Get set for the new arrival experience. Everything about the way we enter parks, rides, resorts, retail venues, character meet-n-greets and other ticketing/entry interactions is shifting because of technology.
State-of-the-art ticketing technologies are facilitating changes in guest behavior in ways that foretell, as Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet puts it, “the beginning of the death of the turnstile.”
It’s also the beginning of a new, intriguing dialog between technology, architecture and master planning.
In talking with both Matt Ouimet and Rob Decker from Cedar Fair for this issue’s feature on ticketing, it was clear that for years they had the vision to see a new, breakthrough kind of entrance experience. It was waiting to be created, but a huge departure from tradition. Tying the funding into a major roller coaster attraction cleared the way – Gatekeeper was born and Cedar Point’s front gate was transformed.
The story of Gatekeeper is much more than the story of a great new coaster – it’s the story of a major evolution in park design and guest interaction. The technology supporting the ticketing and admissions process has advanced – and consumer behavior has changed with it – to the point that the design process is, in its turn shifting. This opens up all kinds of new vistas for designers and architects, and will have a ripple effect as time goes on. More and more areas of the park will be affected, and guest behavior and buying patterns will continue to adapt.
I’m not complaining. There’s amazing potential here for how guests will be able to enjoy their time in parks, and new creative options for designers. If Disney is any indication, considering the millions of dollars it has invested in its new RFID-based Magic Band system, the next-generation systems also stand to to capture more revenue for the parks.
This issue of InPark Magazine is your guide to the technological breakthroughs that are visibly shaping the future of our industry – if you know where to look. It’s impossible to foresee all the ways that they will impact the entire guest experience in future – but they will.
Special thanks to my co-editor Judith Rubin for her expertise and insight.