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Parkscout stellt vor: Theme Park Tourist

Thursday, June 28, 2012 | This article is listed in the sections Magazine, Interviews and Amusement parks.

Parkscout introduces: Theme Park Tourist

Nick Sim © Theme Park Tourist
© Theme Park Tourist
Nick Sim of Theme Park Tourist
Since parkscout isn't the only leisure park portal on the planet, and since plenty of other amusement park and roller coaster enthusiasts are still whirling through and around the English-speaking web universe in particular, we would like to introduce a loose succession of blogs and sites created by coaster fans.

Theme Park Tourist is an online resource for theme park fans all over the world. In addition to covering global theme park news, the site also offers a database of special offers and discounts for leading parks that enables readers to save significant amounts of money on their visits. Details of every ride and attraction at more than 40 theme parks in Europe, the US, Asia and Australasia are available (with this due to be expanded to more than 100 parks by September 2012), with readers able to rate and review these in order to help future visitors decide which they should prioritise.

The site is run by Nick and Natalie Sim, a husband-and-wife team based in the UK. Nick spends most of his time tracking the latest updates on new rides and attractions that are due to open during the next few years, using this to populate the "New Attraction Watch” section. Natalie, meanwhile, has become an expert at tracking down money-saving offers after spending much of the last few years hunting for the best discounts at Disney, Universal and Merlin theme parks, among many others.

Parkscout: When was Theme Park Tourist founded and what was the difference between Theme Park Tourist and other existing theme park websites?

Nick Sim: I started work on the site in 2008 while my wife and I were planning our honeymoon in Florida, after I searched online and was surprised to find that there weren’t many big commercial theme park websites (as there are for other entertainment areas like movies and games). There are plenty of great news sites out there already, so the aim was to produce a one-stop-shop for fans planning a visit to a theme park – somewhere they could learn about a park’s rides and restaurants before they visited, find discounts and special offers, and keep up-to-date on new attraction opening dates. Having launched in 2009, we’re still working towards achieving the original aim – but we’re getting closer!

Parkscout: Readers can find lots of useful information about attractions and how to save money when visiting a theme park. How much time do you spend daily to keep all of those information up-to-date?

Nick Sim: Natalie and I probably spend around 20-30 hours per week producing content for the site. Ideally, we’d like to spend a lot more time on it, but it’s still a part-time job at the moment.

Parkscout: Although Theme Park Tourist is based in the UK, the website informs people about all important subjects world-wide. Do you have team members located in the US or in Asia?

Nick Sim: We have team members based in the US who cover important events, such as the opening days of new rides in California and Florida. We’d love to improve our coverage of Asian theme parks, which are growing very rapidly and adding a lot of exciting new attractions, but we don’t have any team members based there at the moment (we’ll always welcome volunteers!).

Disneyland Park © Disneyland Resort
© Disneyland Resort
Nick's favorite park: Disneyland Anaheim
Parkscout: What kind of people come to Theme Park Tourist reading all the useful tips and information? Do you aim at theme park fans or rather families with children planning their holidays?

Nick Sim: It’s a bit of a mix. The news section tends to attract theme park fans who are hunting for information about new rides and attractions. The reviews and discounts sections attract people who are imminently planning a trip to a theme park, and this is more likely to be mums and dads looking to save money. Overall, we try to pitch our articles so that they will be understandable to readers of any background, rather than just those who are already big theme park fans.

Parkscout: Where do you personally see the major difference between European themeparks and destinations in the United States?

Nick Sim: Disney and Universal theme parks in the US place a much greater emphasis on the overall guest experience. They invest more time in developing storylines and theming for their attractions, as well as for the queue lines and the areas that surround them. They are also fantastic at training their staff to be friendly and helpful at all times. This is sometimes the case in Europe as well, but in general I think our parks are more similar to the Six Flags and Cedar Fair chains – the emphasis is on the rides themselves, and theming and customer service take second place.

Parkscout: What is your personal favorite theme park of the world? And what makes it so different from all the other destinations?

Nick Sim: It’s a bit predictable, but it has to be Disneyland. Not just because it has inspired so many other parks, but also because it features so many little touches that other theme parks would never bother with – the attention to detail in the theming throughout the park is stunning. I think Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure has better rides, and Alton Towers probably has the best setting of any theme park, but the overall experience and sense of history at Disneyland lifts it above the rest.

© parkscout/MV

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