(Although to be fair it was an update of the long forgotten "lassiters lost reef" of which I only know that the ride mechanism was kept).
Sadly though, when you rely on the greatest effects you can buy today, you're just 5 mins away from being old news. Now the ride lies dormant with mere rumours of it coming back. A similar ride at sister Park "Warner Bro Movie World" featuring the Looney Tunes characters also lies dormant.
A loop is a loop is a loop is a loop - it's always going to be exciting. G-Forces never go out of style. Advanced effects have a sell by date built in...
The question should also be asked about dark rides. Why don't regional parks do more small dark rides (Snow White, Mr. Toads, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland) like what Disneyland has? They are relatively cheap when compared to the more elaborate E-Ticket dark rides like the Haunted Mansion and The Little Mermaid. Unfortunately, Disney closed some small dark rides in Orlando and opened a limited number of small dark rides in their new parks.
Regional parks should have a wider variety of rides and not just roller coasters. I could say the same for Universal who went to the simulator route. I'm tired of sitting through another movie at Universal. My butt is tired from the shaking of my seat.
I wish Knott's would update the Calico Mine Train ride and bring back its closed Dinosaur or Knott's Berry Tale ride.
And regarding water rides, those can become maintenance nightmares. Plus you may have to suspend its early spring and late fall operations for seasonal parks, which already operate on a restricted time period.
These are the experiences that keep me visiting these attractions instead of some of the more coaster-heavy parks. Judging from the attendance numbers I'm definitely not the only one.
Numbers like that always impress me, especially when you look at the quality of attraction. I wish theme park spent more time on higher quality rides that support higher hourly capacities.
I'm heading out to Orlando on Thursday for the WDW Marathon and I will be sneaking away from the mouse house to enjoy some butter beer and a few spins on HPATFJ.
Let's do the math.
An expensive B&M or Intimin coaster has 32 seats. Most of these big coasters can be dispatched every 90 seconds. That's a capacity of 1280 guests per hour.
Now using a YouTube clip of the Coal Cracker at Hershey Park, their turntable releases boats every 15 seconds (240 times an hour). And the traditional log flume probably averages 4 guests per boat, giving most log flumes an average of 960 guests an hour. The duel stations used at Knott's probably dispatches the same or slower.
Of course the answer is to make bigger boats while still retaining quick dispatches. But parks don't like to make headlining flume rides because water makes everything harder and more expensive. Just look at Jaws, Madagascar and Splash Mountain;s current condition.
Marty Sklar, one of the original Imagineers, once said, "We're in the business of telling great stories, and great stories never grow old. In the end, a roller coaster is just a roller coaster."
So why do regional parks just build roller coasters? Well, they're cool, and eye catching, and often provide a nice two-three year attendance bump. They can give parks bragging rights, create excitement, and are definitely a draw for most of us who plan world wide (or at least cross country) pilgrimages to increase an insignificant, but all consuming, "coaster count".
But, most importantly, coasters are generally far less expensive than their dark ride counterparts (exceptions being coasters like Expedition Everest and Revenge of the Mummy, which are really just story-driven dark rides disguised as roller coasters). A good coaster like Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City will run a company $10M.... a good dark ride like Spider-Man: $80M - $100M. I think cost is the biggest factor. Regional parks can make a big splash for less money by building an uber coaster than by breaking the bank on a one of a kind narrative attraction.
Of course, in a perfect world, someone would build a great story-driven, 4-D coaster, with amazing animatronics, a 500 ft drop, a top speed of 200 mph, and a dozen inversions. Sadly, this world is far from perfect.
As for capacity, you could argue it both ways. There are many coasters out there that are designed to be people eaters, but the park's don't always operate them at maximum efficiency, causing queue lines to be long and slow moving. One train operations and only using one side of a dual-sided loading station during peak times are prime examples of how parks cut corners to save money at the expense of the guest experience.
Six Flags and Cedar Fair have neither the financial resources nor the IP rights to build anything remotely as exciting as what can be found at the destination parks. However, for the most part they are amusement parks, not theme parks, and their visitors tend to expect thrill rides from them. Everytime I go to Six Flags Magic Mountain, I always find long lines for the roller coasters, yet their log flume (as well as every non-coaster ride in the park except Lex Luthor) constantly cycle empty seats. Even on busy days, their less intense coasters rarely have more than a two train wait. Knott's is similar, but not to the same extent, as they definitely attract more families than SFMM. Regardless of where the parks are located, I've seen similar trends among the various Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks, so when it's a choice between a multi-launched coaster and a dark ride full of cardboard cutouts, they'll always pick the coaster.
As far as coaster capacity being poor, that is more often than not a result of the park running only one train or having inefficient operators. Taken from RCDB, here are the theoretical capacities of some of Knott's coasters:
Boomerang: 760 riders per hourGhostRider: 1,600 riders per hourJaguar!: 1,800 riders per hourMontezooma's Revenge: 1,344 riders per hourSilver Bullet: 1,300 riders per hourTimberline Twister: 360 riders per hourXcelerator: 1,330 riders per hour
If you figure most major amusement park attractions are in the 1,400 to 1,700 rider per hour range, that's not all that bad. For the record, Knott's log flume has a theoretical capacity of 1,500 riders per hour, and this requires all 28 logs running with a 12 second dispatch interval and five riders per log. Normally, a 20 second interval is used and few logs have more than four riders, so the typical capacity is more like 720 riders per hour (closer to the standard flat ride range of 300 to 700 riders per hour). The only reason Knott's log flume has the highest ridership is because of the boost it recieves from Halloween Haunt, where the ride is given a maze overlay and has 2+ hour waits while operating at full capacity. It almost always has a shorter line than many of the coasters, even though their capacity is greater. While Disney does have some rides that can pull 2,500+ people an hour, outside of specially designed ride systems roller coasters are almost always the capacity kings at an amusement park.
I'd take Revenge of the Mummy over the latest and greatest Cedar Fair roller coaster any day of the week.
Log flume rides are also a lot more family friendly than typical roller coasters. Roller coasters will often have a 42", 48", or even 52" height requirement, but most flume rides will let a small child sit with a parent or guardian.
We bought 2013 passes for Knott's Berry Farm in November, and the announcement of the Timber Mountain Log Ride refurbishment was on January 2nd. Our son, who is too old for many of the kids rides in Camp Snoopy, but has just gotten old enough to love (and not be scared of) the log ride. Unfortunately, he's not yet 48" tall, so he can't ride most of the roller coasters at Knotts, not even the tame ones (Jaguar, Pony Express). That five month refurbishment makes visits to Knotts that much less attractive.
I do think though that the time is coming when some of the regional parks will begin to diversify a little bit. Case in point, I don't think that Cedar Point and their sister parks will ever stop building coasters, but I definitely think that more and more attention is being paid to visual presentation of the park. Whether or not that will translate to more themed rides remains to be seen, but it stands to reason that a former Disney exec would bring some of that influence along with him to Cedar Fair.
Knotts has been suffering from a bit of an identity crisis lately. They aren't Magic Mountain and they aren't Disney. Perhaps a return to visuals and themes is just what they need.
But for all us "attraction" people, there are plenty of roller coasting / thrill seeking types who prefer the latter.
As some mentioned before, some people love seeing a huge, twisty, sleek track of metal from the highway as they approach the park.
Some don't want story, they want an adrenaline rush.
And that's what parks like Six Flag excel in.....providing the alternative.....I wouldn't WANT to see a Six flags attempt a Disney or Universal type attraction...that's not who they're catering to.
I like coasters, but sometimes you want to ride something that is good and entertaining without getting your brains scrambled.
My theory is that coasters do not need a backstory.