Today, I’m launching one of my new features, video blogs. For my first episode I reviewed the Thrill Seeker App for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s a bit long as it’s basically a video version of the text version of the review below. Future video blogs will be shorter and (hopefully) more polished. It’s a little rough, but I had fun making it. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!
Thrillseeker App Aims to Be Perfect Companion for Theme Park Trips
Mark Locker and Robert Pugh from TowersNerd and Theme Park Nerd Ltd, have created an iPhone/iPod touch app that could redefine theme park trips. Originally released back in September 2009, Thrill Seeker App 2.1 aims to be the perfect companion for theme park trips. The app currently covers the major UK parks (like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, & Oakwood) as well as central Florida’s parks in the U.S. (Disney, SeaWorld, Universal, and Busch Gardens Tampa). The app aims to enhance your visit in several ways. It’s an interactive GPS-like park map, coaster database, wiki, and day planner all-in-one. In short it’s packed with loads of useful information about all of the rides and attractions at these parks. And, it helps you get around the parks and plan your day. It’s early, but Thrill Seeker is well thought out and addresses common issues guests run into while they’re at a park. More than just a cool idea, the app could really be useful.
Park Maps 2.0
Park maps are a must when you visit theme parks, especially for first time trips. But Thrill Seeker App’s map feature takes it to another level by giving GPS-like step-by-step directions from your current location to an attraction of your choosing. This could really come in handy for those times when you’re at a park and it’s not really clear what the fastest path is to get to a ride. The directions even include use of transportation like sky rides.
Aside from just helping you get around the park, Thrill seeker app also lists ride height restrictions and facilities information like whether certain rides have on-ride photos/videos, fast track access, or single rider queues.
Roller Coaster Database In Your Pocket
Most theme park enthusiasts are familiar with our favorite online resource, the Roller Coaster Database. The site lists roller coaster vitals including stats like height, speed, type, designer, etc. The Thrill Seeker App has included some of those same stats for quick reference when on the go. Finally, a way to quiet that obnoxious guy in the line in front of you who swears that the ride you’re waiting for goes two times as fast as it does. Obsessed fans like myself will have much of these stats already taking up valuable brain space, but the figures will still be nice to have handy. Pictures of many of the rides and roller coasters are included as well. Currently, Thrill Seeker App boasts over 2,000 images that you can download and save as wallpaper.
New for 2.1: Day Planner
Version 2.1 includes a new day planner feature that will allow you to pick the attractions and restaurants that you plan on visiting while at a park. Then, as you go through your day you can check of the attractions as you go.
My Favorite Part: History & Background Information
For the larger attractions, Thrill Seeker App provides in-depth background information similar to the write-ups found on Wikipedia for popular roller coasters. For example, my all-time favorite roller coaster Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa has a several paragraph-long entry detailing the history of the ride as well as a blow-by-blow account of its thrilling course. These writeups seem to stop just short of providing complete reviews with ratings as I would assume that the app creators would like to stay objective. I could see myself reading these entries while waiting in the queue; especially if I’m at a new park.
Coming Soon: Ride Wait Times at Universal Orlando!
From the time that I reviewed the app to the time of the writing of this review a major update has been announced. Soon, a new version of the app will be released. It will include live wait time information for Universal Orlando. In addition, you’ll be able to create wait time alerts so that you can be notified when a particular ride’s wait time drops below a specified time. The wait time feature will be included in a separate Universal Orlando app called ‘Universal Guide’. It will sell for $1.99 while the full Thrill Seeker App will remain at its current price of $4.99. I don’t own an iPhone or iPod Touch, but those prices sound reasonable for all that the app does. It’s great that Universal has these computerized signs that show wait times, but having this information at your fingertips is even more convenient.
My first recommendation would be for the makers to incorporate user reviews or ratings. Offering the wisdom of the crowd that hundreds of user reviews could provide would be pretty powerful. The detailed descriptions will help for dark rides like the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure where guests don’t quite know what they’re in for. But what about rides they can see, but haven’t experienced?
Someone new to a park might look at Six Flags New England’s Cyclone and not realize that it’ll shake the fillings out of their teeth. Or, that Mean Streak at Cedar Point has become pretty rough recently. Or, that the Dark Knight Coasters just aren’t worth the wait. For many American parks, say in the Eastern part of the country, there’s a roller coaster critic who’s ratings or user reviews/comments could be incorporated into the app. I’m just saying…
Another future enhancement could be the addition of a trivia game or some other time waster for those long waits. Thrill Seeker App could just re-use the stats stored in the ride information database that’s already present. I won’t claim that I thought of this idea as I think I heard it during an interview with the creators on the Season Pass Podcast.
Obviously, the Thrill Seeker App will need to include more U.S. parks before it gets much higher adoption rates. But for now, they’ve got a solid product that could prove very useful for theme park goers. It’s easily the best app this theme park fan has come across.