Theme Park Apprentice Winter 2017 - Challenge 2

Edited: February 27, 2017, 12:08 PM

Challenge 2 - A Ride with a Twist

Do something unexpected.

This week, the only thing you need to do is surprise us. Pick any park, any ride system, any IP, any budget (within feasible reason for the given location (for example Elitch Gardens would never pay $150 million for an amazing dark ride, but an argument could be made for a $20-$30 million ride)), any placement...but you must surprise us.

You will need to stick to the rules of current technology and reality (including (but not limited to) gravity, physics, and the fact that Disney IP will never show up at a Universal Park and vice versa), other than that, the world is your oyster.

But surprise us.

The grading criteria this week will be weighted 40% on how good the surprise is and how well it works with the rest of the attraction, and 60% on the rest of your presentation.

FOR FUN RULES - The only difference this week is that the surprise is only going to be 20% of your score.

Replies (12)

February 27, 2017, 3:20 PM

Mario Kart Rainbow Dash!

Ride System: Universal’s patented car/racing/drifting system

IP: Nintendo’s Mario Kart
Location: Current day Woody Woodpecker’s Kid Zone at Universal Studios Florida (more specifically, the E.T. Adventure building)

Price: $200 million
Riders per hour: 1680 (approx.)
Standby line
Single Rider
Ride duration: 4 minutes

Your experience begins outside the attraction’s show building at the entrance to Mario’s warehouse.

Queue Section 1
Outside the building is a group of switchbacks used by the standby queue on crowded days. There will be signs telling guests to sign up for a Nintendo account and telling them to create a Mii character for use in the ride. There will be ambient music from your favorite Nintendo games. Also, there will be Nintendo trivia on television screens. However, on most days the standby line will skip this and enter a holding area that will fill up with guests waiting for the preshow. Also in this area there will be a separate holding section for the UniversalExpress guests. Single Rider guests on the attraction will not experience the preshow or any of the interactive queue elements.

Inside the preshow room, there will be flat screen TVs that will turn on once the automatic doors close. Once the doors close, Nintendo of America CEO Reggie Fils-Aime will greet guests on the screens (this position can be easily swapped out to Shigeru Miyamoto for the Universal Studios Japan version of the ride) along with Mario. Reggie tells us that Mario wants to his brand new virtual racetrack he needs seven more cars to get enough competitors. He tasks us as race car drivers and tells us that in the next room we can assign the Mario Kart character we want to be in the race. Also, he tells us, if you have a Nintendo account, you can log in and use our own Mii characters.

Interactive Space 1
The automatic preshow doors open and lead guests into a bank of interactive touch displays (one for every person). On these screens guests select their character or enter their Nintendo account and select a Mii. After 2-5 minutes (changeable based on length of lines) guests are directed to enter another portion of the queue.

Queue Section 2
Most interactive queues like Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion and Soarin have games embedded into the walls. However, this will be the first interactive queue to actually connect with guest devices. Smartphone users will be able to unlock Mario and Nintendo themed multiplayer mini-games by connecting to the attraction’s Wi-Fi and downloading the attraction’s exclusive app. Players of the Nintendo Switch system will be able to connect via download play and play with other Nintendo fans in line. This section of the queue may last up too 45 minutes, however with the in-queue entertainment, it will feel much quicker.
Around the guests will be TV screens displaying high scores and the Switch mini-games.
Once guests get closer to the load station, the screens will show safety information, and Mario will appear on the screens to show the interactive selections riders will get once on the ride. At this point, UniversalExpress guests will merge with the main queue.

Load Station
In the large load station riders will be divided into groups of two with the single riders and assigned to one of the seven tracks. Seven two-seat vehicles load at a time (load time will be 15 seconds) and then proceed to the seatbelt check.

Seatbelt check
A ride attendant will check the seatbelts and clear the vehicles.

Tutorial race
Vehicles slowly enter a dark room. Each rider (all 14 of them) will vote on one of the 5 ride courses that the vehicles will follow. Mario explains that the score from these courses will not affect your final score, and he will walk you through the moves so when the final round comes you will be a Mario Kart Pro.
The choices are:
1. Bowser Castle from the Nintendo64
2. Daisy Cruiser from the GameCube
3. Delfino Square from the Nintendo DS
4. Maple Treeway from the Wii
5. Mount Wario from the WiiU
Whichever course gets the most votes will appear on the walls of the room via projection mapping. A countdown appears.
The vehicles will start to move and Mario tells the riders how to navigate the course. He says that the vehicles will turn and drive, but if you want to race put your foot on the gas to speed up and turn the steering wheel to drift around the curves.
The cars will pass through many different rooms which can quickly change from course to course via digital projection, as there are cars being sent through every 15-25 seconds.
In certain rooms cars can hit Mystery Boxes and receive power ups and activate projected and physical effects, changing the ride experience every single time you ride.
This first demo race will take one and a half minutes.

Main race/Rainbow Road
The karts slow down and Mario tells them that he thinks they are ready for the final race. Big show doors open to reveal a huge room with the famous Super Nintendo Rainbow Road course inside. The course is suspended on bridges that weave in and out of each other, like the main room on the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland but on an even larger scale.
And riders are off on a faster and wilder course than before. For a total of two minutes riders collect coins and mystery boxes to rack up a score displayed on screens in their vehicles.
Then, riders line up on an outside drag style raceway next too the switchback queue and hit the fastest speed on the attraction, 40 miles per hour, before hitting the finish line. Mario tells the riders they did great and encourages them to hurry back and ride again.

Unload Station
Riders will unload here and proceed to the interactive post show.

Interactive Post Show
In the interactive post show Nintendo can demonstrate their newest products and games.

Gift Shop/Nintendo Store
The Nintendo store at Universal Studios Florida is more then just a gift shop, it is a mini version of the Nintendo World store at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City featuring displays, demos and all the Nintendo merchandise you can dream of.

Thanks judges for the feedback from last week and I am excited for next week’s challenge.

February 27, 2017, 8:50 PM

“Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow” –Me Riding Elitch Gardens’ SLC in 2013. This inspired me to come up with this crazy idea, what if we changed a rough and head smashing filled Vekoma SLC into a smooth and fun Vekoma Flying Coaster?!?!

How It’d Change:
The entire old SLC track would be completely removed leaving only the supports. The supports would be repainted a Dark Brown (The New Track would be repainted a Dark Green) and the area under the ride would have shrubs and small trees planted. Vekoma Stingray style track would go in the place of the SLC track, and since they’re the same size and the ride retains its original layout, the supports wouldn’t need to be changed. This way lets the park keep everything but the track and trains, and it saves the park money as now they don’t have to get a new station, queue, supports, or space!!! The only differences between this conversion and the other Vekoma Stingray models are: You go up the lift hill like a B&M flyer, not on your back, and the trains are 2 across with 8 rows, not 4 across with 2 rows. The air gates will have been modified to accommodate the number of rows, as there will be less now than when it was an SLC.

There are a maximum of 16 people per train. Here’s how an average dispatch time will go down. 0-10sec: The Car Lowers and the restraints unlock. 10-40sec: Car A’s people get out, get their stuff from Car A’s bins, and exit, Car B’s people enter and put their stuff in Car B’s bins and get in the car. 40-80sec: The 4 employees assist in pulling down the restraints, and then they check them. With 4 seats per employee, they have about 10 seconds to check each seat ensuring that each person gets their restraint forcefully and firmly secured. 85-90sec: The car lifts and exits the station. If each car runs an exactly 90 second dispatch and every seat is full (which will be no problem due to a grouper and a single rider line), 16seats x 40dispatches = A maximum capacity of 640pph, then subtracting the 10ish seconds it takes for the next car to roll into the station, lands the final capacity around 600pph. This is much higher than SLCs get and for a small park like this, it’ll be no problem.

Mind Eraser would now be called Rocky Mountain Ravine Roar’r and this would be the park’s first themed Coaster. The queue would be the same switchbacks as now, but on either side it would show woodsy looking signs showing various advertisements for outdoor activities companies. On both ends of the switchbacks, there would also be trees, as well as various camping equipment and a mini trailer to really make you feel like you’re in the middle of a campground in the woods. Before you turn left to head up the ramp, there is a patch of grass and boulders located to the right. On top of that there would be a Forest Fire fighting plane with a sign with Smoky the Bear saying that the fire danger today is extremely high and asking you if you’ll help out our crews. You then head up the ramp into the station

The station here is themed to Rocky Mountain Forest Fire Prevention Team Headquarters, and is painted in a shade of Forest Green with little firefighting artifacts spread through the station in display panels. There are some TVs explaining with Smokey the Bear on them thanking you for volunteering and it should only be a moment till you are on your way. You enter the trains which are sitting in a position like how you’d board a B&M Flyer. The trains are Forest Fighter Planes themed and look REALLY cool!!! One of the 4 restraint checking employees will come by to check your restraint and once you are cleared for dispatch, the train lifts up and leaves the station.

The ride is exactly the same layout as an SLC, except smooth and taken in flying position. When you reach the top of the hill, a little sprinkler rains from the staircase and the water lands on the strategically placed artificial tree on fire (which is really just a small fire hose creating tiny flames on one of the “branches”). This little bit of water stops the fire (the fire hose just turns off), and Smokey the Bear exclaims through a speaker that you did a great job and now it’s time to have fun!!!! The car detaches from the lift and goes through the smooth and fun course!!!! You hit the brakes and that ends your exhilarating ride!!!

This would be an extremely fun new coaster at Elitch Gardens that would save the landlocked park space, and also a lot of money!!! I know the prompt asked for something surprising, and I definitely think that this is!!! Can’t wait to hear your feedback!!!

March 3, 2017, 6:32 PM

Imagine this.

Islands of Adventure. You enter at Port of Entry and immediately make your way clockwise around the park towards The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (because let's face it, that's basically a requirement when visiting the park). You pass through the ever colorful Seuss Landing. You continue on to The Lost Continent.

But wait. Something's different here. What used to be the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show is now a mighty white castle. This is the home of Island's of Adventure's latest attraction, WARCRAFT: BATTLE FOR AZEROTH.

Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is, of course, based on the 2016 Universal Studios film Warcraft, which in turn is based on the series of video games from Blizzard Entertainment. The ride is a motion based dark ride, utilizing the same ride vehicles as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Transformers: The Ride. The ride also uses the same wrap-around screen based technology as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey for many of the ride's scenes.

The queue takes guests through the halls of this castle, which is specifically Castle Stormwind. The halls are lined with various props from the film, including armor and weapons. The queue eventually leads guests to the throne room, where they are greeted by King Llane Wrynn (who appears via projection a la Forbidden Journey, and is once again portrayed by actor Dominic Cooper). He welcomes you to the castle and to Stormwind, and thanks you for visiting, but warns of dire news.

Wrynn then introduces Stormwind military commander Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), who fills in the guests on their role for the ride. Orcs have appeared through a mysterious portal, and are wreaking havoc on the land with the power of Fel magic (essentially dark magic). Lothar is preparing a team to protect the kingdom, but first hopes to aid the guests in preparing to evacuate the area, as they are clearly not suited for combat.

From here, Lothar directs guests onward to the castle's dungeon, where the reclusive magician Medivh will send them on their way as inconspicuously as possible to avoid any unnecessary attention from the citizens of Stormwind. Upon entering the dungeon, Medivh (Ben Foster) appears and explains the ride mechanics to guests. Guests travel in chariots fit for 12, which Medivh has enchanted with Arcane magic (standard magic) to be faster and more versatile. He gives one last warning: he will not be able to accompany them on their quest, and in turn will not be able to offer any further magic in support, and recommends they be careful. Guests then board their chariots and the ride begins.

The chariot winds through the labyrinthine dungeon and soon emerges outside the back of the castle. There, Lothar and his army, on horseback, meet up with the riders and they begin their trek across the countryside. For a brief moment, they're greeted to the beautiful scenery of Stormwind and the surrounding landscapes of the world of Azeroth.

As Lothar and the riders reach Blackrock Pass, a massive canyon, a portal opens, stopping Lothar's army and the chariot, and an army of orcs emerge. Lothar orders the army to stay and fight while he attempts to continue to lead the riders to safety. The chariot fights its way through the orcs, quite literally, alongside Lothar: in the process, we'd come across familiar orc personalities from the film, such as Blackhand (Clancy Brown) and the leader of the orcs, Gul'dan (Daniel Wu).

The climax of the ride is a showdown between Lothar and Gul'dan, with riders caught in the middle of the chaos. Just as Lothar seems to slowly submit to Gul'dan's power, and all hope seems to be lost for riders making it to safety, a loud avian screech rings out, and a massive gryphon swoops down into battle, disrupting the clash between Lothar and Gul'dan. Lothar instructs the gryphon to help the riders to safety, while he and his army continue their battle. With one final wish of luck, the gryphon takes the chariot in its talons and up into the sky.

The riders glide over Azeroth, and the battle raging below them, until they reach the harbor based town of Lakeshire, where riders depart into the Lakeshire Armory, where they can purchase various Warcraft themed merchandise.

(At this point, the ride vehicles circle back around to the Stormwind Castle set in order to not break immersion.)

March 4, 2017, 3:33 PM

Johnny Five: Escape from NOVA: A new ride, to take the space of former Terminator 2 3-D at Universal Studios Orlando. You could swap out similarly sized rides at USJ or USH for the same effect. (As Sony does not, as far as I know, have a theme park rights holder outside of a possible Minnesota indoor theme park, it could fit in other parks as well, such as Motiongate Dubai). Personally, I estimate the ride should cost somewhere in the $150- 200 million range, although it might be an overestimate. The ride is based on the cult classic film (and personal favorite of mine) Short Circuit. That film follows former nuclear delivery robot Johnny Five throughout his journey from first gaining free will, to gaining input, and finally gaining freedom. Oh, and being chased by NOVA, police, and the US Army. That part is where our story begins...

Guests enter Stephanie Speck's (Johnny's friend/provider of input) house, as depicted in the film, as the beginning of the show building. Universal fans might also recognize it as the house from The Goonies. When guests enter, they notice that something has clearly happened in the house. There are post-its on various things, from the goldfish bowl (since expenses be darned, there's a real goldfish in the bowl), to the plant, and even the stereo system. Even the ant farm. On the walls, there are also various pictures of Johnny Five, Stephanie, Newton Crosby, (who designed Johnny Five), and newspaper articles explaining the situation as we've arrived- our little friend is an escaped, sentient military robot. As guests move through the house, they eventually find their way into the garage, where our ride vehicles are waiting. The ride system itself is trackless, allowing for a greater degree of movement, and also allowing our ride vehicles (which look like 1980's cars) to appear as if they're actually driving, and sit 4 in the back seat.

As the ride begins, we hear Stephanie and Newton AAs (voiced by their original actors, Ally Sheedy & Steve Guttenberg, respectively) explain that Johnny Five is being chased through Astoria, Oregon and the surrounding area by NOVA and the Army, headed up by Captain Skroeder (G. W. Bailey). It is our guests jobs to save him, before he's destroyed.

As guests exit the garage, they speed out onto the road, and engage in a chase with NOVA security vehicles, a mixture of Transformers The Ride-like screens, and some moving vehicles at points. Captain Skroeder (on screen, seemingly in one of the vehicles) yells at the riders to stop, or face arrest. They don't of course. A few NOVA security vehicles attempt to run riders off the road, causing the vehicles to spin. Our chase causes many of the NOVA vehicles to be run off the road, or destroyed. This sequence will run through the first few show rooms. As we continue, we hear Johnny Five's voice from the van he stole from Stephanie's garage, telling guests to look behind them. When they do, riders see the US Army coming after them.

At this point, the ride really goes out of control. We see Army trucks, armored vehicles, and even a few helicopters chase after the riders, convinced they are helping Johnny Five escape (which they are). Cars spin and move wildly, as we see the Army attempt to shut Johnny Five, and riders, down. We see Johnny outwit the Army, and more vehicles fall behind, or completely off the road. The biggest set piece before the finale, budget be darned, is when a physical Army tank seemingly blocks the road, until ride vehicles move around it (a feat that couldn't be convincingly accomplished without the trackless system). Finally we arrive in the last show room. It looks like Johnny, and the riders, have escaped. However (and budgets be darned again), a Helicopter, with Captain Skroeder in tow, seemingly comes out of nowhere and Johnny's van is shown to have exploded. The ride vehicles stop for a moment, as Johnny Five suddenly appears in the front seat of the car, as if he's driving it. Turns out, as he says, he programmed one of the other prototypes to act like him, and then hid in the rider's cars. We see Captain Skroeder being arrested on a final screen as we drive back to the house, and the ride ends. (It should be about 10 minutes, maybe 15 at most). Guests exit out to a gift shop filled with Universal and Short Circuit branded items.

Edited: March 4, 2017, 9:28 PM

Avengers: Ultimate Adventure

Park: Disney California Adventure

Location: This large scale attraction is located in Hollywood Land. It occupies the area where the Muppet Theater, Mad T Party, & Monster Inc. are located.


Following a large scale battle, the Avengers must lead a group of brave civilians to safety through the ravaged city…..only to discover the battle isn’t quite over.


As guest approach the massive building (sporting the “A” Avengers logo) they will notice various Marvel Easter eggs (such as copies of the Daily Bugle) near the entrance. Upon entering, guest make their way through a single line.

That single line will soon lead to the “Hero Selection Point” (which is located outside). It’s here, that the main line is divided into four different lines. Riders must choose between “Captain America”, “Hulk”, “Iron Man” & “Thor”. Each line will lead to a different interior queue & ride experience. Guest can choose their hero or (per the Cast Member's suggestion) take the shortest line available. As guest make their way through the “hero line”, they will see footage of the battle before entering the respective queue areas. NYC is under attack from an assortment of enemies and the Avengers for the most part, have defeated them, but there are a few, notably The Leader & Loki, who have yet to be apprehended.

Interior Queues:

Captain America - Riders who select Cap, will enter Steve Rogers military style base of operations. Video monitors reveal the history of Rogers, the super soldier serum, etc. Guest will also be able to try their hand at Cap’s shield in an interactive section of the queue. Monitors will also detail Cap giving his civilian team (the riders) strategies before they embark on the mission. Cap’s looking for leaders & he knows he has a solid group of them right here.

Hulk - For those who choose the jolly green giant, you’ll enter Dr. Banner’s green hued lab. Bruce greets his fellow “scientists” & welcomes them to his lab. Here, guest can test their “anger levels” at interactive stations, as well as conduct some gamma based experiments. Banner has left video instructions for the civilians to follow, because “the other guy” isn’t big on words. Still, there are brilliant minds in this room, so we should do just fine.

Iron Man - If you selected Iron Man, you’ll be welcomed into Stark’s area with music & flair. “Clearly we know who the smartest people out there were, because now you’re in here” “ Stark’s outpost includes the latest tech from Stark Industries & it’s all interactive. Use your hand to simulate some laser beams or try a simulated Iron Man suit on. There are some instructions, but Stark glosses over these with a snarky “you know what just follow my lead & you should be fine…….if you survive, party at my place”.

Thor - Thor’s queue features Asgardian artifacts, including the famed hammer. Guest will be able to test the strength to see if they can lift it. The hammer will be able to be lifted at random “attempts” (similar to the sword in the stone in Fantasyland). There is also an Asgardian language tutorial & preview portals for the other realms. Thor assures the civilians they have chosen wisely & their bravery is commendable.

After leaving the queue area, guest will make their way to the ride vehicles.


There are 2 different ride vehicles utilized in this large scale attraction. There are ETF trackless vehicles (for Captain America & Hulk) & spinning vehicles suspended from an over head track (for Iron Man & Thor)

The attraction is a mix of screens, practical effects, & AA(s). (Similar to Transformers / Spiderman). 3D glasses will be issued.

The first part of each ride will vary depending on which hero was selected. (The narrative all takes place in the same location, but each hero is leading their civilians from a different starting point.). The following details the first half of the ride based on the respective Avenger.

With their safety eyewear (3D) glasses on, the vehicles pull out from the station into what appears to be an evacuated New York City.

Captain America:

The in vehicle audio of Cap informs riders to watch out for cyborg aliens, because there still could be some planning an attack.

The Cap vehicle begins moving through a partially damaged Time Square when the cyborg aliens attack. With Cap protecting the vehicle, it speeds through the square avoiding attacks & explosions before screeching to a halt in front of the flagship Disney Store. There's another explosion, which Cap deflects with his shield, that sends the vehicle careening into the subway station below. It then continues it’s journey.


The Hulk’s audio is short & sweet, "Hulk protect humans" as the vehicle emerges from a construction site near the Hudson. Within moments, Wendigo appears and tries to attacks the vehicle. Large construction beams begin to fall towards the vehicles as Hulk catches them just in time. Next, Hulk does a thunder clap that sends Wendigo flying back. The huge gust of wind pushes the vehicle flying through an abandon building as Hulk catches it before it hits a city bus (that has an ad for The Lion King on Broadway). The vehicle then continues on its way.

Iron Man:
The suspended vehicles move as Tony informs them they are in a specially automated mini carrier formerly used to transport Shield Agents. It’s on auto pilot, so it’s programmed to follow him. As it flies over the city, of course, the cyborgs begin to attack, sending the vehicle spinning & swerving in an aerial battle that has them soaring in between buildings as Iron Man fights back. At a certain point, the vehicle is hit & it begins a rapid descent before Iron Man catches it & stabilizes it.

Thor begins guiding his group of civilians in the same type of vehicle Iron Man has. They begin flying over Central Park when Frost Giants emerge and attack the vehicle. Thor launches a lightning strike that takes out a few of the giants, however one giant manages to use a tree to hit the vehicle sending it crashing towards the ground (and the vehicles takes a semi steep dip). Before it hits, Thor pushes the vehicle toward a large pond, resulting in a softer landing (and riders getting splashed). Then vehicle continues to its destination.

The second half of the ride, finds all the Avengers (and their vehicles) meeting in the same location. This is the first time, since being outside, that riders will see the other guest who chose a different hero. This room is the largest in the attraction as it holds the 2 cars on the ground & the suspended vehicles above.

Here, Loki & the Leader appear and a smoke effect fills the room as the the Avengers become disoriented, realizing they've been led into a trap. The villains reveal that they were behind the attacks & the release of the various villains they have battled. They also reveal the toxic mixture is a mix of Loki's magic & the Leader's gamma based reality manipulation, and now (plot twist), the heroes will turn on & destroy each other!

The finale entails a superhero smackdown, with the in vehicle audio, designating the teams ("Lets go team Captain America" "Team Hulk...Smash", etc.). This battle will eventually lead to a 4 beat sequence in which each hero gets to shine. Cap throws his shield in the air which hits the Iron Man vehicle, it free falls, while firing at Hulks vehicle, which spins around violently. Hulk does a smash causing a billboard to knock Thor's vehicle from side to side, while Thor lighting strikes Caps car & causes it to rumble near an explosion.

During this sequence, the villains have also been impacted by the action, therefore losing their control over the Avengers. At this point, the heroes regain their composure & take out the villains as a team, with each hero using a skill to subdue them.

A transmission from Black Widow & Nick Fury alerts the team that the rest of the city is secured (fellow Marvel heroes have assisted) ) The Avengers thank the civilians & deliver them to the drop off point (which is the exit).

As guest exit the facility, they'll see other Marvel Easter eggs, including items about Mission Breakout & a clue about Thanos.

March 4, 2017, 9:41 PM

Magic Tree House Adventures
Coming Soon to Epcot's World Showcase

Epcot's World Showcase is known as being a place where many countries can be explored in one stroll around the lagoon. In just an afternoon, guests can visit 11 different countries, as well as an African Outpost. These pavilions based on countries are meant to embody the spirit of the country which they represent.

World Showcase is unique among theme parks because its main focus is not its attractions. Rather, World Showcase focuses on the atmosphere, dining, and shopping of each country. It does this incredibly well, really making guests feel that they are in Japan, or Germany, or Morocco. However, this lack of attractions (only two rides and four shows) has long been a burden on the area. The lack of rides, however, means that many younger guests lose interest in the area rather quickly. Magic Tree House Adventures is a ride designed for the whole family to ensure that all guests fully enjoy this wonderful part of EPCOT. Magic Tree House Adventures is located behind the American Adventure show building, with the entrance to its side. The ride will take travelers around the world with Jack and Annie, two American children, as they explore the world in their Magic Tree House.

What is Magic Tree House?

Magic Treehouse is a series of more than fifty short chapter books for children by Mary Pope Osborne. The series follows Jack and Annie on many adventures through time all over the world. Settings range from the prehistoric world to Elizabethan England to modern Australia. Jack and Annie live in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, and regularly interact with the sorcerers of King Arthur's time: Morgan Le Fay and Merlin, both of whom send the main characters on various quests.

The ride is located in the American Adventure area for multiple reasons. As America is home base for the main characters, so it is for the ride. Additionally, America has always had a spirit of exploration; a yearning to know the world. Therefore, the American Adventure part of the park is ideal for a ride that showcases exploration of the world, particularly places and time periods not otherwise represented in the park.

The placement of the ride in EPCOT

Facade and Queue

The queue begins indoors next to the American Adventure show. A long corridor inside the building serves both as the queue, and a way for guests to get to the main show building (located directly behind The American Adventure) without seeing any of the “backstage magic” of the building.

The facade of the building is a large tree, shrouded by the smaller trees growing around it. About 10 feet off the ground sits a small yellow treehouse. Hanging from the treehouse is a rope ladder. The ladder is situated in such a place that guests can not climb it, but it adds to the aesthetic of the treehouse. On the door of the house, Jack and Annie have left their hand prints, along with their names, written in brightly colored paint. The door is wide open, inviting guests to come inside.

A potential design for the facade. Jack and Annie are climbing a ladder to the tree house. Our ladder is entirely aesthetic, with a ramp leading to the entrance instead

Guests walk up a long ramp that spirals around the tree to reach the main entrance of the ride, which is through the door of the treehouse. Once inside, guests find themselves winding back and forth through the small room. It has worn wooden floors, a desk with Jack's journal on it for guests to flip through, and various other small details that make the treehouse feel as if someone was in it only seconds ago. This treehouse is the favorite place of two children, and it should be clear that they visit often. Lining every side of the library are bookshelves, each one appearing to contain hundreds of books Many of them are labeled on the spine with their subjects. The sheer number of books should be impressive. On another table, a book is open to a picture of a Pteranodon, a reference to the first of the books, in which Jack sees a Pteranodon in a book and wishes he could see it in real life, which begins the first of their adventures.

As guests enter the long corridor, they find huge books all around them, the books are open to pages, which are screens. The drawings in the books come to life, sometimes even interacting with guests as they stand in line. Some books have pictures of animals, others are books about games you can play in the pages, like tic-tac-toe or connect four.

Guests approach a large, circular library room at the end of the corridor of books. The queue splits into three, each one leading to a separate ride. Using three doors allows guests to choose their own ride, so that they can ensure that they get to try all the different ride tracks. The three experiences each represent a wide variety of places, and all the adventures are of equal quality.

The Ride

Because there are three unique rides, I will explain each one individually. Because the ride is an omnimover, the scenes are designed to be more like snapshots than theatrical scenes. All characters are Audio-Animatronic unless otherwise specified.

Ride A

Ride A uses inspiration from five Magic Tree House books: Hour of the Olympics, Dark Day in the Deep Sea, Night of the Ninjas, Carnival at Candlelight, and Good Morning Gorillas.

The library theme continues as guests enter a tunnel of books. In reality, the books are on screens, and they begin to whiz by the guests in a lightspeed-type fashion. At the same time, their Omnimover vehicle begins to spin around.

Guests exit the tunnel and stop spinning. They find themselves in Ancient Greece, in the arena for the first Olympics. The arena is filled with crowds cheering, and five chariots are lined up at the start of the track, including one with Annie. As guests turn a corner, they see both Jack and Annie struggling with the guards, and then around the next corner see them flying away on a pegasus, with the guards on the ground below.

The track of the ride rises with the pegasus as guests head into the sky and their next scene.

The vehicle spins again as the blue of the sky fades to the dark blue of the ocean. The spinning always implies travel, so guests know that they are now somewhere completely different.

Guests are now in the depths of the ocean. Lots of fish swim by, and then they come to a giant octopus. It is a reddish-pink color, with huge suction cups on its tentacles. As guests get closer to it, they see that it has Jack and Annie in its arms! The massive octopus also seems to be reaching its arms out over the track, signifying that the guests are in its arms too! Guests see a tentacle coming down towards them as they spin around and enter the next room.

The scene is now completely different, as guests find themselves in ancient Japan. The buildings are in shades of red, all capped with blue. Jack and Annie are nowhere to be found, but the guests do come across evil samurai! The guests feel air blow on their face as they see samurai throwing darts at them. As they continue through the room, they see our two juvenile heroes with a ninja as he fights off a samurai with a bo staff as they move to the next room.

As guests enter the next room and spin around, they are in the lamp-lit city of Venice over 250 years ago. Crowds are dressed in various bright colors and masks, and there is much celebrating in the streets. Fireworks appear to be going off on the ceiling. Jack and Annie are among them, their masks pushed up on top of their heads. The scene is bright and colorful, and there is no disaster to be had here. Overhead, a golden lion flies, a reference to the book on which the scene is based.

Next, guests find themselves in the jungles of Africa. Tall trees surround a clearing, where this scene takes place. Several gorillas stand with Jack and Annie in the clearing, watching a battle on a ledge. The battle is between the silverback gorilla and a panther. The gorilla has the panther pinned to the ground, and it is evident that he is going to win the fight. Guests go between some greenery as they spin around for the last time, finding themselves again in a library where they exit the ride back into the American Adventure.

Ride B

As guests board Ride B, they also find themselves in a library. The guests on Ride B have a very similar experience to those on Ride A in this scene. The library begins moving past, and the vehicle pins in a circle.

The first destination the guests visit is Ancient Egypt. People carrying a golden coffin, as well as many golden statues of animals and various Gods and Goddesses, appear to be marching in a parade across the desert. In the distance, we see that they are marching towards the pyramids at Giza. Guests pass in between the legs of the Great Sphinx as they exit this room, spinning, and enter the next adventure.

In the next scene, guests find themselves in the the late Cretaceous period, and surrounded by dinosaurs. Jack appears to be mounted on a pterodactyl, and guests turn a corner and find they too are on a pterodactyl. Guests “take off”, and fly near some of the taller dinosaur’s heads before entering the next room.

Subsequently, we find Jack and Annie on a Pirate Ship! The children seem frightened, but the pirates stand in a semi-circle, crowding them onto “the plank”. As they stand on the very edge of the plank, the pirates hold out their swords towards them, all yelling at the children to walk the plank! Guests spin around as they pass the scene, entering the next room.

Guests now find themselves in the Delaware River, surrounded by ice blocks. Guests also see General George Washington on his boat crossing the Delaware, accompanied by Jack and Annie. In the distance, guests can see the city of Trenton, and other boats reaching the shore there. Guests spin once more.

Guests cross into ancient Japan, where they find themselves high on a cliffside. They can see clouds below them and rocky cliff faces jutting up all around them. They see Jack and Annie with their backs to them, evidently fighting the gigantic dragon that has appeared! The dragon breathes blue fire, and guests can feel the heat on them as they pass it. Guests pass into the next scene, spinning around once again.

Next, guests enter medieval England, a castle sits on the far side of a lake. Directly in front of us, we see Jack and Annie working together to pull Excalibur out of the stone. They lift it out together, giving them the power to yield the sword. This scene is on loop as guests go past it. Guests pass underneath a castle gate, while spinning, and back into the library they call home.

Ride C

Guests ride through an introduction identical to the one in both of the other two rides.

The first place guests explore is the ocean. In front of them are many fish as well as dozens of dolphins. As they continue into the scene, they see a shark! Luckily for them, the shark is surrounded by dolphins, stopping the shark from causing any harm. Guests spin as they pass under a massive coral structure…

...and into Florence Italy, circa 1500. The quaint village is in the valley below. Leonardo Da Vinci’s journal is open to the famous image of the Vitruvian Man, giving context to the man in the scene. Da Vinci’s smashed flying machine sits on the ground. As guests continue into the scene, they see that Jack, Annie, and Da Vinci have literally sprouted wings. As they see them flying in the air, the track rises up to meet them, giving the impression of flying.

Guests begin to spin as they fly, leading them directly to the African Savanna. Giraffes, wildebeest, and rhinoceros roam in the background, implied by silhouettes on the back wall. In the foreground, we see Jack and Annie being cornered by lions, fending them off with huge sticks from a nearby tree. The lions are hungry, but the kids are successfully protecting themselves as guests spin into the next scene.

The sandy expanses of the Middle East meet the eyes of the guests. This is not the modern Middle East, but rather golden age Baghdad. The desert is dotted with camels and travelers. Guests see Jack and Annie as they travel across the desert, dressed in traditional clothing. They are with a caravan, and it is lavishly decorated and has many camels and other people with it.

Next, guests enter a dark ice cave. Guests, along with our heroes (Jack and Annie) and met face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger! Jack holds a torch, prepared to fight off the beast, but Annie counts on Jack for protection. The tiger appears ready to strike at any moment, but has not done so yet. Guests begin spinning as they exit through a hole in the wall and into the next scene.

In the final scene, guests find themselves in the streets of an Ancient Roman city, Pompeii. However, guests find that the streets leave only deserted shops and carts, as they feel the ground shake. In front of them, guests can see Mt.Vesuvius erupting. The sky is gray with ash. Bits of the city are on fire, and guests can smell the smoke coming from the city. The guests, spinning one last time, travel into a large temple and seem to escape just before the city collapses (In the audio track, guests hear buildings collapsing and Vesuvius erupting.) and guests are sent into darkness. Lights later on in this building show that guests have re-entered the library back in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania.


Overall, Magic Tree House Adventures is precisely what World Showcase needs to round it out as a park. It appeals to people of all ages, and having multiple tracks allows for many re-rides. The ride would easily be one of the most expansive in Disney history, consisting of not one, but three omnimover systems contained in one show building. The choice of source material is unexpected for Disney, and provides something new and fresh that makes an excellent addition to the park. This ride is sure to attract visitors to EPCOT and World Showcase.

Edited: March 5, 2017, 1:35 PM


Surprise us! That was the only criteria this week, and I honestly had no idea what might happen. That’s a difficult task to quantify – What gut reaction did I have to your surprise? To be honest, I was somewhat expecting to be wowed with a bunch of crazy new ride system ideas, ideas like Jeff Eliot’s enclosed Ferris wheel dark ride interactive shooter. What instead we have (mostly) are unexpected IPs, which did surprise me. It’s a different approach to the challenge, and an entirely reasonable approach, so I’ll critique accordingly.

(I’d’ve also been surprised by a Spanish Inquisition ride, because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.)

Jaiden – “Mario Kart Rainbow Dash”

Surprise Factor: It’s already known that Nintendo, and Mario Kart, are coming to Universal Studios Florida, with this ride system, possibly in the same “E.T.” show building. Sadly, this is not surprising. It’s kind of the opposite, actually, which is why your score from me is lower this week. A shame, too, because the same basic ride covering something like Nintendo’s F-Zero would’ve been a genuine surprise.

That being said, the ride is tons of fun! It is very heavy on the screens and the emerging tech, which is entirely in line with Universal Creative’s SOP. (Which also allows regular updates – like when a new Mario Kart game drops – to continually refresh the ride.) The amount of interactivity you’ve created for guests, from the queue on through the ride and even afterwards, is exactly what a Nintendo attraction should have. I’ve been very curious about Universal’s drifting ride vehicles, which seem incredibly low capacity. With 7 tracks, you’ve resolved that capacity problem. I can see some challenge with 7 loading stations all working in unison (with unique cast members in each load zone). On the ride, I really like A) voting on a course, B) controlling the kart’s speed, C) controlling the kart’s drift, and D) incorporating the Mystery Boxes (want to know more about banana peels, blue shells, etc.). The projection tunnels let you change out new courses all the time, which is awesome! The climax, starting inside on Rainbow Road, ending with an outdoors raceway like a supersized even-better “Radiator Springs Racers,” all that I want to experience NOW. It sounds huge, maybe needing more space than the “E.T.” building can provide; how about that empty area next to “Men in Black?”

One odd observation: Somehow, this proposal feels “old school Universal” to me, i.e. pre-Potter. That is, it’s the video game equivalent of a “studio park” attraction, complete with Reggie Fils-Aime (or Miyamoto) filling Spielberg’s “E.T.” role. The minigames and app and Mii and whatnot are more about “Nintendo the Brand” than about Mario. It’s not really immersive (like a visit to a Mushroom Kingdom racetrack). It’s rather the ultimate Nintendo tradeshow/convention. Nothing wrong with that. You chose that style intentionally, and detailed it well. A few typos aside, this is a strong proposal, and a ride I’d really like to experience.

Kenny Cook – “Rocky Mountain Ravine Roar’r”

Surprise Factor: You buried the lede, but the eventual surprise – retheming “Mind Eraser” to wildland firefighting – was for me the single best surprise in this round!

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for this topic. For 4 years I was a Forest Service firefighter. My rookie year, I even wore the never-washed Smokey costume for press conferences (thus did I appear on daytime Univision). So your idea of a flying coaster based on “air attack” (the water/retardant-dropping air tankers) is...well, it’s one of those “why didn’t I think of it?!” wonderful ideas! It’s also a very smart concept, improving a painful SLC ride and even theming it. Very cost effective, very realistic, and a nice reprieve from all the Disneyversal proposals. (This would’ve also worked wonderfully with last week’s challenge.)

I’ll nitpick, as a former firefighter: Smokey Bear (there’s no “the” in his name, but that’s a common error) is not public domain. Actually, he’s owned by the one entity possibly more fearsome than the Mouse: the Federal Government! I’m serious, Congress would have to approve this ride. No, really! It’s simple enough though to do “Ravine Roar’r” with like an original character in place of Smokey, so no point penalty here.

It seems you’re ending the wildfire storyline at the top of the lift hill. The coaster is just “time to have fun.” It’d be more interesting, and more true to air attack, to continue the firefighting throughout the ride – have the coaster skim a lake to “collect” water, then loop back up for a water drop extinguishing the blaze.

So an awesome idea and an effective surprise! The weak link is the proposal itself. It’s over halfway through before you namedrop “Mind Eraser” or your own “Ravine Roar’r”; I thought at first we were on Eldritch’s (sorry, Elitch’s) “Boomerang” coaster. This left me confused about the conversion at first, which some careful writing could’ve fixed. Your ideas continue to improve, and a little more care in the writing would really help sell them!

Matt R – “Johnny Five: Escape from NOVA”

Surprise Factor: Short Circuit is doubtlessly not something I was anticipating! Let’s say you...short circuited my expectations. I’m shocked! But you’re not the only competitor visiting Universal Studios Florida, and it’s a familiar type of Universal ride, which dulls the shock a little bit.

The ride is good. It feels like a stealth remake/update of “E.T.” (like Short Circuit was to E.T.), which is great since “E.T” is likely gonna get gobbled up by Yoshi. The ride narrative is fully fleshed out! You tell a single action sequence, instead of a Disney-style book report, which I think is usually the more effective approach to dark ride adaptations. There are a number of jaw-dropping physical set pieces throughout – the tank, the helicopter, Johnny Five in the ride vehicle – which really set this ride apart from Universal’s other offerings, especially since these aren’t screen effects. Actually, it now seems that revealing an AA Johnny Five within the ride vehicle is your surprise – and an excellent one at that – so I’m bumping up your surprise score a few points!

“Escape from NOVA” is somewhat redundant at Universal Studios Florida, as it’s not unlike either “Spider-Man” or “Transformers.” The trackless system makes it a little more unique, thankfully. Smart choice to replace the outdated “Terminator 2:3-D” with a ride. Short Circuit is a tricky theme park IP, with its contemporary setting, one that I think you’ve handled well with a number of unique details in the queue and ride. It’s an older IP which Universal is less likely to use, but that’s their fault, not yours. Your proposal is a bit on the short side (we need more info on ride capacity and such), but it’s otherwise well-written and clear. Good job.

Edited: March 5, 2017, 4:15 PM

TPA Playoff Challenge 2 Critiques

Andy Milito
“Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth”
This was unexpected, especially in this location. I would have expected a WWOHP expansion in real life, but this allows IOA to explore a totally different theme, one with a great future potential. You used a tried-and-true ride mechanism. While some would complain that you’re creating just another variation on the Spiderman/Transformer/FJ ride experience, I say, “So what?” I’ve ridden wooden coasters before- does that mean I won’t ride another one, especially a new one, because “I’ve already ridden a wooden coaster before”? Heck, no! I ride theme park dark rides for the experience, the story, and you created a great experience, one that nearly everyone can enjoy. I’m not a gamer and have no knowledge of the Warcraft franchise, but I still feel it would be an enjoyable and stimulating ride. Perhaps including some backstory along with the props in the queue would help those of us who are uninitiated get even more from the ride.
My biggest concern was that it ended quite abruptly. There was no resolution, just a battle raging below the riders, and suddenly it’s over. The riders depart into the armory…how? By jumping from the chariot high above the town? You were telling a story, and all stories need a beginning, a middle, and

(get my point?)

Jay R.
“Avengers: Ultimate Adventure”
I’m going to say it right off the bat- it didn’t surprise me. I don’t think that, if I were to walk down the street at DCA and see “Avengers: Ultimate Adventure” standing in that area, especially with the retheming of TOT, I would be surprised. Disappointed that “Monsters…” was gone, but not surprised.
Now for the quality of the experience- this I liked! I thought the integration of four different ride experiences into one was really imaginative, a technical nightmare to create but once the bugs were resolved it would be a great attraction. You created four different ride experiences and integrated them together, and allowing guests to chose their experience (rather than having them vote on them, which I have always thought was a terrible idea- remember that- or having it happen randomly) is a great way to increase guest enjoyment. It does seem to owe a major debt to Universal’s “Spiderman” but that is the nature of sharing IP, and I think that it is different enough that it would not be a problem. Would there be comparisons? Of course, but if the Ultimate Adventure was of a superior quality to Universal it would be an amazing ride experience. I thought your storyline was easy to follow, and causing the four storylines to suddenly turn on each other, battle each other, then finally reunite to win the day was fun and unusual. You told a good, complete storyline from beginning to end.
You created a great ride experience, but you must not let the fun of the experience- regardless of how high the quality is- ignore the theme of the challenge. You must make it clear how this attraction meets the central core of the challenge. You were supposed to surprise us, and 40% of the score is on the surprise…that’s a lot to risk. Don’t worry, at least with me you didn’t lose it all! I was surprised with the four interwoven story lines- that was innovative and well done. Just be careful in the future, and never forget what the heart of the challenge is.

DPCC inc.
“Magic Tree House Adventures”
You met the spirit of the challenge with a vengeance. I would never have thought of MTH in a Disney park. I don’t know about availability, but then I never would have expected to see Star Wars or Indy in a Disney park, so let’s assume that they bought the IP, appropriate for an IP where the first word is “Magic”.

Your concept addresses a major need in Epcot in an entertaining, accessible way that all family members can enjoy. Its location would not intrude in the international visuals of World Showcase, and its presence would be a major and valuable addition to the spirit of Epcot. Creating three different ride experiences makes this a must-repeat ride. I’m not familiar with all the MTH books, but I would attempt to focus on foreign lands, especially on those not represented in Epcot, and avoid non-national-specific stories (such as the Pirate scene) or American historic scenes (Washington crossing the Delaware). They might be entertaining and interesting, but including them would force you to sacrifice non-represented nations in Epcot.
This is, in my opinion, the best proposal you have ever presented in a TPA competition. It was well-organized, well-researched and well- written, and met the spirit and demands of the challenge. Very well done!

March 5, 2017, 5:39 PM

Andy Milito: Warcraft - I enjoyed the detail and the pictures which helped me to get an idea of what you were picturing as I am not familiar with "Warcraft"... while I think those who are familiar with it will get more out of it, I think the casual rider will enjoy it also. It seemed well thought out, and, fortunately, I have actually ridden the Spiderman Ride at Worlds Of Adventure, as well as Harry Potter, so I could picture what you had in mind.
If I had one negative, it would be at the end where the Gryphon pulls the chariot out of the battle your description became somewhat vague. I wanted more description all the way to the point where the guest exits the vehicle. As they glide over the battle, what else do they see? Does it look like the good guys are winning? What do we see of the surrounding countryside? Describe some of the vistas.
Overall, well thought out.

Jay R.: Avengers - Good detail about how the ride would work... a little hazy about the look, however, and it may be because of my unfamiliarity with the genre in general.
I'm assuming you are setting this in the live action movie setting and not Animated, true?
I would have liked to have known more about what exactly the riders would see. How does the other groups look to your group when they all come together? How do the Avengers look? where are they in relation to the Civilians?
Even though they have on 3D goggles, they will be able to see each other, so how are the cars positioned in relation to each other? How are the set pieces for the various scenes laid out? I know how the Spiderman ride is done, somewhat, so I presume it is much the same way. Are the cars actually moving forward and stopping, etc. or is it sensory fooling for the most part?
I like the idea, and it's definitely a ride that will have broad appeal. A bit more fleshing out of the visuals. maybe some pictures giving us an idea of what you envision we might see.
A very workable ride. good job.

DPCC: Magic Tree House Adventures - I was not familiar with the book, but I immediately saw how well it would fit within the parameters of Epcot. The interactive books in the queue reminded me of the books from "MYST"... and the games reminiscent of what I saw at one time in the queue for "Soarin"...
In Ride A I would put the Venice scene last and end the show on a positive and high note.
In ride B, I would put crossing the Delaware last, reinforcing the American theme.
In ride C, I would end with the flight out of Florence, as if you are flying not only into the sky, but almost as if you are going into a time warp back to where you started.
While I did get the gist of each scene, me being a detail oriented guy I want to know more about what the riders see in each of the various adventures. Not being familiar with the books, I don't know what limitations you have as far as where you can take them and if there is any way to make the individual rides more unique. But I can envision this ride being built and doing quite well. A great concept.

Good Job everyone. I enjoy reading these and I always learn something I didn't know before, either by the theme or by having to go research something I am not familiar with.

Edited: March 5, 2017, 6:53 PM

Since this was a very difficult challenge, I'd like to give a reference that I used when evaluating your proposals. My main question for this round was the following: If this attraction was announced tomorrow, how would I react, and how much would I want to ride it? The answer to this question provided a rough guideline for how I scored your proposals. To give a benchmark:

-Six Flags over Texas announcing Justice League: Battle for Metropolis would got an A
-Busch Gardens Tampa announcing Cobra's Curse would get a B
-Disney's Animal Kingdom announcing Pandora: The World of Avatar would also get a B
-Universal Studios Hollywood announcing Wizarding World of Harry Potter would get a C
-Knott's Berry Farm announcing Voyage to the Iron Reef would get a C
-Six Flags Magic Mountain announcing Twisted Colossus would get a C
-Disney California Adventure Park announcing Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout would get a D
-Universal Studios Islands of Adventure announcing Skull Island: Reign of Kong would get a D
-Busch Gardens Williamsburg announcing Tempesto would get an F

Now, onto the critiques:

Jaiden (Mario Kart Rainbow Dash): The biggest criteria of this challenge was that you surprise us. Unfortunately, I feel like you chose the most predictable option on the table, especially given that you've incorporated Universal's existing patents for a future attraction. Definitely keep this in mind for the is better to do something that fits the challenge but is less impressive than to create something impressive that doesn't match the challenge criteria. Moving onward, you are undoubtedly creating the most expensive single attraction Universal has ever done, but the appeal is likely to be so widespread that it is worth the investment. I would appreciate more description about the facade of your attraction, as you tell me very little about this. I really like your queue line, but I feel that you need to rearrange the queue. In general, a pre-show should be viewed shortly before guests board the ride (5-10 minutes), so having guests view the preshow and create a character, then wait an additional 45 minutes before boarding would likely be somewhere between distracting and infuriating (especially since those without a Smartphone will have little to do). I suggest the following sequence: Queue 1, most of Queue 2, Pre-Show, Interactive Space, then the last part of Queue 2 with the safety information. I'd also like to see more focus specifically on Mario Kart than on Nintendo in general.

Once at the load station, I am glad to see you have addressed the capacity limitations caused by having only 2 riders per vehicle, but I have a feeling your method may cause issues. Why not load on two tracks, then have the vehicles split at the starting line? Not only does it save on staff, it also reduces the impact of loading delays. I like the fact that riders get to vote on the race course, as well as the interactivity throughout. The mystery boxes are excellent, but I would like a few examples of what they do. If someone gets a power up, do they speed up, do other cars slow down, or does something else happen? I'm also doubtful you'll be able to fit 3.5 minutes of 7-wide track inside the E.T. building, especially with your elaborate queue...look at how big Radiator Springs Racer's footprint is, then triple that to get a more realistic space estimate. The finale of the ride is clearly similar to Test Track, but it is a great way to finish the ride and the cars racing by are sure to attract onlookers. I like your post show and store, but I feel like something more directly connected to Mario Kart rather than Nintendo as a whole would work better here.

Overall, you've got a very exciting ride that would certainly prove to be very popular, but if Universal were to announce this tomorrow there probably wouldn't be a single fan that didn't see it coming. I definitely feel like you have gone for spectacle over story here, and while that is not a bad thing it does mean this is going to appeal more to thrill seekers than general audiences. I really like your attraction and I'd love to ride it in real life, but I was hoping you might do something that I couldn't actually ride in ~5 years time.

Kenny Cook (Rocky Mountain Ravine Roar'r): You definitely did something unexpected this week, though I honestly can't say that this is the type of unexpected that would make me go "Wow!" Instead, I'd unfortunately be left going "What?" First off, changing the track is not as simple as you make it out to be, especially since Stingray track is built to different dimensions than SLC track and may not fit safely using the existing supports. You're also going to need to design a completely new train as the existing Stingray train would be impossible to use on this ride due to the station orientation. Lastly, you are not going to be able to fit an 8 car train into that station, as it is far too long. Lastly, an SLC pulls 3.1 g, and while this isn't a big deal while sitting it may be uncomfortable in a flying position. While I do think it is a good idea to reuse equipment when practical, in this case I think you are much better off completely tearing down Mind Eraser and building a new ride from the ground up. Also, I don't know where you got your capacity estimates, but SLCs can do 1,040 riders per hour with two trains operating (though practical capacity is in the 700-800 range), and as Mind Eraser is the most popular ride at Elitch Gardens (it had the longest line on my visit, in any case), replacing it with a lower capacity attraction doesn't seem like a good idea.

As for the ride you proposed, the name is a bit of a mouthful but I really like the theme. You've done a great job of dressing up the queue, though I'd suggest refraining from advertisements as much as possible. The station is very well decorated for a regional park. As for the ride itself, I'm a bit disappointed that you put so much effort into setting up a theme that is essentially abandoned once you clear the lift. If you want a themed coaster, you need to make sure that everything is relevant. You need more fire during the ride, you need to have an artificial lake under a low piece of track, and you need to make sure that the focus remains on forest fires and not aerial inversions (if that's what it's about, theme it to a stunt plane). Keep in mind that Smoky Bear is IP, and you'd probably have a hard time getting permission to use him if your ride essentially tells kids that fire-fighting planes drop a bucket of water and then go fly loopy-loops for the rest of the day.

Overall, you have definitely created a surprising attraction, but unfortunately you have created a rather weak one. Reading them back to back, your proposal is almost the opposite of Jaiden' spent too much time addressing the surprise factor, and not enough time ensuring that you've created a quality attraction. While thrill seekers won't care either way, if you're trying to save money you need to ensure what you spend is being put to good use. Theming a coaster is worthless if the ride itself is just a basic roller coaster. From your proposal last week, I know that you can create a well themed attraction, and I would like to see that from you going forward. I also highly encourage you to consider the practicalities of anything you propose to do, particularly something that has not been done before.

Matt R (Johnny Five: Escape from NOVA): This is a great example of what I would consider a surprising/unexpected ride. You've taken an IP that few would ever expect to become a theme park attraction and converted it into an E-ticket level experience. While I do think you're overestimating how much the ride would cost, that isn't really important for this challenge. You've created a great queue for your attraction and done a good job of setting the story.

The ride you have created sounds very similar to Transformers, but you have put in enough twists that it feels like a different ride and could exist at the same park. The trackless ride system is a great choice for your attraction, and from the sound of it you'll include trackless NOVA and US Army vehicles in the attraction as well, creating the opportunity for some unique interaction. However, I think you're going to have a hard time fitting all of this inside the Terminator 2 building, particularly if the ride is intended to be 10-15 minutes long (which, by the way, is way too long for an action-based ride like this...I'd suggest 5 minutes or so). The main disappointment to me is that you seem to be doing the same thing over and over. Even Transformers, which consists solely of numerous fighting robots, has a variety of different types of scenes. Unfortunately, your attraction is a lot of riders being chased and spinning around until their pursuers run off the road. I do like the ending with an army tank, as that would be a "Wow!" moment for most rides, and I also like the surprise at the end of Johnny Five being in the riders' vehicle.

Overall, I think you've done a pretty good job with this challenge. You've created a quality attraction that nobody would see coming but that a fair number of people would enjoy. Your attraction does have flaws, but it is certainly one I'd like to experience and one that fans of Short Circuit would absolutely love. I'm glad to see you've made corrections from your previous proposal, and look forward to seeing more quality attractions from you in the coming challenges.

March 6, 2017, 11:55 AM

Going to keep this short and sweet since it is already delayed. My apologies….I’m writing this on a bus in the middle of Nebraska. I’m sure there are going to be some typos in here.

Andy Milito – Warcraft – Battle for Azeroth

Am I the only one here who thinks that Universal probably has their fair share of scoop based simulator rides? While this looks spectacular, its greatest competitors are also spectacular and in the same park complex. Since the movie didn’t do so well here in the States, I can’t help but think that the best placement of this ride should have been in Japan or Singapore near where the movie found its audience.

I think the ride itself is a pretty good one, action based, has a plot, gets a good buildup in the queue, I’m assuming that the surprise is when the Gryphons come in a carry the ride vehicle away. The execution on this would be a little strange if the riders can look up and see that there is no Gryphon there, if there was a mechanical gryphon that attached itself to the top of the vehicle, that would indeed be spectacular, and I’m sure very maintenance intensive.

Jay R – Avengers: Ultimate Adventure
Maybe I’m reading this wrong…While the first half of the ride appears to be moving and action oriented with a clear set of goals, the second half of the ride takes away all of the action and appears to have devolved into a show. In fact a show that is lengthy, and takes place in a large room, only one of which has been mentioned and grinds the throughput of the ride down to nothing even with 4 different ride vehicles interacting with each other. To do the math on this, 4 vehicles of 4 people in each vehicle (typical ETF trackless vehicle size) = 16 riders per main showdown scene. Assume that the showdown scene is around 3-5 minutes – let’s go on the low end for the numbers sake, 3 minutes. This means that 20 times per hour we get a showdown scene….not even factoring in reset time. 16 people multiplied by 20 showdown scenes make the hourly throughput 320 people per hour. 320 guests per hour is not going to work at a Disney park and certainly not with a major franchise like the Avengers. Dumbo can do 600 guests per hour.

There are other problems with this setup as well. The moving simulator’s ability to fake the feeling of dropping and other things is based on the environment around it making people’s brains trick them into thinking that they are falling, when you have 4 different vehicles doing different things in the same space, you lose the ability to simulate anything and will have to actually drop the vehicles in order to make this work. There is another problem with having two vehicles on the ground and two vehicles flying, your sense of space is severely diminished when you are looking at tracks all over the place. The flying vehicles would have to be on the outskirts of the room on their tracks while the ground based ones would be allow to get up close to the action because of their trackless abilities. This will quickly make the lines for the flying based superheroes less desirable. There is also the problem with how the final scene is going to work, projections? Animatronics? How do they interact with the ride vehicles?

While I’m in agreement that you have the right idea for what to build in California Adventure, and I like the story that you have here, there are major problems with this proposed ride that need to be ironed out before Disney would considered dropping in the first shovel.

DPCC – Magic Tree House Adventures
There is a small problem here. Magic Tree House is currently being controlled by Lionsgate, and while they haven’t announced it, I’m pretty sure Universal is in bed with Lionsgate. Since we don’t know officially…I’ll give you a pass on that. We’ll assume Disney gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

So as someone who has never heard of Magic Tree House (but based on my research, I have every intension of picking these up for my buys sometime this week), I don’t know if it was me, but the ride seemed to be a series of unrelated vignettes with no narrative holding them all together. And it also doesn’t make any sense at all to have a USA Epcot attraction heavily feature Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology, Africa wildlife, Italy, Rome, etc.

This week’s challenge was to surprise us, and I’m not certain what the surprise was. To place this ride so far away from the exciting attractions of Future World and the pavilions, seems like it would be in the same boat as the other attractions and largely ignored by people trying to get on all of the big rides. I’m also not certain that having essentially three different rides is going to fly either. Since this is an omnimover, there would be no way to have guests choose which adventure they want to go on and would have to board each different path at a different location, creating tons of overhead for a ride that doesn’t appear to be exciting enough to pull guests away from Future World. I also fear based on Epcot’s Frozen decisions, that anything not based directly on Disney established IP is not going to be built. Avatar looks to be the last for some time.

March 6, 2017, 12:04 PM

Week 2

Andy Milito – 75.6
DPCC – 73.3
Jay R. – 67

Matt R – 85
Jaiden – 65
Kenny Cook – 63

Standings so far
Andy Milito – 163.6
DPCC – 154
Jay R – 137.6
Anthony Murphy - 67

Matt R – 166
Jaiden – 153.5
Kenny Cook - 136

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