Tag Archives: theme parks

Secrets to Designing a Professional Haunted House Attraction

By web gangsta | Published:

Professional haunted house attractions all have the same features: buzzing chainsaws, scary clowns, creepy things touching you in the dark when you least expect it.

But while a haunted house may only be open for six weeks a year, DESIGNING a haunted house is a year-round activity. It takes a lot of work to build and create scare mazes that continue to deliver the screams year after year.

So what’s their secret?

The Art of Fear: Theories of a Dark Entertainer
The Art of Fear: Theories of a Dark Entertainer
(An in-depth look at the haunted attraction industry)

Is this the most offensive birthday card ever?

By web gangsta | Published:

The other day, Web Watch was browsing through various birthday cards at the local Target, trying to find The Perfect Card for a friend.

When picking out a birthday card, one always has to take into consideration whether the recipient shares the same sense of humor (if you go for a funny card), can appreciate a joke at their aging expense, or if you need to go the safe route and go with a sappy poem or note that more honestly conveys how you really feel about your relationship with that friend.

Friends seldom offer cards to each other – it’s more of a family thing, we believe.  With friends, it’s easier to just go out for a drink and celebrate the birthday event with them.

But when your friends live across the country, then sending a card is almost the same thing as being there – especially if you get the sentiment just right.

Amusement Park Death Song
Amusement Park Death Song
by Wally Pleasant, from the album Wally World


Proof that waiting on line at Disney parks can be miserable

By web gangsta | Published:

The Disney Queue Line Survival Guidebook
The Disney Queue Line Survival Guidebook

Web Watch never get bored while waiting on line for a Disney theme park attraction.

The detailed queues, interactive distractions, background music, park smells – the general happiness that permeates the Disney parks are designed to distract you from even thinking that you’ve been waiting in line for 2 hours to ride Toy Story Mania.

Okay – maybe waiting two hours for a 3-minute ride isn’t exactly a good use of anyone’s time, and definitely showcases the largest problem with the use of FastPass (but we digress, as we’re not going to talk about the pros/cons of FastPass today).

No, today we’re going to highlight the dark side of the Disney Park experience: the “gotta go, gotta go” mentality that pushes a family to Do Everything, Because It’s an Expensive Disney Trip, Dammit. Continue reading PROOF THAT WAITING ON LINE AT DISNEY PARKS CAN BE MISERABLE

How to Create a Haunted House, and Make Money Doing It

By web gangsta | Published:

Haunted House Halloween Handbook Haunted House Halloween Handbook

Web Watch loves Halloween – more for the experience of visiting what could be used as a local movie set at elaborate haunted house attractions rather than the handing out of candy to neighborhood brats. Because those creative individuals who spend all year working on an immersive Halloween experience really deserve kudos for the effort they put into spending a month scaring the hell out of all their guests. One question that Web Watch wanted to figure out the answer to was HOW MUCH MONEY DO HAUNTED HOUSE ATTRACTIONS MAKE EACH YEAR? Is it a profitable business?  Using some rough math, Web Watch can guess that the following is a reasonable estimate on haunted house earnings: Continue reading HOW TO CREATE A HAUNTED HOUSE, AND MAKE MONEY DOING IT

Read “Cast Member Confidential” for behind-the-scenes Disney fun

By web gangsta | Published:

Cast Member Confidential
Cast Member Confidential -a Disney Employee Memoir

If you’re a Disney park fan, then one thing that you’re probably interested in is some of the behind-the-scenes stories about what it’s REALLY like to work at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Sure, you could read KEVIN YEE’s book MOUSETRAP: MEMOIR OF A DISNEYLAND CAST MEMBER, or maybe even Inside the Mouse: Work and Play at Disney World, The Project on Disney, based on interviews with former Disney employees.  Both are excellent books for what they cover, and Web Watch recommends them highly.

But sometimes works like those can offer some views of life at Walt Disney World or Disneyland that are a bit more whitewashed than how things actually were.  Looking at working at the Mouse with rose-colored glasses, if you will.

Sometimes we want to see a truth that’s a bit more unadulterated and unfiltered.

Sometimes we want to really pull back the curtain and see what life really is like to work as a cast member at one of the World’s Busiest Theme Parks. Continue reading READ “CAST MEMBER CONFIDENTIAL” FOR BEHIND-THE-SCENES DISNEY FUN

Want FIGMENT and DREAMFINDER returned to the Imagination ride at Disney’s EPCOT? Here’s how

By web gangsta | Published:

Epcot’s FIGMENT stuffed toy

Fans of Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park have a new mission: to RETURN THE FIGMENT AND DREAMFINDER CHARACTERS TO EPCOT, specifically to the Journey Into Imagination ride.

First, some history:  when Epcot first opened, the plan was for the park to not have any of the traditional Disney characters present at all.  Of course, “where are the characters?” was a common complaint from families who visited and expected to see Disney characters at any Disney theme park they visited – which, at the time consisted of just the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland…not exactly a large sample size to deal with, here.

But Epcot did have one cuddly, friendly cartoony character available – FIGMENT, the playful winged dragon of imagination — who, along with his mentor Dreamfinder, became the defacto face of Epcot when no other characters were available.

Luckily, park fans loved Figment and Dreamfinder, and together they made the original incarnation of the JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION attraction a family must-see favorite.  Ask anyone who visited the park in those days if they could sing the “Imagination” song, and you’ll hear everyone share their version of “One Little Spark”. Continue reading WANT FIGMENT AND DREAMFINDER RETURNED TO THE IMAGINATION RIDE AT DISNEY’S EPCOT? HERE’S HOW

Want the ultimate Disney Wedding package? It’s exclusive, one-of-a-kind, and costs $198,000

By web gangsta | Published:

Disney Fairytale Wedding MusicIf you’ve dreamed of having the ULTIMATE DISNEY WEDDING, EXCLUSIVE AND MADE JUST FOR YOU, then WALT DISNEY WORLD and SAM’S CLUB has the deal for you:

The first person to send a wire transfer of $198,000 on November 18th, 2009 gets a phenomenal wedding package.  How exclusive is this offer?  Some of what is being offered is not available at all under any circumstances.


Smelly People Should be Banned from Buses and Roller Coasters

By web gangsta | Published:

Hawaiians have it right.

Tomorrow, the Honolulu City Council is going to consider a bill that will BAN PEOPLE WITH EXCESSIVE BODY ODOR FROM RIDING PUBLIC TRANSIT.

And the bill is written so that it isn’t just bad B.O. that will get a rider kicked off the bus – it’s having anything stinky on or about your person that “disturbs or interferes with others”.

Carrying a stinky garlic pizza with extra garlic?  Off the bus.

Extreme workout at the office gym and forget your deodorant?  Off the bus.

Have a wet dog with dingleberries?  Off the bus.


Disney: Official Unofficial Rules for Beers Around The World at Epcot

By web gangsta | Published:

Mr Beer PremiumA few friends of mine think that Epcot is the best thing at Walt Disney World.  There are quite a few people who agree with that belief, such as the folks at EPCOT CENTRAL, all for their own reasons.  I can’t say that I disagree with them, as Epcot can be underrated by park visitors.  Ask any person who dislikes Epcot and they often say the same things:

  • “There’s nothing to do there.”
  • “It’s boring.”
  • “Why do I have to walk so far?”

Epcot is an immersive environment, with surprises and treats around every corner, if you would only bother to look.  But that’s a different topic for a different day.  

For those Epcot naysayers out there – I say that if you don’t like where you are, sometimes it’s because you aren’t creative enough to make your own fun. 

Today, I will provide you with something to do after you have seen all that Epcot has to offer – courtesy in part from my creative Epcot-loving friends, and in part by today’s website, DRINK AROUND THE WORLD.

Improving Disney Shopping, part 2: Now Buy Park Merchandise Online

By web gangsta | Published:

A few months ago, Web Watch posted a piece on IMPROVING DISNEY SHOPPING where we posted the following:

All Disney has to do is return to making merchandise special. “Plus” the shopping experience again. Cater merchandise to all customers, not just the kids. And remember to market all the characters like they used to do.  Not all women want Tinkerbell or Princess merch. Not all men want Grumpy, Goofy, or Big Bad Wolf items.   Not everyone wants a T-shirt, baseball cap, boxer shorts, or coffee mug.  Give us variety.  Give us quality.  Give us something other than what you currently are doing.

We then asked an open-ended question to Disney, as to whether they would be smart enough to sell [us] the right stuff…. aside from more duck butt hats, of course. 

It looks like someone may have been listening. Continue reading IMPROVING DISNEY SHOPPING, PART 2: NOW BUY PARK MERCHANDISE ONLINE

How To Improve Walt Disney World Transportation

By web gangsta | Published:

Walt Disney World Disney Transportation Van Hool diecast busPROGRESS CITY USA has posted #3 on their list of TEN WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR:  OVERHAUL DISNEY TRANSPORTATION, and I couldn’t agree more.

To quote:

Basically, unless you’re just going from your hotel to a theme park and back, internal transportation is a headache. Fixing the system would require a massive investment, tackling many separate goals simultaneously. It would require an entirely different plan for the resort’s infrastructure, and it’s needed immediately. They won’t do it, but they should.

I have one suggestion that would address this current transportation problem at Walt Disney World with an idea that would dramatically increase guest satisfaction.  It won’t solve the immediate issue at hand, but keeping guests happy in the short run can buy some time until a better transporation plan is developed.


Calculating Amusement Park Wait Times via Twitter

By web gangsta | Published:

As Web Watch asked in our DISNEYLAND PARK PLANNER iPHONE APPLICATION article a few weeks ago:

“One would only hope that they’ll follow this up with appropriate apps for Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySEA, Universal Studios Hollywood, New York City subway trains, or any other amusement park, event, travel, or entertainment facility that would benefit from the social technology that the iPhones and similar devices make available.”

And now the floodgates have opened as more apps just like what we described have begun to arrive: Continue reading CALCULATING AMUSEMENT PARK WAIT TIMES VIA TWITTER

Disneyland iPhone Application

By web gangsta | Published:

Disney iPhone Application

Disney iPhone Application

I know what one of the first applications any new iPhone-owning Disney fan is going to want to go out and buy from the iPhone Apps Store:  the DISNEYLAND PARK PLANNER from HyTech Professionals.

Sure, the park planner has the basics down that any decent park planner would have:  scrollable/zoomable map, restaurant menus, park and show hours, attraction descriptions, FastPass locations, etc. 

But where the “DPP” shines is with special features that utilize two built-in features that the iPhone has:  geotargeting, and interactivity with the Internet.

The geotargeting app is handy, as the DPP can pinpoint your location within the park and then direct you to the nearest restroom, restaurant, attraction, or food stand that you are looking for – the ultimate Disney tour guide in your pocket.

But even better is when you use the DPP to tell you what rides have the shortest wait times.  Sure, Disney has come up with a way to do this with their Official Cell Phone Sponsor, Verizon – available for all Verizon subscribers in the parks – but the DPP opens up this information to everyone who is using the DPP. 

To better describe how this works, let me explain how Disney calculates their ride wait times:  Continue reading DISNEYLAND IPHONE APPLICATION

Movie Review: Adventureland

By web gangsta | Published:

Rated R for language, drug use, puking, and dry humping in the back seat of what appears to be an AMC Gremlin.

Rating: C

The movie poster proudly proclaims that Adventureland is from the same director who brought you Superbad.  

Superbad was funny.  Adventureland isn’t.

What was promised, based on the trailers and advance press, was a film filled with wacky amusement park hijinks in the newly vogue retro teen-sex-comedy genre.


TiVo Alert: Head Rush on Cartoon Network

By web gangsta | Published:

Sure, it may not even be scheduled to air yet, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t set a TiVo reminder to record HEAD RUSH on Cartoon Network when it airs later this year (along with the rest of the new Cartoon Network shows planned for 2009, which – oddly enough – aren’t all cartoons).


Only the coolest game show idea to come along in a long, long time: