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Thursday, February 23, 2012

#2 For Family Fun!

Before writing today's, I would like to warn anyone who was a former employee of the late "Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom" that there is a chance you might get offended, but at the same time please understand that unless I use a specific name my argument is not directed at any one individual but at the entire system overall.

It has officially been announced that Bluegrass Boardwalk, formerly called Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, will open under the management of the Koch Family in May of 2013.

You remember the Koch family right? The family that started an entertainment park out of nothing over sixty years ago and now owns and operates one of the most successful venues for family entertainment which is located in the small town of Santa Clause, Indiana and goes by the name Holiday World. It is a small park, with only three major roller coasters - yet somehow manages to bring in a million visitors a year. These were numbers once seen by Kentucky Kingdom before it was purchased by Six Flags. Since then, those numbers had declined and Holiday World's had increased. Notable trend?

What the Koch family is planning on doing with Bluegrass Boardwalk is great for the state, and a better than the alternative of allowing Kentucky Kingdom to rot over the years. But there seems to be a bit of irony in all of the excitement about the Koch family purchasing this park. I do recall a time when my friends and I, and many other employees from the park would travel to Holiday World and spend the majority of the time comparing and criticizing the methods used by Holiday World. In fact, HW became somewhat of a mortal enemy for us Kingdom dwellers. Even our management would use the comparison for training techniques. Did you see what I just said?

"Management used the comparison for training techniques." Ahhh so now what we have is the understanding that we were once in fact brain-washed to hate the Koch family and hate that place. So perhaps it is actually good to see the former employees celebrating the Hoosier Family Fun expansion (That sounds like a Sims game) as it is an emergence from the shadows of being drones for the Six Flags Family. And yes.....we were Six Flags employees, not Kentucky Kingdom employees. I can count on my fingers the number of people I know that were actually Kentucky Kingdom employees.

So while I never intend to work at another amusement park as long as I live, my opinion stands firm that this is without a doubt a great thing for the state of Kentucky. Soon, this park is likely to make a higher financial gain than any other Six Flags park - and probably the Noah's Ark park in northern Kentucky that likely won't make it past its first year.

What I really want to know is what the hell happened to this guy??

My sources say that either the city of Louisville, or the Kentucky State government (or both) stuck the capital knife into any possibility he had of taking control of the park. So from my understanding is that the Koch family has purchased this park out of their own funds and is working with the Ky State Fairgrounds to get a park open that will be a positive tourist attraction and financial generator for the state (or city) that refused to help get the park open. But instead, they want to legalize gambling and build casinos that will target a certain type of person (oh, and age group since you have to be 21). Great job, Kentucky...way to think outside the box on that one!

Oh, and how about we mention the funding that is going into a Bible-Themed amusement park in northern Kentucky that is only going to attract people closely confident in their faith. Do you really think that people who believe but have their questions are going to want to be bombarded by bible versus and declarations of grace while they are just trying to enjoy a nice day in a park. Noble idea, but a kick in the face to people who have been dying to see Kentucky Kingdom restored. And trust me, I'm relatively confident in my faith as well....but it seems like we could have spent our money better.

Realistically, I think the Koch family is trying to do what Disney did and had great success in. Minimizing their expansion, and branding their parks with the word 'family'. Mark Shapiro tried to do this with Six Flags, but perhaps the company was too far gone for this to even continue as an idea. The main difference between Disney and Six Flags is that Disney actually gives what it offers.

Here's an Example.

Disney: Disney Cast Members are taught to close their conversations with guests with the phrase "Have a Magical Day". Perhaps its not witchcraft or sorcery, but from what I hear when you are there you feel as though you are in a different world, where nothing can go wrong. That's the kind of magic they are talking about.

Six Flags: In 2008 Six Flags came up with the slogan 'More Flags, More Fun' This occurred at a time where Six Flags was furiously selling and closing locations, as well as canceling the operation of signature rides and posting up signs for two or three years claiming that new attractions were coming. Great job there, guys. Nice to know you all are firm believers in 'IRONY'.

Even though their current establishment is small, and Bluegrass Boardwalk is not much larger - Holiday World's ideas of targeting families is somewhat in alignment with Disney. Disney succeeded in theming their parks, and this is a direction the Koch family will surely go with their new family member. So here's to Bluegrass Boardwalk, the restored Kentucky Kingdom opening in May 2013!

Maybe they can make their slogan "There's more than bourbon, horses, and fried chicken in Kentucky!"

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