How to Build a Theme Park

Apogee Attractions Breaks It Down to 15 Steps

1. Owners Vision and Concept Meeting

Most projects are initiated by someone who has an inspired idea often driven by a creative concept, sometimes by a development need, and other times by financial plans. This is the starting point. We will meet with you, hopefully near your site, to understand and discuss your vision. In addition Apogee will help you review your concept as well as discussing possible options for enhancing your project plan. At this point it is not necessary to have all your financing in place but some seed money will be needed to take the necessary steps.

2. Market Study and Recommendations

It is very important from the beginning to understand your market and the potential of your market in order to know the proper size for your project as well as to prepare data for the attraction program and your business plan. Apogee will, together with our economist, quantitatively ascertain who your market is, how long they will stay, how big your project should be and what is the competitive environment. Together we will determine if the concept is marketable and if it will best serve your objectives.

3. Concept Development and Attraction Program

In order to be efficient in the use of the owner’s financial resources Apogee will develop the attraction program, sometimes called design criteria or the sizing plan. In addition Apogee will develop the high concept and specific themes for key areas of your project. This is the time to create and identify some of the key individual concepts for your attractions and entertainment as well as for themed facilities. Do you have intellectual property to include or that we need to secure the rights for? The attraction program in conjunction with the key concepts will supply the owner as well as the entire future project team with the projects creative direction and critical quantitative information such as: needed capacity for attractions, merchandise, food and beverage, parking, size of support facilities, staffing levels etc.

4. Master Planning

Now that we have determined the parameters of what you will build it needs to be master planned. The master plan will provide you with the layout and configuration of your project. You will see how your project and its themes fit together and how it all works on your site.

5. Business Plan and Financing

Based on the concepts, the market study, the attraction program and the master plan you are now in position for your financial advisor to put together your business plan. Of course, not all projects will require a formal business plan. Ultimately, this will depend on how you plan to finance your project and the requirements of your investors. Now is the time to; get all your financing in place, complete securing the site, gain planning permission and any other required governmental approvals.

6. Schematic Design

This is the stage of design when Apogee will create, plan and draw the design skeleton for your project. How all the physical elements of your project work physically together will be established, in addition all key systems, entertainment, ride and show will be determined. The facility architect can now, with confidence, design the buildings for attractions, entertainment, merchandise, food and beverage. The schematic design phase is also the time when all of the basic engineering, civil, electrical and mechanical, for utility service is quantified and prepared. Cost projections will be further refined in this stage and project adjustments made accordingly. This is also a good time to build your full marketing plan.

7.Design Development

After you have approved the schematic design Apogee will continue on to detailed design development. All the schematic designs will now be specifically detailed out. Engineering studies and design will be complete in this stage. Additional value engineering is done if needed, subsequently all project elements will be fixed.

8. Construction Preparation and Documents

Now that design is complete, approved and fixed the actual final documentation for construction will be made. These documents will specifically provide the detail on how all elements of the project will be built and fabricated.

9. Construction and Show Fabrication

It is now time to take the project and its elements out for competitive bid. After bidding, negotiating and contracting, construction and fabrication will take place. 

10. Installation of Rides and Shows

Once construction is complete and any indoor facilities are “dust free” all ride systems, show and stage components are installed.  

12. Testing and Training

All attractions now will be tested, cycled and retested. Training of your projects staff will take place as well as rehearsals for entertainment elements and any other show needs. This is also the time when your interior fixtures, kitchen equipment, merchandise inventory etc. will be introduced to your project. When your entire project is up and working and all elements are functioning properly you will be asked to give your approval.

13. Soft Opening

Before your new project is opened to the media, key government officials and the regular paying public we have a “soft opening.” Your entire team now needs some real world experience with your project. A special preview audience will experience the operating project. This audience is usually composed of the public who are anxious to see it first and willing to be patient for your important break in trial period. This is the last time pre-opening to work out any remaining operating kinks.

14. Grand Opening

The Grand Opening is of course the time for an official ribbon cutting, media coverage, and special events. You will want to invite not only the media but all your most important investors, government officials, and friends to attend this very special day.

15. Wrapping Up

An enormous amount of work has taken place, you are now in your normal operating mode but there will still be many details to finalize. Tasks to complete will probably include; a construction punch list, operating manuals, “as built” drawings etc.

Additional Note:
Future Planning

If you haven’t already done it now is the time to plan out future phases, additional attractions and major entertainment elements. Long term you will want to keep your project just as fresh, exciting and compelling as it was for your Grand Opening.