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How to establish a theme park in the US

August 27, 2021
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This article is written by Shivani Garg, who is pursuing a Diploma in International Business Law from LawSikho.

Introduction

When I started on Disneyland, my wife used to say, ‘But why do you want to build an amusement park? They’re so dirty.’ I told her that was just the point – mine wouldn’t be. 

~Walt Disney

Any theme park is a ticket to bring back the lost child in any of us, no matter what the age is. And if you talk about Walt Disney, the man-made structure made sure that the grown-up kids i.e. adults free themselves from the shackles of their monotonous lives by making Disneyland. Well, the Disney theme park is one of the most successful examples of bringing the dream to reality in the perfect sense one could ever think. Imagine, one day you are so inspired to have your own theme park just like Walt Disney was 75 years back when he opened the first Disneyland theme park in California and then later took it to international expansion

Well, inspiration is one thing but the aftermath of making it your reality is altogether another. Obviously, you will require a humongous amount of finance for that but let’s just assume you have sorted things like finances, etc. for your park but you still need to know about the ‘how part’ and the legality that comes along with it. To make sure things become easy for you I have gathered here all the information that is required to set up a theme park in the U.S. along with the legal assignments that come along with it. To begin with, let me ask you one question. Do you have any idea if there is a huge difference between a theme park and an amusement park? It is the ‘theme’ that makes the difference. While an amusement park is just a collection of rides and games, a theme park is meant to put anyone into a fantastic place where reality is temporarily taken away from life. Before we get started, be sure with what you want to go ahead with. If your choice is a theme park, then let’s see the process of setting it up. Well, the key feature for any theme park’s success is making sure it’s fun for people of all ages to be there and not just kids.

What is the process of setting up a theme park in the US?

Setting up a theme park is one big dream and nothing less than that. To make a theme park successful, it’s utterly important to understand that dreams and reality need to align together somewhere, which also includes pricing your theme park in such a way that it initiates maximum profit. The operation and profitability of a theme park is the result once a theme has been properly established. A few steps to build a theme park:

In the case of establishing a theme park, legality is essential. So, it is better to be aware of the laws existing in the country to make things happen for real.

Legality/laws in force

One thing you just can’t miss about this huge project of your dreams is the legality of the laws in force where you plan to execute your project. Here, we talk exclusively of the US! 

Permissions        

Laws

It’s easy to know the laws but if you are investing millions into a theme park business without knowing about the challenges associated with it, as per the author’s advice donating the money rather than investing it is a better option. The author has noted down the challenges that even gamers like Disney face being in the theme park industry.

The challenges associated

It’s true that any big project comes with big challenges and when it comes to establishing a theme park, challenges are no less especially with the hit of COVID-19.  Since the pre-COVID era won’t come back ever again, it becomes extremely important to check what challenges one has to face with COVID and irrespective of COVID-19.

Conclusion

“Interactivity is a very big part of what the themed entertainment industry is pursuing quite aggressively.”– Eric Merz

When we talk about the theme entertainment industry and setting up a theme park, everything comes as a big challenge and also a long way of doing things. Certainly, many things have changed with time bringing a whole new level of running a theme park industry. From getting approvals for the license to making sure that a creative vision is delivered so that every individual gets a very personalised experience is not less challenging. In countries like the US, the biggest source of entertainment for people of all ages is amusement parks and theme parks. So, to make sure the experience is that of a lifetime, the pressure to deliver everything up to expectations is quite high. Since customer satisfaction is the necessary element to run a theme park, every minute detail is kept in mind to get the business going and technology plays a huge role in that. Well, let’s admit, one has to beat the already existing top companies to make a new theme park run flourishing. Keeping that in mind it’s of utmost importance to have a well-planned intellectual property strategy for any company in the theme park industry that wishes not only to stand out but also wishes to differentiate its products as well as services from competitors and imitators at bay. Gone are times when people didn’t phone while entering a theme park. 

Today the real-life world steps along with the fantasy world for each one of us. Theme parks provide a combination of things as what we watch in movies like Frozen etc and experiencing all the characters alive is what the theme park is all about – providing a dynamic social environment that is enhanced by visceral and tactical experiences. You see, it’s just not the thrill of adventurous rides but so much beyond that. If you can pull a physical environment, predictive awareness, contextual awareness and bring it down to make the customer experience worthwhile you are good to go with the theme park industry. In the end, a theme park is all about the real world and magical world walking together side by side giving anyone a lifetime of pleasure.

‘’It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’’ –Walt Disney

References

  1. How to Build a Theme Park: The First Steps (leisure-business.com)
  2. Amusement Park Liability – What You Need to Know | Clifford Law Offices PC
  3. https://linchpinseo.com/theme-park-industry-challenges-opportunities/
  4. When Fun Goes Digital: Creating the Theme Park of the Future – Knowledge@Wharton (upenn.edu)

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