Does a coaster's theme affect your opinion?

Wednesday, December 26, 2001 8:16 AM
Someone in an X-related thread said this:

"Six flags is so cheap. It would make me really mad if they just built the same 'x' all over the country. Where is their imagination? They should take Alton Tower's approach. They took a concept like the flying dutchmen and themed it the way coasters are supossed to be themed. Six flags doesn't do anything. There idea of theming is techno music blaring while your waiting in line. Where's the creativity in that?"

That got me to thinking:  does theme make or break a coaster?  Isn't the actual ride experience [smoothness, airtime, laterals, layout, pacing, rideability, etc] more important?  Does it really matter if a theme park doesn't theme a coaster?

When I look at a list of my favorite coasters theme has little to no input on why I like them.  My favorite steel, SFNE's Superman, has no theme elements once a train leaves the station.  I love it because of its amazing speed and airtime.  Other than a sinister voice at the top of the lift telling us "not to look back" my favorite wood, HW's Legend, has no other theme elements either.  My love for Legend is dictated by its outright insanity from start to finish.

So I ask all of you:  does theme dictate what your favorites coasters are?  Does theme even matter?

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh on 12/26/2001. ***

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 8:20 AM
Since I go to Cedar Point, there isn't much theme there. A theme will attract me to a coaster but I don't ride it again just because it looks good. A theme to me is like a bonus on something else. DT (in my opinion) is a good ride and I would ride it if there was no theme at all but the theme gives it an extra point.
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"The opposite of war isn't peace, its creation," Rent.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 8:22 AM
I think that Space Mountain, The Matterhorn, and Big Thunder would be little better than carnival portable coasters without all that wonderfull theming.

However, when it comes to woodies, it doesn't matter as much. Nice landscaping does help quite a bit though.

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"I'll bet that thing hits 5 Gs going through that loop.....faaar ooouut!"

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 8:52 AM
When a coaster in a chain (sans Busch Gardens) usually themes a coaster, it's no more than the station and maybe the color scheme along with the name at times. If you look at Dueling Dragons, people love it's theming, yet, from the pictures, it's only the entrance, station and trains, the rest of the ride isn't really too themed. You may say, it's themed to a dragon fight, but that is what your mind is thinking after being in the station for so long. X has a bit of themeing: futuristic planes taking their pilots on an xtreme journey through the desert, well that last part was a bit of a stretch:). But theming is designed to make your mind think you're doing something else than just riding a rollercoaster.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 9:01 AM
Well, theming doesn't make or break a ride, but it can help alot. My 2 favorite roller coasters, Phantom's Revenge and Millennium Force both have very little theming. But on the other hand, Montu is my favorite invert, and it has tons of theming, with all its tunnels and such. If Montu was just set on a flat piece of concrete, I'm not so sure it would be my favorite invert anymore. Part of the ride experience is flying through the Egyptian tunnels. Psycho Mouse at PGA was a good ride, but it had very little theming. Exterminator, at Kennywood is way better because it has a good theme and it is indoors. If Psycho Mouse had Exterminator's theme, and Exterminator had no theme, I would like Psycho Mouse better. So, in some instances, theming doesn't mater, but sometimes it does. Theming does add to the ride experience.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 9:29 AM
It doesn't really matter much to me. I don't think I would like a ride like DD any less if it sat in a parking lot like Shockwave@SFGAm. Most of my favorite coasters don't have much theming save the afore-mentioned station and color scheme. The way I see it, theming is like a like a dessert to the main course.
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"The Ozzman Cometh"
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 9:38 AM
My opinion is simple, if your going to do theming, do it right. Otherwise don't bother. I like what Knott's did with Ghostrider and what they're going to do with Xcellerator. It's minimal and far from Disney, but it fits in with the surrounding area.
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"Time flies...Whether you're having fun or not". -Mary Engelbreit.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 9:56 AM
Personally, theming doesn't do a thing for me, but that said, and in conjunction with another recent thread on this topic, it does have something to do with the pleasure of a ride.  For example, I would ride Alpengeist all day, and I could care less about the theming.  It doesn't capture me in anyway.  BUT, I would love to see Apollo's Chariot have a ride that was a little more "through the woods," so to speak.  I don't like the open feel that the ride has because of the landscaping.  I know that is not part of the theming, per se, but you get my drift.  What I love about BGW (I don't know why I picked this park to talk about) is that all the coasters run through the trees.  AC doesn't, and it is a bit of a let down.  One thought, though, on theming....I haven't ridden Fire or Ice (dragon) yet, so I probably don't even know what "real" theming is :)
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:02 AM
well, I know from experience that Batman at SFGAm gets really hot in the batcave, so personally I dont like all the theming, because it makes it really hot, especially when you have to work in that horrible heat for hours on end.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:09 AM
Theres a difference between a Theme Park such as Islands of Adventure and an Amusement Park such as a SixFlags park. You figure out the rest.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:10 AM
I think that If you are going to theme, Then you should do it right and maintain it!

I don't think themeing makes or breaks a good ride however it could make a difference in a ride that is not all that.

 I've seen all kinds of themed rides that after a season or two, Some effects break or are no longer working,  I think if a park wants to keep the attraction themed then it would make every effort to give every visitor the whole package!

 One of Disneys major issues was that everything work or the ride would not be open! (Words to live bye IMHO however I would still like to ride the ride)

No, IMHO I do not think a ride has to be themed, But if you are going to do it, don't spoof on it, make it cheesy or let it flounder.  I hear about so many rides like altons Nemisis and some others and I hope to experience them someday.

Chuck 

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Charles Nungester
Park Jockey :)

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:20 AM
hehehe, cool that my comment got people talking. That was my inetent, I dunno if theming really can make or break a coaster. But I assume there is no argument that it enhances the riding experience, right?
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:24 AM
Jan:  I agree that in the case of Disney coaster such as Matterhorn, Space Mountain, and BTMRR would be a bit of a bore if taken out of the context of their theme elements.  The ONLY thing I find exciting about those three Disney coasters *IS* the theme elements.  But then with the excption of DCA and MGM Disney coasters have always left me rather underwhelmed.  I remember when Space Mountain first opened the commercials made it seem like there were huge drops taken in the dark.  Image my surprise when I found it to me mostly curves. 

SFGA2001:  regarding your Exterminator vs. Psycho Mouse comments.  I'm not going to say you're wrong because its your opinion and I respect that.  Having ridden a spinning mouse both indoors [Exterminator] and outdoors [Del Mar Fair] I happen to prefer the spinning mouse over the regular mouse regardless of location or theme, even tho getting a great ride on a spinning mouse depends on too many variables and they do not always fall into place on each circuit..  I willingly admit this, tho:  a well run standard mouse [Hershey, DCA] will ALWAYS give you a fun, exciting ride. 

DWeaver: Other than station, queue, trains and lift approach what theming surrounds GR?  And really would it matter?

Interesting opinions so far...keep 'em coming. 

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh on 12/26/2001. ***

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:31 AM
theming is not a very important thing, but placement of a coaster can make a big difference. such coasters as magnum, boulder dash, the beast and even sfne's superman benefit from placement. magnum's second drop is probably the best view of all time. indoor or enclosed rides such as space mt. (california) or even disaster transport (c.p.) are essential to the ride.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:35 AM
Exactly! Well put.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 10:57 AM
virginiareelfan, that is precisely what I was getting at with my comments earlier.  Placement and terrain are so important!  Imagine BBW at BGW (here I go again) without the terrain hugging aspects or Lochness Monster without the drops into the ravine.  It helps to have designing firms that take those things into consideration, but I admit it helps moreso for a park to be loaded with hills and valleys, and to have a corporate mentality to build using those very traits.  Sorry I am so long winded on this topic:)
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 11:33 AM
Mamoosh, Ghostrider's entrance is also well themed, as is the queue building. It's very subtle but quite nice. If you listen closely you can also hear sounds of mining playing as you move through the entrance. It keeps with the Ghost town theme, as will Xcellerator with the boardwalk theme.
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"Time flies...Whether you're having fun or not". -Mary Engelbreit.

*** This post was edited by DWeaver on 12/26/2001. ***

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 12:51 PM
Good/Bad theming doesn't necessarily make or break a ride. But it really REALLY helps. Take the aestetics of a car for example. What do you think would be more fun to drive around in? A puke yellow Porche with dings and scratches in some run-down pothole infested back alley, or a bright red Porche zipping around the Bavarian countryside. They're both fast/exciting cars. Very different experiences though.

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"I'll bet that thing hits 5 Gs going through that loop.....faaar ooouut!"

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 3:45 PM
I think theming can help make a ride, but lack of theming doesn't break it.  How's that? ;)
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--Greg
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Wednesday, December 26, 2001 4:46 PM
In some limited capacity, I think the theme around Dueling Dragons, especially the queue and stations, really added to the ride, but out "in the field" I doubt it matters much on any ride because you don't exactly get a lot of time to look around.

On the other hand, take a ride like Ripsaw Falls at IOA, and the theme genuinely enhances the ride, which might otherwise be just another flume (with airtime at the bottom, I might add).

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