Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

The London Eye reinvigorated the Ferris Wheel. What other ride or attraction is ready for renewal and why?

Chuck Bingham, Martin & Vleminckx: I’ve always thought certain old rides should be brought back; one of those is the Flying Scooters. Now I see a guy from New York intends to resurrect the Whip. Some of those old rides were really simple but they delivered a great experience. I remember some years ago talking to Jac Houben and asking why we can’t put the coaster train on the other side of the track and, low and behold, Vekoma did the suspended coaster a few years later. Water rides are another area where you wonder what can be done that’s new, because it’s been the same basic idea for years. Actually, we do have new concept but I can’t tell you about it yet. It’s a twist on an old favourite so look out!

Werner Stengel, Ingenieurbuero Stengel: It is hard to think of anything, but it would be a big advantage for some of the companies we work with if they could find something! In these economically sensitive times, we may find more parks making the best of what they’ve already got. The only renewal which is really necessary in our eyes is to use more modern wooden rollercoaster track, such as prefabricated, to end the jerky and very uncomfortable wooden rollercoasters you can find worldwide. This would result in less maintenance, less complaints and a better time for park guests.

Jim Seay, Premier Rides: The carousel is poised to follow the exciting resurgence of the Ferris Wheel. Until recently nostalgia had been a significant force in keeping the carousel market alive. However, nostalgia can only support a product for so long especially with younger generations who are more focused on iPhones. There are several reasons why the carousel has a bright future. The market for a carousel has broadened significantly in part because the non-traditional facilities like museums, zoos, aquariums and shopping centres recognise the need to provide entertainment to enhance the experience. New fabrication techniques also allow buyers to purchase highly customised models at very reasonable prices. Think about a sea life-themed carousel located near an aquarium. Development of the models can be created on computer, allowing a much wider range of figures. Finally, technologies like onboard communications,  laser/water guns and special effects more commonly seen in 4D theatres allow designers to take a passive carousel ride and turn it into an interactive adventure. No longer is “grabbing the brass ring” the only activity.


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