Paramount Parks were one of the few remaining seasonal park operators to exclusively use themed layouts and rides (a practice usually observed only by annual park operators such as Universal Studios and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts). It's this aspect that likely helped the parks stand out against other regional competitors such as Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (who later purchased the parks), who ran lightly themed amusement parks exclusively.
For example, while Cedar Fair's flagship Cedar Point debuted Wicked Twister and Top Thrill Dragster in 2002 and 2003, respectively, Paramount's flagship, Paramount's Kings Island opened Tomb Raider: The Ride and Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle. These two attractions, while costing only slightly less than Cedar Point's additions, were indoor, highly themed, immersive rides with synchronized musical scores and Hollywood special effects. The same can be said of Paramount's last additions to their parks, The Italian Job: Stunt Tracks, which are family-oriented roller coasters that also feature flames, water, synchronized music, and many movie props.
There is oftentimes much debate over some of Paramount's later additions and how they influence the parks' themes. For example, Paramount's Kings Dominion received two copies of attractions that had proven successful at Paramount's Kings Island: the aforementioned Italian Job: Stunt Track (under the name Italian Job: Turbo Coaster) and Flight of Fear. Oddly, these two rides were placed in Kings Dominion's Congo area, sparking much debate by enthusiasts. Notably, however, after Cedar Fair came to own Kings Dominion, they placed the NASCAR themed Intimidator 305 coaster in the Congo section, as well.
Like many amusement park operators, Paramount featured one flagship park (similar to how Six Flags focuses much of its investment on Six Flags Magic Mountain and far less on Six Flags America, and Cedar Fair capitalizes on Cedar Point as opposed to Valleyfair). Paramount's flagship was Paramount's Kings Island.
When Cedar Fair acquired the Paramount Parks, they revolutionized their own season pass system using Paramount's as a blueprint, and also absorbed some of Paramount's theme-focused entertainment, combining it with their own well-proven thrills to create some of their most famous attractions: Maverick and Diamondback, among others.
Without the Paramount Pictures film licenses, many of the rides at the Paramount Parks were renamed to more generic names so as not to infringe on Paramount's copyrights. Many of these changes were "in name only," having no actual bearing on the rides appearance. Because of the level of theme involved in Paramount's later rides, though, (such as The Italian Job: Stunt Track and Tomb Raider: The Ride) some rides did lose core elements, such as synchronized musical scores, special effects, and pre-shows (thereby eliminating story lines).
- Drop Zone: Stunt Tower was renamed Drop Tower: Scream Zone at all five parks.
- Top Gun: The Jet Coaster was renamed Flight Deck with the exception of Carowinds, which was renamed Afterburn.
- FACE/OFF at Kings Island was renamed Invertigo.
- The Italian Job: Stunt Track at Kings Island, Kings Dominion, and Canada's Wonderland were all renamed Backlot Stunt Coaster.
- Tomb Raider: The Ride and Tomb Raider: FireFall at Kings Island and Kings Dominion respectively were both renamed The Crypt.
- Days of Thunder go-kart tracks were renamed Thunder Alley.
- Paramount Action-FX Theater was renamed Action Theater.
- The Paramount Theatre was renamed after each park it was located in (e.g. Kings Island Theatre).
- Borg Assimilator at Carowinds was renamed Nighthawk.
- Cliffhanger at Canada's Wonderland was renamed Riptide.
Perhaps the most notable change between park owners, Kings Island's $20,000,000, indoor Tomb Raider: The Ride had its water effects, lasers, Hollywood lighting, pre-show, synchornized musical score, film props, artificial fog, and flame effects removed. Notably, Kings Dominion's The Crypt, similar to Kings Island's except that it was outdoors, retained all of its original theming, music, film props, lighting, fog, and flames.
Read more about this topic: Paramount Parks
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