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Am I getting too old for theme parks? 🤔


Inferno

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Is this a thing?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Can you be too old for theme parks?

    • No
      10
    • Yes
      2

This is something that's been playing on my mind for the past 3 years or so.

 

Whenever I visit a theme park these days, there's usually one or two moments throughout the day where I feel like the odd one out.  At 30 years of age, I feel old.

 

I look round me when stood in a queue, and most of the other guests are teenagers or adults with kids.  Yes, there are a few couples or older groups etc who visit, but they're a rare sight.

 

Usually the feeling passes after a moment, and I brush it off with my usual "who cares, I love theme parks!" take on the situation.

 

But this year at Fright Nights, it really hit me. For most of the day, the feeling stuck with me. I know it wasn't the case, but I felt like the oldest person on the entire park. Nearly everyone queueing around me was in their teens (except my theme park buddy who is a year younger than me), and going through the mazes with a group of young teenagers did make me feel like an old man, reminiscing about mazes from over 10 years ago, when many of the other guests would have been toddlers.

 

As we head towards next weekend, me and Mrs Inferno are heading to the fireworks at Alton Towers, and I have a very faint feeling of dread building - am I getting too old for all this stuff?

 

I've always been a firm believer in just going for it, and if anyone ever asked me the question "am I too old to go to a theme park", I would say absolutely not!  But just lately, I'm beginning to understand why people might feel that way.

 

I'd love to know if anyone else ever feels similar, and what your take is on being "too old for theme parks"?

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The short answer to your question is no.

 

No one is ever too old for theme parks, as long as they continue to find them pleasant and enjoyable. Ok, the majority as mentioned are teens/young adults and families, but then again that is just the way things typically swing. Being the school holidays (presumably) is another factor on the above.
 

If you still enjoy the parks, don’t be put off.

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As Matt said, we are never too old, but our feelings for things change.

I am more than twice your age and love rides and roller coasters but I have often commented on how different people are, both emotionally and physically. Our appreciation and need for things change. Some would never consider using the rides, me? I have never been interested in basketball. If we were all the same, there would be one heck of a queue for the ride we love. The demographics of society affects the type of people attending parks, I.e. The majority of youngsters are not in the type of employment from which there would be difficulty in having time off.  Again for me in the past I worked shifts, so that helped.

 

Don't let your age control whether you ride or not, let your feelings decide that, and whatever you choose, enjoy it.

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Having worked at a theme park (for 2 months so far) the only people I've ever even considered looking twice at age-wise are people who are much much older than you (70/ 80 years old) and only out of admiration for their insatiable desire for adrenaline which I hope to have if I ever reach that age.

The majority (read 90+%) of the populace visiting (Thorpe Park) tend to be teens to middle aged people so there's still plenty of time for you to feel "old" when visiting a theme park.

 

That said, you become "too old" for theme parks when they stop being enjoyable days out and you're no longer excited by them in which case it's time for a new (and maybe even cheaper!) hobby :) .

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I'd be curious if this is a general feeling you have, or a feeling which is highlighted when you're specifically at Thorpe? I know sometimes I feel old whenever I visit Thorpe, sometimes too old.

Another thing that makes me feel old is that I joined theme park forums when I was 15. If a 15 year old was to join the forums today, there's a good chance they would have been born after Stealth opened. I remember watching it being built, as well as The Flying Fish and Model World prior pretty vividly. Jeez.

 

I know you say when you visit a park these days, there's a couple of moments where you feel like the odd one out. But that feeling was expanded at Fright Nights (during half term too I think?). It certainly makes sense that the feeling would be highlighted more in that case.

 

It could also be one of those psychology things. Are you feeling like the odd one out because you think you are, and so are looking for evidence to support that? And so, in turn, you notice all the younger groups, and don't see many people who look a similar age to yourself / are older?

For anyone reading who doesn't quite get what I mean: you don't see many yellow cars on the road these days, do you? But now that thought is in your head, you will be more acutely aware of yellow cars and notice them a lot more, and realise that - whilst they're not common - there's certainly a fair few about!

 

Maybe during your Towers visit have in the back of your mind to exclusively look for groups of adults in their later 20s/early 30s...maybe you'll be surprised with how many you see?

 

 

To stop with the psycho-analysing and answer the more direct question: no, you can't be too old for theme parks. I think there's certain social norms which can be at play (for example, going to a children's park alone can seem suspect in some people's minds...but that's completely different). Theme parks (and moreso rides) are a unique blend of escapism, thrill, story telling and holiday all in one, along with other options - such as the idea of 'collecting' ridden coasters/visiting/number of rides - if you so choose. Few hobbies offer such a blend, along with additional versatility and flexibility.

 

I don't think you can be too old for any of the things theme parks offer. It's just whether you feel like the combination it offers is what you want, or if you want a narrower focus. One thing I've noticed over the years of being on forums is some people who were (and still are!) really interested in theme parks have similar other hobbies too. A couple of examples...

-Live theatre and similar (escapism and story telling)

-Skydiving / mountain biking / more "extreme" sports (thrill)

-Travelling (self explanatory)

 

Maybe that's another reason why there's seemingly less people who visit parks? As people get older, they get easier access to / realise other hobbies which share similar traits to visiting theme parks, and focus their attention there a bit more? That diversification then means they spend less time at parks, and then the concentration/percentage of younger people visiting parks decreases.

 

Another thing which I note as well, is that specific park enthusiasm is much more concentrated with younger people. Unsurprisingly, there's very few 15 year olds which are interested in theme parks more broadly: their focus is on one or two parks, and usually their local park. But after say 15 years of continual visits, that local park won't have the same appeal or interest, and are likely more interested to parks more broadly. Again meaning they spend less time visiting their local park, and instead visiting a broader range of parks (again meaning that the average age of certain park visitors feels very young, and the late 20 / early 30 somethings all feel very old whenever they visit).

 

I feel like I've waffled an awful lot and not said much. But in short:

-You're not too old for theme parks (and if you are, I only have a maximum of 3 years left before I am...)

-Thorpe Park is probably the park in the UK which would highlight this feeling the most

-I think people's interests in theme parks spreads in one way or another as they get older, which can mean there's a skewed view as to how old park visitors are

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Thank you everyone who’s responded!

Some really interesting points.

 

I agree with the point raised a couple of times here that visiting Thorpe specifically + half term was only ever going to exasperate it, and it’s true that it is Thorpe where I get the feeling of being “too old” the most. It’s not so much an issue elsewhere, especially abroad weirdly.

 

Josh, that is utterly terrifying that a 15 year old joining the forum today would be younger than Stealth 😳 I too remember being on forums and at the park around that age watching the construction of Stealth. It doesn’t feel that long ago does it!

I’ll be honest I still see Saw as “pretty new” 😂

 

👨🏼‍🦳 I REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS ALL FIELDS 😂

 

To be honest I agree with you all - I too don’t think you can be too old to visit and enjoy theme parks, and I have no plans to stop!

This forum alone is evidence that there’s a keen following among a slightly older audience.

Just interested to hear if others ever felt the same occasionally.

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I think I accidentally clicked the wrong answer on the poll (I’m blaming my age 🤣 - the irony).

 

Honestly I don’t think you can ever be too old for theme parks - if it is something you enjoy, go for it!

I turned 40 last year (should probably change my forum name as I’ve been here 10 years and I’m no longer 30) and I don’t feel my age in general day to day life.  That said I totally understand particularly Thorpe Park - because it is mainly teenagers that visit I can often feel a bit out of place but then I certainly don’t act my age so it doesn’t bother me - I usually visit the parks with my 17 year old niece and it’s not as noticeable as when I’m with my friend who is my age and her son because we are both in our 40s (don’t know if that made any sense - it’s been a long day!).

 

I don’t think anyone at parks would be looking at you and thinking you are out of place unless they are extremely judgmental.  I visited Thorpe a couple of times by myself when my ex worked at the park - first time I felt so uncomfortable at first and then after a while I thought sod it - people are out enjoying their day and won’t be scrutinising other guests or even noticing.

 

Ive been an enthusiast for 21+ years but didn’t start visiting the Merlin parks regularly (more than my annual visit) until 2013.  I did have a Tussauds pass in 2002 but that only covered off peak days for Thorpe and Chessington.  So I was 32/33 when I became a regular visitor.  Yeah I do feel old at times - but if I still enjoy parks when I’m 70 I’ll still be visiting.

 

I totally understand being a bit self conscious but I honestly think these things are often more of a big deal in your head than in reality and the way we might feel is not a clear indication of what is real.  Not sure if I’m making sense - it’s been a long day and I’m zonked.  Also apologies for possibly typing an essay 🙈

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On trips to Cedar Point, I have seen old couples walking around the park and still enjoying themself.

 

I was at Efteling on Tuesday and again I saw people a wide variety of ages enjoying the park.

 

So I wouldn't say there is a "too old" for going to theme parks. I suppose it entirely depends on how much you enjoy them personally as the years go by.

 

I fully intend to be riding Steel Vengeance and Zadra well into my 70s if my health allows!!!

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Thank you so much everyone for replying! 🙏

 

@JoshC. I took your advice - yesterday at Towers I reminded myself too look around to spot some “non teen groups” - and there were LOADS.

 

@Martin Doyle That’s an interesting point about Efteling - abroad you do tend to notice more adults without kids visiting the parks. 

 

I think you guys are right - it’s a Thorpe thing. Now I think of it, it’s generally at Thorpe that I feel too old, standing alongside all the teens!  I suppose other places (particularly Towers in the uk) don’t have that feeling so much (unless it’s school trip season!)

 

You’re spot on there @Han30 - I completely agree, who bloody cares anyway!
 

I can honestly see myself visiting the parks well in to my old age.  Thinking back to yesterday at the fireworks, I can’t see myself ever not wanting to return!

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