Sometimes when I read opinions and TRs on this and other coaster sites, I wonder how influential sites like this can be for the average coaster rider.
Take a regular GP-type person who is merely looking for information about a particular park or scouting opinions of others to get ideas for parks to visit in the future...When such a person sees endless posts of "SFoG is a ghetto park" or "Ride ops are horrible at BGT", couldn't it well have a negative influence? While it may not stop a person from visiting that park....it would, I believe, plant preconceived ideas in his/her head that would cause this visitor to look at the park with a critical eye and be quicker to pounce on and denounce any minor setback.
I guess what I'm trying to say is........While we enthusiasts are quick to exchange thoughts and opinions about various coasters and parks, and are able, for the most part, to take each other's likes and/or dislikes with a grain of salt, we should also try to be aware of how our opinions may influence members of the GP, which are the life-blood of parks.
Very good points, Lallen. I will tend to agree with you to a point but I wonder how many people actually look for information or even attempt to look?
Countless times I've talked with people in queus and the vast majority of them have never heard of ACE, CoasterBuzz, URC, or RRC. Most don't even realize that coaster clubs exist and, when I assure them they do, they wonder why anyone would belong to one. Can you say geek?. :)
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein
Lallen, you offer good points...However, *I* pretty much take TR's and opinions from enthusiasts with a grain of salt. I dont rely on others opinions to persuade me from going to different parks. Case in point, SFA. Now, how many bad reports were there last year about this park??Yet, when I went, I had a GREAT time.
I think more people should be open-minded when it comes to visiting parks, that have had negative comments. But just like you said, when a park gets constant negative attention, it will definitely be in the back of one's mind. But it's up to the individual, to remain optimistic....
Dayuum, Your HOT!
I've found a good deal of the GP, as Lallen says, aren't aware of the forums. But keep in mind that these people do hear verbal reports from friends, family, etc.
I also try to take these reports with a grain of salt. I generally disregard reviews where someone trashes a park because one or two coasters are down due to safety or maintenance issues. I also disregard those who nitpick to death. Not every park is going to compare to your home park.
But when I see the same issues surface in every trip report for a particular park, it does leave an impression with me. I still prefer to form my own opinions about parks and rides. Everyone sees things differently. But if a park is constantly dissed for having slow moving queues; surly or disinterested employees, poor customer service and looks unkempt, I'm less likely to go out of my way to visit that particular park.
On the other hand, when I do visit, I am careful not to let any pre-concieved notions color my opinions. I've heard many people say that Michigan's Adventure is not worth going to because it's only got one good coaster. I disagree. It is small, but they've got several fun rides, and a very nice water park. Both times I've visited, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and the park has certainly improved in the one year Cedar Fair has owned it, although I can see a bit more of the "corporate" changes (strictness in rules) that I'm sure takes away from the "small park" feel Kara is used to.
When I do trip reports, I try very hard NOT to "bash" a park. I certainly have my own opinions, and not all of them will be favorable. But I try to voice those opinions in a way that doesn't belittle the park at all, just a way that the park could improve in my eyes.
I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead
I don't know how much influence there is. I mean, I've read a good share of nasty things about SFGAdv and SFGAm and really enjoyed visiting both.
Generally speaking I think the strongest opinions are associated with the park people visit the most. I have strong feelings about the tree Ohio parks, and it shows. Cedar Point I love, but get irritated with some little things ($3 sodas), SFWoA I wrote off after two years of nonsense, even though I can't get enough of Villain (perhaps because half the time it wasn't open), and PKI has made huge leaps and bounds in rides and operations, making it a new favorite (though I was ready to write it off in 2000 with the SOB drama).
Other parks I get to less but have overall good feelings about, like Holiday World and Kennywood.
Then there are some single visit parks that sit squarely at one end or the other, based solely on first impressions. SFGAdv, SFGAm, Dorney and IOA fall on the positive side, while SFA falls on the negative side. Still others fall in the middle, like PKD. That said, I don't go out of my way to comment on them because my experience is limited.
I think it's safe to say that most people comment on parks similarly, based on experience.
So that said, you've got a numbers game from there. Ohioans and SoCal folks I would guess visit their parks the most, and have lots of opinions on them. Mid-Atlantic and Florida have less regulars (ironic since the Mid-Atlantic region accounts for a majority of CB traffic).
Are people easily influenced? I don't think the general public is, becaues their window to many of these parks is the Discovery Channel and word of mouth. Among enthusiasts, I think there is a small percentage that will feel a certain way about a certain park walking into it just because it's fashionable. That's unfortunate because it colors the opinions of regulars as less credible.
Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"
IMHO the "GP" have different standards of what constitutes a fun coaster than us enthusiasts do. We're picky, we're snobs, we're analytical, we hate clones, we skip SLCs and Boomerangs and kiddie coasters, we say coasters like Mean Streak, Hercules, and PGA's Grizzly suck. Yet I can't tell you how many times I've seen happy faces walking down the exit ramps of those coasters.
N.U.T.S. - National Union of Thrill Seekers! Be a member and tell everyone you're NUTS! [Brought to you by the maker of LoCoSuMo! NOTE: NUTS is not a real club; void where prohibited; your mileage may vary; where's the beef?]
I don't think there's anything wrong with being critical (i.e. "badmouthing") coasters. It should be expected of us experienced riders.
For example, how many times do movie critics give a one-star review to the latest high school movie or chick flick, yet it still makes millions and everyone loves it? It's not because the critic is wrong. The critic has seen thousands of movies and he knows what's good and what's bad. He's seen all the cliches and weary plot mechanisms and he's tired of it.
Yet the average moviegoer enjoys the movie because he only sees a dozen movies a year, if that, and he's not used to seeing the same things over and over. His "taste" isn't refined.
Or take a food critic, who might turn up his nose at McDonalds. He's eaten so much good food that a Big Mac no longer turns him on. Yet some Joe Blow who's never had creme brulee or escargot in his life loves McDonalds.
Same for us coaster folks. The GP might love Boomerang, but we don't because it's boring. Nothing wrong with stating that.
The key is not to be hostile. Read Sean F.'s trip reports and notice how, while he may make negative comments sometimes, he always has something good to say about a ride. And it's true, every ride has something good about it - better than being at work, anyway.
He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.
A rollercoaster? What's that?
Rcthemepark and ApolloAndy bring up very good points. It's not just the criticisms that can influence us, but the raves as well. Going to a park specifically because everyone raves about a particular coaster (or coasters) tends to build up the anticipation, sometimes to a level where some people can be disappointed.
Once again, I think it's best to enter every park with a completely open mind. A bad experience on one trip doesn't necessarily mean a bad experience on all trips, and vice versa. I find the most honest criticisms come from people who are critiquing their own park.
I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead
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