Monthly Archives: April 2012

About Theme Park Adventure

Theme Park Adventure was launched in September 1994 by founder Rick West. Pre-dating the Internet as we know it, TPA began as a printed newsletter, The Brake Zone, which was bought by fans all around the world. In those early days of black and white print, Theme Park Adventure covered such events as Luxor Las Vegas’ First Anniversary, the closure of the Disneyland Skyway, Knott’s Scary Farm’s 22nd Annual Halloween Haunt, Terror on Church Street in Orlando, and the on-going construction of The Indiana Jones Adventure Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

As our readership grew, The Brake Zone featured even more industry happenings for its fans – the opening of Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and the development of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor at Magic Mountain. The industry was booming, and TPA found itself right in the midst of all the action. The Brake Zone grew in length, and began to be recognized by theme park executives throughout the business as a serious fanzine. In the months to come, TPA would create longer issues of The Brake Zone to commemorate special events such as the farewell to Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade and the opening of Indiana Jones Adventure Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Our on-going coverage and attention paid to Knott’s Berry Farm’s annual Halloween Haunt event would play a major role in the growth of Theme Park Adventure in the years to come.

By the mid-’90s, Theme Park Adventure had switched course from The Brake Zone and had begun developing content for the Internet. Back in the day, we were able to scan photos and post them ever-so-slowly onto a BBS system using a huge, clunky device that would save the images as something called GIFs! Then, as technology ramped up, a newer, better image format was developed and we started hosting JPEG images online for people everywhere to see!

Before giving a final send-off to printed form, Theme Park Adventure actually produced two book-sized “Feature Issues”; one was a 170-page history and behind-the-scenes look at the Imagineering process of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attractions featuring interviews with industry legends Marc and Alice David, Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter. The second book we produced was a 70-page look at the creation of Tarzan’s Treehouse at Disneyland, featuring interviews with Imagineers Tony Baxter and Bob Baranick, as well as a special written introduction by Tab Murphy, the screenwriter of Tarzan for The Walt Disney Studios. Both books were created in close partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, and signaled a new chapter in TPA’s history. We’d gone from fan newsletter to online message board and book producing entity in a relatively short time. Fans around the world knew of Theme Park Adventure; with book signings in the Los Angeles area for both Feature Issues that included Tony Baxter and Tab Murphy, it was clear that TPA had found a very special niche in the theme park fan community.

Over time, Theme Park Adventure’s relationship with Knott’s Berry Farm and those behind its annual Halloween Haunt event grew. TPA went on to provide the most detailed coverage the Haunt had ever known from a fan publication. Some of our greatest accomplishments is that we were the first to seriously cover the Scary Farm in print, we were the first to bring Haunt onto the Internet, and we were the first to begin offering videos of the mazes and shows for fans everywhere to see online for themselves. Our close relationship with Knott’s Berry Farm blazed the trails used by the company itself and many fans today – from Haunt build pictures to video footage of scare zones, mazes and the creative process behind the world’s largest Halloween party. It’s very gratifying to us that many of the hottest Haunt monsters today grew up reading about the Scary Farm on Theme Park Adventure. Today, TPA’s flow-through videos of the Knott’s Halloween Haunt mazes each year are the most anticipated projects we work on by Halloween fans everywhere.

Our love of the haunted attraction industry has spread throughout the site and we have a full plate each October, covering as many professional haunts and even home haunts as we possibly can, presenting them here on the site as TPA’s 365 Days of Halloween. The haunted attraction industry people are always amazing and we love ’em! Each season, we strive to make our Halloween coverage bigger and better than the last!

TPA founder/editor Rick West works full-time as a show writer for Thinkwell Group in Southern California, an internationally known and respected themed entertainment/attraction design company; in other words, he’s not just a theme park geek – he’s a professional theme park geek!

Theme Park Adventure certainly isn’t the biggest or best theme park fan site out there anymore – hundreds of fans take to the Net each day with their own sites, blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and they all do a fantastic job, whether they focus on roller coasters, haunts, Disney or whatever. Everyone has a place in this community and it has been our sincere pleasure to have done our part in its evolution. The digital age is amazing, and we’re just as excited as ever to continue to work with theme parks, their executives, staffs and fans alike. For almost 20 years, Theme Park Adventure has taken you on a virtual ride through the past, present and the future. As far as we’re concerned, the best is yet to come… we’re just getting started!