The Theme Park Guy

Sep 05

The Moneyjumper

Sep 05, 2021

Here is a fun short film we shot almost 20 years ago.

Little budget, but lots of passion.

Can't wait to get back to filmmaking shortly, continuing production on our theme park movie halted by the pandemic.

Watch it here:

Mar 25

The Supplier 100

Mar 25, 2021

Keen to try? This way please:

Dec 22

Normalcy is near.

Dec 22, 2020

Thank you to all the American, British, French, German, Russian and Chinese scientists for the many sleepless nights in 2020. Merry Christmas!

Nov 30

Get Movin'!

Nov 30, 2020

Here's not a sales pitch, but a PLEA to all the industry suppliers, manufacturers and consultants out there: for the sake of your business and survival, take the internet seriously!!

We deal with a lot of suppliers, all the time. Many run their online presence professionally, show up with an appealing website, ensure they get found, track what's happening and have a process in place to turn visits into leads, and leads into deals.

But there are also way too many who have left their websites abandoned. We've seen crazy things: pages that take 30 seconds to load, 404 errors all over the place, dreadful English, broken contact forms, old contact numbers, no analytics implemented, analytics implemented but no access, clumsy SEO that backfires, self-destructing backlinks, etc.

Nothing can replace the power of physical meetings, expos and conferences, no doubt. But the internet will forever be the place where all of us get found first, including by founders, investors, CEOs, governors, sheikhs and rainmakers of all kinds, now and just as much when this pandemic is long behind us.

If you don't believe in something, you don't invest in it, and consequently won't get anything out of it. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. When it comes to the internet, it can prove fatal.

Nov 30

For Urgent Matters

Nov 30, 2020

To my business partners and friends who urgently need to travel internationally, right now:

I've done this several times over the past few months. You can still fly from almost anywhere to anywhere via Istanbul airport. Turkey currently imposes no restrictions on entry for any nationality. They have a Covid testing facility in the arrivals hall (landside, past immigration) that operates 24/7 and delivers test results within 2-4 hours. Max 4! Cost per person is 250 Lira, equaling EUR 27 or $32. If you have visa-free access to Turkey (e.g. EU citizens, Russians, Chinese) or an e-visa (e.g. Americans) and schedule a 7-hour-layover in Istanbul, you can comfortably pass your Covid test and continue your journey to the MANY countries who'll let you in with that test result. If you test positive, you'll be quarantined for 14 days in a hotel-like facility, with all expenses paid by the Turkish government. Staff told me that queues are zero at night and up to 30 mins during mornings. They catch about 20+ positive cases per day, the remainder is negative.

When I took these pics earlier this month, I saw flights from/to the US, Brazil, EU, Russia, GCC, Africa, ASEAN, HK (not PRC China), Korea.

A big thank you to the Turks for being so organized and keeping the world connected!

May 06

A Post from Tomorrow

May 06, 2020

Here's something positive: a map showing major theme parks and resorts under construction right now. Yes, right now!

Via our portals themeparX & resortX, visited by millions and run Mon-Sun by a team of six from across all time zones, we know precisely what's happening on the ground. And while both socially-shared fun and international travel are in a state of deep freeze, the entertainment industry has absolute confidence in a better tomorrow.

I totally believe in tomorrow, too. I frankly don't understand the doomsday language of 'post-corona reality' and 'it'll never be the same again'. Of course the world will be the same again. It'll all go back to normal. It'll even be better than normal. Once cross-border travel is restored and social distancing a matter of the past, we'll be so much more grateful about the basics. That once again we'll take off on a plane. That we'll be squeezed into a middle seat. That our seat neighbor coughs at us, without consequences. That an immigration officer asks us an obnoxious question, which we'll reciprocate by leaping over the counter and giving him a heartfelt hug.

Tomorrow will be a better yesterday, and those who don't give in to misery, anxiety and lethargy now, but prepare for the surreally superb times ahead, will seize the day.

Dec 31

Vikram's Way

Dec 31, 2019

Met my old friend Vikram Chopra in Al Ain, UAE, earlier this month. I don’t think there’s a multi-billion dollar theme park development anywhere in the Middle East that Vikram hasn't either been involved in or headed up, from Ferrari World to Dubai Parks & Resorts to Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya.

Vikram also gave me some invaluable feedback on themeparX seven years ago. Whatever his next project or venture will be, those who work with him can consider themselves very lucky!

Apart from theme parks, there's something else we have in common. While many of my friends consider me somewhat wack for having been living smartphone-free for the past three years, Vikram – unbelievably – lives entirely sugar-free, with no exceptions. So our commonality is that we both agree that we'd go nuts if we had to switch sides.

Happy New Year ahead! Try starting it both smartphone-free AND sugar-free

Jul 10

A Tribute to Eastern European Women!

Jul 10, 2019

Here’s to some of the most hard-working, honorable and resilient among us: Eastern European women!

I’ve been to every country and corner from Warsaw to Minsk to Kiev to Krasnodar to Samara to Almaty to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. And it bugs me that up until today, long after a period of decline and poverty, these phenomenal Slavic women – when traveling – still at times have to face immigration officers, hotel receptionists and bar patrons giving them that condescending 'you may be a cheap, easy gold-digger' look. (They have no clue!)

Wherever I looked – whether in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan or elsewhere – what I’ve found were driven women equipped with an extraordinary survival instinct and strength of character, working relentlessly hard in their jobs, and on themselves. Stereotyping them is not just demeaning and offensive, it’s outright ignorant nonsense!

Maybe it's time to send those stereotype-perpetuating immigration officers, hotel receptionists and bar patrons to the moon, so they can see that our Planet Earth is not flat, but round, and at the end of all East there is West again.

Jun 08

Living smartphone-free

Jun 08, 2019

The two best habits I acquired in the past two years:

1. I don’t have a smartphone anymore; which means I’m not online 24/7, and when I leave the building I’m really out there, fully present, connected to the real world. Internet a la WiFi plus laptop is enough. Smartphones are like cigarettes. You only feel like you need them as long as you smoke them.

2. I write all my emails offline; so I download all the incoming ones, then switch off the WiFi and answer them one by one. That way I’m not distracted and infinitely more productive. Writing emails like this, offline and focused, is like writing letters in the past – you reflect before you put your words together. Plus, you don't get incoming emails while you’re writing your own, creating an infinite data loop (that drives you nuts). There was a reason that 20 years ago, the postman rung the bell only once a day, not 80 times an hour.

If I hadn’t switched to these two habits – try at least one of them for a few days! – I think by now I'd probably look like the challenged goat in the picture.

Jun 02

Disillusioned in Turkmenistan

Jun 02, 2019

I froze when I found this disillusioned plastic bear in a theme park in Turkmenistan.

My travels have taught me that that’s the exact facial expression people develop over time when they live under governments which don’t owe them any explanations.

But that bear? That one, too? Either the sculptor had a deep sense of humor, matched by the buyer, or the sculptor lacked talent and the buyer self-reflection. I’ll never know.

Thank you to whoever put that shattered, disenchanted bear face inside Turkmenbashi's Land of Fairy Tales Park in Ashgabat, a theme park in a country run by a white marble-obsessed dentist-turned-forever-ruler, where people cannot gather publicly for anything but an amusement ride. You made my day.

Project Portfolio:

The Theme Park Guy
Discover the world's best parks
Theme Park Construction
Construction updates worldwide!
Resort Construction
Worldwide resort construction updates
Theme Park Suppliers
Services for industry suppliers
themeparX Supplier 100
Our themeparX supplier package
Theme Park Headhunter
Headhunting theme park execs for you
Theme Park Interviews
Interviews with theme park legends
Theme Park Consultant
Consulting on your upcoming project
Media Based Attractions
Suppliers of media based attractions
Theme Park Travel
Some theme park travel tips
Global Hotel Map
Stefan's personal travel map
Maldives Overwater Villas
Sorted by price – you'll be surprised!
Snorkel off the beach
A map of all snorkeleable resorts!
Immigration Experience Rating
Rate how border officials treat you
True Dubai (2006)
What Dubai was like in summer '06
Inkline Media Canada
A full-service web agency based in Ottawa, Canada
Affiliate Marketing
My former German affiliate platform
Short Movies & more
Some pre-Theme Park Guy fun
Theme Park Holding Ltd.
Our holding company
Walalah LLC
Our UAE company