David Robinson, general manager, World of Rides, believes that through continual development, kiddie rides have managed to buck trends, and remain a prominent part of the amusement industry.
Why have kiddie rides stayed so enduringly popular?
“Static kiddie rides will always be popular with children, as they always want to ride in moving vehicles, without having to pedal or push, and younger children are continually growing into the user age group of three to ten years old in order to keep their popularity continuing, but it is our battery operated rides that are still creating queues to use them and cash boxes that need emptying much more regularly.”
Do you see this enduring popularity continuing?
“Because children’s rides will always be a magnet for young children, their popularity will continue for a very long time, but manufacturers like ourselves are going to have to sharpen their pencils in order to make them much more attractive and technically interactive, for future generations of ever more technically savvy children, who need much more than we have today to hold their interest.”
How is the market currently?
“The children’s ride sector of the amusement and leisure markets is managing to buck the trend at the moment, and is doing very well. However, for the first time during the last recession we did feel the pinch as parents had less disposable income to spend.”
What are the key innovations, or development driving the market sector currently?
“Although licensed characters are still very important to the children’s ride markets, there are unfortunately only one or two really strong characters available at the moment, so technical innovation and full interactivity with the riders are the most important factors at the moment.”
What have been the stand out rides at World of Rides this year?
“Without doubt our Driving School Cars, Bumper Cars and Future Bikes have been our most stand-out-products during 2017, along with the continuing popularity of our Superhero product ranges from 2016, still outselling everything else by a huge margin.”
How much of an impact has new currencies had on the market?
“The New £1 coin has not been received at all well by many manufacturers and operators who are still using multi-coin mechanisms in their children’s rides, due to the many differing criteria of the coin. However, World of Rides chose to develop a brand new New £1 roll-down mechanism instead, which has proven to be very popular with all their operators for two reasons: Firstly, the New £1 coin has become much more popular more quickly with the public than ever the Royal Mint could have anticipated, and as a result it is in greater use, and secondly the new coin mechanism will not accept any of the old £1 coins, or any foreign coins, once the old £1 is withdrawn from circulation. In addition, our new £1 coin mechanism can also be retro-fitted to all our existing old £1 rides.”