E06.2 - How to Make Memories That Last Lifetimes

Go behind the scenes of Theme Park Design and learn how once in a lifetime experiences are made.
June 26, 2020 | 00:38:52
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This is episode 6.2 with Peter Marshall.

If you've finished Part 1, you're in the right place! If not, there's a lot you're missing.

You'll need to listen to episode 6.1 to get the whole story.

If you like the show, would leave a review on Apple Podcasts? It'll take about 60 seconds, and will help me draw even more insanely interesting guests.

Now all that's out of the way, let's get into it.

Please enjoy episode 6.2!

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Mike Rowe: Welcome back. My name is Mike, and this is part two of episode six. If you’ve just finished part one, congrats, you’re in the right place. If you haven’t, there’s a lot of good stuff you’re probably missing. If you want the whole story you’ll need to jump back one release and listen to that. But if you’re all set and good to go, then you got this. So without further ado, please enjoy episode six part two with Peter Marshall.

You mentioned that there was a lot of imagination on display. Can you walk me through some of that and describe moving around the space what that looked like?

Peter Marshall: You mean moving around the office?

Mike Rowe: Just what you saw through that interview. You mentioned there were some really amazing creative on display, and I’m just curious about like when you walked in, what were the things that you were seeing that really spoke to you that you connected with?

Peter Marshall: Well, let me try and describe FORREC to you then. We’ll just sort of jump in. So it’s been around for 40 years. It’s in a big office, warehouse office in liberty village, beautiful office. We’ve worked in 20 countries, there’s 140 people plus there who speak like 30 languages. It’s totally multicultural and diverse a place to work. And then the office itself is split into six separate studios. So there’s a creative studio, architecture studio, landscape architecture studio, interior design, media studio, and graphic design. I think that goes—is that six? Did I leave anybody out?

Mike Rowe: That’s pretty close to six.

Peter Marshall: That’s close enough to six. And across five sectors. So attractions, resorts, water parks, theme parks, and mixed use retail. So we do all kinds of stuff all over the world. And so when you walk in, the first thing that kind of hits you on the head is like, “Wow, there’s Universal Studios. Wow, there’s Lego. Oh, there’s Six Flags.” So it’s like the big, big name brands. But then you’re like, “Whoa, there’s a master plan for a whole city in South Korea. Like wow, that’s amazing.” And it’s got canals, and it’s build on an island, and you know, oh there’s a new museum, and you know, there’s a water park on top of a mountain, and there’s a resort on an island in, you know, Singapore. And an aviary, and you just cannot believe the breadth and scope of the projects.

Mike Rowe: I’m really hearing how you’ve stepped into this world of people that design worlds in a lot of ways. And you’ve got all these disciplines coming together that are required to create these like themed world experiences for people.

Peter Marshall: Yeah, that’s the truly amazing part of when I first walked in was to think that there were people who had like 30 years experience designing what seems like a fantasy world. And it’s not just the one time, it’s you know, 20 times. And these are leading, you know, professionals in the world of designing these various components all working together in their different fields and coming together and bringing something different to bear from each of their different disciplines. It’s amazing.

Mike Rowe: And as someone like, say, you’ve joined FORREC, you’ve started work, you’ve not necessarily got the experience in this new world that you’ve stepped into. What was it like making the transition from video games and architecture into themed experiences? Can you walk me through some of the early challenges of joining this new industry?

Peter Marshall: Yeah, I wasn’t really sure how to contribute at first. I wasn’t sure what was the right way to assist. I hadn’t been to that many theme parks. You know, I didn’t understand all the different ride vehicles, the master planning was a challenge for me. So I jumped right into assisting with presentations. That was how I first found my way so I could help choose reference images, I could help research, I started sketching a lot more than I ever had before. I could help write narratives, I love writing. And was shocked to find out that that was a part of the job.

And it turns out there’s a lot of different ways to contribute and I just kind of had underestimated the importance of a story in the design of theme parks. I was like, “Why is everything themed? Like why does everything have to have a theme?” It’s not the theme it’s the story because people are being immersed in lands and places. You have to make a place, it’s not a thing, it’s a place, and I kind of underestimated that.

Mike Rowe: And this might be a really interesting question to ask just based on what you’ve just said. For those that are listening that don’t quite understand, what is the difference between a theme park experience and an amusement park experience?

Peter Marshall: Right. Well, going back to, you know, the fall fair with the round rides in it and the rollercoasters and the thrill rides. Basically they’re just rides with names on them. You know, it’s the Tarantula or something, you know, and it’s basically it’s black and it’s red, and you get on it, and there’s a spider painted on the ride vehicle, the chair you’re sitting in. And that’s that and it’s thrilling, and it’s a primarily a physical experience.

And a theme park is a much more immersive land that you enter, and you know, you’re going into a building, or you’re you know, going to a place and there’s a story. And what happens on the ride is one part of the story that is manifested before you get on the ride and after you get on the ride. And so that’s when a ride becomes an attraction. It becomes a whole themed narrative.

Mike Rowe: And you mentioned that stories were so important, and you started to learn about why stories were so important. And being someone that started off with a presentation experience, how did you start to weave through stories in that part of the job?

Peter Marshall: Well you’re looking for authenticity in your experience. And you’re in often different lands, and you know, different countries, and so you have to do a lot of research to dig into where you are and build up the guest experience based on the story. The story generates a big idea and that’s kind of your next step in trying to get the client to buy into the idea—the big idea—and it’s what holds everything together. If you have two or three different rides in a land, what is the big idea that’s gonna bring them all together into one place?

Mike Rowe: Out of curiosity, I was hoping you might be able to describe a little bit about like how you work and how your team works. And I’m particularly interested in the people behind the scenes that make up your team. Can you tell us a little bit about them, and what they do, and how you all work together?

Peter Marshall: Yeah, for sure. So we talked about the six different studios. Within my studio we have, you know, the head of our studio Anna, and we have the assistant head Nathan, he’s more of the sort of a technical side of things as well, creative technical guy. And then we’ve got illustrators, and you know concept artists, and storyboard artists, and 3D modelers, and storytellers, and writers. And that’s just within the creative department. So I mean I just love my team, and I love working, getting the team going.

So you put a team together and you’re gonna have people from all the different studios working together. And you really want to get them going right at the beginning of the project being involved together in the creative process. So they’re not just we’re not coming up with creative, and then handing it on someone’s desk, and they’re making a 3D model, and then the… we’re taking some camera shots of the 3D model, and then we’re putting it on the illustrator’s desk to, you know, paint.

We want everybody working together, and some back and forth. So you sketch on top of the model, and then the architect’s like, “Whoa, what if we, you know, did this different? And we come back, and okay, let’s get the camera right in there. What does it feel like? What’s the story we’re trying to tell?” And always trying to, you know, build up that experience and make sure that it’s integrated in an immersive way that keeps continuity throughout—from the exterior, to the interior, to the load platform, to the exit—all working together.

Mike Rowe: And where do you start when you’ve got the task to perhaps design a new theme park attraction? Like where is the best place to begin and get that kind of sequence of creativity all happening?

Peter Marshall: Well, if we’re talking about putting together maybe a concept design package, we’re talking, so that’s right at the beginning of concept. So that’s where I like to be. I like to be at the beginning of the genesis. So it’s a blank sheet of paper. Nobody knows what it is. What’s it gonna be? We don’t know.

So you’ve got brainstorming. You get the team together, you know, you get a whole bunch of people that aren’t even going to be working on the project, young people, older people, experienced and inexperienced, and you brainstorm, you know, what conceivably could this be? And from that maybe people are tasked with going and doing some additional research to try and find precedence. You know, you’re digging into local myths, and legends, and lore to try and make a story that, you know, has enough depth and meat to it.

You’re building up a narrative, you’ve got some sketches of what those places might be like if they were influenced by that, you know, theme. You know, is it a big tall mountain that you climb up? Is it a low valley that you’re sweeping through? And, you know, is there a pirate ship? Like what’s the story? Did somebody crash? You know, you really want to know is it a mining town? Is it a, you know, is it a research facility? Go in and launch a rocket. Like what’s the story? And you’re digging in, you’ve got storyboards, and then eventually you’re working up to creating some key concept art, and you know, concept illustrations.

And then you’re coming up with three. Eventually that starts with maybe takes typically three big ideas. You know, one of them is maybe a bit of a straw man. It’s like, well, this one’s kind of crazy, and you know, that one’s probably not gonna make it. And these two other ones have really, really strong components to them. And then you jump into client workshops so that you can start to get to client feedback on what they want to have happen. And if there’s a brand involved, now you’ve got two team of three working together. And then it turns into one big idea that you then bear down on and present to the client.

Mike Rowe: It sounds like it’s really a process of like going wide and consuming a lot of information, and research, and discovery, and just continually like shaping it down to like those three big ideas that people can probably hold. But then even from there, like a process of eliminating it down to just one that you can all like pull your attention behind. Is that a fair description of how it kind of like loosely works from a high level?

Peter Marshall: Yeah. The brainstorming process would be wide, and then you come together. And then you come together, and then you separate and go wide, and come together again. And you come again and again and again go wide, come back in, and you see what resonates and sticks. And then eventually that sort of gels into an idea that everybody can get behind that’s gonna have the strength to survive what’s to come.

Mike Rowe: I’m really getting a picture of almost like chiseling away at an imaginary idea until you finally are only left with the concept of that idea, that really strong vision of what that looks like.

Peter Marshall: Yeah. And you know, that’s also accurate in that day one you’re waiting out in front of the, you know, white board with a chisel and air.

Mike Rowe: Yeah. Yeah.

Peter Marshall: “What are you doing, Pete?” “I don’t know. Can somebody else take the marker?”

Mike Rowe: Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned that you do client workshops. I’m curious how you decide together as a team with your clients what concepts to pursue and what not to? Is there like a criteria? Is there some kind of… is there a formal process or is it a very much more like story and narrative driven? How does that actually look for you?

Peter Marshall: Well that’s another thing that I had underestimated when I first started, which was the side of the client team and how deeply invested they are in the process. And how much work they typically have done without us and before us and will do after us. And we are a consultant who’s, you know what I mean, brought on to assist with this part of the project. So they are deeply invested and have very strong opinions about what they think will and won’t work in their particular market where they have done feasibility studies, they have tested out many different scenarios already, and they have superiors to answer to as well. We’re talking about they got investors we’re talking huge sums of money.

So there’s a back and forth there where you are, you know, feeding it into their structure, and then you know, feedback filters back down through what are typically pretty hierarchical companies. So yeah, so it’s a lot of give and take, and back and forth with, you know, it’s not just us. You know, it’s not just one person on our team, it’s 20. And it’s not just our team it’s their team and it’s potentially another team as well. So it’s a really, really collaborative process.

Mike Rowe: And what’s it like merging… cause it does sound like a merger in my mind the way you’re describing it between your team and all the different disciplines that are involved, but then also you’re merging it with potentially like another company and their teams, and coming together to create these experiences would require a lot of collaboration and communication, give like tradeoffs as you kind of mentioned. What’s it like when you’ve got a company, a new company, that you’re working with to kind of connect and start to work together?

Peter Marshall: Yeah, that’s where the… I mean we’ve worked with a lot of companies in the past, and already built those relationships, but when you do start off building that relationship you have to dig in. You just have to research, and you have to commit, and you have to put your heart into it. To the point where you’re coming up with thoughts, and ideas that they haven’t because, you know, even though they’re committed to their project, they don’t have the experience and the strategy to dig deep in a certain way and come up with a creative take on an idea that they’ve kind of bat around already. And that’s where the experience of the team comes in is just that, you know, we do this a lot, so we get kind of good at it.

Mike Rowe: And what’s it like when you present an idea to a client that they’d not considered and they see it from that concept that you’ve put forward. Like what’s that like when they actually get what you’re trying to create?

Peter Marshall: It’s amazing. You know, sometimes it’s lost in translation. Sometimes they need to sit on it and get back to us, but sometimes they clap. Very… you know, that was something that happened actually quire recently, where and I’m like, “And then you come around the back and you’re in this new thing that’s…” And they’re like, “Yay!”

Mike Rowe: Oh wow.

Peter Marshall: And I’m like, “Okay, somebody… I’m done. I quit. This is never…”

Mike Rowe: Not gonna peak above this.

Peter Marshall: Somebody’s like, “That’s never gonna happen again, Peter.”

Mike Rowe: Can you tell me a little bit more about what that was like? Like I know you’ve got NDAs and things like that, but can you kind of create the color and the context for that story?

Peter Marshall: Okay. It’s we’re talking about a film property, a film that you would know, and there’s a story, and we need to dig into that story, and we need to live it, we need to know it, we need to know it like the writers knew it. But we also have to then translate it into how could that be an attraction? And it’s never going to be a direct correlation. There’s going to be something new that’s going to happen, that has to live in that world, take cues from it, and build on storylines within it. So it’s that kind of knowledge of a brand that you have to have of a story where you could carry it forward, or you can imagine a subplot, or you know, this happened in between these two events in the film. Like you gotta know it.

And when you communicate with a brand for whom, you know, the IP is everything, they have worked so hard to develop this brand and have it be marketable, and have it be comprehensible, and films, and sequels of films. If you can go and pitch and present to them and show them the deeper knowledge that you have and how you’ve been able to translate it into this a-ha moment, I mean that’s a really exciting moment.

Mike Rowe: It really sounds like you are deepening the narrative in ways that they had not considered.

Peter Marshall: Yeah. They were like, “This is a challenge, and you know, how are you going to meet that challenge?”

Mike Rowe: Fantastic. And that maybe is a perfect kind of segue statement. Cause I’m really curious about after the presentation, after you’ve got buy-in, you’ve had that moment where they’ve just applauded you. What are the stages of theme park experience design that happened next?

Peter Marshall: Okay. Okay. Do you mean like the actual architectural stages?

Mike Rowe: Yeah, well, say for example with films you’ve got preproduction, production, and postproduction. Is there something similar for theme park experience design where it’s broken down into these like building blocks of like work that’s kind of structured together?

Peter Marshall: Absolutely. We take cues from the architectural profession. So we have concept design, followed by schematic design, then design development, and construction drawings, and then onto construction admin. So it’s just a, you know, concept design is like napkin sketch. Schematic design is, you know, okay, bubbles, and starting to have volume. And they’re linking together in this way and I can imagine circulation working like that. You know, it’s kind of a concept, and then into schematic.

There’s a CAD plan, and you know, I can see the lines as they relate, and okay, we’ve got different volumes and then design development. It’s like, okay, now you know, are we starting to talk about like HVAC systems, and security systems, and how does the actual ride egress and ingress, and fire exits. You know, where is the fire truck coming in through the gate, and really getting into the weds on that.

And then construction drawings are like you can build from these. So we take projects from beginning to end. Typically when you’re working overseas you need to have a partner who knows the ins and outs and can handle the construction drawing process and the construction admin process within. Cause you need people on the ground and you need people who understand the codes of the different countries, and can work with the construction teams there. So that’s the nuts and bolts, and I got to tell you, it is insane when you look at the construction drawings for a billion dollar theme park. You’re like, “Oh, look, there’s you know, SpongeBob.”

Mike Rowe: Yeah. Wow. It sounds like there’s a lot of complexity—both from a technical perspective, but then also from you’re working across different countries, they’ve got different safety regulations I imagine. They also have different terms for things, I bet. There’s like different electricity hertz ratings, there’s all sorts of complexities there.

And then you’ve got the human factor as well, and I’m curious how you go about synchronizing all the people and the disciplines to have it all come together. Because what you’re describing is like an immensely complicated sequence of things that need to come together in perfect unison to create this end experience, this end park that people can actually step inside of. Where ultimately you were designing for those memories that you wanted them to create. So can you tell me a little bit about the process, and the people, and what that’s like as a creative director in your situation?

Peter Marshall: When I’m working on a smaller project, I’m a creative director and a project manager for a smaller project, and that would involve staffing, and schedules, and trying to stay on budget, and communicating with the client about deliverables, and you know, trying to meet those goals. So I do wear that hat a little bit, but that’s like you know… When I look at the project managers who handle the big projects at our office that’s like maybe getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson.

These guys are… and the women and men who work in our project management team for these big projects are unbelievable. The amount of information that’s, you know, passing through different hands. We’re currently working in a BIM environment, so building information management modeling software. I’m not sure if you’ve heard that before, but it’s people might have heard of Revit before.

Basically it’s a shared 3D model across all of the different parties. And, you know, cause of the engineering, and HVAC, and construction, and all the different teams, and consultants, and subconsultants share a single model. Which is incredibly complicated but the next generation of coordination whereby, you know, you can turn the pipes on and the pipe’s there. You can turn on the HVAC and the vents are there. You can turn on the fire circulation and it’s there. You can turn on the theming, and you know, all the facades show up. And you can turn on the base building and so the base building walls are there, and the foundations, and you can understand the project from all the different teams linking it together.

You know, is it gonna fit? Is it gonna… how much is it gonna cost? What do we need to do first? We can’t have that pipe going there. Unbelievably complicated and it requires coordination between teams. We had, you know, 15 people from one of our lead clients visiting our office for a week last week. And they just sat in a room with, you know, ten people from their team, ten people from ours, and just went through everything.

Mike Rowe: I can really hear how being aligned and having alignment across different people is so important to the process.

Peter Marshall: Yeah, you gotta build up trust in relationship and partnerships. Cause it’s… you really gotta carry your weight in that kind of a situation.

Mike Rowe: And how important is like that story or vision to what you’re trying to create to that whole process?

Peter Marshall: The vision needs to be—before when I said, you know, and your big idea better be strong enough to withstand what’s to come, that’s what’s to come. You see where concept is on that list, you know, and after that comes the nuts and bolts of the actual design, and you know, the practicalities of moving through and building a space, and the budget, and you know, the value engineering, and the construction constraints. Can your idea… you know, it has to be able to survive that it has to still exist at the end otherwise you’ve got nothing.

Mike Rowe: Yeah. I’m really hearing how your story and your vision needs to cope with the kind of suffering of the practicalities involved in all of the stuff needing to come together, and for it to be so strong in people’s minds that they know what they’re trying to create and why.

Peter Marshall: It has to be inspiring. Because we’re all in it together and we all share the same passion for that guest, you know, walking into that space and just being like, “Wow! Look at this! This is incredible!” And that’s what drives everyone on the team. Right down to, you know, the construction team. Everyone is just incredibly passionate about bringing the dream to life. And so a big part of the concept is getting people excited.

Mike Rowe: Speaking of getting people excited, I’m really curious if you can take us through the different types of rides and those systems that you spoke about before. Because that’s the thing that I can imagine people when they go there, there’s the story, and there’s the immersive environment, but then there’s those rides that you go on that take that to a whole other level for you.

Peter Marshall: Right. So it took me a while to figure these out naturally because it’s actually pretty deep when you dig into it because there’s the ride types and then there’s the different ride manufacturers. And trying to understand what the right ride type is for the right attraction you’re trying to make, and what’s the right manufacturer because we have different relationships with all of them.

So there are classic rides which are often called round rides. Maybe like a carousel, or you know, an arrow wheel, or all manner of different types of Gravitron, all those spinning rides that you might see. Then there are drop towers, which are kind of like a central spire, and you drop down in a variety of different ways. Then there’s the whole world of rollercoasters. There are launch coasters, there’s wooden coasters, there’s traditional coasters, there’s tilt coasters. There’s all kinds of different suspended coasters where you’re actually suspended from an arm, and the arm can rotate.

Then there are dark rides like we talked about—tracked and trackless dark rides, all that stuff that happens in the dark boxes, the kind of set pieces. And then there are motion simulators, which is a platform that’s on jacks that moves in time to motion of the film. So if you wanted to give the sensation of acceleration. You tilt backwards and it feels like you’re being pushed back in your seat. But if you perfectly orchestrate the film to match that, then it does feel like you’re accelerating.

And then there are water parks, and all of the crazy rides associated with water parks. Fun fact: the two biggest water park ride manufacturers in the world—one-two by a country mile are both in Canada—one in Vancouver and one in Ottawa. Why?

Mike Rowe: Fantastic.

Peter Marshall: Why? Why is that? We have winter half the time. And it has to do with the fiberglass industry. Most water park rides are made of fiberglass. Then moving onto the final one, which is kind of snow parks. You know, what happens at a snow park, and there’s a whole bunch of rides associated with that. So, you know, James our head of attractions, has taken care to try and get me up to speed over the years.

Mike Rowe: And how have you been involved in designing your ride systems at FORREC in the past?

Peter Marshall: So when you’re working with a ride manufacturer, they have… cost is a major component. How much money do you have to spend on your ride because there’s so much, you know, R&D and testing that goes into the creation of a new ride. So there are off the shelf rides and then there are of different scales that you could then modify. You know, oh, I want it to be this long. Okay, well then it can only be this tall because, you know, it’s gonna take too long to run off the speed. And okay, we’re gonna go underground in this area. And so you can work with them on those components.

There’s also, you know, and then you’re working with a dark ride manufacturer and it’s like, “Okay, we need this many people moving through the ride.” Okay, you need this many ride vehicles, the spacing might be like this, you probably want one that can hold eight people. Oh, you’ve got a film experience in there, why don’t you pick the model that costs more, but it actually has a motion platform on top of it so that you can simulate movement throughout the ride. And so you’re working with them on specifications, and throughput, which is the number of people that can move through the ride, which is per hour, which is the crucial number.

And just sort of working with them on theming opportunities—what can we do to the ride vehicle? You know, what is the spacing around it required? You know, what’s the safety envelope? All of those kinds of… You know, that was one of my… I love those conversations. It’s like, okay, tell me about the ride vehicle. What can I theme? What can’t I theme? Can I change the color of that foam? And, you know, should we do that before installation or after installation? Cause they’re just like they’re bridge builders. These are like aerospace guys. It’s amazing.

Mike Rowe: And out of that, what is it actually like to collaborate with a ride manufacturer where you can start to discover what is and what is not possible? Like I imagine that’s where you really start to get lit up and really start to come into a sense of play. Cause you can see the possibilities—the theming, and how it’s connected to the stories, and how it all kind of comes together to support your vision.

Peter Marshall: Yeah. I mean it’s like a $6 million ride, you know, like are you kidding me? This is amazing! So to get to talk to someone who’s, you know, worked on designing and engineering that, and has the experience to understand, you know, how a ride might be supported with their technology. And, you know, then the big guys, you know, are looking for ways… you’re always looking for a way to plus up an experience, and that’s true for us. How do you take one technology and combine it with another technology? Typically, a client would say, “I want a brad new technology that no one’s ever seen before, but it has to be tried, tested, and true.”

Mike Rowe: The two kind of go in contrast.

Peter Marshall: I don’t understand. What you try and do then is you try and layer experiences together to find a way to make a unique experience using two types of technology at the same time. Imagining that on the ultimate scale would be can we take your new coaster that you’ve designed—this is something I’ve been thinking about right now—there’s a new coaster where the engine is onboard with the ride vehicle.

I’m like, oh okay, that’s totally cool. So it’s not powered by gravity, it’s not powered by like a big elastic band like the launch coaster ones are. You know, something in the ground that shoots you forward, spinning wheels that shoot it forward or not a drop. It has an engine, an electric engine on the ride vehicle itself. And can we have control over that engine. Can the driver, you know of the ride vehicle, can they control their speed? Can there be moments of interaction and feedback? And, you know, can we make this a truly interactive experience where the rider has more control?  And then that’s when I get really excited.

Mike Rowe: And how do you imagine just talking through this a little bit more that the rider might be involved in controlling that experience? What are you thinking about right now in that context?

Peter Marshall: Well, you always have to keep your… So you’ll hear throughput. Throughput is the number of guests that move through a ride in an hour. You know, or whatever, just keep everybody moving. So if you can speed up and slow down does that mean that a ride vehicle behind you can crash into you? Well, no, cause you have to have like a maximum speed so you don’t die, and you have to have a minimum speed so that you don’t stop.

So but within that envelope of low speed and top speed, at the start of the ride could there be a countdown and what’s your reaction time to hitting the throttle? And, you know, can we have two ride vehicles side-by-side on two tracks? And now you’re racing the other ride vehicle. And is there a braking zone where, you know, how late can you brake? Did you hit it at the right time as you go through that turn? And can you go at maximum speed, you know, through a foggy embankment where you don’t know what’s gonna happen? And, you know, are you chicken?

You know, so how can you make that experience? And you’ve got a screen in front of you. You could track your stats. You’ve got an RFID bracelet on your wrist that you can download to. Are you on a team? Are you coming back and trying to better than last time? You know, is there an app on your phone? There’s a whole world of scenarios to make that a richer experience.

Mike Rowe: Yeah. It’s really sounding like you’re taking it from just a pure thrill to almost like engineering in moments of uncertainty that leave you wondering what’s gonna happen next.

Peter Marshall: Yeah. Try to keep it open and unscripted.

Mike Rowe: That’s fantastic. How do you know what ride systems to use and where to place them amongst the greater theme park and the attractions that you’re trying to create?

Peter Marshall: Well you saw the ride list from—we talked about that ride list in a previous question of all the different ride types.

Mike Rowe: Yes.

Peter Marshall: So there’s each one has a footprint, you know, how big it is. Each one has a cost associated with it and each one has a number of people that would potentially be able to go on it per hour. And you’re working with your ride mix, you know, they can’t all be the same. You know, here, a typical theme park has four zones, let’s say. And those theme zones, or lands, or whatever you want to call them maybe there’s four rides in each one of them. So there’s a hierarchy of rides within each of those lands or zones. There’s like an e-ticket, that’s a big fancy ride—that’s Disney terminology—big e-ticket, like a big, fancy, like a dark ride or a big coaster. Costs the most money, has the most people going through it, but you’ve got three other ones.

Their size, they’re like something if that’s too extreme for everyone is there a ride that’s a little bit more chill? Like maybe have kids and people who don’t want that kind of experience. Is there an indoor ride and an outdoor ride? Is, you know, does one have some water in it so that maybe if you’re hot, or you know, different scales of rides, different costs, different footprints, and that’s your ride mix. You know, is one of them big and tall so that you can make a visual icon so that it assists with guest circulation so they know where they’re supposed to go?

Is it assisting with the flow? Where’s the entrance and the exit? Where do you want people to be? What do you want them to go past on their way to the thing that you know they’re gonna want to do? You know, if while you’re waiting for someone to come out of one ride can you be in the line for another one? So it’s this complicated matrix that has to do with that whole land assembly and how it’s all gonna work together.

Mike Rowe: Well this has been huge, but everything good must come to an end. If you liked this episode and want to hear more, you can get “The Goods” on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast network, or listening app. Thank you for listening. Until next time, this is Mike signing of.

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