As you are probably already well aware, at RexandtheBeast.com, Rex and the Beast discuss various destinations that we visit. A basic question that we are asked from time to time is: What is the difference between a Theme Park, a Thrill Park and an Amusement Park? The answer to that question can be different based upon who you ask, but for purposes of RexandtheBeast.com, the answer is discussed below. Also, Rex and the Beast feel that all three types of parks have their place, and our discussion is to classify them for you so that you will understand the references on RexandtheBeast.com, not to rank them or otherwise state one type of park is better than the otherthose type of arguments will come later!
A Theme Park is a park that is based substantially upon an overriding theme or feel. The theme does not have to be the same theme throughout the park, but there is no doubt that a theme exists. Examples of this are Animal Kingdom, where the theme is, not surprisingly, the animal world, and Holiday World, where the theme is different holidays, and various portions of the park are centered around those holidays. Compare those parks to Cedar Point, which although it has various areas throughout the park, does not have an overriding themeexcept of course, the greatest collection of coasters in one park (can you say, Thrill Park?). Although it is more of an art than a science, usually you will know when you walk out of a park whether it should be classified as a Theme Park. Rex and the Beast can ordinarily tell within 10 minutes of entering a park whether it should be called a Theme Park, but this is due to an innate feel that we have developed over many years of visiting various parkswe cannot promise that you will be able to do this immediately; however, after continuous review and study of RexandtheBeast.com, we are confident you will ultimately learn this skill.
One important factor to understand with regard to Theme Parks is that they can still have a thrill aspect. Many people automatically throw any parks with roller coasters or other exciting rides into the Thrill Park bucket, but that is not always correct. The issue of being a Theme Park does not preclude excitement or certain thrill rides. The classic example of this is Islands of Adventure. Although IOA has a few of the great thrill rides in all of Parkdom (i.e., The Hulk, Spiderman, Dueling Dragons), there is no doubt that IOA is a Theme Park, in fact, the island theme is one of Rex and the Beasts favorite set of themes in all of Theme Parkdom.
Classic Theme Park: EPCOT at Walt Disney World
Adrenaline Theme Park: Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
P.S. If any RexandtheBeast.com readers have a good, unique suggestion as to how to refer to Classic Theme Parks and Adrenaline Theme Parks, drop us an email, if we decide to use your suggestion, you will get a mention on RexandtheBeast.com and who knows what other great things might happen to you!
A Thrill Park is a park that is based upon roller coasters and other thrill rides, which rides dominate the discussion when the park is the subject of any conversation. There is quite often some level of theming at Thrill Parks, but the theme is not a large feature (or in some cases, even relevant) to a decision to go to the park or in enjoying the park. When you enter a Thrill Park, rather than feel like you may be entering into a different worldas in a Theme Parkyou are usually just planning the speed at which you can get to the first set of thrill rides. The Beast lives in Louisville, Kentucky near a RexandtheBeast.com favorite Thrill Park–Kings Island.
Classic Thrill Park: Six Flags Magic Mountain
In some ways an Amusement Park is the most difficult park to quantify. Usually it has attributes of a Theme Park and attributes of a Thrill Park but really doesnt fit squarely within either definition. Often, but not always, an Amusement Park is a smaller park that has great history behind it. Also, this is probably the default type of park. If you cant decide if a park is a Theme Park or a Thrill Park, then it is probably not either of those types of parks but is an Amusement Park. Rex lives near a couple of classic
Amusement Parks in Denver, including Elitch Gardens (formerly Six Flags Elitch Gardens) and Lakeside Amusement Park.
Classic Amusement Parks: Elitch Gardens