Show Writing

Stages in Attraction Show Writing

The stages in the process of writing an attraction tend to vary from project to project depending on the specific requirements, but you are correct in assuming there is a general pattern to the process. However, the “Guest Experience” is not necessarily the first of the stages leading up to the script draft. There are, in fact, several documents that are generally produced before we reach that point, although those preliminary stages may not necessarily be submitted to the client. The usual pattern is similar to the process you’d take if you were composing a feature film screenplay, though...
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Tales from the Jungle Cruise

The Day O.J. Simpson Visited the Jungle Cruise The following is a true story that happened at Disney’s Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom in 1998 to Skipper Andrew. To set the story up, there are a few things you must know. First of all, it is forbidden for any Disney cast member to approach a celebrity, ask for an autograph, or treat them in any way other than any other park guest. ‘Everyone is a VIP at Disney,’ as the mantra goes. So for a Cast Member to accidentally recognize or acknowledge a celebrity is a potential point...
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Design Tools

SketchUp

Design Tools: What tools are used? One subject that themedattraction.com has not addressed yet is the question of design tools: That is, what tools are used by designers to create theme park attractions? Sketchup is a great new tool for theme park designers. It allows a designer to quickly take a two dimensional AutoCad drawing and elevate it, quickly turning it into a three dimensional object. As a theme park consultants, we frequently create new attractions from scratch using their easy-to-use interface. The drawings are simple to both import and export to and from Autocad, making it a truly...
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I want to contact an Imagineer at WDI. How do I do this?

Eddie – I would like to contact Joe Lanzisero. Is there anyone who may have his mailing address? I have an idea for a concept/theme for Disney World that I would like to share with him. I don’t want any money. I don’t want to become an Imagineer. I just want him to listen to the idea. If he likes it, I would love no more than the joy of seeing it become a reality. Any suggestions? Thanks, Edwin Edwin – Nothing stops you from calling WDI (818-544-6500) and looking him up. My experience with WDI legal policy is...
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Themed Attraction Design, Part Three The Sixth Sense, the Story, and the Cliche`

In part one we explained how an immersive themed environment creates an envelope around the viewer with the intent to convince him that what he is experiencing is real.  This is accomplished by designing an environment that influences all five sense. But how do we complete the task?  How do we take a passive viewer and pull him from a relaxed realm as an observer into a realm of fantasy that truly seems real?  Part of the answer is in what we like to call the sixth sense.   In themed entertainment, this sixth sense is the imagination or the...
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How can I share my ideas with Disney?

Eddie – I would like to contact Joe Lanzisero. Is there anyone who may have his mailing address? I have an idea for a concept/theme for Disney World that I would like to share with him. I don’t want any money. I don’t want to become an Imagineer. I just want him to listen to the idea. If he likes it, I would love no more than the joy of seeing it become a reality. Any suggestions? Thanks, Edwin Edwin – Nothing stops you from calling WDI (818-544-6500) and looking him up. My experience with WDI legal policy is...
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Themed Attraction Design, Part One. Immersive Environments

Environments Like storytelling, illustration, or musical composition, the design of immersive theme park attractions is very much an art form. An artist’s canvas is limited in that it can only be seen. A motion picture or at a stage production is limited to sight and sound. But an immersive theme park attraction utilizes all the senses in order to seemingly take a person on a journey to the ends of the earth, or beyond. This experience oriented architecture is much more complex than many forms of art or entertainment because it must be cater to all the senses. Seeing...
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Show control: It’s all about the timing

“The key to great storytelling is not just in the content, but in the timing. . .” — Tom Soranno He’s a talented ride and show engineer who has played a major role in the design of many of the world’s newest and complex theme park rides.  Here’s our exclusive interview with Tom Soranno, ride and show engineer with ITEC Entertainment Corporation in Orlando, Florida. Nate Naversen:  Thanks for agreeing to this interview Tom. Just to start off, can you tell us a little bit about your position? Tom Soranno: Well, as a themed entertainment engineer, I am one...
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How to protect your intellectual property

Eddie – Once you have an idea and a portfolio made up for it, how do you make sure that the people you present it to do not reject you and then steal your idea. How can you prove it is yours? Steve Davis Steve – How do you keep them from stealing your attraction idea from your portfolio? You really can’t. If someone really wants it, they change it a bit and take it. In fact, when I was at WDI, I wasn’t even allowed to look at submitted ideas for projects without legal approval, which they almost...
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Adobe Photoshop

Design Tools: What tools are used? One subject that themedattraction.com has not addressed yet is the question of design tools: That is, what tools are used by designers to create theme park attractions? Photoshop is an invaluable tool in the creation of theme park attractions. Every show set designer should have at least a rudimentary working knowledge of photoshop. The beauty of this program is that like any computer program, it allows you to correct mistakes. Many of us remember the ‘old days’ when we would draw and redraw on a single piece of paper. The paper was handld...
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Imagineering Bio: Ollie Johnson

Oliver Martin Johnston, Jr. (born on October 31, 1912 in Palo Alto, California) is a pioneer in the field of motion picture animation. He was one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, and the last living member. His work was recognized with the National Medal of Arts in 2005.He was a directing animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935-1978. He contributed to many films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi and Pinocchio. His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers, which was the last film of the second golden age of Disney animation that had...
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Tales from the Disneyworld Jungle Cruise

Candid stories from a former Disneyworld Jungle Cruise skipper By R.C. Loveland When I was being trained on the Jungle Cruise I learned about a trick the trainers liked to play on their trainees. I was taking a “dead” (empty) trip with my trainer to practice my spiel. He was sitting in the back of the boat and I was, of course, up front. We entered the temple so I sat down and watched the scenery. As I got to the end of the temple I stood up and turned around to get ready to spiel again. When I...
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