contributes towards their success. Most of them are readily available to scores of people. Additionally, the weather of the park’s location also determines their success (Morgan). For instance, parks located in areas featuring mild climates throughout the year are not limited to operating seasonally due to climatic changes. The nature and theme of the attraction elements also contribute towards the success of theme parks (Morgan). Most of the parks have memorable attractions that attract people over and over again.
People of all ages frequent theme parks all over Illinois. However, it is worth noting that most of the theme park audiences live in the state’s major cities and towns such as Chicago, Union, Utica, and Bloomington. Rides such as Carousel, tilt-a-whirl, swinging sea dragon, and kiddie whip ride, live animal exhibits, video arcade, miniature golf, and roller coasters are some of the major attractions that appeal to the state’s theme park goers.
Illinois is home to various theme parks that include Donley’s Wild West Town, Enchanted Forest, Go Bananas, and Grady’s Family Fun Park. Others are Haunted Trails, Safari Land, Santa’s Village Azoosment Park, and Six Flags Great America. The locations of the parks are their greatest strengths. They are easily accessible by many people. Additionally, the parks have strong themes and inclusive attractions that appeal to customers of all ages. However, Illinois’s climate is the greatest weakness of most of the parks. Most of the state have humid continental climate that is characterized by hot, humid summers and cool to cold winters. As such, most of the parks operate seasonally due to the cold winters.
The theme park industry has experienced a lot of growth over the years. The expansion of globalization and the continued development of the industry have brought about various challenges that are facing the industry. For instance, they have resulted in increased industry competition (Hu). The number of businesses taking part in the industry has grown over the years and has led to decreases in the market shares controlled by each of the businesses. They have also resulted in the homogenous competition. Most of the businesses have run out of original and innovative ideas (Hu). As a result, the industry is now characterized by mimic of the same types of theme parks.
TRC, Inc. should go ahead and open a theme park in Illinois. The state’s theme park industry, which conforms to that of the whole country, is highly attractive. It has enjoyed significant growth over the years and is expected to grow at higher rates over the coming years due to increased tourism and travel spending. The company should ensure that its park in Illinois has all the elements of successful theme parks, which are inclusiveness, proper location, and appropriate theme and attractions. For instance, it should have most of the attractions such as rides, video arcade, live animal exhibits, roller coasters, and miniature golf, which appeal to Illinois theme park goers.
The US theme park industry has been evaluated in the present report. The industry has grown over the years and is expected to continue growing over coming years. The success of theme parks is driven by factors such as inclusiveness, strong themes and attractions, and location. The report recommends that TRC, Inc. should open a new theme park in Illinois. However, the company should ensure that the new park has the three elements of a successful theme park, failure to which it will not cope with the competitors in the state.
- Boyer, Paul S, and Melvyn Dubofsky. The Oxford Companion to United States History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Print.
- Hu, Guanglin. “A Research Review on Theme Park”. Business and Management Research2.4 (2013): n. pag. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
- Ibisworld,. “Amusement Parks in the US Market Research | Ibisworld”. Ibisworld.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
- Morgan, Lee. Characteristics of a Successful Theme Park. 1st ed. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
- Tucholka, Anne, and Steffanie Weese. Future Development of Theme Parks with the Help of a Comparison between Seaworld, Orlando and Oceanpark, Hongkong. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2007. Print