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Seasonal Theme Parks Going to Year Round Operations


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It's been interesting to see more of the "Seasonal" parks starting to operate year round now.

 

In the past year or two it was Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags Fiesta Texas, along with SeaWorld San Antonio which had announced year round operations with weekend only operations in January/February/March.

 

This year Six Flags Over Texas is staying open year round with weekend only operations and debuting the "Fire & Ice Festival" to kick off their 60th anniversary season: https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/six-flags-over-texas-introduces-fire-ice-winter-festival-celebrating-parks-60th-anniversary/2521066/ 

 

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is also going year round with weekend events for their traditional off-season


So will Great Adventure do the same next year? As it is there will only be about 2 months the park is closed this year.   

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If Great Adventure was open all year I would go even in below freezing temperatures as long as there was no snow or ice. I’d be happy riding Skull Mountain, The Dark Knight and Justice League multiple times each visit but if an outdoor coaster or two were open, that would be even better.

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I would not visit any park below freezing. NJ winters are just a little too harsh for year round outdoor operations. Even VA is a tad warmer climate than NJ is. Also snow and ice removal operations would rapidly increase walkway deterioration. 

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17 hours ago, GAcoaster said:

Tokyo has similar weather to New Jersey and Tokyo Disneyland is open all year... 

 

But more of their rides are indoors than GADV. Also most of Ocean County, NJ is a zone 7A climate with a yearly minimum temperature of 5 to 0 degrees F.  Looking around online, Tokyo, Japan is around a zone 9A climate with a minimun yearly temperature of 25 to 20 degrees F. Still cold in the winter but not as cold as NJ. Cold hardiness zones only measure the intensity of yearly cold, not the duration of a region's cold season which would be another factor in year round operations. In general, warmer minimum temperature zones tend to also have shorter duration cold seasons but it can vary from region to region with the same zone number.

Edited by The Master
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On 1/10/2021 at 5:11 PM, Coaster Justin said:

I can see Weekend Operations

 

I imagine most of the stuff open would be drive thru Safari, But with Lights cause most animals would probably be indoors.

 

I agree, if they did anything, it would be a drive through experience unless they built a hotel with an Indoor water park

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Yes. They have some amusement rides and the 2 coasters now but the water slides and other water park attractions are all over the park in some cases right next to the rides. When I used to visit as a kid it was all water park and playground type activities like nets, dry slides, an obstacle course, suspension bridge and no rides at all.

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6 hours ago, Yoshi said:

Yes. They have some amusement rides and the 2 coasters now but the water slides and other water park attractions are all over the park in some cases right next to the rides. When I used to visit as a kid it was all water park and playground type activities like nets, dry slides, an obstacle course, suspension bridge and no rides at all.

 

I was only there once as a kid and I remember it being mostly playground type attractions with some water attractions. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the next 4 days are going to be below freezing for the high with high winds and 9 inches of snow starting Sunday through Monday. How can outdoor parks operate in that type of weather? 

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11 hours ago, 29yrswithaGApass said:

You would keep it closed those days.  Up until now we have been above average with temps and the third lowest amount of snow on record for January.   People do venture out in the  winter months.  

 

That is the issue, most winters won't be as mild as this one has mainly been so far, and even this winter still had some really brutal cold snaps and there probably will be more. Some winters we get chains of snow storms every week or stuck below freezing for weeks on end. In a bad winter with prolonged sub freezing snaps or higher than normal frequent snowfalls, I do not see how a outdoor park could remain open. Perhaps during an extra bad winter, a park would just close early for the season like GADV had to in the third year for HITP. Extreme cold is dangerous and does entail safety and liability issues. 

 

While people do still venture out in northern winters, the number of them that do declines with the tempature. The locsl news just showed that all the outdoor dining in Philly are empty despite wind booths and heaters. Restaurants there only have 25% indoor sitting which reslly sucks for them in the winter. Overall the variability of NJ winters with the near certainty of some exterme cold and snow makes year round outdoor operations unlikely. 

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People also avoid the park in the summertime when the temperature is near 100 and the humidity just as high with its own set of health dangers. Those that don’t like that type of weather stay home and those that do pay a visit, but they don’t shut the park because the temperature may get that high.  

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7 hours ago, 29yrswithaGApass said:

People also avoid the park in the summertime when the temperature is near 100 and the humidity just as high with its own set of health dangers. Those that don’t like that type of weather stay home and those that do pay a visit, but they don’t shut the park because the temperature may get that high.  

 

Again, in our region 100 degree summer days are far less common than sub 32 days in the winter. Generally the cold can harm and kill a human faster than heat, in either case proper preparations are a must. Remember heat energy flows from hot to cold zones until both reach equal temps. Hydration and shade are key in hot weather while layers and staying out of the wind to prevent frostbite are key for cold weather. A big problem its that outdoor rides create a headwind (windchill) which is good for cooling off hot riders but bad with further cooling chilled riders and promoting frostbite. This means outdoor ride operation in cold weather is self defeating compared to hot weather due to windchill. Its why they sell tent like snow cabs for normally open air utility vehicles for winter time use. I suppose some low speed flat rides could have snow cabs installed for winter time operations. Here is a helpful windchill chart.

 5d106d7804e1e955d615ea6cacbd0f92.gif

 

  Furthermore, in summer you do not have slip hazards from ice and snow nor the damaging affects of ice melters that decrease infrastructure life. Nor forgetting how would snow and ice be removed from ride tracks a 100+ feet in the air? In cases of ride failures or coaster valleying in extreme cold, riders must be evacuated quickly to avoid hypothermia and frostbite, it can't be slow like it normally is. Machines and electronics fail more often as well as wear faster in cold weather. In cold weather lubricants and fluids become congealed and phase separate into their different parts while wires and hoses turn brittle and machine life is greatly decreased. I wish our winters were not so cold, but they are. This is a very cold and harsh winter climate region we live in, although not the worst it is still not supportive of year round outdoor operations. Year round operations here are wishful thinking.

 

Then again, a theme park in a cold winter region could always build a miniature Snowpiercer train ride LOL. 

   1102424.jpg

Edited by The Master
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https://www.climatecentral.org/news/cold-weather-more-deadly-19026#:~:text=Heat waves are not as,than scorching or freezing spells.

 

Quote

Heat waves are not as deadly as has been assumed, according to research that suggests prolonged exposure to moderately cold temperatures kills more people than scorching or freezing spells.

 

Keep in mind NJ typically only has 15 to 20 days at or above 90 degrees for a high while it has 186 days that reach at or below 32 degrees for a low, hence why NJ is said to have warm (not hot) summers and cold (not cool) winters. 

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38 minutes ago, 29yrswithaGApass said:

Low temperatures typically occur in the middle of the night when nobody is at the park. High temperatures occur during mid day when people are at the park. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.  
 

 

 

But most days that reach freezing at night are at least moderately cold during the day which is still dangerous. Cold is more dangerous than warm weather because it is harsher on lifeforms. Hot days are less common here so people tend to make a bigger deal about them even through moderate cold which is way more common in NJ is more dangerous of the two. 

 

A naked human in a shaded spot with food and water in 90 degree weather would die from old age before suffering any ill affects. At 60 degrees a person would die in a couple of days from exposure, at 40 degrees in one day, a little cooler than 40 and its just hours. Even dressing in proper layers only buys time in cold weather, eventually a person in just moderate cold will need to seek shelter to warm up the body core no matter how well dressed. 

 

In warm weather just staying hydrated and out of direct sun is enough to prevent ill affects. While cold weather requires extensive layers of protection and periods of warm indoor shelter. 

Edited by The Master
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How did we go from GA being open in the winter months to talking about naked people sitting in the shade?

 

Let’s leave it at you stay home in the winter and I’ll stay home when he gets extremely hot in the summer. That is why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  

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The point is it is a simplified example of how an "unprotected" person has a far better survival rate in warm weather than cool or outright cold weather, thus illustrating how cold weather or even cool weather has more adverse negative affects on people over hot weather. Granted in a more realistic scenario a person would likely better equip themselves for the prevailing conditions as best as he or she can but again cold weather requires far more extensive and elaborate preparations. Moreover, my main point is that there are many factors that make outdoor theme park operations in a cold winter region like NJ impractical. NJ winters are simply too harsh and unforgiving on man and machine past Dec, sometimes even before. Demand is low, costs are high, and past Dec there is lack of holiday draws. We will have to agree to disagree rather than derail the topic more. 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was way behind in my Industry News reading.  I'm glad I decided to get caught up, this debate was fun. I hope our site optimist and pessimist had fun debating each other.  I will most likely not go to the park naked ever, to every ones relief,  so I wont have to worry about those extremes.  I have braved the hot days and would probably brave the cold days. I really enjoy the park and am so disappointed I didn't get to go at all in 2020. I hope I can make up for it in 2021

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On 2/24/2021 at 11:31 AM, scott said:

I was way behind in my Industry News reading.  I'm glad I decided to get caught up, this debate was fun. I hope our site optimist and pessimist had fun debating each other.  I will most likely not go to the park naked ever, to every ones relief,  so I wont have to worry about those extremes.  I have braved the hot days and would probably brave the cold days. I really enjoy the park and am so disappointed I didn't get to go at all in 2020. I hope I can make up for it in 2021

 

One thing to mention is that most of the debate took place a month ago during a mild Jan as 29 pointed out back then. However, in the meantime Feb was the opposite with consistent below normal temps and frequent heavy snowfalls. The month had a steady 7 inch snowpack on the ground. This past month was a harsh one and be difficult for a outdoor park to remain open through. 

 

 

Edited by The Master
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