Silent protest? Holidaymakers shun Dreamworld
THIS is Dreamworld on the first weekend of the Queensland winter school holidays.
There are no queues at the famous front gate, eateries and gift shops are eerily quiet and even the park's most popular rides are operating half-empty.
It resembles a ghost town.
The eerie calm fell over the theme park just days after a coroner investigating the deaths of Kate Goodchild, Cindy Low, Roozi Araghi and Luke Dorsett, who died on the Thunder River Rapids ride in 2016, closed two weeks of explosive evidence about serious safety failures at Dreamworld, which began more than a decade before the deaths.
Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson resigned late on Friday and a search for a new theme park boss has commenced.
Ardent senior manager Nicole Noye will replace Mr Davidson in the short-term and the executive management team is expected to be "significantly restructured".
Yesterday, five rides were not operating - including Tower of Terror II, Buzzsaw and The Claw - with staff informing patrons entering the park of the closures.
One Dreamworld's most popular rides, the Giant Drop, was seen with just one passenger.
The Rocky Hollow Log Ride, which patrons can wait hours for during peak periods, did not have a single person in the queue around noon.
Ardent chairman Gary Weiss at the weekend said Dreamworld would work to "earn the trust" of visitors and "prioritise the ongoing implementation of best-practice safety initiatives".
Some visitors outside the park said they would watch their children more closely on the rides after seeing Dreamworld's fortnight of bad press.
"Watching what's been happening on the news, it just could happen anytime, you never know," Brisbane father-of-five Andre Henare told The Courier-Mail. "It's an awesome place and we are season-ticket holders and we've been down quite a bit."
Kasey Moffat, of West End, said she would continue to support Dreamworld, despite the safety and training revelations.
"It was a once in a blue moon thing, especially because it happened on such an innocuous ride," she said.
When asked about the weekend trade, a spokeswoman for Dreamworld said: "The Park was open and people continue to attend."