FUN BY DESIGN
| The happy chaos of the amusement park is an illusion. Parks are carefully constructed to make you feel safe, comfortable and spontaneous.
Every French fry break, every bench to rest tired feet, the bathrooms, the phones, the ATMs for extra cash, even the first aid station.
Planning an amusement park begins with calculating what the parks attendance will be on an average day. That’s the magic number to us. When we know how many people are in the park, that tells us what kind of ride capacity we need, what kind of food capacity，how big to make the park, how much space the public needs. All of this information we’ve gathered over the number of years we've been in business and you know, it's not available in books.
Duell has formulas for everything from how many food operations a park needs to what kind of rides should be placed where.
The advantage we have is we’ve done about 40 parks. We know how much space an individual takes. We know how long a person is willing to wait in line. You design for about 20 minutes and most people can handle that.
West also directs the development of the park's theme.
Theming, that’s...boy, that always becomes the hottest topic. Most clients are somewhat obsessed with the theme. The theme gives you a storyline. It’s a starting point. If we didn’t have a theme, we wouldn’t have an architectural treatment. So we have to create a theme to know what to make a building look like.
West's solution to prevent bottlenecks and boredom is the duell loop. The loop creates a condition where a person doesn’t have to make decisions.
They can just walk. They get to see everything. They get to experience everything. They can’t get lost. They always come back to where they started.
The average duell loop is between a half mile to a mile in length, and takes six to eight hours to cover, the same amount of time the average family spends at a park.
Six Flags Magic Mountain showcases West's classic design elements.
When we plan a park like this, we take special pains to be sure that people can’t see very far ahead into the park. We create plazas like this. We create gentle turns so that we restrict the distance you can see. And as you move from area to area, you discover new things in the park.
There’s a lot of scientific development that’s gone on into the design of main gates over the years, a lot of careful research -- we’ve found from experience that people who come early are a little hungry, so they like pastries, coffee, coke.
Another secret behind a perfect day at the park is a well-trained staff.
Occasionally the highly sensitive switches that monitor the car's position will temporarily strand a car on the track. Christine, the senior operator on this shift, keeps the riders entertained and relaxed while the ride is reset. In a few moments the riders happily continue on their journey.
Because of the deafening sound on a ride platform, operators must use hand signals to communicate.
Part of being a ride operator is dealing with the unexpected human element.
Whenever we get a kid who’s afraid to ride, here ya go, this ring has ridden every morning with me for two months and I never lost it and it has always brought me back safe. Wear it. They’re so absorbed on trying to put on this ring they’re not even thinking they’re on the ride and then they get back and they’re like... I just rode the mantis! Wow! The ring works.
The hardest part about it is when you get a guest who’s like, really unruly, really irate, and you have to try and calm them down.
If you’re happy, you’re excited, you get the people pumped up and enthused. The day goes a lot faster, they’re a lot happier, and they just have a better day.
Theme parks are designed and choreographed with a single focus... To make you happy.
West: 设计游乐园的第一步就是要计算每天平均接待游客的数量。这个数字对我们来说非常重要。知道了多少人会在公园里，我们就知道了需要多大的载客量，需要多少食物，公园应该有多大, 需要多大的空间。所有这些资料都是我们在从事这个行业的 几年中来收集的，你知道，这也不是能在书本上找到的。
多年来，游乐园大门的设计也在向科学化发展，这需要详尽的研究 ―― 经验告诉我们，来得早的游客通常都有一点饿，所以他们喜欢糕点，咖啡和可乐。.