Hi guys. I was just reading a really interesting blog post on Cupcakes and Coasters (@nadroJ's blog) about her predictions for the 2020s in the theme park industry, and it got me thinking about my personal predictions for what the 2020s could hold in the theme park industry. So I made this topic to discuss what we all predict will happen in the theme park industry during the 2020s; I'll get the ball rolling with some of my personal predictions:
- Either a new coaster manufacturer will emerge or an existing one will massively regenerate themselves: This might seem like a rather bold prediction, but this seems to have happened in a number of decades in the past. For example, I'd imagine that if you told a 2010 enthusiast that a small construction company in Idaho would be one of the most sought after thrill ride manufacturers in the world, they would look at you rather blankly. Same with if you told them that Vekoma would be making smooth, intense thrill machines that were critically acclaimed. During the 2010s, RMC emerged from nowhere and changed the amusement industry forever, companies like Vekoma and Mack massively regenerated themselves, and even the likes of Gerstlauer massively upped their game in terms of the types of coasters they were producing. Even in terms of past decades, I'd argue that the 2000s really changed Intamin in terms of the sorts of rides they were producing, and B&M emerged and sent shockwaves through the industry in the 1990s. So I have reason to believe that this decade, we will either see a new manufacturer emerge or an existing one revitalise their product lineup.
- We will see a 500ft coaster get built: Now, I know that the industry seems to be moving away from record-breaking on the whole, but I think that there is still a definite appetite for record-breakers within parks. Also, the specific reason why I put this one in there is because of a specific ride system that's being strongly hyped; RMC's TRex Track. Alan Schlike has said in interviews that this ride system is designed to reach heights of 300+ft, and if there's anyone in the industry right now who will do something so radical as break the height record, it's RMC. As for which park will build it; who knows? Cedar Point were the first to go over 200ft, 300ft and 400ft, respectively, so I could see them doing 500ft if they had the money & space. Or maybe a park in Asia could do it? They do seem to be in a real growth phase in terms of their industry compared to the rest of the world.
- Disney will announce a major project in Florida to compete with Epic Universe: As many of you know, Universal is currently constructing its third theme park in Florida, Epic Universe, for a 2023 opening date. Now, Disney won't want to lose any custom to this major new project down the road, so I'm sure they'll probably unveil something to compete. Whether that's a fifth theme park or not I don't know, but I definitely think that they will want to compete in some way with Epic Universe. They seem to want to compete with most things Universal does; they've attempted to counter both Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter in the past.
- Paultons Park will have grown into one of the UK's most prominent theme parks: Now this may seem like a very bold prediction, but I could definitely see it with the rate they're growing at currently. In 2010, Paultons Park was merely a speck on the UK theme park scene, with a Gerstlauer Bobsled Coaster and a Zamperla Disk'O as its two most notable attractions. But now, it's a growing name in the UK theme park scene with many notable things to its name. By 2030, I could easily see them becoming one of the UK park industry's most well-known and most visited names provided its current momentum continues, which I don't see any reason for it not to provided Tornado Springs is successful.
- Six Flags will go bankrupt again: Now for a slightly less positive prediction; with the current pandemic having major effects on the world and Six Flags having not been in a particularly good place prior to bankruptcy (their debt was apparently nearing pre-bankruptcy levels even before the pandemic), I unfortunately think that it's looking more and more likely that Six Flags will go bankrupt again at some point during the 2020s. It's not a prediction that I want to be making, but it's one that I unfortunately feel is looking more and more likely, especially with the threat of a global recession looming.