Thursday, 7 March 2013

General Public Opinion Survey Results

I've been wondering what the general public thinks about parks and their rides for years, they have such different tastes and opinions to enthusiasts. And with my increased interest in attractions from a theoretical design and marketing standpoint, understanding the public has become not just interesting, but important to me.

For obvious reasons, attractions keep their research a closely guarded secret, and so my understanding of their audiences has come from observing them on site by overhearing queue-line chatter and talking to friends not particularly interested in the industry. What little information the parks do release ranges from confusing to unbelievable, such as that whole "the British public sees wooden roller coasters as unsafe" idea that Merlin Entertainments have concluded from their research. It was my belief that they must be pre-empting that with loaded questions and such… How wrong I turned out to be.

So, I decided to conduct a little survey. My audience was primarily contacts on Facebook, I have to admit. Though I was careful to only select people I felt were ignorant of the subject matter and who's relationship with roller coasters was normal. Some friends got their friends and family to fill it out, my mother filled it out and I managed to gain some strangers feedback from the helpful folks over at r/samplesize. The majority of respondents are in their early 20s, but all ages completed the survey. More than half of the respondents were in the UK, with the US coming second. 

It's by no stretch of the imagination flawless. There are fundamental problems with any survey, but the results are none the less interesting and I hope you enjoy reading them. 

I will be analysing these results and doing a write up on my thoughts, but in the meantime I encourage you to share your own thoughts and observations on the results. :)

Here's what the survey looked like.


1. What different types of roller coaster can you think of?
1Wooden, metal,
2car ones that sit on the track and go forward, spinning cars that sit on the track and got forward. Hanging cars that sit under rails and go forward. High drops, cork screw and bumps. also ones that seem to want to throw you off the track. As well as ones in darkness with lighting effects.Some go in reverse as well.
3the ones that make you go upside down!
4Inversion Wooden Steel Where you're sitting in a car/runaway train When your legs are free/dangling and your top half is restrained
5Inverted coaster, floorless, wooden, runaway train, winged
6corkscrew wooden flying bottomless standing
7Scary Wooden and scary Twisty and twirly Up and down
8One in Thorpe Park that goes through sandy throws you around and makes me feel sick! Lots of corkscrews and loop de loops A basic green dragon one in Southend that goes up and down, no upside downs etc. Don't think that counts Do log flumes and inside rides count?
10Upside down rollercoaster (where there are twists). A big drop rollercoaster (where there is only one or two massive drops eg. Oblivion at Alton Towers).
11hill lifts, sweeping curves, vertical lifts, inverted, but they are all just roller coasters.
12Wooden Steel Inverted Wild mouse Electric acceleration
13corkscrew, wild mouse, dual track
14I can only think of a roller coaster.
16Wooden Traditional Steel Stand up Dangle foot style
17Wooden, Steel, death trap?
18None.. I'm afraid of them! The only one I've ever been on was in Luna Park in Melbourne
19Wooden, metal, ones where the seats hang down from the track, ones that sit on top of the track, ones where you stand up, roller coasters for kids that don't go upside down, etc.
20ones that make me throw up
21Metal, Wooden.
22I'm going to go with types, rather than actual ride names, but I can only think of Big dippers (Like, say The Big One at Blackpool), Vertical (Oblivion), Hanging feety thing (Nemesis), Swirly cart thing (Sonic Spinball), LOG FLUME.
23Inverted stand-up steel wooden wild mouse
24Loop the loop rollercoasters, ones that plummet from a great height, ones where your feet dangle (Vampire at Chessington) and ones where you're sat in a carriage.
25accelerator coaster - where you are accelerated at a high speed log coaster (if it counts) - riding on water and including at least one drop. flying coaster - where the carriage is suspended at the top.
26I only know a few by name, like "Superman," "Bizzaro," "Yankee Cannonball," and "Flashback." As for specific types... I wasn't even aware there were any. So the technical aspect is lost on me. I just know they go up, and then zoom down.
27Wooden, metal, kiddy, long, big, small coasters
28Just one- the one's with carriages that roller (?) around on a track. The track can go in any direction or shape. Except an octogon. That's just crazy.
29Sit-down ones and ones where your legs are dangling?
30Wooden, corkscrew, dangly leg, ladybird, in the dark,
31very fast. upside down, legs free kinda rides
32Wooden. Crazy mouse. Corkscrew Upsy daisy? Flippidy doo?
33None, not a fan of roller coasters really.
34corkscrew, vertical drop, log flume (im sure thats not the technical term, i mean one where the train splashes down in water!) wooden rollercoaster, themed rollercoaster?
35Are there more than one kind?
36Water coasters, wooden, metal, straight, curved, fast, slow, big, small, wide.
37Stand up, figure 8, drop tower
38Loop, hill style, crazy fast whiplash kind, & then the giant U kind.. Hm. That's all that comes to mind for now.
39The saw movie themed one at thorpe park, air and oblivion (i think!) at Alton Towers both of which are aptly named. Also grande Huit at park asterix.
41Wooden roller coasters, steel roller coasters, twisty ones where you go upside down, tall ones with sharp drops, lap bar coasters, shoulder bar coasters,coasters where your feet hang, coasters where you lay down
42Steel, Wooden, upside-down, flying, stand-up
43The ones you sit in with a bar on your waist, the ones where you sit and the thing comes over your shoulders and the ones where you sit in but you leg are dangling.
44Vertical drop - those one that just lift you up and drop you Quick launch - ones that shoot you off at the start Figure eight - pretty self explanatory Standing up roller coaster
46Um, the Smiler... Oblivion? The Hulk? Typhoon? I don't know. Is Disneyland's old Pirates of the Caribbean thing one?
47Scary ones, twisty one, ones with big drops, water ones
48Colossus, nemesis inferno, x no way out. I haven't been to any other theme parks!
49To be honest apart from different themes, I was unaware there were any fundamental differences between rollercoasters :S
50Standing, Sitting, Ones where the person is on their belly (superman). Then they are either made of wood or metal.
2.) What do you think would make a roller coaster good?
1maybe having load music
2High speed. Large/inverted drops like Saw @ Thorpe park. Loop the loop. Picturesque views
3Intensity, smooth ride like Montu in Bush Gardens, speed and height.
4to be able to go through water
5Nothing, they're scary
6The impression of peril with complete safety.
7Build up, a big thrill at the end and not too repetitive
8scary enough, fun design
9I like it to be fast with lots of twists (although not painful when your head gets knocked about)and a few upside down turns.
10more extreme rides
11A smooth, fast ride with exhilarating turns and drops and significant G-forces.
12speed, weather it goes upside down etc
13Lots of fun dives and crazy turns without making me feel sick!
14Large downward drops
15If its a steel coaster, speed and lots of g's. A good wooden one should beat the crap out of you, be really rough.
16Speed, height.
17Not dying?
18Extreme safety precautions
19I would enjoy a roller coaster that started with a buildup like going slowly up at a diagonal, then accelerating to very high speeds. I also like a lot of corkscrews or fast turns. I enjoy a roller coaster more if it has a smooth ride and doesn't jerk my head around.
20one which doesn't make me throw up
21Strong, comfortable and secure harness. Smooth ride,Looks sturdy and safe,nice setting.
22I likes me some big, fast drops. Spinny things hurt my shoulders. The launch of the Rock n' Rollercoaster is pretty good too. That's also cool for the bits in the dark.
24Speed and variety. Not too many loop the loops as this can create a feeling of nausea rather than enjoyment.
25A mix of surprises and tension before a drop.
26The unique thrill factor. A lot of the more famous coasters have gimmicks, so the experience becomes something to remember. Then again, I get motion sickness, so what's good in a coaster for me is not getting on one!
27Nice time length of ride (at least 3-4 minutes), creative and unique design that stands out from most typical coasters
28It goes fast, with at least two laps. Plus it's massive. In fact, you go on a roller coaster just to queue up for the big one!
29A smooth and relatively lengthy ride, with a variety to its track layout (loop-de-loops, corkscrews)
30Lots of G forces, long ride or short queue,
31a non jolty one so my i dont sprain my neck, eek
32Interesting theming. The feeling of your stomach receding into your lower intestine.
33Fast with lots of dips and turns.
34I'm not a massive fan of coasters, so for me it would be pretty tame. speed is always good, but i don't like rides that go upside down or throw you around too much!
35Big drops and cool themes
36An equal amount of places where you can just enjoy fast speed, and other places that cause the stomach churning feelings. Needs to have balance.
38Safety first, knowing it has routine maintenance & such. The thing like most is the drops & loops though. But I don't like so many loops that I feel dizzy. Speed is nice, but not if its so fast that the ride feels 30 seconds long after hours if waiting.
39The name definitely gives some impression of what the experience will be like, so a name that gives an impression could definitely add to the enjoyment in both the build up and the rollercoaster itself! Each one should have its own personality.
40Lots of drops and things that are unexpected
41I enjoyed the roller coasters "Nitro" and "Medusa" from Six Flags in New Jersey... they were smooth, had enough twists and turns and had upside down loops. They were the right speed and had the shoulder bars that made me feel relaxed, confident that I would stay strapped in. I'm not a fan of the lap bar ones because I usually pop out such as wooden roller coasters. I find fast, jerky coasters which whip your head around give me headaches.
42Theming and the buildup of suspense
43Lots of loops and corkscrews.
44personally I think the faster and crazier the better, as long as it has decent and secure safety harnesses i'm good. I also prefer longer 'loopier' rides as opposed to the short 30 second rush type like oblivion(alton towers) I think the minimum a roller coaster needs is a decent speed, and then ideally some loops etc. basically something that gives you a thrill or a bit of adrenalin, something that you wouldn't get during every day life
45Feeling safe in the seat before the ride starts
46I guess simulating movements and speeds that humans wouldn't usually go at. That's thrilling, isn't it?
47A good theme, thrill factor overall experience the queue to entertaining like in the same concept as the. Coster
48I'm not a big fan of them so I couldn't say! I don't mind the ones without loops and the ones where you feel safely strapped in
49A long enough ride to justify the wait! Thrilling points throughout the ride, not simply one 'good part'
50One that gives you the feeling of flight while riding it.
3.) Please describe your opinion or any thoughts that come to mind in response to the roller coasters pictured below. You can be as detailed as you wish or use only a few words. If you recognise the ride, know what it is called, where it is located or have ridden it, please specify, but you do not need to in order to answer the question. (Photo of Colossus, Thorpe Park)
1its like they are stuck in there!
2Collossus @ Thorpe Park. It was fun but the restraints were a bit loose and it almost hurt going through the spiral pictured! There are better rides out there now, but it is still enjoyable. The spiral still looks new and innovative in this picture.
3Colossus, rough, headache.
4colossus, thorpe park, i have ridden it...its twisty shakes your head about
5Horrifyingly scary
6Spiral. Fern fronds! Potential nausea.
7Corkscrew? Vom! Dizzy!
8dizzy but fun, like in a capsule
9It looks like it would be painful to ride (head getting knocked about) and i would most definitely puke after this part. There are just too many twists.
10interesting ride would love to go on it
11Some sort of corkscrew.
12Looks fun
13That may be too many crazy turns.
14Would make me sick
15Looks fun as hell.
16Fuck yeah
17Terrifying. Nausea-inducing. Terrifying.
18Nausea, dizziness
19corkscrew, dizzy, might be a bit excessive.
20no idea
21Bloody hell, I feel sick just looking at it!
22This should be called Vortex.
23That'c Colossus in Thorpe Park and yes I've ridden it. This looks like my ideal roller coaster, fast, thrilling, scary and excitng.
24Corkscrew at Thorpe Park - when I sat on it, although it was fun, it did make me feel a little queasy and the corkscrew parts were uncomfortable and resulted in a lot of head banging.
25I would describe it as a twister pipeline roller coaster, it looks like a great part of the ride and looks like it would be a very smooth ride.
26Sheer, unadulterated terror. I'd call this piece "Rings of Hell."
27Looks scary to ride at first, but interesting/fun to try
28That's colossus at Thorpe Park. One of the first I rode on, I really ike the spinning part. Until I walk past the ride later and see the cage that catches all the people's stuff that falls out. Since then- everything is chained to me.
29This looks fun! Ive never ridden this one (I dont think) but I always enjoy tight vertical corkscrews like this.
30Epic. I want to go on it.
31the cork screw? is it at thorpe park? things that come to mind, very tight spaces, rounnnd and rouuunnnd and rounnd.
32What happens if someone throws up? This is not my idea of fun.
33Dizzy and sick (lol)
34I would never go on this, next!
35Looks like it would make you dizzy.
36In my opinion, I would hate this kind of coaster
38It seems fun enough, but it's not a ride for me. I don't recognize the ride, & it's hard to tell how close each turn is, but that corkscrew thing would probably make me feel sick.
39Looks like an intense, wild and a quick rush of excitement.
40Fun, great the first time to ride but also a bit irritating cause your head just bangs on the sides. It's colossus at Thorpe park
41Dizzying. Headache-inducing. Perhaps too much is going on in this ride.
42Corkscrew. Looks somewhat nauseating
43So much fun. Love the spinning.
44I reckon I would enjoy this, I remember going on my first roller coaster that had a corkscrew in it. I think the attraction for a lot of people is that a coaster can take you upside down and make you do flips that you would never be able to otherwise. So any kind of new loop design would be a winner
45Dizzy, disorienting,
46They're able to do that now? Things have come a long way since Roller Coaster Tycoon. I thought they were just straight tracks that move a little bit. I guess going through a wind tunnel or a washing machine sounds like every child's fantasy. It's cool.
47Colossi at Alton towers. Ridden it many times. Good times
48This looks a bit like colossus but I'm not sure.
49No idea what it where it is, but it looks like it has set itself apart from 'normal' coasters. Looks terrifying-and awesome!
50That one looks like it would scramble my brain.
4.) (Photo of El Toro, Six Flags Great Adventure)
2This looks like the wooden rollercoaster at Busch Gardens in the US. I've never been here, but would definitely want to go on it. It looks so tall and the construction is beautiful. The views would be good, but I doubt that it would be that much of a thrill ride.
3El Toro, 6 flags, intense, fun, vintage.
4el toro, 6 flags great adventure, ive been on it, its shaky and really exhilarating,
5Less scary, but too tall
6Architectural. Fragile? Negative g-force!
7Holy shit! Steep!
8feels unsafe
9Not sure if i've been on this specific one but i've definitely been on something similar (is it in Florida? If so i have been on it). Wooden rollercoasters are really uncomfortable because your teeth are constantly chattering and it's very loud and i don't feel particularly safe on them.
10speed and loud short trill ride
11A wooden coaster. I generally find these to be uncomfortably rattly.
12Looks old, a bit boring...
13Looks crazy but fun.
15Fun, big drops are awsome
16Ma god
17Not in a million years. Wooden coasters are the worst. Especially the ones with the pathetic lap bar that does absolutely nothing for anything or anyone.
18It looks really dangerous to me - like the wood will splinter and crack in the slightest breeze
19The height would be a fun factor in this.
20no idea
21Too high it doesn't look safe or comfortable, I wouldn't use it!
22This should be called Rickety Sticks.
23This one just looks plain scary I'm not great with heights and this looks like it goes very high and when it does travel up the ramp I imagine the process is slow
24Holy crap! comes to mind. This rollercoaster needs more variety, though the plummets look fun.
25A wooden roller coaster with very big increases and drops, it looks classical to me.
26I'm also afraid of heights, so this is a double whammy. It's impressive to look at but I'd never want to ride it.
27Looks like classic, old school coaster
28No idea what that is. Match stick land? Now I like a scary ride, but one that looks like it could just kill me just by walking under it in a breeze? I'll pass thanks- where's the X: No way out?
29Wooden coasters are nice, and often offer a long ride to them (though they can be bumpy)
30Also would want to go on this. Look at how scary the drop looks and how flimsy it looks.
31breakable, steep slope
32How many storeys high is that? You would not get me on that. Not in a million years. Looks like a strong gust of wind could blow this over.
34I could probably handle it if it were just the smaller section, but that bigger drop looks terrifying!
35Steep and scary
36I would panic attack on the climb.
38I like all the hills & drops, but I'm not a big fan of wooden rollercoasters. I've come off them with a neck that hurt for days & a bleeding leg & bruises, but I guess that might be my fault for being somewhat delicate. Still sort of an off putting element for me.
39Slow build up to a couple prolonged thrills.
40Looks incredible that drop looks insane. Not sure what the ride is.
41Rickety. Probably a lap bar. Induces the fly up out of your seat feeling that makes it not so enjoyable. Seems the ride is just about the drop and that's it.
42That drop is insane. Looks like something where nostalgia value will give you its very own rush
43Love the feeling when you're at the top just before you go shooting down.
44I know it can be a strong building material but honestly I don't think I've seen one wooden roller coaster that didn't look dodgy as fuck. Like I said before, I would probably enjoy this, but the short climb and drop rides aren't my favourite.
45Tension, drop.
46Is that thing made of matchsticks? Is that even safe? It looks like it could be set on fire at any moment. The actual track doesn't look very interesting.
47Wooden creaky wouldn't ride it
48The wood makes it look unsafe! It looks too big for me to go on! Too steep drops
49Makes my stomach drop as I'm terrified of heights, but looks like there'll be many boring climbing parts in between the drops
50Giant drop. Similar to Kingda Kha.
5.) (Photo of Skyrush, HersheyPark)
1really good!
2Not sure where or what this one is. Looks relatively fun, but a little bit boring. More spread out than most coasters and nice scenery to look at. It would have to be really fast to be exciting.
3No loops, looks fun
4its yellow and spiny and i think it might make me feel sick!
5Oh my goodness, why would anyone willingly go on that
6Looks comfortable at first glance, but eek!
7Picture didn't load :( boo!
8aaaaah, traditional kind, great
9If this is in Florida or the Netherlands then i've been on it (unsure). This looks fantastic, definitely my kind of rollercoaster. It looks safe, fast, and exciting. The only thing that would make it better would be if it had a theme (like Universal Studios in Florida).
10too smooth for me pleasant ride for the family
11This looks like fun!
12fun :)
13A nice long roller coaster ride.
15If its fast it would be cool.
16Olly molly
18This is definitely the most manageable for me - smooth and steady. I obviously have a fear of roller coasters!
19Looks like it would be fun if it went really fast.
20no idea
21I might risk this one, but I don't like the would be better
22This should be called Bananapanic.
23This one looks a bit more tame than the others but it still looks very fun and thrilling
24This one looks fun and varied, probably not as scary as the previous two.
25I think I can see some inversions in the track and it looks like a very fast roller coaster because of the long extended areas.
26No thanks.
27Looks thrilling, exciting
28I think I recgnise it but... nope. Anyhoo, this one looks pretty cool, it's def the first ride I'd jump on. Unless there was something better.
29Im more partial to loops rather than twists in a coaster track.
30Again want to go on this. Its bright yellow and it goes upside down. How could you not want to go on this.
31spread out, boring.
32This looks the least intimidating only because it's not a million stores high. But I'm going to assume that this one is probably the most vomit inducing.
33Stomach turning
34this looks more like the sort of ride i would go on. ithe track looks more steady with not many massive changes in direction.
36(this looks like vortex from great america in california but im not sure)
37Long and scary
38Looks fun. I imagine it's a very smooth ride & the twists seem exciting enough. I feel like I've rode the last two rides, but I'm not good at naming & recognizing them. Cedar Point & Kings Island sort of blur into one big park in my head.
39A midway between the last 2, not too intense, more consistent.
40Looks like a ride with alot of unexpected moments and a whole lot of fun. Don't know the ride.
41This has the right curves. They are spaced out enough for my taste and I like the mix of loop tracks and then some time to acclimate on straighter tracks before the next dip/twist occurs.
42Puts me in mind of a snake or some kind of lizard. Looks fast but not too sickening
43Seems crazy like you'd get thrown around a bit. Awesome.
44this kind of looks like Nitro at Six Flags but i can't tell just from the pic. Anyway this is my favourite type, fast, high up, good loops and over shoulder harness. perfect combination.
45Interesting, fun, exciting
46I don't even know what that is, or where it begins and ends. Is that a spectator zone behind the fence? That's cool for frightening distressed parents, I guess.
47Looks fun looks quite scary would like to ride it
48This one looks better than 4, it looks slightly more calmer with longer bits in between the big loops. I'd prefer this as it builds it up as opposed to lots of loops at once
49Looks like one I went in in Spain which was (at the time) the biggest coaster in Europe....dragon themed... Seems like there's plenty going on to ensure a thrilling ride throughout
50This one looks like it would be the most fun to me. It looks like its fast.

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