To IP or not to IP in themeparks?

IP = Intellectual Property aka known figures from a movie or a complete francise.

We all are well known with these within the theme parks, Disney started his chain of parks based on his own IP's ( Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and many movies they made on bases of famous stories). Basically Disney wanted you to kinda enjoy those movies for real, ok for real as is possible within a theme park.

Universal Studios in Hollywood is basically doing a similiar thing, using their IP's to their advantage so that you can be become a part of the things you saw in a movie theater or on tv.

As much as I like some rides in the above mentioned parks I sometimes wonder how it would be if parks would be less IP based instead of more.

Perhaps you already know that I also love parks like Efteling / Europapark / Phantasialand / Alton Towers. In those parks you have themed areas or rides that got part of their inspiration inside other parks but most rides are not based on an external IP but based on a storyline of the park itself, but things are changing.

This year Alton Towers opened a wooden roller coaster based on Wickerman. Europapark rethemed a childrens ride on bases of Jim Button and themed a iceshow on Paddington bear.

Sofar I haven't seen these things in real life but I am not a big fan of using such IP's in those parks. The parks I love so much have their own style and ideas by introducing more and more external IP's a part of this style seems gone (forever?) also those IP's can be short lived (or too expensive) so you must retheme a ride again , the original Movieworld in Germany had that problem.

I just love walking in a themed area or to ride a ride without thinking what might be around the corner (because I have seen it in a movie or tv-show), this way everything is more as a suprise to me. Over the last years I really enjoyed the Klugheimarea in Phantasialand and the Gerstlauer roller coasters in Hansapark, many years ago I was suprised with a big bee themed darkride in a small park in France

In short if a chain of parks is started and they base their ride on their own IP's I can understand it. But if other parks are slowly loosing their own identity by introducing more and more external IP's I find a shame, is that really necessary to be able to be a good running park? or are certain park brands of their own?

Vater's avatar

I think it's entirely dependent upon the particular IP and whether or not it appeals to me, as well as whether or not it's well executed. I've been to theme parks where the IP-themed areas are exceptionally done, like anything Disney, or Marvel and Potter at IoA, and to parks where it hasn't, like at most of the former Paramount parks, especially the Wayne's World area. And then there are parks where the in-house created themes can work beautifully or feel incredibly bland, like pretty much all of Dollywood and certain Cedar Fair themed areas, respectively.

What Vater said. Slapping a name on something? meh. Thematically integrating it into the experience in some way? yay.

The worst offender ever was Paramount. Everything they did seemed so after-though (probably because it was), and the IP was so flash in the pan. (Italian Job? Please...) I think Cedar Fair did a pretty good job cleaning those areas up and doing the best with what was left for them to work with. But there are formerly beautiful areas of some of those parks that will be ruined forever. Knott’s, KD, KI, Carowinds,... I’m looking at you.

Choose wisely. While Pandora is a pretty "land" now at Animal Kingdom I'm not sure if it will have staying power or not. What I do know is that boat ride they have in there is a disaster. That was the most underwhelmed I've ever been on a Disney ride and I'll include Stitch in that. The ride was short (4 minutes), had no story at all, and even "the most advanced animatronic ever created" couldn't save it. Come to think of it, I was glad it was short because we were ready to get off. The only thing it was good for was skipping one of the brief Florida showers.

Jeff's avatar

I'm apparently the only person who thought Italian Job was brilliant, especially with the Mini tie-in. It might have been the only Paramount thing they got right.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

Agreed. The ride itself and the presentation was some of the best they ever did. But in terms of IP, it’s not exactly relevant. Is that movie considered a classic? I don’t remember.
But no matter, in the meantime those three have been genericized. (Is that a word?) I enjoy it, I’ve been on two, and I usually ride every visit if the line isn’t too long.
Those rides are, however, perfect examples of how Paramount frequently cast any sense of thematic placement aside. Both Carowinds and KI had nice areas of the park where the themed area was altered in a strange and incongruent
way. And lord knows, I’m perfectly fine with a good old amusement park if that’s what you want to have, but when stuff like that happens at a theme park it just bugs me.

bjames's avatar

Which areas of Carowinds and Kings Island are you referring to?^

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

The Flying coaster took up some very scenic space at Carowinds’ entrance. Waterways, trees, a boat ride. I understand the need to expand, and thrill rides are always welcome, but that ride opened with what, a cyborg theme or something?
I dunno. Charm?
Kings Island lost the Taxis/Autos. Maybe they’ll make a return to a different spot. But that center island had grown in so beautifully over the decades. Now it’s paved over and there are storage containers to look at instead.
Once again, not life changing, but it still bugs me.

The regional theme park has really evolved since it's conception, that’s for sure. Most of it is for the good, and some of it not so much.

Vater's avatar

I agree that the Italian Job coasters were very well done. I also agree that building an attraction themed around the Italian Job movie (or Wayne's World, or Days of Thunder) is shortsighted.

The boy and I really enjoyed Backlot Stunt Coaster at Kings Dominion. Wish I could’ve seen it in all its glory with the theming fully operational. It didn’t really “work” with a stationary helicopter and random propane explosions. If it’s not fully working, I’d rather they save the propane and have Volcano “erupt” throughout the day.

But then again, what do I know?

slithernoggin's avatar

Yeah, I had alot of questions about how Paramount handled the parks, starting with slapping the Paramount name on all the parks. Disney and Six Flags have established identities in the park industry; Paramount brought nothing to the game. (Then again, that's the company that ignored all of the great brands it owned -- Star Trek, Nickelodeon, I Love Lucy -- and named their store on Chicago's Mag Mile the Viacom store... )

And the Wayne's World themed coasters just plain confused me. Once the popularity of the movies faded, they were left with areas themed to 1970s Aurora, Illinois. I've been there. Nobody should have to go there :-)

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Vater said:

I agree that the Italian Job coasters were very well done. I also agree that building an attraction themed around the Italian Job movie (or Wayne's World, or Days of Thunder) is shortsighted.

I never have riden these Italian Job coasters ( or how they called now) but from what I have seen I like how they made the ride into parts that resembles part of the movie... the spiraldrive up ( parking garage ) the jumps out of the sewersystem etc .. perhaps the movie did not get the "status" the parks were hoping for or the licenses too expensive and that is why they made them into a general theme which in case of these coasters is sad because the layout is a big part of the storyline of the movie.

Is known why these coasters got stripped of their IP?

Vater's avatar

Yes, when Cedar Fair purchased Paramount Parks, the deal did not include Paramount's IP.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I thought they just liked the name "Flight Deck" better than "Top Gun."

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

But they kept the Maverick name at Cedar Point... Surprised they didn’t change it to “Really Good Pilot”.

Ok that was a weak Top Gun joke.

But then again, what do I know?

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, Cedar Fair had no interest in licensing the Paramount stuff. My understanding is that they looked at the Nickelodeon license, but it was way too expensive.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

That and it provided a fresh start.
I may be wrong, but I don’t recall too many crying over Paramounts departure. Wait... the crying was over Cedar Fair’s acquisition and having to change all the ride names. Yeah, that was it.

jkpark's avatar

The whole “Paramount’s” name over the parks’ original names always bugged me, even though it was in reference to the mostly poor movie themes. But in that era, people would still call it Kings Island, Carowinds, or Great America.

ApolloAndy's avatar

That said, there is a complete lack of brand recognition for Cedar Fair parks. I don't know how many people would care anyway, but basically the only benefit of a Platinum pass requires research from your average patron to use. In contrast, short of the Great Escape, every Six Flags park is immediate and obviously a Six Flags park.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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