What is the development trend of China’s theme park amusement rides?

Abstract: amusement rides in Chinese amusement parks have developed to a particular scale and stage, from simple mechanical rides to large-scale amusement projects customized and packaged around themes. The gap with foreign counterparts has also gradually narrowed. The type of amusement rides equipped in the park is the focus of significant park investment and construction research. This paper briefly analyzes the current positioning of amusement rides in China‘s parks and gives suggestions for this work and future development trends.

Introduction: China’s amusement rides were almost blank in the 1980s. The amusement rides in each amusement park are just conventional mechanical rides—for example, electric small chairs in Beijing Park and hydraulic lift planes in Beijing Beihai Park. Until the reform and opening up, people’s demand for entertainment became increasingly urgent. Chinese amusement equipment manufacturers are gradually emerging, and the types and numbers of amusement equipment are progressively increasing. The amusement rides in Chinese amusement parks have developed to a particular scale and stage, from simple mechanical rides to large-scale amusement projects customized and packaged around themes. The gap with foreign counterparts has also gradually narrowed.

1. The traditional classification method of Chinese amusement rides

 

(1) According to national standards

Chinese amusement rides are roughly divided into 13 categories according to movement characteristics, namely: carousel, sliding, gyro, flying tower, racing car, self-controlled aircraft, sightseeing car, train, overhead sightseeing car, Photoelectric targeting, water amusement rides, bumper cars, battery cars, outreach training, etc.

(2) According to the classification requirements of amusement rides, it can be divided into supervised and non-supervised.

 

2. The current development of amusement park rides

 

Current research on rides positioning of well-known parks in China:

1) Research objects and background of theme parks

Fangte Happy World is a theme park brand that Shenzhen Huaqiang Culture Technology Group created. The company has built ten large-scale cultural and technological theme parks in Wuhu, Tai’an, Qingdao, Shenyang, Zhuzhou, Zhengzhou, and Xiamen, namely Fantawild World and Fantawild Dream Kingdom, which has rapidly enhanced the brand value of “Fantawild.”

Chimelong Paradise: The first Chimelong Paradise was invested in and constructed by Guangdong Chimelong Group and officially opened on April 7, 2006. It has been nearly 16 years. The group also owns safari, water, crocodile, and other amusement parks.

Happy Valley: OCT Group invested in and constructed The first Happy Valley in 1998, and it was officially opened. It has been 24 years. The brand park has also been invested in Beijing, Wuhan, Tianjin, Shanghai, and other places.

 

2) Research comparison table
ParkFantawild WorldChimelong Happy WorldHappy Valley
Number of rides154841
Rides TypeThrill type:30%Thrill type:12.5%Thrill type:19%
Family type:50%Family type:37.5%Family type:70%
Kids type:20%Kids type:50%儿童型:11%
Venues22%8%28%
Number of people entering the park2 million/yearAbout 2.7 million/yearAbout 3 million/year
Ticket200RMB 250RMB 200RMB

 

3) Research and analysis

The above table reflects the status of the distribution of rides in three theme parks in China:

From the distribution of ride types (thrill type, family type, kids type), the approximate ratio of Happy Valley is as follows: 2:7:1; the ratio of Chimelong Happy World is about 1:4:5; the ratio of Fangte Happy World is about 3:5:2;

From the supporting construction of the rides, Happy Valley and Fantawild World put about one-third of the rides as indoor venues. Compared with Zhuhai Ocean Kingdom, Chimelong Paradise has fewer rides and construction requirements.

4) Amusement rides research conclusion

Regarding ride type distribution, Happy Valley is the closest to foreign Disney, all of which focus on family-type rides. The audience is relatively broad.

Judging from the current business development status, Happy Valley has built nearly ten land parks in China, and the annual number of tourists is relatively large; Chimelong Paradise currently receives fewer tourists than the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Zhuhai. There are now 11 land parks in Fantawild World, but the park’s reception volume is the least among the three parks. Both foreign and Chinese parks have built venue-like rides in the park. The proportion of park rides with good income is relatively large.

Venue rides are roughly divided into movie viewing, dark riding, etc. First, this type of ride is an amusement ride built in a building, and its opening conditions are generally not affected by weather changes. Secondly, the architectural space allows the rides to have better conditions and the combination of lighting, projection, models, special effects, media, etc. Simulate realistic effects to make visitors immersive. This type of amusement project is more experiential and immersive. Disneyland’s Dark Ride and Motion Cinema projects are most representative of these.

3. Summary of the current amusement park’s positioning of amusement rides

 

Regarding ride selection, the audience of China’s amusement parks is not only children or young people but also parents who take their children to the amusement park to play. Many parents accompany their children to ride amusement rides, so the positioning of rides in Chinese amusement parks should focus on the proportion of family-type rides.

Families are the leading consumers of theme parks and the leading group of people driving the amusement industry, so family-type rides and multiple-choice rides for theme parks should be the first choice. However, stimulating rides have slightly higher requirements on people’s physical fitness and are generally favored by teenagers and adventurous people. In China’s amusement parks, this group of passengers is much smaller than the family group. The proportion of children’s rides in amusement parks is relatively tiny.

Because this type of ride is only suitable for children under 1.2m in height, parents can only watch it outside. Therefore, the consumer population and volume are relatively small.

In addition, with the progress of Chinese society and the development of science and technology, a single amusement ride can no longer satisfy the entertainment experience of modern people. Venue-type customized comprehensive amusement projects are becoming more and more popular.

It integrates modern new technologies (VR, AR, machine model) so the rides are organically combined with media, special effects, architecture, landscape, and packaging. Bring multiple real body sensations to tourists. Although the initial investment of this type of project will be more than that of outdoor single rides, it is better than outdoor single rides in terms of operating income and ride use effect in the later stage.

Conclusion

To sum up, the positioning of rides in Chinese amusement parks should be based on family-oriented rides, supplemented by children and thrill ones; rides should be combined with packaging, film and television, special effects, etc. Add customized rides for venues (especially some particular areas) in the park. Avoid the situation where the size of the audience is shrinking due to the single entertainment performance of the rides.

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