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What are amusement park necessities?

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Hey, guys! As the title says, what are amusement park necessities? In other words, what things are needed to make the perfect amusement park? This doesn't regard major destination parks such as Universal or Disney (meaning no extravagant theming.)


For example, if a park were to be built, what would absolutely have to be included? Down to every detail if possible, such as "a park with a centralized landmark", or "a water park that has a swim up bar."


I also would love to hear what type of attractions you feel are needed. Lets be realistic here, no aqua-trax or having tons of coasters. And think of other things besides coasters, a park needs to be built with families and children in mind also!


In case anyone is wondering, I am asking these questions for a college project!



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For me to have a true amusement park experience, I would need a log flume and a river rapids ride. I always have a blast on those two rides, no matter what temperature. One other thing I would need is a custom wooden coaster that has airtime. We need an airtime woodie!

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3 Types Of Coasters (Wooden, Steel Looping, Family)

Collection of Thrill Rides, Family Rides, and Kids Attractions

Alot of Trees and Gardens

Transportation inside the park

Shade and Bathrooms

Food stands throughout the park

Every attraction has the least amount of restraints as possible

Wide variety of entertainment




Just off the top of my head.

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For me, to start with: I always liked the idea of a 'grand entrance' as you get past the gates. Something much like the Great Americas' signature carousels and reflection pools in front, accompanied with nice landscaping comes to mind. To me, this kind of sets the 'first impression' of the park. King's Island and the Eiffel Tower also come to mind.


Next up: the park would need variety...being a mix of different types of rides not just limited to primarily coasters (You know what park I'm mentioning without saying names ). A decent collection of flat rides, some standout coasters, and several water rides (more than 2) seem to work for me. Bonus points for built-in or stand-alone water park.


Lastly, a variety of food options ranging from those on a budget to those who just want to splurge and have a slightly 'finer' dining experience (without going overboard as after all you are at an amusement park). A variety of different types of food are a must as not everyone may feel like burgers or hotdogs.


And can't forget the idiot GP folk (as in the 'does this ride go upside down' GP as they gaze at the massive loop or the 'can you make it stop raining so we can ride?' folk.)

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Well I'm gonna go by my own opinion here, so don't expect this to be the representation of YOUR perfect park



For me, the location should be somewhere memorable, that may have an effect on the park itself. Examples include SFFT in a quarry, Kennywood by the ravine thingy, etc. Bonus points if mountains are involved.



Shouldn't be TOO extreme, but just enough that the park doesn't look like an "industrial family fun factory" with attractions just plopped around. Don't get me wrong, parks like Indiana Beach are awesome, but I just don't think they look as good as they could.



Again, nothing too extreme or Disney like. But at least have it correspond with the theme of the park/themed area/ride it is near. Good example: Southwest Territory at SFGAm. Bad example: Dark Knight coaster's box in Orleans Place at SFGAm.



Should be enough to immerse yourself in whatever theme the area is, even if it is just a little bit. X Flight is a good example of this. Not the most elaborate theming, but it looks quite nice. Better than a parking lot, that's for sure.


Now for the good part....



The focal point of any park is the attractions. Show's should definitely be featured in any park. Even if you're at a Six Flags park, generally not known for amazing productions, it is always nice to go inside to beat the heat. For some reason, parks like Michigan's Adventure feature NO shows. (MiA barely has anything indoors anyway. Or buildings, for that matter.) Shows/gift shops/dark rides/indoor restaurants are VERY important to help guests cool down in the Summer (or warm up in Fall/Winter, depending on the park location). As for the rides, a good collection of flats is required, from thrills to kiddie rides. Parks like SFGAm and SFSTL have very good flat ride collections. Parks like Michigan's Adventure and Mt. Olympus have totally lame (and in Mt. Olympus' case, nonexistent) flat collections. As for the coasters, a good amount for a good "big" park is 8-10 coasters. Again, parks like SFSTL have very well-rounded collections, while MiA has one GREAT coaster, and 6 sub-par coasters. (I'd like to add at this point that I actually REALLY LIKE Michigan's Adventure, but I feel it is lacking in certain areas)


Alright, I could go on for days on what I think makes a great park. But I'll stop here. If I think of anything else, I'll add it.

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Something I think more parks need and want to see more of is entertainment outside of shows. This could range from parades, flash mobs, street actors, singers on the midway, anything like that. I know this isn't always the easiest to do if you don't have a well defined theme or park mascots, but I think it's very important to have something else to enjoy while on the midways other than looking at rides. It's also nice for the people who aren't riding to be able to see something while waiting for the riders without having to go into a production show.

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Train ride. It doesn't have to utilize actual steam engines like at Cedar Point- a replica like Busch Tampa or SFGAm will do just fine. I don't even recall the last time I bothered to ride one. I just think it adds to the atmosphere of a park. Chair lifts and monorails accomplish the moving people part, but it's not the same.

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I think it is important to have at least one thing that makes the park stand out, the thing its known for if you will. Be it outstanding shows, food, or a unique ride/coaster. To use the example from above Michigan's Adventure, though lacking in some areas as a park, has Shivering Timbers that a lot of people have at least heard of. The Beast at KI is probably a better example. Even if you have never been to KI if you live within 200 miles of the park there is a very good chance you have heard of it. Dollywood's cinnamon bread could be another example.

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I'll post a list of rides that seem to have wide appeal, and strongly say "amusement park" to me. This doesn't represent my "dream park" (there are other threads for that), but it may not reflect current industry trends, either.



At least one wooden coaster

At least one looping coaster

At least one moderate family coaster (Wild Mouse, etc.)

Kiddie coaster


Other rides

Dark ride

Classic carousel

Ferris wheel

Log flume



Drop Tower

Good bumper cars

Train ride

Wave Swinger or Yo-Yo

Wide assortment of flats at various thrill levels

Kiddie ride section

A few adult-friendly child-oriented rides (i.e. Rock'n'Tug, Flying Elephants, Teacups)

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If a park doesn't feel complete to me if it doesn't have all of the following



Bumper Cars

Ferris Wheel


Roller Coaster

Log Flume

Scrambler or Tilt-a-Whirl (the park has to have at least one of them)

Tea Cups

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In my opinion, most of these should be present at any medium-sized or larger park (excluding the destination parks, which have their own fancy attractions).


Roller Coasters: One coaster may fall into more than one of these categories, but at least one should fit into each category.


-Kiddie Coaster

-Family Coaster

-Looping Coaster (any type of coaster containing inversions)

-Launch Coaster (any type of coaster powered by any launch mechanism)

-Wooden Coaster


Kiddie Rides:



-Dumbo-style Spinner (any theme)

-Frog Hopper



Thrill Rides:


-Drop Tower

-Pirate Ship


-Swing Ride (Tower style or Waveswinger/YoYo)


-Any inverting flat ride


Water Rides: Any two of the following


-Log Flume

-River Rapids

-Splash Boat


Gentle Rides:


-At least 2 dark rides (one shooting, one traditional)

-Bumper Cars

-Car Ride

-Ferris Wheel

-Live Show(s)

-Observation Tower

-Walk-through attraction(s) (Haunted House or Fun House)


Transport/Scenic Rides: At least one of the following



-Skyride (Chairlift or sky buckets)


In addition, a park needs to have enough landscaping and theming that it looks permanent and not like a carnival, and needs to have enougl food stands, shops, games, and restrooms to service visitors. Finally, it must have some type of signature attraction, which can be any of the above or something else.

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-A good selection of rides and attractions

-Nice surroundings and descent theming

-Good catering services

-Friendly staff which enjoy their job and are efficient

-Ability to build new top form attractions every year.

-Transport to the park



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My first post, felt I would post it here.


After reading all the replies, (and this by no means is me speaking for anybody but myself) I think the necessities needed for a park to be at the very least enjoyable is the overall experience.


I have been to Amusement/Theme/Thrill parks and have had a blast with a place with 10+ Rollercoasters or Thrillrides (i.e. SFMM/Cedar Point) just as much as a place with maybe 5 attractions considered to be of thrills in nature (i.e. DLRCA and Paris, WDW, Universal Studios, etc.)


Food wise, you have to feed your park guests, so well (duh...)


Shows.. some of the best parks don't have a single show worth watching, some do.. what ever adds to the experience in my book


Everything that can add or subtract from the experience in my book. I just used a few for examples.

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Hmm, let's see.

1.) Diversity of attractions. Coasters and unique / uncommon thrill rides. For 3D/4D film attractions, prefer the mix of both the simulators like Simpsons or Star Tours, as well as the sit-downs of Shrek, Tough To Be A Bug. Water rides, such as flumes. The shooting dark rides, like Toy Story or Mouse & Chocolate. For "family" rides, models of rides that can accomadate both adults and kids in the same ride vehicle.

2.) Entertainment. Whether that is live music acts, permanent theatrical shows, animal acts, parades, fireworks. Specialty seasonal packages, like Halloween, Christmas, etc.

3.) Guest comfort. Shade, misters in lines, and air conditioning in interior queques. Quiet places to relax / separate from the crowds.

4.) High quality, reasonably priced and interesting food options with good seating.

5.) Customer service. Including, child Switch where appropiate, single rider lines, fastpass/qbot dedicated lanes, and ending the line jumping.

6.) Retail with a focus on park specific merchandise, and free storage for those items.

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Thanks guys, you have helped out a lot! I have a few more questions: I want to know the same thing, only strictly about water parks. Example; what type of slides should be at every water park? What are your favorite water park themes? ect...


And lastly, I want you all to chose between two options for each question.

1) Park's major steel coaster/flagship attraction: An Intamin Mega-lite OR a B&M Wingrider.

2) Park's wooden roller coaster: More family orientated GCI out-n-back OR Beast type wooden roller coaster (modern day though.)

-If you choose B&M and Beast type, the park would have a Vekoma roller skater or small coaster for children.

-If you choose Mega-lite and GCI, the park gets a roller skater or smaller coaster PLUS a family coaster (Wild Mouse or spinning.)

3) Park's drop tower: S&S combo tower OR Intamin gyro.

-If you choose S&S, it would be taller, plus have special lighting for a show.

-If you choose Intamin, it wouldn't be as tall nor would it have lighting, it would however have better capacity.

4) Besides the drop tower, the park needs more thrill rides: Zamperla Giant Discovery OR S&S Screamin' Swing.

-Between the two, I'd assume they are both equally priced, but giant frisbees usually seem to be more crowded and visually impressive then Screamin' Swings.

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1. Intamin Mega-lite. As much as I love B&M's I would prefer an invert or hyper from them over a wingrider.


2. GCI - surprised you didn't include Gravity Group unless they are the ones to do the Beast-like coaster.


3. Intamin gyro - stand-up floorless (Acrophobia) over the regular sit-down though.


4. Giant Discovery - that was a tough decision as both are equal in the thrill category.


I don't frequent water parks much but here's a few:




ProSlide Tornado

Water Coaster like Wildebeast or Mammoth

Family Raft Slide (with the giant innertube that holds four or five people)

Body Slides

Speed Slides (at least a freefall/racer combo or like the new Bonzai Pipeline at SFStL this year)

Children's slides (most likely a part of a rainfortress attraction)

Bowl Slide

Innertube Slide

Lazy River (with action sequences like waves, waterfalls, geysers, tipping buckets, etc)


As for themes - the tropical/exotic locale theme is very overused despite it easy to theme a water park with. I'd try to do something different despite it being hard to come up with something original yet fit your water park attractions to it. A winter theme (think Blizzard Beach) or a Wild West theme would be a nice departure from the norm.

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>1) Park's major steel coaster/flagship attraction: An Intamin Mega-lite OR a B&M Wingrider.<


Definitely a B&M Wingrider. Reliability, safety, track record as well as the smoothness, novelty of design and potential for an intense ride with the right layout make this one the one major steel coaster I would want if opening a new park.


>2) Park's wooden roller coaster: More family orientated GCI out-n-back OR Beast type wooden roller coaster (modern day though.)<


More family orientated GCI out and back would be my choice. If I were opening a park, I would want GCI to do the wooden coaster without a doubt.


I think there would definitely need to be a smaller family coaster as well, maybe one of the Mack spinning coasters, or just a good coaster the entire family could enjoy together. If nothing else, maybe a Mack Wild Mouse and then a Zamperla kiddie coaster.


>3) Park's drop tower: S&S combo tower OR Intamin gyro.<


Definitely the S&S Combo. I have always enjoyed their drop rides more and think they do them right.


>4) Besides the drop tower, the park needs more thrill rides: Zamperla Giant Discovery OR S&S Screamin' Swing.<


One of the S&S Screaming Swings-the 40 seat ones, would be my choice here.


The only other rides I would add as must haves to that list would be:


-Flume Ride

-River Rapids Ride

-Wave Swinger

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