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ParkWord November 2010


“It's all about storytelling, gotta have a story; don't forget the storyline.” This has been the perceived wisdom of theme park designers ever since Walt Disney borrowed several ready- made stories and fairytales and wove them into the fabric of Disneyland and its various attractions.


Speaking during the “European Theme Park Legends” panel session last month at Euro Attractions Show in Rome, the man who created many of Efteling's most famous rides and experiences dared to go against the grain. “People will always enjoy an entertaining dark ride that does not require too much attention,” remarked Ton van der Ven, before adding: “Dreamflight [Droomvlucht] is a fairytale without a story, so riders can use their own imagination.”


No one doubts the rich theming or sense of narrative running throughout the Dutch park which, it should be noted, is older than Disneyland itself, however van de Ven's comments suggest you shouldn't get too obsessed with telling a tale (your visitors will probably forget it anyway). Choose a theme, do it well, and let your guests do the rest. Here's another piece of amusement industry gospel worth putting in its place: Biggest is best. For years theme parks have fought over bragging rights: tallest this, fastest that, plus many less significant details, so long as it has marketing potential.


I've just got back from the press preview of Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, home to what is now the world's fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa. Hopefully the ride is firing on all cylinders by the time you read this, but it was not without teething troubles during the press event. Meanwhile a ride in Germany also vying for world's fastest status will finally open in 2011 after a delay of about a year. Are we now pushing the envelope too far? Fortunately Ferrari World has many other selling points, drawing strongly on the Ferrari brand and heritage. Maybe a story does help after all.


Owen Ralph - Editor


Editor Owen Ralph (+44 161 438 2934) parkworld@btopenworld.com


North American Editor Paul Ruben (+1 585 381 1012) parkw@rochester.rr.com


Contributors this issue Heather Eichenbaum, Christian Angenvoort, Jack Samuels, Gary Kyriazi


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NOVEMBER 2010


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