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What would you say is the upper limit of "family" at past-and-present Cedar Point?
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Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters?

08/12/17 at 06:34pm in Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters? (Latest Edit: 11/13/17 at 09:14pm by SLC Headache.)
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Didn't see a thread about it here, so I'm posting this.

One thing I judge parks on is the selection of family coasters. Coasters that won't scare the pants off kids and make them into lifelong non-riders. Not really a problem for me any more, more so for local kids.

I read an article calling GhostRider a family coaster when they were talking about its GCI retrack, and then Coaster Studios insists that Revolution is a family coaster, and was scratching my head at that.

If I had to condense it into a rule of thumb, it would be 75 feet tall except suspended and bobsled coasters. Launches and inversions don't really factor into it as much as I thought.

Among the launch coasters in the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment portfolio, I'd consider Wave Breaker and the San Diego Manta to be family coasters, while Verbolten and Cheetah Hunt are solidly thrill. I don't know what they were thinking when they promoted those two as family. Sad thing is, Verbolten could have been a great family-appropriate ride if the final hill were lowered and the second launch toned down correspondingly. The indoor section is not much more intense than Backlot, but that ending is a mini I305 and out of place on a family coaster.

My height rule again works for loopers. There aren't really that many smaller loopers I know of, but sooperdooperLooper and Scorpion look like excellent family coasters. The Schwarzkopf loopers at the Six Flags parks are bigger and more intense, and Arrow loopers tend to be taller on top of having nasty transitions that translate into kids slamming their heads into the OTSRs. Every time I rode Anaconda and a kid was in a seat near me, they would be invariably groaning in pain.

Minimum height restrictions are then a quibble. Cedar Fair is terrible with their minimum heights.

Tempesto can be a flat, if you tip it over.
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Post: #2
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It's really hard to draw the line between thrill and family coasters. And I certainly don't define them by how tall and how fast they are. Most woodies can be considered family coasters since the majority of them have lower height requirements than a steel looper. And Revolution can definitely be called one considering the collection of other coasters in the park that tower over it.

It all really depends on what the individual finds thrilling or not.
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Post: #3
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This is entirely subjective. At BGW I would consider Bolt, Pesto, and Invader all family rides. I would not necessarily consider them kid's rides, but intermediate for sure. In no way would I count them as thrill rides. Certainly not Bolt or Pesto.

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08/13/17 at 04:37pm in Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters? (Latest Edit: 08/14/17 at 03:58am by Nicole.)
Post: #4
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I think there are probably two main factors:
1. the intensity of the physical forces; and
2. the magnitude of the visual/mental fear.

For example, InvadR looks pretty tame on paper, but because it delivers such strong forces, it probably isn't very effective in filling the family ride niche.

Conversely, rides like Top Thrill Dragster look terrifying, because if the heights and angles of their towers, but for me are almost completely forceless. As a result, the "thrill" is entirely mental; the experience fails to meet the expectation. Tempesto falls into this category for me, as well. So, those types of rides probably fail to meet my proposed family ride standard, as well.

Essentially, in my opinion family coasters needs to look cool and interesting, without being intimidating, and deliver only moderate forces. The best example I can come up with in Virginia is Backlot Stunt Coaster. In its prime, it was spry and fun, and the storyline and effects were entertaining. It felt like a real, adult coaster, without being too intimidating or intense.

I think Verbolten is borderline. I can see that the vertical drop in the event building could be too much for some people, and just another fun element for others.

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08/13/17 at 09:30pm in Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters? (Latest Edit: 11/07/17 at 02:31pm by SLC Headache.)
Post: #5
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(08/13/17 03:08pm)Zimmy Wrote:  This is entirely subjective.  At BGW I would consider Bolt, Pesto, and Invader all family rides.  I would not necessarily consider them kid's rides, but intermediate for sure.  In no way would I count them as thrill rides.  Certainly not Bolt or Pesto.
If we raise the "family" bar, I'd sooner consider Nessie "family" than Tempesto. Anything with a minimum height of over 48" does exclude a lot of younger kids.

Maybe I need a "moderate / extreme family" category for these family-accessible rides that pack enough of a punch to leave some younger riders shaken - bigger classic woodies and loopers, Morgan hypers, whatever Gemini and Excalibur are, and then Verbolten and Cheetah Hunt.

Edit to add: California Screamin' / Incredicoaster and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster seem to be the pioneers in this "extreme family" category.

(08/13/17 04:37pm)Nicole Wrote:  I think there are probably two main factors:
1. the intensity of the physical forces; and
2. the magnitude of the visual/mental fear.

For example, InvadR looks pretty tame on paper, but because it delivers such strong forces, it probably isn't very effective in filling the family ride niche.

Conversely, rides like Top Thrill Dragster look terrifying, because if the heights and angles of their towers, but for me are almost completely forceless.  As a result, the "thrill" is entirely mental; the experience fails to meet the expectation.  Tempesto falls into this category for me, as well.  So, those types of rides probably fail to meet my proposed family ride standard, as well.

Essentially, in my opinion family coasters needs to look cool and interesting, without being intimidating, and deliver only  moderate forces.  The best example I can come up with in Virginia is Backlot Stunt Coaster.  In its prime, it was spry and fun, and the storyline and effects were entertaining.  It felt like a real, adult coaster, without being too intimidating or intense.

I think Verbolten is borderline.  I can see that the vertical drop in the event building could be too much for some people, and just another fun element for others.
I see what you mean. I'd consider Morgan hypers similarly gentle giants in that regard. Wild Thing and Steel Force did nothing for me in terms of intensity, although they look impressive at the edge of the park with their support structures.

The more restrictive restraints on InvadR do mitigate the intensity. The lap bars on GCI Millennium Flyer trains can staple me, while the individual lap bars on PTC trains leave me an inch or two between lap and bar even all the way down.

Yep, I consider Backlot an excellent family coaster. I'd only place Ninja (Magic Mountain) and Flying Turns (Knoebels) above it on my list of family coasters.

The drop track on Verbolten alone doesn't push it out of "family". Th13teen, Polar X-Plorer, and Wonder Mountain's Guardian all look solidly family.

Tempesto can be a flat, if you tip it over.
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08/14/17 at 01:10pm in Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters? (Latest Edit: 08/14/17 at 01:11pm by Shane.)
Post: #6
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I think the industry really categorizes family rides and thrill rides based on the minimum height requirement of the rider established by the manufacturer, not really on the types of elements included in the the layout or the layouts overall height.

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Post: #7
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I was explicitly describing my opinion, not the industry standard.

Honestly, while I imagine they need easy to apply measures for a variety of valid reasons, I don't think they are very useful in practice.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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Post: #8
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(08/14/17 01:10pm)Shane Wrote:  I think the industry really categorizes family rides and thrill rides based on the minimum height requirement of the rider established by the manufacturer, not really on the types of elements included in the the layout or the layouts overall height.
This thought came up with the announcements.

Steel Vengeance was just announced with a 48" minimum height. Probably the furthest from a family ride that I've seen. In fact, I have yet to see an RMC with over a 48" minimum height. Maybe it really is a matter of "how secure the restraints are for smaller riders" and "how little a kid are we comfortable with letting onto this thing"?

And maybe I'm just underestimating kids' height/force tolerances.

Tempesto can be a flat, if you tip it over.
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Post: #9
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My step-daughter, as a child, was almost never afraid of any coaster. As soon as she was tall enough, she wanted to ride everything. She loved speed and forces. The one exception was i305. The first lift/drop intimidated her, when she was younger. Oddly, haunted houses terrified her. So, I guess mental thrills were too much; but physical forces were fine.

I imagine it varies wildly from person to person, and no simple rule could adequately "define" the class.

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Post: #10
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Somewhat related - what parks think is intense or not.

Cedar Fair posts a rating from 1 to 5 at the entrance of their rides. Most coasters are 4 or 5, except kiddie coasters, and Avalanche at Kings Dominion is a 3.

Inversions seem to be an instant 5, as well as anything over 110 feet or so. The line appears to be 110 feet, because Gemini and GhostRider are 5s while Excalibur and Gold Striker are only 4s. Okay. That makes sense. Five rides Cedar Fair considers a "5" in intensity leave me scratching my head: Coast Rider, Spinning Dragons, Wolverine Wildcat, Timber Wolf, and the Mighty Canadian Minebuster. I guess those three woodies are just very rough, and spinning on a coaster may be especially nauseating, but Coast Rider is just a mouse, and all of the other mice are rated 4.

Cedar Creek Mine Ride, Iron Dragon, and Woodstock Express at Cedar Point should be a 3, and so should the junior woodies.

Tempesto can be a flat, if you tip it over.
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11/13/17 at 09:14pm in Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters? (Latest Edit: 11/15/17 at 04:06pm by SLC Headache.)
Post: #11
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(11/13/17 05:03pm)halfabee Wrote:  "Family" coasters can be whatever we define them to be, but IMO part of that definition at BGW is accessibility to the post-Grover kid who doesn't want to be barred from all cool coasters until s/he hits maybe 3rd grade.  Super lame.  I wouldn't disqualify VB as a family ride as a result, but perhaps the post-BBW park could have done a better job of accommodating the targeted family demographic.  I lived this era with two young kids, and it was total bummer for us when there was nothing truly "big" for two enthusiastic post-toddler kids to ride.  (InvadR at least narrowed this gap by a year, for visitors this year and beyond.  Great family ride.)

Anyway, that's beating a horse that is long dead AND also long departed from the barn.  Zombie horse?
Taking it here...

I will concede that my definition of a "family" coaster, one that does not scare kids senseless, is skewed by my personal experience. I was not the adventurous little tyke sick of kiddie coasters and ready for bigger rides, unlike your kids. Kid-me, circa 1998, found Taxi Jam just right, Scooby-Doo and Avalanche pretty intense, and Rebel Yell and Hurler overpowering. Kid-me, to be honest to myself, was a little wuss, and wouldn't ride the Big Bad Wolf during his one trip in 1998. As I grew older, I dragged my younger brother onto Taxi Jam when I was too tall to ride alone. When they added Ricochet, I found it similarly intense but doable.

I never considered the adventurous kid, only the wimpy kid.


I've added a poll, using Cedar Point as an example because of their wide variety of 48" minimum coasters, past and present, spanning junior to extreme. Under my original definition, I would have considered Blue Streak the upper limit of "family", considering Gemini clearly too big for a family coaster and Corkscrew too janky for a family coaster. Under my new expanded definition, I'd place the cutoff at Mean Streak. Huge scale, but never as intense as the coasters it took the height and drop records from, made even milder due to such heavy trims.

Forces trump scale. Verbolten and Cheetah Hunt are more forceful than, say, Wild Thing and Steel Force.
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12/16/17 at 11:49pm in Where do you draw the line between family and thrill coasters? (Latest Edit: 12/17/17 at 12:14am by bill s.)
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Looking at some parks, they sure make it hard for wimps. Normal wood coasters have no inversions and moderate height, but are rough. B&Ms are smooth but tall and often have inversions. Arrows are usually shorter but rougher. I've been thinking some about these things ever since I took a friend to KD and THEN he announces he doesn't want to go upside down or over 100 feet up. Good thing we didn't go to BGW at the time, we'd have been marathoning Grover.

I've seen kids that aren't afraid of much anything, and real young ones on big coasters. I can't imagine they would have been ready for much just a year or two earlier though, maybe I'm wrong. Seems like you can't go but so far with kid's coasters. But many adults could use a less intimidating and less physical ride too.

As to Tempesto forceless, I found it very forceful and physically demanding. Kids tall enough should have no problems with it, but not their parents, so it's not a family coaster. Winking
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Post: #13
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(12/16/17 11:49pm)bill s Wrote:  I took a friend to KD and THEN he announces he doesn't want to go upside down or over 100 feet up.

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Post: #14
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(12/16/17 11:49pm)bill s Wrote:  Looking at some parks, they sure make it hard for wimps. Normal wood coasters have no inversions and moderate height, but are rough. B&Ms are smooth but tall and often have inversions. Arrows are usually shorter but rougher. I've been thinking some about these things ever since I took a friend to KD and THEN he announces he doesn't want to go upside down or over 100 feet up. Good thing we didn't go to BGW at the time, we'd have been marathoning Grover.

I've seen kids that aren't afraid of much anything, and real young ones on big coasters. I can't imagine they would have been ready for much just a year or two earlier though, maybe I'm wrong. Seems like you can't go but so far with kid's coasters. But many adults could use a less intimidating and less physical ride too.

As to Tempesto forceless, I found it very forceful and physically demanding. Kids tall enough should have no problems with it, but not their parents, so it's not a family coaster. Winking
My original focus when coming up with this thread was not scaring kids senseless, but you have a very good point - forceful rides are harder on older riders than they would be on just-tall-enough kids. I just wish there were more rides with intensity on par with Firechaser Express, Woodstock Express, Avalanche, Iron Dragon, the old mine trains, etc. It seems that Disney is the best place for that level of ride, as the hardened coaster enthusiasts and jaded local teens would sneer at such rides if they were installed at a Cedar Fair or Six Flags park.

(No inversions and under 100 feet can still make for an aggressive ride. I read the other day that Taron is marketed as a family coaster, does not clear 100 feet, does not go upside-down, and yet is an Intamin Blitz with intensity more like Maverick than Cheetah Hunt. I also remember reading that Maverick was originally intended as a family coaster.)

BGW needs a great Project Madrid to counter I305/Twisted Timbers, but after that, they desperately need another family coaster. Would be very sad to see DarKastle leave, as I still found it in its current state superior to Justice League (opening day at Magic Mountain), but there were coasters in its spot before it, and it would be a decent spot for a coaster.
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