The theme park design challenge invites students from every major and every year to participate to win a prize of $6000.

March 9, 2018

Cornell Students to Invent Theme Park Attractions in Design Competition

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Students now have a chance to invent their very own theme park attraction to be evaluated by technical professionals within the industry, through an event organized by the Cornell Theme Park Entertainment Group.

The 2018 Theme Park Design Competition “will challenge students to design an immersive experience using state-of-the-art water ride technologies,” according to the Cornell TPEG website. Each competition team will be given a prompt and a month to design a theme park project.

The teams must also deliver a budgeted pitch, as if they were going to sell their attraction to a client in the theme park industry.

Samuel Coons ’17 grad, graduate advisor for Cornell TPEG, told The Sun that this process “usually entails a creative challenge, a technical challenge and then a financial challenge.” As such, he said it helps to have interdisciplinary teams.

Coons said that all contest entries will be assessed by a panel of judges, which will compose of business and technical professionals from different companies within the theme park design industry.

The final results will be determined based on accuracy, creativity and attention to detail.

The goal of the competition, Coons said, is for students to produce a design that is readable and valuable to future employers, allowing students to use their blueprint as a kind of portfolio that will allow them to further network within the field.

Coons explained that the competition, which began four years ago along with the creation of the club, has evolved over time. Initially, the competition was highly centered around the Cornell campus but, as of last year, it attracted 33 teams from 22 different universities.

“We’ve done a really good job of all networking together and creating this student network,” Coons said. “They are most of our participants.”

The competition has also grown in terms of prizes, which increased from $1,000 last year to the current amount of $6,000, all of which comes from industry sponsors. WhiteWater, the largest global supplier of water park equipment, is the main sponsor of the club.

Coons said that in creating the design contest, the club was determined to make it an opportunity for each and every student who wanted to take part.

“We allow any major and we allow any grade year, which is unlike some of the other theme park design competitions out there,” Coons said. “Many of them are pretty restrictive in who they let participate.”

Coons has been with the club since its inception four years ago. As president last year, he hoped to utilize ideas of the theme park engineering industry to establish a more professional setting within the club.

Coons explained that he does not see a need for the club to grow large because, as it stands, it is available for the students who have a true passion for theme parks and see themselves one day getting involved with the industry.

“We are a niche club and we don’t want to generalize ourselves,” Coons said. “We would have more of an impact if we created this funnel where the people who really want to be a part of this industry join our club, participate with us and then, at the end of the day, have a whole suit of networking opportunities.”

Registration for the design competition is running until Sunday, March 18th and the competition will take place from March 19th until April 15th.