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Oreos and the Creamy Center

Four Ways to Find your Facility's Sweet Spot

I love Oreos. When I eat them, I'm often caught doing what I've been doing since I was a kid - that is eating the creamy center first - essentially, eating my Oreo from the inside out. Why? Because while I like the chocolate cookie, it's the creamy center that makes the treat. That's where I find the most satisfaction and the most enjoyment.

In our attractions world, our facilities have their own "creamy centers" - that is, the areas and activities that people love. At any of Disney's Magic Kingdom parks, the "creamy center" are attractions like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion. The Castle and Main Street are landmarks that might also qualify as "creamy centers". It is the places and experiences within your facility that people adore and will return to time and time again that are like the cream in the middle of the Oreo.

So, how do we create "creamy centers" - the places that make our facility special?

Do what you do best so that your guests clamor for more. Now, more than ever, people are comparing you to the competition. It doesn't matter if you are the closest water park for 100 miles, you will be compared with other water parks. You must always execute flawlessly or be prepared to be counted as second-rate.

Stop doing what you don't do well. If you are providing a second-rate experience, it can detract from the things you do well. If your nighttime show's reaction is generally boredom or confusion, or you have an attraction that's so disliked that it lowers guest satisfaction scores, it can take away from what you're doing well and leave a bad taste in your guests' mouths.

Check out the competition - and do it better. If competitors are doing something that their guests love, what is it and can you do it even better? For example, if you are fun center and your competitor just added a zip line, can you create an experience that is even better? It's all about upping the ante and doing it even better. If you ever must choose between being first and being best, it's always better to choose to be the best.

Attend IAAPA and other trade shows. On November 12, IAAPA returns to the Orange County Convention Center. IAAPA is one of the best places to go to get new ideas for your next "creamy center".

Have a great week!

Melea Desrochers