By Doug Barnes
Thanks to a family who is passionate for Disneyland, and was committed to visiting our closest park once a year (Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara), I believe that my love for theme parks was planted in me at birth and nurtured throughout life. All through elementary, high school, even in college, my focus in life was just getting to the summer so I could get back to the parks and experience the newest attraction of that year.
In the 90’s, my intrigue and passion for theme parks and roller coasters was increased when cable channels like TLC, Discovery Channel & E! would devote the Memorial Day weekend to the great world of amusement parks. Learning about destinations like Cedar Point, King’s Island, Busch Gardens, Kennywood, and Walt Disney World, my love and desire to experience these amazing places was taken to a whole new level. Since then, I have devoted most of my hobbies to theme parks, including starting a podcast based on the industry in 2007 called The Season Pass Podcast. The audio presentation started as a fan discussing news, rumors and favorites, but ultimately transformed into an informative journey of the people and stories that have made the industry what it is today.
So why am I blogging for Blooloop when I have a podcast where I can express my park journeys and opinions? Well, The Season Pass is now an industry forum that shares the experiences and wisdom of the people who create this amazing show and my opinions should not affect the overall message or integrity of that particular episode. Our guests deserve the respect and audiences full attention. This is where the blog comes in for me. A chance to express my thoughts on what’s happening in the amusement industry and to share my latest explorations through the regular park trip.
Also, just a heads up: I LOVE roller coasters, dark rides even more, and if I was to pick an individual who directly influenced my belief in how to develop an attraction correctly, it would be Tony Baxter. In fact, in my theme park heaven, Tony would be seated at the right hand of Walt Disney! Now I know some of you are saying “Doug! That’s Blasphemy!!… It should be Marty Sklar seated at the right hand of Disney!” I understand your argument… just remember, I’m a child of the 80’s and influenced through the 90’s (Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Temple of the Forbidden Eye, etc.), you have to let it go my friends. It’s a religious thing.
I’m a fan of story telling from theme parks and huge on bright paint and decorated scenery in amusement parks. I want the most immersive experience in the fantasy big hitters while getting the biggest thrill on the scream-machine at my local park. I’m a purist for clean & fresh, and a stickler on dilapidated maintenance. I’m obsessed with “Top Ten Lists” and have an addiction to categorize. I show affection for the “Greats” and show no remorse for the dysfunctional. This is how I roll! Get it?? Roll!… nevermind.
Hope you enjoy my contributions and I would love to hear your thoughts on future articles, whether you agree or oppose my take on the industry. Friendly quarrel is what keeps us enthusiastic about this awesome adventure seeking community.
In June I’m taking the family on a huge amusement park excursion. Driving from Sacramento, CA to Jackson, NJ and back. 11 parks in 19 days – Worlds of Fun MO, Six Flags St. Louis MO, Holiday World IN, Kings Island OH, Knoebels PA, Dorney Park PA, Six Flags Great Adventure NJ, Hershey Park PA, Kennywood PA, Cedar Point OH, Six Flags Great America IL. It’s insanity, but I’m tenacious. I’ll have plenty to divulge after our return from this glorious (and exhausting) odyssey. You can keep up with me June 14th (the start) to July 3rd (the end) on twitter – @theseasonpass. So until the next blog, enjoy the thrill my friends.