I'd have to say a little bit of both. When I'm at a park I want to have fun riding different roller coasters while looking at the beautiful scenery and not have to worry about if the midways are clean or not. ;)
I'd have to say the main thing for me is the coasters and atmosphere. I don't get many coasters up here.:)
Does size matter in park? In my opinion, a park worth visiting should have clean midways, friendly staff, some scenery, and good food is always a plus for me. Thats one of the major reasons I don't like Six Flags, they tend not to fit in some of those catagories.
The best example I know is Cedar Point...they have everything and more....Spotless park, great ride ops, TONS of coasters, nice kids area, on site accomodations, shows, waterpark. Everything you coud imagine.
The best kept chain is ..... Cedar Fair, whose parks include Cedar Point, Geauga Lake ( a little on the unprepared side, but i'll cut slack), Dorney Park, Knotts Berry Farm, and more! Anyone one else got anything that makes a park better?
I don't think 16 coasters is the only thing that makes a park great. Look at Holiday World, they only have 3 coasters, and one of those is a kiddie. But they have free soft drinks, free sunscreen, and reasonable entry fees as well as they add new things nearly every year. I hear the staff there is excellent as well.
Overall, I think the employees attitudes are the utmost important in making a park "great". Besides Disney, BGW & Dollywood have the type of employees that really enjoy their job and go out of their way to make sure every park guest is happy. Heck, even if you are having a bad day, a lot of times just hearing a sincere, friendly park employee can brighten things up. Yes, it's too easy to say that great coasters and landscaping (although important to me) make a great park. But it all boils down to the people who work there. When they really love their job, it's a fascinating thing in itself....
A great park to me would have a variety for the entire family to do together, and have a variety of different foods for the family to savor (burgers & hotdogs are worthless IMO), as well as a section to relax in with some pretty landscaping & scenery.
Dominator56...How much I miss Idora Park....wish it was still here to bring all the kids in my extended family to...I even miss the trashcans shaped like farm animals, that made sounds when you 'fed' them :) OINK! hehe *** Edited 5/10/2005 4:29:39 AM UTC by midwave***
My current favorite parks are Dollywood and Disneyland/DCA.
Neither have a huge amount of coasters, or thrill rides for that matter. Why do I like both? The staff at both are terrific. Friendly, courteous, and helpful.
The food at both places was better than any park food elsewhere. The parks were clean, well themed to their specific target environment, and the maintainence was superb at both parks. Both had rides that I absolutely loved. The atmosphere at both parks was outstanding. Themeing at both was very good as well.
A close second would be a 3 way tie between Kennywood, Myrtle Beach Pavilion, and the Family Kingdom for many of the same reasons above.
Parks are only as good as the staff, from Mgt. on down, that works at the park. And the reason is that it is the park staff that operates the park and makes the decisions. If the staff is making good decisions, the park will flourish. That is why you see some Six Flags run better than others, as well as CF and Paramount Parks. Sure, a lot has to do with corporate, but as long as you are doing the best with what you have, I'll be sure to have fun at your park.
A truely great park is one where you forget about the outside world and are in a state of bliss the entire day. You also want to open the park and stay straight through till close, and at the end of the day you are exausted but exilerated. You are also ready to do the park again the next day, again from open to close.
Parks that are/have been great for me:
Walt Disney World (by far the greatest park of all, and seperatly the MK, Epcot would still make the list)
Universal Florida (seperate, no but together yes)
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Cedar Point (it was, and will be again when they fix MF)
Now that I think of it, staff members do make the park. If they care enough and love their job, they essentially make others happy because everyone is doing what they are supposed to while having fun. Last year I had the best time at Geauga Lake only because there were so many friendly staff members working there.
Cedar Point is a great park as well, as I don't mind MF's problem, as long as I enjoy myself.