August 16th, 2021 – Happy Roller Coaster Day! We recently asked our followers to complete a survey about what they like about roller coasters and how they enhance their hobby. Thank you to the 480 or so people who responded to the survey – that’s twice as many as our 2020 Survey! We’ve digested the results and put our thoughts below each chart. Not everybody answered every question, so you may interpret the results differently from us and, if you do, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our forums. If you can’t ride a roller coaster today, we hope these stats will entertain you…and if that fails, there’s more Roller Coaster Day content on our social media!
The best coasters are made from what material?
Similar to last year, steel wins, hybrid sits in the middle and wood is third. What’s interesting is fewer people picked wood compared to last year and more went for steel. Steel remains popular due to it’s versatility. Is the number of woodie aficionados dwindling away?
What is the basic coaster measurement you like the most?
Incredible! No surprise here. Adrenaline junkies like speed the most. There’s nothing quite like going fast, zipping along a coaster track. Even though more votes were cast this year, these results are almost exactly the same as last year. Speed rules.
What’s the best thing about a roller caster?
Aside from speed, the main element that most coaster enthusiasts look for is airtime, which comfortably wins this round for the second year in a row. We like that sense of being out of control, yet in a perfectly safe environment. Theme was a newly added option this year, with nearly 1 in 10 of riders choosing a storyline and aesthetics above all else.
Does it matter if a coaster is record breaking?
Bragging rights are always worthwhile. It’s nice to stay you’ve been on the tallest, fastest, longest etc, but ultimately nobody really cares if it’s a record breaker. A world or regional record may help to advertise a ride, but a well designed coaster – preferably with decent speed and loads of airtime looking at the two previous charts – is what riders want.
Where’s the best place to sit on a coaster?
The back seats are typically where the the most airtime can be experienced, so it’s hardly surprising that six of ten riders consider it the best row. Of course, a lot depends on on the coaster type. This years results are almost identical to last years, and we’d bet they’ll be the similar next year…and the year after that.
Who do you consider to be the most innovative manufacturer?
If we had asked “who is your favourite manufacturer?”, there may have been a different set of results. There’s no doubting RMC‘s influence in recent years, but when it comes to innovation, Intamin remains the stalwart contender. Quite surprising to see B&M only gathering 13% of the vote, despite their huge range of different coaster types. Perhaps their popularity is starting to wane, or they’re not competing as well with the others?
Do you follow coaster construction?
It goes without saying that a coaster lover is going to actively follow construction of new rides. More people that last year now actively follow coaster construction. Is that because keeping the coaster dream alive has mainly been online in the past year, or because parks use updates it to keep the excitement at fever pitch?
Which theme park company has the best parks?
There is a difference between theme parks and amusement parks. Theme parks have immersive areas and decorated attractions, amusement parks tend to focus on thrills rather than storyline. If we catgeorise each company as either a theme or amusement park, the results are almost evenly split. It appears that Cedar Fair and Universal are best at striking the balance, be that due to the ride offering, the guest experience or repeat visit appeal. Beats us why Six Flags ranked so lowly despite operating some of the most well known parks and coasters in the world. (SeaWorld and Compagnie des Alpes are the two 2% wedges, Parques Reunidos is the smallest wedge.)
Do you own a season pass?
These results almost match last years results. There has been a slight increase in season pass ownership. Perhaps this is due to people staying local and loyal to nearby parks due to the Covid-19 pandemic? A season pass offers value for multiple visits?
How many park visits did you mange in the past year?
Again, the pandemic would’ve influenced this set of results. Goes without saying that park visit numbers were lower in the past year due to lockdowns, lack of travel opportunities, and deciding not to risk crowded places. Compared to 2020, there was a 7% increase in people visiting less than four parks, and 4% fewer ‘hardcore’ riders visiting 15 or more. These are not overly dramatic changes so it does prove that when people have the opportunity to visit a park, they will.
How do you plan your park trips?
We admire the 17% of people who just get up and go riding, but it seems that online research and communication is key to planning a park visit. The small orange slither is “somebody else organises it for me” which leads nicely to the next question…
Do you plan to attend a coaster club trip in 2022?
Maybe it’s too early to commit to anything? Maybe you’re waiting to see what trips are offered? Perhaps you want to avoid large gatherings? It appears that most goons currently plan to do their own trips, rather than attend a coaster club event.
Who do you typically visit parks with?
We think theme parks are best enjoyed as a shared experience, so it’s to great to see that 87% of you think the same. There has been a slight shift towards visiting with family members rather than friends compared to 2020. Multiple household mixing was curtailed in the past year, so it’s no wonder more people will create memories with their nearest and dearest. Or have parks started to slowly shift towards a market aimed at all ages of a family unit?
What’s your main reason for going to a park?
It’s a no brainer – roller coasters are what makes us visit a theme park. The second most popular option was to meet with friends, again backing up the chart above where visiting with others is important. Very few people go for events (orange wedge) or thrill rides (green). If a parks wants you to go through the gate, they need to have a good coaster line up and emphasise the social aspect.
What souvenir do you usually buy?
Clothing/apparel has broad appeal, so it was always going to top the poll. If a goon loves a ride, they’ll buy the tee or the cap. One stat we did find interesting is that nearly 1 in 5 visitors don’t buy anything at all – that’s a a fair chunk of revenue parks are missing out on! 79% of people who own a season pass also buy a souvenir. That’s loyalty.
How do you record your coaster count?
Nearly a third of you have your own recording method (spreadsheet, journal etc), almost another third use a dedicated website to do so, and the other third don’t take it too seriously. It’s nice to read that nearly two thirds of riders do keep an active tally…but remember it’s quality over quantity!
What is your coaster count?
Instead of percentages, we’ve presented the actual results. The bulk of people who replied have less than 200 coasters on their count, meaning most may identify as “causal” enthusiasts? What we find impressive is that although most counts start to stagnate in the 700’s, there evidence of a push to reach the 1,000 milestone.
Thanks once again to the hundreds of people of who took part in our Roller Coaster Day Survey. We hope you found the results interesting! Don’t forget you can check out the reasons to it on the CoasterForce forums.
Happy Roller Coaster Day!