Independents and Top Wooden Coasters

Monday, May 28, 2001 9:39 PM
After watching tonight's top ten show and taking a good look at the Amusement Today list, I noticed that the majority of the top wooden coasters reside in independent parks (or at least family owned parks, ala Kennywood and Lake Compounce). Some of the great woodies in corporate parks actually were built while the parks were independent. So my question is the following: what causes this phenomenon? Is it that the independent parks are simply more creative in building a new ride, because they know that they have an extremely limited amount of money for new attractions (the "we can't screw this up" mentality)? Or is it that we enthusiasts like the atmosphere of independent parks more, and so we tend to enjoy the coasters that grace these parks more so than ones at corporate complexes?

Perhaps it is a combination of both, but I tend to think that, from what I've seen in pictures (having not visited many independents), that the smaller parks just build rides with better layouts. And if this is the case, it gives rise to another question: if independents could afford big time steel coasters (like B&M and Intamin), would we see the likes of elements and creative layouts never tried before? Wildfire at SDC, what I consider a big time steel coaster at an independent park, has a significantly different layout from many other beemers. While I doubt it will make any top lists for most people, I find the layout a refreshing change from many rides (the dive loop is the first element). I hope that some of the other independents can find the money to construct steel coasters as well. I think that we'll all be in for a real treat if it does happen.

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According to the "official" count, next year's new coaster lineup will feature 17 Arrow 4-Ds, 21 TA2Ks, 34 B&M floorless's, 17 Intamin Gigas, 12 beemer flyers, and 247 CCIs. And oh yeah, CP will receive one of all of these.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 4:48 AM
I think it has a lot to do with big parks thinking you have to spend a lot to get a ride that captures the imagination of the public. To a certain degree, I think that's a perfectly logical thing to assume.

What no one counted on was CCI. For less than $5 million, you can get one, perhaps two, outstanding world-class rides that aren't the tallest or fastest anything, but they give you a ride you'll never forget. The small price tag is attractive to a small park that can't spend $10 million on a single ride.

I do think that Six Flags has taken notice of this with the installation of The Boss and Villain. Not sure what those rides cost, but it had to be more reasonable than your average steel coaster.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 6:04 AM
I agree with the idea of cost: a world-class wooden coaster is significantly less expensive than a comparable steel coaster, so the smaller parks can better afford great wooden coasters. Plus, they may choose wooden coaster more because of the traditional look in the first place, therefore being less inclined to build a steel coaster at all, if it is a choice between the two.

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Po!nt of View: A different look at Roller Coasters.
http://www.crosswinds.net/~justmayntz/thrills/index.html
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 7:15 AM
Another problem is that corporate theme parks have a history of taking world class woodies and putting severe braking and bad rolling stock on them. I know they're looking out for the GP, and their insurance agent, but why is it that independents usually don't have these problems?

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"If we built a ride that everyone wanted to ride, it would be called an elevator, and that's not an amusement ride."
-Stan Checketts, S&S Power
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:21 AM
Not with the braking again. Why does that generalization come up over and over again?

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Tuesday, May 29, 2001 11:08 AM
Jeff,

I think you should add a feature to the boards that autumatically deletes any message that refers to brakes or trims. yeah baby!!!

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/s/
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