Roy Page, Knights Leisure, UK (pictured): It was actually when I was at First Leisure, and we put a giant Ferris Wheel on Central Pier in Blackpool. It was a big wheel as well; we bought it from Mondial. Geoffrey Thompson, God bless him, said to me ‘I used to have Ferris Wheels at the Pleasure Beach but I chucked them all away, what have you done?’ It wasn’t easy though, because it took some great structural engineering to get that ride on the pier, but it was worth it. What it did for the pier was it made a statement, because you had Blackpool Tower and then right opposite you had the wheel. It’s still an icon, when it’s lit up during the illuminations it looks absolutely marvellous. And it takes a lot of money.
Borchardt, Wonderland Park, USA: Our best investment has been the bumper cars. We have Reverchon cars, the Almas, and they have been very popular. From when we open ’til closing there is always a line of people waiting to drive them. People of all ages ride them. It takes the kid who wants to ride, to the kid who feels he is big enough to be driving alone. We have had five sets of cars from 1963 to today. That first two sets were Lusse, the third was Duce, and the last two were Reverchon. I can honestly say that this last group is the finest that I believe is on the market. Not only are they really attractive cars (the finish, the style, the colours and the lighting), but the maintenance on them is extremely minimal. Bumper cars are one ride that everyone really enjoys. They are anxious to get on, they have fun driving them, and they are smiling when they get off.
Pelle Johannisson, Liseberg, Sweden: Actually, two rides are outstanding when you talk about return on investment. Firstly the Flume Ride, introduced in 1973, is still incredibly popular and attracts riders of all ages (around 1.2 million passengers per season). The most popular ride of all is Lisebergbanan, our Schwarzkopf steel coaster, attracting approximately 1.5 million riders every season. Lisebergbanan was introduced in 1987 and became the starting point of a new era at Liseberg. Both these rides contribute a lot in building the Liseberg brand and they are both icons in the eyes of the public.
Jack Morey, Morey’s Piers, USA: In general, kiddie rides, but you can’t just build a kiddie ride park; you need a blend of rides. If we are talking adult rides, then it would probably be our wood coaster.