What Is the Most Popular Type of Theme Park Ride?

A concept image of inside a Ghostbusters ride with people shooting coloured rays from a Ghostbusters car
A concept image of inside a Ghostbusters ride with people shooting coloured rays from a Ghostbusters car
28 June 2022
What Is the Most Popular Type of Theme Park Ride?

Many of the best theme parks worldwide employ multiple rides to offer a great visitor experience regardless of their preferences. Developments in technology have meant that there are now more types of rides than ever. It is far easier for theme parks to achieve their artistic vision.

Dark Rides

By its very nature, a dark ride is a fully enclosed transit system that transports guests through a series of scenes painted with black light paint. However, it is more commonly used to describe any enclosed or story-driven experience. A famous example of this type is Disney’s Haunted Mansion, which has been incredibly popular since the first of its kind opened in 1969. As a part of a Haunted Mansion experience, you might expect to walk or be driven through a horror-themed set with dressed-up staff members or animatronics jumping out. The exact theming of a haunted mansion may vary slightly depending on where you go. Still, their purpose is generally very much the same – give any visitors a nice scare.

Water Rides

Very much a classic, the flume ride (commonly known as a log flume) is an iconic attraction in many theme parks across the globe. The flume ride can be compared to a rollercoaster on water. Rather than rails, it takes visitors along a water-filled trough, through a series of bends and drops through which they will get wet and may get soaked. It is a great ride to enjoy on a warm day. Still, the novelty also makes it immensely popular, even in cooler climates.

Flat Rides

Flat Rides are the staple of any theme park attraction line-up. They provide a range of excitement levels in a relatively small footprint. For example, a Ferris Wheel. Few would argue against the Ferris Wheel being an absolute classic ride in any theme park. Originating in 1983, the Ferris Wheel has a long heritage of providing breathtaking views and romantic moments. The Ferris Wheel is amongst the most recognisable of all theme park rides. It is a large wheel with individual seats or enclosed gondolas attached. As the wheel slowly rotates, the seats offer an incredible view of the nearby surroundings.


When someone says theme park, a rollercoaster is likely the first image in your head. Even though they have seen a great deal of change over the last few decades, the rollercoaster is one of the oldest theme park rides. With origins that can be traced back to traditional Russian ice slides transporting people down icy slopes with the help of wooden supports, the rollercoaster quickly gained popularity. Modern rollercoasters can deliver high-speed thrills, multiple inversions and more. Technology has advanced to the point where traditional ride archetypes are blurred or erroneous. A rollercoaster can now be the base transit system for a dark ride thanks to advanced linear synchronous motors allowing speed and direction to be controlled.

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