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Themepark vs. Amusement Park

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Ok, so how do you tell a theme park from an amusement park. I go on what's in the park. Like Six Flags Magic Mountain is not theme park to me due to not one major themes.


I do classify Universal parks as theme parks since they do revolve around a movie theme or have many themes.


So, what do you go by?

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Cedar Point would be an amusement park to me, but then again it could be a theme park because all the rides are themed.. Disney and Universal are more of a solid themed park.. but I really dont see the difference in them.. Even Six Flags has the whole.. Warner Brothers, DC Comics theme going on... so I guess they would be theme parks.. imo.

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It seems that most bigger amusement parks these days would also be considered "theme parks." If they have any level of theming, no matter how minor, it does set themselves apart from an "amusement" park.


For example, Lakemont Park has no theming at all, it doesn't even pretend to! But Six Flags Great Adventure, while on the surface looks mostly like an "Amusement Park" does have themed areas.


It depends on how deep a park's theming is. Disney and Universal, for example, you can say their theming is 10 feet deep whereas Great Adventure may be 3 feet. They are both "themed parks," one just is far more elaborate than the other.


Not sure how else really I can explain it or really if there is a clear definition of an amusement park versus a theme park.


--Robb "I tried!" Alvey

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IMO, the Six Flags level of theming doesn't really cut it. Almost all parks these days have some type of theming. I guess there should be a certain level of detail that sets a true theme park and amusement park apart. And there has to be a certain reliance on that theme. Most coasters at Six Flags, for example, really don't rely on those skin-deep themes, or enforce them during the experience, as much as a real theme park would. The sparse theming is there to add to the appearance, rather than actually being a part of an enveloping experience. I still view Six Flags as amusement parks, along with CP.

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^ While I agree with that, you can't deny that there are some Six Flags parks that have done a good job with their themes. Gotham City at SFOG and the Southwest Territory of SFGAm come to mind. And that fact that Cedar Point has a well themed western area with the Red Garter saloon and Camp Snoopy, for example, while I too consider it more of an amusement park, but with themed areas.


There certainly are Six Flags parks that have no theme, for example Elitch Gardens and Darien Lake. I can't recall any real theming at either one of those parks.



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This is a tough question.


I mean, I think it's safe to say that most Disney and Universal parks are "Theme Parks".


But then you have a park like DCA. Some parts of it are themed VERY well, but then, you have a section themed like a Seaside "Amusement" park. Is it a "Theme" park when the theme is an "Amusement" park?


Knott's considers itself a "Theme" park, but they have stepped away from theme a long time ago.


Then you have somewhere like Bonfante Gardens. It's an awesome park, one of the nicest looking parks I have been to. I would say it's a "Theme" park, but again, it's theme is nature and it's already there.


It's the eternal question I guess.


Gregg "Just having a "Themed" queue or an area with a "Theme" doesn't make it a "Theme" park IMO" C.

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I would consider any park that divides itself into different "themed" areas to ba Theme Park.


In my opinion:


Theme Parks

Universal Parks

Disney Parks

Holiday World

Knott's Berry Farm

Paramount Parks



Amusement Parks



Williams Grove

Dorney Park

Cedar Point (Only has one themed area)


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Like most, I define a "theme park" to be one where there are certain areas of the park distinquished by a theme. Disney is definitely a "theme park" by my definition. You go into Fantasyland and the attractions are built around that theme, the background music applies to that theme, the ride ops/cast members/employees uniforms go along with the theme.


I agree with Gregg that some parks that used to really be THEME parks are still called theme parks by definition, but don't have the theme thing going for them like they used to. PKI is definitely one of them. Growing up, Kings Island had the Rivertown area where the attractions were themed to that, and even new rides that were added, such as the Beast, were somehow tied into that theme (such as that the Beast's station house was built around a logging theme and the "Beast" lurked in the adjoining woods). Those days are long gone. Recent park additions like Tomb Raider (Rivertown) or Italian Job (Coney) don't have anything to do with the themed areas of the park...their only theme is the Paramount movie they are themed around.


I emailed Paula at Holiday World (you can read my letter on their HoliBlog) and that was one of my compliments to the park, was how it was truly themed...


Shari "Although if I had hear 'Rhapsody in Blue' one more time, I think I would have screamed" Shoufler

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I guess I just look at it as though a 'theme' park is a genre of an amusement park. Just like Sci-fi is an genre of movie. Some sci-fi movies are outstanding, get it right and make plenty of sequels that will live on for generations, others just suck and are shown over and over again on Sci-fi channel. Same thing with theme parks, IMO.


Most larger parks these days would try to classify themselves as a theme park because they have themed areas, but I think we all know that really are only a handfull of true 'theme parks.'



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