What Makes You Want to Ride Again?

October 29, 2022, 1:01 PM · Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and other big theme parks spend millions of dollars designing attractions to do one very important thing - to make you want to ride again.

"Re-rideability" is perhaps the most popular buzzword in attraction design at the moment. Re-rides keep you at the park longer, making you more likely to spend money an extra meal. The loyalty you feel to an attraction that you want to go on again and again makes you more likely to buy a T-shirt or other souvenir themed to it. The enduring lure of that great experience then also makes you more likely to want to return to the park by booking another vacation or buying an annual pass. For all those reasons, re-rides mean money to theme park companies.

No park wants to spend the cash to build a one-and-done attraction. But what makes you want to go back and experience a theme park attraction for a second, a third, or a "I've lost count how many times I've ridden this" time?

That's the question for which theme parks and their designers really want the answer. And I don't know that many of us are ready to provide it.

Ultimately, there's a "you just know it when you feel it" factor to all this. Great theme park attractions create a magic that the average visitor does not care to break down and analyze. You're too busy just enjoying it. And that's fine.

But because many or us like to obsess over our favorite attractions here at Theme Park Insider, I'm going to ask the question anyway. What is the one element that you find most often draws you back to the attractions you want to ride again and again?

Is it a beloved theme? Or many all the overwhelming visual and audio detail that keep you discovering new things each time you go?

Maybe it's a collection of ever-changing, variable elements? Or perhaps you crave interactive attractions, where you can influence how things happen?

Do you just love the physical sensation of a great thrill ride and never tire of that? Or does it simply just come down to wait times - or, more accurately, the lack of them? No wait = go again.

Please cast your vote and let us know.

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Replies (14)

October 29, 2022 at 2:23 PM

Honestly, it's all of those reasons. All-time great attractions will be able to check off more than one of those (but will then rarely check off a short wait)

October 29, 2022 at 5:26 PM

To me it's the immersive atmosphere. If I feel I'm in another world that makes me want to discover and relive it over and over again.

October 30, 2022 at 1:18 AM

I'm definitely in the physical sensation camp, the more intense the better, but I enjoy and appreciate great theming and the other elements mentioned.

For instance, when I went to Florida in September there were 3 main new to me attractions I rode, and my preference was in the following order (1) Iron Gwazi (2) Velociraptor (3) Hagrid's. Though in saying that, they were all great experiences, but if I had to choose.

October 30, 2022 at 2:39 AM

I think the list needs to be a rank or a scale.
A beloved theme is important, but so is the wait time. Would I wait 3 hours to re-ride a loved ride while I can ride a different ride that is a little less loved but has a 40 min wait.

October 30, 2022 at 9:17 AM

for me, it's the fun factor. a ride doesn't have to be the biggest, fastest, etc for me to want a re-ride. 2 new rides that i absolutely love riding again and again are hagrid's and guardians mainly due to the amount of fun and joy they give me. that's the big reason why i still love me some space mountain (and can't wait for tron). sure, nothing like the thrill of the first drop on montu or sheikra and i love those rides but i could ride hagrid's and guardians all day long.

October 30, 2022 at 10:21 AM

I love great theming on a ride and it elevates the experience, but specifically for re-rides, the physical sensation is more important to me. When I went to IOA last year I rode Velocicoaster 3 times as opposed to my singular one time on Forbidden Journey.

October 30, 2022 at 11:14 AM

There definitely needs an “all of the above” option.

The attraction really depends on the answer. For Rise of the Resistance, it would be for beloved theme and variable elements; for Velocicoaster, it would be for the physical sensations, and for Forbidden Journey it would be for overwhelming detail. There just isn’t one characteristic that can be pinpointed for every attraction.

October 30, 2022 at 3:19 PM

Details matter to me, always have. It's why I miss some classic EPCOT rides, the details of history on Spaceship Earth, Horizons and more always drew me in so many times. Still there with things like Pirates and my family gushed on Rise of the Resistance and others having that. Universal does a good job there too so a well-detailed ride is always a good one.

October 30, 2022 at 4:31 PM

From queue to exit 'Rise of the Resistance', 'Flight of Passage' and 'Men in Black: Alien Attack' set the standard ... Overwhelming details got my vote.

October 30, 2022 at 4:21 PM

It varies by type of ride, but in general those I enjoy re-riding regularly (especially if I'll wait for it more than once per visit) fall into at least one of these four categories:

1. Rides that leave me with a rush. These are often roller coasters and other high intensity thrill rides, though on occasion a particularly dynamic dark ride can quality here.

2. Rides that are so detailed you can't take it all in on one pass. Highly themed attractions with large practical sets usually fit into this category, as do attractions that use their environment in creative ways.

3. Rides that rarely post a significant wait. There are a fair number or rides out there that may consider good but not great, and while I won't prioritize them, if they don't have much of a wait I'll often take a spin when I pass by.

4. Rides that are purely fun or just put me in a good mood. These are ones that don't necessarily even have to be "good" rides, but they're something I always get off with a smile and will therefore take the time to ride them.

The one thing that may affect re-ride worthiness for some but has no impact to me is what IP is featured. There are rides with IPs I love that I rarely ride because they're just not that great, and there are also rides with IPs I couldn't care less about that I'll ride several times.

October 30, 2022 at 6:11 PM

Ultimately, it's the details that draw me back. I visited Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time this year and the ride I went on the most was Secret Life of Pets (3 times). Even though Jurassic World carried the beloved theme (2 times) and Mummy delivered the physical sensations (2 times), I ultimately got off SLOP each time finding something new.

October 30, 2022 at 7:45 PM

My gold standard is Pirates of the Carribean, because it creates a mood. Maybe that's the same thing as a "fully immersive experience," but no matter the time, day or night, once you're on Pirates you're in that world.

Rise of the Resistance gets very close, which is the highest of praise.

October 31, 2022 at 9:46 AM

I'm with AJ. There are lots of different aspects that get me to ride again. Obviously, long lines dissuade me to want to ride again, particularly if it's something I've ridden many time before, but a short line on even a decently good ride is a good incentive to hop on multiple times, especially if lines for other rides around the park are long.

Variability is probably one of the biggest ones for me, which is what makes the way GotG:CR is being operated so frustrating. Disney touts a varying soundtrack, but then only lets guests ride a maximum of twice each day (and that second ride costs an extra $20 or more per person). GotG:MB has a similar variable experience, but when we visited in 2019, we could use MaxPass to ride many times to experience almost all of the different soundtracks. Similarly, MIB and other shooters have highly variable experiences based on your ability. Variability is also a big feature of most roller coasters given that your ride experience can be very different depending where you're sitting in the train. Even on a coaster like Hagrid's where you cannot choose your seat, you can at least coordinate with your party to sit in the sidecar and motorcycle, which offer very different experiences.

Highly detailed theming is another aspect to the best attractions that get me coming back for more, but I often find myself spending multiple re-rides trying to figure out how designers pulled off their clever tricks more so than looking for details I missed on previous rides.

November 2, 2022 at 11:14 AM

I voted for physical sensations because that's the primary reason for my wanting to ride certain attractions over and over, although wait time is a significant factor and for flat rides visuals are important, especially for rides such as Justice League. Back in 2010 I waited two hours to get on Millennium Force but now would not be willing to wait longer than an hour for anything. What it basically comes down to is wanting to re-ride attractions which feel good and put a smile on my face. You'd think that by this time I'd be bored with New Texas Giant but that ride is so much fun that I keep coming back for more.

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