Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nov/Dec FUNWORLD: Special Double Issue!

Soon you should receive the special year-end double issue of FUNWORLD. I wrote this year's cover story, which focuses on the three top executives at design firm Jack Rouse Associates. I'm really happy with how the article turned out; Jack Rouse, Keith James, and Amy Merrell are rarely in the same place at the same time, so the extended conversational Q&A documents one of the few times these industry experts are in the same room together and talking about the business they all love. I particularly enjoyed hearing their thoughts on the attractions industry in China, India, and the Middle East.

At 172 pages, of course there's tons more in this issue than just my interview—more than enough to keep you occupied on that plane ride to Orlando for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008. We have stories on animatronics, secret shopping at parks, the European industry, farm-based attractions, waterslide maintenance, and much, much more.

But before we move on completely to November, I have one more bit of info to share from our October issue. Contributing Editor Mike Bederka sent me this extra mini-Q&A from his interview with Jerry Merola, chief financial officer of Amusement Entertainment Management LLC in New Jersey, regarding FEC redesign:

FW: What are the biggest mistakes people make when redesigning their FECs? JM: Not creating an appropriate match of components and attractions within a facility. It creates a disjoined facility by selecting attractions not in harmony with one another—mixing family attractions with teen or young adult, for example. Or adding go-karts to a children’s facility; if the tracks are too aggressive, you end up with a more teen, young-adult crowd not mixing with your younger, family crowd.

FW: Are a lot of FEC owners scared to take the plunge and redesign? JM: Most people are comfortable with the thought that they have to upgrade the venue. The challenge, the fear is: Will I get these dollars back? Will it result in more dollars on the bottom line?

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