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Types of theme park fan

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from my observations over the years I've always thought in my head that theme park fans come in 3 groupings:-


1, Roller Coaster Fan:-.... exactly that, someone who loves roller coasters in all there forms, ages and sizes..... classic credit whores


2, Thrill Seekers:- Similar to above but is in it for the adrenaline buzz, prefers more intense roller coasters, but also loves intense flat rides, tower rides etc - anything for the rush. May be bored on 'family' coasters and rides or think of them as lame.


3 'Theme' park fans:- loves the art side of theme parks, special effects, dark rides, shows etc - loves roller coasters but as park of the package and not necessarily the prime focus.... would still visit a park if it had no/few coasters.


Now I've generalized - as I think most TPR fans are probably a mixture of the above 3! Does anyone see themselves in the above groups or can think of other categories

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I'd say the majority of the people her are #1. The first thing that comes to minds around here are coasters.


#4 Could be your "so-so" guest who don't mind riding big/fast coasters and waiting 30min for a Scrambler. Some people just go with the flow, and just ride for the thrill.


#5 "GP". Nuff said.

"Giga-Coaster 1 goes 19721470 mph!"

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Any reason you neglected to include the largest group? Families that just want to have a good time together. They like going to parks even if they only visit one or two times a year they are still fans.


Or are you using the word fan in place of enthusiast.

Edited by larrygator
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I'm the 3rd choice.


I love roller coasters, but I care more about park theming, park atmosphere, landscaping, ride theming and I love dark-rides... specifically dark-ride coasters. (see: Revenge of the Mummy)


This might be why I'm such a huge fan of Universal, Disney and Busch parks. And Dollywood. Six Flags for me is "meh". Fun coasters (sometimes) but falls short in the theming and park atmosphere category.

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I'm kind of the whole 'Theme Park Fan' since I appreciate not only the coasters, but also enjoy water slides (mild and wild), variety of flat rides from something as simple as a carousel to things I can control (like a Flying Scooters or a Breakdance), to something further intense like a tower. I'm also a sucker for water rides, which is something my home park is certainly not lacking in


Dark rides are also great as I often like to take a pause from the rush and ride something gentle. I on the other hand seldom check out the shows but do some on occasion...especially when I'm hearing rave reviews or know it's something one of the park employees I know is involved with.

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I enjoy roller coasters, though roller coasters are just a small portion of the amusement park experience. When I go to an amusement park for the first time, I try to ride all the roller coasters to get the credits. However, the amusement parks that I visit frequently, I want a variety of rides. For instance, if I would pick two parks to be my home parks in Southern California, it would be Knott's Berry Farm & Legoland California (which conveniently are my home parks). Now, I chose those two parks not because they have a stellar coaster collection (obviously), but there are a lot of family rides & non-ride attractions. The problem about SFMM is that there isn't much to do other than riding coasters and it has long lines for a good majority of the year. It's good that SFMM has the best coaster collection in the West Coast because that is the only reason why I still go there. In short terms: KBF & LLC are my type of parks, SFMM is not.

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I classify park fans in the following way (one selection per category):


Category 1: Park Interest


Amusement Park Fan: Enjoys visiting all parks regardless of what they offer. As long as there is something to do, they're able to have a good time.


Theme Park Fan: Enjoys visiting parks for the escape from reality. Unlike amusement park fans, theme park fans care about the whole experience and don't generally find iron ride parks desirable.


Disney Fan: Primarily visits Disney parks, and usually doesn't care too much for other theme parks. They don't necessarily have to believe Disney is superior, but these are the people who just don't get the same enjoyment out of other parks, even those of equal or better quality.


Category 2: Ride Interest


Amusement Ride Fan: Enjoys all types of rides, or at least a good variety of types. They usually prefer to go on as many different rides as possible during a visit over repeat rides on one attraction, but don't mind re-rides if lines are short or the ride is good.


Ride Type Fan: Someone who is only interested in one type of ride or a very limited number of types. While they aren't necessarily opposed to riding other attractions, they usually only care strongly about one or two specific types (coaster enthusiasts are the most common subset of this type).


Ride Fan: Even more specific than the ride type fan, these people are only interested in one specific ride or a very limited number or rides. They may choose to marathon that ride over the course of their visit, even when other high-quality attractions have shorter waits.


Category 3: Atmosphere Interest


Park Visitor: Someone who enjoys visiting amusment parks, but more because it is something to do than because they are at an amusement park specifically. These are people who usually only visit occasionally and don't typically hold season passes.


Park Fan: Someone who enjoys visiting amusement parks specifically because they are amusement parks. These are people who usually visit regularly and may or may not own a season pass to their local park, but they do not have much interest in parks beyond visiting them.


Park Enthusiast: Someone who is interested not only in visiting parks, but also in many other aspects of them (such as behind-the-scenes stuff). They usually participate in an online community with others who share the same interest and often hold at least one season pass. Depending on the person, they may be interested only in their local parks, only in certain parks, or in any park anywhere in the world.


By this system, I'd consider myself an amusement park and ride enthusiast. I care about more than just coasters when visiting parks, and I can have just as much fun at a Six Flags park as I can at a Disney park. While I do appreciate nice theming and heavily detailed attractions, it will not make or break my day.


Of course, all of these are a spectrum and it is possible to be anywhere in the middle for any of the categories. I've just generalized them to give good endpoints and midpoints for the spectrum.

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I am primarily a thrill seeker. I want rides that are intense (to a degree that they're still enjoyable). I want something that I'm actually hesitant to ride. I crave the rush I get whenever my brain is tricked into feeling like I'm in danger. Because of this, I also like scary movies, intense haunted attractions, and love to participate in extreme sports such as white water rafting, bungee jumping, skydiving, and freestyle skiing.


That said, I really am a blend of all three categories, because I will ride less intense rollercoasters and find them enjoyable, and will ride things just for the credit. I also can appreciate the art/theming/atmosphere that theme park fans love. So in other words, while I still prefer raw thrill and intensity the most, I totally enjoy the other facets of the amusement industry as well. The best example I can think of is that I was much quicker to buy annual passes to Knott's and SFMM than I was to buy one for DLR/DCA. I did end up purchasing one just a few days ago, and I'm happy with it, but it took more consideration.

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I can't really classify myself except by saying I fit into all three. For example if I am going to Six Flags(magic mountain being my home park... but this statement applies to any in the chain) then I am usually going for coasters but I appreciate a nice looking park. That being said Disneyland is my favorite park in the world because I enjoy nearly all the rides at the entire resort and sometimes have days where I just ride coasters and sometimes have days where I just ride dark rides and everything in between. I feel like most people appreciate all three around here because part of the reason I joined was because TPR wasn't a straight coaster site. Now if a park like Disneyland(but Disneyland never will/should do this!) opened with an amazing park, amazing coasters and flats, and a cool dark ride or two I may give it higher preferences. For example I don't really like Six Flags, but some of my top 10 coasters are there So I overlook the fact that it is not a well run theme park because there are rides there that I like so I go even though I don't like the park as a whole. If it were a well run park with nice theming and were run in a better way I would frequent the park more often.


Like Larry said though my favorite things about amusement parks(once again mostly DL in this case since many of my friends are passholders) is that we can all hang out because most everyone has something they like about theme parks. Like it is awesome to be able to "hang out" at a theme park and just have fun with people coasters or not. Some of us are a little more "hardcore" than the average guest... like my gp friends would probably not enjoy the way I marathon rides at WCB, but if I want a "average" day at the parks there is nothing in the world better than just having fun with friends getting food/drinks together, talking in line, and riding things together.

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This is going to sound weird coming from someone who grew up 10 minutes away from SFMM of all places, but I know I'm #3.


That's why I keep going to Disneyland way more often than SFMM. That's why I had such a jaw-dropping experience at Tokyo Disney when they don't have the coasters that a Fuji-Q has, and just had an 'OK' time at Fuji-Q. When you think about it, in any given theme park day, you spend more time gazing at and experiencing the artsy side of the park than anything else. If all you're at the park for is coasters, I figure you're spending most of your day bored/not getting very much out of your experience. Sure you'll have a couple moments of thrill, and maybe that's enough, but just on an overall basis you're spending most of your day not getting too much out of it. I know that's not me.


When I go to a park, I'm getting the full experience every second. If I'm between rides, I'm enjoying the scenic aspects of the park. If there aren't any, I feel disappointed as if something's missing. While nobody has ever built the thrill ride that I'm too scared to go on, those kinds of rides aren't the *sole* focus of a park trip for me. That's why I've always thought of myself as a Theme Park Enthusiast, not a Coaster Enthusiast. There's far more to it than just coasters. (Now if only that park 10 minutes away from me could ever figure that out! )

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