Planet Coaster Beginner's Guide: Park Management
Park management in Planet Coaster comes right down to fulfilling the whims and wishes of your guests whilst still making a profit every month. The concept is simple but can be oddly difficult to iterate upon. All it takes is one little oversight or design flaw and hell will slowly break loose across your meticulously crafted park.
Frontier took a lot of time designing the guests so their whims are unique and change based on their surroundings. They often react the same way you'd expect real people to. The trick is to be humane. Don't place facilities and rides on opposite ends of the park and expect your guests to be happy with all the service and care you provide them.
In fact, just stop thinking of your guests as sims right now. Ask yourself, "what would I like to see here if I visited this park?" You're bound to (eventually) turn a profit in Career and Challenge mode following this simple rule.
If you're unsure of what to do, -- or haven't visited an amusement park before -- read on for strategies, tips, and tricks on building a manageable park.
If you're still hung up on Planet Coaster's controls and UI, check out our getting started guide first.
How to Manage your Planet Coaster Park
We've uncovered a number of strategies to keep both guests and your wallet happy. In this Planet Coaster beginner's guide, you'll learn how to invest heavily early on to turn a profit, place facilities near ride exits to encourage frugal guests, hire staff and manage work rosters to keep up with your growing park, and place scenery to prevent guests from getting bored. (Oh, and if all else fails, just plant down a few Whirly Rigs. It's a crowd pleaser.)
Invest Heavily Early On
Invest in everything early on. Buy rides, food and drink shops, bathrooms, first aid, ATMs, info booths and priority pass lanes; don't skimp out on a thing. If your park runs smoothly from the start, you won't need to make up for any deficits later on -- and you'll quickly turn a sizable profit.
Chances are you won't be able to afford a roller coaster at the start, so don't worry too much about that. However, it's important to get one built relatively soon. Roller coasters are a valuable source of income.
Make sure you set up a decent variety of rides from the start. Try and balance the queue so it's long enough to fit a couple full loads of people in line, but not much more. If you have an information booth available, make sure to set up priority pass lines for your premium guests.
Don't forget food and drink stands. Guests get hungry and thirsty, and if they can't fill those needs in your park, they'll leave. You don't need food court yet. One of each is fine to start. On that note, remember to place bathrooms too.
An ATM is another great early investment. With a few scattered about major areas of your park, you will encourage guests to spend just that extra bit more. A first aid center is perfect on the rare occasion your guests scrape their knee or get hit by flying, off-track roller coasters. It's nice if you can afford it, but you'll get by just fine for a couple months without it.
Finally, make sure you start research early, if not right away. It's important to have options in your park, and researching is the only way you'll how learn to build anything new.
Place Facilities Near Ride Exits
It may seem a tad cluttered and chaotic to place facilities near or along ride exits, but economically speaking, there's no better place for them. Guests walk off of rides in a better mood, which in turn makes them more inclined to spend money at your shops.
This is definitely where you'll want to place your food and drink shops. If you plan to include gift shops in your park, this is also a great area to plant them. If you have any courtesy for human needs, you'll place a bathroom nearby too.
Be sure to plant an ATM nearby, too, for the hungry guests with empty wallets. There's nothing wrong with helping guests jiggle their wallets loose.
Hire Staff and Manage Work Rosters
You can't run your park on your own. You'll need vendors to run your food, drink, and hat shops, but luckily they're hired automatically when you open a new shop. Everyone else you'll have to hire manually.
Mechanics are required to inspect and fix your rides. If a ride's not working, it's costing you money. You'll also want Janitors to keep your park clean of vomit and litter. And finally, you can hire Entertainers to draw a crowd and keep your guests engaged.
Don't forget to promote your workers. You want them working as efficiently as possible. Underqualified workers won't make you as much money. Just don't forget to give them a nice raise along with their promotion. An unhappy staff member is an unproductive worker.
Over time, you'll notice issues where your workers just ignore certains sides of the park. In particular, Janitors are really bad about leaving messes in less-central locations such as the exits to rides.
This is where work rosters come in. Rather than rubbing your Janitors' noses in puke and telling them to clean it up like Cinderella's step mother, you can opt to hand them a list of places to keep clean.
When you create your work roster, select the rides, attractions, and facilities that need the attention the most. After creating it, enter your worker's selection menu, switch to their salary tab and select your new work roster in the drop down box.
Scenery is a very important part of Planet Coaster. If you don't place down scenery for your guests to absorb and enjoy, they'll quickly grow bored with your park. Some guests are straight up unwilling to wait in a queue line with low scenery.
Honestly, it doesn't even need to look cohesive -- I don't know why you'd rather stare at a mess of props, but you do you. So long as you place down scenery near queue lines and around the rest of your park, your guests will stay happy. There's nothing worse than a bland park.
Though even if you decide to open up a park without scenery, please remember to include trash cans and park benches. Hell, force your guests to stand, just be sure to add the trash cans.
Scenery is such an odd place to hide these essential park landmarks, but you can be sure they're all but required for a park to run. Neglect to put a trashcan on even the most obscure corner of your park and you'll be dealing with half a mile of litter clean up. God forbid should you neglect to place trash cans next to a bathroom.
Park management in Planet Coaster is simple so long as you plan your park logically. Cater to the guests and you can't fail. Need more help with park management in Career or Challenge mode? Leave your questions and comments down below!
Still trying to get the hang of the controls and UI? Take a peek at our getting started guide.