Related: Peppa Pig World to open at Paultons Family Theme Park / Coin Operated Rides: Northern Leisure Group / Kiddy Rides to Launch new Peppa Pig ride and 3 Seater Carousel at the EAG Expo for 2010 / Branding & merchandising, costumes & mascots: Somewhere, over at Rainbow
By Jeroen Nijpels
I’ve just returned from Paultons Park in the UK, where Richard Mancey and his team pre-opened Peppa Pig World last Friday. I had no clue about who Peppa Pig was before I got involved in this project roughly a year ago. But it seemed that the park was very diligent in trying to find the right set of characters that would both have a strong appeal to the market and was also easily transferable from the screen into a real theme park area.
Well, I think they did a magnificent job over there! I’m sure my 2½ year old daughter Emily would be 100% convinced that this is where Peppa, George and all of their family and friends are really living. And they seem to have so much fun over there.
But is this really the way to go for theme parks? In a few weeks, the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool will open its Nickelodeon themed area, and although I haven’t seen the work in progress myself, first comments from those that have been there are also very positive. No doubt also this development will show a significant increase in numbers, like Thomasland did for Drayton Manor Theme Park. So the first answer to this question seems to be a sound YES.
I guess the long term answer is that we will have to see how long the lifespan is of the actual characters involved. If the characters are existing already for more than a decade, I think there’s not much to fear. But only the future can tell if the same goes for characters that are only a few years old, and whose adventures on TV might soon be replaced by new heroes. For the moment I am very optimistic, since the areas that are now open and will open shortly are very well done, and the quality of the work over there can easily compete even if the characters would not be known to the general audience. I’m curious to see which amusement parks around Europe will follow the great examples from the UK, and with what kind of IP.