The Revolution Blog

Tales from the trenches of theme park design

Thursday, May 25, 2023

You probably don’t lie awake at night thinking “What’s it like to be a theme park designer?” But then again, maybe you do. There are plenty of worse jobs than spending your days conjuring new ways to thrill visitors with rides and attractions (safely, of course, with your excellent command of physics, math and engineering). Safety, creativity and engineering—hey! That’s our jam.

And it’s why we enjoyed this account from Theme Park Designer Taylor Jeffs. Jeffs is living his best life overseeing some of the world’s most “immersive rides and parks” as co-owner, president and chief creative officer for California-based Legacy Entertainment.

According to the article, Jeffs was just 24-years-old when he designed and produced his first attraction, the “Glow in the Park” family-friendly night parade at Six Flags Mexico. Since then, he’s worked on such high-profile gigs as Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Hollywood-themed Studio City Macau and Korea’s Lotte World, the largest indoor amusement park on the planet.

The first step to any design, says Jeffs, is a feasibility study, followed by a “blue sky” brainstorm where anything goes—outlandish restaurant concepts, crazy landscapes, you name it. After going back and forth with clients on several diagrams and iterations, details get specific enough to start construction. What are some of Jeffs’ more outlandish ideas that have passed the amusement test?

There’s the “Pacific Rim: Shatterdome Strike” ride at Trans Studio Cibubur, part of Indonesia’s largest theme park chain. It’s a dark ride spectacle with a twist: as the vehicle moves through a black-light and special-effects experience, the ride breaks down halfway through, forcing passengers to continue on foot while a monster attacks them. Sometimes, the cool factor is in the display itself, like when Jeffs also got the greenlight to build the world’s first figure-eight “Golden Reel” Ferris Wheel in the middle of a hotel in Studio City Macau.

Crazy ideas aside, it’s all about satisfying commercial needs. Says Jeffs, “It’s an art and a science – these two things have to meet. Capacity drives everything, so we need to make sure that there’s plenty to do and people don’t spend their entire visit waiting in line.”

We know what you mean about capacity driving everything, Jeff. Perhaps we can discuss a caster fantasy world collab?

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