Is There Such A Thing As Being 'Too Old For Theme Parks'?

If you're a coaster or theme park enthusiast (and if you're reading this I'm going to hazard a guess that you ARE) then you'll likely have been asked some variation of the following:

'Aren't you a little old for theme parks?'

It's one of THE MOST annoying questions you can ask a coaster enthusiast. Not only is it rude and judgemental, but it also suggests the notion that enjoying theme parks somehow has an age limit. This idea is absolutely bizarre to me, so I wanted to explore it a little today.

So, why do the general public think there's some sort of expiry date for enjoying theme parks? If you take a look - it doesn't just apply to our wonderful hobby. Ask anybody who's into gaming, or cosplay, for example and I guarantee you they've been asked similar questions. Part of it, I think, can be put down to our generation doing the settling down and having kids thing much later in life (if at all). We're not 'tied down' so to speak, with families and mortgages etc, and have a lot more spare cash and time to spend visiting parks and riding coasters!

But even that analogy isn't 100% accurate. I have lots of friends and followers who I know extend their theme park hobby to their families, and enjoy a day out at a park with the kids as much as they do without them. There's this weird assumption that once you have kids, YOU don't get to enjoy things anymore - you just have to stand by and do things for the kid's benefit. I've heard and seen so many parents saying that they hate theme parks but they put up with it for the enjoyment of their family. And that is so, so sad to me.

Then there's the fact that, with the wonderful, wonderful Internet, niche hobbies like this one have been allowed to explode and flourish. Think back even twenty years ago - clubs for specific interests (I'm talking things like Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, etc) you had to really go out of your way to connect with like-minded people and therefore there was a real sense of 'underground' about it. People are a lot more open about their quirks and geekiness is mainstream (you only have to look at the popularity of things like Pop Funkos to see that) and therefore the more unique interests like coaster and theme park enthusiasm are 'allowed' to exist more freely (but let's face it, we know we're a bunch of wonderful weirdos as much as the next person!)

Therefore, there's a much smaller need to suppress the weird hobby in order to maintain some kind of 'normality' (whatever that is).  It's always weird to me that literal grown men crying at a football match is perfectly socially acceptable and yet to some, a bunch of people enjoying a theme park is weird. Luckily in 2017 we're much more accepting of letting people enjoy things that make them happy!

And then there's the other side of this argument - the people who genuinely believe that theme parks are for families and young children. I saw a particularly nasty discussion on a Facebook group recently where the OP called somebody a pedophile because they said they enjoy Disney parks. Imagine being that narrow minded! And it's not just the crazy people of Facebook that think this way - certain park chains in the UK do not allow entry to their attractions unless accompanied by a child. And I'm not talking things like soft play areas which are clearly meant for children. I'm talking about parks that have fully fledged rollercoasters and attractions.

I've always had a bee in my bonnet about parks that do this. Firstly, it makes the likes of us who just enjoy a fun day at a theme park feel like freaks for wanting to visit. And secondly, I want the fucking creds so let me pay money to visit your park and ride them! Rules like this just further perpetuate the incorrect notion that theme parks are only to be enjoyed by children, and let's face it, if you don't have many higher thrill attractions you're not going to attract gangs of unruly teens to the park and potentially spoil the atmosphere anyway. Look at the likes of Chessington and Paultons Park! It's a rule based on myth.

Of course there's no such thing as being too old for theme parks, just a slowly dwindling group of closed minded people who can't stand the idea that some people enjoy things. Ride on my friends!

Talk later xoxo,