Now in that period between my childhood and parenthood, I'd have gone with the flume rides, though, today, if I were not a parent, the shoot-'em-ups (Men in Black, Buzz Lightyear) might be my choice.
I guess the first time I remember riding Spiderman at IOA I was completely blown away by the whole experience. Also, at general fairs and othr theme parks, I'am a fan of all their simulator rides as well.
Oh, and scenary in playgrounds etc comes in at third.
So I had to go with my next favorite: Dark Rides. Things like The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Twister the Ride, The Mummy, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Dinosaur!, Maelstrom, Spaceship Earth, etc, contribute the most to a park's over-all theme and make it memorable. You can go anywhere for thrill a ride like a coaster (big whoop). What's so special about that?
Here's another way of looking at the results, as of this moment, more than 60 percent of respondents picked something *other* than unthemed coasters as their favorite theme park element.
The thrill ride, amusement park crowd's got one choice here: the unthemed coasters. But the theme park crowd's got 13 other choices, and are splitting their votes accordingly.
I also find it interesting that while another purpose of the votes was to stimulate some discussion, only the theme park fans seem to be participating. The amusement/thrill fans vote, and move on without commenting.
Now, part of that is due to the fact that one need not register with the site to vote, but one must to comment. That suggests to me that there is a large "drive by" community of amusment/thrill fans who lurk on the site, but do not otherwise participate the way that the theme park fans do.
Anyway, I still think y'all don't give enough love to the playgrounds.... ;-)
With the options I voted for dark rides!!! Most parks can offer a decent/excellant roller coasters, but only the great parks can offer a ride like POTC/Haunted Mansion/Spiderman etc. The dark rides/atmosphere is what makes the for a great time at the park!!
Ok.......going on a fast coaster afterwards.
Last May , when it was 97 degrees, we rode Kali Rapids , got wet , and rode Everest. Cooled down really quick. Lunched at the Flame Tree BBQ while we dried off and rested at Bug's Life.
So maybe that's why we need all the elements of a Theme Park for it to work well.
Now, at Disneyland ... it's all but impossible for me to get bored, and at the end of the day I don't want to leave. I enjoy simply being there as much as all the cool things to do.
BTW I like playgrounds too, although I've experienced very few. Every theme park should have a good one. I've probably said this here before: being 33 and 6'3" DOES NOT keep me away from Tom Sawyer Island. :-)
I'm not sure what to vote for. Along with atmosphere, I enjoy unique rides of various types, most interactive attractions (Buzz = obsession), parades and shows that have spectacle (fireworks, etc), shopping to an extent, and also the grounds/gardens (appealing to my interest in architecture, civil engineering and horticulture maybe).
It's interesting that the roller coasters are winning by a landslide. I do realize that there is really only a couple of choices for the amusement park goer, but even on a site that leans towards theme parks, the roller coaster wins.
Also, I was surprised to see so many voted for high speed unthemed coasters. Perhaps someone who voted for this could comment as to what they love about those?
I think we're talking more Expedition Everest when we're talking 'theming' here....
But I had to put my vote for dark rides - which actually overlap a lot of the other categories. I love Splash Mountain, which is not just a flume, but also a dark ride. I also love Men in Black, which is really another dark ride.
And given Robert's advice to think of your happiest moments, dark rides had to win out for me. Some of my happiest memories include: taking an adult friend on her first ride in the Haunted Mansion and seeing her shock and amazement at seeing the ballroom scene, having my 1-year old get upset because our ride on Pirates of Caribbean was ending and he didn't want to get off the boat, and riding Men in Black 5 times in a row on our first visit to Universal Orlando.
However, I could imagine a lot of "happiest moments" involve roller coasters. After all, the thrill of a coaster can elicit a really strong emotional response!
Color me undecided.