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Things you'd like to see more of and things you'd like to see less of in theme parks

Matt N

Strata Poster
Hi guys. I know that the topic title is slightly weird and long-winded, but basically, what I'm trying to ask with this thread is; of all the things that are in theme parks, which ones do you really like and want to see more of and which ones are you not overly a fan of and want to see less of? To get the ball rolling, I'll start with some of my personal choices:
Things I'd like to see more of:
  • Roller coasters over entrance areas - I am a real sucker for themed parks and themed park entrances on the whole, but I must admit that there's something that I really love about what Cedar Fair has recently been doing with some of its parks' entrances. Even though they're not really themed, there's something about seeing photos of GateKeeper swoop above Cedar Point's entrance or watching Fury 325 curve its way above Carowinds' entrance that I find utterly beautiful. I've never visited either of these parks, but there's something about seeing those coasters in their respective entrance areas that I absolutely adore, and I would really like to see more parks do this. I feel like it would give an entrance a little more life and it would offer more of a reason to stay in a park's entrance area (even though the entrance area is a theme park staple, they are often devoid of attractions). It would seem that my wish is coming true with this one, though, what with ChocolateTown at Hersheypark and SeaWorld Orlando's planned 2021 coaster both heavily straddling their entrance areas.
  • Novelty food/drink items - Whether it's Mickey cookies, cinnamon bread or butterbeer, I feel like having some sort of food or drink item unique to your park on sale adds a sense of personality to a park. I feel like it can make what is often one of the more routine aspects of a day at a theme park a little more interesting. As much as I have a very simple taste in food & drink, I feel like a park putting their own unique spin on food or drink does give guests an interesting experience when they're not riding rides, and it's a little magical detail that really makes a park day unique.
  • Experience-based roller coasters - I know that the primary kick people get out of riding roller coasters is through the g-forces they provide, but sometimes, I think that immersive theming & storylines can really add something to a roller coaster. Whether it's large theming structures on an outdoor roller coaster like Wicker Man at Alton Towers or a coaster with dark ride sections like Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Orlando, a cohesive theme and story can really make a rollercoaster experience special, in my opinion. However, I don't think theming is necessarily essential to a coaster; I think a hyper coaster would be quite hard to theme effectively, for example.
Things I'd like to see less of
  • Forced participation - Now, I know that I just talked about immersive experiences above, but one of the things that I personally like about a theme park is that you can sit back and be immersed in an attraction; whether you're enjoying an immersive story on a dark ride, getting soaked on a water ride, or getting tumbled head-over-heels on a roller coaster, you can sit back and let the attraction take you in its grasp. For me, I feel like forced participation almost removes an element of that; I personally often find it quite uncomfortable, and it can sometimes inhibit an experience if it does not go as intended.
  • Kids' areas - I know that kids' areas are a common staple in theme parks, but I must admit that they're one I've never really understood. I know that it's nice for the younger guests to have their own area to play in, and I completely understand why they're so commonplace, but if you have a family with a wide range of ages, then it can often split the family up, which in my eyes kind of defeats the object of a theme park. If I was designing a theme park, I'd personally integrate smaller attractions in amongst the larger attractions in different areas of the park, so that the whole family can adventure around the entire park together. For example, if you had an area with a roller coaster called Goliath for the thrillseekers, I personally think it would be nice for the younger guests or those fancying something a little gentler to be able to experience Goliath Jr within the same area as opposed to having to venture to a different area.
But what things do you want to see more and less of in theme parks?


Roller Poster
I wanna see a launched, terrain-winged with minimal inversions by B&M. So much you could do with that. Less of ? Exclusive Fight Time at Six Flags' parks.


Mega Poster
Good topic idea!

I'd like to see more:

'Classic' style Dark Rides
I love dark rides, and I tend to find myself enjoying parks more when they have a few good dark rides. Whilst I like shooting and interactive dark rides, there's just something I enjoy more about a good Phantom Manor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Symbolica or Fata Morgana style dark ride which is awash with detail and tons of animatronics.

Log Flumes
There is just something fun about a good long flume. I love a good log flume drop and sometimes find them more thrilling than coaster drops because you are typically more exposed in a log flume. A lot of parks are getting rid of theirs sadly, but I do hope that more parks keep their log flumes or build new ones, like Chiapas.

Themed Music
Even of I go to the bathroom I'd like to hear themed music. It creates immersion that is missing if the park just plays pop music everywhere. Parks like Disney, Phantasialand and Efteling get this right.

'Fun' Coasters
In the battle for some parks to out do each other, I find myself yearning for more rides which are just fun. Intensity is fine in moderation, but I wish for more rides which don't test your body's limits, but instead just provide fun drops, twists and turns and leave you laughing rather than nauseous. I like it when parks have a mix of coasters, and I feel that many parks could do with improving their line up to feature more Wickerman, Th13teen, Big Thunder Mountain or Joris en De Draak coasters to provide a more even set of thrills.

I'd like to see less of:

World's First? Don't really care. It is telling that despite having the most inversions, the Smiler is much less fun to me than most if the other rides around Alton Towers, because whilst they were packing inversion in there they forgot to make it fun.

I don't get it. I can watch screens at home.
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Giga Poster
MORE FLATS! All the big corporate American Parks have just been ripping them out at an alarming rate over the last decade or so and not really replacing them. One new flat ride every few years at the loss of six or seven isn't really keeping up the pace.

Matt N

Strata Poster
'Fun' Coasters
In the battle for some parks to out do each other, I find myself yearning for more rides which are just fun. Intensity is fine in moderation, but I wish for more rides which don't test your body's limits, but instead just provide fun drops, twists and turns and leave you laughing rather than nauseous. I like it when parks have a mix of coasters, and I feel that many parks could do with improving their line up to feature more Wickerman, Th13teen, Big Thunder Mountain or Joris en De Draak coasters to provide a more even set of thrills.
Ooh, I agree with this one hugely! I personally think that fun is incredibly underrated in a coaster; the coasters I usually tend to rank highly are the fun and rerideable coasters as opposed to only the out and out intense. Of course there are some more intense coasters out there that I rank highly, and everyone has different taste in coasters, but for me, I sometimes think that ridiculous intensity almost takes away from the fun factor for me.

Thankfully, it would seem that the industry is moving more in this sort of direction.


Mega Poster
I just need more terrain coasters in my life. Whipping around bluffs and trees- thats the dream. I mean ideally every coaster would be themed like black mamba but thats too much to ask haha

I wish theme parks were all designed so that it would just be fun to walk around them, even if you don't ride anything. I mean people go to parks and arboretums and whatever just to have a pretty stroll. I love just existing in disneysea, which is obviously the high point of theme design- but even shady leafy parks are nice, or with pretty gardens, or just some sort of cohesive experience for the day thats not just stringing rides together. I'd love the path layout to be conducive to sort of just wandering for ~4-5 hours and that would take you around the major sights.


Staff member
Social Media Team
A slightly selfish one for me - but paths/areas that provide good views of coasters. Back when I was a nipper and still needed parental accompaniment to parks, but was big enough to ride the big coasters, being able to sit and watch the coaster was actually relatively enjoyable for my mum. She liked the atmosphere, seeing riders (including me and my brother) going past, etc. With rides like Nemesis, Dragon Khan, Hulk, this was good. Thinking about a lot of newer rides (not that she comes to parks anymore) they're not really quite as good for 'viewing'. Thinking of things like Wickerman, Untamed, Hagrid, etc.

The totally selfish reason for this, however, is that it makes taking pictures easier! Give us some good angles of your coasters, and we'll get some good pictures! :p


Hyper Poster
Things I'd like to see more of:
  • Fun attractions. It sounds obvious, but far too many parks are obsessed with gimmicks, and style over substance. I don't care if your ride is a top tier enthusiast thriller, or something smaller and aimed at families, it had better not be bland or forgettable. Pegasus at Europa Park kicks the ass of most of its competition, as it's a genuinely fun ride even for adults. Wicker Man is forgettable, yet Heide at Plopsa de Panne is fab. I'm sure you can think of loads of examples. We've had decades to figure out what makes a ride good or bad by now, regardless of size or thrill level, and it's time parks and manufacturers took notice.
  • Quality attractions. I'm getting a bit tired of parks that can do better doing a half arsed job of things because they feel they don't need to put in the extra 20% budget or effort that would make the attraction 100% better. Merlin are the obvious offenders here, but I'm sure plenty of other park operators are equally guilty of this. I don't mind when a park has to work within tight, unavoidable limits, but when the owners have the resources and capability to do better, it really grates on me. If you're tight on time or resources, be smart and make the best use of what you do have.
  • Single rider queues. 'Nuff said.
  • Interesting queue lines. We've all had enough of unimaginative cattle pens, thank you very much. Let's have more queues that circle around the ride, giving interesting views of it and building anticipation, or fantastically themed walk-throughs like you find on attractions like you'd find on Efteling's Vliegende Hollander, Europa Park's Wodan, or Fenix at Toverland.
  • Better operations: I don't mind if a park has low capacity rides, as long as they're being run as effectively as possible, but if you've got a low capacity ride with a single train, you'd better not be making things worse by taking ages to unload, load and dispatch the ride. Get your batching and staff training sorted out, get people into the air gates ready, get people on to the ride as soon as it's clear to do so, and get things turned around as quickly as you can. If other parks can pull this off, so can you. Part of this is making sure that any fast track systems you have are designed with this in mind. If you're bringing people in through the exit upsetting your batching system and slowing things down because of it, you're doing it wrong.


Hyper Poster
I'd love to see more lovely outside beer drinking/ride viewing spots. Some parks that have seeeriously got this right- PA (for example the bar area in mediterrania near Furious Baco), Phantasialand (Klugheim), Liseberg (Tyrolen Beer Garden looks out over Valkyria). Magic.


Strata Poster
More - decent "counter service" food .

less - general "pre-ride" faff - Long queuelines, irritating pre-shows, "stretching" excercises, waiting until the platforms empty before filling the airgates and that awful squawking of "are you having a good day??" followed by the utterly predictable "I can't hear you!"


Roller Poster
  1. non-3D, non-shooting dark rides
  2. Attention to detail regarding theming
  3. Healthy food options
  4. Long roller coasters with unique layouts and elements at the expense of not adding generic flat or thrill rides annually.
  1. Cloned roller coasters (except raptors)
  2. Advertisments at the expense of theming


Hyper Poster
Fewer rides that are great in principle but have rubbish execution. Alton Towers is the undisputed leader in this category. It’s not fair to criticise Oblivion because that was so groundbreaking but I’m looking squarely at Rita, Air and Thirteen... and really I mean Air. It’s so short and boring (or otherwise horribly uncomfortable with that miserable lie on your back section) that it renders the ‘flying’ experience redundant. I could quite happily never ride those three rides again.

In fairness this is an old complaint that isn’t that really valid anymore. Back on track with Wickerman and The Smiler, so well done.


Roller Poster
Speaking of 'Fun' coasters, I'd really love to see more RMCs designed to be a bit gentler. Like, it would be cool to see RMCs that are engineered to do TONs of sustained floater airtime. They're so good at engineering smooth rides with insane airtime/inversions, I know they could beautifully engineer rides that are more friendly. What if they like, refurbished Blue Streak at Cedar Point or similar old woodies with topper track and made them with no inversions and all the hills were designed to have sweet, not overly aggressive floater?