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#IfIRanAThemePark - Fans share their top ideas for making theme parks better

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Published: January 15, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Yesterday on Twitter, we had a little fun with other theme park fans imagining what we'd do if we had the opportunity to run a theme park.

Using the #IfIRanAThemePark hashtag, I offered a few ideas of mine, and then many of you responded with ideas of your own. Here are our Twitter followers' top 15 ideas from our @ThemePark feed, ranked by the number of retweets and favorites each idea elicited:

Tokyo DisneySea
#IfIRanAThemePark I'd want my park to look like this.

#IfIRanAThemePark My in-park app would tell you the name of the song playing on the speakers nearest you. And let you buy it.

#IfIRanAThemePark Free WiFi throughout the park. Seriously, people, it's 2014 now.

#IfIRanAThemePark Christmas decorations would go up the day after Thanksgiving. No earlier.

#IfIRanAThemePark We'd never buy or install a spinner ride.

#IfIRanAThemePark Kids who meet the height requirement *exactly* go to the front of the line.

#IfIRanAThemePark All dark rides would include an original song.

#IfIRanAThemePark All food would be themed to its location in the park.

#IfIRanAThemePark Our employees never would have to take home or clean their own costumes.

#IfIRanAThemePark We'd create a custom ice cream flavor, available only in the park.

#IfIRanAThemePark We'll have plenty of benches throughout the park, and something interesting to see from every one.

#IfIRanAThemePark After-hours, hard-ticket event where everyone is *required* to come in costume and portray some character.

#IfIRanAThemePark It'd have a richly-landscaped, themed play area.

#IfIRanAThemePark All meals would be served on real plates, with real tableware.

#IfIRanAThemePark I would need to do a "research" trip to Tokyo Disney every year.

#IfIRanAThemePark It'd probably go bankrupt in a year, but it'd be a spectacular year.

Here are some our readers' top responses, again, ranked by retweets and favorites:

@futureprobe1982 — #IfIRanAThemePark No FastPass, no ExpressPass, no virtual queuing systems, period. Just lots of high-capacity rides to handle the crowds.

@Majrhavoc — #IfIRanAThemePark My Yeti animatronic would animate.

@futureprobe1982 — #IfIRanAThemePark It would be EPCOT Center, and I never would’ve ruined it in the 90s.

@Ademir818 — #IfIRanAThemePark I would not charge an arm and a leg for admission

@Jackintosh35 — #IfIRanAThemePark My annual pass would give me unlimited front of the line passes

@n8creative — #IfIRanAThemePark there would be only darkrides.

@JoeDrews — no lines. Only interactive waiting areas immersing you in the theme of the ride before you are called. #IfIRanAThemePark

@brettkyle — #IfIRanAThemePark Animatronics would take precedence over screens

@A_Coaster_Story — #IfIRanAThemePark I would never run a coaster with only 1 train.

@IndyMuttMom — Complimentary foot massages #IfIRanAThemePark

@thrillseekertx — #IfIRanAThemePark All my rides would have unique names, no exceptions. #whichViper #whichGoliath #whichSuperman

@SpaceScreamJohn — #IfIRanAThemePark every roller coaster would have on-board music

@urzishra — #IfIRanAThemePark make sure you can't see the parking lot from any of the rides.

@Majrhavoc — #IfIRanAThemePark I would not buy a Vekoma Boomerang.

@Stormin1977 — #IfIRanAThemePark I'd put full time restroom cleaners in each restroom.

What do you think about these suggestion? What would you do (or not do) if you ran a theme park? Let's keep the conversation going, in the comments, or on Twitter using the #IfIRanAThemePark hashtag.

And, by the way, if you actually do run a theme park, allow me to remind you that for any theme park improvement idea you see here on Theme Park Insider, you're free to take and implement it at your park.

Readers' Opinions

From Jorge Arnoldson on January 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM
#IfIRanAThemePark All the coins dropped in the park's fountains would be donated to local charities monthly.
From Brian Emery on January 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM
Wow some many of these would not be cost effective and If you ran the Theme Park – you would be broke and losing monies… Just Sayin….
From 96.246.126.185 on January 15, 2014 at 12:32 PM
I like the ideas of not ruining EPCOT Center and having more animatronics.
From Daniel Etcheberry on January 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM
If I ran a theme park I would have cast members help the disabled with their trays at the counter service restaurants.
From 184.5.223.2 on January 15, 2014 at 3:39 PM
if i ran a theme park i would listen to guest criticism seriously and act upon it
From Anon Mouse on January 15, 2014 at 3:49 PM
#IfIRanAThemePark I would quit.
From 108.198.188.63 on January 15, 2014 at 4:15 PM
If I ran a theme park it would be Universal Orlando after the construction of WWOHP
From Json Son on January 15, 2014 at 4:20 PM
#IfIRaThemePark there would be no dark ride clones or any clones for that matter.
From 76.26.185.29 on January 15, 2014 at 6:15 PM
If I ran a theme park I would make a video game theme park and have dark rides that have screen and automactronics in one and a thrilling roller coaster with a great story and theme
From Sylvain Comeau on January 15, 2014 at 6:29 PM
I like the fourth one, "we'd never buy or install a spinner ride".
Quick rant: why is Universal so fixated on spinning? Somebody in their design team has a fetish for spinning, and it's just at the limit of my tolerance. Getting dizzy is not a big thrill!
From Bobbie Butterfield on January 15, 2014 at 7:10 PM
These are great ideas; wish I'd thought of some of them BEFORE taking a Six Flags survey asking what management could do to improve the park. I agree with the person who said s/he wouldn't buy a Vekoma boomerang. That's probably next on the list for Six Flags Great Adventure. After all, they have everything else; why not that - and why not name it Goliath despite the fact that there's already a giant inverted Vekoma boomerang by that name at Six Flags New England? After all, SFGA has rides with Batman, Superman and Bizarro in the title; to expect them to come up with something original is too much to expect. Oh, and if I were running a theme park, I wouldn't hire food servers whose command of English is so poor that they can't understand or answer basic questions about what's in a particular offering. As one with dietary restrictions, I find that unacceptable.
From Gabriel Schroll on January 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM
This isn't exactly related to the #, but my theme park wish is that a deal can be worked out between Disney, Universal, and Six Flags with their comic book rights.

Islands of Adventure can re-theme their Marvel Superhero Island to DC. Hulk becomes Green Lantern. Easy! Spider-Man would need to be disassembled and moved to a different park, as it can't really be re-themed. I'm sure Hollywood Studios could benefit from that ride!

Now Disney can start adding Marvel heroes to Walt Disney World. Perhaps even an entirely new park!

Six Flags can just rename their Batman and Superman rides to something generic in exchange for a pile of cash.

That's what I would do if I was the master of my theme park universe.

From Tim Chatlos on January 15, 2014 at 8:02 PM
"#IfIRanAThemePark All dark rides would include an original song." Amen to that!
From 209.44.133.160 on January 15, 2014 at 8:20 PM
If I ran Disney and Universal, I would open additional parks to relieve overcrowding and eliminate the 2 hour wait times for the most popular rides. I would open these parks in Dallas, TX because 50 million people live within a 10 hour drive of Dallas, and Dallas has a warm climate for most of the year. It costs $2,000 to fly a family of four from the midwest to Anaheim or Orlando. Many families skip Disney/Universal vacations or don't take them as often as they would like because the airfare is too high and the drive is over 20 hours each way.
From 65.34.67.242 on January 15, 2014 at 8:43 PM
IfIRanAThemePark I would optimize entertainment for my guests instead of making the guests work to optimize everything out of me.

FastPass+, MagicBand, meal plan complexity, apps that don't work unless your in the park, excessively complex reservation websites, and figuring out which app will tell me the time of the 3 o'clock parade.

From James Trexen on January 15, 2014 at 8:52 PM
Since I don't have a Twitter, I guess I'll have to post here.

#IfIRanAThemePark, complimentary water cups would be provided.

From 68.58.203.160 on January 15, 2014 at 9:44 PM

1) Rides would never cause guests physical pain or discomfort.

2) All future Theme Parks built would surpass Disney Sea in beauty and theming.

3) All future new "lands" built would surpass Carsland and Hogsmeade in beauty and theming.

4) All new rides built would surpass Mystic Manor and Radiator Springs Racers in excellence.

5) More attractions and higher capacity rides would replace the need for Fastpass.

6) Real sets and animatronics would be preferred over video screens.

From AJ Hummel on January 15, 2014 at 10:52 PM
Since I don't use twitter I'll play along here. If I ran a theme park...

1. There would be a balance of roller coasters, dark rides, flume rides, flat rides, and shows.

2. Attractions would be themed sufficiently to distinguish them from the generic versions found at "Iron Ride Parks."

3. No video screens, only practical effects.

4. Prices based on what is necessary for sustainable operation, not how what be extracted from a guest's wallet.

5. No upcharges, no gimmicks, no special treatment for those with more money to spend.

From Annette Forrest on January 16, 2014 at 12:57 AM
If I ran a theme park, I would take 1/4 (25%) of the annual profits and put it in a special capital account and every two years I'd take that money and spend it on a new attraction that would either add capacity to the park or replace an older attraction that was no longer popular.

EPCOT is a great example of what I would improve in this fashion. I would add a new country pavilion every two years until the world showcase was completed...and then I would add a new ride to each of the new showcases (and existing showcases like France that do not have rides). Then I would work on putting things in the empty sections of EPCOT.

I know for the park to be profitable I'd have to find a way to pay for all the new payroll and the employees and maintanence of the new things I built, but I think merchandise sales, food and beverage purchases, and increase attendance in the park would pay for that.

It would take me probably 12 years or more to really make an impact on EPCOT...but I would try hard!

From Jeffrey Britton on January 16, 2014 at 9:10 AM
If I ran a Theme Park it would be in Colorado or Washington where people really wouldn't care about waiting in lines.
From Russell Meyer on January 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM
I would structure my admission around people's physical ability/desire to experience attractions. It's ridiculous that a little person or child who are not allowed to ride big thrill rides are forced to pay full admission. If someone is willing to come into my park and not ride anything, I'd be more than happy to sell them a discounted admission to do that.
From 98.227.60.180 on January 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM
You know what? I actually wish the old ticket books still existed…and people got a certain number of rides on things, and could buy more if they liked.

Lower the admission price, but have the people who want to ride the E tickets all day a chance to do that by just paying more. And then people who want to just enjoy the park and have a relaxing quiet day can do that too.

From 98.162.245.45 on January 16, 2014 at 6:18 PM
If I Ran A ThemePark -
More single rider lines. Especially one for Tower of Terror at Disney Hollywood Studios.

I would also enact a policy that if a couple or family was in the single rider line, then complained that their party was going to be split up, they would be sent to the back of the regular line to wait again.

From 84.56.96.141 on January 17, 2014 at 6:02 AM
-No exits that force you through merchandising shops or sponsor exhibits. No sponsors, especially not ones that buy bad stories.

-Some themed hotels within the park.

-Social tariff admission outside peak traffic season.

-When stuff breaks, fix it imidiatly.

-High speed and local rail connection directly in front of the main entrance.

From 209.44.133.160 on January 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM
If I ran a theme park, I would model future park concepts on Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Resort in Orlando and Disneyland/California Adventure Resort in Anaheim: walkable resorts, high density concentrations of quality attractions, less filler, less waiting in line, less time lost hopping from park to park, more energy, more excitement. A better experience all around for theme park guests will make them more eager to come back and spend their hard earned money.
From TROY DAVIDSON on January 20, 2014 at 12:40 PM
If I ran a theme park I would design one half similar to EPCOT crossed with City Walk. Each area would be themed to a period of time. the 1920-1930's, 1940's to 1950's, 1960 to 1970, 1980 to 1990 and so on. Each area would include pop culture from that era. Popular foods and beverages with themed places to eat. Shows based on each time period imagine the flapper girls from the 20's!

A mixture of rides inspired from each decade. At night each decade would have a night club for each era. Jazz, Disco, 80's and everyone could 'decade hop" from one club to another. There would be decorations that reflected each decade. (Silver tinsel christmas trees from the 1950's) It would be a little like a museum as well; displaying things or pop culture of items from the past. Just like on a cruise ship, people could plan on bringing costumes for any theme party they wanted to attend (or rent them at their hotel)

I think this would be something fun for different generations and the thrill of the rides may depend on what target age your going for, for that generation. (Each decade the thrill rides go up)....Universal, call me! I have great ideas! I would say Disney call me, but, I would be dead before Disney World got another attraction built! LOL

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