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Are regular investments into large-scale coasters going to become a thing of the past?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. When I was reading through the Thorpe Park future thread, I had a thought. Many parks these days seem to be building more economical additions to attract guests, even in major years. And it's not only Merlin that is doing this.

Take Six Flags, for example. Most of the additions added since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 have been substantially smaller than the additions that occurred before. Admittedly this is for a very good reason, but I thought it might be an interesting thing to investigate. An example of where you can see this is a Six Flags Great Adventure. If we're talking exclusively about roller coasters they've built in the past decade (2009-2019), they have built:
  • A 154ft B&M standup coaster relocated from Kentucky Kingdom in 2011.
  • A 120ft stock model S&S 4D Free Spin in 2016.
Admittedly, that doesn't sound too bad. But when you compare to the decade before that (1999-2009):
  • A 142ft prototype B&M floorless coaster in 1999.
  • A 26ft stock model Zierer Tivoli in 1999.
  • A 230ft B&M hyper coaster in 2001.
  • A 106ft cloned B&M flying coaster in 2003.
  • A 456ft Intamin Accelerator Coaster that broke the height record in 2005.
  • A 181ft Intamin prefabricated wooden coaster in 2006.
  • A 45ft stock model Mack Wild Mouse in 2008.
That is quite a substantial decrease; 2 in the last decade compared with 7 in the decade before it. Admittedly that is likely because Six Flags wants to be risk averse following their bankruptcy, which I can understand, but it does show that investment trends seem to be changing as far as coasters are concerned, in my eyes.

Another company worth noting is Cedar Fair. While they have invested in a number of large-scale roller coasters in the last decade (2018 alone saw them build 4 major roller coasters across the chain.), I believe they recently announced that they will only be investing into major roller coasters when existing coasters need replacement from now on, which implies a significant reduction in the frequency of large-scale roller coasters being built at the company's parks over the coming years to me. Admittedly this may be down to the fact that 2018's new roller coasters were reportedly not as successful as hoped, but it again shows a change in investment trends in my eyes.

Yet another good case study for this topic is Merlin, who I made reference to in the opening of this post. Admittedly, I'd say they are a substantially newer company in terms of owning major theme parks than Six Flags & Cedar Fair (I'd only really say they took off in this department with the acquisition of Tussauds in 2007), but I'd personally say there are some noticeable trend changes that can be seen in Merlin's investment strategies. In the first decade of Merlin's ownership of the ex-Tussauds parks (2007-2017), there were a number of major additions across the chain. During this decade (or at least the first part of it), all of the company's Resort Theme Parks were seeing major investments every 3 years, which most of the time was a roller coaster of decent size. Compare that to nowadays, when many of Merlin's Resort Theme Parks are waiting 4-5 years or more for a major investment, and when that major investment comes, it is less likely to be a new roller coaster than it used to be. Take Heide Park, for example; in 2011, they recieved Krake, a 134ft B&M Dive Coaster. 3 years later in 2014, they recieved Flug der Damonen, a 131ft B&M wing coaster. When 2017 came 3 years later, the park recieved Ghostbusters 5D, a Triotech dark ride that I am unsure of the cost of (I believe I heard £7m somewhere, but I'd imagine it's certainly less than the two B&Ms that came before it). The park's next major investment in 2019 is set to be a hefty refurbishment of an existing roller coaster costing somewhere in the region of £12m (I think?); again, I'd imagine this is less than Krake and Flug der Damonen cost. Merlin have also made multiple references to making their business more economical in their results presentations, including a £35m reduction in CAPEX into their Resort Theme Parks by 2022. I'd imagine this will certainly make major coasters less frequent in that company's parks.

What do you guys think of this idea? Do you think major coasters are to become less frequent, and if so, why?
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
I think this is a very interesting discussion topic, and I'm honestly surprised that it hasn't got any replies yet.

I definitely think you are right, with some caveats. It's not that big coasters aren't being built any more, but they're clearly not being built as often as they used to. That observation seems hard to argue against. However, I think there are explanations for it:

The period around the turn of the millennium was a boom that couldn't be sustained in the long run. Just look at how few of the big, well-known coasters around that were built before 1990. A lot happened in a very short time. And this boom had two closely related consequences that led to a slower pace of coaster building today:

First off, I think many parks (at least in the Western world) hit a sort of ceiling after that boom. There is a limit to how big a park can grow before it's not profitable to grow any more. A park will draw in a certain percentage of the population in its surrounding area, a figure that is obviously limited by the size of that population even if that percentage is optimized. At some point, your park will be visited by all the people nearby who will ever be likely to visit it. Building another coaster at that point will have no significant impact on the visitor numbers. Barring a dip in the visitor numbers (or even a declining trend), the park will get away with not adding anything expensive for a while. Remember that a coaster is both expensive to build and operate. There's a limit to how many coasters a park can afford to have running at any time, given constant visitor numbers, and I suspect many parks decided after the boom that they were close to that limit. In short, they took in all the visitors who wanted to visit them, by growing as big as they could afford. Income maximized, expenses adjusted accordingly.

Secondly, most of the big coasters built in the boom years (~1990-2006) are still running. Still thrilling guests. If a park built a great big lineup of coasters back then, all of them have several years left of operation in them, and there's no need for the park to expand, they don't have to build more coasters. I guess we will see an uptick in coaster building again when it's time to retire the coasters built around 1990. That might be many years in the future, but when the time comes, a lot of coasters will be due for retirement within a few years. Of course, when replacing an old coaster, a park might decide to build a new coaster first before the old one is torn down, but that's a very rare occurrence. Usually, new coasters are built on the land left by discarding old ones.

Thirdly, and not that related to the points above: The market has, for the most part, solidified. For a given population there's a limit to how many parks can be operated profitably. If there are many parks to choose between in an area, most people will just alternate which parks to visit instead of visiting parks more often. That means fewer guests per park, an equation somebody has to lose. So as existing parks grew to their limit, there wasn't really a point in opening any new parks to compete against them. Heck, how do you compete against a well-established park on their own terms? Those parks have a solid ride lineup and an established brand, they would need to have some serious drawbacks before a park started from scratch can compete for the same visitor demographics. This means that few new parks enter "the race" for attracting thrill seekers, and in many places parks have dropped out of it altogether. So the existing parks don't build more big coasters, because they have grown to the limits of the market, and new parks don't build more big coasters either, because the market has been saturated to the limit.

In some places, notably the UK, the market has solidified to the point that competition between parks is all but non-existent. Parks are either not competing because they are owned by the same people (Thorpe and Alton), they are in the nationwide race but can't afford (money/space) to buy new attractions to advance their position (BPB), or they have scaled down their operations to focus on their local market instead of the nationwide one (pretty much all the rest). A stable situation allows the parks to be complacent ...and not build big coasters until something old needs replacement. And if there is no competition in the market, the park doesn't even have to grow to the market limit, if the owners instead want to save the investment money for short-term profit (Parques Reunidos in general).

Not sure where to place China in this, as the parks over there tend to build big coasters ...whenever a new park opens. Call me ignorant, but it doesn't feel like we're seeing any big additions to existing parks very often there either. I'm not sure if this is due to a different culture among theme park operators, a lack of competition, or if the parks are built as big as the market allows from the get go. Or if I'm just wrong; that's a possibility too.

Lastly, the last couple of decades have seen some amazing technological advances that have re-defined what a thrill coaster is. Take Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain as a pre-1990 example of what a thrill coaster used to be: A sit-down coaster with seven inversions (made using specific pre-defined elements of a set size) neatly separated by 180-degree turns, which necessitated a big sprawling layout and a tall lift hill. It was also the tallest and fastest looping coaster in the world, because that record was up for grabs. The end result is a coaster that towers 57 meters tall and covers several acres. Tremendously expensive, both in terms of space and money.

Contrast this with, say, a Sky Rocket II. At 100 km/h, they're just 10 km/h slower than Viper. They feature three launches (one of them backwards), a backwards drop of 30 meters or so, an inversion more than 40 meters in the air, a twisting vertical drop, a non-inverting loop, and another backwards bit, all on a smaller footprint (and, probably, budget) than Viper's lift hill. Or take the more compact Gerstlauer creations of recent years, or the S&S Free Spins. A bunch of inversions, high speeds, some airtime, and generally a bucket-load of thrills on a smaller space than it takes Viper to turn around. New coasters can deliver an experience on a tiny footprint what you needed a gigantic mega coaster to do only 15 years ago. Maybe they're not quite as impressive, or quite as marketable, but they have a passable performance at a fraction of the cost of a traditional mega coaster. Even big parks, who can afford those mega coasters, must see the appeal in that.

So yeah, TL;DR:
  1. Most parks that used to build big coasters often, grew to their maximum size. They don't need to build more coasters than they have at the moment.
  2. They don't need to replace their coasters until they become too old either.
  3. Lack of competition in the West, the market is saturated. Nobody has much to earn on building new big coasters apart from periodically renewing their lineup.
  4. Modern small coasters can deliver almost the same ride experience (to an untrained eye, which makes up most of the park visitors) at a fraction of the cost.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I think this is a very interesting discussion topic, and I'm honestly surprised that it hasn't got any replies yet.

I definitely think you are right, with some caveats. It's not that big coasters aren't being built any more, but they're clearly not being built as often as they used to. That observation seems hard to argue against. However, I think there are explanations for it:

The period around the turn of the millennium was a boom that couldn't be sustained in the long run. Just look at how few of the big, well-known coasters around that were built before 1990. A lot happened in a very short time. And this boom had two closely related consequences that led to a slower pace of coaster building today:

First off, I think many parks (at least in the Western world) hit a sort of ceiling after that boom. There is a limit to how big a park can grow before it's not profitable to grow any more. A park will draw in a certain percentage of the population in its surrounding area, a figure that is obviously limited by the size of that population even if that percentage is optimized. At some point, your park will be visited by all the people nearby who will ever be likely to visit it. Building another coaster at that point will have no significant impact on the visitor numbers. Barring a dip in the visitor numbers (or even a declining trend), the park will get away with not adding anything expensive for a while. Remember that a coaster is both expensive to build and operate. There's a limit to how many coasters a park can afford to have running at any time, given constant visitor numbers, and I suspect many parks decided after the boom that they were close to that limit. In short, they took in all the visitors who wanted to visit them, by growing as big as they could afford. Income maximized, expenses adjusted accordingly.

Secondly, most of the big coasters built in the boom years (~1990-2006) are still running. Still thrilling guests. If a park built a great big lineup of coasters back then, all of them have several years left of operation in them, and there's no need for the park to expand, they don't have to build more coasters. I guess we will see an uptick in coaster building again when it's time to retire the coasters built around 1990. That might be many years in the future, but when the time comes, a lot of coasters will be due for retirement within a few years. Of course, when replacing an old coaster, a park might decide to build a new coaster first before the old one is torn down, but that's a very rare occurrence. Usually, new coasters are built on the land left by discarding old ones.

Thirdly, and not that related to the points above: The market has, for the most part, solidified. For a given population there's a limit to how many parks can be operated profitably. If there are many parks to choose between in an area, most people will just alternate which parks to visit instead of visiting parks more often. That means fewer guests per park, an equation somebody has to lose. So as existing parks grew to their limit, there wasn't really a point in opening any new parks to compete against them. Heck, how do you compete against a well-established park on their own terms? Those parks have a solid ride lineup and an established brand, they would need to have some serious drawbacks before a park started from scratch can compete for the same visitor demographics. This means that few new parks enter "the race" for attracting thrill seekers, and in many places parks have dropped out of it altogether. So the existing parks don't build more big coasters, because they have grown to the limits of the market, and new parks don't build more big coasters either, because the market has been saturated to the limit.

In some places, notably the UK, the market has solidified to the point that competition between parks is all but non-existent. Parks are either not competing because they are owned by the same people (Thorpe and Alton), they are in the nationwide race but can't afford (money/space) to buy new attractions to advance their position (BPB), or they have scaled down their operations to focus on their local market instead of the nationwide one (pretty much all the rest). A stable situation allows the parks to be complacent ...and not build big coasters until something old needs replacement. And if there is no competition in the market, the park doesn't even have to grow to the market limit, if the owners instead want to save the investment money for short-term profit (Parques Reunidos in general).

Not sure where to place China in this, as the parks over there tend to build big coasters ...whenever a new park opens. Call me ignorant, but it doesn't feel like we're seeing any big additions to existing parks very often there either. I'm not sure if this is due to a different culture among theme park operators, a lack of competition, or if the parks are built as big as the market allows from the get go. Or if I'm just wrong; that's a possibility too.

Lastly, the last couple of decades have seen some amazing technological advances that have re-defined what a thrill coaster is. Take Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain as a pre-1990 example of what a thrill coaster used to be: A sit-down coaster with seven inversions (made using specific pre-defined elements of a set size) neatly separated by 180-degree turns, which necessitated a big sprawling layout and a tall lift hill. It was also the tallest and fastest looping coaster in the world, because that record was up for grabs. The end result is a coaster that towers 57 meters tall and covers several acres. Tremendously expensive, both in terms of space and money.

Contrast this with, say, a Sky Rocket II. At 100 km/h, they're just 10 km/h slower than Viper. They feature three launches (one of them backwards), a backwards drop of 30 meters or so, an inversion more than 40 meters in the air, a twisting vertical drop, a non-inverting loop, and another backwards bit, all on a smaller footprint (and, probably, budget) than Viper's lift hill. Or take the more compact Gerstlauer creations of recent years, or the S&S Free Spins. A bunch of inversions, high speeds, some airtime, and generally a bucket-load of thrills on a smaller space than it takes Viper to turn around. New coasters can deliver an experience on a tiny footprint what you needed a gigantic mega coaster to do only 15 years ago. Maybe they're not quite as impressive, or quite as marketable, but they have a passable performance at a fraction of the cost of a traditional mega coaster. Even big parks, who can afford those mega coasters, must see the appeal in that.

So yeah, TL;DR:
  1. Most parks that used to build big coasters often, grew to their maximum size. They don't need to build more coasters than they have at the moment.
  2. They don't need to replace their coasters until they become too old either.
  3. Lack of competition in the West, the market is saturated. Nobody has much to earn on building new big coasters apart from periodically renewing their lineup.
  4. Modern small coasters can deliver almost the same ride experience (to an untrained eye, which makes up most of the park visitors) at a fraction of the cost.
Thanks very much for the insightful post @Pokemaniac; you raise some very interesting points!

The point about the market being saturated is a very good one; I suppose the huge era of expansion in the Western world happened quite some time ago. You don't see many major new parks being built outside of Asia any more, so maybe that competition just isn't there to make parks want to invest in big new rides.

The point about compact coasters is also a very good one that I failed to mention. You certainly never had rides like the Sky Rocket IIs and the Gerstlauer Infinity Coasters and the RMC Raptors back in the 1990s, for example. Back then, your only real option for a compact coaster (that I can think of off the top of my head) was a Vekoma Boomerang. Now, you have an absolute myriad of low-cost, space efficient options for a coaster that are also thrilling! That is one of the things that has massively improved in the industry in recent years, in my opinion; smaller parks can now get coasters that rival the ride experience of coasters at larger parks for a fraction of the cost.
 

Sandman

Active Member
Depends on which stats you look at when it comes to answering this question. Focusing on Six Flags, for example, will give you a very specific set of results whereas the wider industry could be different, particularly if you focus on different continents etc. For example, just looking at a few additions made over the last decade in Europe, we've had the following:

Alton Towers: Thirteen, Smiler, Wicker Man
Blackpool Pleasure Beach: Icon
Efteling: Joris, Baron 1898
Europa Park: Blue Fire, Wodan, Arthur (not a 'thrill' coaster but still a large scale coaster in terms of investment)
Gardaland: Raptor, Oblivion: The Black Hole
Hansa Park: Fluch von Novgorod, Karnan
Heide Park: Krake, Flug der Damonen
Liseberg: Helix, Valkyria
Movie Park Germany: Van Helsing's Factory, Star Trek: Operation Enterprise
Phantasialand: Taron, F.L.Y
Port Aventura: Shambhala, Red Force (debatably?)
Thorpe Park: Saw, The Swarm
Toverland: Dwervelwind, Fenix
Walibi Belgium: Pulsar
Walibi Holland: Lost Gravity, Untamed

I'd say that's most of the 'major' European Parks, many seem to continue to invest in pretty large scale rides either 2 or 3 times a decade, so still at a rate of once every 3 or 5 years dependent on which park you focus on. Many of the parks have also been investing in large scale family coasters and facilities in between, hence the layoff period without a big coaster. For example, Phantasialand with Chiapas, Efteling with Symbolica, Europa with a load of stuff etc etc. That's purely Europe, US and Asian theme parks seem to be continually investing in big coasters, from my interpretation at least. Results can differ if you take into account smaller parks and the rate at which parks close and new parks open.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Great discussion!

I am having flashbacks to a 6 year old Kings Dominion discussion thread (which thanks to the magic of the modern search I can pull back up!) - there is a certain, unwritten equation for the mix and make of roller coasters every successful amusement park should have. Granted, my quoted thread below was a stab at what that "equation" would look like, with some coasters being more important than others. As it relates to this discussion, I would wonder, as others have, if park's respective "equations" are simply getting filled in, with less and less gap areas to fill with each new roller coaster. Also funny, seeing me totally miss the notion of KD getting an RMC. ;)

I am going to pull my rough equation of mandatory rides every major amusement park should have from the Banshee discussion:

So if we cross reference to what KD has:

Mine Train - N/A
200 ft. Steel Coaster - I305
Out-and-Back Wooden Coaster - Rebel Yell
Twister Wooden Coaster - Grizzly, Hurler
Racing Coaster - Rebel Yell
Older Steel Multi-Loop Coaster (e.g. Arrow, Vekoma, Schwarzkopf) - Anaconda
Stand-Up/Floorless Coaster (can have multiples) - Dominator, Shockwave
Flying/Winged/Inverted Coaster (can have multiples) - Volcano
Hybrid/Specialty Coaster (e.g. X2, a winged multi-looping steel coaster) - Avalanche, Ricochet
Launch Coaster - Volcano, Flight of Fear, Backlot Stunt Coaster
Shuttle Coaster - N/A

The missing gaps in KD's lineup are first and foremost a Mine Train or Shuttle Coaster. However, we have not seen either ride type built at a major park in the U.S. for quite some time (such as the Intamin Impulse wave of the early 2000s), so I wouldn't expect such attractions. Wooden coasters seems to be covered plenty as well, even though the quality of such is lacking.

The one area that is of specific interest is the Flyer/Winged/Inverted category. Yes, Volcano is an inverted roller coaster, but arguably is first and foremost a launched roller coaster. A large inverted or winged roller coaster would make a lot of sense at the park (even a flyer if Cedar Fair wanted to venture that way), and fill a definite area which can be popular with park guests. I would air towards the side of large inverted roller coaster - maybe the world first 200 ft. B&M Invert or most inversions? (That is, KI retains length and speed record for B&M Invert, KD takes height or inversion record)

Again, I reference to our interview with Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet, which makes me pessimistic about a winged coaster for other Cedar Fair parks in the near future.

It's interesting, to think of roller coasters as having diminishing returns with regard to return on investment (attendance, media attention, etc.)
 

Howie

Active Member
I think there'll always be a demand for the big stuff. For every major park that has reached its operating capacity and doesn't need to expand, there's a smaller, growing park nearby that wants to get in on the action and steal some of that parks custom. Look at Toverland, for example. 20 years ago it didn't exist, in a location that is well served by, and slap bang in the middle of Efteling and Phantasialand... and now they're throwing in B&M wing coasters. Look at Holiday World, a wooden coaster park in the middle of Cornfield, Indiana... also throwing in B&M wing coasters. Look at Hansa Park, how Fluch, Karnan and Highlander are gradually turning it into the premier park in the Hamburg area.
Even here in Blighty, Paulton's Park seem to be mounting a credible challenge to Thorpe and Chessie's dominance in the area.
All those park owners that have small/medium/growing attractions - they all dream of one day building a world class hypercoaster. And those that do, and do it right, shall be rewarded.
If they build it, we will come.
 

KommissarLT

New Member
Look at my home park, Six Flags Great America in the past decade. We have gotten 4 new coasters (3 of which are unique to SFGAm), a waterpark expansion, a Justice League dark ride, and a large-scale Super Loop. The only years that were really dead during that timeframe were 2013 and 2015 (we got a new show that only lasted 1 year in 2013) and 3 kiddie rides in 2015, not a lot of dead years like some other parks. So it depends on what park we're talking about, like Cedar Point usually gets 3 new coasters per decade (since it's Cedar Point), a park like Michigan's Adventure or Six Flags St. Louis wouldn't get a new ground-up coaster at all in a decade and other parks like Six Flags Magic Mountain will build new coasters year after year. It just depends on how big the market is for your park (some parks are anomalies to this, like SFGAdv and SFoG) and how many people you can draw in on a consistent basis.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Look at my home park, Six Flags Great America in the past decade. We have gotten 4 new coasters (3 of which are unique to SFGAm), a waterpark expansion, a Justice League dark ride, and a large-scale Super Loop. The only years that were really dead during that timeframe were 2013 and 2015 (we got a new show that only lasted 1 year in 2013) and 3 kiddie rides in 2015, not a lot of dead years like some other parks.
To be fair, SFGAm is practically the only Six Flags park to have seen that level of attention in the last decade. Maxx Force and Goliath are the two fastest coasters Six Flags has built in the 2010s, and if we only count coasters built from the ground up, X-Flight clocks in fifth too (the other two being Full Throttle at SFMM and Superman at SFDK). Goliath and X-Flight are also the two longest coasters Six Flags has built since 2006. SFGAm is the only park in the chain to have received multiple thrill coasters that aren't relocations or conversions so far this decade (SFMM will have two too once West Coast Racer opens). It's definitely an exception.

I just really wonder where the heck they found the money, with the rest of the chain being what it is.
 

Snoo

The Legend
Staff member
Social Media Team
Great discussion!

I am having flashbacks to a 6 year old Kings Dominion discussion thread (which thanks to the magic of the modern search I can pull back up!) - there is a certain, unwritten equation for the mix and make of roller coasters every successful amusement park should have. Granted, my quoted thread below was a stab at what that "equation" would look like, with some coasters being more important than others. As it relates to this discussion, I would wonder, as others have, if park's respective "equations" are simply getting filled in, with less and less gap areas to fill with each new roller coaster. Also funny, seeing me totally miss the notion of KD getting an RMC. ;)



It's interesting, to think of roller coasters as having diminishing returns with regard to return on investment (attendance, media attention, etc.)
So what you just said is that KD is getting a Wing Coaster in 2020? KNEW IT!
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
I think there'll always be a demand for the big stuff. For every major park that has reached its operating capacity and doesn't need to expand, there's a smaller, growing park nearby that wants to get in on the action and steal some of that parks custom.
Agree whole heartedly here - For small to mid parks, there has never been a better time at achieving major thrills with simple budgets. And to that extent - for larger parks to squeeze in one or two additional rides they wouldn't have been able to fit before.
So what you just said is that KD is getting a Wing Coaster in 2020? KNEW IT!
 

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
I think we’ll start seeing peaks and troughs forming in terms of investments, established parks become complacent and smaller parks will try and steal the thunder with a bigger ride, competition leads to bigger investments but economic uncertainty can lead to smaller investments, too many variables to say we won’t see big investments again as it’s such a competitive industry.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
I'd say technology has slowed down for new roller coasters too. What hasn't been done that could be done, realistically? 25-30 years ago, there were more obvious things that could be done - inverted/suspended coasters, flying, more accessible launches, winged, spinning, etc. These are all things which either hadn't been done or only in special circumstances, but they developed. That rapid development meant there was way more diversity that could be added to parks, and that lead to a lot of natural competition as well.

These days, I think there's a lot less that can be done. Maybe that's just me showing my limited imagination, but I genuinely wonder 'what new things can you do on a roller coaster?'. I guess the big thing now is trick track elements - drop track, tilting track, spinning track, etc. But what else is there, really?

What that therefore means is that parks are no longer racing to have unique coasters, but instead having better coasters. And that's a marathon, not a sprint. Look at the likes of Walibi Belgium, Parc Asterix, Linnanmaki - they're investing in coasters which look incredible. 10-15 years ago, if they were all in the same position to be adding in new major coasters, I reckon they'd have been fighting to whack out something unique / different, rather than something which is just brilliant. (I'm aware the coasters at those parks have unique elements, but they're not unique rides).


I also think the theme park industry is developing away from coasters. Big non-coasters are now more accessible and affordable, so aren't just coming from big players like Disney and Universal. Phantasialand had Maus au Chocolat and Chiapas. Efteling has Symbolica. Thorpe had Ghost Train (and a similar ride system was rumoured to go to Gardaland, until they realised it was terrible lol). Walibi Belgium has Popcorn Revenge. etc etc. Creating fantastic non-coaster experiences is now more feasible than ever before, and it's much easier to create a unique attraction. So it's not surprising that parks take their chances with that.

So, in short:
-The focus now is on creating better coasters, not more unique ones
-Non-coaster developments diversify line ups more
-Non-coaster developments are more accessible
 
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