Theme Park Apprentice TOC2 Chat Thread

Edited: May 20, 2017, 9:32 PM

Have some thoughts about the Theme Park Apprentice Tournament of Champions 2? Want to share your own ideas? Ask questions? This is the place to do it. Please, competitors, don't post your proposals here- put them on the "official" challenge thread. This is for general discussion, and anyone can post here as long as you stick to the basic rules of TPI etiquette and good sportsmanship. Competitors can post in here also with questions, observations, etc.

Replies (73)

May 21, 2017, 1:31 PM

First, to my fellow competitors: Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Second, a question for judges regarding the still-secret week 2, worded as vaguely as possible:

What if a week 2 subject has been the basis of a movie, but it was a documentary? Does that exclude it?

May 21, 2017, 2:51 PM

We're consulting. Answer asap. Don't know how soon.

May 21, 2017, 3:46 PM

Here's the decision: "..documentaries don't count. Only something that attempts to use the characters and storyline from a game. Nearly all games have documentaries made on them. Usually by the developer."

Edited: May 21, 2017, 6:17 PM

So to clarify... A movie only counts if the movie attempts to use the characters and/or the story line. an example...How To Train Your Dragon would count as being used even though they do not get anywhere close to what the story is in the book, because the characterizations are the same, just used differently. Likewise, while I haven't seen the movie, the video games in the Adam Sandler movie Pixel don't count as use, since the only thing that was really used was images and attempt was made at actually using the games in context. Likewise for Wreck-It-Ralph...there were a ton of video game references used in that movie, but none of them were used in context except for the three games created for the movie. Q-Bert, Pac-Man, Sonic, Tapper and others were only mentioned so don't count as use. And just so we don't accidentally forget, there was an awful Super Mario Brothers movie made, and a bunch of cartoons that would also count as use. As with most things, ask a judge if you are wondering.

Anything used in a documentary like "Atari: Game Over" wouldn't count as use.

May 21, 2017, 8:34 PM

I'm not sure if this is better suited here or in the challenge thread, but I'll go with here to avoid extending what may wind up being a very long thread.

For Challenge 1, does the dark ride need to be created for a specific park, or can it just be a concept without a particular park in mind? Also, is it necessary to include a full background on the IP created, or is just mentioning elements that come into play within the ride sufficient?

May 22, 2017, 3:11 AM

OK, I'm going to speak for the other judges without consulting them. sorry, guys! 1)We neglected to specify which park for this challenge, but we did rectify that for the rest of the competition. For the first one, you do not need to specify which park, but keep in mind that location is a major part of a proposal. If we read the proposal but can't figure out what park it would work in, that might count against you. Judging is very subjective. I would not specifically judge you down for not saying which park, but it might affect what I think of the proposal overall if I can't think of a park where it would work. 2) A full background could be a major thesis or a one-paragraph summary. Give us the information we need to establish the IP and the important facts that relate to this ride. Sometimes less is more.

Edited: May 22, 2017, 10:33 AM

Question regarding challenge 2 (Hopefully without spoiling the surprise for the lurkers of TOC).

Does the challenge permit multiple IP's under the scope of one developer? Or is it regulated to a single IP? I must say, that even with my wide experience and exposure to the COMMENT REDACTED industry, this is shaping up to be quite challenging in selecting the correct IP as you judges have tied up pretty much all of the most relevant IP's with the rules (you did warn us that this season would be devious!)

Edited: May 22, 2017, 8:41 PM

@Blake Yes, you can use an entire developer's line for the theme, but not specific properties that have already been spoken for in movies and TV shows. My guess is this wouldn't be really good option unless you could find some related games by the same developer and use those as a series...but everyone has their own idea of what makes sense.

When I wrote this challenge, it was a lot more restrictive than it is now. With the current challenge, I can personally think of about 15 different ideas that I would have a tough time choosing from. I think the challenge was originally a game that is less than 3 years old.

I'm not saying it will help, but maybe a list of the top 100 greatest games might help break through the wall. I can think of at least 2 games in the hall of fame that would work well and at least one game released in the last year that would appear to be perfectly obvious for this kind of thing.

Edited: May 23, 2017, 2:18 PM final clarification question. Can first-party publishers entire menu of IP be used? Or is restricted to developers?

May 23, 2017, 2:16 PM

Uh, Jeff?

May 23, 2017, 3:15 PM

Ok, I lied about one more question. Let me throw this out there for food for thought. If I finish and submit my proposal, but want to add a bit of content later, would that be viewed at negatively? Should I wait until I complete the other content to submit the proposal so it's one nice final package?

May 23, 2017, 4:24 PM

Unless there's a reason that you have to post now, like something might keep you from posting later, I'd wait and give us a complete package. No extra points for posting first. I know - I tried in the past.

May 24, 2017, 7:44 PM

What up?

Judges, week 2, two questions. Thanks! So, if the ride has a story, we need a complete walkthrough. How complete? Like "multi-page complete submission" complete?! 'Cause that's a lot! Or simply enough for it to be clear we've thought it through?

Also, picture allowances? This is a multi-land entry, so I take it we're allowed 3 pics per land this week. Can I use some of those for park-wide things instead?

May 25, 2017, 5:08 AM

Question 1) Simple enough to be clear. People experiencing your attraction shouldn't need to read a book before enjoying it. Tell us the basics, simple but complete, including what's needed to understand the story without going deeply into the psychological motivation behind why character "A" picked up the flower and it reminded him of his first grade teacher.

Question 2)You may use three (3) pictures per land, plus the header and footer. One picture may be replaced by a video one time only in the proposal. Any park-wide picture/video must be included in a particular land and will count as one of those lands three allowed pics.

May 25, 2017, 10:13 AM

Ok, I'm rusty. Can someone give me a quick rundown on how to embed photos and videos into comments? Man it's been a while!

May 25, 2017, 9:58 PM

You may use a developer, not a publisher, unless the publisher directly developed the games.

This equals:
WB Games - no
Traveller's Tales - yes

May 25, 2017, 10:01 PM


Your question about adding content later is a hard one.

Usually, when people post, there are some judges that will work ahead a bit to try and still have a life at some point on Sunday. But unless you make it perfectly obvious where the changes were made, you will likely only be judged on the original posting. Other judges who are lazy and put off the judging until the last minute (like me) aren't going to care one way or another.

May 29, 2017, 11:28 AM

Dark Rides are always tricky since they're all about story and theming... rather than being the "tame" and perhaps overlooked-by-older guests experience that they are in real life, IMO in TPA they don't come tougher.

Letting you behind the curtain... The First iteration when "Spitballing" had a boat instead of a helicopter (I was thinking this as a broad replacement to the beloved river rapids ride following its removal after that tradgedy... it always seemed to be a good "come together for a family moment" ride)... but can you imagine being stuck even in a "tame" storm on a boat... never mind "no thrills"... it would have been a race to see who would be seasick last...

I kinda got stuck on that idea and wasn't able to come up with anything else... so I figured a chopper could kinda make it work, even if its not ideal.

I have something this week that's either going to be brilliant, or its going to prove I've gone right round the twist....

May 29, 2017, 12:03 PM

Chad, did I get that "high Firsts" thing right? You do grades (and school) differently in the UK than we do.

As far as this week's challenge, I'm betting on brilliant. I've seen you do brilliant work.

And yes, the boat in a cyclone would not be a good idea..."protein spills, anyone?"

May 29, 2017, 6:44 PM

Please be patient, guys. Scott had to work today. I know, it sucks, but he's self-employed and that means no work-no money. He'll post as soon as possible. It doesn't affect your preparation for the next challenge anyway, since you're all going to bring your best- aren't you?! You know, if you do have your proposal done before Saturday night and you know it's as good as it's going to get, go ahead and post. Nobody's going to copy from you. Heck, once I had a great idea for a hotel and was about 3/4 finished when someone else posted earlier than they had ever posted- and we had almost the exact same idea! After about 3 minutes of panic, I started over with a new idea...and I won that challenge!

May 29, 2017, 8:28 PM

Okay, James, you've convinced me, I've waited long enough, it's time to post!

Give Scott my best. Happy Memorial Day.

May 29, 2017, 8:46 PM

So...Response time from Challenge 1 thread.

Firstly, thanks to the judges as always for their honest and insightful critiques. I have never been a fan of the "Dark rides need to tell a story" mindset. Stories require time and effort to form an emotional attachment and explore themes, settings, ideas, and characters and the scant few minutes which Dark Rides (even the longest ones) only inhibit this goal. I very much prefer the Marc Davis approach to dark rides, which is to say that dark rides should be more about ideas, setting, atmosphere, and mood than any story (this is why PotC and The Haunted Mansion are both non-linear in a story sense). I liken it to literature--dark rides are much like most poetry. They are meant to evoke a sense of mood, emotion, or idea. The dark ride structure is not ideal for story-telling. Regardless, this was part of the challenge.


First, good catch on the Chiron reference! Secondly, you caught me red-handed and I will readily admit that the story was plugged into the setting (see above for how that happened). I wanted to take a fun and funny approach to something which almost everyone is familiar with (ancient mythology), so having those elaborate set-pieces with those funny puns and gags was what got my gears turning. As far as having the most elaborate A.A.'s or the most amount of A.A.'s, I should have been more clear on how they would function. The vast majority of the A.A's would be simple single or double action movements at most (think knights swinging swords or archers drawing their bows). Sure, there would certainly be large complex animatronics, but they would be reserved for what I would classify as "centerpiece" animatronics. So that would be our large scale monsters and Iron and maybe a few more in the Mess Hall and arena. Arrow shooting effects would be accomplished much as they have been accomplished throughout most of theme park history--simple blasts of air at regular intervals. Indeed, most of the ride could be built using plenty of old-fashioned and cost-efficient methods. Of course, attention to detail is everything (especially in the Tournament of Champions) so I'll be sure to be more specific going forward.


As for the gags tapering off towards the end, you are correct in assuming that I felt I did not have enough room to detail every single gag in the attraction (of which, I have plenty more in mind). Yes, the story did sort of taper off towards the end. I tried to add a more meta-narrative approach with Iron's final words, "It's the same with you, you just don't know it it yet", attempting to imply that the riders are much the same as Buzz K. Joy, who must overcome their deterministic and detached modern precepts to elevate their mind to a higher cause. Loft stuff for a theme park ride, and I don't know if it would be really effective in real life.

As for being rushed...well, that too is true. I had to catch a red eye on Thursday night and landed in Orlando on Friday morning and haven't stopped until just now. I'm on the road with my family doing some vacationing across the U.S. for the next 2 weeks so it'll be interesting to see how good my other proposals play out (here's to hoping I can find some time to sit down and work on them!)

To my fellow competitors, IT'S ON! Great first round by all and I look forward to seeing what else you guys come up with!

Edited: May 30, 2017, 12:03 PM

Great work to everyone who submitted projects! I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all. Being new around here I don't think it's my place to hand out any feedback to them but I'll just say that in everyone's case - the positives outweighed any negatives, so I anticipate a tough call from the judges in the end. Good luck to everyone in round 2. If Douglas' post is any indication, this round will be even better!

May 31, 2017, 3:39 PM

Quick question about the rules for Challenge 2. At one point, Jeff writes, "You may not, however, use any video game IP that has been licensed to a park, or has had a movie made on it." At another he writes "The IP that you use needs to have only ever been a video game…or series of video games." Which is true? Can it be used outside of video game format if it is not a movie? Or must it be strictly a video game?

May 31, 2017, 4:39 PM

Strictly video game use only. Mario would be out because there was a TV series. Pac-Man would be out because of a TV series. Assassin's Creed & Tomb Raider are out because of a movies.

So basically: TV show or Movie or previous/current/planned theme park use = no

And by use, I mean that they attempted to use the story line of the video game. For all of the characters in Wreck-It Ralph, only the Disney created main characters would be out for the "movie" reason. Pac-Man and Sonic and Mario characters would be out due to TV series, but Q-Bert would be allowable since there was no attempt to use Q-Bert's story line. Nintendo exclusive characters have been licensed by Universal, so those are all unusable.

And anything that started as a movie or TV show that was then make into a game is not going to be allowed.

I'm willing to take a pass on other types of media like books, comics, and documentaries since quite a few games have books and comics and documentaries made on them. So those would all be allowed.

And if the movie hasn't come out yet (like Ready Player One) any of those are fine to use, since we don't know how rewritten the movie will be.

If you have something that is riding the line and want a quick approval or not, please send me a confidential email and I'll take a look.

May 31, 2017, 7:21 PM

Well, week one is officially over, and so far I'm having a blast competing against my fine competition. Everything you guys proposed was super neat, and it was all very high quality.

Needless to say I'm very excited to see what else we all create, and whatever dastardly challenges the judges have in our futures.

DPCC's doing Myst! I'm very excited!

Chad's doing something I cannot figure out! I'm super intrigued!

Jeff, I agree that black widow bites are awful.

Blake, how's the trip going? I'm sure all your competitors would love to see a multi-page trip report ;)

Edited: June 1, 2017, 11:00 AM

Unfortunately, I've been hit by a perfect storm over the past few weeks as my hours at work have increased significantly more than I expected at the same time I've been trying to get things organized for an upcoming trip, leaving me with less time than I would like for this competition. As I am leaving this afternoon for the trip and will have limited internet connectivity until Monday, I regretfully must post challenge two in a complete but unpolished form. I hope that what I have written is sufficient to convey what I was going for, and I'll answer any questions posed by the judges upon my return. Fortunately, this should not be an issue going forward.

To my fellow competitors, I enjoyed reading all of your proposals in the first challenge. There is certainly a lot of creativity here, and I can't wait to see what you pitch in the upcoming rounds.

To the judges, I unfortunately haven't had time to read your critiques yet, but I'm very curious to see what you have to say. I will read those when I return.

To everyone, while this weekend's trip has been detrimental to my game so far, it will yield benefits outside of it. This weekend, I will be visiting two theme parks that have rarely (if ever) been seen on this site, and I do plan to write a trip report in the future as soon as time permits. I won't reveal the identity of said parks, but they are within a day's drive of Southern California.

Good luck to everyone, and I can't wait to read all your waterpark ideas next week. I've already got a pretty solid idea for challenge 3, so watch out!

June 1, 2017, 8:20 PM

@AJ - Would that be Silverwood and Lagoon? Or are you taking the southern route to Castles and Coasters and then Cliff's. Please tell me you aren't bothering to go all of the way out to Elitches and Lakeside.

June 2, 2017, 1:41 AM

Hey, I liked Lakeside. Old, a bit run-down, but it is a living example of what a traditional, old-fashioned amusement park of the 1950s used to be. Great art deco mixed with White City architecture- and where else can you find a coaster called the Wild Chipmunk?! For a true amusement/theme park fan, it is a "must do" at least once. Now Elitches is another story...a bad that starts off with "It was a dark and dreary day..."

June 4, 2017, 5:11 AM

Challenge 4 question! What about World's Fairs and Expositions?

June 4, 2017, 6:23 AM

Challenge 3 question... can you define visible from the street for the activities? Would a dedicated show building with a show inside, for instance, meet this criteria if that building was distinct enough?

Edited: June 4, 2017, 11:36 AM

What I meant originally was that the activity should be visible from the street, in that you would need to see the roller coaster or Ferris wheel from the street. Then I just realized that with a requirement of 7, it would seem to take over the facade of the building...but I think that was also the point.

So let's change this slightly...

If the building is visible from the walking street traffic in as much that a permanent sign can be put on the building (Like Blue Man Group Theater), then that counts, you don't actually need a window into the theater showing the show. Some buildings have great activities in them, but don't show what they are up to from the street, like the Adventure Dome at Circus Circus. If you can put a permanent sign on it, then that counts as 1 item even though there are a ton of other things going on inside.

But then again...maybe I don't know what I'm talking about...

If you have a better idea in mind in order to suck the foot traffic into the building, by all means, let's hear what your proposal is. You know what the developer wanted. If you give them something amazing, then the details of what they were asking for probably don't mean that much as long as you adopted the essence of the idea...

June 4, 2017, 12:32 PM

There have been a few instances where the amusement section of a world's fair remained open as a free-standing amusement park after the fair closed. An example would be Six Flags La Ronde, which was the amusement section of Expo '67 in Montreal, but it is still operating so it could not be used. The amusement section of the New York World's Fair (both of them) did not reopen as a free-standing amusement park after those fairs closed, so it could not be used. If the amusement section of a fair did remain open, or reopened immediately after the fair closed as an amusement park, but is now closed, it is fair game. An example would be Fun Forest Amusement Park, formerly the Gayway amusement section of the Seattle World's Fair of 1962. It is now closed and technically could be used, but would be a terrible choice for this challenge since it was only a few acres in size and was located in the middle of the Seattle Center, the civic center of the city, and would be nearly impossible to design a reasonable modern amusement park on the site. That is the only reason I mentioned it. There are others I know of, but they're for you to discover.

June 4, 2017, 12:35 PM

And before you dig any further, no, you can't use the site of a world's fair other than the amusement section. You can't turn Flushing Meadows into Disneyland of the Northeast. The New York World's Fair of '64-'65 was not an amusement park, regardless of the impact that Walt Disney had on it.

June 4, 2017, 12:37 PM

Dang it James, you not only overruled against my idea, you actually predicted it!

June 4, 2017, 1:06 PM

Yea, I'm that good. Actually, I was thinking that you were thinking of another amusement park that was open for over 30 years after the fair it was part of closed. I'll share my idea after everyone has posted.

June 5, 2017, 3:23 AM

Week 3. This is imo best idea we have seen for a long time. It should be a cracker of a week! Champs. I feel your A game needs to be bought this week, because every one of you will be looking to smash this one out of the park!

June 5, 2017, 9:16 AM

Great. Now I can stop playing candy crush... or can I?

June 5, 2017, 9:27 AM

I dunno, Chad, it's Vegas casinos this week. I'd say playing Candy Crush gives you a head start in understanding gambling addiction!

June 5, 2017, 1:17 PM

I had half mind to try and use it again... but I have a direction that is looking tough to make work with something else, but despite its trickyness is peaking my curiosity more

June 5, 2017, 7:15 PM

Week 2 Challenge:

1. Douglas Hindley
2. Blake Meredith
3. AJ Hummel
4. Chad H
5. DPCC Inc.

Overall Standings

1. Douglas Hindley
2. Blake Meredith
3. AJ Hummel
4. DPCC Inc.
5. Chad H

Edited: June 6, 2017, 3:32 PM

Jeff, you'll be glad to know that it wasn't Elitch and Lakeside, as I did both those parks in 2014 when I was passing through the area anyway. Lakeside was a fun old-school park that was well worth the few hours I spent there in the evening, but not something I'd go out of the way to return to. Elitch Gardens, on the other hand...well, I didn't hate the park, but I don't have any desire to return.

I will say that my trip took me through Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming (not necessarily in that order), so the two parks are in those states. Therefore, Cliff's is ruled out, and I'll also rule out the Adventuredome. I won't say any more until I post the trip report (which probably won't be until the TOC2 ends), but you can always take a peek at my Facebook page if you can't stand the suspense.

Now for a challenge 3 question: Do the 7 activities have to be attractions that one would expect to see inside an amusement/theme park, or can they be things that would be tourist attractions but would never be found inside a regular amusement park? For example, could something like an indoor ski hill be used as an activity?

June 8, 2017, 11:44 AM

We are generalizing on that...and no, this is make them Vegas attractions, not strictly theme/amusement park attractions. Your example is one that is good and counts.

Edited: June 11, 2017, 11:46 AM

I'm going to make the hard decision to step out at this point. I underestimated the time I needed to make these concepts really shine, so I don't think I'm as competitive as I should be. Good luck to my fellow competitors and hopefully I'll be back in the future either to judge or when I have a bit more time.

I might submit an unofficial one for the current round. Its a great concept I had during the last game I think I can adapt for the current requirements, but I shalln't have the time to add the right level of polish.

June 11, 2017, 12:14 PM

It's a shame to see you go, Chad. I've enjoyed playing against you, and I always enjoy reading your proposals. Even if you only do unofficial submissions, I think we'd all love seeing your ideas even in an incomplete form.

June 12, 2017, 7:27 AM

Chad, I understand, but still! Disappointing. I also hope you stay involved, if just to post your ideas as fleshed out as possible so that the other competitors can say, "Oh, man! Why didn't I think of that!"

June 12, 2017, 2:32 PM

Hopefully you'll say that about this idea.

Edited: June 12, 2017, 2:40 PM

I'm bringing out an old idea I've had brewing in my mind for quite a while now for Challenge 4. I was thinking of saving it for another TPA, but since this is the TOC, I might as well bring it out now. The only thing I'll say about it is that I hope you paid attention in your Humanities classes!

June 13, 2017, 8:00 PM


Week 5 has me concerned (another whole park?!?!), so I'm getting Week 4's Monstrous Realms out of the way now, even though I would love to continually hammer away at it, and create some hand-drawn stuff. What I've posted is mostly the product of a very frenzied Saturday, built off of ideas which have been marinating in my mind for a while. Week 5 will be totally seat-of-my-pants!

June 14, 2017, 7:06 PM

@Doug & @Chad....Do you mind if we start working ahead just a bit? Someone (who shall remain unnamed) decided to post a novel length proposal and unless I really like spending most of my Father's Day reading it, I better get started on it soon... If you are still making edits, please let me know, otherwise, I'm going to start on this tomorrow night.

June 14, 2017, 7:26 PM

By all means, @Jeff, I posted it early largely because its novel-length. I'd prefer you have the time to read it at your leisure, so go ahead. No more edits are coming! Um...Happy Father's Day!

June 15, 2017, 3:23 AM

I don't plan on making further changes. I wish I could though.

June 16, 2017, 2:22 PM

Quick question for Challenge 4...I know it was stated that we weren't allowed to recreate defunct attractions from the original park for our new parks, but what about recreating a defunct attraction from a different defunct park?

June 16, 2017, 3:24 PM

I should have known that you would be the one to ask the really picky, rule-twisting question. Sure, if you can tie it in thematically, go for it, but at least do me the favor of putting the words "The New..." in front of it, or even better a new name. I'm going to also say that you can only do this once.

June 16, 2017, 4:37 PM

I'm finalizing my park tonight. Should be posted by tomorrow afternoon. It's a whopper, maybe even longer than Douglas'.

June 16, 2017, 9:24 PM

Gotta love oneupmanship...

Although to be honest, there is a lot of bragging rights hanging in the Jim always seems to let me know how he dusted me in TOC1.

June 17, 2017, 5:04 AM

Only after you bring up when you dusted me in TPA3.

June 18, 2017, 1:31 AM

Apologies for the slightly tardy proposals the past couple weeks. I've been having a few computer issues on my end and for some reason they seem to occur around when I'm trying to post. I'll be sure to get the final proposal in a bit earlier.

June 18, 2017, 6:29 PM

@AJ....Dude!! Seriously, let us know if you are having computer issues...I penalized you last week when a simple post like this would have been enough to have me not give you a deduction. We all understand computer issues...

June 18, 2017, 6:30 PM

I'm gonna be honest here...I've had an extremely busy Father's day weekend. I'm not going to get scoring done tonight. I will try to get them all done tomorrow. Sorry.

June 19, 2017, 10:59 AM

Ok, response time from Challenge 4.

First, thanks again, judges, for your honest critiques.


Perhaps I didn't state it plainly enough, but MB was inspired by EPCOT as it was originally developed. It's more edutainment then straight theme park. If EPCOT was centered on science, technology, and 'futurism', MB is centered on humanities. I tried to get as many high-thrill attractions where I could to have a good mix of educational attractions and attractions which would bring in the tweens and thrill-seekers. I know a teenager probably doesn't care about Aristotle but they sure as hell give a damn about a great coaster or a highly thematic permanent haunt house. The goal was to develop something which is wholly unique, and is geared towards more 'mature' guests. I know many parents and people who absolutely hate going to Disneyland/WDW but love going to the Opera or to the theater, why not combine the two? The cumulative format, as you know my friend, does not lend itself to in-depth descriptions of every attraction and feature but I feel that if I had the time and room to give an elaborate write-up of each attraction you would feel differently about most of the 'educational' rides. The University, for example, may seem like a tame 'documentary' ride, but when you have Saracens and Vikings charging you and when you're in the middle of a Monastery on fire, things can be pretty exciting. The first third of the DL PotC is nothing more than fantastic rockwork and set pieces but it's this part which makes the DL PotC the best version of the ride in the world. Without it, the spiritual and thematic center of the ride is destroyed.

I do take a little bit of issue that you feel that the Houston market wouldn't have the brains to appreciate the park. The issue of ignorance of Western Civilization and Culture is not exclusive to Texas, or the South in general. Indeed, in my personal experience, I've known many more Texans, Southerners, and Midwesterners who are far more 'well-read' than coastal elites. Maybe it has something to do with a slower pace of life or the emphasis these people put on tradition. I can't say for certain. Would a park like this work better on the East or West coast? That's debatable. I don't think the region has much to do with the acceptance of the park as a whole (indeed, a park like this would likely be shut down in the major coastal cities as it features too many 'dead, white, straight, cisgendered, christian males'.) But I digress. EPCOT, with it's emphasis on science in technology, was built smack-dab in the middle of central Florida at a time when Orlando was nothing more than ranches and farms and it did an admirable job of bringing 'edutainment' to the world.

There were actually TWO parks developed back in TPA 5 which took a literary theme. One was based on the Pulp fiction of the 1920's-40's (Conan, the Phantom, John Carter of Mars, etc.) and another which was more similar to MB with a focus on 'traditional' literature. Indeed, this was my first exposure to TPA and I was lurking until TPA 6.1.

I am aware of the Shaw play, and perhaps titling a show with the same name as a Shaw play wasn't the best choice (especially in a literary theme park), but it's a great opening line, one of the most memorable in Literature so I'll stand by my decision to keep the name. You asked about what a SCOOP system is--it's the ride system used in Universal's Transformers and Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man rides. Basically is a big bucket attached to a robotic arm which can move along a traditional dark ride track but also tilt, weave, and spin the bucket to provide for a thrill ride experience. It's essentially the 21st century answer to the Omnimover.

The World of Discovery is, admittedly, somewhat of a misnomer. I didn't want to call it The World of Enlightenment because I abhor the misconception that anything prior to the Enlightenment was barbaric, superstitious, and ignorant. How can I show guests the important advancements made in The Medieval World and then have them walk into The World of Enlightenment and think that the Middle Ages were the often criminally misunderstood "dark ages"? Granted, I could have done a better job exploring the "discovery" aspect of the period.

The Modern World is, actually, partly correctly titled and partly not. I use the word "Modern" in reference to the intellectual period known today as modernity. While the Industrial age wasn't exactly in the same time frame as modernity, it's the closest I could get to an age without relying on some other misnomer. The Victorian World doesn't tell us anything about the intellectual period of the time, nor does something like The New World, so The Modern World was left as the only viable option. It's modern in the sense that all of what we currently rely on to simply live in the current year began in this period--heavy industrialization, the rise of free market capitalism, the major revolutions--all of these things shaped the world as we know it today.

As for The Speculative World, well, that's just referring to what we call "Speculative Literature" today. Speculative literature is a blanket term for literature which features unnatural or fantastic elements. Essentially, this is the world for Fantasy, Horror, and Science-Fiction. I did/do have plans for a Sci-Fi world here (titled Future-Past), but running out of room made me save it for expansion plans. In reality, this world runs into a little bit of an IP problem. It would be a perfect place to put a LotR Land or Narnia, but they are both tied into existing IP holders. Hunger Games? Also tied up (it's mostly trash anyways). The sci-fi world would feature sci-fi based on works by Wells, Verne, Asimov, Heinlein, and Wolfe, but this is a bit more ambitious that what I had to work with and require a lot more land that I didn't have available to me (maybe in the open, cumulative format I could have shoved them in there).

While I agree that guest 'should' experience The Divine Comedy from start to finish, it's not practical to expect this to be the case. I've got what is essentially three pretty great attractions (at least in my admittedly biased mind) rolled into one. Why waste any of them? Re-Ridability is important. If someone loves the Paradise motion sim but hates the Inferno boat-ride, why would I make them trudge through the boat-ride just to get to the Motion sim? Customer satisfaction is what I was going for. This is, without a doubt, the most ambitious attraction I've ever conceived of, and a full write-up may be due in the future, if only for my personal satisfaction. The idea of a 'procedural' attraction has been floated around for some time among theme park communities, so I wanted to give it a shot. I think The Divine Comedy is probably the perfect option for exploring this idea, as it has three distinct parts, tied together in one unifying vision.

June 19, 2017, 1:20 PM

Sorry, Jeff. To be fair, there is a good chance last week's would have been late either way, it would have just been less late. This week's was 100% internet connectivity problems.

June 19, 2017, 4:06 PM

Okay, time to respond to challenge 4 critiques

Thanks to all the judges who've written them so far, and I'm excited to hear what the rest have to say.


Kunwaktok means fish.

June 19, 2017, 4:39 PM

It's been rumored about since Theme Park Apprentice 7...

Coming soon to Walt Disney World Resort...

okay, Okay, I'll stop joking around now. There's real work to be done!

Edited: June 19, 2017, 5:10 PM


Dreamtime park is never gunna get past the lawyers... Yeah, I know we could ignore it, but in up in the Gold Coast you'll find Dreamworld, backed with the deep pockets of Ardent Leaisure. Originally the concept was named "Land of the Rainbow Serpent" (in line with a challenge from the non champions game) but for some reason I can't work out why now, I decided to change it to world for land (I guess I thought I was using land too much). Unfortunately this change made the capitalisation worse as I used a find-replace that I presumed wasn't case sensitive. I do think there's scope for a better name.

I was really inspired when that other challenge was set. Too many parks are cookie cutter - and I'm going to be controversial and say MK parks is the best example of it. After I see MK in WDW in September, why would I want to go see another? (I expect the hard core Disney fans to seek to cast me out now...) They're all basically the same with a few minor variations. Land of the Rainbow Serpent could never be replicated, and you'd never want to replicate it - because it wouldn't work anywhere else but Australia (but obviously parks in other areas with a similar link to their indigenous community would work).

June 19, 2017, 5:16 PM

Really, DPCC, DisneySky?! You know that would never...flyyyyy!

Honestly, you made me laugh.

June 19, 2017, 7:31 PM

My friend, I was hoping- frankly, waiting- for a response from you. Ah, the good old days of 6.1 where we stood our ground for our firmly-held beliefs, opinions and decisions. I certainly am not going to attempt to prove you wrong in any way about anything you proposed- I would be going into battle unarmed against an Apache Helicopter. In many ways, I enjoy these defenses of competitor’s work as much if not more than the proposals they’re defending. Perhaps we should require a “Statement of Concept” from each challenger, a document that doesn’t explain what is in the park but what the “creator” was seeing, feeling when they created it. I seem to be in an ongoing theme of Heart and Head, don’t I?

I certainly understand the comparison of MB to EPCOT in that it was conceived as a way to integrate the humanities with theme-park entertainment, as the original EPCOT did (or attempted to do) with science and technology. There is a difference, though, in the two subject matters that makes your attempt much more difficult to achieve. I admit that many people are scared of science, but at least they have been exposed to it and studied it in school. They’re scared of it, but they can deal with it. The Humanities, though- there is so little exposure of it in a dedicated setting now in most education that many people are a cross between baffled and terrified by it- baffled because they have never had to actually study anything called “Humanities 101” so they have no idea what it is, and terrified because they’re afraid of being made to feel or look stupid.

I never expected to hear anyone talk about the “spiritual and thematic center” of POTC. Maybe I need to ride it a bunch more times- to me it was just a fun series of pirate scenes with remarkable scenery and funny animatronics- honestly, I never considered it having a “spiritual” side. Maybe I need more exposure to it, and maybe I’m just not deep enough to see that part of it.

I agree that the format of this competition can be a liability to a detailed, in-depth explanation and exploration of a park such as you proposed, or even most of the attractions you proposed. Somehow it got past me that the last three challenges would all be full parks- there I take full blame. When I conceived of this challenge, I thought that most would go with smaller dead parks such as Luna Park or Steeplechase Park on Coney Island, Palisades Park in New Jersey, The Pike in Long Beach- very much like Mountain Park that DPCC proposed. I didn’t expect a massive exploration of the impact of the Humanities on Civilization such as you proposed. I shouldn’t have underestimated you or your aggressive imagination. In a smaller, more focused challenge you could have done what you mentioned- provide an in-depth description of a specific attraction so that you could have fleshed it out and presented a detailed attraction, not the Crib Notes-version that was forced on you in this format.

SCOOP-I tried to find it, and suspected it was as you described, and I even emailed Jeff to tell me what it was, but he didn’t respond so I plowed on ahead. I’ve always heard them called KUKA systems, and I just tried again to search for SCOOP- it said it was a cooking tool used to remove flour, sugar, etc. from a container. Sorry- we don’t have SCOOPS in Ohio theme parks. Blame Jeff.

The World of Discovery- I understand your dilemma with the name. How about the World of Rediscovery? The knowledge was (mostly) never lost, just hidden away in monasteries, libraries, and other lands that didn’t go through the darkness of the Middle Ages.

The Speculative World- honestly, I’ve never heard of “speculative literature.” To me, and this is how an individual’s life experiences can totally change the meaning of a word, the word means something like “to use a physical activity for a philosophical effect.” What? I’m a Freemason, but I am what is called a “Speculative Mason” as opposed to an “Operative Mason.” An Operative Mason actually is a working mason who builds buildings from stone using such tools as a trowel to spread cement, a level to be sure the building is being constructed correctly- “level”, etc. A Speculative Mason, like myself who is not a working mason, uses the masonic tools for more esoteric concepts, like using a trowel to spread the “cement of brotherly love and affection that unites the members of a masonic lodge into one family.” Your idea of speculative and mine were totally different.
The Divine Comedy- if and when you do create a complete, detailed write-up, I’d be interested in reading it. I still think that letting them off the hook is a mistake- you’ve got a captive audience! OK, I see your point, but one thing that it would be really important to explain in your full write-up is that The Divine Comedy IS NOT FUNNY! It’s not a comedy like we think of comedy. I remember the first time a rode “Toad…” at Disneyland. I was expecting something fun, silly, comical, and that is exactly what I got- until the end. Douglas Hindley will attest to the fact that I turned to him and with a mixture of shock and outrage said, “HE WENT TO HELL?!” Douglas just laughed and nodded his head. I think I’m still a bit offended by that.

Blake, I understand your park better now, and if this had been a cumulative competition I probably would have ranked higher both individual attractions and the park as a whole, but I hope you understand my concerns and issues with it, also. Once you go people into the park they’d probably have a great time- a bit confused…ok, a LOT confused by some of the theming, but a great time, and yes, many of the thrill attractions would be hits with all ages. Rerides would definitely help with increasing familiarity of the great cultural works, concepts and creations the attractions are themed to, but first ya gotta get em through da door, and THAT would be your biggest challenge.

Edited: June 20, 2017, 2:16 AM


>>> I worry that waiting 2-3 years before getting water attractions in is probably a little on the slow side

Water attractions are there on day one in "The Water", with the attractions described. In 2-3 years a second water focused era area "The Sea" would join it.

June 20, 2017, 3:10 AM


Yes, the Divine Comedy is called a Comedy because it has an ultimately good's not intended to be funny.

I must say I was shocked to see me come in dead last in this challenge. That's not to say the other proposals weren't stellar (they were), but this challenge in particular was meant to generate a growing fanbase. What better way to grow a fanbase then Public Domain works, where guests can freely download almost all of the works featured for free? Or go to their local library and grab a copy of any of the books? Instead, I was docked for daring to charge $5 more than the other regional parks in the area and a low parking cost (wouldn't the lower parking cost off-set the standard $5 increase, for a park that operates year round, features seasonal events, and has a greater variety of attraction offerings than anything in Texas or arguably anything within 1000 miles of it?) I guess I'm seeing things differently but oh well.

June 20, 2017, 5:08 AM

Blake, I going to make a confession and say that I rarely pay much attention to pricing, parking costs, etc. since they are so fluid, debatable and are much easier to change than it is to add a new coaster. If you built a park that you're proud of, then you won, and I know because if you remember in 6.1, my first version of Americana came in 7th out of 10. That stung, but I used the criticisms constructively and pulled it up into a much better park in the end (still not good enough to win, but I also said that I couldn't have been happier that you did.

There was a painter in France who tried to paint in a totally different manner than everyone else. He entered a painting he did into a juried art competition. The judges disliked it so much that they hung it over the refreshment stand. He never sold a painting in his life. His name was Georges Seurat, and the painting was "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," now considered one of the greatest paintings of the 19th Century if not of all time. Blake, you might be the greatest theme park creator of the 21st Century, but you might need to wait a hundred years to discover this...and I'm not blowing smoke you-know-where.

June 20, 2017, 12:27 PM

Question for challenge 4. 15% of our score will be based on the 'difficulty factor'. What criteria will the other 85% be based off of? Specifics would be nice.

June 20, 2017, 7:52 PM

With no bonuses, the percentages are as follows...and I believe this was posted there should be no secret here.

Writing 15%
Met Challenge 25%
Reality Check 10%
Overall Proposal 50%

When there is a bonus like this week, it skews all of the numbers, so this week the numbers look like this:

Writing 12%
Met Challenge Criteria 21%
Reality Check 9%
Overall Proposal Quality 43%
Bonus - Difficulty of Choices 15%

June 20, 2017, 8:01 PM

Moving toward the future, I would probably carve 10% out of the Overall Proposal grade and give it to the Reality Check. But I will leave that to the future judges to decide.

Speaking of judging, the judges are all sharing a Google Doc Spreadsheet for keeping of scores, and there is normalization built into the form so that all of the judge's average scores are automatically equalized. I will be more than happy to give away the form to any future judges for use in this contest...and/or help you build a new one.

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