Tag Archives: Tony Baxter

Frightful Attraction Design for Theme Park Audiences Brings Industry Legends to Midsummer Scream

Men in Black Alien Attack

Think about it: when you go to a theme park and get onto a ride, the response that comes next is usually either laughing or screaming. One of the most common elements used in theme park design is that of fright, or intensity. Very often, the formula for a theme park ride story is something normal suddenly taking an unexpected turn for the worst, resulting in chaos before there is any light-hearted resolution; its classic theme park attraction design 101.

When theme parks host annual Halloween events, many of them have temporary scare zones and haunted houses – also known as “mazes” – that guests walk through and experience. Whether they’re themed to a specific brand or intellectual property, or created from scratch with an original storyline, seasonal haunted attractions are created to scare the snot out of anyone daring enough to venture in. On the flip-side, when a theme park opts to spend millions of dollars on an attraction that is based on a frightening or supernatural-based story, designers are tasked with a very delicate balancing act – what is “scary enough” versus taking the experience too far, making it too intense for a large number of visitors.

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Theme Park Design & The Art of Themed Entertainment Book by David Younger Arriving Soon

BookCoverFrontWant to design a theme park? Over the past century, theme parks have created worlds where pirates still loot Caribbean towns, where daring adventurers explore booby-trapped temples, and where superheroes swing from New York skyscrapers – and allowed us to step into them too. This is a book about how to design those fantastic places, and the ingenuity that goes into their creation.

This is a handbook for the practicing designer, a textbook for the aspiring student, and a behind the scenes guidebook for the theme park fan, drawing on hundreds of interviews with accomplished designers from Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Creative, Merlin Entertainments, and more. Theme Park Design & The Art of Themed Entertainment explores everything from the stories, themes, and characters that theme parks bring to life, to the business models, processes, and techniques that allow them to do it.

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Walt Disney Imagineer Daniel Joseph Joins ScareLA’s Hatbox Ghost Panel Presentation

Daniel Joseph WDI Hatbox GhostWith less than one month to go before the doors creak open to the Pasadena Convention Center for ScareLA 2015, the massive Halloween/horror show continues to roll out exciting news and surprises for fans eager to get the haunting season started!

Joining the Legend of Disneyland’s Hatbox Ghost panel presentation is Walt Disney Imagineer Daniel Joseph, also referred to as an “Illusioneer”, following in the footsteps of the late, great Yale Gracey. Daniel was the creative in charge of bringing the Hatbox Ghost back to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion attraction this spring, as part of the park’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration.

Daniel Joseph is a Senior Special Effects and Illusion Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering. Before Disney, Daniel made haunted attractions in his parents’ basement starting at age 11. He then studied Industrial Design in Philadelphia, where for several summers, he was a special effects designer for the Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls haunted attraction. He has been an Imagineer since 2006, when he won first prize in the Imagineering-sponsored Imagi-Nations design competition. Since joining WDI, Daniel has conceived, designed, and installed many new special effects and illusions in Disney theme parks around the world, including Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, Test Track, Magic Kingdom expansion, and both Trader Sam’s tiki bars, to name a few. Most recently, Daniel was the “Illusioneer” in charge of bringing the Hatbox Ghost back to The Haunted Mansion for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. Daniel holds 20 Patents with the Walt Disney Company.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce Daniel’s inclusion in our Hatbox Ghost presentation,” said Rick West, Founder and Editor of Theme Park Adventure and Creative Programming Producer for ScareLA. “This robust and diverse presentation celebrating our love and fascination with The Haunted Mansion is going to be a must-see cornerstone moment at this year’s ScareLA show. We are honored to have the support and partnership of Walt Disney Imagineering in this effort, and cannot wait to hear Daniel’s incredible story of bringing the attraction’s Hatbox Ghost back from the grave, if you will!”

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Legend of Disneyland’s Hatbox Ghost ScareLA Panel Announced

Hatbox Ghost Panel LogoDisney fans, get ready for an incredible hour of thrills and chills as ScareLA 2015 presents Legend of Disneyland’s Hatbox Ghost!

Join Disney Legend Tony Baxter and renowned artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily as they take to ScareLA’s Main Stage on Saturday, August 8th at 12 PM to discuss the lore and legend of the Haunted Mansion’s most infamous resident, the Hatbox Ghost.

Legend of Disneyland’s Hatbox Ghost will be moderated by the owner, producer and host of the Season Pass Podcast, Doug Barnes.

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Indiana Jones Opening at Disneyland 1995 – Throwback Thursday

indiana-jones-opening-disneyland (5)It’s totally surreal writing this, but 20 years ago this week, Indiana Jones Adventure opened at Disneyland, as thousands of excited guests ventured into the subterranean darkness of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Adventureland.

I’ve never been so excited to be a theme park fan as I was in those years, months, and final weeks leading up to the opening of Indy at Disneyland. It was a huge deal. There was no social media then – if you wanted to see Indy construction progress, you had to get in your car and drive to Disneyland to check out whatever you could see. We were at Disneyland a lot then, documenting the transformation of Adventureland into the Lost Delta region, as well as the re-positioning of the Monorail to go around the massive show building that Indy lives in. We snapped a lot of pictures back then – of course, they had to be developed and you crossed your fingers that they came out each week or whatever. It was expensive and time consuming; no instant digital image to edit and tweet around the world in seconds. As a result, Theme Park Adventure has a large stack of really cool Indy pictures that has never seen the light of day, even though we used many in our printed publication at the time, The Brake Zone. Luckily, with the advent of Throwback Thursday, we get to share some of our never-before seen images with our TPAers now, two decades after they were taken!

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