Prizes, The Future and A Thank You

On behalf of the staff here at Theme Park University, we wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who has stumbled across our new site.  This truly was a gamble on if there was going to be an audience who wanted to get a “peek behind the curtain” of themed entertainment and we couldn’t be happier with the reaction.

Hard Rock Park

If you would have told me the reaction to the Hard Rock Park series was this strong, I never would have believed it. The overwhelming response has been far beyond my expectations. The product was far from perfect, but it was one of the most unique projects in theme park history. Theme Park University is proud to be the only place where you can find the history of how the park came to be, the unique experiences they had to offer in the summer of 2008 and what lead to it’s ultimate demise.

Hard Rock Park Roadies Stunt Show

Photo by Josh Young

For those of you who loved the series, the good news is, there is actually a little more to come. Intentionally, I left out several important aspects of the park including entertainment, food and beverage offerings, and their unique approach to training and empowering front-line employees.

Many “Rockers” who worked at Hard Rock Park have reached out to me, telling me that working at the park that summer was the best job of their entire life. Theme park employees are a unique breed and special bonds are formed with co-workers, making friends with people who you stay connected to your entire life.  If you worked for Hard Rock Park and you would like to share your story with me, feel free to drop me a line at Your story and photos might be featured in a future article!

Pop Quiz

As a thank you to the readers of Theme Park University, we are holding our first Pop Quiz Giveaway! You could be the lucky recipient of what is now considered a collector’s item! On the handful of trips I made to Hard Rock Park back in the summer of 2008, I snagged ten original park maps and luckily they are in excellent condition.

Scattered throughout the Hard Rock Park series on Theme Park University are several “lessons” I intentionally threw in to give a better understanding of how the theme park business works. Sneaky, eh? The good news is, the test is “open book” so feel free to go back into the Hard Rock Park series to find the answers. Rules are as follows:

All Quizzes must be turned in by midnight on May 24th, Eastern Standard Time. In order to win, you must get all five answers correct and follow our Facebook Theme Park University Fan Page. Out of the quizzes that are turned in that receive an A+, ten will be chosen at random to receive an original Hard Rock Park map. Winners will be announced on our TPU Facebook Fan Page on May 26th and contacted by personal message via Facebook. Cut and paste the quiz with answers and e-mail to for your chance to win:

1.  What type of licenses did I say should be obtained to play popular music in a theme park?

2.  According to the old marketing adage, how many times does a customer need to see an ad before they will spend money at a new business?

3.  What design feature did All Access Entry Plaza have that was intentionally used to try get guests to “slow down”?

4.  ___ ___ is a financial term used to guesstimate how much money each guest spends once they enter a business.

5.  If a guest did not want to ride a particular attraction at Hard Rock Park, they followed a “chicken exit” sign that featured what?

Best of luck to everyone and thanks so much for supporting Theme Park University!!

sleepdeprivation - Copy

The Future

Moving forward, we have some exciting articles coming including a review on a unique wrestling dinner show in Orlando, a look a Sea World’s newest attraction Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin and a behind-the-scenes look at a show featuring the largest animatronics ever created.  It’s an exciting time here at Theme Park University, but I need your help.

If you are in the themed entertainment industry and would like to see your project, past or present, featured on Theme Park University – we want to hear from you! Our goal is to showcase how themed entertainment attractions are designed, constructed, operated and maintained by giving readers a glimpse at the process.

We are also looking for contributors outside of the United States! If you are a theme park junkie like us and would like to help showcase your favorite park or attraction, drop me a line at

If there is any particular theme park attraction or park you would like to see featured on TPU, leave it in the comments section below and our research team will see what we can do to feature an article about your favorite theme park topic!

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  1. jedited
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I would like to see a few things.
    First, I would like to see a “job office” for the “university” with a series of articles about the major players in theme park design and construction, both internal departments and external groups. Not necessarily with contact info, but so that we can see that it’s not just Disney Imagineering and Universal Creative. Maybe a setup article with a “scorecard” and then a few profile articles. I would like to see maybe how the external groups interact with the internal groups and how that relationship has evolved over time.
    Second, I would like to see more articles about the smaller, independant operators. Disney, Universal, Sea World/Busch and even Cedar Fair get lots of love elsewhere. I would like to see more articles about the lesser known parks. Plus, sometimes like in the case of Hard Rock, their stories are more interesting.
    Third, with Hard Rock in mind, I would like to see more articles about other “lost” parks in the same vein as the Hard Rock articles.

    • Josh Young
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Jedited, it’s as if you are reading my mind.

      As far as discussing the relationship that vendors have with Disney/Universal/Sea World – that’s a slippery slope. Most outside sources that provide part of an attraction, especially creative, often have a clause in their contract stating they can’t disclose the work they did with the media (that includes me). So while I would love to share the amazing work that some of these vendors provide for the major players, once the public relations people who work the park see it on my site, they would have me remove it. Crazy, I know, but this has actually happened before to other websites. I can’t afford a lawsuit, and frankly, neither can the vendors.

      However, highlighting what those vendors have done outside of the major theme park players? That really is my goal. I completely agree that Disney, Universal and the big players get tons of coverage on other sites while other parks are virtually non-existant. I am currently working on getting information on the former MGM Grand Theme Park in Las Vegas as well as the Wizard of Oz Theme Park that was going to go into Kansas. So look for those articles coming soon(ish)!

      • jedited
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        I figured you couldn’t give details about specific projects, but I was looking for more of a general overview of what types of services, etc that they provide, how involved they get, etc. I thought some of it was public. I thought that the announcement that Garner Holt was making all of Disney’s figures was public?

        I actually went to the MGM park once during a bachelor party trip. I don’t remember much (no, we weren’t drinking, but we did stay up ALL night), but I do remember the motion simulator, hybrid trip to Mars (I think). And I do remember that the front gate was desperate to get us in the gate. They gave us a military discount even though none of us were in the military (most of us had long hair at the time too).

        • Josh Young
          Posted May 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          You don’t happen to have any pictures from the park, do you? I never got a chance to go.

          • jedited
            Posted May 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

            No sorry.
            I was in my earlier 20s with a bunch of other 20 year old guys and we were only there for maybe 2 or 3 hours.

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