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Do you value theming or ride hardware more in a theme park?

Do you value theming or ride hardware more in a theme park?


  • Total voters
    38

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. We all like different things in a theme park, but I’ve noticed that enthusiasts mostly seem to err on the side of one of two things that they particularly like in a theme park in general; theming or ride hardware. So my question to you today is; do you value theming or ride hardware more in a theme park? Or do you value a good blend of both?

Personally, I value a nice mix of both, and I think my top parks should reflect that. My current favourite theme park is Islands of Adventure, and I’d say that that’s because the theming is impeccable, but the ride lineup is also very good as well (I think I’ll like the lineup even more when I hopefully eventually revisit, as my last visit was before the additions of Hagrid’s and Velocicoaster!). It offers something for everyone, in my opinion; you’re covered whether you like theming or rides.

However, I admit that if I was forced to pick one, I’d probably pick hardware; I’m far more excited to visit a park like Cedar Point or Six Flags Magic Mountain than I am to visit a park like Tokyo DisneySea, for example. But I do really value a mix of both great theming and great hardware in my parks on the whole, and there are some themed parks that I really like; Epcot doesn’t have particularly smashing ride hardware, but the relaxed atmosphere and brilliant World Showcase put it at my #5 park!

But which one do you value more? Or do you value a nice blend of both, like me?
 

Jamesss

Member
Obviously a mix of both is best.

But if I had to choose, I would definitely err towards theming.

Aesthetics often play a huge part in whether I like a ride or not.

If a coaster is average but the location/theming is excellent, I'll often rank it higher than a great coaster with no theming.
 

Dar

Member
In a theme park I value a mix of both, e.g. Taron or Blue Fire, because the escapism is a large part of the experience for me. A huge great monstrosity might be the best ride ever, and I'd definitely enjoy it, but it'd look out of place and take me "out of it" for a sec.

It's not just physical theming I enjoy either, Oblivion isn't hugely themed, but it tells its story well with the videos in the queue, and the music all over, that I still get a little nervous riding! Nemesis too, it relies on the pit as theming, and it works really well.

The opposite is something like Stealth, it's kinda themed, but once you launch, it's just a top hat and it doesn't grab me as much as The Swarm or even Colossus.

On the other hand, at an amusement park it's all about that hardware baby!
 

JoshC.

Active Member
Obviously you want the best of both worlds. Ultimately though, I think I value ride hardware more when it comes to coasters.

Ultimately, when it comes to a coaster - or indeed a flat ride - if you have a good ride, it's a good ride. Theming can further enhance that, but a lack of theming doesn't hurt it.
If you have a bad ride, even exceptional theming can't drag it up much more.

BUT when you have dark rides, and even water rides, the theming counts significantly more. Ride hardware is all pretty similar when push comes to shove. If you look at every log flume in the world, for example, and took away all the theming, they're all going to feel reasonably similar. Sure, some may have better drops/layouts, but they're not as different as say a coaster will be. The theming helps elevate water and dark rides..or a lack-of makes them feel really generic.

So if you look at a park as a whole, you obviously need good coasters as for most parks they're the highlight. But without a good mix of water and dark rides, it misses something really important. Plus, you can theme pathways and such to truly finish off a park. If you value ride hardware over theming, you end up ignoring the places where the majority of guests spend the majority of their days: just walking around!

So yeah, definitely theming.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I’ve changed my answer and gone with ride hardware, after a bit of thought. Personally, I am far more excited to visit a park like Cedar Point or Six Flags Magic Mountain than Tokyo DisneySea; despite the theming of the latter looking breathtaking, it doesn’t really look to have any rides that really grab my attention besides potentially Journey to the Centre of the Earth; I’ve heard very good things about it, and it uses the same ride technology as Test Track, which I absolutely loved!

As much as I adore my very favourite park, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, because it blends the two phenomenally, in my opinion (I’d imagine even more so now due to additions made since my last visit in 2016!), I think if you look at the parks I really enjoy, then I think that on the whole, they do tend to have a really great ride selection. I admit, there are anomalies in my list (for example, Epcot is one of my top parks, and while it did have two standout attractions that I really loved in Test Track & Frozen Ever After, the park as a whole is not particularly ride-orientated. Busch Gardens Tampa has one of my favourite ride selections of any theme park I’ve been to, but does not rank that highly; I admit I’m not entirely sure why. I think that one definitely needs a revisit from me in the future! I admit I should perhaps rethink my park rankings a little, however...), but on the whole, I definitely think there is a correlation between ride selection and how much I like a park, whereas I don’t think the correlation is necessarily anywhere near as strong for me for theming. For me to rate a park really highly, I think a great ride selection that I really enjoy is almost essential, whereas I don’t think theming is essential for me to like a park.
 
I get alot more out of a park with great theming but less quality coasters (but still fun) than a park with amazing coasters and no theming!
As a dark ride fan -they get be through the gates just as much as any coaster, and if there is none - I look to theming on coasters or park environment to compensate e.g. Hansa Park or Tripsdrill

So I'd pick Europa park over Cedar point any day!
 

Howie

Active Member
^Nah man, I'd take Cedar Point over Europa Park all day long. Massive, massive coasters, s'what you want. Tons of 'em! Nothing pumps the nads like being presented with a huge array of massive, massive coasters.
I mean, I do love Europa Park, it's amazing... but where would I rather be right now? It's gotta be the Point innit.
I guess that means I'm a hardware kinda guy.
 
Last edited:

Matt N

Well-Known Member
I’ve changed my answer and gone with ride hardware, after a bit of thought. Personally, I am far more excited to visit a park like Cedar Point or Six Flags Magic Mountain than Tokyo DisneySea; despite the theming of the latter looking breathtaking, it doesn’t really look to have any rides that really grab my attention besides potentially Journey to the Centre of the Earth; I’ve heard very good things about it, and it uses the same ride technology as Test Track, which I absolutely loved!

As much as I adore my very favourite park, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, because it blends the two phenomenally, in my opinion (I’d imagine even more so now due to additions made since my last visit in 2016!), I think if you look at the parks I really enjoy, then I think that on the whole, they do tend to have a really great ride selection. I admit, there are anomalies in my list (for example, Epcot is one of my top parks, and while it did have two standout attractions that I really loved in Test Track & Frozen Ever After, the park as a whole is not particularly ride-orientated. Busch Gardens Tampa has one of my favourite ride selections of any theme park I’ve been to, but does not rank that highly; I admit I’m not entirely sure why. I think that one definitely needs a revisit from me in the future! I admit I should perhaps rethink my park rankings a little, however...), but on the whole, I definitely think there is a correlation between ride selection and how much I like a park, whereas I don’t think the correlation is necessarily anywhere near as strong for me for theming. For me to rate a park really highly, I think a great ride selection that I really enjoy is almost essential, whereas I don’t think theming is essential for me to like a park.
 

Trax

Member
Lets put it this way:
A bad ride with great theming will not become a good ride, but a better ride.
A great ride without/with bad theming will still be a great ride

Theming can not make up for a bad ride, but enhances the ride.

Of course some rides will need theming to be somewhat fun. Imagine a dark ride without theming, or a log flume on bare concrete. Quite boring, isn't it? But if I had to choose between a World Class rollercoaster next to a parking lot or a good one with great theming, I'd take the world class layout every day.

Just my 2 cents.
 

SDaniel

New Member
I live in the Netherlands and I enjoy the Efteling a lot more than Walibi Holland, where my favorite coaster is located (Untamed)
 

cmix

New Member
If we're specifically talking about thrill rides and Coasters, the ride hardware is significantly more important. Great ride hardware will be great, even if it has mediocre theming (What's in the shed?) terrible theming, or no theming at all.

Great theming can't make up for bad ride hardware, but it can make an already good ride better. Imagine Revenge of the Mummy in a generic building. It would still be fun, but the theming clearly makes it a much better attraction.

With dark rides that aren't necessarily designed to be that thrilling, I'm inclined to say it's the opposite. If it was about the hardware, Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World would be equals. They're both slow indoor boat rides, after all. Because of the superior theming, and a less obnoxious song, Pirates is in a different league.

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