I think it is the quality of the coaster that is more important, but it is nice to see a really well themed park. It just makes for a better experience (especially with families). However, a bad coaster, with great themeing is just a waste of money.
I wouldn't say that they're against theming: look at the Frontier Trail/Frontiertown areas, as well as Camp Snoopy, even the restaurants Johnny Rockets and Coasters are themed. I suppose it just depends on what you call themeing, and to what degree you prefer it.
As for my preference, some parks have it, some parks don't. It doesn't really make one park better than another, it's just a part of that particular park's experience.
Themeing only adds to the ride experience! Here's an example that came to me... Go ride the indoor coaster Runaway Mountain at SFoT themed to an old Mining mountain (or something like that). The queue is filled with mining supplies, mist-filled lagoons,and shading trees. The building the ride is in is nearly pitch black and adds a real feel to the ride.
In comparison, go ride Firestorm, a mirror image coaster outdoors with no themeing. Themeing really adds to the ride!
Actaully, CP has some theming throughout. Look at frontier town. The whole area is themed to a old western look. Their rides aren't really themed, but who really cares if you have theming when you have some of the best rollercoasters and thrill rides on earth??
I think Cedar Fair found out that they don't need to put in those extra bucks for a theme, mostly because peeps are just as happy about the rides.
Whenever I go to Cedar Point, I hear people all day saying, "Let's do Power Tower!", or "Do you guys want to go on Gemini?". It's the exact same thing with Six Flags. "Let's Ride Batman!", "Superman goes really fast, want to try it?". Thematics are nice, but in no way necessary.
------------- Jes Webmaster, Jes's Roller Coasters www.jesms.cjb.net "Thank You Jeff Putz"
*** This post was edited by Zero-G on 8/6/2001. ***
Frontiertown and the Frontier Trail were built when George Roose and Emil LaGros were the principal owners. They were going to build "a Disney style park" in Ohio. When they were no longer there the emphasis changed from theming to a more traditional park layout.
Cedar Point although it is not heavily themed is still one of the most beautiful parks around. The lake seting and the beach make for a really nice view. They do have some themed areas: camp snoopy and frontier town for example, but overall I think they are more worried about the quality of the park in general VS. the quality, time and expense of marketing a single ride through theming.
Is it really fair to say Cedar Fair is "against" theming? Cedar Point, Michigan's Adventure and Dorney Park are amusement parks, rather than theme parks. Knott's and Worlds of Fun are theme parks. Valleyfair I've never been to so I don't know.