Theme Park Apprentice Winter 2017 Chat Thread

February 20, 2017, 8:00 AM

We've found that it's good to have someplace to chat about TPA competitions where it won't tie up the official posting thread, so here it is. Use this for comments, relavent questions and general friendly banter. Remember, we're all friends in here!

Replies (63)

February 20, 2017, 8:11 AM

Just submitted mine! Very excited for the feedback!

February 20, 2017, 9:17 AM

Sorry if my rustiness is showing already, but what qualifies as a "berm buster" or "sky buster" for the park?

February 20, 2017, 9:40 AM

Berm buster is going outside the already marked area of the park. Example: you can't purchase a bunch of new land to put your new attraction on.

Sky buster is similar, if there is a height restriction, you can't go above that. If you are not certain if there is a height restriction, then the rule is that you can't go much higher than the highest ride at the park.

Edited: February 20, 2017, 10:01 AM

Berm buster is a term used by Disneyland in terms of Pirates of the Carribean and the Haunted Mansion. Both of those rides have drops near the beginning of the ride to get guests underneath the berm and to the ride building. The ride buildings are outside of the park area.

Unless you can show that the park owns that land (Carowinds, Kings Island, and Six Flags Magic Mountain own a bunch of extra unused land), then you can't go off the park map. Or, for another example, if you are working with Cedar Point, you can't build a brand new pier out into the lake to put your new attraction on. Now if the lake is completely within the park map, knock yourself out.

February 20, 2017, 10:28 AM

Awesome, that's what I figured but I thought it wouldn't hurt to clarify. Thank you Jeff!

February 20, 2017, 11:00 AM

Some parks own a surprising amount of land. I've heard reports that Great Adventure owns near 3,000 acres, but the park has only developed about 800 of them.

February 20, 2017, 2:26 PM

I just posted my own proposal- and certainly will welcome the feedback!

I'm not really sure if my proposal totally fits into the park I chose, thematically anyway, but I think that it's something that could certainly put them on the map.

Note: I did cut out much of Javert's story, as I felt it would vastly overcomplicate the story, and actually make it almost a bit too not family-friendly (Javert, after being taken hostage by the revolutionaries, was found OT be spying for the government against them. He's released by Valjean, and kills himself by jumping in the river Seine before the sewer scene). The Ternardiers are basically reduced to their appearances in the musical version as well- again, due to time constraints. And Eponine is never overtly mentioned either, due to her being even more of a side plot then the others- although I do work her into the final scene. I had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it last no longer then 10-15 minutes or so. But it should be about that legnth, maybe a bit shorter.

February 20, 2017, 3:22 PM

Although I haven't been able to commit to judging, if there are any non-competitors posting unofficial entries (ie- not playing in either competition) who'd like some bespoke feedback, I may be able to offer some. Pop me a note in here and I'll see if I can find some capacity.

February 21, 2017, 12:07 PM

@Chad H....we welcome feedback from everyone. Just identify yourself as a non-judge then go to town (just to avoid confusion). I'm sure everyone would appreciate more feedback, since typically I will wind up disagreeing with Jim...and when one person says "brilliant" and the other says "sucks" it gets confusing. So to have more voices giving feedback would be a good thing.

...And let me apologize now that I tend to get abrasive when I write my's not personal, it was just my first reaction (not that I've written any yet).

February 23, 2017, 9:19 PM

I have a attraction in mind, but I need a regional park. All the theme parks around me are considered "big" (Great America and Cedar Point).

Anybody know of one that can have something that is motorcycle themed?

I have the rest written out, but I need to find the right park and space! It doesn't take up that much room!

Edited: February 23, 2017, 10:25 PM

The Roller Coaster Database has a perfect search for you.

In the left-hand column, under Search it shows Amusement Park. From there, pick Status - Operated and then under location give it a region you have in mind. You will want to keep the coaster count under 3 or 4 to generalize it as a small/regional park, not including kiddie coasters or variations on the Rockin' Tug/horseshoe/powered ring rides.

February 23, 2017, 11:51 PM

Dreamworld in Australia has the Mick Doohan Motorcoaster I believe.

February 25, 2017, 8:50 AM


I forgot there is actually a small park in the Chicagoland area!

February 25, 2017, 3:32 PM

Hm, challenge 2 is quite interesting. I'm leaning towards any coaster for Michigan's Adventure, but who knows. Best of luck to everyone else!!!!

February 26, 2017, 1:05 PM

Douglas, I will say that I appreciate your critique! I know it didn't exactly fit the park I chose, but I wanted to see if I could make it work in a park I know fairly well... As for the budget, yeah, that was a bit of a problem- turns out it would probably be the cost to build that entire park to pay for that ride. Heh. Probably could have used this ride, with some refinements, as a adaptation of the musical for challenge 2. Live and learn I suppose! Challenge 2 ahoy!

February 26, 2017, 1:30 PM

I'd like to thank James for his critique, but I'd also like to clarify one of my scenes in The Odyssey. Under the heading The Lotus Eaters, I used the phrase "The boat also releases from the platform beneath it." James, I think this lead to you thinking that the two sections of the boat were no longer connected. However, what this meant was that the pillar connecting the two sections would now have the ability to spin freely, causing the top section to do the same. Thus no reattaching sections of ride vehicle. I apologize for the lack of clarity, and hope that further readers will understand and have the ability to visualize the attraction the way I have.

February 26, 2017, 2:13 PM

That does make more sense. I wondered why you had the boat detaching from the platform, but that is how it read. See why I am always saying to read, and reread, and then have someone else read your proposal? You know what you mean, and if you're like me you see it clearly in your mind. That doesn't mean everyone sees it like that.

Edited: February 27, 2017, 5:36 AM

Douglas, I choose the gravity group because they DO make inverting wooden coasters for that price! I checked the price and stats on Fun Spot America's new coaster so they are pretty accurate.

Edit: I'm also not a RMC fan and that would not fit the feel of Canobie at all.

February 26, 2017, 8:51 PM

The results are posted!

As an FYI for this next weekend, I'm going to be traveling and don't have control over my itinerary, so I'm not certain when I will be able to get in here and do my critique or for that matter get the new challenge up. But it will get done at some point and I will try to stick to the schedule as much as possible.

February 27, 2017, 7:54 AM

Wait, Im confused. I thought scored this time were based on a letter grade system, not ranking. Am I wrong? I'd really appreciate a clarification

February 27, 2017, 8:09 AM

The scores in the background are out of 100.

I just posted the rankings and not the actual scores.

If you particularly care about the actual scores, I can have a convo with the other judges and see if they are good with posting the scores.

February 27, 2017, 10:35 AM

Well my proposal for this week is already longer than last week... and I haven't even gotten to the ride yet.

February 27, 2017, 12:05 PM

Some of the judges thought I should post this so you know what you are being graded on:

The breakdown of the scores is:
15% Writing
25% Met Challenge Criteria
10% Reality Check
50% Proposal Quality

This week, when we have a weighted score, the above percentages will stay true in the space left over. So if the weighted score this week is 40%, that leaves 60% left over. Writing will be 15% of the leftover 60%.

February 27, 2017, 12:07 PM

And I have posted the scores....

March 4, 2017, 2:09 PM

I've spent a good amount of time going between a few different concepts, but I think I have a good one now...

March 5, 2017, 4:53 PM

I feel like I've done challenge #3 before...Monty Python land anyone? Not dissing Monty Python, but it certainly wasn't the kind of thing that would normally be a theme park land!

March 5, 2017, 5:23 PM

So who said anything about normal? We're looking for what a good salesman you are, how you can convince us to have fun when we should have no legitimate reason to do so. Jeff gave some good examples. Here's another one- I seem to remember hearing that you are a theatre geek (don't be offended- I've been one for 45 years). I personally hate the musical "Guys and Dolls". I think it's stupid, too long and horribly dated. I was forced to watch a production by our local community theatre- and I loved it! They did a wonderful production and made me have a great time at a show that I (thought) could never enjoy. This is your challenge. You can do it!

March 5, 2017, 9:42 PM

Hey all, I'm going to need to get my critique done tomorrow and the scores posted then...been a busy weekend...

Thanks for posting the next challenge.

March 6, 2017, 5:53 PM

Hi AJ! I saw your comments on my proposal and I just wanted to clarify a couple things. Stingray track is as wide as SLC track, so I didn't see the problem there, and also. If an SLC ran a full train with a 2 minute dispatch, it'd get around 600 people per hour, and with Elitch's operations, that would be a miracle. I will defenitly take in to account your feedback and I can't wait for my future proposals. And also, is it possible to get feedback from another person becuase I got extremely good feedback from one of the commentors, and then extremely negative feedback from you, which made it a bit confusing. Thanks!

Edited: March 6, 2017, 10:31 PM

Kenny, while I do not know the exact dimensions of the tracks, based on pictures I was able to find it appears that the Stingray track is larger and the cars have a wider clearance envelope than SLC trains (even if the two outside seats were removed). If you have a source that contradicts this, please post a link to it and I will re-evaluate my comments on feasibility.

As for capacity, I personally visited Elitch Gardens in 2014, and on my particular visit Mind Eraser was generally dispatching a train as soon as the other one stacked behind the station. Given that the ride time of an SLC is 1:36, I estimated a dispatch interval of approximately 1:45, which equates to approximately 34 trains per hour and a capacity of 680 riders per hour. I am doubtful that operations on a flying coaster would be more efficient than operations on an inverted coaster, as I have yet to see one that operates with less than a two minute dispatch interval (most are closer to 3 minutes).

I apologize if I seemed overly negative, but I've found that as a mechanical engineer I tend to be a bit more of a stickler for practicality than some of the other judges. The theme of your ride is excellent and the execution isn't bad (though it could be improved), I just don't think it is a ride that would be cost-effective enough and enjoyable enough to be worth the potential risk for a mid-size park, especially when it would still likely be the single biggest investment in the history of the park (or very close to it).

As for having additional feedback, perhaps one of the regular judges (Jeff, James, or Scott) can read your proposal and offer their thoughts. I don't know how busy they are, so I'll let them make that decision. Perhaps I am just in the minority. I do apologize for only having two judges in the "For Fun" competition, as it is because of discrepancies like this that we prefer to have 3-4, but unfortunately the others I contacted were all busy and unable to assist.

March 7, 2017, 2:14 AM

Busy- very busy, and technically I have trouble operating my toothbrush. Kenny, yes it can be confusing when you have two judges, or twenty judges, and every one says something different about your proposal. Been there, done that, judged that, and sometimes, after reading another judge's critique of a proposal I went back and reread the proposal to see if we were reading the same one. Our critiques were polar opposites. What I have learned is that you have to write a proposal that you like- no, that you LOVE- and that you have fun with. Read the critiques, good and bad, chose what you feel is the most helpful and use what they tell you. The good, wonderful, glowing critiques are the most fun to read and probably contain valuable information, but the less-than-glowing constructive criticisms that point out the flaws in your proposal are the ones you need to take to heart and use to make your proposals better the next time. If you can defend your proposal technically, do so. If you can defend your proposal artistically, do so, but in both cases do so professionally and politely. I know it can be difficult at times to hear criticism of something you've worked long and hard on, but I can promise you that any criticism given by any judge in here is going to be given thoughtfully and honestly. We've all been on the receiving end of criticism that surprised us, but don't get offended by it- use it, and next time you write a proposal remember to use the constructive part of that criticism to make your good proposal great!

March 7, 2017, 7:30 AM

As the "good cop" to AJ's "bad cop," I apologize for the confusion and frustration which comes from our differing opinions. AJ is our resident coaster engineer; it's his passion and hobby. Since I cannot recognize technical issues like AJ does, I judged your proposal, Kenny, with the assumption that the SLC conversion was feasible. So my focus was on other areas, like the theme, which I liked. Rereading AJ's critique, I think that we agreed on basically everything except for the practicality of the SLC conversion. Don't be disheartened by criticism which feels negative when it has constructive and practical advice. Learn AJ's judging quirks, which are fair even if they seem harsh, and your next proposal will always be better than the one before!

March 7, 2017, 11:42 AM

So, if I do an IP that is, by nature, self referential, can my land also be self referential? In a similar way to what I did with Monty Python.

March 7, 2017, 5:54 PM

Thank you all for your feedback!!! Just so you know AJ, I defenitly really did appreciate your feedback, and I'm very sorry if I came off as abrasive. You can't learn and improve if there's never anything you get better at!! Just a quick question, what are your guidlines for a "bad" IP? Is it a box office bomb, a really cringey movie thats infamous, or just a movie you think would be hard to develop into a theme park land? I had ideas for all 3 and would just like some clarifying!! Thanks!

March 7, 2017, 6:02 PM

I know you asked AJ, but I think any of those concepts would qualify. Here's a suggestion to help you chose. If your aunt/uncle/fill-in-the-relationship bought you a t-shirt with the really bad IP on it, which land can you create that would make you change your opinion about wearing the shirt from "OMG I will NEVER wear that shirt!" to "OMG I can't wait to wear this shirt to school (or work) because everyone will be totally jealous of me!" Did that help? Did that make any sense?

March 7, 2017, 6:06 PM

Yes! Thank you! And also, a thing you might want to take into consideration, you might not want to make 30% (or 10% in fun competition) of your score based on how bad your IP is. Like under the example above, Deepwater Horizon would be considered a bad IP becuase it was a box office bomb, but it was a fantastic movie, so I could be docked points for that. Just something to think about

March 7, 2017, 7:58 PM

I'm going to send my guess as to what that is to Douglas, so that he can vouch for me if I'm right.

March 7, 2017, 8:18 PM

James was wrong.

Edited: March 8, 2017, 1:05 AM

Kenny, you were not being abrasive at all. If you have questions or comments about the feedback from any of the judges, feel free to ask for clarification or explanation. We all have different opinions and write critiques independently, so there is nothing wrong with asking why a judge said something when others didn't.

As for your IP question, I would ask the following question: "If I were to ask random people on the street about this IP, what would their response be?" If the answer is mostly negative, it definitely qualifies as a bad IP. If the answer is more along the lines of "What is that?" it qualifies as an obscure IP, which is a completely different category (not that obscure IP can't be bad). What I'm looking for is something that people know about, but that most people outside of a possible devoted fanbase would consider to be low quality or unappealing. Box Office doesn't really matter to me, as some great movies were not successes and some poor movies made obscene amounts of money. Lastly, I will say this: I would rather see a disliked IP turned into an amazing theme park land than an absolutely loathed IP turned into a passable themed area. At least for me, that 10% will be more based on how attractive you make your IP vs. how unattractive it was to start with, not the absolute quantity of hate your IP has.

March 8, 2017, 8:44 AM

The Hunt for the Terrible IP grows increasingly complicated, I fear, and my specific IP criteria would only confuse things even more. So instead I'll offer up some more general advice:

Justify your decision to us!

Pick the idea you're the most passionate about, and explain to us briefly why it is so, so, so bad. Then convince us it's awesome! Whatever form of badness you go with (so-bad-it's-good, unpopular, flop, inappropriate, Adam Sandler, whatever) is appropriate as long as you can convince us it is.

Edited: March 8, 2017, 8:08 PM

Question: I'm replacing a pre-existing land with my own for this week's challenge. Are we permitted to revamp rides from that land for our own? They'd be using the same ride technology and layout (in my case, it's a water ride), but the theming and narrative of the ride would obviously be switched around to match that of the IP I've chosen. I can expand further with the judges if necessary, I don't want to get too deep into it for secrecy's sake.

March 9, 2017, 2:23 AM

I sent my opinion to the other judges and they'll get back with you asap (that being said, don't refresh your computer every 3 minutes :+)

Edited: March 9, 2017, 11:26 PM

@Andy....I think the crux of this week was bad IP and then do what you want. Therefore, do what you want.

I would worry about taking over an existing land, since you would be limiting your options, but if you have something in mind, go ahead and run at it.

March 10, 2017, 11:13 AM

Does the restaurant need to be full service or can it be a themed food court like Fast Food Boulevard.

March 10, 2017, 4:30 PM

A note: The War of the Roses ride might seem a bit out of place, but it's the only way I could really fit a standard ride into the land... So sorry if it kind of sucks, the IP limited development on that front. I had to butcher the plot of an episode, and make up a large chunk of the ride's plot, to even make it serviceable. And not completely offensive. But that's my fault for choosing such a horrible IP for a land... :)

March 10, 2017, 7:53 PM

@Jaiden whatever works for your land....the rules don't specify one way or another. I would warn that the restaurant needs to be a themed component of your if you can theme a food court, then all the more power to you. Just having a McDonald's in the middle of your themed land won't do.

March 11, 2017, 9:40 AM

Looks like Jaiden and I were on the same wavelength when picking an IP for this week's challenge!

March 11, 2017, 11:01 AM

Wow! I'm surprised someone else picked that!

Edited: March 12, 2017, 11:23 PM

So was picking bad IP to make something great with a little too backward of thinking?

Of any of the concepts that had been submitted what I had envisioned (directly in relation to universally panned and terrible IP) when I created the challenge was more along the lines of the unofficial submission of Crocodile Dundee.

I'm a big fan of challenges that get people right out of their comfort zones, but I wanted to know if this was too big of a pill to swallow down.

March 14, 2017, 5:17 AM

How the heck did I not think of Troll 2?

Edited: March 14, 2017, 9:22 AM

I just wish I'd have had the time to do it properly

I ended up convincing myself in 1986 in a US park this might have worked... I suppose that was the goal.

March 14, 2017, 6:14 PM

Hey James! I actually did think about lots of Broadway Shows. Unfortunately, they just don't translate well to theme parks. Heck, I've thought about doing a Broadway park! But the way the plots are doesn't seem to lend itself to theme parks. Or maybe I just need a better imagination...

March 14, 2017, 7:31 PM

That's funny, DPCC, I've briefly discussed with James the idea of a Broadway park too, and we each ultimately decided it wasn't a very fruitful endeavor. (A Music Man parade seemed good at first, but James felt employing 76 full-time trombonists alone would be unrealistic.) But keep thinking on this one, DP, 'cause I'd love to see the idea work somehow!

March 14, 2017, 11:27 PM

I can't speak for the competitors, but from my observations I think there was just a lot of confusion over what the judges were looking for in terms of a bad IP. Looking at the official submissions, only Andy's After Earth land really approached this challenge in the way I was expecting. The other submissions instead used lesser-known but not necessarily poor IP or used a brand rather than an IP, which wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

Given that there have been a couple unofficial submissions from fellow champions, I plan to organize my idea into a reasonable (although short-ish) proposal and submit it along with critiques of Chad's and Douglas's ideas.

March 15, 2017, 12:19 PM

Based on the comments and the unofficial submissions, I think we should probably keep this idea around for some of the other TPA competitions. The whole idea was to take something really bad and make it really good, instead of the usual idea of taking something good and converting into an attraction. It just felt like there was much more room to maneuver...maybe too much room. I would personally have done a Brady Bunch land or a Michael Jackson's Moonwalker land.

I'm wondering if a Fantastic 4 land would have qualified as bad IP since the movies have all bombed but the comic is usually good.

Edited: March 16, 2017, 10:01 AM

Please don't give me feedback AJ... I didn't have the time to develop the idea properly, that was the initial thought "sketch" from about 10-15 mins after actually working on an Idea and if I wasn't starring down the barrel for Uni work I'd have done it properly. However I couldn't resist.

Edit: and for my money, its also missing an "E-Ticket" attraction too.

Good news is that's over tomorrow, so I might do a proper one for this round. I have a reasonable idea for it.

March 17, 2017, 3:01 PM

I'm probably not going to make this challenge next week unfortunately. Vacation, school, etc it's just not gonna happen.

March 18, 2017, 8:28 AM

Jaiden, thanks for the heads up! I'm sorry we won't be seeing an idea from you, but I understand life gets in the way. Your proposals were very good and fully-developed, and I'd like to see more from you in the future.

Our regular seasons of Theme Park Apprentice are usually held in the summer, in order to avoid school distractions. The challenges are simpler, but no less fun. I look forward to seeing more from you then!

Edited: March 18, 2017, 7:58 PM

I've been crazy busy this week, but I'm hoping to start in-depth work on my proposal as soon as I can. I wanted to ask: for the park, it can only be themed around a single mythological god? So, for example, I could not do a park themed around the Greek gods and have individual lands themed to Poseidon, Ares, Athena, etc., but I could have a park themed around a single one of the gods above?

March 18, 2017, 10:07 PM

It needs to be centrally themed around a specific God, but there is no reason why you couldn't include interactions with other Gods. As an example from the Disney movie, you could do Hercules as the main theme (you can't...but the "for fun" people could...just not using the Disney characterizations) and then have lands around 1. Hercules and the different beasts he bested, 2. a land about his training regiment, 3. a land about his interactions with the Hades attacking Olympus, 4. and a land about Hercules going to the underworld to retrieve Meg's soul. If you were to do Eros, you could take on his meeting Psyche, then Phyche's challenges to qualify her to date a god, Eros's trip to the Underworld...all from the book The Golden Ass, and maybe a land about his brothers the Erotes.

This might be much easier if you picked 4 highlights of a God's career and do lands about those highlights...preferably action related items, so you have things to base rides and shows on.

So, no, doing a smattering of all of the Gods won't work, we need it focused down to a specific one.

If everyone was allowed to do a smattering of all of the Gods, we would wind up getting the same park from everyone.

The following is a good resource to get deeper into the stories of different gods:

March 19, 2017, 7:01 AM

Awesome, that makes sense. Thanks!

March 19, 2017, 5:25 PM

Okay, Chad, I'll refrain from doing so. I actually have gotten suddenly busy over the past few days, so I haven't had time to either write critiques or create my own proposal (for the record, I was going to use either The Last Airbender or Battlefield Earth).

March 19, 2017, 7:16 PM

If I had the time, I'd have used the Beverly Hillbillies...or perhaps Russian fairytales.

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