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Theme Park Design: Behind The Scenes With An Engineer Paperback – October 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1456309722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456309725
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #362,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

From concept drawings to nightly testings, Mr. Alcorn brings you right into the attraction-making process... a must read for anyone thinking of going into an engineering field whether it be in theme park industry or not.
--The Daily City, Orlando

Every aspect of a ride's creation is covered, which left me in awe at the complexity involved in making these things. To keep the detailed sections light, the author peppers them with humorous anecdotes. 
--Orlando Florida Culture

An informative read for anyone interested in the how, who and why of theme park design, engineering and operations with a dollop of good humor and some Imagineering anecdotes to boot. --Progress City, USA

I felt like I was right along with him during the ride builds. An author who can put me behind the scenes at Disney is all right in my book! --Thrill Network

For an entertaining and readily digestible journey through the mechanics of the theme park industry this book is highly recommended. --Blooloop

About the Author

Steve Alcorn is an entrepreneur, engineer, inventor, author and teacher best known for his involvement in the theme park industry. In 1982 he joined Walt Disney Imagineering (then known as WED Enterprises) as a consultant, where he worked on the electronic systems for Epcot Center. During his time with Imagineering he designed show control systems for The American Adventure, wrote the operating system used in the park-wide monitoring system, and became Imagineering’s first Systems Engineer. In 1986 he founded Alcorn McBride Inc. The company's show control, audio, video and lighting equipment is used in most major theme park attractions around the world. Mr. Alcorn is the author of many novels and non-fiction books, including How to Fix Your Novel, and Building a Better Mouse: The Story of the Electronic Imagineers who Designed Epcot. During the past decade, Mr. Alcorn has helped more than 20,000 aspiring authors structure their novels through his online classes, offered at over 1500 universities and colleges worldwide. He also teaches theme park design online at imagineringclass.

Customer Reviews

This book is true... Painfully true.
DaveF
I just finished reading Theme Park Design: Behind the Scenes with an Engineer by Steve Alcorn, a very smart book about designing theme park attractions.
Nicholas Weisenberger
Definitely recommended as a first read for anyone interested in theme park design, or Disney in general.
Josh A

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. Kuntz on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my 15 year old son who is interested in becoming a roller coaster engineer/designer. He has read the book from cover to cover more than once and has really enjoyed it. The book is well written, in a conversational style and is comprehensive, giving specific, detailed information based upon the author's long term career experience within theme parks . My son feels this book is an excellent introduction into the field and has given him a good base of information to proceed in developing his career goals.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Weisenberger on January 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Theme Park Design: Behind the Scenes with an Engineer by Steve Alcorn, a very smart book about designing theme park attractions. Have you ever looked at a ride and asked yourself "how did they do that'? Have you ever wanted to design theme park attractions? This book takes a look at the people who design theme park attractions and what their specific roles and responsibilities are. After reading, you'll know the answers to such questions as how a Show Control Engineer differs from a Ride Control Engineer.

The nice thing about Theme Park Design is that anyone can read it. Even though it is written by an engineer the book can easily be understood by anyone. The only math equation isn't encountered until page 182 and shouldn't be very hard to understand thanks to Steve's excellence explanation (P=IV or power equals current times voltage).

This book is a great starting point for anyone interested in pursuing a career in theme park design. Designing a ride includes a wide range of individuals with different skill sets. Reading Theme Park Design can help you understand what role you would like to fulfill and the skills you need to acquire.

Theme Park Design includes some great tidbits about actual attractions and park operations: Disney...runs a department devoted to figuring out how many guests will be in each park at a major Florida resort on everyday for the next five years. Steve talks a lot about his work on Epcot getting many of the attractions, which were technologically advanced at the time, ready for opening day. (I'm sure there are even more details in another book by Steve, Building a Better Mouse: The Story of the Electronic Imagineers Who Designed Epcot, which I am now thinking about picking up a copy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Loren Barrows on October 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are interested in Theme Parks, read this. I am not an Engineer and did not feel like it was over my head. I loved the behind the scenes stories! Having been to the Disney parks hundreds of times (was there for Epcot's opening day!) I've always wondered what goes on behind the curtains. (Also read "Building a Better Mouse.") Both very fun reads!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Korhonen on December 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always loved Walt Disney world and especially the slow show rides like pirates and haunted mansion. Growing up I have gathered many books and articles looking for real behind the scenes information and it was very scarce. The books title is exactly what is inside: Theme Park Design: Behind The Scenes With An Engineer. It’s behind the scenes stories and firsthand knowledge on what really happened for instance when Epcot was being constructed. It’s NOT a technical book on how to construct your own roller coaster.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael McGuire on October 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I like this book for 2 reasons. 1: It told me lots of stuff I wanted to know about rides. 2: It is funny! Plus if you are a prime member, you can borrow it free!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Audrey R. Castaneda on December 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
When I go to the parks and look around I always wonder what it really took to make it happen. This book answers a lot if not all of those questions. It gives a new respect for what it really takes to make a theme park happen. One real surprise is the easy reading style, much like sitting and listening while the author tells you all about it. Just the thought that it's engineering can scare you off but not this book! This is one gift I can't wait to give my Grandson who is beginning college with engineering as his major.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By George H. Taylor Jr. on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a must-have for anyone interested in the engineering side of theme park design.

Steve Alcorn is the co-author of Building a Better Mouse, one of the few books to take an insider look at building a Disney attraction. He formed Alcorn McBride in 1986 and the company has become the leader in show control, lighting, audio and video equipment for the theme park industry. Steve also teaches a class about theme park imagineering. You can find more information at Imagineering Class.

Spread over 50 chapters, Steve takes us through every step of theme park design from an engineer's perspective, making this book very unique. The Walt Disney Imagineering books favor the artistic side of Imagineering while Steve shows us everything that has to happen once the designs are set. After reading Theme Park Design, you will garner a monumental sense of what it takes to design and construct an attraction.

Steve has a great style and he is careful to steer us away from jargon, overtly-technical terms and engineering play-by-play. Often, Steve will start out with a description of a specific engineering tract and slide into an anecdote about EPCOT or another theme park attraction. I would say that those were the hidden gems of the book, but Steve is so affable that the entire book has a friendly, charming and excited tone. It is obvious that Steve loves what he does and wants to share it with the world.

Not only do you see the amount of people it takes to imagineer an attraction, but you get a glimpse of all of the different disciplines involved. For example, Steve spends a good amount of time describing and differentiating the various jobs/titles that are used in building an attraction (project engineer vs. system engineer or directors vs. producers).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Steve Alcorn is the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc., a company that designs products used in nearly all of the world's theme parks. He is the author of a half dozen books, including historical fiction, romance, and young adult novels, and the non-fiction books Building a Better Mouse and Theme Park Design.

In the past decade Steve has taught more than 10,000 aspiring fiction writers through the online learning programs of 1500 colleges and universities worldwide. Find out how to enroll in his classes at writingacademy.com

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Theme Park Design: Behind The Scenes With An Engineer
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