For this edition of What If…
You’ve been hired to design a theme park and your specific role is to provide the theming concept for the park. You can create something completely new and original or work with an exciting brand and base it on a well-known movie, TV show, video game, etc.
Here’s what I’d do:
Asian-themed Amusement Park
I’m a long-time fan of the Busch Gardens park. I love how well they incorporate the African (Busch Gardens Tampa) and European (Busch Gardens Williamsburg) cultures, architecture, shows, and food into those parks. The theming is done so well that visiting these parks is about the best “out of country” experience you’ll get without leaving the United States.
For my idea, I’d create a similar park, but focus on Asia. Like the Busch parks, I’d have a number of areas themed after different countries in that part of World. Asia is a massive and diverse part of our planet, so there’d be plenty of areas to be inspired by. It’d actually be tough to pick 5 to 7 countries to focus on, but I’ll give it a shot:
Of course, each area would have architecture, shows, and rides that correspond with those countries. In the way that the Busch parks brings the culture of the countries to America in their existing parks, I’d look for this Asian-themed park to do the same. You can get a sense of what could be possible by looking at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Samurai Summit area. It’s the probably the best Asian-themed amusement park area I’ve encountered. Six Flags also has had a few Asian-themed rides like the flying coaster Tatsu and the Ninjas: Ninja at Six Flags Over Georgia, Ninja at Six Flags St. Louis, and at Magic Mountain.
Bonus: Lastly, if I had to pick a city to for the new park, I’d build it in the Houston, Texas area. It’s the 4th largest city in the country and somehow doesn’t have a major theme park. I remain befuddled by that fact.
Side-Note: Houston’s Defunct Asian-Themed Busch Gardens Asia
Long-time theme park geeks may recall that there was once an Asian-themed Busch Gardens amusement park in Houston, Texas. It was short-lived and only open from 1971 to 1973. It closed from lower than expected attendance. Reminds me of the 2 year run that Hard Rock Park/Freestyle Music Park had in Myrtle Beach. As far as I can tell, Houston’s Busch Gardens didn’t have any major roller coasters.