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Coaster Wars: Attack of the Clones


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I've been all over the internet and see so many coaster boys complain about clone coasters. I don't understand this. Very few theme parks not named Disney or Universal are destination parks. People just don't travel to California for parks like Magic Mountain, or Ohio for Cedar Point. 99 percent of the population travels less than a couple hundred miles to visit a theme park. Parks are not building coasters for coaster enthusiasts. They are building them to get locals to their parks. I'd love to have a Millennium Force clone in SoCal. Cedar Point is not trying to get Californians to visit their park just as Magic Mountain isn't trying to attract Ohioans. This is why Six Flags and Cedar Fair have a lot of clone coasters. And if you think about even Disney builds clone rides. Every park has a Space Mountain and Pirates. So get off your high horse fan boys, clones aren't built for you.

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I think that it is a very enthusiast sort of feeling. Except, you (the OP), are entirely correct.

 

But I am not going to change my view.

 

My view is as the fan of a home park, owned by a chain and low within it.

 

Installing cheap clones is just a bit of a slap in the face from a cooperate company to everyone of smaller parks. They aren't after enthusiasts with a vendetta, but it's very disappointing to wait for so long just for another "lame" ride (I'm thinking boomerangs, SLC's, the infamous Super Loop marketing crap, etc.).

 

To the GP, the "slap" is the use of their ignorance. Marketing schemes that over hype the cheap additions, providing only average or below average rides, etc. The fact that we enthusiasts will never be able to impress upon the GP this is a little nudge that seems to bother us.

 

Enthusiasts travel a lot. They have seen their fair share of these rides. They have every right to say that the ride is not very interesting or is usually rough. Most of the GP has not. They will eat it up - and that is okay. It's not our park, and we should care that they are only thinking for their success. Backseat "experts" do not know what the park does. That is defined by nature of not being employed at the park.

 

Speculation from someone who actually works a relevant industry or career is always a welcomed treat, however. Do not worry, backseat drivers! Some of you actually do have highly valuable insight! In part, this forum is for speculation, isn't it? It's just a few who get super crazy.

 

However, the park may lose a bit of revenue from its very small enthusiasts demographic. That loss will be hardly fiscally register-able, but to the over-entitled boy-cotter, it will be very personal.

 

Granted, if other parks near you have better rides, you can still travel to them. It just costs more, unfortunately; however, why spend any money at an inferior park?

 

In the end, my thoughts conclude as personally negative but with the side of knowing the park knows itself best.

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words

 

Familiarity breeds contempt.

 

Hot take: individuals don't actually need to take into account intent or motive when determining whether or not something is, to them, subjectively good. Almost everything ever done in the theme and amusement park universe is done to try and get people to spend as much money as possible while incurring as few costs as possible. That doesn't make all of it "good." Often it is even bad. Occasionally it can be ruinous.

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I've been all over the internet and see so many coaster boys complain about clone coasters. I don't understand this. Very few theme parks not named Disney or Universal are destination parks. People just don't travel to California for parks like Magic Mountain, or Ohio for Cedar Point. 99 percent of the population travels less than a couple hundred miles to visit a theme park. Parks are not building coasters for coaster enthusiasts. They are building them to get locals to their parks.

You got it! Pretty much all Six Flags parks and most Cedar Fair parks are regionally-oriented. Some people, like me in regards to Knoebels, will spend most of their life making visits to one amusement park - the closest one from their house.

 

"Cloning" coasters is advantageous to theme park chains for several reasons - One, locals consider every coaster / attraction in the park to be completely unique considering that the park is the only one they have consistent, affordable access to; and Two, those that do visit other parks in the chain on occasion get a sense of familiarity when they run into a coaster / attraction that is a "clone" of the one in their home park.

 

In my opinion, Hershend and SeaWorld / Busch do the "clone" thing the correct way - installing the same kind of ride across several parks but designing each with an element of uniqueness. Examples: Montu / Alpengeist, SheiKra / Griffon, Forest of Fun / Safari of Fun, Waterboggan / Slidewinder, Barnstormer / Giant Barn Swing, Outlaw Run / Lightning Rod, you get the idea.

Edited by A.J.
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Clones can be pretty bad sometimes... I'll admit there are some great clones, like spaghetti bowl, mr freeze, and ride of steel clones. And there are okay clones like batman the ride and Flying Dutchmen. But there are also just bad clones, like Vekoma SLCs, and those happen to be the most common!

 

Also, and I know this from having sfa as my home park, when a huge park like magic mountain gets unique coasters every couple years, and sfa gets a clone or relocation basically every decade, I can get pretty annoyed.

 

So it isn't even always the ride itself that people don't like, it's the fact that the company just doesn't care about the park...

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They could put a Batman clone on every street corner in America and I'd never get tired of them. Batman is a relentless beast of a coaster.

 

I don't care if a ride is a clone, I care if it's a good ride. Volares and SLC's don't suck because they're clones. They suck because they suck.

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They could put a Batman clone on every street corner in America and I'd never get tired of them. Batman is a relentless beast of a coaster.

 

I don't care if a ride is a clone, I care if it's a good ride. Volares and SLC's don't suck because they're clones. They suck because they suck.

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Most people don't travel around for theme parks and even if they do, they won't notice the track layout is the same because they refer coasters as "the tall red one at the back with 5 loops and that blue one that is like 200ft tall". Designing a new layouts is expensive and I don't see a reason why cloning a coaster layout is not okay. It saves you a ton of money and GP won't notice that (and enthusiasts' opinions don't matter)

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Say you place clones of Top Thrill Dragster at SFOG, BGT, SFGAm, WoF, SFOT, and CGA... Does that not instantly become the longest line at those parks by a wide margin? Does placing those copies across the US decrease the lines of TTD at CP or Kingda Ka at SFGAdv?

 

That's clones explained in a nutshell...

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There really is no NEED for any park to add a custom coaster, but obviously as an enthusiast I always hope they do. I hope my home park, Six Flags Over Georgia, goes for another custom coaster as we luckily have almost always in the past (Even Superman was custom until it was cloned at 2 other parks).

 

The only thing that bothers me is when there is literally only two or three of the same "clone" and people immediately lose interest. Superman: Ultimate Flight is still new to anyone who hasn't been to the other two parks that have it. The same can be said for Tempesto. It if was the first installation people would've been much more excited, yet most of those people hadn't been on it at SFDK, so it really doesn't make a difference. The Joker at SFGAdv is in the same boat.

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From my perspective, it seems to be from the enthusiast point of view that clones are "lazy," and that they want to have something unique that no other park has, though this can be mostly offset if the clones are a great distance away from each other, yet the primary issue is the cloning of lesser quality coasters. Which honestly, after riding eight Boomerangs, five SLC's, two Volares and a ZL42, I think another issue is that while they aren't the smoothest in the world, I actually enjoyed most of them because they really aren't that painful (mostly) and I think a lot of it is that many enthusiasts tend to be (IMO) excessively intolerant to roughness; I'm consistently reading TR's that essentially say "If it's not glass smooth, it's garbage." Now, with today's design and manufacturing techniques, I do agree that a smooth coaster should be more or less expected, but I never really found most of the "crap" coasters to be that bad.

 

Cloned coasters technically are cheaper, but not by a huge amount because most of the cost comes from the manufacturing. The real advantages are that first and foremost the time savings: A fully custom coaster can typically take a year and a half to three years because you have to design the whole thing from scratch, yet a clone can take something closer to five or six months because not only do you not have to worry about all the design iterations that a custom coaster might need (Cheetah Hunt had over 50) but all you have to do is make sure the ride fits in the area, possibly change up some existing infrastructure, maybe make custom foundations depending on the local soil/climate, maybe tweak the layout and supports here and there in case you're really trying to squeeze it into a tight space, maybe a custom station and queue and you're good. Also, since a lot of parks have made bad investments on risky prototypes, I can see that they have extra appeal with clones because they know EXACTLY what they are getting, so it's therefore a safer investment. Also, as other people have said, few of the GP are as well traveled or knowledgeable in regards to the amusement industry as enthusiasts; since the former is the overwhelming majority of the parks' customers, it'll be a totally new experience for that particular park's customer base, so for all their profits care, it's a whole new ride.

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Do you think that some of the park owners buy rides in bulk is the reason for so many clones? When the first version of Premier Parks was buying up parks left and right in the 90's/00's what where the first attractions they would add - boomerangs and SLCs.

 

Maybe the reason why park ownership companies (specifically Premier/Six Flags) thought that it would be cheaper to buy roller coaster clones in bulk so that they can put in multiple parks that they own.

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Also, as other people have said, few of the GP are as well traveled or knowledgeable in regards to the amusement industry as enthusiasts; since the former is the overwhelming majority of the parks' customers, it'll be a totally new experience for that particular park's customer base, so for all their profits care, it's a whole new ride.

It's not just the general public though, you can be a roller coaster enthusiast even if you've only been to one or two parks in your life. For most enthusiasts who enjoy the parks and enjoy the culture but don't painstakingly watch over every park like the majority of us do, it becomes less of an "aww, we're getting a cloned coaster" and more of an "awesome, we're getting that cool new coaster that _________ got".

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Do you think that some of the park owners buy rides in bulk is the reason for so many clones? When the first version of Premier Parks was buying up parks left and right in the 90's/00's what where the first attractions they would add - boomerangs and SLCs.

 

Most newer post-60s book theme parks are flat as a pancake. When you have no topography, it's pretty easy to install any off the shelf design for a ride or duplicate those designs. And yes, buying multiples helps costs out, so I'm sure that's part of it. But production model rides have been part of the business since the days when side friction figure 8s were the dominant coaster style.

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I only hate 'em when I hate 'em in one park, and "my" park gets the clone! See this year's installation in SFGA as a perfect example of this......

 

Granted- CP and SF are competitors, but for example- if "my" park got a clone of Intimidator 305- well hello!!!!!!!!!!

 

So for me- I could care less how many versions of a great ride are out there.....unless it sucks in one- then they suck everywhere!!!!!

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So it isn't even always the ride itself that people don't like, it's the fact that the company just doesn't care about the park...

That's not a fact, it's an opinion. And often that opinion is based on selective criteria.

Oops, I meant to say that they don't care about the park enough to build a custom layout coaster.

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You know, as discussed, I think its the quality versus quantity argument. In the case of coaster clones, if there was an El Toro or Maverick at several parks, I would have no problem with it. But, if its simply a bad coaster than I am less enthused about it. Of course, I totally understand that few people outside the coaster community know that there are several Batman clones, but for me, I simply ride bad clones to get the credit.

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