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Oct 9, 2013
Virginia Beach
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I was replying to a post and I thought of this question. I'm curious of others answers.

If you owned the park today, what realistic changes would you make to enhance the park and draw more of a crowd?  (Note the word "Realistic")
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Reactions: Planeteer
I'm sorry, how is that not constructive?  This thread is about making changes to better the park; that implies that it would need work in some way.  As for who I would have replace Scott, I would easily nominate Phil Rayborn.
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Reactions: Jrbgwfan06
If I had to redo the entertainment team (and firing Scott would require a pretty complete redo of the team) I would look outside the company. Go to Disney or Universal or even Broadway and try to find a person who is used to running multiple shows on a large scale. Not saying there aren't people currently in the company (and by that I mean Sea World total) but at this point I feel we really need an outside source.

One of the biggest changes I think needs to be done is to increase the capacity and throughput of England. I hope they will be working with that some in the current redo but I am not holding my breath. But the paths are too narrow in England and even worse is the path from England to Scotland. Just during Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town take a look near closing and see how busy those paths get and you can barely move.

The rest of the park has paths that are 2 or 3 times as wide, and can handle traffic pretty well (except for Italy but that's another thing.) By expanding the paths in England I would think they could help increase capacity to the entire park.
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Reactions: CastleOSullivan
I'd give area host/ess team members the new responsibility of keeping a watchful eye on crowds throughout the day (not just for holidays or special events, but on a daily basis). That way they can help traffic flow easier. I mean they are already out on the pathways most of the time, and at this point they sweep of mostly air anyways I'm sure they can handle being able to keep the traffic flowing smoothly.

I would do a few more changes but, I just don't have the time to go into them right now.
I would switch out Scott and Phil Raybourn.(don't fire Scott but put him in a lot lower stance in terms of park management) Give a lot more budget to the Landscaping, and general repairs teams.(they both did horrible in 2013) 

Scott can still work mainly on Special Events(besides the summertime events), but Phil needs to focus on basically everything else. I think with Scott no longer terrorizing the park, and the landscaping & general repairs teams having more budget, I would be generally at peace with the park.
I'd get rid of the biometric scanners, or at least go with a company that has more reliable equipment. Half of my usual park group can't get them to work on their fingers. It causes such a bottleneck at the front entrance, and that frustration can set the tone for the rest of the visit. Yes, I know many theme parks use them now. I still find them obnoxious and useless.

I'd also like to see some restrooms in the parking lots by the tram stops, especially the Bavaria/Scotland one. I know that is probably a maintenance issue, being that they aren't inside the park so having a staff member clean them could be problematic. Now I'm lucky to have in-laws just down the street from the park, but before then I had some pretty close calls after an hour drive and then waiting to park and get on the tram.

I'd also want to shorten the amount of concerts and instead have an original show in the RPT. Bring back the Cirque style shows!
I agree with the idea of getting more budget back to Landscaping and Maintenance.  I did feel like the floral and landscaping was markedly less creative in the last year I was there (2012) than in the past.

Entertainment needs to be reined in.  Go back to having a few stable core shows, particularly for the summer season, including one major nighttime production for RPT.  Summer should be the time when the park is "normal" without a themed overlay like Christmas or Halloween are.  Let Entertainment go all out for HOS and Christmas Town productions and decor.  Get rid of Illuminights (or the idea of Illuminights in another incarnation) altogether because as it is not immersive enough to justify the resources that are put into it -- and again, summer should just be the park at its "normal" non-seasonally-themed best. 

Perhaps come up with some more small, but well advertised!, special events like Wild Days that take advantage of resources from the chain as a whole.  These are the kinds of offerings that might offer some smaller accents to the basic summer season that wouldn't be budget breakers but might bring the passholders in for an extra visit and, without having to spend a lot, still might stand out to the once a year or once every few years visitor, so that those casual visitors don't think the park is the same-old, same-old every year.  Also, the Food and Wine Festival -- a nice production but doesn't require huge amounts in terms of decor or new shows.  Might the Food and Wine Festival be better for summer?  They'd have to be sure to have enough personnel and food to handle the larger summer crowds, but again it might punctuate the summer season without requiring a huge budget compared to a new show or, of course, a new ride.

Rides do need to be added and I don't have a handle on what is going on with that these days.  Are parks still competing for biggest and newest and most technological coaster, or not?  But they have to quit taking out rides to add rides.  There really aren't a huge number of rides in the park, so regardless of service life issues and the like -- no more losing Le Mans for Griffon (much as I love Griffon), no more sacrificing the Big Bad Wolf even though Verbolten is a respectable replacement, etc.
Applesauce pid=92212 dateline=1392321450 said:
I would get rid of the fun card all together, and probably try and lower ticket prices. Because $72 is absolutely ridiculous for BG.
That's interesting.  I don't want to stop anyone else from posting about this, but do you mind explaining the reasoning?  What would be a fair price?
Change #1) Fix the gates. 

This is an issue that affects every single guest every time they visit the park.  The present system is broken, and gives an impression of management incompetence before you even get through the gate.  Specifically, rethink the function of the gates and make changes that reflect those functions.  From my perspective, the functions of the gates are A) to get paying guests in as quickly as possible B) to prevent pass members from lending their passes to other people C) to reduce labor costs by minimizing the number of attendants necessary.  The park has invested in a technical solution which would fulfill those functions if it worked properly, but it does not.  A) the barcode and fingerprint scanners are slow, inaccurate, and require frequent attendant intervention B) because the scanners often don't work, the attendants usually just let guests enter regardless of whether the guests fingerprints match or if they have photo ID; C) because the scanners often don't work, lots of attendants are necessary.  Things go most smoothly when there is an attendant at every scanner.  The more scanners the attendants need to cover, the longer the lines get and the madder people are when they get through the gates.

So, what is the fix?  Allow pass holders to get passes with their photos on them, like Colonial Williamsburg does.  Designate one or two gate lines to be pass holder lines, where you just have to flash your badge and are waved through quickly.  This has multiple benefits.  A) It is a tangible benefit to pass holders to be able to get through the gates quickly.  B) Facial recognition by an attendant is fast and accurate.  If it works for military bases, it should work for BGW.  C) Throughput per attendant would go way up.  A single line with photo IDs is way quicker than two scanner lines. (sad to say)  D) A couple photo ID lines would relieve the strain on the scanner lines so that those who need to use them won't have such long waits.

This could easily be implemented as a pilot program with nearly zero cost to the park (signs are fairly cheap).  Just make one line a photo ID line with an attendant checking to be sure a government issued photo ID matches the name on the pass or ticket.  See what effect that line has on throughput and reducing the load on the scanner lines.  See which line guests prefer to be in.  Families with kids under driving age would still have to use the scanners, but my guess is that when the parents see how much faster the photo ID line moves, they would beg the park to issue photo IDs for their kids.
Change #2) Increase "strolling performers" and post their performance times

One of the things Disney does right is provide lots of "out of theater" entertainment and photo ops for guests.  This personal interaction between guests and performers has a huge effect on making the atmosphere of a park feel welcoming and charming.  A critical component of this is POSTING the performance times.  Did a family walk all the way across the park only to miss the show by 5 minutes?  "That's OK, kids.  Look, the juggler is about to come out..."

One thing that allows Disney to do this successfully is that many of their performers are in costumes that hide their faces, and they don't talk when in costume.  This allows the performers to remain anonymous.  It is unfortunately true (from conversations with performers and personal observation) that BGW has a stalker problem.  Often when BGW performers interact with the public (and even when they don't) they attract stalkers who, at best, insist on becoming part of the show, and at worst, harass them when they are not performing.  The anonymity that comes with identity concealing costumes is one possible solution to this, but doesn't really fit in with the BGW theme.

I'm not really sure what the solution to this problem is, other than providing some obvious security to the strolling performers to reinforce the "look, but don't touch" message to those who need it.  The park seems to know how to do this during Howl-O-Scream.  Doing the same thing during the regular season would probably work, too, but might be cost prohibitive.

Still, more of this type of entertainment would be a huge boost in increasing the charm of BGW.  As a for instance, what if BGW took all the money and performers that will be doing the new show in England this year, and instead used those resources to blanket the park with strolling performers?  I think that would take the charm level to "11".  Would ANY new show do that?  Probably not.
Change #3)  Customer appreciation rewards for "whales"

In Las Vegas, they are called "whales".  These are the high rollers who spend the most money at an establishment.

Some BGW pass members attend the park a LOT and spend a LOT of money.  BGW knows who these people are, because they use their passes to get discounts on their food, merchandise, and guest tickets.

First, as part of the pass members section of the website, you should be able to review all the activity which was associated with your pass.  It would be nice to be able to see that I went to the park 75 times last year, spent $950 on food, and bought tickets for 12 other people.

Second, BGW should publicly reward their whales with perks.  For example:
- At pass members preview day, Carl could call "Mr. Jones" up on stage and say, "BGW would like to thank Mr. Jones for visiting the park X number of days last season, only missing two days of the season due to the birth of his 3rd grandchild.  We'd like to present him with this BGW jacket and a pass for him and a guest to enjoy a free dinner each week of the 2014 season."
- "BGW would like to thank Ms. Smith for using her pass to purchase 138 guest tickets over the course of last season for all the children in the Sunday school classes she teaches.  This year we're going to pay for her season pass."
- "We are presenting the top 100 attendees from the 2013 season with passes to one behind the scenes tour of their choice, during the upcoming season."
- "For the 2014 season, we will be giving a week long parking pass to the space closest to the gate in the England lot to the passholder who spent the most money on food and merchandise in the park the previous week."
- "Anyone who attends the park every day the park is open in a given week will be entered in a drawing.  Five winners will receive quick queue passes good for any one day the following week."

Pass holders want to feel appreciated by the park.  There are plenty of no/low cost perks the park could be providing to their best customers, while generating lots of good publicity and goodwill.
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