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Old 09-18-2014, 12:15 AM   #1
AussieCaribou
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What would you tell her?

Hi Everyone,

Okay, my 15 year old daughter wants to be an engineer. Specifically, she wants to build theme parks. - Disney theme parks...

So, in Australia, we have very few theme parks and they are two days drive from us and they are not Disney. So, my wonderful hubby (and her awesome father) has planned a trip to the US for us this December to visit some of the amusement parks and theme parks - we are going to Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's, Santa Monica, Mission Beach (San Diego), Sea World, WDW, and DL. We think that this would give her a good grounding in the good and the bad of amusement parks. Yes, we have gone to most before, but this time is about getting her to think about what it would be like to build these parks.

So, here's my question, what would you suggest that she look at when she's at DL/DCA (or we could open that to the other parks too I guess...but trying to keep it to DL here)? What is it that makes Disney so special compared to the other parks?

Thank you for your advice.

~ AussieCaribou
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Old 09-18-2014, 02:34 AM   #2
theluckyrabbit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieCaribou View Post
...So, here's my question, what would you suggest that she look at when she's at DL/DCA (or we could open that to the other parks too I guess...but trying to keep it to DL here)? What is it that makes Disney so special compared to the other parks?..

That is a great question in itself. Why not have her take notes about what she sees at all the places she visits, e.g. what impresses her most/least, what stands out as unusual, or what communicates the theme of that particular theme park, what she would have done differently or better, etc.? Then have her do the same while at DLR. She can then compare the Disney parks with the others based on her own observations and come to some conclusions. This will give her the chance to train her eyes to see the parks (Disney and others) in a new light. Post her conclusions here for more discussion (there should be plenty!).
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Old 09-18-2014, 12:13 PM   #3
Vikingbro
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Has your daughter been introduced to the "Roller Coaster Tycoon" game series? While it is a bit of an older program, it gives a really good idea of what it takes to set-up and run successful theme parks.

I especially like the ability to design/test roller coasters. "Roller Coaster Tycoon 3" even has an option to view the rides from the point of view of the guest!
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Old Yesterday, 01:51 AM   #4
AussieCaribou
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Good idea theluckyrabbit, I will put her notes up here when we get back next year.

Vikingbro, my hubby is going to look into it. Sounds like something that the whole family would like.
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Old Yesterday, 02:04 AM   #5
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I 2nd the Rollercoaster Tycoon games, especially RCT3, I've been playing them as long as I can remember and they really do a good job of covering the basics of running an amusement park. From money management, to theme, to building rides, to hiring staff, you control it all.

While in the parks I'd just have her make note of everything she likes and everything she dislikes, it's hard to narrow down to a few sentences what makes Disney so different but you know it when you see it.

I'd also look into, and start planning, for the Disney College Program now, it's the best way to get her foot in the door with Disney and I think it's almost mandatory at this point if she wants a career with Disney.
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Old Yesterday, 04:07 PM   #6
lalasmama
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There's a series of Disney DVDs about theme park workings, specifically the scientific side of things. The series is called "The Science of Disney Imagineering" and they have 6 or so different subjects: Designs and Models, Newton's 3 Laws of Motion, Gravity, Fluids, Magnetics, Electricity, Energy, Levers and Pulleys, Animal Adaptations, Friction, Trajectory. Wow--11 subjects! We haven't seen them all, which is why I thought there were only 6. Amazon helped me find out about the others just now. I'm not sure if you can get these in Australia, but it's worth looking into!

There's also many books available on theme park design, and, more directly, Disney Imagineering.

Does she have one specific area of interest, such as thrill ride designing or building, atmosphere, food services/experiences, maintenance, responsible living, etc? This could be an avenue to look at as well, since it would give some direction to her future schooling... Afterall, less science is needed if she's looking to something like designing themed food services, and more sciences and design classes are needed if she's interested in taking part in building the next big roller coaster. In making a theme park, from first thought to first rope drop (and all the days thereafter!), it takes so many people to make the dream a reality, and each person is fairly specialized in what they do. Narrowing down her interest area sooner rather than later would be helpful for her.

As for thoughts about when she is here touring, she can make note of things like:

--What is the difference between a theme park, and an amusement park? (That is, the Disneyland resort versus something like Six Flags)
--What makes a good theme park? Amusement park?
--What things seem to matter most? (Often overlooked things--trash cans, recycling cans, bathrooms, food variety, widely varying price point options as much as possible. Walt put an amazing amount of thought into garbage cans; he actually did informal studies to find out how far apart garbage cans should be [17 steps] to avoid people littering!)
--What do you find most welcoming about each place? Most unwelcoming?
--What would you do differently?
--What is the state of repair (or disrepair) of the park?
--Green space versus concrete--how much of each? Why does this matter?
--Resort areas versus parks in the middle of cities--what works? what doesn't work? How does location affect the park? the crowds? the area around the park? How does the park affect the surrounding areas? financial/economic impact? traffic impact? (Think about things like growth potential for the park, employees, traveling, etc)

Addition things to look at, consider, discuss can be based on her area of interests, for instance if she wanted to build rides:
--What makes a good roller coaster? A good family ride? A good water ride? A good thrill ride? A good toddler/preschooler ride? What makes any of these bad?
--What makes a good queue?
--What kind of lighting is needed for the ride?
--What makes a good ride vehicle?
--How important is comfort on any ride? Are there different levels of expected comfort for a ride? (Thinking about how uncomfortable the Matterhorn Bobsleds are, LOL, and how comfortable the Soarin' seats are!)
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Old Today, 01:36 AM   #7
AussieCaribou
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Via Las Disney, the college program is for students in university (having completed year 12) right? In our territory, college is years 11 and 12. My DD is currently 15 and in college. She is hoping to attend the local university and has talked about a 'summer job' at Disney. Looks like we will have to get on line and have a look. lol

lalasmama, thank you. I just copied your info and sent it to my DD.

thank you everyone!
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Old Today, 05:02 AM   #8
Viva Las Disney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieCaribou View Post
Via Las Disney, the college program is for students in university (having completed year 12) right? In our territory, college is years 11 and 12. My DD is currently 15 and in college. She is hoping to attend the local university and has talked about a 'summer job' at Disney. Looks like we will have to get on line and have a look. lol

lalasmama, thank you. I just copied your info and sent it to my DD.

thank you everyone!
Yeah, you have to be over 18 and already completed a year at a university.

Here's the link to the Australia program...

http://ip.disneycareers.com/en/cultu...land/overview/

ETA: and a link to an incredible first hand report of a College Program experience...

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3050629
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Last edited by Viva Las Disney; Today at 05:10 AM.
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Old Today, 06:48 AM   #9
AussieCaribou
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oooh, thank you!
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