Duplicating a ride

CoasterDiscern's avatar
I am unfamiliar with the clone of a ride. Lets say for example batman the ride. When it is the first of its kind especially layout and design, how will it be chosen for duplication in other parks? Park favorite by guests, maintenance and reliability or is there a smaller price tag for repeating that ride from the same coaster building company. I find this really, really interesting, so if you could give me some information about the matter that would be greatly appreciated. Batmen the ride would be fine if you'd prefer.

Ask not what you can do for a coaster, but what a coaster can do for you.
I believe it mostly comes down to cost first, popularity of ride second.

Six Flags installing all of their inverts in their parks definitely reduced cost with the Batman layout. On top of that, it's a popular ride.

Another case of reducing cost would be the addition of the two Tony Hawk spinning coasters at two SF parks. They used the same layout that was designed for Mall of America with the installation of Timberland Twister.

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

Don't they get discounts for buying in bulk too? Plus it be less because they wouldn't have to pay for a designer to create a new plan.


This does up the other interesting question though of how much extra does it cost to have a mirror image (if anything), or in the case of Batman the Ride at SFSTL, a reverse layout?

I'm sure Crashmando is right that it would cost less to buy an off-the-shelf coaster because the plans can be stored on a computer hard drive. The only added cost I would imagine would be for site excavation and evaluation.

A discount for buying in bulk, or a discount for buying a pre-designed ride? I'm sure there is some kind of savings to be realized by getting something already designed instead of a custom job that requires more work, but as far as buying large quantities of rides I don't think it makes a difference. I doubt that B&M gives a good price on a third Batman is you buy two.
rollergator's avatar
^Not so sure, Rob. Sure, you definitely get a ride cheaper if you buy something "pre-engineered" like a B:TR or an SLC. After all, the B&M/Vekoma engineers aren't going to re-invent the wheel.

I don't have any first-hand knowledge, but it sure SEEMS likely you'd get a better deal by buying 3 Deja Vus all at once as opposed to negotiating on three separate ocasions...of course, you'll need those savings later on to keep extra mechanics on staff, so that particular example might turn out to be a wash... ;)

I'm not saying that Six Flags would negotiate three separate deals for Deja Vu coasters, but I'm not sure if it's the equivalent of rental car company "fleet sales" where a large number of cars are purchased at a serious discount. Not sure if 3, 10 or even 20 coasters in a single order would drive down the price enough to make it seem like a good deal.
beast7369's avatar
I personally think building a ride that is "off-the-shelf" would be significantly cheaper. Since the actually structural engineering is already done you don't have to pay for that or at least a significant portion of it. I am sure tweaks to the designs occur from time to time. But you will still have to pay for actual parts being made and likely you need to have foundational engineering done as each location presents it's unique problems that need to be overcome. I am positive it isnt as easy as 1...2...3...PLOP. I do still think that there is substantial cost savings but maybe in the case of a Batman instead of $10 mil (hypothetical cost and not necessarily real cost since I didnt look it up)....if you get "clone" you probably will still pay $5-$7 mil but that is significant savings if you ask me.

CoasterDiscern's avatar
I see, but what about the actual choice of the ride being duplicated. I'm not sure, but I thought SFGAm was the first park of the chain to recieve batman the ride (correct me if I'm wrong). That being said, I still don't understand the choice itself. Would they just walk up to the batman ride at SFGAm and say, that ride is a hit, the cost is great and its reliable, so lets build it at or brother and sister parks. Same thing with the Vekoma's. There are so many, mind erasor, tup gun, kong, thunderhawk, blue tornado and even the re-designed kumali. I would love to have the reasoning behind it all. Very cool.

Ask not what you can do for a coaster, but what a coaster can do for you.
The ACE ride plaque outside of the orginal B:TR at SFGam has some interesting information. The big one that sticks out though is that the general manger of the park at the time came up with the idea to have a coaster that rode on the underside of the track.

You have to understand that at the time that no one thought it would work, including coaster enthusiasts. I can only imagine that the lines were probably huge for this ride in its infancy. Time Warner, then the owners of Six Flags, probably saw the success of the ride and ordered many more over the years.

You can probably also imagine how revolutionary this ride would've have looked back in the day. You don't have to be a very smart business person to figure out that the unique design of the ride would look fresh in any park you added it to, therefore, repeating the attendance upswing.

The SLCs basically are the same story. You've got a train that hangs beneath the track instead of riding on top it and there you go. I don't know if the price is any lower than a B&M, but if it is, that would be a reason to go with the Vekoma SLCs.

It also put many parks on the map, so to speak. For example, my homepark SFA when it was Wild World added Mind Eraser in 1995. Previous to M.E., they only had Wild One. Throwing in a major steel coaster like an SLC looked impressive in the television commercials, and got the park plenty of publicity. It was a smart smove for the then fledgling park.

Mamoosh's avatar
I-Fan - just one minor nitpick: the uniqueness of Batman wasn't that the train hung under the track as there were quite a few Arrow and Vekoma suspended coasters built prior. What was unique was that the train performed inversions, something Arrow had been trying to perfect [and what many thought wasn't possible].
Talking about the Busch Gardens stuff, does anyone think that Cedar Point should of tried this with Intamin after TTD was built so they would hold the record longer?

Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

Nope. :)

*** Edited 7/31/2007 5:46:18 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

Mamoosh's avatar
Who's to say they didn't ask Intamin for such an agreement and Intamin said no?


I would think that could have been possible Moosh. Also Cedar Fair may have figured that it cost so much to build that no other company would invest that kind of money into a single ride.

Anyone on the west coast did Xcelerator operate reliably the first year of operation? Its been so long I forget.

I'd imagine that a company like Intamin would want a lot of money if they agreed to keep their creation an exclusive for "x" number of years. Cedar Fair probably didn't see it being an issue because they figured none of their local competition was going to spend that kind of dough to try and top them. The only parks I would have expected to build a ride like that were Magic Mountain or Great Adventure, and neither of those parks are regional competition.
Thanks Moosh for the correction. I wasn't thinking about the inversion factor when I wrote the post.

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