Learn the Theme Park Operation Management from Disney!
Theme park is a large-scale systems engineering. From the planning, design, investment and construction to operation management, the system involves many aspects, every step or every link is full of challenge, and also full of difficulties and thorns. Disneyland already has a lot of experience in this area, but it doesn’t mean that Disney can easily guarantee every project’s success. The first few years of operation of Disneyland Paris met a great challenge, which was caused by the failure to study European culture and integrate it into local culture.
From the outside, a theme park involves the following aspects:
Firstly, amusement equipments. This is the most important content of a park and the root of the park. From the previous analysis, the number of the amusement rides should support 1-2 days of visiting time sufficiently. The content should have an adequately attractive story themes (for example, a fairy tale), and the experience style should be unique or unparalleled (new enough, amazing enough, wonderful enough, shocking enough). The construction technology of the amusement rides requires sophisticated technology.
Secondly, service facilities, including shopping, catering, accommodation, transportation, medical treatment, interpretation, parking, bag storage and other services facilities. The volume of service facilities should match the volume of amusement rides and the cultural theme of the park.
Thirdly, both amusement rides and service facilities should reflect humanistic care. On one hand, we need to pay attention to the needs of children. On the other hand, we need to pay attention to the needs of people with disabilities,
As well as the needs of tourists from different countries, regions and languages.
Fourthly, amusement equipments, service facilities and infrastructure should match each other, and the role of people should be emphasized. Disney’s employees are a very important asset for Disney, and they are part of the experience of tourists in Disney. All the facilities are meaningful only when they are combined with people. Hong Kong Disneyland employs more than 1,800 employees, all of the front line staff must have the ability to speak English, cantonese and mandarin.
(1)Theme parks need distinct theme concepts
Theme parks are tourism products driven by creative themes. If a theme park does not have a theme or the theme is vague, it is difficult to attract tourists for a long time. Therefore, the choice of the theme is particularly important to theme parks. In this regard, Disneyland has been very successful. The theme of Disney park is distinct enough. For decades, Disney has been introducing cartoon images based on fairy tales, scientific fantasy as the theme and background. From the initial Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to the later pirates of the Caribbean series, all kinds of cartoon characters are deeply loved by people and have their own distinct personality characteristics and their own stories, show before the eyes of tourists graphically, and attract a large number of tourists.
By integrating the theme, showing and shaping the story line with the construction, performance, scene setting and entertainment style, Disneyland makes “theme, plot, scene” become an integral three basic elements of the new tourism form of Disneyland.
(2) Theme parks need to build an industrial chain
Disney’s operations are actually a group of industrial chain. In this combination, ticket revenue is only a small fraction of Disney’s, with the main profit points being entertainment, catering, accommodation and other facilities.”Vacation mode” is a profitable concept created by Disneyland. That is, tourists are “on holiday” rather than one day of fast food tourism, the income of catering, hotels and shopping increase naturally after the extension of the entertainment time. In order to prolong time, Disney also involves a lot more theme hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping stores, etc. in the commercial design, in addition to the theme parks, and also equipped with a number of children’s facilities, well-equipped spa beauty center and fitness center, with chic small pavilion, garden for the application of the wedding, spacious exhibition and conference venues, and other themed supporting facilities. These not only plump the Disneyland peripheral culture, but also bring developers the bonanza.
At the same time, through improving brand awareness to attract tourists, Disney gets secondary profit by selling the tourism souvenirs with characteristics of intellectual property rights, in addition to getting tickets income. And the brand influence gets further expansion due to the release of the tourist souvenirs, this profit model has a tenacious vitality.
The profit pattern of domestic theme parks and Disney have fundamentally differences, the pattern of domestic theme parks mostly are purely ticket revenue model due to a relative lack of cultural connotation. Relevant data statistics show that the tickets income accounts for more than 80% of the park overall income in domestic theme parks. The most is to combine tourism development with real estate, not to make a fuss about the management of the theme park itself. Disney has a professional industrial chain operation team from content production, retail product development to theme park management. Many local theme parks do not have such strength.
(3) Facilities need continuous innovation
Disney has a slogan: “The construction of Disneyland will never be finished.” Disneyland has adopted a business strategy of continuously adding new playgrounds, equipments and services to attract new tourists and old customers. It has always used the “three-three” system in its operating projects, that means eliminating one-third of the hardware equipment and constructing one-third of new concept projects annually, to give visitors freshness continually. In order to enhance interestingness, Disney adheres to the principle that everything is dynamic.
(4) Tourists are the center of everything
When Walt Disney started Disneyland in California, he repeatedly stressed that ” tourists are the first for every consideration”. Disney is always close to the market, close to the demand. All the needs of what people want to play and what they want to feel will be reflected in its entertainment project design. At the same time, it also pays attention to localization, and fully considers the local cultural characteristics and needs, and sets up and builds the park project close to the local market. In the mind of tourists, Disneyland is a place full of human warmth and happiness for entertainment and leisure.
The design of entertainment facilities in Disneyland follows the concept of humanized design. Disney began its planning and design with the aim of making tourists feel happy, and even took a lot of effort to reduce physical discomfort of tourists in exciting projects such as drop towers or roller coasters. However, for some domestic theme parks, quick return to profitability is the key due to the pressure of business operations. Therefore, some gimmicks and highly stimulating items are always designed to attract tourists. Human factors are rarely considered.
To make a good theme park project consistently profitable, it requires the planners stand in the position of subjective feeling and physiological and psychological needs of tourists to selected topic and subject orientation, rather than from the perspective of themselves to obtain economic benefits. From the very beginning of its construction, Disney has always stated that “to build a beautiful spiritual home in everyone’s heart”. This goal not only touches the spiritual world of tourists, but also takes into account the subjective wishes and psychological bottom line of tourists. When tourists visit Disney, what they really experience is the return of the heart. It can be said that the most successful manifestation of business often comes from the practical care and dream realization of human nature.
(5) Pleasant tourist experience is the core
In the development of theme parks, entertainment is the charm of it. To let tourists enjoy themselves and have fun, make their sense of touch, taste, feel, and visual system get different levels of stimulation and enjoyment, we needs to introduce modern entertainment facilities supported by hi-tech technologies based on the analysis of the current market conditions. Meanwhile, we should enhance the functions of leisure and entertainment, strengthen the interactive relationship between amusement activities and tourists, and increase the participation, initiative, curiosity and exclusivity of amusement activities, and meet the growing and constantly changing tourism needs of tourists in a variety of ways, to improve the tourists’ revisit rate and word-of-mouth effect by the project itself.