Theme Park Apprentice 6 - Round 1 Challenges & Chat

Edited: July 22, 2014, 9:32 PM

TPA6 Challenge 1 - Busch Gardens/Sea World (deadline: 8/2 @ midnight)
The last couple of attractions that they have open at SeaWorld & Busch Gardens have been delayed, plagued with problems, and severely underperformed. They need something that will put them back on the map in a big way. But before you let your creativity get the better of you, keep in mind that SeaWorld at least tries to keep a conversation of conservation going in whatever they do. But is that the right direction? Is that what makes SeaWorld what it is? Or would Busch Gardens be easier to work with? But Busch Gardens is also hemmed in by its overall theme. Both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens need the help right now…

TPA6 Challenge 2 - Video Games(any location) (deadline: 8/9 @ midnight)
At the latest gaming convention, all of the major video game publishers seemed to agree that it was a travesty that there was not more of a presence of their intellectual property represented at theme parks. It sounds like now will be a wonderful time to take your expertise in theme parks to snap up an existing video game franchise or set of characters and give them the treatment they earned a while ago and never received. The goal here is to make something incredible and then shop it around to the different theme/amusement park companies. Since Disney/Universal/Six Flags/Cedar Fair/Merlin and others are going to be the ones deciding if they are going to buy and build your attraction, what you will want to do is not make it so horrifically expensive that you won’t be able to sell the idea, but impactful enough to make people around the world sit up and take notice.

TPA6 Challenge 3 - United Kingdom Parks (deadline: 8/17 @ midnight)
Paramount Park is going to be built in the United Kingdom. It is exactly what the other local parks don’t want to see, since it will poach a great deal of their customers away. What the other parks in Britain need is something that will earn them enough paying visitors that the impact of a high tech Paramount park will be dulled if not completely countered. You will not be able to use an existing franchise on this one unless it is in the public domain or unless the franchise is already in use at that park. The money needs to be spent on something new instead of IP’s.

TPA6 Challenge 4 – Australia (deadline: 8/23 @ midnight)
In the land down under, there is some serious competition going on between the different amusement parks. The arms race is so tight right now that maybe a single missing component designed with great skill could pull one of the parks out into the front of the pack. Pick a park and build what that park needs to pull ahead of the other parks.

For all of the challenges make sure that you include the name of the attraction, type of system you are using (from the list), the specs, full description, and anything else that will help elevate your proposal to the front of the pack.

Keep in mind that all times are website time (which I believe is Pacific currently). If you edit your proposal after the deadline the time will show that it was submitted late.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to look over the rules one more time just to make sure that you are on the right track.

If you have any questions feel free to post them in this thread.

One thing that we don’t want to see this year is people trying to stake their claims on ideas. In the past it has been allowed and usually causes another competitor to move their idea to attempt to find some open space. We have found that even with two people doing what sounds like the exact same ride in the exact same park, that the two proposals will be radically different. The challenges this year are a little more wide open than they have been in the past to help with this as well. So, what I am trying to get at is, go with your gut, if you think you have the best concept, go with it. Don’t be bothered by what others are doing. A head to head competition with an apples to apples comparison is actually easier for the judges. Just make sure that yours is the best. In the real world, you all would have been given the same IP, the same location, the same rough building size and shape, and the same hardware, then asked to come up with something original. But originality also counts for something…

Please keep in mind that this is a chatting threat and not a judging thread. You may post whatever you want to in here including your proposal, but it will be for the whole community to grade instead of the judges. As the votes are tallied for the previous challenge, we will open up new official posting threads for each challenge. Only proposals posting to the official posting thread will be considered final and ready to be judged. Likewise, if you are watching and not participating, feel free to work up a proposal and post it here for your peers to take a look at if you feel so inclined. There are plenty of slots open in the second round if you want to make an attempt before throwing your hat in the ring.

Replies (23)

July 21, 2014, 2:00 PM

When is the judging thread going to be open?

July 21, 2014, 3:43 PM

The judging thread for the first challenge will be up on the 26th or the 27th. After that the challenge threads will go up right after the judges have completed their decisions...usually sometime late on Sunday or Monday.

Edited: July 26, 2014, 9:24 AM

Oooh, the Australia one is a good challenge. The main parks are near the gold coast - Dreamworld/WhiteWater world is about 2 mins drive from Warner Bros MovieWorld/Wet n Wild, where as Sea World (linked to Warner bros Movie World) is more or less in town.

However guys, don't discount the originals - Luna Park Melbourne and Sydney. Their restricted space, and in the case of Melbourne Hertage ride might be a seem a major challenge, but think of that as a major opportunity - Luna Park Melbourne is home to the Worlds Oldest Continiously Operating Roller Coaster after all.

July 22, 2014, 1:51 PM

Chad, and THAT is what the judges will be looking for- competitors willing to take a risk, not take the easy obvious route, and create a brilliant solution to a seemingly-insurmountable problem....while still expecting a professional presentation. Every proposal should be written as if you are presenting it to the Board of Directors of (fill in the blank) who will be deciding which proposal will get the green light to proceed...and the greenbacks to pay for it (that means money for our overseas competitors who might be used to money of a different color than American money).
I hope you are all working on your proposals, be it doing the brainstorming, research or actual writing.

July 27, 2014, 5:00 PM

I'm ready to enter.

July 27, 2014, 7:44 PM

Oscar, and all other competitors, you can post whenever you are ready and want to post. Post on the "Round 1- Challenge 1" thread. I'm sure the other judges join me in hoping that everyone DOES NOT wait until just before the deadline on Saturday night. We like to read your proposals several times, taking time to write our critiques and decide on rankings. If you all wait until the last minute, we will be rushed and won't do as good a job of critiquing your I'm spending all weekend at Kings Island with my son and don't want to find eleven proposals waiting for me when I get home ;+)

July 28, 2014, 6:08 AM

how idea have to be posted? if i have a good idea just post it? or do i have to put a propsal together a contract an outline or powerpoint or prezi? what exactly needs to be done?

July 28, 2014, 6:39 AM

Alec, we've already got a lot of competitors for round 1, but according to the rules you can still compete as long as you post your proposal before the deadline of August 2 at midnight website time (which is Pacific Time). If you want you can also wait for round 2 which starts at the end of August (see the thread titled "Signup and Rules for Theme Park Apprentice 6" for all the details, rules, dates, etc. To see what the judges are looking for, I would strongly recommend doing some research on Theme Park Insider in the search box at the top right of the page, and look for past Theme Park Apprentice competitions. Read over some of the winning and high-ranking proposals to see how the best of the competitors presented their ideas. Also read over the rules carefully to see what you are allowed to post and what you can't post- we do have limits on numbers of pictures, videos, etc. you are allowed. Everything should be in the rules, but you can always contact any of the judges either on this thread or in private with questions.

We already have lots of competitors in Round 1, but until we actually start getting proposals we won't know exactly how many will really come through with proposals. If you want to wait for Round 2 that is fine, or if you want to start out in Round 1 you still can as long as you post by the deadline. As a judge, and I think I mentioned this in the rules, etc. we are going to be looking at lots of things to decide who will move on- originality of idea, quality of presentation (spelling, grammar, clarity of writing)- pretend you are presenting your idea to the Board of the company who you want to work for. As a judge, I know my fellow judges Jeff Elliott and Andrew Milito join me in wanting you and every competitor to do a great job and make our job as judges extremely difficult.

You say you have a good idea? Great! We want to see it, but we want to see it presented in a professional way. You decide what is the best professional way to present it, but be sure to read past proposals to see what fits in the physical limits of this website (picture size if you decide to use them, etc.). Past proposals are just that- past proposals. You might have a way to present it that is different but still professional and possibly much superior to what has been in the past. Go for it! The great thing about TPA6 is if you compete in Round 1 and get eliminated for whatever reason, you can still compete in Round 2 and try again, learning from your mistakes and improving your writing.

I'm looking forward to your ideas!

July 31, 2014, 3:10 AM

Sorry to do this, but I am going to have to pull out, I just dont have the time this year. I was hoping to squeeze it in but 15 hour shifts and a new baby, its just not possible to do it properly and my personal opinion is if you cant do it properly, dont do it.

July 31, 2014, 3:51 AM

I'm really sorry to hear that, Alan, but thanks for letting us know- and congrats on the new baby!

August 2, 2014, 3:35 PM

Looks like everyone is playing it tight with the timeline... No submissions yet!

Don't be afraid to go first guys.... I know the judges look at all of em, but do t discount the "wow" factor of getting your idea read before another's....

August 2, 2014, 4:50 PM

And my first submission has been made. Did have a lot of fun putting the proposal together. Look forward to comments so that I can improve on future proposals. Good luck to everybody.

August 3, 2014, 5:52 PM

Theme Park Apprentice 6- the Obituary

The judges have decided to end Theme Park Apprentice 6 and the Theme Park Apprentice "franchise" that its founder, Tim W. created back in April 2010. The lack of participation from so many who signed up to play made us realize that the time has come to put it to rest. We were surprised, considering how many did sign up and how enthused they seemed, but only two actually posted and we, as judges, decided there just wasn't enough interest to continue. To those who did post, we appreciate the hard work you did, and to those who were hoping to participate in the next round, we apologize for this decision.

Theme Park Apprentice in all its editions and variations, including Water Park Apprentice, the Next Walt Disney and the Tournament of Champions, had a major impact on many lives. Friendships were created, latent talents were given a place to grow and mature, and dozens of amazing rides, attractions, lands and theme parks were created and shared with hundreds of Theme Park Insiders. All of us involved in Theme Park Apprentice in all its many forms over these years take with us terrific memories of the hard work, late night writing sessions, and most importantly the fun we had creating new rides, new attractions, and new theme parks all over the world.

Thanks to all who took part in Theme Park Apprentice over this years. If you get a little bit nostalgic, search the TPI archives for some of the remarkable proposals that made Theme Park Apprentice so important to so many of us. It's hard to believe it is over, but we will always have the memories.

August 3, 2014, 7:29 PM

Let me take a moment to disregard some of what James said.

While I am disappointed that we cannot continue on this season, I realize that there were some problems with us starting so late...

As a participation sport, if no one participates, we cannot continue.

If people are interested in this over the winter holidays or next summer, please let us know what the reason for the massive fallout was and we will try to address those issues for the next time we try this.

I would not consider TPA dead, but on life support. You as friends, followers, and competitors will have the final say if we pull the plug or not.

August 4, 2014, 12:58 AM

Let me take a moment to disregard some of what Jeff said....ok, maybe not. I didn't want to see TPA end at all- it has really been important to me, so I second what Jeff said. If there is interest in a future edition(s) please let us know. You can do it here or in private, but we have to know 1) what happened to make so many, including so many veterans, sign up then just not show up to the party, and 2) if there is something in the basic set-up, organization, timing, etc. that needs to be changed.

The obituary for TPA6 has been written, but we all know how popular zombies are...who knows what could rise from the grave!

August 4, 2014, 8:03 AM

The only reason I had to delay until round 2 was because I was in Quebec visiting my girlfriend (with a side trip to la ronde....), otherwise I would have been on it like a shot.

I think the "audition" concept worked well from last year, that way you can see who is truly ready to compete, and who isn't, before setting dates.

August 4, 2014, 9:11 PM

I just saw the news, and decided that I won't wait until I get home to comment on this (even though I hate typing on my iPhone). As a former competitor and champion who was scheduled to play in round 2, I am disappointed that I won't get a chance to play again. However, I was never planning to compete this year due to all my trips (I'm currently nearing the end of a 3 week trip and did a 2 week trip back in June), so I'm not too bothered by it.

What really disturbs me, however, is the number of people who signed up to play and them didn't submit ANYTHING! No proposal, no notice of withdrawing, nothing. To me, that is completely UNACCEPTABLE! Now, I know things can come up, but you should never commit to something if you aren't sure you can follow through on it, and if some unforeseen circumstance arises you should at least give notice that something has come up. Especially those who have played before should know this...TPA requires a significant amount of time each week (5-10 hours in my case), and if you can't set aside that time every week for a couple months you shouldn't sign up.

I apologize if this seems overly harsh, complaining, or negative. I am not trying to attack anyone, and more just venting my thoughts at the moment. Having done a lot of group work in school, I feel that one of the worst things you can do is agree to something and then simply not do anything, and it makes me mad when this negatively affects others.

Lastly, to the judges, I have this to say: I fully understand if the game does not continue, as the interest level does seem to have slipped considerably over the past couple years. However, if there are future TPA competitions, I will absolutely play as long as I have no schedule conflicts, and I would never sign up if I thought I would be dropping out.

Regardless of what has happened, this competition "franchise" can not...or at least should not end like this. Depending on how I feel when I get back, I may have to assemble a proposal for a farewell winter TPA that would have no chance of being cancelled (yes, I'm half joking about this...but only half joking :-) ).

August 6, 2014, 2:27 PM

I'm wondering if anyone actually had any thoughts on the later rounds... I'm trying to come up with something off the wall for the Australia round...

August 6, 2014, 7:17 PM

Chad, save the idea. We really don't know what will happen in the future, but save the idea you have. You never know...

August 8, 2014, 5:56 AM

Had a potential idea for a TPA series. This is sorta inspired by shows like Kitchen Nightmares/Bar Rescue/Hotel Impossible/Resturant Impossible, etc, and a single line in the Beyond CaliFlorida blog that made me go researching the Hard Rock Park (and thinking damn... that place sounded impressive).

Let me know what people think.

Audition/Initial Pitch:

Contestants select a park that is either closed, or in severe trouble and risk of closure (if the park is still open, pre approval is required).

If the Park is Closing, or SBNO, the contestant starts with the park as is.

If the park is partially dismantled, the contestant can start with the park as it was either on Closing day, or today.

If the park area has since been redeveloped to something completely different, or its current form is otherwise completely unviable, the default position is to take the park on closing day, but some intermediate form may be negotiated with the judges.

The Contestant should
1: Identify the Park
2: Identify what they believe the reason for the park's closure is.
3: In very broad strokes (a paragraph or two) outline how they will solve the problem
4: Give a very broad outline (a paragraph or two) of what changes will be made.

Future rounds will be based around this concept, so picking the right space is important.

Development/Elimination rounds:

Each round the judges, as is the usual fashion, present a challenge to the contestants - Develop a ride/show/restaurant/etc that meets criteria X.

The Contestant has the choice of:
*Using an item already in the park, and redeveloping it. Bonus points for not just simply "reskinning", but using existing features/elements in a completely new way. Perhaps an old part of a ride track is now used for a completely different type of attraction.
*Building a new item. However costs are tight, and need to be kept down, so greenfield development is out - in bringing in a new item, you must forfeit some existing attraction and reuse that space in the attraction (You can use more space if you choose, but the space you regain should be a key part of the space you use)

Penultimate round - the 11th hour.

Theme Parks are not built in a vacuum. As a part of the approval process there will be give and take with the local community and authorities. Alton Towers cannot build attractions above Treetop height, reopening Luna Park Sydney was on the condition that their Roller Coaster was removed, Disneyland Paris had to build a minimum number of hotel spaces, Some older parks have old Roller Coasters that have attained protected heritage status, etc.

Each of the 3 remaining contestants will be given a problem unique to them to solve. The following are just potential examples:

Perhaps the judges have decided that a key ride no longer meets local planning or health and safety rules, and needs to be redesigned or replaced.

Perhaps a former attraction slated to be removed has been given heritage status and now now needs to be preserved - both the attraction that was slated to be replaced, and the one slated to replace it now need to be reworked so they both can fit into the new park.

Perhaps some attraction theme or themed land is not acceptable to the local community on taste/moral grounds and saw planning approval rejected, or conditionally issued on the basis that it must be changed. How do you fix it?

Perhaps the development has gone over cost, and the only way to get back on track is to accept a sponsorship/investment deal from a company that is at first glance completely incompatible with your park's theme. How do you keep your investor happy in designing an attraction for them to sponsor?

etc, etc.

Points for this round is how you handle the challenge. Do you simply just deal with it, or do you turn the crisis into an opportunity?

Final round - Pulling it all together

This takes the form of the typical final challenge - design a park.

All rounds must be integrated into the final design - no designing just for one challenge and cutting it later - unless there is some fundamental reason why not (e.g. - one of the previous rounds was the subject of the "penultimate" spanner).

Any thoughts?

August 8, 2014, 7:07 AM

Wow, Chad, you put a lot of work into this! We're definitely going to take a closer look at your ideas as we proceed on life support mode. Thanks!

Edited: August 8, 2014, 7:15 PM


If you are interested in Hard Rock Park (and you should be, it was amazing) Theme Park University did a long 10+ part article on the park...

Start here:

And was it the line about the air guitars?

August 9, 2014, 8:10 AM

I saw that the rides were being removed... Was surprised to learn a) there was a hard rock park, and b) that things didn't work out. It strikes me as something that should have - right location, strong international brand, good theme, strong reviews.

Theme park university has great articles on it, was interesting to see it through development... and yeah, that pic made me laugh.

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