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Nov 30, 2018
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While the park could choose to do any of those options with their ice rink, i think a difficulty will be adding in elevated seating to watch either. Additionally, I think the logistics of hockey and (unless it's a semi-pro team match) the limited attendance draw for youth team play makes it a tough sell.

Doing some kind of Peanuts on Ice show may be more their speed, especially if there's opportunities for an up-sell for skating with the characters or an on-ice meet and greet sort of thing.

Learn to skate with Woodstock?
I would look at youth events, vice semi-pro, with the intention of getting the participants and families in the park. I'd use Disney World as an analogy, though it's a poor one, but the idea is by hosting sports events on ice you can draw guests in general to the park.

On-ice shows or character meets would be nice, though seating would need to be figured out - maybe bleachers could be set up where the grandstand is.
 

Jonesta6

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I would look at youth events, vice semi-pro, with the intention of getting the participants and families in the park. I'd use Disney World as an analogy, though it's a poor one, but the idea is by hosting sports events on ice you can draw guests in general to the park.

Disney can do it as part of their resort complexes (NBA bubble), but KD having one of their main wintertime activities tied up for most of a day (plus installing the nets and markings needed for regulation play) means the few guests interested in coming despite not being associated to youth sports will have less entertainment options available.

Not saying they can't or won't do it, especially if it's easy to install the gear needed and they were going to need raised bleachers anyways, just would take extra consideration. On the plus side if they did that, the F&B revenue should be considerably larger during those events.
 

Mushroom

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I think a lot of people missed @netdvn's point the other day. BGW has the luxury of being located in a relatively high-population area with plenty of surrounding neighborhoods, not to mention being located in a town that attracts some amount of tourists year-round. KD is located in the middle of an unincorporated area of Hanover County and is surrounded by farms and forests for miles. Very few people live within a short (read: 5-15 minute drive) of KD, unlike BGW.

I suspect that the main audience that BGW is hoping to capture with their January-February-March events is mostly locals who can quickly and easily scoot up the road to the park for a few hours, grab a meal, watch a performance, and ride a few rides. KD literally does not have that audience. If KD wanted to offer year-round events, they would have to put together a seriously impressive product to entice people to make the at least half-hour trip up and down I-95 to visit the park during those extremely cold, dreary winter months.

I think KD would need to put in much more effort and much more of an investment than BGW needs to get the same crowds. For that reason, it just doesn't seem worth it for KD, at least not any time soon.
 

Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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I think it is worth observing that while there are some tourists year-round in the area, Colonial Williamsburg has reduced operations in January and February.

I am not disagreeing with what has been said, but I think we need to keep BGW's winter events in the proper context.
 

Thomas

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Historically, Williamsburg has been dead in January and February until at least Mid March (whenever spring break is) to the point of restaurant closures and scaled-back hospitality offerings. Now, who is to say that BGW being open won't change this somewhat... but for Colonial Williamsburg at least, it has always been the time for seasonal maintenance closures.
 

Jonesta6

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Btw, while true that KD is sort of isolated from the population centers of the area comparatively to BGW, I'd think that depending on where someone lives in relation to the park in either locality has more to do with the decision to go or not. For instance, folks in VB may take 45 minutes-an hour to get to BGW but folks in Chesterfield could be at KD in a half hour (I've done both drives, though it's been awhile, ymmv).

Therefore it's not a cut/dry scenario of if you build it they will come for either park.
 

netdvn

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Jan 12, 2012
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in the rear
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Yes people will come to KD if it opens in the off season, but would it be enough to open in the dead of January-February when people aren't traveling?

BGW is at an advantage where the town and its attractions still run 365. Yes Colonial Williamsburg may scale back operations, but it still stays open. And even without Colonial Williamsburg, there's still Great Wolf, which draws both locals and out of towners year round no matter what. Having BGW open means a family doing Great Wolf for a weekend can easily hop over to BGW for a few hours, and then head back to the waterpark.

KD doesn't really have that advantage.
 
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Nov 30, 2018
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The fact remains that very often : you get what you pay for.
KD is charging much less right now and the experience is about as good as Ive seen in years, with manageable crowds, quality food, and just a nice experience. Though the reservations are annoying, they keep the park manageable. BGW opening the floodgates without requisite staff to handle the crowds and has basically trashed the guest experience with their running the park understaffed. Right now it’s a crapshoot going to BGW any given day, whereas KD is a pretty consistent experience, which is what a park should be for guests.
 

vacoasterfanatic

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kd was fantastic both of my visits this season. also it seems like the employee morale is better at the park as well. some of the new bgw employees are just plain rude
 
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Jonesta6

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Lots of speculating going on in that - not sure why a park in a close but not quite same DMA is considered direct competition enough to not get a ride by the same manufacturer - speaking more to the RMC situation than the 4D FreeSpin (though when it's basically a new take on the wild mouse concept I'm not sure why it'd matter if multiple neighboring parks get them together - it fills a portfolio but isn't in itself a headliner).

This video also doesn't take into account corporate focus and logistics dictating changes in local decisions - BGW is one of the crown jewels for SEAS, KD is mid-tier and CW is low high-tier for CF, and he was correct in that SFA is low-tier for SF. There's way too much nuance to say any given park's strategy when adding a ride is simply to not get the same thing at the same time as another park close by.

Therefore, SEAS will readily dump more on CapEx for BGW as a relatively new focus has been rides over experience and is supported by a large local audience plus is much closer to tourist spots on the Virginia coast; KD is not that close to Richmond's population centers (I heard somewhere KECO's studies indicated that the population growth would occur north of town so they chose Hanover County vs. something like western Henrico or even eastern Goochland where the population eventually grew) and thus doesn't usually see high attendance comparatively. Add to that CF under Matt Ouimet (sp?) has begun focusing on experiences over the biggest and best rides, especially at their lower-tier parks.
 
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Mar 18, 2017
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KD is not that close to Richmond's population centers
Not seeing that.
BG from Hampton U is 31 min 28 mi., from Chesapeake 49 min. 47.5 mi.
KD from Lakeside 18 min 18 mi., from VCU 24 min. 23 mi., Tuckahoe 32 min 34 mi., Brandermill 35 min.
 
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Jonesta6

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Not seeing that.
BG from Hampton U is 31 min 28 mi., from Chesapeake 49 min. 47.5 mi.
KD from Lakeside 18 min 18 mi., from VCU 24 min. 23 mi., Tuckahoe 32 min 34 mi., Brandermill 35 min.

However, the mentality of locals is different - Norfolk and Virginia Beach guests don't generally mind making the trip to BGW though Williamsburg area residents are literally right there.

Closest thing to KD is the small town of Ashland, which to many of the residents of the West End/Short Pump and Richmond City is in the deep boonies even if it's not that far of a drive - something about being outside of the 295/288 bubble. That, and many locals still have the perception of the park being grimy and full of teens committing trouble all over the place - obviously not the case (maybe in the early 90s or earlier?) but still hurts the attendance numbers.
 
Mar 4, 2021
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I feel like well over half of Richmond hasn’t been to Kings Dominion in over 10 years. Most of the people I knew growing up only went back because they have kids.
 
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anecdote, but when i was in dc KD was the main park ppl seemed to go to. Spending a weekend in williamsburg was also a thing but that kinda goes to show this is all apples to oranges. While the dynamic here is different to say, Universal and Disney in which most or many will go to both; I would say that many people in the mid-atlantic area go to one or the other park for very different reasons.

This has been brought up many times in the past and frankly, while nothing exists in a vacuum, both parks feel they can do and add whatever they want without worrying about the park thats over an hour away into no mans land and at times have gone on the record saying this.

Its one thing if you have two parks an hour away on separate sides of a city, and another when they both exist on the edges of entirely separate metro areas. And even if they were in the same city, look at how much that seems to matter with San Antonio(not really at all).
 
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Jonesta6

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One other thing I thought peculiar is the thought of crossing water in the commute - even though there are several bridges, most of the time I've found people on one side of the James River to be hesitant to go to the other side for inexplicable reasons; yet with only a few limited water crossings with their own headaches, Tidewater residents don't really mind crossing over the James and other waterways regularly.

BGW is a draw in itself, but also stacked alongside several historical and touristy areas while being on the way to the beach for tourists - it's in a great location for tourist attendance.

KD is in a county with little tourism outside of the state fair and the few concerts held there (which would be interesting if they could work with promoters to host some of them at the park instead). Additionally, much of the tourist draw is for youth sports tournaments (mostly in Henrico and Chesterfield) or conventions/government work - these are mostly get in-get out affairs instead of vacations so there's not likely to be a huge tourist attendance at KD.
 
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