Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
The Most Improved Award goes to a contestant that has been featured in another competition, and has shown significant amounts of improvement. This award will be going to Andy Milito. I think he has shown serious improvement over the course of 3 seasons of TPA.
Our Fired Too Soon Award goes to the person that I believe was well eliminated too soon. That person is Thomas Crain. I wish he would have gone much farther in the competition, because he is really an excellent attraction designer.
The Favorite New Contestant Award goes to the one contestant I feel has made a great impact upon the season. This award will be going to Eric S. He did participate in the Next Walt Disney, but I think he improved his ideas during TPA and is my favorite new contestant to this competition.
The next award is the highest award presented, besides the title of Theme Park Apprentice. Our Most Valuable Apprentice Award (MVA) goes to the person I feel has had consistently great work this whole season. This award is going to Joseph Catlett.
Finally, I'd like to present a special award. The Dropout Award will be going to someone who I feel showed possibilities of going much further in the competition. I really hated that he had to dropout. This award goes to Adam Nodjomian.
Joseph Catlett's River of Dreams, Andy Milio's Toon Studio River Dining, Adam Nodjomian's Positivement le Mal, Jeff Elliott's Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Joseph Catlett's ARKHAM: THE JOKER'S MADHOUSE, Eric S's Carousel of Progress 2.0, Jeff Elliott's Disney’s Waterfall Hotel, and James Koehl's Land of Dragons
Congrats to everyone who won awards!
World Wonders Theme Park
History: The World Wonders of the Ancient World was a travel guidebook put together originally by Antipater of Sidon and later added to by other writers. As a Greek poet on the heels of large Greek conquests throughout the Mediterranean area in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, Antipater travelled throughout the new lands Greece had conquered and created a list of must see places for tourists to visit. The original list had 7 Wonders: The Great Pyramid of Giza, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. This park is a tribute to these wonders of antiquity supplemented by other wonders that did not make the original list but are no less impressive. Since most of Antipater's World Wonders were in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, the park has been laid out similar to how the countries appear on a map with the Rock of Gibraltar, the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, as the entrance area.
Note on the World Wonders: All World Wonders will be built to scale as far as height goes. So far as the footprint goes, a few of the larger Wonders will be built with a forced perspective so that the buildings seem wider or longer than they actually are built in the park. With the tallest building in the world nearby, height will not be an issue, but real estate on the ground will be. The Wonders will not be built with their original materials, but with steel infrastructures, sculpted and painted outer surfaces, or other modern building techniques, and then aged to look authentic to the time period. All of the Wonders will have historical information around or inside of the structure.
Note on shops and restaurants: All of the different lands will have vendors and craftsman all over the place. The hope is to create an atmosphere a couple of notches classier than a renaissance fair, but in the same tone. Craftsman will have a full range of period processes and products, including, but not limited to, glass blowing, metal forging, cloth weaving, weapons training, weapon fabrication, wood carving, and many different varieties of authentic food making.
Entrance Area - Rock of Gibraltar
Entering the park, you find yourself in an area themed to the Rock of Gibraltar. There will be a scaled down and forced perspective version of the Rock of Gibraltar looming over the area. The buildings across from the Rock will have a Spanish/Moorish street market flavor and the era the theming is aiming for is around 1700, just like in the picture. To get into the rest of the park, you will need to walk through an overly wide version of the cave structure in the Rock of Gibraltar. The interior of the main passageway cave will be themed to Gorham's Cave, an archaeologically rich site and one of the last known habitations of Neanderthals. The entrance area will have several large shops and restaurants, as well as customer service areas, stroller rental, etc. built into the cave structures or in the market village.
There will be an offshoot of exploring tunnels as well as a main passageway themed to the Upper and Lower St. Michael's Cave with an auditorium themed to Cathedral Cave where a show similar to the Mystery Lodge at Knott's Berry Farm goes into the history of the area from Neanderthals, to legends about the caves being the entrance to Hades as well as one of the Pillars of Hercules, and into the modern eras concerning the caves being outfitted as a hospital for World War II. The show will have a mystical quality to it, similar again to the Mystery Lodge.
After exiting from Gorham's Cave, you will be facing the large center lake of the theme park dubbed the Mediterranean Sea. From here you get a very nice view of the different World Wonders that you will soon be exploring. Starting to the left, the lands are the Roman Empire, Greece, Anatolia at the back of the park, then on the return to the front, Persia, and then Egypt to the right of the entrance. All of the lands and the Rock of Gibraltar are laid out exactly as they are situated around the real Mediterranean Sea, making navigation around the park a little easier for people who know their geography. From here, you will not be able to see many rides, as it would intrude upon the skyline of world wonders, much like looking across the lake to the World Showcase at Epcot.
The tallest structure in this land is a true to scale model of the Tower of Pisa leaning at the modern era tilt of 3.99 degrees. At 183ft tall, it is also one of the newest wonders represented in the park having been completed in 1319. There will be a railing added to the tower to allow guests to walk up to the top of the tower, as well as an elevator to the top. During the tower climb, there will be different displays showing the history of the tower and why it is considered a world wonder. In the area behind the Leaning Tower of Pisa, there is a Huss Topple Tower ride as well as a roller coaster both themed to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The roller coaster will be a launched coaster with a 200ft tall top hat (Similar to Knott's Xcelerator coaster) and many other elements, including loops, dives, and many airtime hills on this coaster, with the uniqueness being that all of the coaster elements lean off to the side, including the top hat element.
The second wonder in this land is the Colosseum. At 159ft, it is only slightly smaller than the Leaning Tower. In the era of the land, the outer south side of the building would have already collapsed, leaving us with a similar structure that can be seen today in Rome. The Colosseum is actually used as a coliseum, and hosts large outdoor concerts. The Colosseum is positioned in the park in such a way that it has its own separate entrance into the park. In addition to the concert venue, there is an up-charge SkyJump attraction that takes people to the very top of the Colosseum and allows them to jump off the building like in the Assassin's Creed video game.
The third wonder in this land is the Roman Aqueducts. With heights of up to 93ft tall, the aqueducts are more of a theming element to the two rides in this area than a standalone wonder. The first aqueduct themed attraction is a punched up splash boat ride, with some trace coaster elements and two different drops. The second aqueduct themed attraction is a water coaster that has a final splashdown pool at a 90 degree angle to the splash boats, so there is somewhat of a duel going on between the two different rides. The water coaster will have a single lift hill of 90ft and as much airtime as can be managed without shoulder restraints. Only the final breaking run and the load/unload platform will have the vehicles submerged in water, although it will be a wet ride.
Other attractions in the land:
- Leonardo's Workshop: A walking tour of Leonardo Da Vinci's active workshop, showing different things that he is working on, with an actor portraying Leonardo.
- Hannibal's Crossing: A free with admission go-kart track themed to Hannibal's crossing of the Alps with elephants.
Shop - The main shop in the area is in the area of the Leonardo walk-through attraction and runs with the Italian Renaissance Era theme, selling many era representative items. There will be many shops scattered around the area selling a wide variety of Italian Renaissance goods.
Restaurant - The main restaurant in the area will be a tradition authentic Italian sit-down restaurant. In addition to the large sit-down restaurant there will be small shops selling various Italian food items sprinkled throughout the land.
The tallest wonder in this land is the Colossus of Rhodes. The Colossus is a statue of the sun god, Helios, built to celebrate the victory of the Battle of Rhodes in 304BC. Standing on a 50ft tall base with the statue itself standing just over 100ft tall, the statue was not only an impressive sight, but an incredible engineering feat of the time. Around the feet of the Colossus is a mini carnival in full swing, including a Huss Giant Frisbee, a Carousel, an Enterprise, and a Ferris Wheel, all named and themed to fit in with the era as much as these modern contraptions can.
The second area of this land is themed to the Acropolis of Athens, with many of the buildings recreated, including the Parthenon, yet in a smaller scale. The Parthenon will be used as a food court with a large amount of seating. The rest of the buildings in the area are in support of the park's kiddie land. The area will have a full array of kiddie rides from frog jumpers and kiddie coasters, to mini railroads, all themed to the different buildings, components of the Acropolis, and gods that they represent. The two theaters of the Acropolis will be used as children's theatres, performing shortened versions of classic Greek plays and Greek mythologies edited down to 10 minutes each with only the good bits left in.
The third main area of this land is centered on the Status of Zeus. The Temple of Zeus that housed the original statue is the ride building for a simulator ride themed to Zeus's battle with his father, Cronus, to release Zeus's siblings. Using similar technology as Curse of DarKastle and Spiderman, the ride is a non-stop action explosion that shows how Zeus was able to free not only his siblings, to include Hades, Hera, and Poseidon, but also free the Cyclopes and others from Cronus's dungeon.
Other attractions in the land:
- Marathon - A long wooden roller coaster that hugs the ground after the lift hill and simulates the original run from Marathon to Athens.
- The 12th Labor of Hercules - A steel launched coaster themed to Hercules's 12th and final labor, where Hercules is sent to Hades to capture and bring back Cerberus, the three-headed dog. This roller coaster will be somewhat similar to Rita at Alton Towers, where the coaster stays very close to the ground after the launch, but this one would be much longer, completely themed, and have a second launch section. This coaster will spend a great deal of time underground diving in and out of large caverns of Hades and over the River Styx.
Shop - The main shop in the area is in the Parthenon kid's area and sells many items in the classic Greek theme. There will be many shops scattered around the area selling a wide variety of classic Greek goods as well.
Restaurant - The main restaurant in the area will be a traditional authentic Greek sit-down restaurant, called "A Taste from the Gods". In addition to the large sit-down restaurant there will be small shops selling various Greek food items sprinkled throughout the land as well as a large counter service restaurant inside the Parthenon.
The tallest wonder in Turkey is the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Standing at 140ft tall, this was the burial tomb of Mausolus and later his wife Artemisia, who had originally paid for the work to start. The tomb was hailed a wonder while it was being built because it was such a beautiful building, with hundreds of statues and adornments. This wonder houses a custom designed, in the dark, launch coaster with several inversions similar to Flight of Fear and Rock n Roller Coaster.
The second wonder of this land is the Temple of Artemis, thought to be the most beautiful of all of the ancient wonders. Artemis was the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, and virginity. Since the closer you are to the temple, the more impressive it is and since Artemis was the goddess of the hunt, the temple in the World Wonders park is being used as a food court with large seating areas. Behind the temple and using some of the unused internal areas of the temple, there is a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster themed to Artemis getting away from her many suitors.
The final wonder of the land is a natural wonder called Pamukkale. What looks in the picture to be snow is actually a hot spring with the natural white color coming from the carbonate minerals left by the flowing waters. Pamukkale is where the park’s water park is located, reaching toward the back border of the park. There will be a large number of water attractions including a lazy river, wave pool, racing slides, water slides, family water slides, water coasters, kids play areas, and a roller soaker style roller coaster over the top of the whole thing.
Other attractions in the land:
- Troy - a small mockup of the city of Troy complete with a Trojan Horse outside. Settled right next to the Pamukkale water park, this attraction is similar to a huge paintball arena, but instead of paintballs, the combatants are using rented high output squirt guns and mounted water cannons to attack each other from two opposing sides.
- Troy Festival - there will be a few flat rides in this area themed to the Battle of Troy, including a Troy-ka (get it? A Troika?) and a Scrambler.
Shop - Similar to the other land discussed so far, there will be a vibrant street life with different shops offering many different products, some of which are made on the spot including glass blowers, drum makers, weapon makers, and various arts and crafts. The largest store will be in the Temple of Artemis and will have period goods as well as more modern fare such as t-shirts and other items.
Restaurant - As the midway point of the park, this area will depart somewhat with its theme in regards to food offering, catering to the European and Asian tourists who might be craving something familiar. The large restaurant of the area is in the Temple of Artemis and will be a U.S. style buffet type restaurant, once again attempting to hit many different flavors.
The tallest wonder in this area is the Etemenanki. At 300ft tall, it was only used for its temple situated on the top floor of the structure. The Etemenanki is widely thought to either be itself or be the inspiration for the Tower of Babel. The largest roller coaster in the park, an Intamin giga coaster, uses the back side of the Etemenanki as its lift hill before dropping steeply away and exploring areas behind the water park. The inside of Etemenanki will be a cast member area and storage facility. In the immediate area, there will also be a Unicoaster, a wave swinger, a Windseeker, as well as several smaller flat rides. There will be a walking tour available up to the top of Etemenanki, as well as an elevator to take you quickly to the top.
The second tallest wonder in the land is the Hanging Gardens. The Gardens themselves will be built with as many real trees as possible, attempting to recreate the forested mountain sanctuary it was intended to be. The ride through the Hanging Gardens is a log ride. The log ride will use the paths that supposedly the water is irrigated on (although actual irrigation of the vegetation will be done through more modern methods). The lift for the logs will be handled through a unique bucket lifting system that lifts each log individually and raises it through the middle of the structure up to the top. With an initial drop from the load station to the underground irrigation river, as well as two waterfall drops, this ride should thrill as well as soak its passengers.
The final wonder of this area is the city of Persepolis, the capital of the Persian/Achaemenid Empire. The ride mechanism is a round boat river rapids through the ruins of the city. Not all of the city will need to be rebuilt for this ride, just the highlights, to include the Gate of All Nations, the Apadana Palace, the Throne Hall, and the Tombs of King of Kings where Darius, Xerxes, and Cyrus are all buried.
Restaurant: The Persians conquered vast amounts of land from Turkey, to Egypt, to India. As a result, the restaurant in this area is going to have the same amalgamation of tastes and flavors. Like with the other lands, there will be a rich street life where various flavors can be tasted. The main restaurant in the area will be in the area of Persepolis, themed to one of the palaces and serving local Dubai tastes as well as a nice selection of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Shop: Like with the other lands, the street vendors will have all sorts of Middle Eastern and specifically Persian goods to sell. The main store will be near the large restaurant in the Persepolis area. This shop will be the largest shop in the park, with the exception of the shop near the entrance. This shop will concentrate on Middle Eastern and Persian goods, focusing its marketing in on the local park goers as well as other Middle Eastern tourists.
The largest of the Egyptian wonders, is the Great Pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or Cheops. At 488ft tall, the pyramid will have all of the inner workings of the actual pyramid with guests encouraged to walk through the inner parts of the tomb and burial chambers. Guests will also be encouraged to walk up the outside of the pyramid to the top. Since the Pyramid will be made with modern building methods, the inner part will be hollow. Inside of the pyramid will be a large shooter ride themed to a tomb exploration that goes bad and wakes an army of dead guardians. Around the outside of the pyramid will be the tallest wooden mouse/mine-cart ride in the world, scaling most of the way up the structure and then winding its way down to the bottom as if it were riding on the ramps used to build the pyramid.
The second tallest structure in the area standing at 420ft tall is the Lighthouse of Alexandria. On the inside of the ride, and peeking out of the structure is a launch/drop tower. Around the outside of the Lighthouse will be a small set of flat rides including tea cups, a spider, a Viking ship, and a Huss Top Spin, all themed to the Egyptian area.
The final wonder of the area is the Sphinx. Inside of the Sphinx is a stationary simulator ride that takes riders into the theorized catacombs under the Sphinx. During the adventure, we run across many pitfall and perils, accidently set off a flood of scarab beetles and it is a mad dash to get back out of the labyrinth.
Other attractions in the land:
- There is an indoor/outdoor wing-rider roller coaster themed to the Valley of the Kings. The storyline will be based on exploring the valley for hidden areas. The climax of the ride will take place in KV5, the largest of all of the tombs and not fully explored, where the riders find an untouched tomb full of treasures.
Restaurant: The main restaurant will be built into the side of the Great Pyramid and focus primarily on Egyptian and Moroccan cuisine. Like all of the other lands, there will be a village life that sells many different food items.
Shop: The main shop will be near the restaurant, inside of the Great Pyramid and sells everything Egyptian, but there will be many other shops selling all kinds of different items.
Nighttime Show - Atlantis: Rage of Poseidon
In the middle of the large central lake, there is a hidden secret. Down below the water, there are connecting tunnels that allow cast members to gain access from the regular underground walkways to a hydraulically lifted island allowing a massive island to rise out of the lake with actors already on it and dry, with no visible indicators on how they were able to do so. On the island is a small columned temple with several priests and a beautiful woman dressed up to be sacrificed. The woman is tied to a rock to be fed to the Kraken. A huge animatronic Kraken burst out of the lake, but is interrupted by the hero Perseus, flying in on his winged shoes (Criss Angel style with no visible cables). Perseus kills the Kraken with the head of Medusa, while fighting off the mad priests, infuriating Poseidon who sprouts out of the lake as a huge water fountain with red glowing eyes, spraying enough water to hide the mechanical infrastructure inside. In the battle with Perseus, Poseidon hits the island knocking it askew. Then later hits it again causing the whole island to sink beneath the waves. Perseus saves the girl and flies away with her.
World Wonders Theme Park has 11 roller coasters, a huge water park, a large children’s section; a total of more than 85 attractions, not including the Wonders themselves, many of which have elevators and walkthroughs. With such a large amount of attractions the World Wonders Park is designed to take more than a single day to do everything the park offers. With such a large amount of things to do, this park can handle crowd sizes to rival the largest and highest capacity parks in the world.
Dominick and Nick, I'm glad to hear there are no hard feelings about the awards. I just really wanted to highlight what I felt was some really outstanding work this season. The ones I selected were some of the best proposals I ever heard of. I'll be happy to see both of you participate in future competitions.
Jeff, you were a lock for Favorite New Contestant, but I really did want to keep it for the people that didn't make it to the finale. Eric was still a great contestant.
I really am looking forward to next year's competition, so much that I thought about moving it up. Unfortunately, that is near impossible for me to keep up with the emails, discussions, polls, and reviews. I will be back next May, however with the new and improved version of Theme Park Apprentice. We will be starting a whole new chapter in the "Apprentice" series with the changes being made. Thanks for participating and reading everyone, and we await James's proposal and the results.
Dubailand is one of the most ambitious entertainment projects ever conceived. A collection of dozens of theme parks, hotels, sports facilities, shopping malls and other entertainment centers,
Dubailand is intended to attract millions more visitors to Dubai. A major new addition to the multitude of attractions to be found here has just been announced:
Oasis is the first theme park in the world dedicated to water and water-based rides. This is not a traditional water park in the style of Blizzard Beach or Schlitterbahn-no water slides or wave pools here- but it is filled with water-based theme rides, dark rides, gardens, fountains, cruises through the world's great rain forests, and dozens of other attractions celebrating water, the most important ingredient for life on earth. This is not to say that guests to Oasis won't be able to get wet- many of the attractions have a high "splash factor" and are world-class water thrill rides, but others allow guests to relax and enjoy the benefits of beautiful, peaceful cruises through gardens, forests and several traditional Arabian tales. A few are even completely "dry" attractions, but are appropriate for the Land where they are located. Wet or dry, guests will find that Oasis is unlike any other park in Dubailand, or anywhere else in the world.
Guests to Oasis will enter the park via the Liwa Entrance Plaza, named for an important series of oases in the southern part of the United Arab Emirates, which Dubai is a part of. The Liwa Oases is where the Royal Family of Dubai came from, and the Liwa Entrance Plaza is named in their honor. Here are found the usual support facilities for a major theme park: tickets, customer services, lockers, shops, and changing rooms for visitors who wish to change into appropriate bathing garments or out of wet clothes. This is strictly for the convenience of guests who want to enjoy those attractions that get them especially soaked. However, it is possible to enjoy most of the attractions at Oasis without getting uncomfortably wet.
The Liwa Entrance Plaza leads directly to the Court of Fountains, where the Singing Fountains of Dubai are found. These ever-changing fountains are choreographed to "dance" to traditional and modern Arabian music, and lighting effects are added in the evening. The fountains lead to the Water Plaza, the "hub" of Oasis and the location of the iconic centerpiece of the park, The Oasis Tower.
The Oasis Tower is a two-hundred-foot tall column of water pouring down from the sky, apparently with no support. In the center of this water column is a solid tube covered with mirrors and imbedded with LED lights. Water pours down the surface of the column from the top, making it appear that the water is pouring from the sky with nothing supporting it. A large pool at the base of the Oasis Tower catches the water as it pours from the sky, and more beautiful fountains mask the base. Water from this pool runs into the Singing Fountains and through streams to other Lands in Oasis.
There are four Lands in Oasis, each unique and free-standing but also integrated with their neighboring Lands. On the left side of the Court of Fountains (while facing the Oasis Tower from the Liwa Entrance Plaza) is "Shipwreck Harbour". Next to it is "El Mina". Beyond the Oasis Tower, on the side of it opposite the Court of Fountains, is found "The Hanging Gardens". Beside it and opposite "El Mina" is found "The Rain Forest", not a complete land but a unique attraction which shares its area with "The Hanging Gardens" and the fourth Land, "Bubble Bay" which is the children's play area of Oasis.
"Shipwreck Harbour" and "El Mina" are two Lands that share a common backstory. Many years ago the village of El Mina was a bustling port on the Persian Gulf, and dozens of ships from as many countries would crowd its harbor (or "harbour" in British spelling) carrying cargo from around the world. El Mina provided all kinds of services to the crews of ships, and local craftsmen traded their fine handcrafted goods for foods, materials and money from many exotic ports. One fateful day a massive sandstorm swept over the village, completely filling in the harbour and trapping all the ships in a sea of sand, now several miles from the new coast of the Persian Gulf. The water supply for the village of El Mina was still plentiful, and the ships still had their holds full of goods from around the world. The villagers and the crews decided to work together to attract visitors to their little village. The crews used their now-landlocked ships as the framework for amazing amusement rides, with the water from the El Mina wells as the source of the power to run these rides.
There are twelve attractions in Shipwreck Harbour. Some are contained in the hulls of the ships, while others use the hulls as the loading and exit station for the ride. All are designed to look like the crew cannibalized the ship as needed to construct the ride, so while some ships look almost intact (except for being stuck in sand dunes and a little bit rusty) others appear to be half-taken-apart or just frameworks of their former self. Ships of all types were trapped when the storm hit, so a small oil tanker might be standing next to a tall-masted wooden ship and beside an elegant yacht. I will only describe in some detail three of the attractions:
"Haunted" is a large cargo ship that has been turned into a dark ride featuring ghosts and monsters of the ocean depths. Riders board twelve-person boats patched together from cargo crates and are carried through a haunted house-type experience of evil mermaids (no Ariel here!), giant squid trying to grab the boats, ghosts of sailors guarding Davy Jones's Locker, and other expected but still fun scares.
"Shiver Me Timbers" is a bobsled-type (flying turns) roller coaster constructed from a refrigerated cargo carrier. The crew used the giant freezer units from the ship to build a roller coaster that lets the ride vehicles slide down a twisting "frozen" trough over, around and through the hull of the ship. Icy-cold air is blown over the riders throughout the ride to further give them the feeling of sliding over the ice (and to refresh them on a blistering hot summer day in Dubai).
"Rip Tide" is a high-speed flume ride that propels riders in a "reused lifeboat" through a twisting, turning, dipping and occasionally up-hill adventure around the masts of several tall-masted sailing ships, ending in a steep plunge into the dark hold of one of the ancient vessels.
These are just three of the dozen thrill rides found in Shipwreck Harbour. Others include "High Tide," a mammoth shoot-the-shoots experience; "Aquifer", a raging river adventure, and; "Scimitar," a steel coaster that races through soaking fountains. These are just some of the wet and wild adventures to be enjoyed in this sandy and soaking wet Land.
Each ship has a shop at the exit, selling some of the goods from around the world that they were carrying as cargo when they were trapped. International wares from every continent can be found in these shops.
One ship, "The Cornucopia" , was carrying a cargo of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables in its refrigerated cargo hold, and the crew has turned the deck into an open-air restaurant featuring the finest selection of gourmet salads to be found in all of Oasis.
"El Mina" is the Arabian village next to the now-sand-filled Shipwreck Harbour. The residents of this typical Dubai village have taken advantage of the many visitors to the water rides and have made their traditional arts and craft shops a major tourist destination. Pottery, weaving, lace, calligraphy, jewelry and even boats are created by the talented crafters who reside in El Mina.
All are available for purchase, and special works can be commissioned by visitors.
The Al Makan Restaurant is located on the Village Square of El Mina. This restaurant serves traditional Arabian foods, and features Emirati cuisine. The food here, like that served in all restaurants in Oasis, is "halal", meaning that it meets Islamic dietary laws.
Along with the many craft shops, El Mina also features four major attractions. The first is the Dubai National Camel Race, a steeplechase-type ride where riders can participate in one of the most popular sports in this desert nation.
Eight parallel steeplechase tracks carry two-person camel-shaped ride vehicles around a traditional camel race track, and the camels move up-and-down and surge and fall behind like in a real camel race. The winning camel will be chosen by computer at random.
The second attraction is an open-air theatre where a live stage show displaying traditional Arab and Bedouin music and dancing is presented. Performances are presented several times a day in this shaded and temperature-controlled space. Musicians and dancers from throughout Dubai and the Arab world will be featured.
"The Harbour Cruise" is the third major attraction in El Mina. The villagers wanted their own water ride, so they dug a winding waterway through the sand that now filled their harbour, gathered some traditional Arab fishing boats and created one of the wettest experiences in all of Oasis. The channel weaves around and through the entire harbour, under many of the water rides in
Shipwreck Harbour and through some of the hulls of the ships, and carries its riders through the splash zone of most of these attractions. The Harbour Cruise boats and their riders will get splashed, sprayed, and totally soaked on this voyage.
Beside the village is a large cliff with a mysterious-looking cave. This cave is the entrance to the fourth major attraction in El Mina, "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", a dark ride where traditional Arab-style boats carry visitors through scenes telling the story of this world-famous tale.
Climbing a beautiful staircase, designed in traditional ancient Arabic style, visitors find themselves in a land of meandering paths leading past flowers, towering trees, cascading waterfalls and even through walk-through birdcages and a small zoo housing Onyxes, Arabian Sand Cats and Fennec and Blandford Foxes.
A quiet stream weaves through the gardens, and a gentle boat ride allows guests a chance to see parts of the gardens otherwise hidden from view. Guides on each boat explain some of the rare and exotic vegetation seen on this ride.
The side of the Hanging Gardens facing El Mina is designed to look like a rugged cliff, where the cave entrance to "Ali Baba.." is found. The ride is located inside the Hanging Gardens' structure, thus tying these two Lands together. Also in the support structure of the Gardens is another major attraction, "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad", another dark ride water adventure through a much-beloved Arabian story.
It can be entered from the Gardens and from a ground-level entrance near the Gardens' staircase entrance. Both boat rides inside the Garden's structure exit into the "Arabian Nights Store", which offers all sorts of books, movies and other items inspired by the world-famous literature of the Arab world.
Nestled in the Hanging Gardens is The Garden of the Emir, an elegant restaurant with a breathtaking view of the Hanging Gardens, the stream with the boats gliding gently by, and the remarkable Oasis Tower framed through palm trees. This is a five-star deluxe restaurant, with a menu that features international flavors from India to Istanbul, in a dining setting never to be forgotten.
The side of the Hanging Gardens opposite El Mina seems to blend into a more wild, less manicured Land of tall trees, thick vegetation and less light being able to reach the ground due to the thick canopy of leaves high up in the trees. A path from the Hanging Gardens leads into this jungle, but soon is unable to penetrate the thick undergrowth and turns back.
This is "Rain Forest", a unique area of Oasis. A small part of it is shared by the Hanging Gardens and by Bubble Bay (to be discussed later), but the vast majority of this area is dark, wet, foreboding and nearly impenetrable.
The only way into or out of it is by taking "The Rain Forest Expedition", a boat ride excursion that takes guests through some of the most remarkable ecosystems on the planet. This is not a bad-joke type of attraction, such as "Jungle Cruise", but an explanation of the different types of rain forests found throughout the world. Brazil, Central Africa, the Pacific Northwest of North America, Central America and even Australia all have rain forests, and this cruise will show guests the similarities and differences they each have. Rain forests are not just plants and rain, but also have a wide variety of wildlife and even human habitation, and these are also included in the expedition. Totem poles of the Pacific Northwest, overgrown Mayan ruins of Central America, the wild animals of the Amazon rain forest- these are just a few of the amazing sights guest will experience in this unique, world-class adventure. The Rain Forest Store, in the Expedition Headquarters building, sells crafts made by the indigenous peoples of the world's rain forests, and all proceeds go to preserving these endangered and vital ecosystems.
On the edge of the Rain Forest, between it and the Liwa Entrance Plaza, is Bubble Bay, the children's play area of Oasis. This does not have a waterpark-like play area- no water slides or dumping buckets, but there are plenty of walk-through fountains, run-through spray areas, and many water-based rides for children and adults.
Statues and fountains from Arabian children's stories decorate the area and are the theme for many of these rides. Some of these rides are floating bumper cars for both children and families, paddle boats shaped like swans, ducks, and other aquatic birds, a carousel that uses Sea Horses rather than race horses, and round-about rides with boats actually going through water.
The featured ride here is the Fantasy Forest Cruise, a boat ride through part of the Rain Forest where children and adults can view scenes from children's stories from around the world. "Yeh-Shen", a Chinese Cinderella story, "The People Who Hugged the Tree", a story from India, and several stories from "One Thousand and One Nights" are some of the stories illustrated in this charming cruise. The part of the Rain Forest used is not the dark, inner forest but a much friendlier area, with more light and flowers- much less frightening to children.
Diners in Bubble Bay have a delightful food court to meet every child's (and adult's) taste. Sandwiches, salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, pizza and baked goods are available at the many counter-service food stands found here. Comfortably shaded and air-cooled dining areas are found in the center of the food court, and a fountain provides water for a stream that meanders pleasantly through the dining area.
A shop, "Wet and Wearable", sells children's swim wear, towels, sunscreen and water-themed toys.
Few theme parks anywhere in the world integrate their Lands as well as Oasis. Shipwreck Harbour is the harbour for El Mina, which uses the cliffside of Hanging Gardens for one of its major attractions. The Hanging Gardens shares part of the Rain Forest with Bubble Bay, and all of the Lands and the Singing Fountains receive water from the Oasis Tower through a series of streams flowing from its base to all parts of Oasis. Water unites them all.
Night falls. The temperature drops. The lights of Oasis begin to glow, and the guests begin to gather in the Water Plaza and Court of Fountains for a night-time spectacular of lights, water and music. "An Oasis of Light" is a breathtaking show presented nightly, using the Oasis Tower and the Singing Fountains to take guests through a tribute to Arabian culture and the knowledge it has contributed to the world. Balls of fire, jets of flame, fireworks and lasers erupt from the top of the tower. Lights inside the Oasis Tower turn it into an ever-changing column of swirling colors, patterns and images. The fountains at the base of the tower and the Singing Fountains combine to create a spectacle of beautifully choreographed water, color and light. Traditional and contemporary Arab music and an inspirational narrative combine with magnificent visual effects to make this multimedia production both informative and immensely entertaining.
The "Light" referred to in the title is the Light of Knowledge, and the theme of the show is how the Arab World has been the source and protector of much of the world's knowledge for thousands of years. This production is not a lecture, but a tribute to the Arab peoples, and will be a source of great pride to Arab guests and a revelation to visitors unaware of the contributions that the Arab World has made to all Mankind.
Oasis, where visitors can explore a rain forest in the desert. Oasis, where a dozen landlocked ships become a delightful collection of wet and wild water rides. Oasis, where the rich cultural heritage of the Arabian peoples is celebrated in an amazing collection of attractions. Oasis, a unique theme park found nowhere else on Earth than in the center of the Arab world, Dubai.
It was definatley a lot tougher this season due to a tremendous amount of new faces and of course old warhorses dueling it out!
The level of competition has definatley improved since the first TPA!
But yes you are old ;)
....with an honorable mention to the girl in the bikini top.....
....the beautiful woman in my park had to be tied to a rock to keep her from running away....
I wonder if there is some way I can vote for the Clown Park....?
James what are you 1 win and 2 second place finishes?
This contest was almost two different competitions. The first half was all about battling the voting system and personalities, and the last half was all about hanging on one week longer against people that are extremely good at this competition. If anyone reads the news, I identified the people to beat early on in the process, Joseph and James. Where I thought at the beginning of the competition that a cool ride idea and decent theming would win this thing, I found out about half way through this that the real way to win this was to attempt to beat those two guys. I frankly didn’t think it could be done and secretly hoped to be washed out of the competition in order to keep from getting thrashed by those two.
Going into the final round, there were a couple of things that I knew as facts. James would bring his A game and it would be extremely difficult to beat him. I realized that I didn’t stand a chance with him so far as artistry goes.....and I was right.....James’s park is better laid out, and more dense with beauty and atmosphere than I could have ever come up with.
The second thing I didn’t think I stood a chance with was theme.......and I went through about 20-30 different themes trying to find ones that could even come close to what James would come up with....the Vegas World and Literary Worlds we were joking about in the other thread were a few of the parks that I had come up with and then tossed aside. With James’ artistry, he can make an attraction themed to a dumpster look like Tiffany diamonds. I think this is where I got lucky.....by doing a park themed to the Wonders of the World, I automatically had a ton of built in history, culture, theme, and wow factor. From there, the biggest thing was to get across the idea of the history and culture, after which I knew I had to throw every single ride I could think of into this park. As it turned out it was a huge park already and had plenty of space to say, “hmmmm.....I think that we need a gigantic dark ride in this land.....”. As a smaller and more intimate park, I don’t think James had that luxury.
I guess what I am trying to say here is that playing against people who are as creative as the ones who played this game definitely raises the bar of competition and forces everyone else to be that much better. I highly respect everyone who was able to keep posting new ideas week after week. Everyone who made it to the second half of the competition had as good of a chance at winning this thing as I did: Andy, Joseph, Dan, Eric, and especially James, you all are the reason why this is fun.....and I really hope that you all come back for a rematch and beat me in the last couple of rounds......
Before I go, there also needs to be a huge round of applause for Tim. As the brains and admin behind this contest, he really deserves a huge amount of praise for what he has done here. I am beyond words for how much I appreciate what Tim has done for this contest and for the Theme Park Insider website.
Special Thanks to Robert Niles for allowing us to soak up his bandwidth and try to crash his discussion boards with made up attractions.
I hope everyone sticks around......hopefully the News article I write will get a little funnier, now that I am not stressed out over this competition.......there is a Tournament of Champions to look forward to.......I have heard some rumors about Theme Park Jeopardy........I was personally thinking about throwing out a couple of trivia challenges and I have an idea for a game that we might try if I can figure out the bugs.....
Once again thank you for your votes....and thank you to everyone that competed....
Jeff, I'm really humbled by what you said about my work. That's just about the highest praise I could have received. You said you went through 20-30 ideas for a park before settling on your final idea. I started with Oasis and never looked back. Maybe I should have?! You know, I never thought of using a dumpster as a theme...it does have potential. Maybe it could be a ride vehicle for the "Midnight in a Somali Sewer" park I suggested for you ;+)
This has been too much fun. We'll have to do it again.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort