UK theme parks from another point of view!

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fredward

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Mon Nov 22, 2010 3:39 pm

On your website it says your a Design Consultant for the theme park industry. How much engineering have you had to do in your career? Since doing Product Design at University, I've learnt that a lot of design consultancy's will design an incredibly innovative concept and fantastic designs and then leave it to engineer's to get the design to work in real life. Hopefully I could become a Design Consultant for theme parks without needing to know engineering due to the fact my physics is awful! (I have good maths though! :lol:)

trying to get a question i'm very intrested in and which is hopefully not to common he would have answered 1000 before!

also could you sign my nemesis guitar i'm in the process of building! :oops:
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:20 pm

"moog666" wrote:
How often do you read forums like ours when developing a new ride and what impact if any do they make on the decisions that are made?

Seconded - good question.

Also have to agree with Spike, though in fairness after the first 2-3 pages things did calm down a little.
 
Jordan

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:07 pm

Being a big dark ride fan, I have to ask about some of his previous dark ride work :)

Out of all the dark rides you have worked on, which has been your favourite and why? If you could give one piece of advice inparticular that you have learned from your work on dark rides, what would it be?

Also, do you think that modern business procedure of 'cost-benefit analysis' when building new attractions risks stifling creativity to a degree? (i.e. 'the woodie problem' or generically-themed dark rides)
 
Martin.C
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:30 pm

(Sorry if this has been mentioned):

Q) John, is there still hope for a wooden roller coaster, for Alton Towers, in the near future? :)
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Jared
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:44 pm

You've mentioned prior to this that you have a great relationship with Walter Bollinger and Claude Mabillard, but when it comes to helping with the development of new rides and concepts with them, how much creative control do they allow you to have?

How did you come to be involved in the development of new concepts and ideas with B&M?
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Jordan

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:04 pm

"CCJared" wrote:
You've mentioned prior to this that you have a great relationship with Walter Bollinger and Claude Mabillard, but when it comes to helping with the development of new rides and concepts with them, how much creative control do they allow you to have?

How did you come to be involved in the development of new concepts and ideas with B&M?


"CCJared" wrote:
You've mentioned prior to this that you have a great relationship with Walter Bollinger and Claude Mabillard, but when it comes to helping with the development of new rides and concepts with them, how much creative control do they allow you to have?


Nice to see a varied selection of questions being posted here :P ;)
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:40 am

"Badgy" wrote:
My question if not been asked before:

Do you consider that the building restrictions place on Alton Towers can actually help rather than hinder the creation of a more immersive and better ride experience? Whilst obviously considerably more expensive, Nemesis on a flat piece of concrete would not be anything like the coaster it remains to this day. Maybe to a lesser extent Oblivion without the tunnel too.

Badgy.


Seconded, its a good question.
 
DiogoJ42

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:00 pm

Here's one:
in the ideal world, assuming you were allowed to, what would you build for the infamous cross valley coaster? Would you stick to the plan for a woody, or have you had a better idea by now?
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:08 pm

I'd love to know what he really thinks about Merlin altering his work - whether that's the "revamps" of Haunted House and Bubbleworks, or Thorpe's inverter sharing the Nemesis brand.

I'd be very interested to hear about his work for non-Merlin parks - for example his role in the story of Megafobia. Also, I understood that he worked for BPB at some point - possibly only on the shows though?

With a ride like Saw, how much difference does it make when Merlin is using a third-party inteleectual property, rather than creating their own theme from scratch? Was there a back-up plan in case the ride did not get the Saw licence?

At what stage in the development of Nemesis did they realise they were going to have to compete for the limelight with 2 other new coasters - The Big One at BPB and (to a lesser extent) Shockwave at DMP? Did that affect their work in any way? What were relations like between the three?






"Blaze" wrote:
Now that rollercoasters have reached the lilit of what humans can physically endure, where do you envisage the future of the ride type?


If anything, surely coaster have become tamer in recent years? Of all the truly intense coasters I can remember riding, none of them are less than around 15 years old. If anything, I'd say the only limit that has been reached is the limit of how big a ride parks can afford to build.
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:23 pm

I certainly second any questions involving the future of Duel and his opinions on the alleged meddling with his other classic dark rides.


And for my personal question:

Given your rich heritage of Dark Rides and thrilling coasters, will the new projects you're involved with continue to merge the two, in the way SAW and Thirteen have done? I think that this creates an immersive and thrilling experience, the like of which we've perhaps been lacking in the UK. Do you think that Merlin will be able to create immersive attractions that are on par with their top competitors (Disney, Universal)?
In the coat you wore to Alton Towers is still the way I see you now...
 
Jordan

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:52 pm

"jp235" wrote:
I'd love to know what he really thinks about Merlin altering his work - whether that's the "revamps" of Haunted House and Bubbleworks, or Thorpe's inverter sharing the Nemesis brand.


Just a quick thought, I doubt that John would be happy answering these questions considering he is currently employed by Merlin and no doubt has a good relationship with them. I'm sure we can all have a good guess at what he would respond to the Haunted House/Bubbleworks question (in fact it was briefly touched on in The Season Pass' first interview with him), and I think it would be quite unfair on him to keep asking him these questions which I expect he would try to answer very awkwardly...
 
Rowe

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:56 pm

Here's another few more questions by me, Chessington based:

1. Tussauds accepted your plan to reinvigorate Chessington back in the 1980s, which successfully brought back visitors in large numbers through your creative input and many, many ideas that still exist today on park. Ride, rollercoaster, area, any aspect of the park: Which part do you feel is your biggest success? And which part do you feel is your favourite?

2. You were heavily involved with The Fifth Dimension back in 1987 and as seen from archive photos and the soundtrack, it looked like an incredible dark ride, almost like theatrical brilliance. Now I'm aware this has already been covered partially on the Season Pass Podcast dark ride episode, but I would like to ask:

a. How did the idea for The Fifth Dimension first come about and were there any other theme ideas you/the Tussauds team came up with as well? Why weren't these themes chosen? Are there any parts of the ride that were cut out at the last minute that you specifically created?

b. Douglas Adams was said to have contributed to the project in its earlier days but left due to, I'm assuming, creative differences or other project commitments. How did it feel to have a specific genre writer join you in shaping a cult attraction?

3. You have had a lot of creative input into the animatronics that have lived and worked within the park since the 1980s. For example the pneumatic elephant at the end of Dragon Falls and the organist in the Vampire station, both still working. Well just. Which of the animatronics was toughest to create in order to spark a fun reaction from visitors?
Last edited by Rowe on Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
[Archive]

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:06 pm

Theatrical brilliance is my term, isn't it? I remember making it up when I was writing one of the wiki articles. :P

Maybe it is his, I can't remember. He definitely said "it was a piece of theatre", but I don't remember him saying "theatrical brilliance". I am pretty sure he would be more humble that call one of his rides "theatrically brilliant", too. He definitely never said it when describing the Fifth Dimension, in fact towards the end of his little speech on the 5th D he said quite the opposite - that it was a it of a failure.

I wrote it on the Duel page months ago, saying "they swapped Theatrical Brilliance for Tacky Gimmickiness". And I am pretty sure I can remember coming up with it as an OTT term to describe John Wardley's godliness. Hmm...

So, John, did you come up with the term Theatrical Brilliance or not? :P

______________

I would also like to ask about Sparks Creative Services. I will add these to my original post to keep my queries grouped together.
 
Rowe

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:10 pm

Oh, alright then Bill! I didn't realise until now, because it did sound like something he would genuinely use in order to wow the guests but oh well. That certainly shows how influential you are then.

*Goes to edit*

Well anyway, it would be interesting to have a question on Sparks and their reliability for special effects, perhaps :P
 
[Archive]

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:19 pm

Just being picky. :lol:

Yeah, I refrained form asking him a "Why didn't any of their effects work?" type question. :P I am sure that it isn't a coincidence that Sparks Group shut down shortly after so many of the Haunted House effects failed. It make me wonder whether Professor Burp's Bubbleworks had the same problems.
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:56 pm

John. What insight can you give us into some of the Alton coasters that never were? I'm sure there has already been plenty talk about cross-valley woodies, but I'd be really interested to know about the failed Arrow Pipeline ideas.

How far into planning did these designs reach, and what were the proposed themes/layouts/landscaping like?

Also, I don't know if you were involved at all in the massively long, duelling/racing Schwarzkopfs in Forbidden Valley idea? (was this even true?) If so, what stopped these plans getting off the ground and as above, what insight can you give into any preliminary planning?
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:42 pm

Apart from roller coasters and dark ride design for Merlin, have you had any say in what flat rides and medium sized attractions are built in theme parks such as: the double deal with S&S to build Slammer and Rush at Thorpe Park in 2005?
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:31 pm

Not posted for a while, so here goes.

Do you think this on going trend of movie franchises such as charlie and the chocolate factory or the sherk(rumour?) and saw the ride, have a detrimental effect to the imaginations of roller-coaster/ride designers coming up with original concepts for theme parks.Or do you believe that they enrich the ideas by having designers giving us another vehicle for storytelling.
Thank you
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Cheese

Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:13 am

Nemesis was built with a very clear cut backstory in the minds of everybody involved in its creation from an early stage, and it shows in the final ride. Thirteen displays evidence of a far less backstory-driven approach. I know your feelings on backstories are that guests shouldn't need to know them to fully appreciate rides, but how important do you think backstories are from a development perspective? While I realise you can't say much, if anything, about SW7, is its creation being driven by a story? Will the ride have been discovered during routine maintenance, as has become "new Alton Towers ride" tradition?

The story of how the Pipeline plans for SW1 and 2 gave way to Nemesis are well known, but what would "The Secret Weapon" have been like in its final guise had it been built, aside from "inefficient and dull"? Do you think it would have shared Nemesis' immersive atmosphere, and would non-riders have been able to get up close and personal with its layout like they can with Nemesis? Would the storyline have been any more complex than a ride through a sinister complex used to hide away the weapon? It's sometimes said that ideas from its theme influenced Oblivion, but how far did this influence extend?

I've heard that you were involved in planning a wooden coaster for Oakwood before Megafobia, and I think you mentioned indirectly in the Season Pass interviews that you had a hand in Spooky 3D too. I've not visited Oakwood yet, but I'd be interested to hear more about these developments.

Do you think another dark ride of the type you designed for Chessington and Alton in the late 80s and early 90s will ever be built again without the involvement of an intellectual property? It's sad to think that the theme park industry and most guests' expectations of rides today may perhaps have moved too far to make such investment viable, particularly as these can be tricky to market as a new attraction, but I'd be interested to hear your opinion on this.
 
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Re: The John Wardley Interview - Submit Your Questions NOW!

Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:24 am

Over the design period of a new ride you have explained before how ride plans change for many reasons whether it be technological advancements, economic limitations or client specification etc but what is the most regrettable project that 'was never to be'
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