As I sit at my desk pondering at the myriad of topics to write about, hundreds of ideas floating around my head with some making their way onto loose sheets of paper, I can’t help but wonder what went through the minds of similar dreamers. Those like Walt and Roy Disney, Walter Knott, Carl Laemmle and many others who preceded and came after them, that wanted to give something for the world to experience and enjoy. I glance past my monitor at a disheveled tabletop of pages filled with ideas, concepts, and sketches of attractions and places that await a smiling guest to experience and reminisce on where it all started.
My childhood years flood my memories as I recall what brought timeless joy and excitement to myself as a child, endlessly visiting parks like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm with family and friends. I walked the paved streets of those parks observing in awe at the expressions plastered on guests faces as they experienced these uniquely crafted environments. I watched, as guests rode thrilling attractions belting out in joy. I watched as families bonded, argued, connected and laughed together. I watched as my own family stared in admiration at the excitement I experienced, recording my reactions on old camcorders and disposable cameras. From a young age, I knew what my passion was. The magic that flowed through the facades and fake rivers didn’t come from the gimmick illusions and tricks, but from the emotions and reactions that created valueless memories. They were places that, in the midst of all the action, made people feel.
Strangely enough, I grew up fearing theme parks. I was terrified of those walk around characters with eyes the size of my small head and shoes that could be used as flotation devices. My frustrated parents had the greatest difficulty dragging me on to ride the merry-go-round for the first time. At exuberant prices for entry tickets, food, and useless merchandising, one could only imagine the annoyance my thrill seeking, coaster-loving parents experienced when I would refuse to pose for a photo with the big mouse. Over many years, I slowly worked my way up, building a tolerance to the thrills and excitement as my body adjusted to the larger and larger push and pull of forces exerted from bigger and bigger rides. I slowly became obsessed with the adrenaline rush and collective screams of fear and excitement that came with speeding down hills at +60 mph, and eventually didn’t mind the creepy costumes.
I had found my specific niche in the amusement and theme park industry. Beyond all the appreciation and interest of themed environments and storytelling, it was the rides themselves that drew my utmost attention. Motion fascinated me; taking guests out of the passive seat and placing them in an active role that threw them into the center of action. Whether it was through slow movements or high-speed inversions, motion captivated me. I knew then that I wanted to move people, both emotionally and physically.
Fast forward to present day, January 2017. I graduated a year ago as a Civil and Structural engineer and have been working full-time as a creative and technical designer for a themed entertainment design firm in the heart of Los Angeles, starting my dream career. I have had the honor thus far to be a part of some life learning projects that have only furthered my understanding and interest of the industry (even after finding out the nitty-gritty behind this field of work). I’ve conceptually master planned theme parks and water parks, designed hotel concepts for a major TV network, developed unique world-class attractions, and even had the opportunity to design and open my first attraction.
Few of the many projects I have worked on while at Rhetroactive, Inc.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” – Walter Elias Disney