Skift Take

The most famous theme park operators in the world are expanding globally and improving their original properties in an effort to attract bigger audiences at home and abroad. Listen to this episode for a wide-ranging conversation about how that's happening and whether it's likely to pay off.

Series: Skift Podcast

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Roller coasters, thrill rides and life-sized cartoon characters might seem like child’s play, but theme parks are serious business.

According to an outlook from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, global theme park spending reached nearly $40 billion in 2014, and worldwide attendance topped 950 million.

North American companies are finding new audiences in burgeoning markets like China, and homegrown operators are investing overseas as well, even as top players in Orlando and California keep upping their game.


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On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking about the business of theme parks: How they’re trying to reach broader audiences, use technology to personalize visits, and raise the bar in the park experience as they raise prices.

With us in the Skift office is Martin Lewison, a professor of management at Farmingdale State College in New York who studies the theme park industry. And joining us by Skype from Pasadena is Robert Niles, founder and editor of the website Theme Park Insider.

They join Skift editor and podcast host Hannah Sampson and reporter Dan Peltier.


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Tags: disney, skift podcast, the skift travel podcast, theme parks, universal

Photo credit: A roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida. Theme parks are upping the game across the world — and raising prices to new highs. Roller Coaster Philosophy / Flickr

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