Cedar Fair, Six Flags and Paramount Parks are generally not what I would consider “theme parks”. They are more or less themed amusement parks. They are what some people refer to as “concrete carnivals”. The thing with these parks is that you pretty much know what you are getting before you get there. If you like going to a carnival, you’ll like going to a CF park for the most part.
The trouble with fully themed parks is that an extra dimension is added; that is, the theme itself. I had a blast at Silver Dollar City last summer, absolutely falling in love with the place. Looking back, I realized that at no point in my two days there did I feel like I was at an amusement park. I was at a theme park and I loved it. And that is when it dawned on me that all this time I was dissing BGW or IOA it wasn’t because I was looking for an amusement park…it was because I was just looking for something different.
A theme park is heavily dependent on a person’s interest in its theme, at least it is to me. With all due respect to my European friends, I have no interest whatsoever in ever traveling to Europe. Thus, the theming of BGW is of no use to me no matter how nice it may look. When I go to BGW I am somewhere I simply don’t want to be.
Looking back at my one trip to IOA I can now remember that anytime we were looking for something to do, we would end up back in the Dr. Seuss themed area. Even if I may have liked Spiderman or Dueling Dragons as mechanical rides better than Cat In The Hat, we always ended up back in the Seuss area anyway. That was because I didn’t really care to be in a land of Superheroes or Jurassic Park. I don’t like that stuff. I found Dr. Seuss to be funny, so when it came right down to it I preferred to be sitting on a bench under a crooked tree than riding an awesome ride surrounded by superheroes or dinosaurs.
Has anybody else felt this way? Have you ever come across a ride where you enjoy the mechanics, but the theming kills it? Or an entire themed area where the theme is of no interest and thus you don’t have as much fun no matter what attractions are in that area?
Uncle Coaster said:
Has anybody else felt this way?
God, no. Even without a bunch of distinct, themed areas, all parks have atmosphere. I don't think many people here would call Cedar Point a "concrete carnival" but then again your opinion is your own.
For the vast majority of people, a park's success is not dependent on the guests interest in the theme. I'd hate to see what would happen to you at Disney World. Do you really have to be interested in car safety testing to enjoy Test Track? Or interested in old time Hollywood or the Twilight Zone to enjoy Tower of Terror? I hate Aerosmith with a passion but still enjoyed Rock 'n' Rollercoaster. Just an example.
I mean...if only wanted to visit themed areas and rides I was really interested in I wouldn't have many parks under my belt, you know? But then again you don't care for Superheroes (which are included in pretty much all Six Flags') or Dinosaurs (which are featured in a lot of parks too in one way or another) or Europe (and there are an awful lot of parks with themed areas that have at least some connection to Europe besides BGW.) It just seems like your interests are very limited, but then again, even if I were the same way I wouldn't let it get in the way of my having fun....
I think employees who are wearing a themed uniform in the area really helps complete the idea of a themed area.
Anyway, I'm with you there to a degree. I really like Wild West and Futuristic theming. That's why I love Knott's, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland, but tend to stay away from Fantasyland.
I loved all the theming at Great America...that was fun stuff while it lasted. :) *** Edited 7/29/2004 5:42:05 PM UTC by janfrederick***
I guess to sum it up in a nutshell, if you give me a choice to go either to the the best amusment park (CP) or my favorite theme park (BGW) most of the time BGW would win out.
There are countless hobbies that people use as a sense of escape from the real world. An overall lack of enjoyment in one aspect of one of those hobbies would hardly make someone a person who would rather be at work.
EDIT: Substituted SDC for traditional park I originally used. SDC is a better example for this discussion.
*** Edited 7/29/2004 5:49:38 PM UTC by Uncle Coaster***
There are rides that the theming enhances greatly- such as Big Bad Wolf at BGW. The little touches like the recorded wolf howls, the close calls with the buildings in the village, and even the bell that goes off REALLY add to the ride experience in my opinion. Then there are rides that have a theme, like Superman: Ride Of Steel at SFDL, but there is little to no actual "theming". Does that take away from the ride experience? I'd say not in the least.
Uncle Coaster and I may disagree on parks like BGW, but we definitely do agree on a "theme" that never gets old- a classic park atmosphere. Knoebels, Idlewild, Seabreeze, etc. are all parks I wish I could spend more time at than I get to. And that is a theme that the parks don't have to spend a single dime on! :)
Ray P. (who realizes that he really didn't add much to this discussion... something I seem to be good at on CBuzz)
Aye, which is why I am one of the fans of the "kill em with colors" kick that Cedar Fair is having lately. I'm not a big sucker for theming, especially when it's half assed. I just like when they make things look purrrrty. I still like parks like BGW, Knotts and PKI though (which had the best theming of the parks I have been to)
I don't think many people here would call Cedar Point a "concrete carnival" but then again your opinion is your own.
Maybe not a concrete carnival but it is certainly a concrete jungle. A very nice concrete jungle, but concrete nonetheless.
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