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"Sleeping Giant" Theme Park

AJ1980

New Member
Hi guys, long time lurker / brand new poster.

During this Lockdown period Ive been looking around at European parks I could visit once things calm down, I fancy a trip to Germany and one park I came across was Belantis, Ive heard of the park but never looked too much into it other than it has that big Red Eurofighter & a fab looking Flume in a Pyramid. It really looks likeca lovely park and I see Parques Reunidos bought it relatively recently and see it as prime for development due to its location close to Berlin, Prague & the Polish border. (Parques Reunidos & Development in the same sentence 😂)

That then got me thinking of a conversation starter, any opinions of parks that could be seen as potential "sleeping giants". By that I mean a park that has good bones (Couple Decent rides / Theming / Good Location etc), that would really thrive with some large/sustained investment?
 

oriolat2

Active Member
Parque Warner Madrid is a good example in my opinion. The last big investment in that park has been quite a long time ago.
That's just Parques Reunidos being Parques Reunidos.
TBH, Parque Warner started with a coaster selection that some park can only dream of. Then again, that was 20 years ago and the most substantial addition, coaster wise, has been a Mack YoungStar. Six Flags saw the potential but then pulled out of Europe in a blink of an eye. God know what the park would look like if it was still owned and operated by Six Flags...

Similarly, after the booming of theme parks in Spain (when PortAventura opened in 1995), Terra Mítica and Isla Mágica have both suffered a case of stagnation (Terra Mítica even more so, to the point of being on life support for some seasons now). When they opened, however, they looked just phenomenal with a park layout capable of welcoming thousands of guests and a more than decent ride selection. Terra Mítica even had some of the best "traditional" dark rides one could hope for in the turn of the millennium.

In the entire history of Isla Mágica the park has just received a tower by Maurer Söhne and a side water park. As far the dry park goes, it feels outdated and obsolete.

Toverland is another contended. Started really small, but unlike Parque Warner, this park has been regularly updated/expanded. I think having a B&M it is time to play with them big boys.
 
Bakken outside of Copenhagen. It's the oldest amusement park in the world but some modernisation woulnt hurt. Tivoli is in the centre of Copenhagen and is landlocked but Bakken which is 10km away would have the land for some large additions. A good hyper (B&M, Intamin, Mack) would do it real good. It would also be the only hyper north of Kärnan and if they get a modern B&M hyper (similar to Mako) it would be one of the best coasters in Europe. If they go this route a good looper wouldnt hurt either. As long as it isnt a Eurofighter or a launched coaster (too similar to Helix) it would be unique in Scandinavia. Bakken has a rustic/forest theme so a wing coaster would do great to fit in. Considering Bakken already has an attendance of over 2.5 million per year I dont seem to understand why they never add anything large.
 
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AJ1980

New Member
That's just Parques Reunidos being Parques Reunidos.
TBH, Parque Warner started with a coaster selection that some park can only dream of. Then again, that was 20 years ago and the most substantial addition, coaster wise, has been a Mack YoungStar. Six Flags saw the potential but then pulled out of Europe in a blink of an eye. God know what the park would look like if it was still owned and operated by Six Flags...

Similarly, after the booming of theme parks in Spain (when PortAventura opened in 1995), Terra Mítica and Isla Mágica have both suffered a case of stagnation (Terra Mítica even more so, to the point of being on life support for some seasons now). When they opened, however, they looked just phenomenal with a park layout capable of welcoming thousands of guests and a more than decent ride selection. Terra Mítica even had some of the best "traditional" dark rides one could hope for in the turn of the millennium.

In the entire history of Isla Mágica the park has just received a tower by Maurer Söhne and a side water park. As far the dry park goes, it feels outdated and obsolete.

Toverland is another contended. Started really small, but unlike Parque Warner, this park has been regularly updated/expanded. I think having a B&M it is time to play with them big boys.
Terra Mitica is a real shame. I rememver going years ago and it was incredible, the level of theming & experience, but location killed it. Benidorm is a holiday location, but its mainly holidaymakers that want to enjoy the beach and get pissed up, or old folk, neither group want to travel up into the outskirts for a theme park, which is a real shame!

Bakken is very interesting!
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Parque Warner Madrid is a shout given the intial outlay as discussed above, but it's such an arse-about-way away from Madrid that it was never going to pull in enough visitors to warrant further investments.

I think Terra Mitica is the best shout in here - it's got to be in an almost perfect location, with a crazy amount of land available, and an endless stream of families visiting Benidorm. It wouldn't even need to make large scale investments in top of the range rides either.
 

bdrizzyb

New Member
Drayton Manor! whilst there doing well with the families and Thomas land, the park is so centrally located in England and with more thrill coasters, could be a major contender to Alton Towers. They have the land and the one thing they have over towers is they can build tall(er), and from a GP perspective bigger is better. I could see them benefit from an older kids/teens IP's like a DC comics area, with superman and batman rides. I remember reading either an article/rumour's around park expansion plans around 2010, wonder what happened to them. I know the park is family owned and operated, and cash is the issue. They plan on sticking to the family demographic, but I think there's so much wasted potential!
 

cookie

Member
Bakken outside of Copenhagen. It's the oldest amusement park in the world but some modernisation woulnt hurt. Tivoli is in the centre of Copenhagen and is landlocked but Bakken which is 10km away would have the land for some large additions. A good hyper (B&M, Intamin, Mack) would do it real good. It would also be the only hyper north of Kärnan and if they get a modern B&M hyper (similar to Mako) it would be one of the best coasters in Europe. If they go this route a good looper wouldnt hurt either. As long as it isnt a Eurofighter or a launched coaster (too similar to Helix) it would be unique in Scandinavia. Bakken has a rustic/forest theme so a wing coaster would do great to fit in. Considering Bakken already has an attendance of over 2.5 million per year I dont seem to understand why they never add anything large.
Because they don't actually have that kind of space. The surrounding forest is protected and the park is very close to residential areas.

I remember when they were supposed to get an Intamin accelerator on the scale of Kanonen but there was so much hell raised about it they scrapped it and we eventually got Tornado instead.
 
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AJ1980

New Member
Drayton Manor! whilst there doing well with the families and Thomas land, the park is so centrally located in England and with more thrill coasters, could be a major contender to Alton Towers. They have the land and the one thing they have over towers is they can build tall(er), and from a GP perspective bigger is better. I could see them benefit from an older kids/teens IP's like a DC comics area, with superman and batman rides. I remember reading either an article/rumour's around park expansion plans around 2010, wonder what happened to them. I know the park is family owned and operated, and cash is the issue. They plan on sticking to the family demographic, but I think there's so much wasted potential!
Do Drayton not have a height limit to do with the neighbouring houses to the south of the park?
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Drayton Manor! whilst there doing well with the families and Thomas land, the park is so centrally located in England and with more thrill coasters, could be a major contender to Alton Towers. They have the land and the one thing they have over towers is they can build tall(er), and from a GP perspective bigger is better. I could see them benefit from an older kids/teens IP's like a DC comics area, with superman and batman rides. I remember reading either an article/rumour's around park expansion plans around 2010, wonder what happened to them. I know the park is family owned and operated, and cash is the issue. They plan on sticking to the family demographic, but I think there's so much wasted potential!
They're never going to compete with Alton Towers - they don't have the funds, nor the strength of brand, so to me at least they've been quite wise so target the family/young child market - Thomas Land was huge for them.

That said, there is still massive potential there for them to expand across the board - more family options, more thrill options, they can establish themselves as a top tier park within the country as opposed to being a bit of a second-rate park.
 

Benenen

Member
With regards to Bakken there's no entrances or turnstiles, it's just a few footpaths in this wooded park that lead into the ride area. Sure they may get 2.5m visitors but no one pays for admission. A big part of Bakken is the huge number of bars and restaurants so I imagine a large chunk of the 2.5m don't buy a rides wristband and are just locals visiting the bars which possibly are independent from the park. I'm sure the park does ok but I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see any investment in the next ten years apart from maybe a small flat ride at a push. And like Cookie says they can't build anything big because of the space and planning permission issues.
 

bdrizzyb

New Member
Do Drayton not have a height limit to do with the neighbouring houses to the south of the park?
They may do in certain area's but they must be able to build quite taller than towers as apocalypse is 177 foot and shockwaves is 119 foot, to put that into perspective, the swarm at Thorpe park is only 127 foot which is a large coaster and something the GP will see as huge.
They're never going to compete with Alton Towers - they don't have the funds, nor the strength of brand, so to me at least they've been quite wise so target the family/young child market - Thomas Land was huge for them.

That said, there is still massive potential there for them to expand across the board - more family options, more thrill options, they can establish themselves as a top tier park within the country as opposed to being a bit of a second-rate park.
I do think there going strong with the family/young child market as Thomas is an extremely strong brand, I'm not convinced that the park will have long term success though, with Alton towers expanding there young family offering while having something for the children to move onto when they get older.
I do think though that the only way they could expand now in the thrill market area, and to become a prominent top tier park, is if the park was bought out either by a chain or family willing to invest say six flags, Mack family or maybe even a Chinese investor, although six flags are more likely to go bankrupt then buy any more parks but you never know
 
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Heth

New Member
There do seem to be quite a lot of 'stagnant' parks in Europe at the moment which could be great but have seen limited investment recently, or have been actively removing rides. Add Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures to that lost as well, as both had a stellar trajectory in the 2000's and 1990's respectively but have now ceased major investments, opting instead for rethemes instead.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
Very much a hypothetical option here, but Karls in Elstal (the one with K2, the abc cred) could be a massive hit.

The 'park' part of the place is already pretty well developed given what it is. But if they wanted to push it further with another family-thrill cred and the right choice of some other rides, it would be even more fab than it already is.

I don't know how much further they could develop the park in terms of space, and I doubt they really want to go into a fully fledged theme park anyways. But if they wanted to, they really could. And it's a good location, reasonably accessible from Berlin. It could all come together really well.
 

bdrizzyb

New Member
There do seem to be quite a lot of 'stagnant' parks in Europe at the moment which could be great but have seen limited investment recently, or have been actively removing rides. Add Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures to that lost as well, as both had a stellar trajectory in the 2000's and 1990's respectively but have now ceased major investments, opting instead for rethemes instead.
I honesty don't understand how Chessington is still so popular when they haven't invested much since dragons fury! also how they have gone 16 years without a coaster is unreal!!! same as Thorpe, there last coaster was in 2012, both these parks are meant too be 3rd and 4th attendance wise in the UK, after LEGOLAND and Alton, yet parks like Paulton's, flamingo land and Blackpool pleasure beach have invested more in recent years. it just shows that merlin have the UK wrapped around there little finger when it comes to market share!! its starting too get to the point that we wish that parks like la ronde, Alabama adventure and Adventureland were British parks (when there the least liked in north America!)
 
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
I know this might be a controversial one, but from what I’ve heard, I think Mt Olympus in Wisconsin Dells actually has quite a lot going for it in this regard. I’ve never been, but hardware-wise, the coaster lineup looks really solid, the theming looks quite good, they have quite a big, nice-looking hotel resort, they have a decent-looking water park; in terms of the expensive part of running a theme park (investment), they seem to be quite well covered for a park of their size. Most of people’s problems with it seem to boil down to very simple, low-cost things to fix, like operations and ride maintenance.

If someone went in and invested loads into improving maintenance and operations, as well as maybe putting in a headline steel coaster and some maintenance work for the woodies, then I think Mt Olympus could really be raved about far more in the theme park community; dare I say it, but with some investment into operations and a steel headliner, then I’d wager you could almost have the Wisconsin, Greek-themed equivalent of Holiday World, and look at how that place gets raved about!
 
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