Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nigloland: Amusement Park for the Middle Classes

With Disneyland being so fantasy, partly because of its price, where are the middle classes to go? In France, one answer is Nigloland. Nigloland was founded by two brothers who used to organize fairs: Patrice and Philippe Gélis in 1989. Niglo means hedgehog in the language of gypsies. 

The price of an entry ticket to Nigloland varies from 22 to 24 Euros depending on whether you are a kid or not. This is about 40% cheaper than Disneyland Paris which charges about 40 Euros. Clearly, the positioning is different. So, while Disneyland gets the international tourists and the upper classes, Nigloland is totally focused on the French. There are no signs in English or German anywhere in the park.

It has all kinds of rides catering to the very young as well as to strong sensation seeking teenagers. The food can be reasonably priced, depending on what you decide to eat.

500,000 visitors per year. Multiply it by 22 Euros and you have a turnover of 11 million Euros just from ticket sales. Of course, there are also restaurants and shops and doubling this would provide 22 million Euros of turnover. All this in a season of less than eight months for it is closed in winter.

It is a far cry from the 15 million visitors to  Disneyland Europe. And the turonver of Disnelyland is not just the 600 million Euros from tickets, but closer to 1.3 billion Euros, after including shopping, restaurants and all else. Clearly, proximity to Paris and international airports and access to the high speed trains, all help. As opposed to this, Nigloland requires a car or a tourist bus.

There is a train station at Bar-sur-Aube which is connected to both Paris (gare de l'Est), Chaumont and there is even a direct train to Dijon (capital of Burgundy). The questions is what to do for the last few miles from Bar-sur-Aube to Nigloland. Fortunately, there is hope because there are a few buses, four a day, from Troyes to Nigloland. Some of these also go to Bar-sur-Aube? But of course you have to get to Troyes or Bar-sur-Aube. With 500,000 French middle class people concerned and if the Nigloland Park is open 250 days in a year, it provides us about 2,000 people per day, more on weekends and children's holiday periods and less for the rest of the period. Four packed buses should be able to transport 200 provided no one wants to go anywhere else. Just to put things in perspective.

A good thing about being in a park for middle classes is that people are very well behaved and they do not lose their good manners. So, you don't get stressed by little incidents of beating the line. Nor do you see any signs warning you of pickpockets.

Being middleclass can be amusing.

Note: all statistics, extrapolations and errors are mine based on information found on the internet and assumptions made to simplify mental calculations.

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