Dreamworld to rebuild revenue on LEGO foundation

Dreamworld on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Embattled theme park Dreamworld is banking on a retail expansion that includes Australia’s first LEGO Certified Store as it attempts to ride out a revenue slump.

Dreamworld’s owner Ardent Leisure today reported a 63% dive in its year-on-year revenue between December 10, when the park reopened, and December 31, with patrons steering clear as a number of the park’s rides remain closed.

The rides are slowly returning to operation after a safety review following the tragic deaths of four people on the Thunder River Rapids ride in October.

Plans unveiled: Chinese to build $400m Gold Coast theme park

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But in an announcement to shareholders Ardent Leisure revealed its theme parks division, which includes Dreamworld and White Water World, had brought in revenue of $3.66 million over the last 22 days of 2016, compared with $9.89 million the previous year.

Four of the park’s “Big 9 Thrill Rides” remain out of action, which company secretary Alan Shedden says is the key driver of the slump in attendance and revenue.

But the park is banking on a retail revival to help drag people back through the gates, beginning with the opening of the first LEGO Certified Store in the country later this month.

Dreamworld is banking on its new LEGO attraction. Picture: Dreamworld.com.au.

Dreamworld is banking on its new LEGO attraction. Picture: Dreamworld.com.au.

“The flagship LEGO store will be the largest retail outlet at Dreamworld, forming a standalone precinct at the front of the park and a new destination for guests, passholders and visitors to South East Queensland,” Shedden says.

“Attendance numbers have steadily increased since Boxing Day and visitation has been more consistent as our “Big 9 Thrill Rides” return to service following our independent safety review.”

Shedden says it is hoped that the park will bounce back further as other attractions reopen.

“The progressive re‐opening of Dreamworld’s thrill rides throughout the remainder of the month negatively impacted attendance and revenues,” he says.

“The park’s last rides (including the Tower of Terror II and the Giant Drop) are scheduled to be back operating before the end of January 2017.”

Dreamworld’s struggles may also provide further impetus for Chinese theme park operator Songcheng to speed up its plans to build a $400 million theme park on the Gold Coast.

In November it was revealed Songcheng, one of the 10 largest theme park operators in the world, had won board approval to build “The Australia Legendary Kingdom” park at Nerang on the Gold Coast.