Voyage to the Iron Reef – Behind the Scenes of Marketing A 4-D Ride

Voyage to the Iron Reef, the new interactive 4-D ride at Knott’s Berry Farm, opened to great fanfare on May 15, 2015. The entire Knott’s team breathed a big sigh of relief that day. Hundreds of people had collectively spent thousands of hours designing, constructing, marketing, opening and operating one of the biggest attractions in park history.

Iron Reef porthole logo - no Knott's Small

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Disneyland Training Manual: University of Disneyland Cast Member Guide 1967

My Disneyland Training Manuel from 1967 is one of my favorite possessions that originally belonged to my Grandfather. The “Walt Disney Traditions At Disneyland” Disneyland training guide is a time capsule that captures Walt Disney’s genius. Cast Members were originally provided the training book after they sat through the University of Disneyland orientation program. During a recent move, I stumbled across the guide again and decided to scan every page to create this PDF:

Download “The Walt Disney Traditions At Disneyland 1967 Training Manual” PDF

My Grandpa worked in the Camera Department at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California for a number of years during the 1950s and 1960s. During his later years working at Disney, he worked on attractions for Disneyland whenever the Imagineers required an extra hand. Most notably, he helped complete the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and The Submarine Voyage attractions.


1967 Disneyland Training Manual For Cast Members Cover Continue reading

Advice from Cedar Fair CEO and Former Disneyland President: Matt Ouimet

One of the best parts about working at Knott’s Berry Farm is the availability and openness of the leadership team. This extends from my boss, to Knott’s General Manager, Raffi Kaprelyan, and even all the way up to the CEO of Cedar Fair and former Disneyland President, Matt Ouimet. I am always impressed by how I consistently see him walking through the park and backstage. The depth and breadth of his knowledge about the company is staggering. He once spent thirty minutes in my office discussing our social media strategy. Continue reading

Universal Creative Takes Muggles Behind The Scenes Of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Creative took muggles behind the scenes of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the 2015 Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Summit. The presentation was by the Universal Creative team responsible for creating Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. The panel included Thierry Coup – Senior Vice President of Creative Studio, Dale Mason – Vice President & Executive Art Director, Chris Oliver – Senior Director, Engineering and Safety, Katy Pacitti – Producer, Mark Rhodes – Director Creative and Justin Schwartz – Senior Manager, Ride & Show Engineering. Continue reading

Lunch with Disney Legend Marty Sklar

On January 31st I had the opportunity to have a 2-hour lunch with Disney Legend Marty Sklar. Marty worked at Disney for 54 years in many roles including as a writer for the first Disneyland Newspaper, writer for Walt and Roy Disney, and as the leader of Walt Disney Imagineering as president and principal creative executive. The lunch was the first of the series “Lunch With a Legend” presented by the official Disney fan club D23. Continue reading

Legends of Oz Comes to Blocksworld

Legends of Oz Blocksworld

The Legends of Oz World team at Summertime Entertainment teamed up with the incredible team at Linden Lab (Creators of Second Life), led by Producer Bo Barfield and Art Director Jordan Itkowitz, to create a Legends of Oz pack for their block building app Blocksworld. The Legends of Oz Blocksworld project has been one of my favorite projects to work on since joining Summertime back in 2009. Each morning, I open the Blocksworld app to see what new inventive contraptions players have built using the Legends of Oz pack. See for yourself, by downloading the Blocksworld app at the Apple App Store for free. The Legends of Oz pack is available as an in-app purchase for only $1.99. Below is the press release. Continue reading

Producing Legends of Oz World

Legends of Oz World Play
Summertime Entertainment, the studio producing the upcoming Legends of Oz 3D animated feature film, has released the Legends of Oz World virtual world.

Serving as a prequel to the film, Legends of Oz World allows players to help Dorothy save Oz by reuniting her with the familiar characters Toto, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow, as well as explore new lands that will appear in the movie, including China Country and the Talking Tree Forest. Legends of Oz World features multiplayer games, 30 story quests and more than 1,000 collectible items. Continue reading

Theme Park Books and Company Biographies: What I’m Reading

Theme park books, which are well written and fun reads typically combine personal stories with business insights. I recently discovered a book that does just that. So far I have kept my 2013 resolution to read at least a book a month. I recently completed a Disney Legend and Imagineer’s biography, another Disney Legend’s book on design, a fascinating book about the story behind Twitter, and a disappointing biography about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com. Continue reading