Welcome! This is Stefan Zwanzger, also known as The Theme Park Guy®. I am glad you have found us.
Since having started my journey back in 2007 – and I have spent the price tag of a roller coaster doing this – I have acquired field insights into over 350 theme parks and attractions covering 150 countries.
I have been on the ground during all stages of development, examining construction sites, successes and failures, having met and knowing over a thousand park owners and industry professionals in person.
" The world's foremost authority on theme parks "
(June 2016)" Man Spends Life Traveling the World Visiting Theme Parks "
- Huffington Post
This, coupled with tons of inside statistics gathered through our platforms themeparX™ and The Theme Park Guy® – these reach millions of visitors – allows me to get a little closer everyday to understanding what distinguishes an attraction that works from one that doesn't. I may assist you on your journey, and do so very efficiently.
Please navigate through the menu links to learn how I can help you. We also offer tailor-made products for a range of clients, such as
Suppliers & Manufacturers, Owners & Operators and Executives, HR and Job Seekers. I look very much forward to hearing from you!
Setting up a theme park is a challenging and risky undertaking. A flawed concept can ruin it right from the start, and you may never be able to fix the initial mess later on. Breaking even takes 7 years or longer.
There are plenty of theme and water park consultants, designers, ride suppliers and operators out there. Most of them I have met in real life. I know what they did, when they did it, and in the majority of instances I have witnessed on the ground how their product and/or work performed in the end.
" Stefan probably has more on-the-ground knowledge about the global theme park business than anyone in the world "
- Andrew Darrow
Having physically been to more theme and water parks in more countries than anybody else alive (take a glimpse at my passport),
I have had countless in-depth conversations with investors and government officials behind the projects, and I have learned and continue to learn what works and what does not. You will find few people who are more committed to this industry than I am.
In many instances I will not be the right person to get your project off the ground, but I will perfectly be able to direct you to a company or individual who fits your vision, requirements, experience and budget.
I can get you in contact with the right people, for your specific circumstances. Call or email me here. I strive to get back within 24 hours, even on Sundays.
I'll be frank. Some theme and water parks generate a good and healthy long-term return on investment.
Many of them do not.
Here's a common story: unwary & excited governors dance the tango with unwary & excited investors and decide to bring that leisurely missing something to their country or community. They haven't done this before. But they feel they know how it should look (like Disneyland) and that it will create local jobs and attract international tourists. Since they associate Disney quality with a price tag of billions, they will look for the best value in negotiations. And they will find consultants, designers and suppliers who are happy to assist them within the budget constraints.
" Independent, cosmopolitan and visionary entrepreneur. Stefan is one of the few rainmakers you may meet in your life. "
- Thomas Hessler
Investor – sold his first business for $280 million
They will then get a theme park, complete with a Wild West Town, roller coaster, log flume ride, dolphin show and a costumed oversized yellow plush dragon character to hug the kids. The whole thing will open. And yes, people will come. Many people.
They will come once. Not twice. With time I have come to understand that people don't fall for this, even if they live in an underdeveloped country and have never traveled. Everybody can sense the love in things. And there's no warmth in the eyes of the oversized yellow plush dragon. Another lousy theme park is born.
If that was you who danced that tango, you will subsequently struggle to maintain the park, and after a couple of years misery, either decide to abandon the project, or demolish it and sell the land to a juice factory warehouse. The tanned juice factory owner will shake your hand, and with a healthy smile ask you if you have tried space tourism, too. No, you haven't. This experience will have made you look 30 years older. And trust me, it has happened many times.
So, why not invest in a casino, mall or parking lot instead? Because you can get it right, too: theme and water parks, if crafted with passion, can create an emotional attachment – like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter do. Casinos, malls and parking lots cannot.
" We engaged Stefan on the spot, and his feedback was invaluable to us! "
- Jonathan Gray
Real Estate Millionaire & Founder, First Idea Ltd.
The movie business is all about taking the risk of building emotional attachments – and they make money! Now, you are even better off than them, because theme parks can't be fileshared. Those that manage to build up emotional attachment are profitable and grow healthily.
I can help you avoid grave mistakes right from the beginning; blunders that can cost you millions or even your entire investment. I am someone with an affinity for taking risks myself – I became an entrepreneur at age 19, hold German citizenship but haven't lived back home since 2005 and spent a fortune visiting and trying to understand theme and water parks worldwide. No one else ever did that. If you prefer consulting with somebody who has a wide angle on life, not a comfort zone guy, I am the right man for you. And if I don't know something, I will point you to the person who does. Contact me here.
- Don't save on the INITIAL designers & suppliers. An ugly theme park is impossible to fix. I've never seen one turn around, anywhere.
- We are working on a unique, game-changing attraction concept. Inquire here.
The Theme Park Guy in the press. Full list:
The National Abu Dhabi
The Theme Park Guy in the press. Full list (2):
CBS News / Associated Press
Fox News / AOL Travel
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Investor's Business Daily
Yahoo Middle East
ABC Radio (Australia)
Radio Charivari (Germany)
The Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World & British Best Days Out
Hong Kong Apple Next Media
...and many more, e.g. Deutschlandradio (Germany), Ekstra Bladet (Denmark), Focus (Italy), Foreign Policy Mag (USA), Khaleejesque (Kuwait), La Repubblica (Italy), View Magazin (Germany), etc.
HEADHUNTING THEME PARK EXECUTIVES
Having met over a thousand theme park professionals personally over the years, I can perfectly help you find executives and creative specialists for your project – CEOs, GMs, VPs, project managers, designers, engineers, marketers.
I have a professional attitude and results can be achieved fast, much faster than non-industry related headhunters can deliver. Since 2013, we have referred and placed many theme park executives across Asia, the GCC and Africa. Contact us!
" Stefan is very professional to work with "
- Steve Sanderson
CEO, Sanderson Group
OWNERS & OPERATORS
Safeguard Consulting (for fewer leaks):
Even the biggest theme park brands pay too little attention to safeguarding what is supposed to stay confidential. During my years of scrutinizing theme park construction sites, I found myself in situations where I could have picked up top-secret contracts and blueprints without even trespassing. Just a little unwary stupidity can leak ride systems, technology and storylines out of your control for good.
Being the guy on the other side, who appreciates seeing all these leaks on his website, I can discuss strategy with you on how to avoid this from happening.
Get A themeparX™ Supplier ACCOUNT. JUMP TO TESTIMONIALS
Here is a great offer for theme park suppliers, manufacturers, IPs & consultants (operators/owners: this way please). We can help you get much more global exposure for your brand, products or services, and unlike at expos where you get an attention spike for three days, with us it lasts 365 days a year:
The themeparX Construction Board has ALL your potential clients on-site, many of them silent readers. Over 155,000 (!) visitors have left their email with us, so we know who is watching.
With a themeparX™ Supplier Account you will receive a huge ad which runs and rotates throughout all our 600+ pages (hundreds of thousands of impressions for you), a SEO-power link to your corporate page, an entry in our Supplier Directory (now the world's most visited; prepare for 100,000+ impressions) which includes being credited & linked from every single theme park construction page. Learn more here.
Email us and ask for more information! We will get back to you within 24h.
Given my background as a filmmaker and cartoonist, ride design is my true delight in the theme park industry. This is what I really want to do: revolutionize the ride experience and bring it much closer to the adventure, dimension and depth of performing and visual arts, motion pictures, and real-life interaction.
The word immersive is overused in connection with every other new high-budget theme park ride. But the majority of dark rides are little more than a combination of predictable effects, stiff animatronics and raucous noise, lacking turning points and a comprehensible, captivating storyline. If you want me on board to create the cutting-edge experience of tomorrow, I'm all open. Take a look at my past here:
The Theme Park Guy® has been featured in countless publications such as AP, CNN, Fast Company, Focus, Foreign Policy, Frankfurter Allgemein Zeitung, Huffington Post, La Repubblica, LA Times, The Telegraph, The Unofficial Guide to Disney World, and The National, among others. If you are simply looking into a quote for a park opening, or an opinion, give me a call on +65 9448 2753, I'm always happy to help!
Collaboration on theme park related stories is also possible, please send me an e-mail.
Use of Photos:
As you can imagine I have spent a small fortune taking all these theme and water park photographs around the world. If you'd like to use up to three of them online keeping the watermark, you are invited to do it for free, as long as you place a visible link to my site. If you are looking for high-res versions without the watermark for your print publication, please get in touch with me for pricing. You will then receive written permission to use them in that specific edition and a proper invoice.
Here is an interview with Michael Mack
Here is a short video we shot in Dubailand
I get over 100 emails per day. To ensure we get the opportunity to speak, please do send a quick message first, then call.
Theme Park Holding Ltd.
CR No 2220686
3905 Two Exchange Square
8 Connaught Place, Central
Cell: +968 7198 6437
(I'll likely be traveling and reachable on a different number. Write first please!)
Thank you !
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Rates/Fees (updated SEP 2018)
Headhunting (no one can do that better, you'll get a guaranteed result, and fast!):
US$5,000 retainer + 1 month's salary commission. Very reasonable. 50% of the retainer will be refunded in the (very unlikely) event no matching candidate is found within 7 days.
Consulting (on ideas, contacts, rides, procedures, experiences and common mistakes):
US$1,000 inital consultation fee (includes 2 hours in person, on the phone or on Skype), thereafter negotiable. Please understand, there is no free initial consultation.
Masterplanning, Design, Ride Supply, Project Management, Operations:
I know thousands of theme park professionals in person and can perfectly point you to the right people for your project. Please refer to the consulting fees above.
Collaboration on articles, including quotes, content & pictures from our library:
Free for publications reaching 1M. Otherwise US$1,000 flat rate + US$500 per picture.