In regard to Bryan Cather's dissertation of the bottom line of
amusement parks in America today, I offer this rebuttal. While it
is true that us older people who are in love with both the sound and
experience may not be on the minds of corporate board members who
make financial decisions, Bryan's assertions that corporate America
can run an amusement park as well as (let's say, for example) the
owners of places like Knoebels Groves point out that is far from true.
All of the parks in question are hanging in there these days with
the horrendous economy, but the well run parks still survive and may
flourish in the revealing light of "more is necessarily not better"
philosophy. These mega parks will struggle to support their
Some of these smaller privately run parks lovingly care for and
appreciate the organs. Some parks see intrinsic value in pleasing the
youngest set, and there is value (not just sentiment) placed on the
total experience (not just the veneer), realizing that these kids are
their future and not just a quick ticket.
The insatiable appetite for "bigger - better" we seem to have will go
only so far, I believe (and I hope), and then the trend will reverse,
driven by economic realities. Unfortunately, this trend to abandon the
band organ is not merely an economic one.
The "out with the old and in with the new" philosophy has been with us
for awhile, and has been aided and abetted by the growing number of
teenagers who grew up since age six with headphones stuck in their ears
killing their hearing with rap, then complaining about how "loud the
natural sounding band organ is" to the management who wants to appease
them because they find it "hard to get workers". This is a cultural
thing, and any child under the age of six years probably rides a
carousel with a real band organ (not some tinny weak-kneed facsimile)
and has a great time doing so, associating the strong, "live", steady
melody, harmony and percussion as a "great thing to behold", not a
killer of enjoyment to the ride.
I am hoping and praying that the small well-run parks can hold on, and
I believe they can with our support. I think that is the key to Bryan's
cure here. People have to get involved to save a few: adopt one,
support it financially or with labor, get involved. Do not start with
the mega parks, they may be too far gone. We may not be able to save
all, but we can save some, while this trend pendulum swings and comes
More and more people are finding that bigger is not always not better,
even with the seemingly greater "thrills" per minute as some expect.
If the current trend to gauge how well people enjoy themselves is taken
by the corporate management to the extreme, you can expect events like
"feeding people to lions" to gain popularity in the coming years. Now
there is adventure and a thrill for ya'!
Just my $.02