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Research on Age and Stimulation Preference in Theme Park Rides

The theme park industry is currently undergoing a period of rapid growth.  This change stems from widespread efforts to redefine the theme park experience, which has so long been the domain of teenagers and young adults, into a pastime that is attractive to people of all ages.  This shift is visible in the way that theme parks are increasingly marketed as experiences for families, exemplified by Disney’s focus on family-friendly fun.  However, to execute this change effectively, it is necessary to understand the unique preferences of different age demographics. 

Studies have shown that an important contributor to enjoyment in the theme park environment is arousal, where stimulating features are present.  Actively engaging, adventurous experiences are the most satisfying kind of experience to the average theme park patron.  My study makes use of this existing research and delves deeper into the topic in an effort to determine to what extent this is true for theme park guests of various ages.  Theme park rides have always encompassed a spectrum of stimulation levels, from the low-stimulation carousel to the high-stimulation rollercoaster.  However, the relationship between age demographics and preference for high and low stimulation levels in theme parks is not well-understood.  This study aims to shed some light on the relationship between these two variables.

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