The pitfalls of “it’s just for kids, anyway”
As a designer I have encountered situations where budget cuts or an underwhelming product was justified on the basis of “it’ll be ok, it’s only for kids.”
Very recently, some media reports came up within Australia about a pop-up Christmas event at a shopping mall that was so disappointing it generated many complaints and was eventually closed down by the venue owner, with all attendees refunded. From a sleigh ride pulled by a mobility scooter, to props made of unpainted cardboard, plywood and paper plates, it was clearly not what was promised for the AUD$38.50 per person admission fee. But of course, the kids still had a great amount of fun, if only they knew what mum or dad had paid!
This was an extreme example, but as themed designers and attraction operators, it is our job to develop successful attractions that people will pay good money to visit, to be fully immersed and blow away by the environment they are in.
Keeping kids happy can be easy. An analogy I like to use is that of a big old cardboard box; it can provide hours of imaginative fun for kids, but it is definitely not the basis of a ticketed attraction. In short, it’s not just the kids we need to keep happy, parents need to feel the offering is worth their time and money, and if the parents are enthralled at the experience, we cannot begin to imagine how the kids are feeling.
It just doesn’t feel right to create something just to merely occupy people for a few hours, we need to impress them!
Increasingly, the guest of today is demanding attractions that are superbly themed, engaging, and provide memorable experience that they can share with friends and family. High quality standards should not be slipping on the basis that kids are easily entertained.
About Gavin Seipelt
Gavin Seipelt is an Attraction Designer for Pico Play and is immensely passionate about theme parks and zoos. He is our resident encyclopedia for anything theme or water park related and has documented his visits to over 100 theme parks and water parks worldwide. As an Attraction Designer, Gavin holds extensive knowledge of the state of the theme park/water park industry and is constantly looking for ways to strengthen the story, theme and physical experience to ultimately deliver the highest possible entertainment value.