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What's the best ride line-up in an 'off the shelf' amusement park?

Robert Niles
Submitted by Robert Niles
Published: May 27, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Edited: May 27, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Here's a thought exercise for you: If you were assigned to create the line-up for an amusement park, using nothing but existing, "off the shelf" amusement rides, what would you choose to include in the park?

Let's try to keep the size of the park reasonable here, so we'll say that it should include between 16-20 attractions for its "opening day" line-up, and that it should offer more family rides than thrill rides, so no all-coaster line-ups. We're trying to create a line-up that includes high-quality attractions that will appeal to as broad an audience as possible, to increase the chances that whoever develops this park will be able to make enough money to keep it going.

Using that as our criteria, here's what I would nominate for inclusion in our "off the shelf" amusement park:

Thrill rides:
Bolliger & Mabillard Hyper Coaster
Bolliger & Mabillard Flying Coaster
Great Coasters International Wooden Coaster
Intamin Rapid Ride
Intamin Multi Drop Ride

Family rides:
Vekoma Family Coaster
Mack Interactive Boat Ride
Sally Interactive Dark Ride
SimEx-Iwerks 4D Theater
Zierer Wave Swinger
Zierer Flying Fish

I'd also include a carousel and a dry/wet playgrounds among the family rides, but I don't have a preferred manufacturer or model for those, so suggestions there are welcomed!

What do you think? What manufacturers and models would you like to see in your park? Let's try to work toward some consensus here, to help the people who actually make these decisions hear what we, as fans, most would like to see added to their (very real) theme and amusement parks!

Please take a moment to share this post, and encourage others to reply!

From Anon Mouse on May 28, 2014 at 2:45 PM

When people refer to "off the shelf" rides, I am puzzled by this description. I know many theme park fans make the distinction when comparing rides, but who buys such attractions. It seems to me most rides are custom one of a kinds. They might be similar, but the rides are designed to fit in a particular space and at the pricing level desired by the buyer. What is clear to me is many amusement parks have a collection of rides that seem to not follow any particular theme. Thus, the rides are "off the shelf" by default.

I guess I'm spoiled by Disney since I can care less about roller coasters that seem to constantly break new barriers. I prefer to be entertained and not merely be scared beyond my wits and subject my body to new sensations, speed, and g-forces. Nonetheless, perhaps each park should at minimum have one of each ride.

From Robert Niles on May 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM

My definition of off-the-shelf would be an existing ride system that's available from a vendor, as opposed to a first-of-its-kind system, or other custom design. Furthermore, these are widely available systems, not tied by an exclusivity deals to a specific customer.

Obviously, you can customize the installation of any of these rides. For example, the Mack Interactive Boat Ride would be pretty darned boring without a themed space surrounding it.

But going with established ride systems allows a start-up park (or a park looking to expand) to get some pretty nice attractions in place for a reasonable price, provided they select the best options.

So this all is another way of asking... what rides would you like to see added to your dream park that aren't Disney- or Universal-exclusive custom systems?

From AJ Hummel on May 29, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Anon, think about what you would find at a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part all those are "off the shelf" rides. These are basically rides that manufacturers either have a stock model for or use standardized technology across all ride systems. The layout or theme may be unique, but that doesn't make rides lose their "off the shelf" status. For example, Silver Bullet at Knott's and Batman at SFMM are very different rides but are both B&M inverted coasters, so they are "off the shelf" attractions.

As for my "off the shelf" park, here are the attractions I would include (mainly based on what's popular right now)...

Opening Day Lineup:

Thrill Rides:

Bolliger & Mabillard Inverted Coaster
Rocky Mountain Coaster (either Wood or Steel)
Intamin Drop Tower
Funtime Star Flyer

Family Rides:

Gerstlauer Family Coaster
Larson Flying Scooters
Zamperla Skater Coaster
Chance Pirate Ship
SimEx-Iwerks Simulator
Standard Amusement Park Staples (Carousel, Ferris Wheel, Log Flume, Train Ride, etc.)

Kiddie Rides:

Zamperla Family Gravity Coaster
Zamperla Kiddie Ride Package (Kang-a-Bounce, Kite Flyer, Tea Cups, etc.)

Waterpark:

ProSlide Behemoth Bowl
ProSlide Tornado Wave
ProSlide Speed Slides (Free Fall, Super Loop)
Standard Water Park attractions (Wave Pool, Lazy River, etc.)

Five Year Plan:

Thrill Rides:

S&S El Loco
Chance Rides Hyper GT-X
Larson Fireball
Zamperla Discovery

Family Rides:

Gerstlauer Bobsled Coaster
Mack Rides Twist 'n' Splash

Kiddie Rides:

Zamperla Dragon

Waterpark:

ProSlide Speed Slides (Turbo Twisters)
ProSlide Serpentine Slides (Pipelines)

Lots of Zamperla here, but I really think they are the best for modern kids rides. This may not exactly fit the original parameters (i.e. not necessary the best individual attractions, but an overall complete and balanced lineup), but would probably still be a successful park in today's market.

From David L. on May 29, 2014 at 6:30 PM

A log flume is always a win. Or maybe a Mack water coaster? I personally think that the Mack interactive boat rides are vastly over-rated, but my only experience is with Dollywood's version. I'm also not quite the target audience. Also, how about a Scrambler or a Troika? They are always quite fun.

From James Trexen on May 29, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Assuming no lawsuits, how about the following?

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