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So how would WDW be without the coasters?

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As many of us know, when Walt created Disneyland he specifically wanted to exclude roller coasters in his park. He wanted something different and despite facing some pressure to build one he didn't right away. Then eventually he got convinced to build the Matterhorn in 1959 due to that same sort of pressure. He ended up being happy that he built it and the rest is history. Prior to that I don't think Disneyland had any sort of thrill rides that you would classify as thrill rides. Even then, the Matterhorn is relatively tame.

As time went on things changed. WDW opened and they actually had the first Space Mountain there in 1975. Followed by Thunder in 1980. If you want to count it, then Splash Mountain in 1992. Disneyland had Space (1977), Thunder (1979) and Splash (1989) built.

Then there were other rides added that have a rollercoaster feel such as Indy in Disneyland and Dinosaur in WDW. Rockin Roller Coaster comes to mind as well.

So my question is, how is WDW in your eyes without the roller coasters? Does it suffer from an attendance level when people compare thrill parks with it? Does it feel pressure to build more thrill rides? Would Walt have actually liked stuff like Space/Thunder?
 

mergatroid

Well-Known Member
So my question is, how is WDW in your eyes without the roller coasters? Does it suffer from an attendance level when people compare thrill parks with it? Does it feel pressure to build more thrill rides? Would Walt have actually liked stuff like Space/Thunder?
Impossible to know as none of us are Walt, but fun to speculate. I'd day he'd be good with it because they're all heavily themed. Space Mountain is a rather basic type of coaster, despite the fact it was the first computer controlled one. What sets it apart is the mountain it's in and the theming of being in space. Big Thunder and Splash are the same, a simple idea executed in a hugely themed set making them far more than a fairly tame yet fun coaster and a flume ride. R 'n' R uses a pre-existing track but customises the ride vehicles and puts it indoors adding a story line, making it more than a coaster. Cosmic Rewind and Tron are also similar in how they're presented, they're more than just a metal coaster plonked in the park.

If Walt didn't like riding coasters due to the motion (like my wife) then he probably wouldn't ride any of them personally (again, like my wife). However knowing many park goers like them, I think he'd be good with them in the parks on the basis that they're themed differently to the way the average park presents them.
 

Mickey5150

Well-Known Member
I'd be fine without roller coasters at WDW, then there wouldn't be any rides I'd have to do by myself. What makes Disney great is the amount of rides that are mind-blowing without snapping your neck.
 

Queen of the WDW Scene

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Above all else Walt wanted to make a profit so yeah I'm sure he approves.
If he had cared more about his vision than money he would have built it where he originally wanted it before his team advised him the south would be a better location.

I personally don't go to Disney for the thrill rides. Do I enjoy them? Yes, but if I want true thrills I'll go to Cedar Point.
Disney is more about unique attractions vs a generic roller coaster that has a different name at every local amusement park.
If there were no thrill rides I don't think they would lose too many guests.
I don't think they feel pressured to build thrill rides. I do believe they feel pressured to be very PC and use the crap out of their IP as it has brand recognition and people can't be bothered to get to know something park specific anymore.
 

John park hopper

Well-Known Member
I would also be fine without roller coasters. Having gone to WDW 1972 pre roller coasters it was great. My feeling is roller coasters are just an engineering thrill ride. It takes imagination to build a build something unique like POC, Haunted Mansion, Figment etc. Disney seems to have lost that with-- let's just through up a roller coaster just my 2 cents.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Heck noooo.... Disney is all the much better for having coasters. An amusement park without a single coaster is... is... is ... sacrilege. O.K., I'd still have wanted to go to WDW for all the other things but it sure wouldn't have been as fun and I'd be thinking about whats missing here.
Disney does lack in comparison to the better coasters that are out there. But they dont want the ultra thrill rides for fear that the complaints would come in from parents whose kiddies were traumatized. They dont feel the pressure because they refuse to consider them being added.
Because Walt wasnt a coaster fan then he probably wouldnt have enjoyed riding the coasters but he would have liked the fact that they draw guests in and adding to their enjoyment of his parks would have pleased him.
 

danlb_2000

Well-Known Member
I am not a big coaster fan, although I do like Big Thunder and Seven Dwarfs, but I think they do have a place in the parts. First, they are a popular ride system do add variety to the parks. Outdoor coaster also provide a nice kinetic energy to that parks, even when you don't ride then.
 

Jrb1979

Well-Known Member
They make the park for me. It's just due to me loving coasters. The 3 biggest coasters have no IP attached to them. For me personally the best Disney attractions are original and have no IP attached to them.
 

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I guess there are many on here who did go to WDW prior to, say, 1975 with Space Mountain. My dad first went in 1973 and loved it. I believe it was the day after Christmas that year in which Pirates opened up, so he missed out on that one even though it isn't really a thrill ride. However, I don't think Disney then, or now, relied on the thrills. So for the people that went from 1971-'75 I am sure you all enjoyed yourselves quite a bit still.

One thing about Space Mountain, it is probably the darkest "dark" rollercoaster out there. I mean, I can't think of a ride in which you can see the track ahead of you less than Space Mountain. It truly is a roller coaster in the dark. They had an old one at Cedar Point, and there is a dark rollercoaster at Kennywood and such, but there is still enough light on the ride where you can see the ride coming up. Another one is King's Island has one called "Flight of Fear". You have a lap bar on you and you do about 6 loops that are about the tightest loops I think I've ever done and they are so quick that you really don't need the shoulder straps as you are in there very well and the force keeps your back against the seat. However.....................I still remember there being more light on that ride than Space Mountain. I find Space is darkest I have ever been on and the image of looking up and seeing stars gives the illusion of darkness even more. Maybe someone has another coaster that has more darkness, but I can't think of one more pitch black.
 

Dead2009

Horror Movie Guru
I would also be fine without roller coasters. Having gone to WDW 1972 pre roller coasters it was great. My feeling is roller coasters are just an engineering thrill ride. It takes imagination to build a build something unique like POC, Haunted Mansion, Figment etc. Disney seems to have lost that with-- let's just through up a roller coaster just my 2 cents.

Roller coasters can absolutely be unique. Big Thunder Mountain is an example of that. Not many roller coasters are that detailed.
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
Without any of the coasters... RnRC, Everest, Space, Big Thunder, etc., etc., it just wouldn't be the same for me. I'd still likely go occasionally, but right now I crave going as much as possible. Without coasters, it wouldn't be the same draw for me; however, I'd still go once in a while to visit my beloved HM.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
I would suck to lose Space and Big Thunder, but keep in mind for it's first 25 years, WDW only had those two roller coasters.

I would still probably go.
 

ppet

Well-Known Member
I enjoy the coasters at WDW, but I don't go to Disney for coasters. If we want a coaster trip I'll head up north to Kings island and Cedar Point for my coaster fix.
 

Trackmaster

Well-Known Member
They need coasters. This isn't just me speaking as a major coaster enthusiast and an ACEr, but the reality is that its just too cost prohibitive to make everything an elaborate dark ride with special system tracks. There's a reason that the tech that they're using for Test Track and Radiator Springs never really caught on. The parks aren't thrilled about having to pay $300M for every attraction. You can more or less the same experience for much, much less money if you just use a coaster. And I don't know, I love the slow omnimovers, but I'm not sure if you could sustain a whole park resort from 2 MPH omnimover book report rides.

You can look to Universal. They wanted to hit a home run with Forbidden Journey and wanted a cutting edge tech and not just another coaster. I love the robotic arms from Dynamic Structures, but clearly this tech isn't catching on, and the guests just aren't supporting Forbidden Journey anymore (it makes most people too sick). So I can see that the reaction was to go back to a coaster for Gringott's. They don't even really use the coaster portion much, but it seems like an efficient way to get the trains around the course quickly but is mechanically and economically efficient.

So its easy to sit back and say "Don't give us coasters, give us these dark rides" but you may not think about how they're mechanically very challenging and pricy. Meanwhile, our planet gives us free access to speed through gravity and Newton's First law. Its a gift, and you might as well take advantage of it.

Walt Disney was an animator. What did he know about mechanical stuff and the logistics of running major theme parks before he actually got involved with them. I'm sure he grew and learned more and more over time with experience.
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Considering the vast majority of their coasters are not all that thrilling, they'd be fine. Only 2 are not kiddie coasters in my mind and one of those two is really kind of meh outside the launch. If I want coasters I will go to Cedar Point or even Kings Island. I don't do WDW for their coasters. Though Expedition Everest is the only one that ranks up with coasters from CP or KI. The rest are low on my list of thrilling.
 

Trackmaster

Well-Known Member
Considering the vast majority of their coasters are not all that thrilling, they'd be fine. Only 2 are not kiddie coasters in my mind and one of those two is really kind of meh outside the launch. If I want coasters I will go to Cedar Point or even Kings Island. I don't do WDW for their coasters. Though Expedition Everest is the only one that ranks up with coasters from CP or KI. The rest are low on my list of thrilling.

I'm OK with with allowing parks to specialize and not necessarily expecting every park to be the same. But it would be pretty cool to see Disney level theming with coasters that actually could hold their own if they were exposed parking lot coasters. Kind of like VelociCoaster and a lot of the European coasters.

As I said before, coasters just have a certain economic efficiency to them (something that makes Disney salivate at the mouth these days). You can use the mechanical control of Test Track, but you pay an arm and a leg for it. You might as well use the gravity that's given to you for free.
 

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