The Serious Business of Modern Theme Parks

Roller coasters, thrill rides and life-sized cartoon characters might seem like child’s play, but theme parks are serious business.

According to an outlook from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, global theme park spending reached nearly $40 billion in 2014, and worldwide attendance topped 950 million.

North American companies are finding new audiences in burgeoning markets like China, and homegrown operators are investing overseas as well, even as top players in Orlando and California keep upping their game.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the business of theme parks: How they’re trying to reach broader audiences, use technology to personalize visits, and raise the bar in the park experience as they raise prices.

With us in the Skift office is Martin Lewison, a professor of management at Farmingdale State College in New York who studies the theme park industry. And joining us by Skype from Pasadena is Robert Niles, founder and editor of the website Theme Park Insider.

They join Skift editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson and reporter Dan Peltier.

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play, or RSS.