The idea that theme parks are designed for children is a myth. They are like pet foods; pets don’t read labels, the owners do. Pet food is aimed at humans.
It’s the same with theme parks. Children have a limited capacity for enjoyment, it’s called; Full On. A bucket of water and a pile of dirt is every child’s idea of fantasy come true. A ride or large empty building or funny costumes holds equal enjoyment to a child or possibly, slightly less because theme parks tend to ’suck’ overall. They take energy, instead of giving energy. They are like huge, life size television sets with surround-qualia. People have the experience foist upon them.
A mud world is diametrically opposed to a theme park. The child’s imagination is king. The child creates the experience and gives energy to the activity, the child learns from the experience, even if it’s only how mud behaves in a solution.
However, adults have a conditioned imagination, fire-hosed with advertising and for them enjoyment has to be represented by MASSIVE capitals, otherwise they just ignore it. So adults think that children will enjoy what adults think children will enjoy. The adult believes that a child will think a monstrous ride that has had millions of euros spent on it MUST be better than the experience of being dandled in the loving arms of its parent. The park builders know this and play on the fallacy.
That is why parents are prepared to spend so much time and money standing in line, with their children, almost comatose with boredom (they take pictures of each other standing in line to break the boredom and to provide cherished memories of their visit) because that little squeal of delight from their child when they finally experience the ride, justifies it all.
At least the children are happy (and the park owners).