Have we passed the golden age of theme parks?

Discussion in 'Rest of the World Parks and Attractions' started by Matt N, 18th Feb 2020.

  1. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    But that was the same in the 90s.
    I only went to Alton Towers once as a child/teenager as it was expensive, but we did make a few trips to Drayton Manor. But we had National Trust membership for years!
     
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  2. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I get the point you are making, but Alton Towers have installed two world-class coasters in the last 10 years (Smiler and Wicker Man). Thorpe did make a ground-breaking experience with Derren Brown (even if the use of VR tech didn't really work properly, it was all very new ideas). There is still some ambition, but there just aren't as many parks doing it.
     
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  3. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    I would say that Merlin dominate the market too much now, Drayton Manor and Lightwater Valley used to be competition but we are now wondering which will collapse first.
     
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  4. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    In the UK or around the world? It seems very rare for a British park to still have a really entertaining dark ride let alone open a new one. Both coasters and dark rides have made some brilliant innovations since the boom in the 90s but we see barely any of this in the UK. This country's parks are playing catch up

    You'll always get an amount of "it's rubbish now" / "that was the real Alton Towers" said about any time, be it the 1800s or 2020s. But in many ways, yes there was a silver age in the 90s and I think everyone really loves what came out of that. A lot of the stuff from that era is still the British parks' bread and butter appeal.

    If you look beyond the big marketed parks, there are still gems popping up often! And Wicker man was the first solidly good big themed coaster a UK park has opened for a long time, Icon a fun ride too.

    Some parks that were once rapidly growing face challenges today that maybe they didn't have back then. It's a mixed bag, but the public clearly still enjoy parks. I think parks should focus on maintaining their solid appeal than jumping on fads and gimmicks to try stay relevant.
     
    Last edited: 19th Feb 2020
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  5. Benjsh

    Benjsh TowersStreet Member

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    Comes down to finances. House prices, electricity costs, petrol costs and just about everything else in the UK are some kind of sick joke compared to our European Neighbours and America too.

    People just don't have as much disposable income as they once did. My parents house (4 bed detached new build) cost them 30 grand brand new in the 1980's. It's now worth over 300 grand. Wages have risen since the 80's of course but not ten fold.
     
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  6. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I was actually referring to around the world in my statement; I won't deny, the UK has built some great stuff in this decade, but if you look in worldwide polls ranking things like coasters and dark rides, for example, most of the top ones were built during the 2010s.
     
  7. OilyWater

    OilyWater TowersStreet Member

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    Ok but polls are never anything to rely on really, most of them are self congratulatory industry promotional articles. They're always going to focus on the latest thing
     
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  8. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not just referring to polls; if you talk to a lot of enthusiasts and ask them what their favourite roller coaster, dark ride, water ride or any other category of ride is, there's a 90% chance that it was built in the 2010s.
     
  9. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    With the UK being the exception (again) which is seemingly yet to surpass Nemesis
     
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  10. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Yes; that's certainly true in the case of the UK. I personally wouldn't say Nemesis is my UK favourite (it's my 3rd favourite in the country behind Icon and The Swarm), but I seem to be in quite a minority there!

    Looking around the world scene, however; most of the favourite rides in enthusiast polls and ranking threads seem to have been built in the 2010s. For example, in the 2019 ElloCoaster poll, Nemesis was the only coaster in the top 25 steel built before 2000, and I think only a few others were built in the 2000s. The top 25 coasters in that poll were almost predominantly built during the 2010s.
     
  11. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    I think it would be interesting to run a UK rollercoaster poll on this forum to find out whether we prefer the latest rollercoasters or older ones. (I would be happy to run such a poll if others would like to partake).
     
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  12. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    I have run a similar sort of thing in the past (and am currently running for this year) using people's posts in the Top Ten Coasters thread as ballots, and here are the results of those from 2019, if you want to see them: https://towersstreet.com/talk/threads/your-top-ten-coasters.160/page-24#post-276441

    I don't know about you, but I think these show quite a significant bias towards newer coasters; only 6 coasters in the top 25 were built before 2000, and a further 7 were built during the 2000s. That means that 12 of the top 25 coasters opened in the 2010s, so on the whole, this site seems to prefer newer coasters.

    Also, let me take this opportunity to remind you all; if you want your list to be included in TowersStreet's Favourite Coasters of 2020, get posting in the Top Ten Coasters thread!
     
  13. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    Perhaps globally, but in the UK, Nemesis topped that poll so my thoughts are whether locally we prefer new or old.
     
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  14. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Ah right; a UK coaster poll would be quite an interesting thing to do! That's actually a really good idea @Thameslink Rail!
     
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  15. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    Ok, I will plan that out when I have time. Thanks for checking whether my idea made sense.
     
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  16. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    That's something I'd be quite happy to help with if you need a hand!
     
  17. Log Flume's Dennis

    Log Flume's Dennis TowersStreet Member

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    There were actually 37 extreme coasters in the 90s if you include go-gaters and big apples
     
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  18. Stuie

    Stuie TowersStreet Member

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    Let's have a poll.

    It's been ages since any ranking has gone on around this forum.
     
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  19. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    Oh please not another forum ranking! :rolleyes:

    I personally feel that there is a lot of potential for the UK theme park market, the trouble is that Merlin has monopolised the market in this country and chipped away at it product. Back in the 80's, 90's it was a race to the top, who could build the biggest, fastest ride, now a-days it's now a race to the bottom.

    Yes times change, you need to bring in new rides and attractions, but also you also need to keep some of the old classics. As far as I'm concern in addition to your rollercoasters, all themeparks should at least contain a log flume, an old fashion carousel, rapids, a good indoor dark ride or two.

    OK the themeing is not great at Alton Towers, but then it never was back in the day. However it did seem a lot tidier and cleaner back then.
     
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  20. Themeparksandy1981

    Themeparksandy1981 TowersStreet Member

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    The uk market peaked late 90s when the age range of early to late 30’s went to theme parks with our own families and then friends then 1 by 1 we all got married and had kids but the big difference is my friends and people who I work with don’t take there kids to theme parks as after been at work 5/6 days a week they just want to rest watching the footie on Sunday or steaming movies. Just a day out at Alton towers for a family of four costs a minimum of £118 with park tickets and parking then you got petrol £20 to £30 then you got food&drink around £50 so really a day out costs between £150 and £200 just to queue you for a 3 min ride each time.
    My daughter been to many theme parks since she was 2 but most of her friends play on your consoles or tablets.
     
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