Since having started my journey as The Theme Park Guy® back in 2007 – and I have spent the price tag of a roller coaster doing this – I have acquired invaluable field insights into over 300 theme and water parks covering more than 135 countries.
I am on the ground during all stages of development, examining construction sites, operational successes and post-fun graveyards, mingling with industry professionals over hundreds of lunches, dinners and site visits, witnessing things succeed and fail.
This, coupled with tons of inside statistics gathered through thethemeparkguy.com and themeparX.com – these reach millions of visitors – allows me to get a little closer everyday to understanding what distinguishes a theme or water park that works from one that doesn't. As of 2015, I am working on my own attraction concept prototype, but I may also assist you on your journey, and do so very efficiently.
Please navigate through the menu links to learn how I can help you specifically.
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 can take 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.
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.
I look forward to hearing from you. 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. Most of them do not.
Here's a common story: excited governors dance the tango with unwary 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 how much it will enrich the community and 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.
They will then get a theme park, complete with a Wild West Town, looping 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.
If that was you who danced that tango, shortly thereafter you will struggle to maintain the park, and after a couple of years of decay and staff layoffs, you'll 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. I have seen it happening so many times.
So, why not invest in a casino, hotel, mall or parking lot instead? Because – and this is crucial – 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, hotels, malls and parking lots, by themselves, cannot.
Consider the movie business, which is about taking the risk/gamble of building emotional attachments – there's huge potential for profits! Now, you are even better off than them, because theme and water parks can't be fileshared. Those parks that manage to build up that emotional attachment are perfectly profitable and grow healthily. Note, you do NOT necessarily need a pre-existing IP to build your theme park brand.
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.
Three free (sample) tips for investors:
- See a theme park as part of a bigger picture. That stand-alone theme park in the middle of nowhere rarely works.
- Don't save on the INITIAL designers and suppliers. An ugly theme park is nearly impossible to fix. I've never seen one turn around, anywhere.
- We are currently working on a game-changing, unique attraction concept that may bring the break-even point down to three years. Curious? Inquire here.
HEADHUNTING THEME PARK EXECUTIVES
Having networked and met close to 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. In 2013, four theme park executives have found new expatriate positions through me.
Having been to almost 140 countries (and most of the world's theme parks) helps, since I can relate to – and speak about – the destination the candidate would be heading to. My non-negotiable rates are very competitive, and I guarantee you no headhunter will provide you such value and save you so much time. Get in touch with me here to discuss your criteria and time frame.
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.
Here is a great offer for theme park brands, suppliers, contractors and ride manufacturers. First and foremost, if we haven't met yet, I look forward to get to know you in person soon. And second, I can help you get much more exposure for your brand, products or services right away:
The themeparX Construction Board has ALL your potential clients on-site, many of them silent readers. We've got only one single prime advertising slot on it, which will make sure you are seen by everyone – theme park operators, visitors, investors, government officials and, rest assured, all your competitors. Over 73,000 visitors have left their email on-site, so we know who's watching.
If your ad is designed smartly, themeparX.com can deliver several hundred targeted visitors/leads to your company site monthly. Frankly, it is as good as exhibiting at a trade show, and you can run it all year long.
Take a look here, and book your ad for currently only US$3,900 per year here.
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.
I receive a lot of calls daily. To make sure we get the opportunity to speak, please do send a quick message first, then call.
Stefan Zwanzger +65 9448 2753
aka The Theme Park Guy®
Reg. No. 53314407L
76 Shenton, #21-04
Theme Park Holding Ltd.
11/F, Po Cheong Commercial Bldg
29 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui
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Headhunting (no one can do that better in this industry, you will get a guaranteed result!):
US$7,500 retainer + 1 month's salary commission. Very reasonable. 50% of the retainer will be refunded in the (very unlikely) event that no matching candidate is found within 10 days.
Consulting (on ideas, contacts, rides, procedures, experiences and common mistakes):
US$480 (1 hour) or US$780 (2 hours) consulting fee, thereafter negotiable
Masterplanning, Design, Ride Supply, Project Management, Operations:
I know over 1,000 theme park professionals in person and can perfectly point you to the right people for your project. Please refer to the consulting fees above.
themeparX.com Managed Solution & Advertising:
If you are interested in the US$3,900/year advertising offer, or the US$990/month managed solution, please inquire through the contact form and refer to 'themeparX'.
Collaboration on articles, including content such as research & high-res pictures:
US$1,100 flat rate + US$200-2,000 per picture. Quotes are free.