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Today's Burning Question! Theme Parks or Amusement Parks?


Theme Parks or Amusement Parks?  

147 members have voted

  1. 1. Theme Parks or Amusement Parks?

    • Theme Parks
      93
    • Amusement Parks
      54


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I think of almost all major parks with rides, shows, and scenery as "theme" parks. Some just have better themes than others. I know that may not be technically accurate, but it's just how I think of it.

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I love Theme Parks. Some "Amusement Parks" are great when they have other things to do other than coasters.

 

I like a well-rounded park. A couple of great coasters, a few middle-of the road coasters, some family rides, a nice collection of flat rides, a dark ride or two, maybe a monorail, train or sky ride and 2-3 good water rides. That's my ideal park.

 

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Theme parks. I'd much rather spend my time walking the countries in Epcot's World Showcase or simply walking around Universal's Islands of Adventure's Port of Entry than waiting for Six Flag's latest and greatest steel monster.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For me no contest, amusement parks all he way! I prefer thrills over theming any day.

 

To me amusement parks are just much more fun than theme parks because they usually have the better rides and that's what makes it more enjoyable to me. I do not take the time or pay admission to walk around for themed attractions, dining (I'll go to a restaurant), shopping (I'll go to the mall/online) or some other experience...I came to ride. Basically I am a thrill person.

 

So all those people who are really against theming, do you not like parks such as Epcot? I'm just wondering.

 

--Robb "Kind of surprised to hear so many people vocally against theme parks here, considering we are THEME PARK Review!" Alvey

 

I cannot speak for everyone but yes, I do not like Epcot at all. Been there twice and I should have not gone the second time because I was just as bored as the first time but that's me. This may get the Disney fan boys fired up too but I think the same about Disney World or Disneyland. Very boring because I am just not 9 years old anymore, the theming is lost on me and the rides are dull (I have not tried the new Space Mountain though). I completely respect the job Disney does with theming, it's the best by far, truly 'magical' at times with standards and professionalism that no one else can touch for the experience but it just doesn't appeal to me.

 

The reason I responded was I am also a little surprised to hear you were 'surprised' by people against theming even though this site it called THEME PARK REVIEW. Your POV's of coasters on YouTube brought me to this wonderful and fun site, I have yet to see a POV of some theming you were impressed with. I also don't see 'theme' counts on people's signatures, just coaster counts and total park counts. On your tours I see people get excited about ERT for rides (and they should!) but never any 'ERT' for theming. I have also never heard of a theme park whore, only credit whores which is celebrated by some on this site so are you really that surprised?

 

It was VERY interesting to read so many comments that they liked theme parks better because of the escapism so thanks for the question Robb. I have never thought about this. I have never felt this way or even thought this way at all due to theming or any other reason when I go to the park so that was insightful for me. I just go to have fun and that to me is rides. But everyone one is different and those responses made me think about your point of view so thanks for sharing, I still don't get that feeling or agree though.

 

Theming can be really nice and it DEFINITELY adds to the park and ride which can make it a more enjoyable experience like Busch Gardens but that is not what brings me into the park, rides do. I can ride a good ride all day long with no theming but I cannot look at or experience theming all day long with no rides. Give me the corporate whores of Cedar Fair and Six Flags, plus the asphalt parking lot with coasters and the queue/ride/queue/ride cycle and I am entertained. Guess I am simple. Good thing I do not design amusement parks,theme parks or theme park fan sites because mine would all fail miserably with this too narrow of scope philosophy to succeed so thankfully other people think differently.

 

I will say one thing for theme parks over amusement parks, they almost always have have better food.

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  • 1 year later...

Amusement parks for me. Don't get me wrong, theming can be a nice addition to a park experience, but I'm just not the type of person that cares a lot about theming. I just want thrilling rides, and theming doesn't matter. You'll probably call me crazy, but I'll take Valleyfair (my home park) over a Disney park any day of the week.

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^I'm like you. I will obviously like rides to be well themed but I'll always take a better ride over a better themed one. That's why I'm not a fan of Disney Parks.

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It's actually difficult to pick one; I think they are both awesome. I lean towards amusement parks because I enjoy roller coasters so much and think they have a high re-rideability factor. For me theme parks lose their luster and begin to show diminished returns as I experience them several times. My obsession with rollers coasters stems from the fact that they basically have no diminished returns for me. I would say that a proper mix, somewhere around 85% amusement park to 15% theme park is a proper mix for me, mostly because of the prevalence of amusement parks to theme parks. If the roles were reversed and Six Flags + Cedar Fair operated a chain of theme parks and Disney + Universal operated a chain of amusement parks the votes would definitely swing the other way a bit, but that is only because the variety of theme parks would increase and allow my to not experience the same diminished returns.

 

I tend to count Holiday World as an amusement park because the ride experiences that I go there for are generally independent of theming. For the most part the park experience there for me is 'a slice of well maintained Americana' which is exactly what I expect to see in a well maintained amusement park. In this way Holiday World is the best amusement park I've ever been to. It definitely is a theme park, though, but there's lots of discussion to be had about it. When you look at Universal IOA the launch section of Hulk is most definitely themed, so the ride itself is actually part dark ride/part roller coaster. Dragon Challenge is most definitely an amusement ride with theming surrounding it. The park itself, like Holiday World, is a theme park. Ehh, I go back and forth with these thoughts a lot. Lots of time spent thinking in queue lines.

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Saw this thread pop up and skimmed through it and wow...Im also very surprised that more people dont like theme parks more than amusement parks. I like amusement parks, but I think theme parks are so much better. For one thing, simple stuff like queues and restaurants are always more pleasant at a theme park...theres nothing I hate more than ugly switchbacks in the middle of a concrete slab, and I dont have to worry about that at Disneyland or Universal.

 

Also, you get a full "experience" at a theme park, whereas an amusement park is about rides and nothing else. I mean, who hasnt sat through history class thinking "the wild west seemed so awesome"...at Disneyland, I can go to Frontierland and get a taste of what thats like (almost like a living museum). However, nothing has ever possessed me to say "wow, I really wish I could go to a big slab of concrete in the middle of nowhere...omg look Six Flags!". Part of the fun of theme parks is seeing things you wouldnt normally get to see, and possibly even learning a little bit. Sure, it takes some imagination to fully appreciate, but once you "get it", you can really get immersed in a park's environment.

 

Also, theme parks (well, Universal and Disney mostly) are going to be where the latest and greatest technology is. Would I rather go to Six Flags Great America this year to ride another (short) roller coaster this year? Or would I rather see Gringott's, which is being touted as the most technologically-advanced ride in the world, and see/experience something Ive never done before and what I may have even thought was impossible in the past? Obviously Ill choose Gringotts, and Im not even a Harry Potter fan. Rides like that, plus Spiderman, Indiana Jones, Test Track, etc are all showcases of exclusive technology giving experiences you cant find anywhere else...what's unique at amusement parks? Theme park rides are cutting edge ways to tell stories, amusement park rides are different combinations of melded steel.

 

You guys saying theme parks is just about looking at scenery are missing the point. The main draw to theme parks is still rides...theres just more to it than that. Theme parks are about an experience where youre immersed into a story (and isnt that something all people enjoy, considering how popular movies are?). The thrills dont come from speed and heights, they come from being transported to a different place and experiencing something one-of-a-kind. You can resonate with the ideas and stories in a theme park; while you may ride Full Throttle and think "that was fun", you ride a ride like Radiator Springs Racers and identify with the characters and the storyline, and cant help but smile.

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Saw this thread pop up and skimmed through it and wow...Im also very surprised that more people dont like theme parks more than amusement parks. I like amusement parks, but I think theme parks are so much better. For one thing, simple stuff like queues and restaurants are always more pleasant at a theme park...theres nothing I hate more than ugly switchbacks in the middle of a concrete slab, and I dont have to worry about that at Disneyland or Universal.

 

Also, you get a full "experience" at a theme park, whereas an amusement park is about rides and nothing else. I mean, who hasnt sat through history class thinking "the wild west seemed so awesome"...at Disneyland, I can go to Frontierland and get a taste of what thats like (almost like a living museum). However, nothing has ever possessed me to say "wow, I really wish I could go to a big slab of concrete in the middle of nowhere...omg look Six Flags!". Part of the fun of theme parks is seeing things you wouldnt normally get to see, and possibly even learning a little bit. Sure, it takes some imagination to fully appreciate, but once you "get it", you can really get immersed in a park's environment.

 

Also, theme parks (well, Universal and Disney mostly) are going to be where the latest and greatest technology is. Would I rather go to Six Flags Great America this year to ride another (short) roller coaster this year? Or would I rather see Gringott's, which is being touted as the most technologically-advanced ride in the world, and see/experience something Ive never done before and what I may have even thought was impossible in the past? Obviously Ill choose Gringotts, and Im not even a Harry Potter fan. Rides like that, plus Spiderman, Indiana Jones, Test Track, etc are all showcases of exclusive technology giving experiences you cant find anywhere else...what's unique at amusement parks? Theme park rides are cutting edge ways to tell stories, amusement park rides are different combinations of melded steel.

 

You guys saying theme parks is just about looking at scenery are missing the point. The main draw to theme parks is still rides...theres just more to it than that. Theme parks are about an experience where youre immersed into a story (and isnt that something all people enjoy, considering how popular movies are?). The thrills dont come from speed and heights, they come from being transported to a different place and experiencing something one-of-a-kind. You can resonate with the ideas and stories in a theme park; while you may ride YOLOcoaster and think "that was fun", you ride a ride like Radiator Springs Racers and identify with the characters and the storyline, and cant help but smile.

 

^ I pick both, but Goliath edges out.

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I don't get the argument that theme parks can't have great coasters:

 

Silver Dollar City- Outlaw Run, Powder Keg, Wildfire, Thunderation

Dollywood- Thunderhead, Wild Eagle, Tennessee Tornado, Mystery Mine, FireChaser Express

Magic Kingdom- Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Islands of Adventure- Incredible Hulk, Dragon Challenge

Universal Studios Florida- Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit, Revenge of the Mummy

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I like a good balance. I'm an architectural student, so naturally I'm big on aesthetics. But, I also like thrills. My favourite parks are those which have a high quality mix of both, though I'd say I care about theming 70% and thrills 30%. Parks like Europa Park which mix the two are ideal.

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Amusement Park - Flat, up and down control, circular (i.e. helicopters, birds.....elephants?)

 

Theme Park - Dumbo. (and even adults want to ride the thing!)

 

Dumbo > Flat Up and Down Circular ride.

 

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I have to say Im a theme park person. I love the little details, the story, but i also like a good ride. When you combine the two, its perfection. I like amusement parks, but id rather have great theming and fewer rides over no theming and tons of rides. The two parks that keep coming mind are Busch Gardens and Islands of Adventure. Both have outstanding theming but have managed to weave in thrill rides without plopping them in a random place. One of my favorite rides of all time has to be Tower of Terror in WDW. It is not the ride that i love the most, but the story that accompanies it. Looking up at the towering hotel is quite terrifying but when the story of the vanishing people is told then the ride starts to feel more real like you are actually going to go into the Twilight zone. I feel like theme parks add that extra dimension that amusement parks lack.

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For me - Amusement Parks edge it out. I think it is because, growing up in Atlanta, Disney Vacations were few and very far between. It was just too expensive for my family. SFoG, however, we went to often. I am still an adrenaline junkie at heart, so I still prefer amusement parks.

 

HOWEVER -

 

I now live in Orlando and have Annual Passes to Disney, Universal and Busch. I am (slowly) learning to slow down and actually take in the theming and environment around me. Disney has started to blow me out of the water with their attention to detail. I have the feeling, that now that "Theme Parks" are not out of my reach - I will slide toward that end of the scale; but thinking about this question today - I have to go with Amusement Parks.

 

D

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This is tough. On one hand I love theme parks and highly themed rides but on the other hand my top 2 parks are amusement parks, not theme parks. That being said 5 of my top 7 are theme parks.

 

As of now my top 7 parks are

 

1) Knoebels

2) Cedar Point

3) Dollywood

4) Universal Islands of Adventure

5) Universal Studios

6) Busch Gardens Tampa

7) Busch Gardens Williamsburg

 

I went with top 6 because after that they all kind of blend together (with parks like Sea World, Great Adventure, Kings Island, Kings Dominion...). It should be noted that while I've been to Epcot, Magic Kingdom and MGM Studios (back when that was it's name) it's been over a decade so I left those off as I couldn't judge them fairly. When we went to Florida this year we didn't set foot on a Disney property but that was more of a time issue than anything. We went to both Universal Parks, Sea World (my girlfriend really wanted to go and I wanted to support them because of the Blackfish backlash), Busch Gardens, Old Town and both Fun Spot parks.

 

I guess I'll probably go with theme parks as the majority of my favorite parks fall into this category even though the top 2 don't. Also, while Cedar Point isn't a theme park I would argue that Frontier Trail is very well themed and that is one of my favorite areas of the park.

 

Random Note: We plan to go back to Florida again next year and hope to get to Disney. We're going to go back to Busch Gardens as they have the best coaster in Florida (Kumba), Cheetah Hunt was closed when we went and we'd like to ride Falcon's Fury. We're obviously going back to Universal because of Potter and they weren't doing a Shamu show when we went to Sea World so we have to go back there too. That means the only way we'll get to Disney is to add more days to the trip. We'd better start saving up now I guess. lol

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I can have just as much fun and enjoyment from both theme parks and traditional amusement parks as long as the rides are good and the park is well run .I love the themed rides at Disney and Universal, but also love the simpleness of traditional parks like Knoebels, Kennywood, both "kings" parks and heck even Fun Spot. They all have their merits and I just have a lot of fun at all of them. In the end though, I guess I am just a park nerd and lovin every minute of it !

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I voted Theme Park, though I do believe that a strong ride line up, frequent investment and quality service can level the playing field between both.

 

I find that I enjoy both differently, amusement parks like Thorpe Park keep me entertained and thrilled with big coasters and high octane flat rides, where as a theme park like Efteling and Alton Towers keep me engaged and enthralled with high quality theming and (not so much Alton) immersive, intricate dark rides.

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