RD is back today with an article that is sure to ruffle a few feathers so hold onto your butts.
As for me, this may be my favorite of RD's opinion pieces and I think if you stop yelling at your screen long enough, you'll see that he's got some great points. - Gregg
Over the past few years, I've noticed a disturbing trend among many sites that I read about the world of theme parks. Notably, it is the obscene amount of people who say that their home park NEEDS some ride that another park has in it. Of this, the Fanboy community is truly the worst offender of this.
Let me say this: YOUR PARK DOESN'T NEED IT.
Realistically, your park doesn't need ANY of them. Your home park does just fine without them, and has for years now. In some cases, your park adds in things they think will be a success among the people paying the bills: The GENERAL PUBLIC. (No, not the fantastic Dave Wakeling band, either.)
So let's take a look at a few of the most commonly heard FANBOY-pushed coasters/parks, and WHY THEY DON'T NEED IT.
The most commonly heard reference to the "OUR PARK NEEDS THIS!" I hear is Cedar Point. I s*** you not, of all the FANBOYS in this world, they are the single largest group of complainers. (Hands kleenex to the CP FANBOYS.) I mean that too - None of them are ever satisfied with what they get for rides, shows or attractions - and they are constantly screaming for more, more, more. "Cedar Point NEEDS an RMC makeover of Mean Streak, and it can be the biggest, tallest & fastest RMC EVAR, and have 26 inversions, and be 7 miles long, and it could wrap around the entry plaza and serve golden pellets of regurgitated quail eggs, and it NEEDS TO HAPPEN."
No, CP does not NEED an RMC makeover of Mean Streak. It doesn't NEED anything - much less than another FANBOY delivered ultimatum. CP knows what they are doing - and have done so for over 100 years now, and without the throngs of FANBOYS crying over everything. If CP -wanted- an RMC makeover of Mean Streak, I bet you this: It would have happened - or will happen WHEN THE PARK WANTS IT.
"Busch Gardens Tampa NEEDS a B&M Gigacoaster! It can be 330 ft. tall, go through the safari part of the park, and then loop over the main gate and THEY NEED TO BUILD THIS!!!"
No, BGT does not NEED a B&M Gigacoaster. BGT's coasters have, for the most part, got every base covered in the park's arsenal, and if persistent rumors are correct, another one is coming in the very near future. But does the park NEED a B&M Gigacoaster? Not really. If you look at the arsenal of what they currently have in their works, they have almost every base already covered, from a dive coaster to a classic single-looping ride. And, if BGT wanted a B&M Gigacoaster... THEY WOULD HAVE ORDERED ONE!
Editors Note: According to reports, BGT will be getting a Mack spinning coaster with a vertical lift hill. And it looks amazing. We'll find out for sure at some point today.
I think it can best be said in this: If a park wants to build a ride, and they have the money, they will build it. However, FANBOYS don't quite see it this way: They see some other park (not their own) getting something, and immediately soil their diapers, scream & cry, and then begin the "WE NEED THIS AT OUR PARK!" tantrums. And then they begin spreading rumors - and some real whoppers too: "OUR park is next to get an RMC coaster, and it will be the world's tallest, longest, fastest & most inversions in the history of EVAR on it. I know because I talked with (insert park manager/GM/operations manager's name her) and he/she told me it is coming." Or the 'other' FANBOY faerie tale: "Well, we're going to get the next 450ft tall B&M ubercoaster with 56 inversions & a 25 second long airtime hill. I saw the plans because (insert construction manager/operations manager's name here.) Face it: If you hear those stories... dry them out & put them on the roses. You've got pure steer manure in your hands.
Now you're thinking this "How do you know this FANBOY isn't telling the truth?" Well, that's quite easy really: NO PARK IS GOING TO GIVE AWAY THE SECRET OF THEIR FUTURE RIDE. Parks spend uber-bucks on their latest & greatest attraction to do two things: Draw attention to the park, and to increase attendance - and all important ticket sales & park revenue. If you leak out what you are building before the official announcement, other parks see it, and begin a competitive response plan. These plans are made years into the future for many parks, with advance planning going as far as five to seven years out in some cases (longer if you're in a UK park - let's face it: Planning Councils SUCK!) In this industry, secrecy is of utmost importance, and that means that with very few exceptions, the new ride for 20XX is NOT known by anybody outside of the top level of management. And it would not surprise me if those people are signing confidentiality agreements at the same time. And ride builders are the same way - they tell NOTHING to ANYBODY about anything. (Really, if the USA wanted to keep their secrets safe, they should be handing them to park GMs & Ride manufacturers. They'd never lose them again.)
So now the FANBOYS are saying "But, but, but, I could so SEE that in our park, we NEED to have it, our park sucks without it, our lives are RUINED without it."
OK, first, GET A FREAKIN' LIFE.
Second, not every park NEEDS to have these amazing new rides. Many parks have done very well without these attractions - and will continue to do so well into the future. Parks have a set idea for what draws them in, for what sells, and what people want. Let's look at Knott's Berry Farm for a second.
Knott's was taken over in 1997 by Cedar Fair, and began a multi-year long period where new attractions came fast & furious, and older rides were scrapped & replaced. Soap Box Racers was scrapped for a TOGO Looping Mouse (Windjammer- huge mistake) and for many ginormous attractions that later followed: Xcelerator, Supreme Scream, Ghostrider, Silver Bullet and Perilous Plunge to name a few. And these rides for the most part were/are good rides...but they didn't quite fit into what Knott's really needed. They were trying to compete with nearby Six Flags Magic Mountain - and it didn't work out as well as hoped. Cedar Fair realized this - and over the past six years has spent a small mint in redeeming the park, investing heavily in the classic attractions that KBF already had: Calico Mine & Log Flume. At the same time, Perlious Plunge was extracted & replaced by three smaller & more family friendly rides - and the public has eaten them up. KBF didn't NEED these big rides - and does just fine as a good, family park with some good thrills mixed in.
Some parks are just not cut out for a gajillion foot tall ubercoaster - they won't look right and don't fit with a park's general atmosphere. I look at parks like Knoebel's in this case. Knoebel's has built a solid reputation on classic rides & a classic atmosphere where new-technology rides such as Impulse are welcomed. Impulse, which is new-generation technology from Zierer was intentionally built small, compact & thrilling, as to not overshadow the nearby greateness of Phoenix & Twister. It 'fits' the scale of the park perfectly, and will be a good strong contender well into the future.
And mind you this: A park does not NEED to add anything if they feel it doesn't fit. And if the FANBOYS start to throw tantrums over it, that's their fault. Show some pride in how your park already IS rather than what you feel it needs. That shows some integrity towards the park you are obsessed over. Parks like Six Flags Over Georgia are wonderful places with or without a 200 mile long mega monstrosity added to it. They work well without these beasts, have excellent balances of rides, shows & attractions, and do their finest to keep up with what they have.
In short: It is one thing to WANT something so badly you can taste it - it is another to look like toddlers with dirty diapers because your park doesn't HAVE it.