Thursday, August 19, 2010

Theme Park Design – Size

Presuming that you have done your homework, selected the perfect site for your theme park, and begun a comprehensive feasibility study, you’ll need to know how much land to buy.  Walt Disney was never happy with the amount of land that he bought for Disneyland.  He began with 160 acres and today the Disneyland resort covers 510 acres and, in addition to the theme park and parking lot, includes three hotels.

But Disneyland is the number 2 theme park for attendance in the world, behind only the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  While this is a lofty goal to aspire to, it may not be the most realistic place to start.

For a theme park, ranging from 3-5 million visitors in annual attendance, 160 acres is actually a good size to start with.  This size excludes hotels, each of which should be estimated at about 40 acres.  Once the best location for your theme park is determined, you must consider land availability and price.  Purchase as much land as possible (you can always sell some later), but don’t purchase so much land that the theme park can’t reasonably repay the debt.

The theme park should cover approximately 60 acres.  The park maintenance and service area should cover approximately 10 acres with additional service roads and area included within the theme park itself.  The guests and employee parking area, along with necessary buffer zones, should cover approximately 90 acres.  (As Disneyland attendance increased towards 10-12 million annual visitors the parking lot added approximately 60 acres, for a 150 acre lot, while the theme park added only about 20 acres.)  Parking capacity is estimated at 400 square feet per vehicle.  This is not just for the parking stall, it include a percentage of circulation roads as well.  These rough areas will give you an idea of what kind of acreage to look for before settling on a site.

The theme park basics discussed here are extremely general.  Always consult with experts, regarding your specific needs, before making any significant investment into land and/or design.  Feel free to contact me.  I’ll be happy to assist you in your efforts.

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