Is themeing important?

CoasterDiscern's avatar
I wanted to start a new thread based on opinions about themeing. Personally, having rocks or bolders to rush by at fifty miles an hour is astonishing to say the least. Ponds, wooden shacks (ALPIE), forests full of evergreens, tunnels, trenches, etc etc etc. They all leave a special impression on me.

Pic number two is my favorite. My eyes start to water and my head hurts just looking at it. AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING!

I think a ride can lack thrill and be completely lame, but when surrounded by exceptional theming and craftsmanship like in those photos the ride is that much better.

What do you think?

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Both of the U.S. Space Mountains are two of my favorite steel coasters (I like them more than any B&M). So yes; I'd say theming can make a BIG difference. *** Edited 4/20/2007 10:43:42 PM UTC by Acoustic Viscosity***

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

I suggest you try out Mystery Mine at Dollywood, then. There's a lot of theme to the ride, from the ride scenes to the chipped footers after the trestle. But theming doesn't need to be overdone for me to enjoy it... Kingda Ka's queue line and station are done quite well (not to mention the whole Golden Kingdom itself), and fit perfectly.

^One rides theming isnt good and it's Disaster Transport. ;)

Timbers crew 08

matt.'s avatar
There are bad rides with good theming. (The Fof's before the lapbar conversion.)

There bad rides with bad theming. (Several Disney dogs come to mind.)

There are good rides with good theming. (see most everything at Universal)

There are good rides with bad theming. (see a lot of stuff Paramount built.)

I think you have to judge each ride individually based on it's own pretensions. It's hard to make generalizations about all "theming" that way.

rollergator's avatar
^^^ LOL, Arson, when I first saw the topic my first thought was "Dollywood says YES!"

Gotta say how few "elements" were involved in even the Borg thing at PCar, but it really DOES make a big difference to GUESTS. Remember to "think like the GP" (stealing Gonch's words, LOL) - those people who don't ride or aren't necessarily "hardcore", they also gt a LOT out of theming.

It's even cheap to maintain theming. But please, if you theme an attraction, DO keep it up. Out-of-date or unkept theming is just as bad as none at all. Top Gun? Really? ;)

edit: LOL, I *just* realized how matt's claim about Paramount rings true in my post. Most of the "Top Gun" rides are very good (PKI's, PCar's, PGA's, anyway)...but nobody knows the name of THAT actor anymore...hehe. :)
*** Edited 4/20/2007 11:48:01 PM UTC by rollergator***

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Mamoosh's avatar
At at THEMEpark, yes.
matt.'s avatar
I'll agree with some sentiment here - I really enjoy theming, but I don't think it's a required thing.

What SHOULD be required is not letting it go to hell once you've spent the dough on it. Preaching to the choir, I know, but there aren't a ton of parks that really make it a priority.

Even Disney is an offender. Good questions raised by that reimagineering blog about why they make all these efforts to spiff up rides that are fine as is when others go to crap. I mean I think it's fine to tinker with rides and add new elements but not at the cost maintaining others. *** Edited 4/21/2007 1:32:04 AM UTC by matt.***

I think it's important to have good theming because it definitely adds to the ride experience. One ride that comes to mind is Big Bad Wolf at Bush Gardens Europe. Besides being one of few remaining Arrow Suspended coasters, the voyage through the Bavarian village makes the ride quite memorable.
Some places, like Morey's piers, don't need theming. THe boardwalk and the ocean are all the theme you need.

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

^ Big Bad Wolfe's themeing was partially destroyed when Drachenfire was put in. The first part of the Villiage was a lot better back in the day! Alpengeist's foot chopper just after the mid-course break run (if it still exists) is my favorite piece of themeing especially if you ride front seat left side! Haven't been back to Williamsburg since Alepengeist's 2nd year.

On to Six Flags Great Adventure, loss of themeing througout the park due to trees being removed. Most noteably (let's go back to the early '90s) around Rolling Thunder and the Runaway Mine Train. I remember the turnaround on Rolling Thunder dipping back down into the woods and Runaway Mine Train being almost totally wooded before the hops over the lake. Now you take a ride on Nitro, no need for theming there, the hills make it great! Batman TR, as I told my sister when we left for the park that warm June morning in '93, "make sure you take your shoes off so you can hear the wind whistle between your toes!" (theming was a bit of a waste on that one, but the fog out of the station was a neat effect for bystanders).

Is Theming "necessary", no but it helps (as mentioned above) on less thrilling rides. Dollywood seems to have it right and Carowinds just keeps losing some of its themeing year after year.

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Theming is not important to me to make a great coaster; however, it can turn an otherwise mediocre coaster into a great coaster. The actual coaster inside DL's Space Mountain is very simple in layout and doesn't do anything exciting, BUT with the darkness and the galactic effects surrounding you, it's fantastic!

The actual coasters inside of WDW's Space Mountain are much more exciting and would make for rather fun rides without any of the theming. The effects are nowhere near as good as those on DL's ride, but they still add a lot to the ride and make for a coaster that is more fun than the vast majority of the almost 300 steel coasters I've ridden.

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Take a look at these two rides and tell me which one YOU would rather go on -- THEMEING MATTERS!

Skyhawk (Cedar Point) VS. Giant Swing (Silver Dollar City)

Acoustic Viscosity's avatar
Which one gives your more swings? ;)

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

I second Matt on that. That's why I like Kennywood's Swing Shot and Compounce's Thunder and Lightning more than Skyhawk. Oh well... I guess I'll just have to get used to Skyhawk this summer anyway.

I agree with Gator's Borg assessment as well. There's enough to make sense for the ride, but it's not themed to the hilt like a Disney attraction (or even the Italian Jobs in the other former-Paramount Parks). I would expect Firehawk to have the same type of minimal theming, because it adds something extra to the ride (in Borg's case, the big sphere is a good, photogenic icon for the ride... it's a part of the ride's identity). *** Edited 4/21/2007 3:39:17 AM UTC by Arson***

Lord Gonchar's avatar

Swoosh said:
Take a look at these two rides and tell me which one YOU would rather go on -- THEMEING MATTERS!

Skyhawk (Cedar Point) VS. Giant Swing (Silver Dollar City)

Actually, Skyhawk...because it means I'm at Cedar Point. Yay! :)

Seriously though, is the barn supposed to be the tiebreaker here? Because without being too much of a smartass, the barn doesn't do much for me personally. (from the pics, at least)

I look at it this way, think of some of the coasters that are constantly named as the best. Voyage, S:ROS, Phoenix, Thunderhead, Nitro, Millennium Force, Hades (all top tens in Mitch's polls) - not much theme happening there.

It's not important, but it can be.

Then again, I draw a distinction between theme parks and amusement parks.

Mamoosh's avatar
Theming matters AT A THEME PARK.

Cedar Point is not a theme park...I never expect theme elements with rides and most of their rides do not have any, with a few notable exceptions. Silver Dollar City is a theme park and I would expect Giant Swing to look just as it does.

Which would I prefer to ride? Neither...I'll ride both. I don't prefer a identical ride types if the only difference is theme elements.

I think that theming like on the BTR especially at SFOT the theming sets the mood really well. For the most part I think the theme should be mostly good in the lines like DD at IOA which sets the mood for ride better than on the actual ride except EE at AK did a good job of on ride theming.

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

Mamoosh's avatar
But theme elements won't cause me to like a bad ride more. Psyclone would still have sucked even if it had millions of theme elements surrounding it.
CoasterDiscern's avatar
Good point, but would you rather have maverick with all its themeing or without? Would it make a difference to you?

Ask not what you can do for a coaster, but what a coaster can do for you.

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