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Industry predictions for 2026

Sandman

Active Member
2016 is almost over. 95% of pop culture icons are dead. Trump is President (elect). Brexit is a word we've still not come to terms with. Many things have happened. But forget all that, let's look at the Theme Park/Attractions Industry.

- 2 significant projects announced for UK (SW8 & Construction 18)
- More UK parks struggling along with little to no investment
- Pleasure Island pops its cloggs and Dreamland teeters on the edge
-Klugheim and Taron
-Wildfire and RMC in general
- Disneyland Shanghai

You get the picture, anyway.

After such a turbulent year, I thought it'd be good to make some predictions. Any predictions, from downright far-fetched to the very plausible. Something we could potentially look back on in a decade and see how we saw things going.

I'll just start with some UK based predictions here.

- Lightwater Valley close to (if not already) shutting down. Land sold off and turned into holiday homes or some sort of multiplex holiday park. Sort of what Lightwater planned to do anyway, just without the rides.

- BPB to seriously downgrade Valhalla, perhaps even the removal of some wood. Quick think - Perhaps the National to be reworked (RMC will have certainly branched out by this point).

- Forp to snatch UK's tallest record with a big, shiny new coaster.

- Fantasy Island will be re-branded and perhaps sold again, which will probably cause uncertainty for the park.
 

GuyWithAStick

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The creators of Paramount London will finally give up on the project.

For real now, I think a few things can happen-

-At LEAST 3 new parks in Poland open, as well as many new coasters.

-Six Flags will return to Europe in some shape or another.

-One manufacturer will close its doors.

-The 500 foot mark will be broken

-Six Flags will take up Mack Launch coasters

-An industry-wide recall on something Intamin will happen, giving them a massive blow(but not a fatal one).

-The classic Enterprise will meet it's demise.

-Some new company will be created that all enthusiasts will love.
 

CanobieFan

Active Member
One of those Poler Coasters will finally get built..... But probably somewhere in Asia and through some typically off Chinese brand.
 

Pokemaniac

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Let's see... in 2026:

- VR technology has gotten better - and more importantly, cheaper. This leads to the VR epidemic spreading even further and faster than it does today.
- A number of coasters built for the VR experience have already been built and opened to great reviews. This does nothing to stop the above-mentioned "VR revamps", as parks try to cash in without doing the same groundwork ("VR is good now and worked very well for that new ride our competitor built? Cool, let's put it on our old Looping coaster").
- VR also finds its way onto flat rides and other rides such as log flumes.
- Tracked simulator rides have also become cheaper. What was available only at the Disney and Universal parks in 2016, are common enough that you can find them in mall theme parks. At least one company offers a "full package" ride in a set footprint, with moving cars and field-of-view screens, for a smaller cost than a mid-range coaster. It allows parks to put their own mascot(s), and possibly environments, into pre-made films that follow the same motion of the track. In effect, the "Let's fly around Six Flags Great Adventure" ride will be identical to the "Let's fly around Six Flags Great America" ride if you close your eyes. Or "Let's fly around Bon-Bon-Land", for that matter.
- In response to the above, Universal and Disney are making their simulator rides interactive and unpredictable. Rather than following pre-defined movements, the car will do something different every time, with smooth integration with the ride's theme.
- VR/Simulator rides are becoming more common, at the expense of traditional coasters. They require less applications since they can be built in a warehouse, they make far less noise, cost less to maintain and are subject to less strict safety standards. They are especially popular with mall parks, but find their ways into most urban parks as well (Copenhagen's Tivoli, for instance).

- The majority of coasters built before 1995 have been dismantled and replaced, or instead upgraded. At least one size-related record from today has gone down a notch because of this (like what happened to the current "tallest woodie" record when Son of Beast closed).
- Rough coasters are almost unheard of (although still out there). The vast majority of coaster companies are capable of delivering smooth rides with carefully-planned forces. Most of a coaster's kinks can be discovered and fixed during the design phase. This includes maintenance and operations, and even the effects of aging.
- Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 has become obsolete, and is so outdated anyway that it's hard to get invested in for enthusiast new players. Nearly all of the rides in the game have been phased out by their manufacturers (of which roughly half have closed down anyway), and most of the real-world coaster and flat ride types are unavailable in the game. The phrase "looks like it was designed in RCT2" will only be used by old farts like ourselves, the new generation of goons will use other games as reference points.
- Another Intamin Strata coaster will be built, either in China or UAE.
- Manufacturers will be experimenting with materials to complement or replace steel in some coasters. Composite polymer materials are promising, but remains rather rare outside special applications where low weight is important.

- The first really large, good parks are opening across India, similar to the Chinese theme park boom of the 2010s.
- China will have taken most of the size-related coaster records, as an industry catering to a domestic middle-class of 500 million people will be competing for really big bucks and parks therefore invest to impress the masses. At least one Chinese park or resort will be such an international destination that it competes with Disney.
- At least one "destination park" will have opened in Dubai, in time for the 2020 world expo, and is undergoing its first major expansion by 2026.
- Major parks are being planned, or even opened, across Africa. Disney is still reluctant to invest, but at least one of the Chinese chains will have a park in Ethiopia, Egypt or Nigeria.
- New, large parks also open in Malaysia and Indonesia. Likely destinations are Jakarta in Indonesia (with a metro population of over 30 million, it's one of the largest cities in the world without a large amusement park), and Johor or Melaka in Malaysia (close enough to cater to both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, where a combined 20 million people live with a relatively high standard of living).
- IPs we have yet to hear of will be a massive crowd pullers in several parks across the major chains. There will be billion-dollar investments into areas and attractions themed to franchises that don't yet exist in 2016.
 

Sandman

Active Member
Let's see... in 2026:

A number of coasters built for the VR experience have already been built and opened to great reviews. This does nothing to stop the above-mentioned "VR revamps", as parks try to cash in without doing the same groundwork ("VR is good now and worked very well for that new ride our competitor built? Cool, let's put it on our old Looping coaster").
- VR also finds its way onto flat rides and other rides such as log flumes.
Expanding on this point, I do think we'll see a decline in VR/rollercoaster integration in the future. At least until the VR technology has advanced, so to speak. I reckon what could potentially happen is a lot more investment in the development stages of VR to really create fully fledged experience. So there could be a semi-hiatus period for VR at theme parks. I wouldn't be surprised to see manufacturers working very closely with software companies to provide a complete VR ride experience. I imagine this could be more prevalent for flat rides.
 

Pink Cadillac

Active Member
  • I think the Flying theatre will become a ubiquitous dark ride like the shooter.
  • I think projections will be used my a lot more theme parks to aid with themeing -maybe further down the line further people might start using holograms.
  • IPs will be the only way to market something
  • All the manufacturers will try and emulate RMC's style
  • Planning laws in some european countires will escalate even further, restricting them from building something large.
  • Instead of coasters revolving around either inversions OR airtime, most proper coasters will have a healthy mix of both.
  • Family coasters get more extreme.
  • S&S will build a larger free spin model, but no to the scale of X2
  • Mack Powerspash will start appearing in Six Flags parks.
  • Epcot will have an overhaul planned with unsuitable IPs taking over existing attractions.
  • Disneyland Paris will get their attendance over 15M.
  • Parks will be open for longer and open more days a year. Parks that haven't got Halloween/Christmas events will start doing them.
  • Following in Turkey's steps, Brazil and Mexico will start to get interesting coasters.
  • India & China will thrive whereas UK and Japan will mostly stay stagnant.
  • Other countries in south-east asia will get a lot of growth.
  • China will be more overtake the USA in 'best selection of coasters'.
  • I still won't have many creds.
 

Olaf

Member
Vekoma will become a major manufacturer again and they will team up with RMC to build their coasters in Europe and RMC will construct the vekoma's in America, just like Arrow and Vekoma did in the 70/80's

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gavin

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VR also finds its way onto flat rides and other rides such as log flumes.
- Tracked simulator rides have also become cheaper. What was available only at the Disney and Universal parks in 2016, are common enough that you can find them in mall theme parks. At least one company offers a "full package" ride in a set footprint, with moving cars and field-of-view screens, for a smaller cost than a mid-range coaster.
1. Already happening - Lotte World are adding it to their drop tower.
2. Already happening - Fantawild offer full-ride packages and have sold/installed a couple in non-park locations. They've also sold a whole-park package to Iran.

I can see a fair few UK parks gone by that point. Pleasurewood Hills, Lightwater and Dreamland will be long gone. Paramount won't have happened.

The USA will continue as it always has with mostly solid additions/replacements. No new parks though, but also no major closures.

More Japanese parks will go the way of Space World. There are too many fairly major places that are always empty and have had zero proper investment for years. Outside of a very small handful of parks, Japan has been stagnant for 10 years+ already. Now it's time to see those places finally closing.

Second gate announcement for HKDL, probably around 2026 or in the year or two following. Same for Shanghai.

China will have slowed down by then, but there will likely be a couple of record breakers in the meantime. Fantawild will either realise that they need to actually update/improve "older" parks instead of just constantly opening new ones, or some of those those will start closing. Wanda will be a major player by that point, probably overtaking OCT/Happy Valley.

India and Brazil still won't have made a dent despite the constant predictions to the contrary.
 

MagnesiumPC

New Member
Vekoma will become a major manufacturer again and they will team up with RMC to build their coasters in Europe and RMC will construct the vekoma's in America, just like Arrow and Vekoma did in the 70/80's

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And S&S + Vekoma do now?
 

MagnesiumPC

New Member
My 2026 Predictions:

Intamin will pull ans Arrow ns go out with one final Swan Song: Their Ultimate Coaster
B&Ms will begin to dwindle in their reputation, due to a lack of ride types, cheaper coaster mnuafacturers, and being cost prohibitive.
Mack & Vekoma will begian to rain as king in the world of steel, while companies like Chance Morgan will get back into the Hyper/Giga Coaster game again.
Gerstlauer and Zierer will combine due to their historical cooperation and ties to Schwarzkopf, a purely strategic move.
HUSS will begin to fall as the flat ride king, with companies like Mondial, Skyline, and possible Vekoma coming back into the ranks.
Large Quonset style water parks will begin to pop up across Mid-America at a rapid pace.
A new manufacturer will pop up in the Midwest, to compete with Gravity Group and Chance.
A whole bunch of new parks in Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly ran by Six Flags, Park Reunidos, and some Asian companies.
India will finally get a decent park.
Indiana will finallt get a decent thrill park. (Holiday World is great, but its more for the family).
Kennywood will get some new steel coasters.
Cedar Fair will begin to expand operations in Europe and possibly Non-mainland Asia.
Some catastrophic event that was caused by a parkgoer will end up almost ruining the comfort of rides.
A VR Boom will happen.
Gravity Group and GCI. One of them will fall. Probably GG, they've done it 4 times as past companies.
Apex will begin to grow as a park developer, building a regional and possibly destination park from the ground up.
Herschend will, by this time, have boughten the Busch Parks.
Seaworld will begin to fall at a much more rapid place, causing Blackstone to send in Merlin, causing a far worse British Invasion.
Werner Stengel will pass away, probably to greater mourne than Ron Toomer, or Anton Scwarzkopf.
 

GuyWithAStick

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Gravity Group and GCI. One of them will fall. Probably GG, they've done it 4 times as past companies.
You know that GCI and GG were both from the same background, right? I think GCI is much more likely to fall simply due to their lack of innovation. GG constantly pushes wooden coaster boundaries(shuttle, inversions, compactness, etc.), whereas GCI has retained the same, if not extremely similar formula for making coasters since the mid-2000s. I love them both, but I see GCI going much sooner than GG.
 

MagnesiumPC

New Member
You know that GCI and GG were both from the same background, right? I think GCI is much more likely to fall simply due to their lack of innovation. GG constantly pushes wooden coaster boundaries(shuttle, inversions, compactness, etc.), whereas GCI has retained the same, if not extremely similar formula for making coasters since the mid-2000s. I love them both, but I see GCI going much sooner than GG.
But Gravity Group has been the proper continuation of CCI. GG had the same people, while GCI was more of a spinoff, as can be seen by GCI making coasteds before CCI.

I do agree with you now that you mention it.
 
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SimonSays99

Guest
- VR will improve at create a huge boom in dark rides, operators will only have to theme the outside building, queue and station while the whole ride area itself can be completely gray cement due to VR
- all big Schwarzkopf funfair coasters will be gone leaving the Wild Mouse to be biggest at fairs
- HUSS rides will be mostly gone except for the occasional Pirate
- Due to increasing security laws / court rulings combined with increasing costs for new flats to abide these funfairs and parks will get less and less thrill flat rides.
- Euro parks will follow the US - having mostly coasters, waterrides and darkrides - having little or no thrill flats.
- except for historical monuments of some kinds - depending on country - all Schwarzkopf and Arrow coasters will be gone, save some 4th or 5th hand oldies in Africa with debatable security records
- Maurer Söhne will close or sell its ride division
- Flat manufacturers focusing on thrill rides have to adapt or close
 

Hyde

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I've been thinking about this in the frame of advancements from 2006 to 2016. Outside of some park closures and new rides being built - it's been a pretty quiet 10 years.

Those most popular roller coasters that have opened over the last decade have focused most on layout improvement, rather than inventing whole new technology/ride innovations outright. This includes:

- Helix
- Skyrush
- Leviathan/Fury
- I305
- RMC Iron Horses
- iSpeed
- blue fire
- Wildfire/Outlaw Run

All of these roller coasters use off-the-shelf technology that had already been developed pre-2006. The greatest innovation would arguably lie with RMC; however steel hybrid roller coasters are nothing new, and even their wooden coaster track still lends itself to traditional wooden track (simply with more steel added).

In which case, I'd expect similar, minor innovations for the next 10 years, unless someone really tries to swing for the fences on a new launch system or ride type.
 

Alaeriia

New Member
I really don't see the thrill-flat market going away. While many major US parks (Six Flags) are ditching the flats, smaller parks are still buying them up at an impressive rate. I predict that KMG and Mondial will fare far better than HUSS on that front. S&S will become a bigger player in flat-ride development.

My predictions for each major company I can think of:

B&M: They'll still be building the same stuff they do now. I can see them developing a spinning coaster (sort of like the Mack powered-spin coasters), but otherwise they'll be chugging along.

Intamin: Intamin will be still going in 2026, but not doing too well. Reliability issues and the presence of Mack, Vekoma, and Chance will be hurting them. They will likely transition into an observation-wheel and drop-tower company.

Vekoma: These guys will be the darlings of the 2020s, along with RMC. Vekoma will have positioned itself as the budget alternative to Mack, offering a similar experience with a bit lower cost and throughput. They will also be the kings of the German fairground coasters, with the venerable Olympia Looping and Alpina Bahn (more on this later) replaced by a launched, a massive compact looper, and some sort of balls-out airtime machine.

RMC: Having converted all the old mega-woodies, RMC will be busy converting all the M&V woodies in China, as well as Raptor and T-Rex coasters to parks in Europe and the US.
Gravity Group/M&V: Building more wooden coasters in India and China, plus retracking Boulder Dash again.
GCI: See B&M. They know their market.
S+S: Selling pneumatic systems to large construction operations, plus building some Screamin' Swings and drop towers on the side.
Zamperla: Running Coney Island. They will have just introduced a "new Volare" that doesn't suck. Their Thunderbolt models will still be bad though.
Premier: You get a Sky Rocket 2! You get a Sky Rocket 2! Everybody gets a Sky Rocket 2!
HUSS: Merged with KMG.
KMG / Mondial: Making/servicing flats.
Mack: Another big player in the coaster industry, mostly focusing on sprawling coasters designed to fit around/between existing rides.
Beijing Shibaiolai: The major Chinese manufacturer. Having merged with Golden Horse, they serve the role Vekoma currently serves in the industry (second banana).
Hebei Jzongye Metallurgical Deathtraps: Dead.
Maurer: Dead.
Gerstlauer: Servicing the old Schwarzkopfs that refuse to die. Also, making the occasional Infinity coaster.

Six Flags will be still alive, and still garbage.
Cedar Fair will be doing the same thing it's always done. Cedar Point will have added NUMBER new coasters: the RMC Mean Streak, a Chance remaster of Magnum, a new PolerCoaster called "The Point" in the old Power Tower location, and (new for 2025) a Mack water coaster.

Many of the small parks in England will be gone. Lightwater Valley will be condos, with the Ultimate still there in the back. This will (for some reason) be a selling point.
India will be a big player, similar to China now.

And Olympia Looping?
Once showman Barth sold it, the venerable coaster was slated to ship to Mexico (to die), but a concerned group of citizens rescued it and it now sits on the grounds of a Roller Coaster Museum as an "interactive exhibit" (10 euro per ride because reasons).
 
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