AP - Amusement parks thrown for a loop by the slumping economy over the last few years are starting to rebound, drawing bigger crowds over the past year and spending more money on new attractions and shows this season.
Vacationers are turning to old-fashioned Ferris wheels and carousels over expensive, high-tech thrill rides. What's the appeal? Free admission.
In the midst of one of the worst recessions in decades, tiny beach-side amusement parks along the California coast are reporting robust business and big crowds while most of the state's big theme parks have seen shrinking revenue.
By Crunching Numbers:Amusement park operator Cedar Fair, LP (FUN) reported fourth quarter and full year earnings earlier this week that were less thrilling than its famous roller coasters. As expected, attendance in the fourth quarter declined from the prior year and prevented the partnership from achieving another record year.
In a bold move, the NCAA has planned to announce today that starting in 2016, all collegiate sports will each move to a year-round season. "We have been secretly extending the schedules for years, usually by a few days or weeks at a time," says a senior administrative official with the league. "We figured we would just go for it and make it year round." While details are sketchy, the early information shows how the major sports will see some dramatic changes over the next three years.
With few new rides and attractions, Southern California theme parks will be offering bargain prices to lure recession-weary vacationers.
A wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain will fire riders down a 100-foot drop. An exhibit at the San Diego Zoo will feature elephants, camels and 4-foot rodents in a new habitat the size of a soccer stadium.