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The increase in spending was also down and fell 1. A rebound is expected beginning in , as attendance is on the rise and new attractions are being introduced. As we have reported , the deluge has already begun with the recent opening of Infinity Falls, a cutting-edge raft ride at SeaWorld in Orlando. It has a spellbinding effect. Asia Pacific benefits from huge population masses and a surfeit of top-spec parks. As a result, its attendance last year came to By then, Six Flags has plans for three parks in the Nanjing area - the first opening in - and is planning a total of 11 parks in China in the coming years.

It will see the addition of lands inspired by Star Wars, Marvel Comics and Frozen launched in phases from It rose 4. They were the biggest gains of the previous five years which had been depressed by the dark clouds of terrorism and a slowing economy. The other big winner was Spain. Disneysation as a model 5. The components of disneysation 5. Interpretations from post-modernity Case The ecohistorical parks of Grupo Xcaret Case The globalisation of leisure and the Sesame Street characters Chapter 6.

The urbanism of theme parks and spatial innovation 6. The urban singularity of parks 6. The spatialisation of the imagination 6. Technology at the service of creation 6. The corporative urbanism of leisure complexes 6. Parks as a referent for planning 6. The scope of spatial innovation 6. The privatisation of development and the challenge of the public use of space 6.

The invention of the landscape and the challenge of the identity of the territory Case The creation of a leisure destination in Dubai Chapter 7. The impact of theme parks 7. Parks in regional and urban planning 7. The effects on the local and regional economy 7. The economic impact of theme parks 7.

Parks and tourist development 7. The environmental impacts of theme parks 7. The social and cultural effects of parks on local communities 7. Theme parks and social cohesion 7. The effects of parks on local culture Case Environmental protection measures in the redevelopment of Ocean Park Caso The enhancement of the urban landscape at Internacional Drive, Orlando Chapter 8.

The development of theme park destinations 8. Theme parks and economic development in Orlando 7. The role of Walt Disney World as a catalyst 7. Orlando besides the parks 8. The role of Disney in Val d? Europe 8. The economic impact of Disneyland Paris 8. The emerging entertainment economy of the Pearl River Delta 8. Park development in the Shenzen Special Economic Zone 8. In fact, it is not just that precedents of parks can be found in the visits to film studios themselves but it is the language of the cinema that is incorporated into the system of presenting the reality of parks: hence, today, one of the reasons for their success.

The strategy of unifying themes which is so particular to parks is nothing more than the result of transferring the concept of the stage and its ability to produce thrills to the building of a place for public use. Furthermore, as Nye , 67 states, parks' theatrical elements, inspired by the cinematographic concept of the stage, have been powerfully amplified by the tendency towards 'happenings' or animations undertaken by appropriately disguised park employees.

Amusement Park Market Survey Concludes Huge Growth in Industry - MarketWatch

The new dimension of theme parks is,. Universal Studios, even before Disney, had already understood this when they considered that cinema production itself, with its sets, techniques and studios, could be the object of a visit and of entertainment even of a cultural and pedagogical nature, elements that are being increasingly recovered by theme parks, unlike amusement parks. On the other hand, it cannot be forgotten that Walt Disney was a man of the film industry Bryman, , specialized, moreover, in the art of animation.

Rebori b, 2 states, to this effect, that, already with his first park, Disney 'capitalized on America's fascination with film and television, by incorporating them into the marketing and design of his parks'. Visitors to theme parks can be considered, therefore, as the audience of an experience which, like cinematography, takes place via scenes and sets in the framework of fantasy surroundings of a multidimensional nature.

As in the parks, the cinema reshapes reality in the form of a spectacle. This is so much so that, according to Botterill , Disney's main contribution to the leisure industry through parks was the means of transforming the cinema into a fair format: 'through circulating stories first through cinema and television then onto the park, Disney revitalized the fair for modern audiences. This process also increased the circulation of symbolic commodities, and created synergy between media forms. The initial designers of the park in Anaheim were, in fact, animators, who created, as in the cinema, a series of scenes along which people had to move in a system of well-controlled flow.

This was so much so, for example, that the average visitor spent at Disney, even in its early stages, one hour per themed area, the same average length of time as an episode of a television series. The parks' relationship with the cinema necessarily implied the total theming of the milieu, not just the rides. Indirectly, on the other hand, it stimulated consumption since it disguised the commercial nature of the products and characters, which were naturally integrated into the environment Smoodin, It cannot be forgotten, on the other hand, that the domination of the audio-visual media in developed Western societies determines people's perception of what is 'ordinary' and what is 'extraordinary'.

This is what happens in a cultural context that may be referred to, as in Urry , , as the 'three-minute' culture. That is to say, the media have 'educated' people to constantly change the forms and places of leisure and pleasure. Consequently, the consumption of leisure time is becoming increasingly less a time for the strengthening and upkeep of the collective memory leisure 'produced by', in fair style , finally becoming a time for the acquisition of immediate pleasure leisure 'produced for', in park style. Theme parks are established as extraordinary places that are perfectly adapted to these new cultural habits produced by the media.

Sorkin b, says to this effect that 'Television and Disneyland operate similarly,. On the other hand, it is not just that the language of the cinema conceptually conditions the design of theme parks, but it is the cinema itself that changes, from its beginnings, into a fundamental component of recreational areas. The universal exposition of Paris in widely spread the possibilities of the cinema. Over people attended the projections of the Lumiere brothers every day.

At the Universal Exposition of Paris, 50 years before Walt Disney's Circorama, Raoul Grimoin-Sanson had already come up with a circular building whose inside circumference was to house an endless screen, the Cineorama, where, for the four projections for which it worked, it showed panoramic images simulating being in a balloon over Paris, Nice, Biarritz, Tunis, Southampton and Barcelona.

The cinema is, in fact, as parks will be, an instrument for entertainment and - why not? Venturi et al. Lapidus says: People are looking for Illusions; they don't want the world's realities. And, I asked, where do I find the world of Illusion? Where are their tastes formulated? Do they go to museums? Do they travel in Europe? Only one place the movies. They go to the movies. The hell with everything else. In any case, as will be seen, today the relationship between the industry of the parks and the cinema is also due to the fact that many of the major corporations that operate theme parks come from or are closely linked to the film industry and the mass media.

In short, as Ren maintains, theme parks are, like advertising, characteristic products of consumer culture based on making profits from the production of meanings. The only difference between theme parks and the rest of the classic products of this economy of signs is their location in concrete places. Thus, it may be considered that theme parks are, therefore, a product based on signs and space. Case 1. The New World in Singapore, an Early 20th-century Amusement Park in Asia The amusement park industry in colonial Singapore arose from the opportunities offered by a burgeoning urban population.

As a major Asian port of the British Empire, between the s and s Singapore was increasingly exposed to a wide variety of commodified spectacles, such as world fairs and trade exhibitions, which are closely associated with the development of amusement parks. The New World amusement park, opened in , introduced the modem consumption and the popular entertainment. As a precedent, there is only in Singapore the Happy Valley Park, which was founded in and ceased to operate after fewer than 10 years in business.

Another internal influence for the New World amusement park was the Malaya Borneo Exhibition of In terms of external influences there were Shanghai's Great World and New World, established in and , respectively, as multi-storeyed entertainment palaces that provided every day a variety of Chinese entertainment at the lowest possible price, with the largest variety of shows.

In , when the park was already well established and the configuration and programmes and structures were in place, they entered a joint venture with the Shaw Brothers, moguls of Asia's film industry. The success of urban amusement parks in Shanghai was the reason why the Shaw Brothers decided to join the venture with the Ongs.

In , the Ongs completely relinquished their ownership to the Shaw Organization. In fact, at that time the Shaw Brothers owned and operated other amusement parks and entertainment facilities in Malaya's major cities. Today, the New World amusement park is a vacant site awaiting redevelopment. The creation, development and evolution of the New World amusement park reveals the uniqueness and modernity of Singapore during the interwar period. It received an influence both from the Shanghai eclosion of entertainment venues and from the popular consumer culture in the West.

The park was situated on the outskirts of Jalan Besar, a zone away from the developmental pressures of the central area. The development of the park was planned initially by the Ong brothers as part of one of the earliest attempts to drain comprehensively a large tract of a swamp area, in a context in which Singapore was receiving an increasing number of migrants and the middle- to upper-income households fled to suburbs in all directions around the city.

The park was conceived as a value-adding leisure attraction as well as an attempt by the Ongs to diversify their assets by venturing into a nascent leisure and entertainment industry. The municipal council view the plan as an opportunity with little outlay by the colonial government to transform an otherwise flood-prone area into prime land for development.

At the beginning, the business format of the park was modelled on fairs and exhibitions, with staged shows and performances as the major attractions drawing in the masses. Tropical weather made under-the-sky night-out activities pleasant and, in fact, it maintained an open fairgroundtype configuration throughout its existence. In , New World was rebuilt and expanded into a full-scale urban amusement park with new structures and buildings, which added complexity to the layout of the park as well as to its entertainment programmes. From then, the entertainment blueprint was firmly established, with the creation of an idealistic setting for a.

As Wong and Tan state, New World: offered variety and choice and non-stop offerings that could not be found in traditional cultural and entertainment venues. It was a crucible of new cultural forms, as old contents transformed to meet changing popular taste, and new ones were introduced to suit the diverse crowds. Activities were commercially driven and audience-oriented.

Thus, some were hybridized while others were emulated and transformed. Mass entertainment revealed the need to be aware of all identities as consumers were drawn from within the multiracial migrant society of colonial Singapore. New World was, in this sense, a modern cosmopolitan and non-segregated urban space in a colonial society. At the park, 'the vulgar coexisted with the refined, the low with the high, the ethnic with the contemporary' Wong and Tan, The history of the New World amusement park offers a new route for understanding the evolution of the modern leisure industry around the world in a colonial context.

The park gives the opportunity to see the current development of entertainment facilities in Asia in the frame of a longterm process that interrelates urban planning and design, class niches, mass audience, cultural entertainment, popular practices and modernity. Julian Barnes, Davis is of the opinion that, due to its structure, its components and its conception, a theme park, despite being linked to the different traditions referred to in the previous chapter, differs significantly from its predecessors, in particular, from amusement parks.

Similarly to Botterill , he argues that a theme park is a cultural product of entertainment that corresponds to the needs of late-modern capitalist society and only makes sense in this context. Sorkin b is also explicit along these lines when he states that Disney evolves the ancestral concept of a fair to the limit. For him, a theme park changes the original idea of a 'celebration of production' characteristic of medieval fairs and festive encounters into a process of 'production of celebration' - of spectacle - peculiar to contemporary capitalist society.

This fundamental condition symbolizes the basic difference that may be established between theme parks and conventional amusement parks Weinstein, As Ritzer would say, a theme park is, in fact, one of the cathedrals of consumption characteristic of contemporary society. Even so, authors like Nye consider that theme parks satisfy the same utilities as their amusement park predecessors: play, escape, liberation, fantasy, emotion and a family day out. A theme park can be characterized as a symbolic microcosm with a distinctive identity that proposes a complete emotional experience, a place of entertainment which has been provided with its own homogeneous semiotics Mitrasinovic, , which is intensely commercial and closely linked to the production of media images.

Moreover, unlike other entertainment installations, a theme park regards and conveys its inauthenticity as normality. As Donaire says, a theme park is, literally, a Utopia for consumption. It is S.


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It considers itself an 'alternative world', which is organized like a sequence of scenes in a film. It represents, therefore, a harmonious spectacle that can be seen, heard and lived in a different way from how life is lived conventionally. SeaWorld is, for example, a park based on shows with and of animals. The progress of the killer whale Shamu is the object of adoration, the dolphins add amusement, Clyde and Sea is a show with sea lions while the waterski show is a sports show in purest North American style. It is all very epic, very diaphanous, very clear, very luminous.

To this must be added the display halls of the different marine species, some of them in very clear aquarium format like the ones of the sharks, while others are interactive as in Key West, others are assertive, like the one that alerts us to the risk of extinction of manatees, and there are even others in the form of rides like Wild Arctic. Appropriately themed conventional rides have been added, like that of Atlantida - in Orlando - or a roller coaster, which, despite subtracting placidity from the park, situates it in a more multidimensional concept of entertainment.

Here, as in other parks, visitors regard themselves as fictional co-stars Zukin, Besides the concept, from an operational and design point of view, according to Botterill , what singularizes a theme park is its 'emphasis on control, the narration and its strategic integration in a matrix with other communication media and recreational and travel pastimes'. Lusignan reproduces a definition of Six Flags from the concept of a theme park, according to which it is a place 'in which the purpose of each detail, of both the concept and operation, is to contribute to the creation of an atmosphere of amusement and dreams'.

It is also a place that has been fully designed and highly coordinated to incite consumption through the illusion of an emotion. So, whether it be 'SeaWorld, Disneyland, or Six Flags Over Texas, the theme park carefully controls the sale of goods food and souvenirs and experiences architecture, rides, and performances "themed" to the corporate owners' proprietary images' Davis, This has clearly been, according to the same author, 'Disney's major contribution to the industry and perhaps to American culture'.

'Experience Economy' Boosts Theme Park Spending To A Record $45 Billion

This chapter establishes, in the first part, the context and the conditions of the appearance of theme parks in the mid-2Oth century. In the second part, there is an explanation as to the nature of theme parks from the point of view of their fundamental singularity, the theme concept. Finally, some of the parameters of parks' recent evolution are stressed as regards their recreational format for consumption. The Invention of Theme Parks The North American socio-economic context from the end of the Second World War until the oil crisis of the s, the period denominated by.

Global Amusement Park Industry Overview

Harvey as Fordist-Keynesian, can be characterized as a stage of the 'democratization' of access to consumption and of the dominance of the myth of the nuclear family. The urban context also takes on its own dimensions. European models of zonification disappear and the 'street culture' gives way to 'suburban culture'. Thus, urban and metropolitan centres join in chaos and degradation while a phase of suburban housing explosion is begun, led by the generation of the 'baby boom' seeking a new town environment for their families to grow up in.

The city becomes diffuse and, just as in the interwar period the 'square' as a commercial space replaces department stores and towns' and cities' high streets, in the mids the suburban 'malls' become the dominant spaces for consumption. In addition to unprecedented increased productivity, the growing mobility that dominates all aspects of modernity is key in the transformation process of post-war North American society. With universal access to the car, in the surroundings of towns motorways become areas concentrating consumption and entertainment and camping becomes a new form of recreation.

In this process, access to new, varied modes of consumption becomes an indicator of status. Furthermore, leisure as a space of personal time freed from work starts to compete with the 'pleasure' generated by commercially 'produced' recreational activities to fill this leisure time. In this context, the appearance of the television as a generalized consumer object revolutionizes the cinema and entertainment industry. In fact, this new phase of transformation of North American society has been characterized as the arrival of a new stage in the idea of North American popular culture.

It is in fact at the beginning of this period that Disneyland is built, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, in an easily accessible place from the freeway exit road but far enough away to retain its character of being an 'alternative world' Findlay, It is common knowledge that, with Disneyland, the concept of theme park materializes as it is known today. However, it cannot be forgotten that authors like Samuelson and Yegoiants are precise when stating that, 'contrary to popular belief, Walt Disney did not invent the theme park'.

More concretely, according to these authors, what he created was not technically a theme park in the strict definition of the term that is to say, with a single structuring theme but a new genre of park that separately presents specific themed areas. For them, theme parks in the sense of parks based on just one theme existed long before Disneyland. Thus, rather than Disney, other parks ought to be considered when speaking of the first thematic facilities.

Certainly the first of them in the USA must have been Knott's Berry Farm, currently operated by Cedar Fair, which was born as a sales point for forest fruit and between and the early s was gradually converted by Walter Knott into a theme park. This is an interesting appreciation that leads us to consider two key aspects in the discussion as to the origins of theme parks: first, the concept of theme as a basis of the idea of a theme park; and secondly, the idea that a theme park is a new genre of park in that its structure, organization and operational system differ from those of their forerunners.

In fact, when Disneyland is spoken about as being the 'first' theme park, this is especially because, despite the fact that prior to its existence there may have been other parks with a structuring theme, it materializes for the first time and synthesizes the characteristics pertaining to the new type of parks which have ended up being called theme parks - more due to the incorporation of themes than to the existence of a single structuring theme.

To this end, according to Botterill , Disneyland would be a theme park because, in it, its designer, Walt Disney, and his team transform their talent and experience as comic illustrators to build 'credible illusions', emotive characters and emotionally pure drawings in landscapes for entertainment.

Unlike fairs and amusement parks, and parallel with gardens or even universal expositions, theme parks are, therefore, entertainment landscapes created by architects and planners with a concrete narrative intention. They are thus a cultural creation, in which the landscape and the relationship between spaces are fundamental and the requirements for transport, movement and mobility are studied to perfection. Also they are fortresses separated by trees and structures from the surrounding area.

The purpose is to remove from the interior landscape of the park any reference to outside. This is so much so that, when in Sheraton requested from the town council of Anaheim permission to build a storey building, Disney appealed on the grounds that such a building might lead to the possibility that visitors to the park would not manage to forget the outside world Bryman, Finally, a storey hotel was built and the municipality forbade tall buildings in the vicinity of Disneyland.

Also, unlike their predecessors, later theme parks are organized to make profits not just through consumption in the park and the rendering of services such as catering for weddings, parties and conventions but also thanks to brand consumption, which their visitors do inside and outside the parks.

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Parks are places for profit for the corporations - generally linked to media groups - who own them. In this sense, in their book on the history of North American amusement parks, Samuelson and Yegoiants speak of amusement parks surviving today as places where visitors can leap - to be entertained - into the past of more than 50, 60 or 70 years instead of falling victim to the continuous bombardment of images featuring theme parks' own television and cinema personalities.

As has been indicated, the bases of the currently acknowledged concept of theme park were set out by Disney in Anaheim. However, the first demonstration of Disney's interest in the creation of a park was simultaneous to the building of its new studios in Burbank, California, in see Weinstein, The idea at the time was to create a small play area for children, little bigger than 3 ha in surface area, beside the film studios where photographs could be taken with their favourite cartoon characters.

In , the idea of disposing of a small play area next to the studios had led to a proposal to develop a park valued at 1. The elements which inspired and catalysed the change were, according to Samuelson and Yegoiants , Disney's visit to the Chicago Railroad Fair of and his stopover at Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, a park given over to showing the achievements of the great inventors.

Furthermore, the move from Burbank to Anaheim responded to Burbank's local administration's refusal to allow its development. Disney's first idea for his park was based on simply building a pleasant place to present his characters, improving the standards of cleanliness and control of traditional amusement parks. In this respect, Walt Disney's aversion to Coney Island is well known.

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His parents would go there during the s and Disney regarded it as physically and symbolically disagreeable Weinstein, When setting up his own park, he eliminated all 'sideshows', games of chance and animals from his concept and placed more emphasis on the aspects of theming and landscape design.

He also got rid of beer and hot dog stands, he improved salubrity and introduced subtle ways of controlling agglomerations of visitors. There can be no doubt that the opening of Disneyland on 17 July was to have a definitive effect on the park concept. However, at that time, the idea seemed not to enthuse anyone whatsoever. Both the Californian financial world and his own executives were fervently opposed to the project. In order to finance it, Disney resorted, in addition to his own funds and the concession of the building of some amusements to other corporations, to the signing of a contract with the American Broadcasting Company ABC - the only television network that accepted his idea and the smallest-scale network at the time.

This circumstance was to be particularly relevant in the future. As a consequence of its initial link with the television market - which was also in its beginnings at the time - from the start Disneyland received much coverage in the media until it even became the operations centre of Walt Disney for television. Indeed, according to Adams , Disney went as far as moulding the design of the park to its media potential.

This is so much so that, in fact, the park was conceived as a mirror of the fragmented structure of the television, with half-hour- and hour-long spectacles that transport their spectators to illusory worlds in different times and places. Furthermore, this initial alliance between park and television meant it was possible to witness television and the media's ability to create synergies in order to attract visitors to the park.

This is how Disneyland was shaped as a model for successive theme parks as regards the structuring of space. It was fashioned as a place cut off from the real world with different themed sectors. The themes were based on folklore, tales, the history of America, children's literature and carnival. The arrangement of the themes in space guaranteed fantasy. Moreover as indicated, the proposal for the use and running of the park was linked to the segmented nature of television entertainment - which was born in the same era. So, in the case of Disneyland, the visitor enters a kind of 'distribution point', which is at the end of Main Street and decides, in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle and as if using a kind of remote control, whether to visit Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland or Tomorrowland.

As of this point, the visit takes place through a succession of scenes and images. The changes in time and space that are rendered possible on the television screen and are a common element of cinema products take place materially in theme parks by just moving from one themed area to the next Adams, This is, basically, the most profound change established between the conventional amusement park and a theme park. Following the initial success of Disneyland, Six Flags Over Texas, located between Dallas and Forth Worth, a good, well-financed project whose technical design was done by Randall Duell and Associates, was the second successful theme park to open, in With intense rides as the main attraction, the park was a success both as regards the number of visitors and financially right from year one.

The six flags which its name alludes to represented the six themed areas it contained, Spain, France, Mexico, the Confederation, the USA and the Republic of Texas, that is to say, the six political powers and forms of state that had dominated Texas since the arrival of the Europeans in America. This park was followed by its namesake, Six Flags Over Georgia in Well situated on the communications axes and with easy access by car from the main towns, putting emphasis on exciting rides, cleanliness, thorough maintenance and good theming and with novel characteristics such as the 'pay-one-price' access ticket, professional shows and relaxing picnic areas, the Six Flags parks broadened and improved upon the original concept of Disney.

In fact, it was the success of Six Flags that formed the foundations for the expansion of the business of theme parks in the USA as of the s. If Disney invented the concept, the Six Flags parks of the first era put their finger on the formula. However, expansion and generalization were not immediate. First of all, the owners of amusement parks questioned the suitability of the Disney design.

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Without popular rides and with a large amount of space that was not generating direct income, they were of the opinion that the model would be certain to fail. On the other hand, as Adams reports, between and , the date of the opening of Six Flags Over Georgia, there were other initiatives that resulted in failure. This is the case of Denver Magic Mountain, which was to open in but was never built due to problems of financing; Pleasure Island near Boston, which had to be rescaled as a small, conventional amusement park; Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, with high operative costs which brought it into bankruptcy; and, perhaps the most famous flop, Freedomland, a park built in the heart of the Bronx in New York, designed by an ex-Disneyland director, inaugurated in and closed down in In any case, what the.

Traditional family operators of amusement parks remained outside the sector. Finally, it cannot be forgotten that Disneyland's opening day was a disaster: an excess of visitors, who were not handled properly; several of the park's initial 11 rides did not work properly; the staff, who had not yet been trained, were not sufficiently attentive towards the public; and unfavourable weather conditions, in particular, the heat that melted the asphalt, did the rest. In fact, the press qualified it a fiasco Adams, Now, Disney learnt from this first day's failure and adjusted the park to a model that has proved to be a success.

In fact, the new genre of parks created by Disney is not that of the year of inauguration but the one which, having been touched up, was in full functioning and performance in the mids. Thus, during the decade after its inauguration, Disneyland adjusted basic elements such as access control. It also introduced a pay-one-price admission system to the park a system thought up by Six Flags and which is today widespread in the sector instead of the system of price-per-ride with which the park had been inaugurated, it began to conceive 'pre-entertainment' areas as queue management systems, it promoted the 'desire' for souvenirs among its visitors, it emphasized security and safety.

It progressively increased the number of rides. It institutionalized, in short, the idea of interminable improvement and novelty that characterizes consumer culture. Also, from the beginning it was interested in finding out its visitors' opinions and was able to construct a halfway house between people's desires and its idea of business. For example, in the opinion of Botterill , it realized the public's desire for mechanical rides but maintained its vision of contextualizing them by means of a theme.

In short, the medium-term success of Disneyland in Anaheim stimulated a complete new cycle of the growth of theme parks and its essential idea was replicated and, in some aspects, improved upon, initially in the USA and later abroad. The Nature of Theme Parks Leaving aside other conceptual and operational questions, the most immediately perceptible difference between an amusement park and a theme park lies in the fact that, whereas amusement parks present numerous attractions in a relatively small area, each of which has a specific price, theme parks present a small number of attractions in a large-scale, landscaped environment - which does not generate revenue directly - at a generally unique price Zukin, But, in contrast, this environment is meticulously designed to handle visitors so that they are entertained and, especially, so that they spend money in an orderly, safe, relaxed atmosphere Nye, This is the case, for example, of Universal Studios' park in Orlando, Islands of.

It is an intense, dense, compressed park like a page in a colour comic. It seems that it is dominated by a kind of horror vacui, a fear of empty space, and hence the texture, colour, intensity and power of designed space, beyond the rides and shows. Below we define the concept of the theme park and then discuss the role of theming as a distinguishing basis of this type of recreational facility. Definition and types. According to Tourism Research and Marketing TRM, , historically, making a precise definition of the concept of theme park has been avoided due to the existence of multiple similar formats that hinder such a task.

Moreover, the definitions that have been made have generally been seen to be incomplete or inaccurate. They often do not allow the specific differentiation of theme parks from other types of recreational park. Thus, for example, Coltier , 24 defines a theme park as 'a closed universe whose purpose is to succeed in the encounter between the dreamy atmosphere it creates and the visitor's desire for depaysement'.

The means to achieve it is the theme Wong and Cheung, This is why some authors choose to define parks on the basis of a series of characteristics see, regarding this, the attempts at characterization by Chasse, a; Milman, ; Sanchez, ; Jones et al, In general terms, no characteristic taken individually suffices to differentiate a theme park from other attractions but all of them are necessary.

To this end, below we present a characterization that allows one to positively identify theme parks as ludic places consecrated to distraction, evasion, imagination, knowledge and play on the basis of a series of criteria and differentiating them from other parks and recreational areas. Theme parks are recreational areas, therefore, where the following characteristics can be observed: 1.

They have a thematic identity that determines recreational alternatives. They contain one or more themed areas. They are organized as closed spaces or with controlled access. They have a great capacity to attract families. They contain enough rides, shows and systems of movement to create a visit that lasts on average some 5 to 7 h. They present atmospheric forms of entertainment musicians, characters or actors who perform in the street 'free of charge'.

They have an important commercial vocation fundamentally food and beverages and shops. They have high levels of investment per unit of ride or show capacity. They have high-quality products, service, maintenance and standards of cleanliness. They manage their productive and consumer processes centrally.

They incorporate technology as much in the production processes as in those of consumption. Generally, though exceptions do exist, they have a single 'pay-oneprice' admission system. On the basis of these general characteristics, several types of theme parks can be distinguished Table 2. There are two basic criteria to establish the typology of parks: i the size, which can be evaluated by the number of visitors, the surface area that they occupy, the number of employees they have or the necessary investment for their development all of which are closely related variables ; and ii the dominant markets according to their origin.

Because of their operational and design implications, the use of these two criteria is one of the most common ways to categorize parks, especially because of the fact that they distinguish between urban, regional and destination parks. These criteria are less clearly related when dealing with niche parks. However, this typological categorization may be purely illustrative since, depending on other variables, significant variations may occur in each of the types of park. There are, in fact, other categorizations that can be made.

They deal with the seasonal nature of parks, the type of dominant rides, contents, the ownership of the park and their turnover for further information, see Lanquar, ; Braun, ; Anton Clave, Destination parks are those that have been specifically designed to attract a large number of visitors coming from places located at middle and long distance and who spend a night at the said destination with the main aim of visiting the park often for more than one day.

Generally this type of park includes accommodation and other attractions in the product mix so as to encourage staying overnight. Most Disney parks, together with some of Universal's, can be considered destination parks.