I recently took a trip to Hersheypark, which is the best amusement park in the country, and home to 13 of many roller coasters in Pennsylvania, which is one of my favorite states, and home to 2.8 million three-way stop signs, which is my least favorite form of intersection.
I know what you’re thinking. Calling Hersheypark the best park in the country is a big statement, but it really isn’t. That’s how the amusement industry works. Every year, parks around the world release new headlining rides, touting all of the new records they’ve broken, until the next biggest thrill comes out a few weeks later. Most of them feature something “special” or gimmicky, until someday, 50 years from now, we’ll have a ride that will do your laundry and heal all of your medical crises. Then, two weeks later, Six Flags will announce that theirs has a high-speed appendicitis detection lift hill.
So I really liked Hersheypark. Every ride there has a creative twist and a special character, like party-size Tostitos, or that one friend who only orders from the Starbucks secret menu. Every time I go to Hershey, I always admire the designers for shoehorning rides into that space, using so much intense creativity and design prowess to make it all work. And by now I hear you crying “But how can we be a part of that process? And where is my bag of Tostitos?”
You see, while most of the general public will enjoy going to theme parks, theme park design is such a niche market that it becomes incredibly difficult to work in that part of the industry, unless you know all of the right people. Allow me to provide a few examples.
Example #1: You fly to Orlando to go to IAAPA, so that you can network, see the newest entertainment innovations, and gorge yourself on pizza and ice cream. As you walk onto the floor, you trip, fall, and break your coccyx in three places in the process. The doctor says you should be an accountant instead.
Example #2: You send in an application to an amusement design firm. When you receive a confirmation email that they have received your résumé, you jump from your chair in excitement, knocking your chair over in the process. You land back down on the edge, breaking your coccyx in three places. The doctor says you should be a historian instead.
Example #3: You take matters into your own hands, and decide to form your own design firm. You launch an all new product, but a mere week later, a big name manufacturer launches a ride that nearly matches yours. Out of rage, you break your coccyx in three places. The doctor says you should be a physicist instead.
So as you can see, finding your way into the amusement industry can be a challenging route. And that’s why we’re here. For you. And your coccyx. We’re here to help you find the resources necessary to make a name for yourself in the theme park world, whether you want to be in engineering, management, interior design, or so much more. Theme park design is a multifaceted process, and every piece is all integral to the success of the places we call home during the summer, because no mom, driving the car over a few hills doesn’t count as a credit AND I NEED MORE CREDITS. And you don’t have to be a theme park expert to be a part of TPED, that’ll come later. The amusement industry is an exciting and ever-evolving one, and we want to foster a passion to create world class experiences within it.