Jump to content
  TPR Home | Parks | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram 

Recommended Posts

I'm attend Tennessee Technological University for a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I want to design amusement rides in general and I'm leaning more towards being a Disney Imagineer. I plan on doing the Disney College Program soon and I want to do some type of Imagineer Internship. I wanted to know if anyone else has any input on what I should do to help me work towards this goal.

 

Also, Disney has their Imagineers to design their rides for them, does Universal Orlando also have their own design team? If so can you give me a little info? I've searched this on the internet but I haven't heard of any type of designing team for Universal.

 

Thanks for any replies!

Edited by larrygator
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 60
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Keep your eye on IAAPA shows. Also check out what industry groups are around. There is at least one that is like a Future Business Leaders of America thing, and can lead to some better connections, and possibly other things.

 

Like in any business, learn as much as you can about the trade, who does what, who supplies what, listen, and network. Sometimes you catch a break because of who you know.

 

Those are tips from my father, and they've served me well. Hope they do the same for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

I figured I'd post this here instead of Ask Alvey so more people might answer.

 

I've been looking at what I want to do with my life for a year or two now. When I was in middle school, I always wanted to be an architect, but the schools I was looking at didn't offer it as a licensed program. So I began to look at other degrees offered. I looked at the University of Memphis's catalog and one stuck out to me greatly: Hospitality and Resort Management. My grandfather was into the hotel business and I've always been interested in it. However, my "dream job" would be to manage a theme park.

 

However, this got somewhat complicated yesterday. I was informed that Memphis would become accredited for the architect program next year because University of Tennessee across the state can't handle all of the students.

 

I am interested in both jobs, but I would like some clarification about a job as a general manager. What all does it really involve? I've been looking on the web, I've even emailed some parks but none have replied. I'm not looking for "discouragement" because it really does interest me. I realize that it's unlikely that I would be able to do this because the hotel to themepark ratio is probably 100:1 (if not greater).

 

There's alot of knowledgeable people here. I would greatly appreciate any advice or information!

 

MOD EDIT: I've edited the title of your thread to be more descriptive and possibly attract people that could help you. larrygator

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in 2004 my husband and I attended a party in Richmond, Virginia. At the part I met this guy who was a district manager for the Paramount Parks chain. Like me, he was an ex-broadcaster. From what he was telling me the General manager position at a theme park is a lot like that in broadcasting. Pretty much more/less a position that "oversees" other departments such as human resources ( the ones who hire the staff ), budgets, PR sometimes, etc... he also was telling me that the GM does NOT decide which rides the park will get or not ,somehow I dont buy this but I could be wrong but then again maybe with the smaller parks he.she does but a lot of parks have a "board of directors" that decides this. Also with many corp. parks...chances are that decision is done on that level.

 

I also remember him telling me that he knew of some parks that "share" general managers. That is very common in broadcasting. One manager oversees things at one station/park a few days of the week and then oversees things elsewhere.

 

Unrelated to this topic, I still remember this guy telling me that ( and this was in 2004 !! ) that the theme park business is going through a recession and the biz will never really get over it ( he told me that both Cedar Fair

and Six Flags were in the process of laying lots of people off on the corp. level ). But the funny thing ( or unfunny actually ) was they here he was telling me the names of all these parks he expected to be history within a few years. Some like Astroworld, Six Flags New Orleans and Geauga Lake that sadly did happen.

 

I also remember him telling me that there was a time around 2000-2001 that Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. were trying to purchase Erie's Waldmmer Park or Martin's Fantasy Island north of Buffalo ( or at least make a deal with them ) to bring attractions related to Lucille Ball to those parks since Lucy is from nearby Jamestown, NY and those Lucy-Desi days bring thousands to that city. Anyway of course, none of that ever happened. That might be a good thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It really depends if its a corporate park or a smaller/family owned park, two entirely different beasts. Most GM's I know of have worked their way through the system and become GM's only after working for the park or the company for decades.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! Finally, someone posts a thread about managing a theme park.

 

Like you coasterdude5, I want to become a general manager of a theme park (well, actually I want to create a theme park, but that seems out of reach) and I'm glad that maybe this thread will possibly answer them.

 

I live in California, so I was looking at some colleges that offer international business programs or the like. Not only that, I also plan on joining Disney's College Program in Anaheim.

 

While I don't want to steal the attention from you, coasterdude5, I just want to know what college would best suit me if I want to get into managing theme parks. I was hoping to get my question answered too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

D'oh! I didn't search in the random forum. There is alot of great information in there! UCF seems perfect... I think I'll apply there even though I'm pretty sure I'm going to Memphis. (money...) They'd have to offer me a great deal, but in a perfect world I'd probably go there. I can always transfer down the road.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have this same idea too of one day owning and operating a theme park. I actually am planning to change my major this next semester to business management. Thanks for creating this thread, it's giving me even more inspiration that management is what I want to do. Winthrop University here in my home town actually has a good management program, so I guess i'm lucky there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My best advice is to get a degree in the Hospitality and Tourism / Resort Management, although not every general manager has a degree in Hospitality management, the general manager at my park has a degree in Sports Management, and the guy above him has a degree in Forestry.

With a Hospitality degree you can be prepared for a number of jobs, and not just managing amusement parks, as a GM spot at a park are usually few and far between. If you're looking for a job in the waterpark industry, many schools are starting to offer an aquatics degree, which prepares you very well for managing at a waterpark.

 

Also, general manager spots at big parks are filled with people who have been working in the industry for years at many different parks, or have worked their way up in one park...so I would recommend getting a job at your local park, and start to learn the in's and out's of how things work, etc...

 

As for what a general manager does, it just depends on how big the park is and how many employees they have, at my park the general manager, not only deals with the various departments, but also will be out helping fix things, and building things. It just really depends, and varies from park to park. In order to be a successful park manager, not even necessarily the general manager, one must have a few key things...First and foremost an understanding family, which is probably the hardest as a manager works a ton of hours (in the summer when we're open, all managers work 6 days a week and about 9 hours a day) Second, great people skills, as you have to deal with many employees and customers, many of which will be mad at you for something that happened and will expect something in return.

 

Amusement parks are really fun and amazing places to go to and visit, however not everyone can work at them. I see many a people start working every year who love waterparks, but just can't handle working at one. I myself have been working at one for 5 years now, and everyday it's always something different, and as with any job it has its days. I've been fortunate enough to have been moved up quickly...I started as a regular maintenance employee, and now I'm the Water Quality Manager / Park Supervisor. However that hasn't come without many many hours of hard work.

 

I hope this helps some...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting a degree in media arts and design with a concentration in interactive media, but I've always hoped to work in the amusement industry in some level. Right now, however, parks are laying people off, so when I graduate next spring I'm just going to be looking for any job paying a decent wage...

 

BGE always does an appearance at my schools career fairs so I'll talk to them to see if they have any openings next year in any case, though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The best thing you can do is actually start working at a theme park.

 

Most companies like to promote from within...

 

Example: My Dad started off as a tour guide for Universal Studios Hollywood back when the modern tour as we know it was started (~1970). He worked his butt off and eventually made it all the way up the ladder to Executive VP of Development for all of (at the time, ~1990-1993) MCA Recreation and General Manager of USH (a position he held twice in his tenure with Universal). He also graduated from USC with a BS in Architecture which helped out a lot as he was involved in a lot of construction.

 

Just thought I'd throw that out there...

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's corporate I would assume you have to work your way up.

 

My company, for example, you have to work for years before they move you up.

 

Our managers have been working for PetSmart for atleast 5-10 years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^I agree with that. Get your education (it doesn't have to be in a field directly related to management/business/etc.---just get the degree!), start working at a park, and go from there.

 

Experience is definitely what matters most.

Link to post
Share on other sites
^^I agree with that. Get your education (it doesn't have to be in a field directly related to management/business/etc.---just get the degree!), start working at a park, and go from there.

 

Experience is definitely what matters most.

I find it funny when I go to SFA nowadays, I worked there one summer, now a couple people who were in my training class are still there and have moved from minimum wage attendents/ops to the folks walking around in ties and dress shirts. Gotta work up that ladder.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an idea...

 

Get to the Point!...Cedar Point. Turn 18 and then spend a summer working at Cedar Point. Their year-to-year turnover is getting high to a point where you can almost definately return in year 2 as a Team Leader and if you go back every summer you can surely work your way up. The Zone Supervisors don't last more than a few years there so one of those slots should open at some point and then you get sup experience too.

 

I had these ideas until I worked at CP and saw how bad they treated their employees- now I don't even feel quite safe visiting there- but if you really want to buy into that mentality that they need for their supervisors and higher that's a good place to advance fast.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I too was at one point intrested in amusement park management, but am now starting to lean more towards working in the hotel and resort industry.

 

I'm currently starting my major in Business Administration with a minor in Lodging Management at WKU. I figured that even if I changed my mind again down the road, a degree in management can be beneficial for practically any job in the business world.

 

Besides, I've constantly been told, It won't really matter what you majored in during college. All companies are lookin for are that you actually have a degree, and have experience in the field. As it has been said before, just get your foot in the door early, and work your way up!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to work at Universal and Disney..

 

Check out the University of Central Florida. They have a "theme park management" major. I think the school is called the Rosen School of Hospitality Management.

 

I had a few friends at Universal that were going to classes there and they actually take trips to the parks to see how they operate, and they work very closely with Disney, Universal, Busch, and Wet N' Wild as far as management internships.

 

Definitely something to check out! The best part is.. the campus (which is awesome) is 5 minutes down the road from Universal!

Link to post
Share on other sites
I used to work at Universal and Disney..

 

Check out the University of Central Florida. They have a "theme park management" major. I think the school is called the Rosen School of Hospitality Management.

 

I had a few friends at Universal that were going to classes there and they actually take trips to the parks to see how they operate, and they work very closely with Disney, Universal, Busch, and Wet N' Wild as far as management internships.

 

Definitely something to check out! The best part is.. the campus (which is awesome) is 5 minutes down the road from Universal!

 

This is mostly true, except for theme park management is not a major, but a track that one can take as a hospitality management major.

 

It's pretty great, I go there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use https://themeparkreview.com/forum/topic/116-terms-of-service-please-read/