The theme park community has become such a huge part of my life over the past 5/6 years. The highs, lows and everything in between. But there is something that everyone gets introduced to early on in their geek journey that isn’t actually true. Hear me out on this.
When you first get actively involved in the community, a couple of things become clear very quickly. The first being that the Nemesis Vs Nemesis Inferno debate is infinite and will never end. The second is that if you’re a theme park enthusiasts you must enjoy coasters and everything revolves around coasters. From counting, to following coaster constructions, the community starts pumping this idea into you that you must be a coaster enthusiast and that your life should revolve around these machines. Many of the popular vloggers and bloggers and content creators have coasters as their main draw and that because they like coasters than you should too. Obviously many of us start our enthusiast journeys because of coasters, so I won’t deny the fact that it’s a key reason for being one, but whilst roller coaster enthusiasm takes centre stage, You begin to find that the other types of rides have huge followings and that can only be described as a sub set enthusiasm. And this is where the dirty secret is shall we say. You can still be an enthusiast if you don’t like coasters. I know right, shocking!
“It doesn’t matter what you like about theme parks, its abot enjoying what you do like and celebrating it fully”
Theme parks are generally advertised as their being something for everyone and this is so right in more ways than the obvious kid rides/adult rides argument. There is themeing, flat rides, water rides, food and drink, dark rides. The list is huge and there is a huge following on them. Take drop tower enthusiasts. Like coaster ones they compare height but they also look to see if the seats rotate or lean, speed, theme. They compare everything and they enjoy every part of them including the up and down bit. The same for people who love theme park food. They visit parks because they want to eat in a restaurant or try a specific snack and would most likely go to the parks when there are more events like Oktoberfest or Disney’s Food and Wine events. I love a water ride. Like wooden coasters, the ride will always be slightly different due to various factors including weather (Though what kind of crazy idiot would ride a water ride while its pissing down with rain haha).
Enthusiasm doesn’t just have to be about the rides and food. For many theme park fans there first taste of scare attractions are at theme parks. This could lead them on a journey into the dark and into the path of the crazed clown or a seductive sorceress and make you want to experience for scare attractions/mazes and focus your geek on the scare side (Can totally relate) and could even get you to want to become a scare actor. There really is a plethora of different types of enthusiasm, heck there is even back seat enthusiasm where you aren’t a full geek about things so are less likely to know opening dates or manufacturers. This doesn’t mean you are any less of a theme park enthusiast. This is what I consider the dirty little secret. The secret that you don’t have to be a coaster nerd to be a theme park enthusiast.
Theme park enthusiasm is about more than just the coasters and it should be celebrated a hell of a lot more than it is. Like the diversity in the community, we should be celebrating all aspects of the theme park and not just showcasing the coasters. But if you take anything away from this blog post than I hope you take away this; It doesn’t matter what you like about theme parks, its about enjoying what you do like and celebrating it fully.