Does a coaster's theme affect your opinion?

Thursday, December 27, 2001 6:26 AM
Jeff...I think you summed up my feelings exactly.  Why would a park spend thousands of dollars on theme elements for a coaster when you're just gonna speed right by 'em? 

Thanks everyone for your comments...its interesting to see how everyone feels.

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Thursday, December 27, 2001 7:12 AM
I've been away for a few days...you guys KNOW this topic wouldn't just go  away without my comments...LOL.  I understand that some folks think "it's just theming, doesn't really affect the ride", but I MUST disagree.  janfrederick mentioned the Disney coasters, and I couldn't agree more.  Minus the theming, they'd be "just another coaster".  KW's Exterminator beats out every other mouse IMO because it SPINS and it's themed - other mice spin (Reverchons), but none others that I know of have BOTH spinning AND theming. 

And as for the "speed right by" idea, if I'm driving 40-50 mph in my car, I still see everything around me, and I see approaching objects, etc.  On a coaster, most of the time you're not traveling at 70-80 mph.  I saw ALOT of the "good stuff" on Alpie, and it is the coaster that got me SO interested in theming rides...I was amazed at how many people stood around just to watch the train speed through its course...Same is true with DD, and the theming for DD is almost entirely before the ride.  To make a long story a little shorter - Theming is important as can be, and enhances any ride - IOA proves that!

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PoTP acolyte - remove fear to reply
Son of Drop Zone - PKI CoasterCamp I Champions!!!

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Thursday, December 27, 2001 9:45 AM
Rollergator, in my experience, which is limited solely to thinking of stuff and discussing with people in a position of knowledge, the biggest limitations to theming coasters have more to do with field of vision than anything else.

Because a coaster is travelling a *bit* faster than a dark ride, the method of story-telling needs to be adapted to compensate, of course.  But, for example, a rider's field of vision on the Rockin' Roller Coaster is limited by the headrests, and so arranging scenes to fit into that narrower field of vision can be a problem.

It's certainly not an insurmountable problem by any means, but just another one to heap onto the pile of issues that theming big coasters raise.

As for the idea of theming coasters in general and whether it makes or breaks a ride . . . 

Well, it really depends on what you're asking to me judge the ride on.  If I were faced with a choice between Disney's Big Thunder Mountain and say, Millenium Force, I'd choose BTMRR every time.  In fact, I'd even take BTMRR over Dueling Dragons.  If the storytelling element is strong, it's immensely more gratifying than simply rolling around on some steel tracks in the middle of giant parking lot.

If, though, you were asking to me to judge the ride itself, as far as forces and things are concerned, a regular run-of-the-mill coaster is more than adequate.

It's really just a matter of perspective and deciding what elements are important to you.

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~~~ M ~~~
Official Driver for the Long Island Regional.

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Thursday, December 27, 2001 11:45 AM
I reckon theming makes a coaster worth riding. Its first and last impressions that remain. I think if you queue in a cattle rak going backwards and forwards underneath a sheet of corrugated iron for 4 hours then afterawards to leave down a clattery passageway passed rubbish piles and boring steel bars it ruins it. Think of  a ride like dd where there may not be theming in the actual ride area but queuing in a castle which is very realistic and also with me living in england with all the castles here. It adds tension, exitement and anticipation. Looking and exploring a castle for an hour or 4 finding things every fotstep you take is amazing. it beats remeating the smae people for 4 hours everytime you go up and down a row. I think a rollercoaster without theming is a waste of money. In our world today its looks that counts as well as whats on the other side! Just look at montu or disney coasters and non rollercoasters like popeye+blutos, dudley dos, roman rapids all these amazing rides and when you come across a well themed ride and it also performs amazingly you won't want to see antoher cattle grid queue in your life AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Big it up to collosus!
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I hear something COLLOSUS coming. Cheese at its best hey!
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Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:06 PM
To me, theme means very little. Some of the most elaborately themed coasters have left me cold (Dueling Dragons) while other non themed coasters I love (Steel Force and Kraken).

I guess I should explain my deffinition of "Theme". A cave or two with underground areas does not constitute "theme" in my book (I.E. Kraken)... nor does basic landscaping around a coaster (Steel Force and Talon).

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:10 PM
Since i have only been to Cedar Point I can say that not having themeing does not kill a ride. I say why use the money on a theme when you can use it on say another element or more track. Its not a giant plastic statue that makes your stomach go to your throat its the actual ride itself. Maybe i dont think themes matter cause i feel short, simple, and to the point is the best way to go.
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Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:21 PM
Milliman -- I'd much rather wait in a "cattle rack" for two hours to ride Ghostrider, Legend, Bouderdash, Phoenix, X, Superman, or any of my other favorites than any eleaborately themed coaster I can think of.  Besides...if I'm with good friends spending time in a queue is never boring.

Your mileage may vary.

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Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:47 PM
Theming doesn't have to make or break a coaster, but it helps to bump up a mediocre one and enhances really good ones. Montu, Aerosmith's Rock N Rollercoaster, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad all were given as examples and are excellent examples of how a good coaster is more memorable with good theming. Dueling Dragons has awesome theming during the queue and is memorable more for the near misses during the ride as part of the theming. Compare that with Magnum XL-200 or Nitro. Excellent rides, but it makes it harder to explain the appeal to non-coaster enthusuasts, and doesn't stick as completely in your mind as a totally themed ride.
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Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:48 PM
its ok but its just a very nice bonus to have and seeing a greatly themed coaster just adds that extra bit of exitement and makes a greater impact on a customer not just a enthusiast. They can't just think about hte ride when they build it. It involves loads of other things it just depends how ehat parts they elaborate on e.g. bog standard coaster, bigger coaster, more advertising, less theming, new design, more expensive make.
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I hear something COLLOSUS coming. Cheese at its best hey!
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Thursday, December 27, 2001 4:33 PM
Let's examine SFNE's coaster for 2002. I don't think it will affect the general outcome of someone's opinion of the ride, but it makes it that much more exciting. For one thing it gives you something to think about while waiting and it gives the coaster a story line, which IMO enhances a ride.
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Thursday, December 27, 2001 6:04 PM
Do any of you really think about 'the story line' while waitng to ride a ROLLER COASTER?  The best theme for a roller coaster in my book is "Dang Verne, how we gonna squeeze a ride in this space?"  Be it terrain, existing rides, buildings or the structure of the ride itself   it is the proximity of things you could run into which increases the sense of speed and danger on the ride.  CornBall Express is a perfectly 'themed' roller coaster in my book.  Shivering Timbers is a ride that should not be themed or visually obstructed from the parking lot entrance because the COST must be first seen so that it can inspire awe.

I do wish the loud music in queues would stop, it is hard enough to hear my own thoughts let alone what someone else may be saying to me.

Janfrederick, the Puke Yellow Porsche ride sounds like a good idea for an interactve shoot-em-up dark ride

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Friday, December 28, 2001 9:28 AM
Well, with very, very few exceptions, there aren't any roller coasters that exist that have a really, really strong story progression.

More than anything, coasters, heavily themed or otherwise, have been designed/themed to evoke a feeling or moment in time.  A linear story with characters, plot, and all of the traditional bits of a novel doesn't exist currently on a coaster - at least, to my understanding or approval.

With that said, it's not really possible to consider a coaster's storyline at all.  Slapping some adobe onto the station walls and calling it Viper isn't theming.  Creating an immersive environment that couples excitement, pacing, characters, plot and sets together to tell a compelling story is theming - and I don't see how something like that is NOT more interesting than a steel monstrosity in a parking lot.

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~~~ M ~~~
Official Driver for the Long Island Regional.

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Friday, December 28, 2001 9:44 AM
Dark rides need a theme to work, rollercoasters do not. They speak for themselves.
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"Time flies...Whether you're having fun or not". -Mary Engelbreit.
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Friday, December 28, 2001 7:00 PM
did anyone make it this far down on this post? =) anyways, i will say that as a coaster enthusiast, i'm more concerned with the elements of the ride; but i do think the theme of a ride draws more people to it; maybe people who wouldn't even ride it but would go look at it just because it's cool looking. I've never been to IOA, but just looking at the theming makes me want to ride Ripsaw and Popeye's rapids, even though i've ridden those types of rides several times. I think the best example of this is Disney - it is a true example of a "theme-park." The rides aren't thrilling at all, but the theme of them makes them very fun. Take Thunder Mt. - most people don't ride mine trains at Six Flags because they're boring, but on Thunder Mt., you go underground and through elements that make it exciting. Also, Space Mountain in Europe (i know it's obscure, but anyone who's been on it will agree with me) is a pretty boring Vekoma looper layout; however, with the addition of the Jules Verne theme, the "cannon" launch, and the on-train soundtrack, the ride was nothing short of spectacular and really blew me away! So, in conclusion, I think theme really depends on whether the park wants a ride to be "fun" and or "family oriented," or "thrilling," but combining the two doesn't make all that much of a difference.
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Friday, December 28, 2001 8:14 PM
SFGAm is the only real park that themes coasters, (a "fake" park that I've been to that sort of themes would be Knott's Camp Snoopy at the MoA.) but they don't theme them much.

The best themed coaster there would have to be B:TR, but the queue and station only. I don't mind waiting in the maze for that ride because it is themed, and I have something to look at (even if I have it memorized, right down to the credits in the park and the graphiti on the wall.) On the ride, you don't get much for themeing that goes along the Gotham City line, it's more like going through a small feild at a very fast pace.

The next best one there I'd say is Whizzer, which has no theme in line, the station, or on the really even ride. The best part of it is the trees which have grown over the ride. Without it, that little ride would be boring and uneventful.

On the extreme end of not themeing would be Shockwave. Even Cyclops at Big Chief's is themed better, at least that has a big Cyclops logo mounted on the side of the big drop of the ride. Shockwave has nothing other than a decrepid parking lot. With themeing like that, the ride is the only thing defining what it is.

I prefer theming like B:TR's, but in a month that might change once I get back from BGT. Umm... sorry for the essay...

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*music*It's the most commercialized time of the year!*music*

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Friday, December 28, 2001 8:27 PM
To me Theming is there to distract me until I get on the ride. I could care less about the theme of the ride. It does not affect my opinion. What affects my opinion is the ride itself. If I see a coaster I am going to ride it.
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So many coasters, so little time!
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Friday, December 28, 2001 8:31 PM
I don't think that theming really affects my opinion on a coaster, however, I think the use of theming can affect my opinion big time. The only case that I can think of when theming would affect my opinion is if a coaster was themed to such a name such as the Dog Fart Switchback Railway (which is a really roller coaster name). That is just disturbing and would give me a bad impression to start off with.

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http://home.earthlink.net/~sfmm84/
Six Flags Magic Mountain Xtreme Guide

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