Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
It is common for newcomers to do extremely well in this competition if not win the whole thing. But you are liable to get knocked out quick if you aren’t at least a little wary of the grizzled veterans of this competition. You need to bring your A game every week just like the veterans will. Looking back at past competitions, particularly the later rounds, reading the proposals that didn’t do so well and the ones that won the round, are a great way to get up to speed quickly. If you have questions, just ask them. Most of the veterans will be happy enough to help if the judge’s attention is diverted.
This season, we are trying to stress strategy while trying to lower the time commitment (at least the last minute time commitment). It will be possible to win the whole thing with 6 proposals this season, or possibly just barely lose writing 10 proposals.
Please keep in mind that this season (unlike previous seasons) we have a prize to be awarded to the winner!
The Rare & Sacred Lost Helm de Minionis will be awarded to the winner of Theme Park Apprentice 6
It always kills me when 2 weeks into TPA we have people wanting to join in. At the same time, it also kills me when someone makes it to the last round and then has a conflict come up and can’t participate in the final round.
This year we are going to shorten the competition, have more of them, and then have a final round.
Here is the way it is going to work. There will be 2 separate rounds that will last for 4 weeks. You can sign up for either the first or the second, it doesn’t matter to us, except that the first round will have a golden parachute option for up to 3 people who just barely didn’t qualify for the final. Those few people are then allowed to try again in the second round (or more if no one signs up for the second round). Three people from each round (6 total) will then compete in a two week final round to determine the winner. Only two or three people will be in the very last round.
Since the competition is shortened, elimination will be 1/3 to 1/2 of the participants will be eliminated each week. Instead of a formal score, a judge will give you an “up” or a “down”. If two judges give you a down, you are out. The judges will only be able to give a certain amount of “down”s per week, so one judge can’t try to eliminate everyone. If you receive a down, it is no big deal if you advance, since the very next week, everyone is even again.
In addition to this, we are going to post all of the challenges ahead of time so you can work ahead and work around your schedule and vacation. Which leads me to…
The following is the list of attractions:
1. Dark Ride
2. Roller Coaster
3. Show (stationary seats)
6. Motion Simulator
For each week you can choose one attraction style off of the list, but you can only use an attraction style once.
The strategy comes into play based on how well you think the attraction type goes with the week’s challenge, but also based on what attraction type you want to hold onto for the later rounds. For most people, dark ride and motion simulator have historically been the best themed attractions, so then you have to think about either using it in the first round to make a good impression on the judges or waiting until the potential last round when everyone else has probably used their dark ride. Since there are only 4 rounds, you will always need to be thinking about how you will do a roller coaster, restaurant, or parade, because you will have to use at least one of those. Since we are living in a world of combined elements, the rule is that your ride must start and end with the overall attraction style (so you can combine a roller coaster and a motion simulator like Gringotts if you really find the need to, but if it is a roller coaster then it must start and end as a roller coaster). The two week final round will be done differently and will not use the above list. Since the challenges will be a little more wide open to accommodate all of the different attraction types, please keep in mind that we are still basing this on a bit of reality, so a brand new Lion King attraction will never be seen outside of a Disney park, and Harry Potter will never be seen outside of a Universal park.
Standard Rules…but glance at these later when you have a moment…
1. Grammar counts. If we can’t read what you have written, it becomes next to impossible to get a good idea of what the attraction is about. We all understand that misspelling crop up (I’m sure there are several in this introduction article) but please do your best to make it as readable as possible. It is a shame for a really good idea to be hidden under an avalanche of fragmented sentences, bad grammar, bad spelling, and fragmented ideas. Use a spell checker and a grammar checker.
2. Deadlines count. If you can’t get something in on time, please let us know and we will attempt to work with you. The extra time to work on each idea should make this less of an issue, but we all understand that nothing squeezes creativity out of a brain like a looming deadline. While the judges are allow to make the determination of what kind of penalty is assessed based on circumstances, think of it as the old school model of losing a letter grade or more for late work.
3. Creativity counts. The challenges have been designed to give you a wide variety of directions to go with a challenge. If we get three attractions that use the same characters and one that doesn’t, the one odd duck will be much more memorable when it comes time to vote. If you come up with an idea so obvious that you think everyone else probably will to, you are probably correct. In such a case it might be a good idea to see if you can come up with a second theme. Although we also understand that a spectacular attraction is going to be spectacular even if it uses the most obvious theme.
4. The judges' rulings are final, and since they make the determination of who moves on and who is dropped from the competition, it might not be a good idea to argue with or upset them. We are not total jerks, though, so if you feel that we have misinterpreted something you have presented we will listen to your explanations privately, not on-site. Explaining is one thing, arguing is another.
5. The judges will be casting all of the votes this season. This should make the criteria of a good proposal a little more clear since the popularity of, say, Black Caldron instead of Frozen, will not have nearly as much of an effect on the judges as it will with a popular front page vote. There have also been too many instances of vote manipulation, either actual or perceived, when a public vote was held, so we have decided to have the judges make the decisions as to who moves on and who is dropped from the competition. We assure you that we are going to base our votes on the quality of the proposals, their originality, creativity, professional presentation, etc. and not on anything else.
6a. Add-Ons: Pictures. Pictures are a handy way of saving you a thousand words in your proposal. Pictures are not an official requirement, and last year, one of the finalists made it without posting a single picture, but many competitors utilize them. We will be posting some documentation talking about the best way to go about posting pictures, so don’t worry too much about the mechanics of it. Most people don’t create the images themselves and merely find images on the internet through various search engines. I would ask people to not post stick figures or anything other than images of the highest quality as they may negatively impact the rest of your posting. There is a limit of 5 pictures per post, unless otherwise noted. Pictures need to be limited down to a 500 width in order to keep it within the column structure of TPI. You will be allowed to substitute one (1) video for one of your pictures, but no more than one video. If you are doing a video, keep in mind that Jeff has an extremely short attention span and won’t watch more than about 3-4 minutes of video.
6b. Add-Ons: Title Logo and Footer. This is not an official requirement, much like putting any pictures into your post is not a requirement, but it is something that many contestants like to do to further fill out their idea. You are allowed a title picture before your posting and a footer picture after your posting in addition to the 5 pictures (or 4 pictures and 1 video) in the middle of the post. All pictures need to be limited down to a 500 width to keep in the column structure of TPI.
6c. Add-Ons: Music cannot be added onto a proposal unless it is part of the single video allowed. No back-ground music, please!
6d. Add-on pictures, videos, etc. are NOT a requirement, and a competitor should feel free to present their proposal with no added visual enhancement if they so choose. A poor picture can do as much harm to a proposal as a good one can benefit it.
7. If you need help, please ask for it. The judges should be able to respond very quickly to any inquiries, issues, problems, or calls for assistance. There have been problems in the past with posting lengthy proposals, but those seem to have been resolved. If you need help with creating logos or posting pictures, please ask.
8. Under no circumstances will we tolerate criticism, attacks, bad mouthing, or chaos in general. If any behavior is deemed detrimental to the game or the spirit of the game, such people will be dismissed from the competition without reason or recourse. We hate to have to include a rule like this, but trust us, this protects you as much as it protects us and the integrity of the game.
9. There have been situations come where a competitor was unable to post due to circumstances beyond their control (power failure, death in the family, etc.) but they wished to continue in the competition. We hope that nothing like this happens again, but if it does, contact any of the judges as soon as possible and we will do all we can to be fair to all competitors, including the one with the situation. But we have to be informed about it- we can't help if we don't know.
10. These rules are subject to change. If something is not working we are going to fix so it does.
11a. The schedule. All challenge proposals will be due on Saturday night at midnight website time. Anyone not posting by that time will be automatically eliminated unless they have either contacted the judges with their excuse- and it better be a good one- or if unable to contact a judge by then contact a judge as soon as possible and they will decide how to proceed (see rule #9).
11b. The judges will try to post their decision about who will advance by Monday night at midnight website time. You will already have the next challenge, so it wouldn’t hurt to work ahead a bit.
11c. The week’s proposals will need to be posted after the week’s challenge thread has been started by one of the judges. Please do not post your proposal until you know that you have made the new round. We have no problems with a secondary thread going up where all of the unused proposals can be posted and get commented on by everyone, but let’s try to keep the threads somewhat cleanish. Only post your correct week’s proposal on the appropriate week’s thread.
11d. If you have a conflict and won’t be able to post your proposal in the window that the thread is open, please let the judges know so they can post it for you.
Any violations that we may see of these rules will result in a strong warning sent to the competitor in a confidential email. If the violations continue the judges reserve the right to expel the competitor from the competition and possibly from any future Theme Park Apprentice competitions.
For further research, please take the time to do a TPI search and read some of the past posts and cross reference them with who won a particular round. Reading the comments is also extremely helpful as well as getting to know the judges and what they look for.
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