Definition of a "Theme Park" vs. "Amusment Park"

Saturday, September 11, 2004 6:44 AM
No, this is not a VS thread!

Okay, so I was looking @ my 2004 Kentucky Kingdom map(EmGee, don't be this guy;)), and I started recalling my trip in early August to SFKK for the first time. Yes, it needs some paint and sprucing. Yes, it would be nice if all the rides were up and running. But I personally enjoyed the coaster lineup, and I liked T2 and Chang!

But it got me to thinking: Is Kentucky Kingdom a "Theme Park" or just an amusment park? Sure, it has some(term used loosly) themeing, most notably the mouse, and Penguin's Blizzard River. And there were small bursts of themeing here and there (quake's little bit, and the hot rod behind Greezed Lightnin), but Kentucky Kingdom dosen't even have themed areas of the park. I mean, yes, most of the kiddie rides are ploped down together, and the water park is plopped in the middle of everything, but where can you look in the park and say it is a "Theme Park"?

I've only been to 2 other SF Parks, SFGAm, which definitly has good themeing in areas (Ahem, SW Territory), and nicely themed rides.

SFA has Gotham City and the western themed area, and a (from what I saw without going in) fairly decenltly themed water park. And they have that themed water ride. So I can see those 2 as "Theme Parks", because not only do they have ride themeing, they also have themed areas that focus on one predominant theme.

Obviously the Paramount Parks are "Theme Parks", with every section being at the very least loosly themed.

Disney? Definitive "Theme Park"

IoA? Ditto.

Then there are places like the most of CF's parks. Geauga, I think, was a "Theme Park". Whilst I dont' remember the names of each specific area, the kids section was very well done theme wise, IMHO. The Gotham, err, I mean Power City section had been well themed under SFI, though now it seems much more stripped.

Plus there was the area by Villian. Sure, they've stripped some themeing out, but I still consider it a "Theme Park". Same with Worlds of Adventure.

But I consider CP an Amusment park with some themeing. I consider the Myrtle beach Pavilion to be a small park with some themeing(much less than CP, but they're still the same thing).

So is Kentucky Kingdom even really a theme park? I'm not trying to open an argument really, But thought it might be neat to see what others think.

And while we're on the subject, do you think CF will keep what GL still has for themeing? I realize they took what they had to out for it being SFI licenses and all, but do you think they'll upkeep the themeing they have now(and maybe fill in what SFI took out with their own?)

Talk amongst yaselves and discuss. Then amuse me with your replies.


Saturday, September 11, 2004 10:05 AM
Cedar Point is an amusement park with light theming. I consider Camp Snoopy a themed land to a certain extent, and felt the same way about Jungle Larry's Safari. I remember CP would give destinctive names to certain areas of the park on the maps. A "theme park" is nothing more than an amusement park built around a theme(s) or idea. The Dragster midway appears to be semi-themed as well. In general, all the parks are "Amusement Parks."
Saturday, September 11, 2004 10:11 AM
I still call Cedar Point an theme park, even if they call themselves an amusement park. Parts of the park I feel like it's an amusement park, but other parts I feel like a theme park (frontier trail, Frontier Town, Camp Snoopy, Disaster Transport.) I think CP has dramatic enough changes from one midway to the other for myself to call them a theme park.

IMO if the area changes or the guests thoughts about the scenery change (pretty dramatically) from one section to another it's a theme park. Once a park adds a themed midway/section/ride, it turns into a theme park. SFWoA was difinetly a theme park. Geagua Lake, still is a theme park.

A tradional amusement park to me has just rides, and entertainment. Some parks I would call amusement parks are more like boardwalk parks, and some smaller parks...there are very few big parks today, that I think I should call an amusement park. I do however have a personal scale of when talking to people about how much parks have certain themes, or different levels of a theme park. I also think when talking to most, if you mention theme park, they'll mention pretty much any parks we talk about wether or not it's a theme park or amusement park. It doesn't bother me eitherway.

*** Edited 9/11/2004 2:15:03 PM UTC by RollerCoasterGod***

Saturday, September 11, 2004 11:43 AM
Amusement Park- a park where a collection of rides is assembled and placed with no respect to themeing or consistancy. i.e., Cedar Point. Gemini's themeing has no relation to Camp Snoop's , as does Mantis to Millennium Force.

Theme Park- a.) A park where the overall theme, story, and mission, is represented in all it's ride. i.e. Universal Studios. b.) A park where the lands it has follow the overall theme of the park and it's mission, while each ride in it's lands pushes a story forward.

The key word is story. That's the difference.

Saturday, September 11, 2004 4:40 PM
Ah well, they are all "amusement" parks anyway, at least to me. ;-)

Now why is it that you park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? Hmmmm............:-D


Monday, September 13, 2004 1:07 PM
Which states are in the Midwest?
Monday, September 13, 2004 1:25 PM
This reminds me of the old TPM debates on r.r-c. :)
Monday, September 13, 2004 1:46 PM
LOL Tina! Why do you call them apartments when they are actually together? ;)

Back to the topic at hand. I think I like the Mole's explanation best, although I think there is a lot of grey area when it comes to the difference between the two.

Edited for punctuaction error. *** Edited 9/13/2004 5:47:05 PM UTC by Dragster Freak***

Monday, September 13, 2004 2:27 PM
I'll throw two more at ya Clint, and this is my take on things:

Theme Park - IoAs and Disneys of the world. Few rides, expansive theme, immerse you in a different world so much so that you could spend hours just looking at the buildings, never ride anything and still be mildly satisfied. Examples being the Busch parks and the two mentioned above.

Amusement Park - Collections of rides and coasters with no central theme, but perhaps a few rides close together with similar themes to create "lands", examples being the Paramount Parks.

Thrill Park - High intensity parks focusing on the "ball-busting" rides, with a smattering of theme thrown in there more for marketing strategy than any real desire of the park. Examples being SFMM and CP. SFGAdv would be on the border between this and amusement.

Traditional Park - The oldies. Kooky theme, "Feel like a kid again" being the biggest theme of the place, lost in time and staying that way. See Kennywood, Knoebels, etc.

More confused now? ;)

Monday, September 13, 2004 2:49 PM
All theme parks are amusement parks, not all amusement parks are theme parks.

All the roads in SoCal are 'parkways' sometime during the week.

People who need to label things are anal. ;)

Monday, September 13, 2004 3:12 PM
You're an idiot ;)
Monday, September 13, 2004 3:22 PM
Another EmGee on the below site tried to clarify the same thing, and I think the one response pretty much sums it up:

Monday, September 13, 2004 4:21 PM
Too many parks exist nowadays that really blur the line. Cedar Point could fall into either category (and probably does even though some refuse to admit it). So could Holiday World and Wild Adventures. What makes a theme park? Big roller coasters? Movie-based attractions? How about an amusement park? A big selection of flat rides? Free parking?

Its a loaded question that brings about too many other loaded questions.

It basically boils down to this: A park is whatever the park decides to call itself. Its like how some car manufacturers like to call their cars SUVs, SAVs and Cross-Overs when in fact they are just 4 wheel drive station wagons.

Monday, September 13, 2004 4:26 PM
See I really don't buy that because if you tell someone from Florida, "hey let's go to the amusement park" they might look at you kind of funny because they don't know if you're headed to Tampa, Orlando, or even elsewhere. If you said "let's go to the theme park" they know you're heading to Orlando and either to Disney or Universal.

Same way, I at least, rarely hear anyone in Ohio/Western PA refer to anything around here as a theme park. It's either the "amusement park" or just "the park". I think public perception more than owner desire is what "brands" a park as one category or another.

Monday, September 13, 2004 4:32 PM
So are Midwesterners more likely to say 'amusement park?'
Monday, September 13, 2004 4:40 PM
I think most people are inclined to say "amusement park". Amusement parks existed long before the days of theme parks and I think that is what the majority of people refer to them as. "Amusement park" is a generic term that covers the entire amusement category while "theme park" is a sub-category like water park, traditional park and FEC.

I'm sure that people in Florida know that you're talking about Disney and Universal when you mention amusement park and not theme park.

Monday, September 13, 2004 4:46 PM
And whoooooooosh went the joke, sailing high overhead...
Monday, September 13, 2004 4:46 PM
So high overhead that it eventually came back around and smacked me in the face ;)
Monday, September 13, 2004 4:48 PM
Our parks (those in FL) are ALL "theme parks". I'm really hoping Cypress turns out to be an AMUSEMENT park. I think it'd be more *profitable* that way, and provide a completely different "guest experience".

What if the CONCEPT of a particular themed section is that of an "amusement park", like Paradise Pier or Carolina you then have an *amusement-themed area*? :)

Monday, September 13, 2004 4:51 PM
Good point. Is Hersheypark a theme park? If so, what does that make Midway America?

Is Celebration City an amusement park or a theme park with the theme of an amusement park?

Kennywood is an amusement park but the "volcano" section with the Top Spin and Enterprise is themed. Is that a theme park in an amusement park?


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