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 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 legitimate publication. 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 late ’90s, Theme Park Adventure had switched course from The Brake Zone and began 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 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 Davis, 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 any publication. Some of our greatest accomplishments is that we were the first to cover the Scary Farm in depth in print; we were the first to bring Haunt to 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 most respected veteran 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 among 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 for all to enjoy. The haunted attraction industry people are always amazing and we love them! Each season, we strive to make our Halloween coverage bigger and better than the last!
In the summer of 2014, TPA Founder/Editor Rick West was named in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards as one of the nation’s top 10 theme park bloggers.
From November 2012 to March 2016, Rick and Johanna served as core creators/producers of ScareLA, a large-scale Halloween/horror convention in Southern California; they helped grow the event from 3,000 attendees in its first year to over 10,000 in its third.
In March of 2015, Rick West and Johanna Atilano became part of the founding group behind Midsummer Scream, a large-scale Halloween, haunt and horror festival that will make its debut in July at the Long Beach Convention Center. Rick is the event’s Creative Director, and Johanna is its Producer.
Rick and Johanna are active members of the Themed Entertainment Association.
Rick West is a Show Writer at Rethink Leisure & Entertainment in Burbank, California. He has also worked for other themed entertainment companies including Thinkwell, BRC Imagination Arts, The Producers Group, Wyatt Design Group, Apogee Attractions, and The Hettema Group.
Johanna Atilano, TPA Owner, works full-time for BRC Imagination Arts.
Every couple of months, TPA hosts mixers in Orange County, allowing fans, haunters, and themed entertainment industry professionals to mingle and network; it’s become quite the who’s who event to attend, and it is very gratifying to bring so many people together.
It’s been an amazing first 21 years for Theme Park Adventure – and there is no slowing down, as TPA continues to take fans everywhere on a ride through the past, present, and the future!
Theme Park Adventure
501 West Glenoaks Blvd. #734
Glendale, California 91202