The Typical American Theme/Amusement Park.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:00 PM
I'm not sure if it is just me or what but it seems as though American Parks are losing that special one of a kind something. If you take a look at many European parks they are all different and unique in their own way. The Six Flags Inc. parks get boring after awhile. They are all pretty much the same but with different coasters. Don't get me wrong we do have some unique parks like Dollywood, Siver Dollar City, Holliday World(Although nothing extinsive in theming, and a few others. I'd love to put Cedar Point up there but it's just an amusement park that happens to have Amzing Rides.

I think it would just be nice to add some unique flavor to our american parks. Something neat and different.

Share your thoughts.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:16 PM
We've got plenty of Unique parks in the US. The problem is, many of them are closing because they can't compete with the bland mega parks.

I agree, Dollywood is unique.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:19 PM
It must just be you. I've never been to Europe so I really can't compare parks or anything, but I really enjoy most parks that I go to here in the states. Yes the SF parks can seem to be a bit boring, but if you stay away from parks that you KNOW you won't have an enjoyable experience at, there shouldn't be any problems, and not ALL of their parks are bad (see the two Texas parks). And there are definitely parks with extensive themeing, such as the Disney Parks and Universal parks. But maybe the ones in Europe are better, I don't know.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:26 PM
A ton of US parks have lost their feel and what makes them a park to being with.

PKI while still being landscaped has lost a ton of it. CP once tree laden and traditional is all futuristic and brightly painted.

Dorney, Lets not even go there.

There are several charming parks in the USA. I found WOF to be wildly unique and Adventureland Iowa to also have lots of charm. Kennywood. WOW!

Dollywood is awesome in atmosphere and is now adding rides to bring the thrill seekers as well as it's family and elderly guest. SFSTL still has some charm left.

It's all about what your looking for. If rides are your sole concern, Then Id suggest a SF or CP park. If your looking to a relaxing time with some good rides too boot. A day away from it all. Then select a traditonal. you don't get commercials shoved down your throat at every turn.

Chuck

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:45 PM
I agree with chuck about Kings Island and also Kings Dominion. Taking a look at older pictures, they had such awesome looking atmosphere. Any pictures of parks from the 70s looks awesome IMO, today there aren't parks with that same kooky charm that I see. Knoebels has managed to keep some of it. *** Edited 2/14/2007 8:45:48 PM UTC by P18***
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:54 PM
While I would admit that the former Paramount parks, Six Flags, etc. sometimes lack that "special one of a kind something", there are still a lot of parks out there that do have something to offer.

- Busch Gardens Europe

- Busch Gardens Africa

- The soon to open Wild West World

- Kennywood seems to fit the bill for unique as far as it's ride selection. They have rides that really do not exist any longer.

- In '08 we'll have the Hard Rock Park...totally themed around music.

- Idlewild (PA)...old-fashioned meets storybooks/fairy tales

- Lakeside (CO)...Classic theming w/ neon lighting and classic rides.

- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (CA)...Still the best example to me personally of a beach/oceanside amusement park. For that matter, throw in Coney Island for the east coast.

- As far as the Paramount/Cedar Fair aquisition goes CF received a very unique park in Bonfante Gardens (CA).

...Some of this is classic, some modern, but they all have their own unique qualities.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 3:56 PM
^Dont forget the Disney Parks and Universal, they remain the gold standard of theme parks.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:02 PM
It's a matter of the grass being greener. We're more familiar with the American parks so the European parks look novel and more varied and interesting.

In Europe they're drooling over our parks. Save some money and buy some plane tickets and visit and it won't seem as big a deal.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:36 PM
Actually matt. Several TR's from the european trip had tons of comment on how much better themed and landscaped several of the European parks were.

Id grant probably Busch and Herchend are right with them but it sounded cool :)

Chuck

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:43 PM
I'll probably get flamed at for this but of the SF parks I've been to, I found Great Adventure to be a notch above the typical park. I thought Fantasy Forest was rather nice with the trees and the giant Ferris Wheel looming within them.

The oversized teepee, Conestoga wagon, and fort in Frontier Adventures as well as the massive ice cream sundae that adorns the Character Cafe. Haven't seen anything like that in my travels. They also did a good job with Golden Kingdom.

X Factor

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:51 PM
^while I agree with(and even create) some trash talk on six Flags and their operations and such, some of the pictures I've seen of Great Adventure make it look very appealing, especially some of Gonch's pictures here:
http://www.coasterimage.com/pictures/sixflagsgreatadventure/general05.htm
http://www.coasterimage.com/pictures/sixflagsgreatadventure/general04.htm
http://www.coasterimage.com/pictures/sixflagsgreatadventure/general06.htm
http://www.coasterimage.com/pictures/sixflagsgreatadventure/general09.htm
Glad to see it's held onto some of that unique "kooky" charm *** Edited 2/14/2007 9:59:26 PM UTC by P18***
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:54 PM
There are only a few true theme parks left in this country. Disney. Islands of Adventure, Busch, Dollywood, Silver Dollar City.

Paramount killed the Taft park's theming. Kings Island, Carowinds and Great America has has most of their original themed atmosphere destroyed. Kings Dominion and Wonderland have faired better but still are messy.

Six Flags has never been good at theming. Great America is their best themed park, and what theming is there is mostly leftover from Marriott (except they did add SW Territory).

Cedar Fair is the worst at theming and they love concrete.

A small-minded mentality has come along in the US theme-park industry. Instead of coming up with creative ride theming that goes with an overall immersive theme of the area it is placed in, just slap a cartoon character/movie/superhero name on the ride............... *** Edited 2/14/2007 9:55:12 PM UTC by super7**** *** Edited 2/19/2007 2:16:59 PM UTC by super7****

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 4:58 PM

super7* said:

A small-minded mentality has come along in the US theme-park industry. Instead of coming up with creative ride theming that goes with an overall immersive theme of the area it is placed in, just slap a cartoon character/movie/superhero name on the ride............... *** Edited 2/14/2007 9:55:12 PM UTC by super7****



...and add tons of asphalt to every available inch of ground.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:01 PM
^good point. Cedar Fair is attempting decent theming with Maverick though. Rides like Italian Job do a good job (from what I've seen) of theming the entire ride as well.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:03 PM

X Factor said:The oversized teepee, Conestoga wagon, and fort in Frontier Adventures as well as the massive ice cream sundae that adorns the Character Cafe. Haven't seen anything like that in my travels.

Yep, all the stuff that I can (vaguely) recall from my visits to GAdv in the early-mid 70s... ;)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:33 PM

super7* said:A small-minded mentality has come along in the US theme-park industry. Instead of coming up with creative ride theming that goes with an overall immersive theme of the area it is placed in, just slap a cartoon character/movie/superhero name on the ride...............

I have to slightly disagree with that. When I first rode Batman at SFGAm in 1999 I was quite impressed with the entire queue themeing, from the Gotham City park to the banged up police car, to the graffiti on the wall to the sewer station approach. That, to me, was pretty extensive for a ride. Unfortunately the theming has greatly diminished since then.

And that's the trouble with theming rides anymore. It's great for a few years but then with lack of upkeep it either starts to disappear or effects don't work properly. Case in point is Tomb Raider at Kings Island. While I still enjoy the ride there have been a few effects that just haven't worked right since it opened.

I'll hate to see how well the theming and effects on the Italian Job coasters will hold up in a few years. I noticed the helicopter wasn't working quite right on Kings Island's last year. *** Edited 2/14/2007 10:34:28 PM UTC by X Factor***

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:43 PM

Charles Nungester said:
Actually matt. Several TR's from the european trip had tons of comment on how much better themed and landscaped several of the European parks were.

I'm sure there are several very nicely themed and landscaped parks in Europe, I've seen the pictures. But Europe doesn't have

IOA
EPCOT
Magic Kingdom
Disneyland
every Sea World
both Busch Gardens
Bonfante
Animal Kingdom
Dollywood
SDC
Knoebels
SFoG (and plenty of other SF parks that haven't been homogenized)

and plenty of other's I'm forgetting. I'm not making this list in an effort to make this some sort of pissing match but just making a blanket statement like

European Parks > American Parks

is a bit silly. Especially on something this subjective.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 5:45 PM

X Factor said:
I'll hate to see how well the theming and effects on the Italian Job coasters will hold up in a few years. I noticed the helicopter wasn't working quite right on Kings Island's last year.
At least those themeyrific storage containers will be around for years to make the place ooze with "theming".
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:03 PM

super7* said:

Six Flags has never been good at theming. Great America is their best themed park, and what theming is there is mostly leftover from Marriott (except they did add SW Territory).

Cedar Fair is the worst at theming and they love concrete. The love dferr

A small-minded mentality has come along in the US theme-park industry. Instead of coming up with creative ride theming that goes with an overall immersive theme of the area it is placed in, just slap a cartoon character/movie/superhero name on the ride............... *** Edited 2/14/2007 9:55:12 PM UTC by super7****


I totally disagree with the comment about theming at Six Flags parks. Take a look at pictures of The Golden Kingdom at Great Adventure (or better yet, walk through it) for example, and then tell me that Six Flags can't theme. It feels like you've totally left the park.

Have you visited Six Flags New England? It's an absolutely beautiful park. The area surrounding S:ROS including Poison Ivy's Twisted Train, for example, is top-notch. The western section was done very well tool.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas is amazing. The area where the cobra-roll comes up in the distance of S:KC and you're standing on a street (ok, it's fake) with working traffic lights still rules as one of the most interesting experiences I've had. And how many parks have natural rock-cliffs in the background?

I also felt that Six Flags Saint Louis was an awesome looking park. It's another one of those parks where pictures do not do it justice. To see it in person from the parking lot is absolutely breathtaking. Of course after being in the midwest for just a few days, any park that had hills would've looked amazing!

I'm glad you pointed out that SFGAM looks great, but I think it's more than just some stuff that was left over from Marriot days. In that time they added Hurricane Harbor and the Mardi Gras section was new as well--right (or at least a revamp)? I don't think it's gets a whole lot better than to see V2 from the deck rushing back and forth with its spikes over blue water.

The park though that is the antithesis of all those parks is unfortunately my homepark Six Flags America. The front half of the park looks great, but once you pass into Gotham City, it all falls apart.

They really were making an attempt overall to landscape the park in 02', and then the trees they planted across from Joker's Jinx were ripped out the next year to put in Penguin's Blizzard River. Of course, when it comes to down to trees versus a new attraction, the new attraction would win.

I'm not disagreeing that some of the European parks don't look good (for example Phantasialand is amazing looking), but I'm saying let's not be so short-sighted either. *** Edited 2/15/2007 1:05:01 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007 6:13 PM
I still think the rides are the most important thing at the amusement park. I don't go in Mardi Gras at SFGAm, and say I really like that section based on it's looks. I go, let's go on the Big Easy Balloons, and Roaring Rapdis.

It doesn't help. Disney and Universal means characters, and unique rides. Put Test Track, Spiderman, and Jurassic Park at any Six Flags, and see a bunch more people enter the park. If the ride stinks, it stinks. You can't "hide" it with theming.

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