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Editorials and Rants

A Look at Silly Roller Coaster Records and Weak Distinctions
To wrap up “Record Breaking Roller Coasters Week”, I wanted to discuss marketing hype Mumbo Jumbo - The World's Steepest Roller Coasterwith regards to records. Theme Parks looking to make a splash with a new attraction love to tout that their new ride has a distinction tied to some record. For example, over the past few years we’ve had: The Steepest Roller Coaster in the World, The Roller Coaster with the Largest Vertical Loop in the World, & Canada’s Largest, Tallest, & Fastest Roller Coaster. But, some records or titles aren’t World records or even country records. Some distinctions are regional or even downright local!

Does it Really Matter?
Does the general public really get more excited by basically any superlative no matter how weak it is? Maybe they do. From the nonsense I’ve heard in queues over the years I’d bet that many people just retain the “tallest” or “fastest” from the marketing language and not the specifics like: “Third Tallest” or “Tallest in Utah” or “Fastest in the Mid-Atlantic”. As a former marketer, I can’t blame amusement parks for hyping up their new roller coasters. It is an easy way to convey something impactful about a new ride in just a few words. And I did just launch “The Web’s First Theme Park News Aggregator”, so I’m as guilty as the parks in touting distinctions.

Records = Big Deal for Smaller Parks
Also, records can be a great vehicle for smaller parks trying to put themselves on the map. Check out this video of Mumbo Jumbo’s opening at Flamingo Land in the United Kingdom. It set a World record for the steepest roller coaster earlier this year:

As you can see, even the Guinness World Records representative was there. I’d literally never heard of the park until I heard about Mumbo Jumbo. But again, if you’re an enthusiast, you’re not as impressed by some of these weaker distinctions and at times it can be a bit amusing. Not that I favor true record holders or the tallest, fastest of any ride, I’m just noting a trend.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of the faux roller coaster records and weak distinctions? Leave a comment below.

7 Comments

  1. I have to admit that when my home park, Kennywood, put in the original Steel Phantom with the highest vertical drop … as the second drop on the course, no less … I felt a lot of local pride. Even though it's no longer a record-holder, we still thrive on the fact that it once was.

    The Thunderbolt was rated the #1 roller coaster by the New York Times in 1974. Heck, for many, many years, they kept a painted sign at the Thunderbolt entrance that had that top 10 listed painted on it. It may be a small park, but there is plenty of local pride!

  2. Your right, small parks always do over-hype their mini record breakers. if they didn`t, no one would come. The Great Escape (my home park) dosen`t seeme to hype at all, their visitors do that for them. TGE has two record-holders, the Comet, the worlds tallest 80-year-old classic, and the Sasquatch, new york`s tallest non-roller coaster thrill ride. prettey small records, but it`s a small park. i`m prettey sure every park has a record-holder, wether they know it or not.

  3. My home park has the longest rollercoaster TRAIN in the world and the longest and tallest JUNIOR coaster (when it opened)… 🙂 (Bobbejaanland, Belgium)

    But they don't advertise it anymore.

    Most parks do it, and it is funny if you think about it.

  4. yeah… i have no home parks or stuff like that 4 3 hours, but THEN I have BGT, Uni., and dis., and Sea World.

  5. When I went to Kings Dominion I looked at the brochure and the description of Intimidator 305. I had to laugh. It is described as being the "tallest coaster of its type on the east coast." Well, lets see. Kingda Ka is not 305's "type" so thats out. And there are no other giga coasters on the east coast, so obviously 305 is the tallest coaster of its type on the east coast. It could be the tallest coaster of its type in America if it was built only 6 feet taller, but Millennium Force is taller. Not that I have a problem with that because I like Millennium Force better. 🙂

  6. Canobie Lake now has the Steepest Coaster In New England!!! And they sure do let you know it.

  7. weird

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