I know that things happen with prototypes and I am very understanding when it comes to problems. It just seems like it didn't use to be like this in the mid 1990's with the really big new attractions not running consistantly when they opened. In recent years the industry has seen some problems with the openings of Volcano, Hypersonic, X, and very early TTD. I know that Cedar Point is doing all that they can and that this is the only park that would have had Dragster operational by now. They have the good reputation of having the tallest, fastest, and best roller coasters on the planet, and they will work their hardest to keep this title. It just seems like maybe they were pressured into topping Millenium rather quickly. From a business sense who can blame them, but did they put their investment at the right time.
This leads into a brief discussion of B & M. It seems like they are staying away from the height race. Instead they are building very reliable, fun rides. One can only wonder about what they might be working on behind the scenes. It appears that they want to perfect their designs before going crazy. This is not really a comparison between companies, but it is just stating that they seem to be pretty reliable, and are waiting to perfect before building record breaking machines.
In conclusion, without new ideas the industry will become stale. However, it took them 11 years to add 71 feet to reach a drop of 195 ft, and it took them another 11 years to add 115 more ft to a drop in 2000. In a shaky economy, companies may really hurt themselves by trying to push the envolope too quickly, and lead to a downturn in the industry. I'm not sure what may happen in the future, but it looks like the safest bet would be to perfect current technologies before trying anything else new. I enjoy the state of the industry now, but fear that it might be slipping a way. I am pretty interested in what others thing about this, and I hope all works out in the end for the industry.
Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
We can attribute this to a number of things, in my opinion:
1) Six Flags has scaled back on cap-ex.
2) Major consolidation... larger companies formed by combining smaller ones.
3) Market saturation.
Let's keep in mind that the manufacturers build what they're asked. Sure, some of them come up with great ideas, but even when they manage to do that it doesn't lead to actual sales. Ride manufacturing is still a customer-driven business.
B&M doesn't have much of a hand in limit pushing, but I think they tend to play things safe, and that's part of their strategy. I mean, they've essentially been using the same technology for 15 years, varying only the type of seats strapped on to their trains.
I figure that ride novelty has to play at least as large a part as wear and tear in the decision to remove a coaster. Is it safe to say stand-up coasters or suspended coasters were fads? Not to diminish the importance of those rides in any way. But I'm wondering if the flying coaster is just this decade's stand-up. Novel rider position, but not much to the ride other than that.
Give me wood or give me B&M! :-)
(330 plus and rising)
I think that the next time we see things picking up will be in 8-10 years when some of these larger coasters begin to overstress themselves, and things start cracking and requiring too much maintenance, a-la Steel Phantom, Mean Streak, etc. Once the maintenance price outweighs the daily "profit" (using some tricky math of total park guests times their admission, and take a percentage based on the daily traffic on the coaster) we're going to see many of the bigger rides going to the scrapheaps, or being melted down for the next big thing. Even if its just the same concept, but with a new twist. Even repainting a room in your house can drive up the value and make you smile a little more when you go into it. As a CP example, I think Mantis will be the first to go this direction, but I don't think it will be for a while, and I don't think it'll be replaced with a mega-coaster. Maybe just another B&M looper, just with a different kind of train, and maybe a different layout of loops.
The public will soon learn that there really isn't anywhere for rides to go (at least from what we know now), and they'll (reluctantly) become satisfied with just replacements. I think Scream! is the first good example of this, and I wouldn't be surprised to see other coasters of that nature (almost what is now industry "standard") begin to replace some of the older coasters in the years to come.
"As soon as you design something that's idiot-proof, the world will go and design a better idiot." ... Thank you EchoVictor!
In addition, there seems to be a trend of the large parks buying small parks for expansion right now... if the large parks truly hit their limit, they'll either have to spend much more money per ride they add, or else start building up the small parks. They might actually see a higher return on investment if they can boost attendence at a small park by adding a mid-price coaster instead of getting a slight boost in attendence at their home park by adding a record-breaking coaster. Let's face it... a large attraction like TTD will gain publicity and attract visitors from competitors, but it is still mostly tapping an established customer pool (especially when it is seen as "extreme"). On the other hand, a new small park might be able to attract more visitors, especially casual family visitors, if it is closer and marketed as a family park.
Things like X and Dragster will always be exceptions to the rule, but affordable thrill rides, I think, are where it's at. CCI woodies were that, as far as up front expenditures anyway. The few new flat rides we've had in the last ten years also qualify in that category.
Don't you think he knows, you know, he knows, you know, you know? Or not. I'll be under a rock if you need me.
*** This post was edited by Binks Drake 6/14/2003 10:12:44 PM ***
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