With many new waterpark resort development projects on hold until credit markets open up, growth in the waterpark resort market has slowed dramatically. Some existing waterpark resort properties in need of credit also have been hurt several were foreclosed or filed bankruptcy.

Consequently, designers and suppliers are taking in less revenue, and the impact is trickling down to other segments of the aquatics industry. That's the bad news, says David Sangree, founder of Hotel & Leisure Advisors in Cleveland.

But there's good news as well. "With all of the postponed development, existing properties will be better prepared to face new competition when the economy moves up again," Sangree says. Given the explosive growth in the number of waterpark resorts over the last several years, in the long run, that "prep time," may act like a fortuitously timed emergency brake.

"When too much competition opens, properties get hurt," Sangree explains. "Well-managed properties can better capture demand when weaker players fall away."

To stay competitive, he advises operators to rely on voices of experience individuals who know the industry and have been involved for many years.