John Dunlap, Chief Executive Officer of Five Star Parks and Attractions, Top 10 Admired Leaders of 2023

John Dunlap
Five Star Parks and Attractions

John Dunlap, Chief Executive Officer of Five Star Parks and Attractions

“keep your word to maintain discipline”

Five Star Parks & Attractions goes beyond ratings and invests in top family entertainment centers (FECs) to help them create great entertainment. John Dunlap, who has been fortunate enough to have worked in many industries, is presently CEO of the company. He asserts that Five Star has led the amusement and hospitality industries with passionate, industry-savvy leaders. They're creating exciting places for all ages and abilities that Personify the joy of play. Their property partners succeed Because they initiate positive change and provide the financial support needed to improve guest experiences.

After working at The Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, John became the Executive Director of the San Diego Zoo. Apart from being the President and CEO of Iconic Attractions Group, he has also been a major wildlife park operator, multinational operator, professional manager, and attractions industry advisor. He managed global initiatives, strategic plans, operations, marketing, compliance, and more. As SeaWorld San Diego's Park President, he continued to learn about the attraction sector.

Though some attributes contribute, there is no single path to CEO. John advises excellence, leading change, listening to teams, asking challenging questions, and developing lasting partnerships. He advises entrepreneurs to gather experience and learn everything they can. They must also understand their industry dynamics, learn about diverse functions, seek growth opportunities, take on more responsibility, and build leadership skills. Showing initiative, leading, and inspiring others should be part of their habits. Communication, decision-making, and problem-solving are essential. John advocates never stopping learning because information is power and technology and trends are continually changing. Finally, choose a career mentor and master business essentials, from operations to finance.

“Five Star is more than a rating. Five Star Parks & Attractions partners with and invests in leading family entertainment centers (FEC’s), aiding them in developing superior entertainment experiences.”

John has connected with great people in his lifetime and Many things inspire him daily. His family and the chance to establish a meaningful enterprise matter most. He's eager for the future because of their team and quick success, their growth and expansion are limitless. John remembers his earliest counsel the most. He called to say he would be 10 minutes late to a meeting but ended up being 15 minutes late due to traffic. He entered, thinking it was fine. His boss started with, "You should always under promise and overdeliver." Had he said he’d be later, he wouldn’t have missed expectations. What taught him most was to "do what you say you’re going to do."

John's morning motivations also drive him through uncertainty. Knowing he has a devoted team committed to Five Star Parks helps greatly. John always provides detailed input. Use instances and observations instead of generalizations. He suggests framing feedback on activities and their effects on people or goals and, most importantly, making staff feedback secure. Recognize accomplishments and give constructive criticism. Actively listening and giving attention help him communicate. He suggests being clear, concise, and well-spoken. CEOs and students alike make decisions every day; he suggests they gather important data and facts, grasp the problem, evaluate their short and long-term possibilities, and trust their gut before making decisions and learning from them.

They value clean, safe, fun; these three words make Five Star Parks & Attractions' culture exceptional. They prioritize guest and employee safety daily. They provide a clean, enjoyable, and efficient environment for families and employees. They really do personify the joy of play, and that’s true for any person who interacts with their company. They are also fortunate to have such talented, dedicated people, and their company learns how to succeed with each expansion. Creating value-driven teams fosters trust and success. To make this clear, he adds a quote by JC Penney that he finds very relevant. There are 24 hours in a day, and if you can’t outsmart your competition, you outwork them. When you want to achieve something and the stakes are high, the team that is most dedicated to success always achieves it.

They constantly communicate with a large pipeline of parks, and their portfolio grows as they expand. In addition, they've expanded their logistics and site analytics capabilities for new center construction. Their growth platform is threefold: improving the services they already own, acquiring new centers that meet their approach, and selecting pre-existing sites to create family entertainment centers. They can expand their business by improving current venues, buying new family entertainment centers, and building new ones through adaptive reuse, and they are eager to open these facilities nationwide.

The majority of FEC creators or conceptions usually concentrate on a single anchor, according to John. We describe ourselves as a collection of small theme parks, focusing on a range of family-friendly attractions. They also appeal to people of all ages and abilities, from 2 to 92, and have a larger range of market demographics.IE


Five Star Parks and Attractions


John Dunlap
Five Star Parks and Attractions


Five Star Parks & Attractions is a platform at the forefront of the amusement and hospitality industry that partners with and invests in leading family entertainment centers (FECs). We are more than just a rating. We assist in developing and maintaining safe and friendly amusement park locations that celebrate fun and personify the joy of play.

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