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Shower thoughts: Would you consider a really well-themed water park a theme park?


Mega Poster
Had some thoughts while preparing for my cruise which includes a day stop at Atlantis in Nassau, and finally getting to scratch their waterpark off my bucket list. While looking over things, I realized how the phrase theme park has been misused now as it's the same as an amusement park. So if the word theme park and amusement park no longer meant the same thing, would you classify a well-themed water park as a theme park or just a water park still?


Hyper Poster

Yas Waterworld was super nice and really well themed and even had a coaster, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a water park; a well themed water park, but a water park.

In the same vein, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is just a funfair. It’s a well-themed funfair with a ton of rides, but still just a funfair as opposed to a park.
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Hyper Poster
Yes, Volcano Bay (which even brands itself as a Theme Waterpark) changed my perceptions even more than a Disney property could. The quality of that place is simply off the charts.


Matt SR
Staff member
Social Media Team
Feels in the same vein/alignment of more themed parks still falling into a more amusement park definition (I'm looking at you Six Flags). By standard nomenclature, we typically understand:

  • Amusement Park - less-themed park, with greatest emphasis placed on rides and attractions. Particular hallmark is roller coasters being the biggest focus, above all else.
  • Theme Park - bigger focus on theming, still with a mixture of rides and attractions. Non-roller coaster rides typically play bigger roles, especially dark rides that carry out more of the mission theme.
  • Water Park - little to no theming (typically), with swim-wear requirement for water slides and attractions.
So if you gamed out a highly themed water park, you could start to push the gray area; but you would still need more traditional, flat/dark rides to really carry the case for defining it as a theme park. Just the same way we debate if a "theme park" is truly a theme park if they have a large-scale focus on roller coasters that do not have large theming.

Love the thought exercise!


Hyper Poster
I'd rethink the definition there, personally.

Amusement Park: a park with rides and little or generic theming.

Theme Park: a park where the rides are themed and contained within themed 'lands'.

Water parks could realistically fit into either.

Volcano Bay, and the two Disney parks definitely fit the latter with all attractions fitting a consistent theme.

Aquatica has a loose theme, but it's not really consistent and in many areas pretty generic, so would fit into the amusement park category.


Mega Poster
Siam Park in Tenerife in the Canaries easily fits this in my opinion. Every slide is themed and hidden by vegetation, the whole park has a siamese/thai theme to it which is reflected via theming and statues across the park. The park also has a bunch of shops/locker rooms over a "floating market" which is well decorated and littered with hungry koi beneath. The lazy river going through an shark tank also helps, which has a slide section which is scattered with rocks and does not even feel like a proper slide.

Siam Park has themed pathways, slides, even the food and gift shop in the floating market looks pretty. It is a theme park in my opinion, it has a clear theme, and it is very much immerses people into its theme- a lot better than the standard water park anyway.


Roller Poster
I feel like a theme park has by description well themed rides. A water slide or even water coaster is not a ride because it is a slide. This removes the possibility that a water park can be a theme park, in my opinion. But this question is really subjective.😅

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Aside from the 'is that an AI isn't it' question, I'm glad the subject and thread was revived as I missed it first time around, and it's an interesting subject.

I've never thought of a theme park as needing any rides at all, just a solid and well executed theme and some sort of entertainment. @Furiustobaco gave what would be my first example of a water park that I'd definitely consider to be a theme park. The theme is so well executed that the designer had to seek permission from the Thai Royal family to use it. When you step into the park you feel like you're transcending worlds, leaving the noisy, dusty, hustle and bustle of what is essentially a large desert city, into a lush, Thai, jungle paradise.

But it goes further than water parks for me. Big, well themed festival areas like Glastonbury's Shangri La or Arcadia, Boomtown's Districts or even Tomorrowland are all crazy adult theme parks in my opinion.

If you've never been to any of these festivals google some of the following...
  • Glastonbury NYC Downlow (A temporary nightclub in Shangri La themed to a meat factory!)
  • Glastonbury The Common (Another part which has a massive temple arena, as well as a secret rave behind a waterfall!)
  • Glastonbury Arcadia (Raving under a giant (alien?) metal spider that shoots fire!)
  • Glastonbury Unfairground (Think dystopian, rip off, amusement park / fairground, kind of Dismaland-ish, although unfairground came first. Given Banksy's long standing connection with Glastonbury, it does make you wonder if he took some inspiration.)
  • Boomtown Old Town
  • Boomtown Metropolis
  • Tomorrowland (Pretty much all of it!)
Festivals aside there's halloween... I'd consider a large, well themed halloween event, such as Shocktoberfest or Screamfest, to be theme parks.

So yeh, having coasters and rides doesn't necessarily mean you're a theme park, but equally, not having them doesn't mean you aren't. For me, a theme park is a well themed place for having fun, permanent or temporary...