The life-size Lego® Star Wars™ X-wing starfighter is now on display at Legoland® California Resort. “At Legoland California we are constantly urging children to build upon their dreams and use their imaginations. Model Builders took their imagination to the extreme when building this X-wing and once our park guests see how amazing it is, they will also see there is no limit to what you can build with Lego,” said Tim Petsche, model shop supervisor.
Special Tourist Attractions & Parks eNewsletter Feature
Business Strategies: Offering Guests What They Cannot Get at Home
Giving guests what they simply cannot get at home is one way for leisure entertainment facilities to attract visitors and encourage repeat business. While there are some things consumers can experience at different types of venues that it would be impossible for them enjoy within their own four walls—rides, mini-golf, go-karting, and animal exhibits are just a few examples—operators should also try to deliver improvements on elements that could conceivably be duplicated in a residential environments.
Unique redemption games installed in lieu of the video games consumers can now have under their own roofs—and the more unique, the better—rank among such elements. Dave and Busters is bringing in more of these games; Mike Kane, assistant vice president, game strategy, cited Speed of Light, which was recently introduced by LAI Games, as an example. Designed as a test of players’ speed and reflexes, Speed of Light comprises an 8-foot-high display of lights arranged in a large matrix in front of the player(s). The objective is to press as many illuminated buttons as quickly as possible to earn points and tickets. Energetic music and lighting effects accompany game play. LAI has also rolled out Balloon Buster, which challenges players to use a joystick to aim darts at, and pop, balloons.
Mountasia Family Fun Center in North Richland Hills, Texas, is placing similar emphasis on cutting-edge, non-video, “don’t have it at home” redemption games, according to a spokesperson. Monster Drop, from Benchmark Games, has joined the facility’s lineup. The game involves timing the drop of a ball so that it falls into a hole corresponding to a jackpot, “mystery value,” or ticket value win. New as well is Bay Tek Games’ Smokin Token Extreme ™, a dual-player coin game.
Players release tokens down a slope into a spinning wheel. Successfully hitting a target awards tickets and raises the wheel, revealing bonus targets worth double tickets. Players win the big Extreme Bonus when they hit a bonus target twice before the wheel descends to its original position.
Meanwhile, according to NAMCO America, many other family entertainment centers have ordered the recently launched Triple Turn game, in which players can aim to launch a ball into one of three color-specific tubes. Each tube directs the ball into a color–matched rotating gear, with the first gear having lower value tickets, the second gear with medium value tickets and the final gear having higher value tickets as well as the jackpot. Players whose ball lands in either the first or second gear have a second chance at winning the jackpot, as each of the gears has openings for the ball to fall down into the lower gear. Landing in the “3 Ball” opening will immediately launch three additional balls onto the playfield. Coast to Coast Entertainment has jumped on the bandwagon as well with Ticket Tornado, into which players reach to try to grab as many redemption tickets as possible as a strong “current” blows inside the machine. A Monkey Bizz-Ness redemption unit with a large plush monkey inside vends eggs, two-inch capsules and/or 45-mm super balls.
Different takes on the food available at leisure entertainment facilities also fall into the “improvements over home” category. At Edison’s Entertainment Complex in Edwardsville, Ill., a menu of “inventive eats and drinks” includes items like crispy Buffalo bleu cheese rolls (grilled Buffalo chicken and bleu cheese crumbles encased in a spring roll wrapper) and bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp stuffed with jalapeno peppers and jack cheese. At the Franklin Skate Club in Franklin, Ind., freshly baked breadsticks brushed with melted butter and garlic and served with a cheese dip are a favorite, and a menu item few customers would prepare on their own, said Vicki Williams Clay, co-owner.
iPlay America in Freehold, N.J., has a bar and grille as well as a frozen yogurt shop and bakery. However, a real standout is the Broadway Sweets candy store, where in addition to packaged candy, guests can select from an extensive menu of bulk candies, from jelly beans to chocolate. There is also a lollypop tree with hundreds of treats hanging from its branches.
For its part, LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, Calif., serves Granny Apple Fries, Granny Smith apples dipped in a mixture with a buttermilk base and fried, then dusted with cinnamon and sugar. In Elysberg, Pa., Knoebels Amusement Resort features on its menu such offbeat offerings as alligator bites, bison burgers and eggplant French fries, and in Albuquerque, N.M., visitors to Cliffs Amusement Park can dine on Frito pie, which comprises seasoned beef and chilies atop a bed of Frito corn chips.