[AN] Quelques informations supplémentaires sur la nouveauté de Legoland California

Publié le par parcattractions.fr

Carlsbad park to get pirate-themed section

oping to attract a slew of new visitors, Legoland is spending $10 million to add a pirate-themed section to its Carlsbad amusement park.

The expansion, which will add four new water attractions, including two rides, is the first move by new Legoland owner the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm that bought a 70 percent stake in the park and the three other Legoland properties last year for $460 million.


Pirate Shores will feature two new rides and two new play areas.
Blackstone-owned Merlin Entertainment Group, which operates theme parks in eight European countries, will be in charge of Legoland's operations.

Nick Varney, Merlin's chief executive, said the expansion, which is scheduled to open this summer, is proof of the company's commitment to Legoland.

"This investment will give it another kick forward," Varney said.

The new Pirate Shores, as the expansion is named, will be built around a 4-D movie attraction titled "Spellbreaker." It will include two new rides: Splash Battle, which will feature pirate ships equipped with water cannons that allow passengers to shoot water at other boats and spectators, and Treasure Falls, a mini log ride. There also will be two new water-play areas: Swabbies Deck, aimed at younger visitors, and Soak-N-Sail, which will look like a shipwreck.

John Jakobsen, president and general manager of Legoland, said Pirate Shores is the largest single expansion in the park's relatively short history. The park, which is known for its elaborate structures built entirely of Lego plastic bricks, is targeted at families with children 12 and under.

In the past two years combined, Legoland spent about $11 million on new attractions. The park had been hampered by the financial troubles of its former owner Lego Co., the legendary Danish toy maker. Lego Co. decided to sell its four Legoland properties in the fall of 2004 in order to concentrate on its core toy business.

New attractions are key to a theme park's success because competition in the industry is so fierce, said Mike Barnes, executive editor at Amusement Business,  a trade publication for the amusement-park industry.

"All these guys have to expand to get more people in there," Barnes said.

Not only do amusement parks have to compete with each other, they also must battle movie theaters and sporting events for consumers' attention and cash.

While Legoland said yesterday that it recorded strong attendance last year with a 2 percent increase in visitors, it did not keep pace with other theme parks.

According to Amusement Business,  for 2005, the top 50 amusement parks increased attendance by 4.2 percent over the previous year. The publication estimated that Legoland's attendance was about 1.43 million visitors, making it the 40th-most popular theme park.

Disneyland, which had an aggressive advertising campaign to promote its 50th anniversary, had an increase of 8.5 percent, while San Diego's SeaWorld had 4.1 million visitors, a 2.5 percent increase.

Varney said the key to Legoland's future success is the development of additional hotels to make the Carlsbad area a destination in and of itself. While a 700-suite resort by local developer Grand Pacific Resorts is under construction just north of the theme park, with its own entrance to the park, Varney said his company is interested in perhaps partnering with another company to create a Legoland-themed hotel as well.

Barnes said that strategy would make sense and pointed to the large number of hotels that surround places such as Disneyland.

"When you have a hotels near the property, it just extends the amount of time you spend there," he said.

Source : Union Tribune

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