1. Rate only the locations where you've been within the last two years.
Don't rate a ride if you have not ridden it recently. Do not rate a show you haven't seen. Don't rate a restaurant if you have not eaten there. Don't rate hotels where you've not stayed. We want the Theme Park Insider ratings and reviews to reflect readers' experience, and not some impression of "reputation" or conventional wisdom.
2. Think about how one location should rate relative to the other locations where you've been.
Not every ride, show, restaurant or hotel is the same. So why give them the same rating? Don't be afraid to use lower ratings on some locations, in order to create "separation" between the ratings of great rides (for example) and the not-so-great. And rate locations relative to *all* the locations you've visited at all the theme parks you've attended. Give the best ones top ratings and the below-average ones below-average ratings.
3. Read the rating descriptions.
We do not use numbers on the rating forms here at Theme Park Insider. We use adjectives instead. That's because we want you to really think about your experience when rating a ride, restaurant, hotel or show, and not reflexively assign it some arbitrary number.
Here are some additional descriptions for each rating, along with a sample attraction that Theme Park Insider's editor thinks fits within that category:
4. Consider your kids' POV on the young kids' rides.
Some rides, such as Disney's Dumbo and many of the attractions at Legoland, are designed for young children, including toddlers, preschoolers and early-elementary students. They're not really for visitors of all ages, just for young kids and their grown-up companions. Again, rule number 1 applies. Don't rate these unless you've been on them in the past two years. And if you do rate them, try to rate them from the child's perspective. How does this ride rate relative to other little kids' rides you've ridden with kids?
These kids' rides are typically shorter, much less intense and may have less theming than family and grown-up rides. (That's because they are for little kids.) So you should give young kids' rides a higher rating than you would "grown-up" rides of similar intensity. Compare young kids' riders against other rides for people of the same age group when rating.
Thank you for taking the times to rate and review on Theme Park Insider the locations you've visited recently. Your input helps make this site such a valuable trip-planning resource for more than two million readers every year.
Somehow you need to make sure this posting is readily available, like your "Guidelines For Writers" link. Furthermore, the definitions of the ratings should somehow be incorporated into the flow when people input ratings. It is always good to give people a "gold standard" for their ratings.
I've always wanted an explanation link (a link on each attraction would be great, but not necessary).
Poor: unfairly categorizing rides that are both intended and suitable for persons of any age who take an interest in it as "kiddie" rides only intended for young children accompanied by their parents. Better to keep the definition of "kiddie ride" limited to those for which there truly exists a maximum age or height requirement with at most only parents/chaperones exempted
Not the ideal standard being exhibited on what is being considered a professional or at least semi-professional website. Unfortunate, in light of the potentially-valuable content this site provides, such as safety reports
==> No one is being forced to vote a certain way. Guidelines are a tool to help users provide a more valuable service in the form of meaningful ratings.
RATING: A position assigned on a scale; a standing; a progressive classification, as of size, amount, importance, or rank.
==> When a rating system is used, a definition is also required, else the rating is meaningless. Mr. Niles has simply provided a definition for the rating system used on this website.
I see no harm in adding both definition and advice for the ratings on this site.
I think a rating that reflects Dumbo's value to me as an adult, alone, misses the point. Dumbo's rating ought to reflect its value to its primary audience, which is young children. So I would not dare rate it as weak, indeed I think it ought to be good, or better, by its value to the kids who ride it. (Again, I am citing Dumbo here as an example of a class of rides.) That's what I am trying to say with #4 above.
I'm all for posting the new guidelines. Ride the rides, shows, and attractions you have ridden, and put some real thought into your votes. No superfan voting. Of course all of this is done on the honors system, so here's to hoping that the reviewers stay honest. There are so many different flavors out there meant for different people, and I think that seeing a ride for what it is and what it was built to accomplish is something to consider. Mr Toad's Wild Ride wasn't really built to thrill people, so don't give it a 5 because it doesn't go a hundred miles an hour and doesn't get your adrenaline going, give it a 5 because it didn't tell the story effectively or didn't capture your imagination. On the other hand, don't give Goliath a 5 because it didn't "tell a story", give Goliath a 5 because it was uncomfortable, or not thrilling enough..etc etc. Just my two cents on reviewing.
Just a question...will the ratings be reset? I'm not sure I think they should be, but it's something to think about anyway.
Robert ....I hope that people aren't misinterpreting your review guidelines as anything other than that..........guidelines.
I think most of us get what your saying.
Once upon a time, didn't a lot of the kiddie rides have a separate "for kids" rating? That probably did help people to rate the rides more fairly. But it can be very hard to decide what's a kiddie ride and what isn't. Depends on the kids!
Every ride-rating website has its strengths and weaknesses. This site has always had a bias towards thrill rides, and I think that's fine. There are plenty of other sites that stress the strengths of less thrilling rides.
I don't really see that. In fact, we take a lot of heat for an alleged hostility to thrill rides. (See the Best Ride Tournament comments.)
As for the separate kids ratings, yes, we did that at one time, but ended it when I rewrote the software that handles the rating tabulations. I'm messing around the some options to bring a form of that back, though.
But I do know that this site had Islands of Adventure as the top park for a number of years. And although I do love it, that's a park where if you're pregnant or have a heart condition, you'll be spending a lot of time twiddling your thumbs.
And "thrill rides", in my opinion, does not necessarily define fast or high rides. It defines an exciting attraction, like T2: 3D, or even Soarin'.
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Hollywood