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.

From rocket ships to roller coasters, fairy tales to fireworks shows, and dinosaurs to dark rides, never before has a book dived so deep into the art form of themed entertainment. Theme Park Design & The Art of Themed Entertainment aims to be the most in-depth book on theme park design ever written! Across nine chapters and almost six hundred pages, the book guides the reader through every aspect of theme park design, drawing from more than two thousand quotes from both historical and brand new interviews with designers from Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios, Merlin Entertainments, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, and more. Author David Younger explains:

“As a young person within this industry, I viewed the process of writing this book as an opportunity to learn from the best designers in the history of theme park design, documenting their advice, their perspectives, and their tried-and-tested approaches to design so that, like me, others can learn from them too.”

More than just Hub & Spokes, Forced Perspective, and Wienies (although they’re covered too!), Theme Park Design & The Art of Themed Entertainment dives into every discipline and technique a themed designer needs to know to create amazing worlds, explaining vital concepts such as story design, set design, park and attraction layout design, shop design, roller coaster design, fireworks design, character design, lighting design, flat ride design, and much, much more, each pulling together the diverse perspectives and well-earned wisdom of accomplished designers. David continues:

“Rather than trying to prescribe any particular approach to design, my aim was to document all possibilities theme parks have found so far, and show just how innovative, exciting, and varied theme park design can be.”

David has written the book while undertaking the world’s first ever Art & Design PhD examining theme park design. In the course of doing so, David has served an elected two year term on the International Board of Directors of the Themed Entertainment Association, and has worked as a Creative Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California.

“I first had the idea of the book when I was a student: while lots of books have touched upon aspects of theme park design, I wanted a book that pulled it all together, and covered the areas other books missed out. If it didn’t exist already, I decided, I’d write it myself!”

The book’s Foreword is written by celebrated theme park designer, Disney Legend, and Themed Entertainment Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner Tony Baxter, whose lead project roles have included Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Disneyland, 1979), Journey Into Imagination (Epcot, 1983), Star Tours (Disneyland, 1987) and Disneyland Paris (1992). Tony writes:

“I can’t imagine a person contemplating a role in themed entertainment not coming out of this immersive experience inside David Younger’s mind without the equivalent of a Master’s Degree in the psychology of the themed experience. Add to that the good fortune to have a large reserve of inbred talent, and they should be fully charged to make a major leap towards discovering that elusive next big thing!” – Tony Baxter

David explains:

“I was five years old when Disneyland Paris opened, and I visited the park in its opening month: the perfect age to visit what was then the newest and best theme park ever built. That world of pirates, cowboys, princesses, and spacemen has stayed with me ever since. I was the type of twelve year old who tried to draw out the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye layout on a napkin, endeavouring to figure out how an entire temple could fit inside a soundstage. Little did I know that years later I would discuss those same design decisions with the ride’s lead designer, Tony Baxter, as he guided me in writing this book.”

The book is concluded with an Afterword written by famed theme park designer and Themed Entertainment Association Lifetime Award winner Joe Rohde, whose lead project roles have included Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 2006), Aulani – A Disney Resort & Spa (2011), Pandora – The World of Avatar (Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 2017), and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park (1998). Joe writes:

“Expertise is real, and, at least in part, quantifiable, as David Younger’s magnum opus demonstrates. By amassing the communal knowledge of this disparate and diverse group into a single opus, David Younger has provided us all with a landmark in our intellectual space from which we may navigate to further possibility.” – Joe Rohde

As its endorsements attest, the book is written to be suitable for professional designers looking for a valuable reference handbook suitable to their projects, theme park design students looking to learn the ins and outs of the discipline, and the curious theme park fan, looking for peek behind the curtain at how the magic’s made.

How to Purchase

Pre-orders are being taken RIGHT NOW at, ready for a worldwide release on March 28th, 2016. The book will initially be sold exclusively through the book website, before becoming available from bookstores and Amazon in late April. The book will be available in two editions, a Hardback Color Edition priced at $69.95 and a Paperback Black & White Edition priced at $49.95 with free postage in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, and Australia when purchased through the book website.

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