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Coaster Cow

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  • Birthday 11/30/1993

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  1. Hi all, I am the President of the Theme Park Entertainment Group at Cornell University. We are an independent student-run organization affiliated with the Themed Entertainment Association, and we are proud to announce the third annual Cornell Theme Park Design Competition, presented by HSI Immersive! This year's iteration will challenge teams to integrate new 3D technologies into an attraction package for a national theme park brand. Teams must include 2 to 4 university students enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate program, and can be composed of students from any discipline, major, or combination of colleges. This year, we are excited to offer $500 in cash prizes, as well as a $100 "bonus" for any team that recruits a themed entertainment professional as a Mentor. Registration is open now and will run until Sunday, March 5th. Check out our website for the registration link and more details at cornelltpeg.weebly.com. As an added bonus we currently have four Mentors on reserve, so sign up as soon as possible for a chance to be assigned a Mentor by the Competition Board and secure your $100 bonus! [Mods: If you feel this would be better suited for the Games or Random Forum, feel free to transfer it over there]
  2. Here's another older article for anyone interested: Susan Ingram on Industrial Europe and the Commodification of Leisure. It differs quite a lot from the last one but might be of interest to some of the history buffs on the site. Great to hear from you Arne! Sorry about the delayed reply. It's very cool to hear from someone pursuing landscape architecture as a possible route into theme parks; I am currently in a planning program but will most likely be entering a landscape architecture program for graduate school with similar intentions. Thanks for the literature recommendations, I'm a big fan of Clavé, Hench, and Gehl's works (coincidentally all three are on my mess of a desk right now), but I haven't heard of Mitrasinovic! I will give him a read once I finish this one essay topic that has been killing me for the last few months. I'm a big fan of the placemaking literature, and I'd recommend you check out (if you haven't already) William Whyte, Edward Relph, Yi-Fu Tuan, and some of the Brunner Award archives. These guys are the grandfathers of the literature, with some really big fundamental ideas you might find familiar from your program. I draw on these a bunch not as much for theme park-specific material as for ways to apply existing theory across disciplines. Also, Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance, edited by Karal Ann Marling, is really good as well. I have copies of some articles if you want them in a DM. I agree with your clarification regarding Lynchian landmarks. Unfortunately I don't have the resources at the moment to pursue a more academically-"pure" method of analysis, so these papers are more of brainstorming for when I begin my own thesis project when I will have to be much more careful in my methods. I am interested in your work, and if you are willing to share I'd love to hear what your thesis project was about!
  3. AJ: I've really enjoyed following your work over the past couple of years! I've been mulling over half-baked work of mine similar to your Third Place project for some time now, mostly trying to analyze the urban failures of the 70s, 80s, and 90s for lessons regarding economic development and political processes. I'm sure you've heard of the Disney-backed urban entertainment center concepts and their offshoots, but if not you might find them interesting. Also, there's some placemaking theory within landscape architecture that I remember seeming relevant to urban leisure design; let me try to find it and I can send it you if you'd like! Also, how do you feel about the SCAD program so far? I am getting ready to apply to grad programs and am weighing pursuing their themed entertainment degree. I know the program is young, but the TEA connections are very encouraging to me. The alternative would be a place-based landscape architecture program like Berkeley or UVA. Thanks!
  4. Thanks for the feedback guys! Samuel: I agree with a lot of what you're saying here.Your assessment of using these concepts in architectural or city planning work pretty accurately reflects what I am pursuing. I disagree to a certain extent about the value of applying disciplinary scholarship to industry. Universities are increasingly looking for interdisciplinary work that pushes boundaries of the standard fields of academia. My view is that professional tracks of study as dictated by national organizing bodies (as seen in law, medicine, architecture, engineering, etc) often carries the training of new professionals too narrowly according to their respective histories and/or tradition. This sort of training, unless acted upon by an external force within the professional or academic world, leaves significant gaps in disciplinary knowledge, even when there may be useful overlaps in theory that inform each other. The relatively young field of landscape architecture could be a good example of this, where architectural design theory applied to environmental science theory yields a significant and important body of scholarship that then informs the trajectory of both architecture and environmental science. Disney Imagineering, the grandfather of the themed entertainment industry, is infamous for its rejection of academia beyond patentable technological research. The idea of "learning through doing" can build informal bases of knowledge that, while sophisticated, could be much enhanced by the awareness of scholarship working on similar topics occurring at much of the same time. This article was meant to show that while nothing I present is new research, the application of environmental psychology research done in the context of urban form is visible in Disney's architectural designs, but could very well be taken further and even theorized in the context of the theme park via the consideration of such research. I suppose another disclaimer is that these essays are based on single concepts or papers, so I don't necessarily claim to be comprehensive. Hopefully in my thesis this upcoming year I can be more thorough in combing through literature for my analysis. Thanks for your support, I'll be sure to keep posting more! Arthur_Seaton: William Whyte is one of my inspirations for pursuing urban planning and placemaking! His "The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces" is one of my favorites. And thanks for the reading suggestions! I read the Baudrillard paper a long time ago but definitely need to give it another look. You seem to have a pretty substantial background in architectural design literature, have you ever written on these sorts of topics?
  5. Hey everyone! I've always loved this forum because of the incredible informal knowledge that many of you have on various aspects of the themed entertainment industry. I've been a member since I was a teenager, having joined seven years ago, and so I really have grown up with the site as a backbone for my interests in theme parks. Over that time, my long-running hopes of pursuing theme parks professionally has blended into my university studies. I've began to develop a basis for applying theory from various academic disciplines to themed entertainment, a field that lacks significant scholarship given it's relatively young age. I've made this thread to showcase some of my essays on themed entertainment and to hopefully draw on some of the deep knowledge base of this site's users. Also, I would love this thread to be a discussion not only of my work but of how others here may be developing threads of theme park academia. Given the limited literature on the subject, it would be very useful to have a group of users who are interested in this sort of theory to trade ideas, feedback, and research. This sort of discussion could also help the younger users of this site who have hopes of pursuing theme parks professionally themselves; I know I would have loved to have found this sort of stuff when I was a teenager. To kick it off, I'm posting a link to one of my older essays on architectural design in theme parks, called Wayfinding in Themed Design: the 'Weenie'. I'd love to hear what people think of it, and critique is welcome as well!
  6. Sorry for the double post, but registration is now open! Sign up at cornelltpeg.weebly.com/design-competition.html. Registration closes on Wednesday, March 16th, so don't delay! We recommend that if you are at all interested you sign up; that way you can see the prompt when it is released and decide if it's something you have the time or interest to complete.
  7. Hi all, I am the Corporate Outreach Committee Chair for the Cornell Theme Park Entertainment Group. We are getting ready to host our second annual Cornell Theme Park Design Competition, and I wanted to spread the invitation to compete to TPR! The specifics of the design prompt will be announced when registration ends and the competition period begins, but it will include taking a medium-sized attraction/land from blue sky concept to site planning and financials. Any group of two to four full-time university students can participate, any major is welcome and groups can be composed of members from different universities. We are hoping to encourage a wide use and mix of mediums, so everyone is encouraged to participate! Registration will open this upcoming Saturday, March 5th, and close on Wednesday, March 16th. Information regarding the nature of the contest, team requirements, and judges and sponsors can be found on our website at cornelltpeg.weebly.com and will be updated both there and on our Facebook page. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the contest and I will do my best to help!
  8. I missed the last few updates, but congratulations! The quality of this model truly shows the passion that roller coaster enthusiasts have for their hobby and its history, it will be a great piece in the eventual museum.
  9. It's Xcelerator at Knotts Berry Farm, but let's let gerstlaueringvar go, he got the last one right.
  10. So I went to the park last Friday and am now just getting around to writing a report. This was my first visit to the park, and so I will begin with some random thoughts based on my expectations and whatnot before I do a rundown of the rides. RANDOM THOUGHTS IMO everyone on this forum who complains about how "terrible" the park and its operations are need a serious dose of perspective. Compared to pretty much every other Six Flags park I have been to (with the exception of SFoT and SFoG, two of the "legacy" parks in the chain), SFGAd was cleaner, better maintained, had friendlier employees, and quicker dispatches. Claims I had read of the park being in disrepair were totally off the mark. Yes, there's a lot of tarmac, but there are many more trees than most Six Flags parks, and each park in the chain has its own version of the Boardwalk section, so hush about that. Sure, I have seen faster dispatches, but the operators were focused and attentive at every ride I went on. The vendors were all friendly and helpful as well. The coasters (minus Kingda Ka, but more on that later) were running as many trains as they could push out given their dispatch times. Essentially, what I saw at the park was just about as good of a Six Flags park as I have seen, on par with SFoT, SFFT, SFGA, SFoG, and IMO MUCH better than SFMM and SFNE, the real black sheep of the big flagship SF parks. Granted, what you have is indeed a Six Flags park, and so with it comes high ticket prices, endless advertising, and many failed or controversial designs to the park structure over its history. (Tangentially, the food was much better in quality, selection, and value than almost every other SF park in the chain) Take this for what you will, but I actually think SFGAd is almost under appreciated by enthusiasts, especially in regards to the park itself (coaster quality aside). A final note, the Kingda Ka/Zumanjaro situation is absolutely horrendous. Kingda Ka was closed for the first few hours of the day, during which we used our Flash Passes to jump on with no wait, but when it opened around noon, the combination of Zumanjaro's horrible capacity and the need to coordinate between the two stations turned lines on both rides into a standstill. We used the Flash Passes to get right into the station of Ka and waited almost thirty minutes from there for about six ride trains to run. The employees could tell that the situation was a cluster fluff, and it was an agonizing time for everyone involved. I can't imagine what the standby line was feeling watching two trains shoot off about every ten minutes or so. Thank god for the Flash Passes. We used our ACE discount for half-price tickets, then used the savings from that to splurge on Platinum Flash Passes. We probably could have gotten away with Gold, but man, the double rides and constant walk-ons into the stations of every major coaster and attraction made all doubts fade away. Highly recommended if you can afford the luxury. RIDE RUNDOWN El Toro: Yup, this is the real deal. Rode it twice in the second to last row in the morning and twice in the front row in the evening. First half is better in the back, but the OMFG ejector hill at the beginning of the second half followed by the higher-than-expected positive-Gs on the turns made the front of the train my favorite. Arguments aside about the wood/steel designation, this is my #1 coaster overall, trumping my other top rides (and often top-rated) Outlaw Run, Maverick, Expedition GeForce, X2, Voyage, Phoenix, and Ravine Flyer II. 10/10 Kingda Ka: Read above for my bit about the operations. Only one side of the station was open and they could only run three trains at a time, with all three sitting motionless for about five minutes at a time while they waited for Zumanjaro. The ride itself is, sorry fanboys, a step down from TTD. The added speed and height is unnoticeable and the restraints made the views more restricted and the ride after the launch less exhilarating. The speed hill was admittedly very cool, more airtime than I expected, and the ride as a whole was a hoot, but these reasons, added to its location away from any good visuals of the launch pad like TTD, makes it an inferior ride IMO. 7/10 for the novelty alone. Zumanjaro: Fun ride! Super slow loader, I felt bad for the standby line, but everyone (ops included) was pretty hyped about the ride. Drop was long but not the most intense of both similarly sized drop towers (ie. third-generation Intamin) and smaller ones too (Mosher, I'm looking at you). Best part was definitely the view. 6/10 Nitro: Wow. I feel bad for the ride (I know, it's inanimate, shush), with enthusiasts overlooking it for El Toro and the GP overlooking it for Ka, but this holds its own against all odds. Fantastic floater air, certainly not the ejector stuff on El Toro but constant and strong on every hill. The helix almost made me grey-out on both of my rides. Rode on the A train both times, so I can't comment on the alleged rattle of the C train, but seems to have aged very well so far. Best of the B&M hypers by far. 8/10 Green Lantern: Not going to say too much because I'd been on Mantis and Riddler's Revenge (almost the same layout all around), but pretty standard B&M standup. Certainly ridable if you brace yourself and look ahead as you go. Yeah yeah, it's on a parking lot. Still not a bad ride by any means. 5/10 Superman:Ultimate Flight: Again, I've been on the other two SF clones so this was nothing new. Nothing much to say except that the queue was hot out in the sun. Couldn't they have rotated the ride so that the station was near the entrance? Whatever. 6/10 Batman:the Ride: Again, another clone. Theming was sub-par compared to SFGA's, but this one hauled major a**. Rode in the front row and essentially spent the entire ride in a constant grey-out, which surprised me despite having ridden many a copy before. +1 for intensity over the others for sure. 7/10 Bizzaro: Actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Sure, it's layout is similar to Kumba but hey, this is the original floorless and it's aged pretty well, retheming aside. Fire effects were fun too, despite the gimmick. 6/10 The Dark Knight: Well the pre-show was grade-A for sure. Had they added live actors to the mix it would have been Universal-quality, without a doubt. Yeah, the ride was a wild mouse in a box, but not as pathetic theming-wise as I had expected given what I've heard from enthusiasts. 4/10 Skull Mountain: I was completely lost by this ride. Everything looked all adventure-jungle-esque, and then the only theming on the ride is heavy metal music and a couple pumpkins and skeletons with strobes? Seemed more Holloween-y to me. Anyone have the backstory of the change? Also, the ride was rough, too much fiberglass on the trains and not enough cushion. Flash Passed it, but the wait looked horrible. 3/10 (Didn't ride the kiddy coaster or the Tivoli. My crd-ho ways have slowly been declining over the last few years. Maybe I'm growing up. *sigh*) So there you have it! Let me know what you think of what I think. I'm sure I'm forgetting details and thoughts I wanted to say, so ask away.
  11. Definitely take advantage of the small entrance to the right of the breakers near Wicked Twister and Windseeker. It generally is a Breakers guest-only entrance and will get you in much faster than the other entrance near Magnum, even if that entrance is closer to where you want to get to.
  12. Heading to the park soon for my virgin visit. We are spending a Friday there after doing Coney Island the day before and are definitely planning on getting a FlashPass. Any advice on which kind to get and what to expect as far as crowds and wait times go? Thanks in advance!
  13. First time I've actually taken a look at this park, and wow! Everything is clearly well planned and the time you have put into the park is clear. It's too bad you haven't gotten more comments, I think this is one of the more exciting RCT3 projects on the forum right now. Also, love the aerial maps! Maybe you can include a few screenshots in that faux-isometric style that some players have figured out?
  14. Not at all. That's actually exactly the opposite of my point. Seeing the problem as Americans being "wussies" is what I am arguing is missing the point completely. It is not a matter of whatever mental or physical strength defines "wuss" versus "non-wuss" but a matter of economic bottom lines. Six Flags has no economic incentive to not neuter its rides to meet these standards. The legislative process works quite similarly in that these regulations are largely due to the same public outbursts to ride incidents that would lead Six Flags to take it upon themselves to neuter it. Arguing whether or not Americans are wusses is completely ignoring economic facts that are based in inherent structural ways in which we as Americans think of rides, how we process sensationalist news, and how our political system functions in the real world. I'm not getting this, which I'm a bit embarassed about. Another thing - I edited my previous post to add this, just making sure that it doesn't get buried- That's probably because my ranting is rarely coherent anyways I suppose. I've cooled down anyways. Interestingly enough, I would guess that gestures the like of what you suggest in your edit would actually be the way to solve these large-scale problems, though I understand why you would be pessimistic.
  15. Not at all. That's actually exactly the opposite of my point. Seeing the problem as Americans being "wussies" is what I am arguing is missing the point completely. It is not a matter of whatever mental or physical strength defines "wuss" versus "non-wuss" but a matter of economic bottom lines. Six Flags has no economic incentive to not neuter its rides to meet these standards. The legislative process works quite similarly in that these regulations are largely due to the same public outbursts to ride incidents that would lead Six Flags to take it upon themselves to neuter it. Arguing whether or not Americans are wusses is completely ignoring economic facts that are based in inherent structural ways in which we as Americans think of rides, how we process sensationalist news, and how our political system functions in the real world.
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