Wednesday, January 28, 2004 10:41 AM
Viewing a list of new coasters built from 2000 until present, I found some interesting 'sacrifices' that we are putting on our thrill. This is in comarison to the previous 5 years. Are we sacrificing human creativity for the primary rush that some of these coasters deliver without a full circuit course or a simple down and back (TTD & Hypersonic). Don't get me wrong, I realize the incredible engineering that an Intamin Impulse coaster or TTD takes to become what they are to us, but where's the creativity?

Here's another few questions I've been pondering during our hell months: 1) Are parks building these coasters to save space in their parks, more bang for their buck? 2) Yes, you can say TTD is a full circuit ride (cough, cough), but where's the creativity of blast off (Major rush), up, spin down, brakes? 3) In this country's economic situation, are parks just trying to get buy with quick rush entertainment...or is it our society? Quick rush, then done mentality?

I don't know....3 days off of school because of weather....we are frozen in, somehow, I don't think that's all that's frozen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:25 AM
Well, if Cedar POint really wanted to, they could have made TTD longer and more creative, but it would coast considerably more. (Probably another 5 million at the least.)

Maybe Cedar Point built TTD like it is to save space, but where else are they going to put the worlds tallest, fastest coaster?

And I think I'm too young to really understand the whole economy part of the question :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:31 AM
It'd cost a whole lot more than 5 million. Anyone remember that fake drawing of the ride that popped up here a year or so ago? I'd have loved to see that, but it would have easily doubled the price of the ride.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:31 AM
Hmmm...I wouldn't call X a sacrifice in creativity. I'd call it taking a rather large gamble actually.

Personally, I'd rather see 25 million spent on 4 woodies instead of a single launched coaster, but my extra $30 ain't gonna help reimburse it all that much. What do you think would get folks into a park better, "We got a whole MESS of wood up in this joint!", or, "We done gone the biggest, tallest, fastest, watchamacallit north, south, east, aaaaaand west of the pecos!"? *** Edited 1/28/2004 4:31:38 PM UTC by janfrederick***

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:41 AM
I've got two directions, take your pick which you like better ...

Direction 1: Most people's reaction, at least in enthusiast circles is that Xcelerator was all about the launch. The overbanks aren't a big hit with many people, so perhaps this fueled into the final design of TTD. I realize that TTD had to have been on the drawing table early to get that motor up to speed, but I would think that they were waiting for some sort of reaction to Xcel before finalizing the layout. In TTD's case, if it was anything more than L-TH-B the launch would probably not have the effect that it does. As it is, that's about the only thing people really remember about it on their first ride. After that, you begin to appreciate the height, but the thing that cost them the most money and that they're most proud of (probably), the speed and the powerful launch are the two things that stick in your mind when you're done. In that manner, TTD was perfectly designed, and anything more as I said before, would be a waste.

Direction 2: Parks had been building and building and building and now the money's running out. That and the space and the ability to put in what's new ... cause for the major parks, there aren't many places left to go that designers are currently and publicly offering. Now if they just shut off that waterfall of new rides every year immediately, there would have been a public backlash, people would be wondering what the hell happened and why the parks were suddenly cutting off the supply. By scaling down the rides, becoming less creative, the parks can still offer rides every year or two, but they cost less because of the lowered amount of engineering required for "plug and play" elements, and the smaller size of the footprints of these rides plays into the smaller cost. This way, the public can sort of be let down easy, but the park's bottom line is eased out of the "coaster boom" quicker. Think about it - after two coasters at CP that have less curved track than the first quarter of any of their previous 3 (if I'm counting my coasters right ... ), people are expecting a little less. They public has a chance to figure out for themselves that money's tighter, space is tighter, and there's just not much left that's new and different. But, in proportion, CP's bottom line isn't affected the same way. Magnum cost under 10 mil for 205', Millie cost 25 mil for 310' and Dragster cost 25 mil for 420'. That's a pretty significant "price per unit of height" decrease on Dragster, but the public still sees it as 205-310-420. Get what I'm sayin?

Sorry 'bout the novel, I've been writing "tech talk" all week =)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 12:25 PM
There is no "sacrifice". Simply a judgement of relative worth. At a given cost, you can exchange value (height, speed) for value (creativity of layout). This is not sacrifice, but trade.

For example, I hate it when people say they "sacrifice" their time to volunteer for some charitable organization. Sacrifice is the concept of giving something for nothing, which I don't believe exists. Mother Theresa did not "sacrifice" her life to care for the less fortunate. She made a willing trade of her time and effort for the value she recieved in seeing the condition of those she helped improve.

Parks and designers are simply making judgements of value based on what the customers respond to. I guarantee that if more people frequented the park with say, the "shiniest" coaster, rather than the park with the tallest, you'd find a whole lot of coasters and parks investing in chrome....


Wednesday, January 28, 2004 12:36 PM
Agreed that it's all about the general worth of the ride. Dragster could've been longer, sure, but at what cost? $25 million even for what it does is a whole lot of money.

I think impulses are nice additions to any park. They're good rides, just as boomerangs were the decade before (I don't care how many there are, they're fun rides and people enjoy them).

Consider also that most parks aren't going to duplicate a similar experience with another ride. That'd be kind of silly. Using CP as an example again (since they have so many rides), MF didn't need to be Magnum II and Dragster didn't have to be MF II. Heck, PKI has gone in an entirely different direction by not building mroe coasters, but flat rides in their own class, and it works great for them.

It all comes to cost justification, diversifying your line-up and marketability of the attraction. It's not any more complicated than that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 1:56 PM
I beleive parks are going with the trends. The prototype seems to be all the rage now. While money is limited, I don't see it being the only factor in what a park builds. CP built MF for 25 million. Then TTD for 25 million. That's a lot of cash to spend on coasters in such a short time.

As for the next trend? I predict one of two things (not that this is rocket science. More like being a meteorologist in Southern California).

1. The adventure-thrill coaster. Heavily themed, high-tech coasters that trade overall extreme height and speed for an overall experience. Example: Nemesis, Revenge of the Mummy (although we're still not exactly sure what it is), or the recent ideas of Parmount parks for coasters based on The Italian Job and The Adams Family.

2. Return to Old School. It's occuring in fashion and design; retro is in. Now for coasters: Trading extreme height and speed for a better layout and perhaps nostalgia. We'll see a revival of moderate height woodies, such as Ghostrider, Raven, and Phoenix, instead of attempting to build a monster record breaking coaster that flops (See Son of Beast). Or, simple coaster layouts done very well that makes the ride not so much intense, but a lot of fun (see Ninja at SFMM).

*** Edited 1/28/2004 7:03:24 PM UTC by Danimales***

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 3:10 PM

Jeff said:
Dragster could've been longer, sure, but at what cost? $25 million even for what it does is a whole lot of money.

Agreed. In addition, it certainly makes one wonder if BPB actually has that kinda scratch to plunk down for their rumored "world's tallest" title chaser.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 4:59 PM

Jeff said:

Using CP as an example again (since they have so many rides), MF didn't need to be Magnum II and Dragster didn't have to be MF II. Heck, PKI has gone in an entirely different direction by not building mroe coasters, but flat rides in their own class, and it works great for them.

Cedar Fair is good for bringing "coaster diversity" to their parks... I will give them that. Instead of trying to trump one of their older rides with a newer, improved version of it, they tend to try something different. Too bad they don't extend that diversity to wooden coasters- I'd love to see them install a twisting racer such as Lightning Racer or perhaps a modern-day recreation of their Traver Cyclone. Lately, steel seems to be the only way for them to go.

Paramount has seemed to have hit upon a successful formula of non-coaster ride diversity, with Canada's Wonderland being the poster child for that mentality. They seem to achieve a good balance of thrill rides and family rides in all of their parks (with coasters and flats), and if SF took a closer look, they would find ways to address their current situation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 6:04 PM
First of all, thanks. All great points, especially about the #1 factor, cost. My mind has been wandering after 3 days off of school and playing too much RCT2. Boredom is more like it.

The sacrifice vs. trade arguement intrigue me the most, but after noting that the definitions of both terms are extremely close, I can see that you understood my post, Echo. And your right, they are different in terms, a little, but would you have clicked on Trade if that was the title?

X is not a sacrifice by all means, JanFredrick. That's a great example to the pure ingenuity of Arrow at that time. Rob A. sees that in the wood coaster, where CP lacks BIG TIME. I totally agree after riding LR and Gwazi. But, we probably won't see a woodie on the Point in sometime. I hope, but it's false.

What Danimales wrote about returning to old school is a topic in itself. The Ozark Wildcat and Thunderhead are perfect examples, but look at the parks they were built. Small, without the same cash flow as CP, SF or Paramount parks. And you're right about MF and TTD being $50 million, you can add $12 million for Wicked Twister, where $62 million for 3 coasters in 4 years is a higher total for a single park that I can remember, beside the approxiamately $58 million for WoA in two years. But again, one was an impulse.

Which leads me to Jeff's comments, where I agreed totally one one note, Cash. Impulses are great additions to parks. My uncle from Chicago rode his first with us at SFGAm this past summer and flat out loved it. He said, "Damn, technology has come a long way since the old wooden coasters!"

Are we, as enthusiasts, becoming bored with impulse, LIM, or rocket coaster designs? Or am I just mixing too much reality with my RCT? Trust me, I'm not bored with new coasters, but the impulses and mouses are taking over the 'new' coaster lists.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 8:59 PM

EchoVictor said:
There is no "sacrifice". Simply a judgement of relative worth. At a given cost, you can exchange value (height, speed) for value (creativity of layout). This is not sacrifice, but trade.

Wow. That's the ballagme right there, LOL.

I'll add that the coasters that people call "short", generally they're launched coasters. When you're starting out at a high velocity instead of on an inclined chainlift, you're "goblin" track length at a pretty good clip. Track length translates to cost, the other real factors being height and the technology involved. (Didn't we decide recently that even well-paid steelworkers didn't make that much of an impact on cost, LOL).

Trade-offs are evident in every area of economics, it's "opportunity cost".

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 11:16 PM
Yea that was my bad that started that whole steel debate =) I think you're exactly right there 'gator on the launched thing. Wicked Twister is listed on CP's website as covering almost 2,700' of track during its complete cycle. We'll down that 2,500 since my baby on the beach has been neutered, but that's still the length of a lot of decent full circuit coasters. And Dragster's even longer at 2,800' But, you cover probably 2,500 of that 2,800 in what, 21 seconds? The more speed you get, the more you don't notice how long your rides actually are. If the Point had made a full circuit out of that 2,800' of track, well, Intamin's Tornado in Finland is only 2,297' (rcdb). Hmm ...

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