Q&A with John Wardley…

First of all we’d like to say a massive thank you to John Wardley for his time and for participating in this blog. It’s been a pleasure working alongside John to create this blog. As always we hope you all enjoy!

How did you get into the theme park industry intentionally?

I can’t answer this in a few sentences. It took a whole book (“Creating my own Nemesis”) to tell the story.

As Nemesis & Oblivion are both celebrating a special birthday this season, what was your personal favourite to be apart of during construction / designing?

Without doubt, Nemesis was my personal favourite, and has stood the test of time for one simple reason. Creation of any type of entertainment product (films, songs, stories, shows, theme park rides) cannot be done by committee. The more people involved, the more the basic simple idea is diluted to satisfy the inputs of all those involved.

Nemesis was essentially the creation of just three people. Others had the confidence in those three people to not interfere, but add their specialist expertise to enhance it. And the formula worked.

For very good reasons, after the success of Nemesis, the “committee” got bigger and bigger. Complicated briefs started to appear which had to be fulfilled, boxes had to be ticked, numbers had to be crunched, and the simple concept of “make the people smile, scream and be happy” increasingly got tangled up in a fog of commercial bureaucracy.

If you could put in another coaster to any UK park what would it be and where?

It is well-known that I am a lover of wooden coasters. I would like to see another woodie put into Alton Towers

What’s your opinions on Alton Towers latest coaster edition; Wickerman?

It’s a great ride. I became involved in the project after it had been designed, and had very limited input into it. But I’m sure it fulfils all the briefs that Merlin decided the project had to fulfil.

With Nemesis & Oblivion been 4 years apart for each other, how did the construction and overall designing compare to one another? Was there any challenges during the Nemesis construct which help shape Oblivion’s?

As with the answer to your first question, after the success of Nemesis the team for Oblivion was slightly larger, and more experts came on board. But the simple precept of Oblivion managed to stay true to form.

How does the creations of a dark ride such as Bubbleworks compare to creating a coaster?

I always consider that a theme park attraction is the creation of an adventure. It doesn’t matter whether its a dark ride or a coaster, the creative processes are exactly the same. One has to manipulate the emotions of the riders …. fun, thrill, shock, amazement, mystery, laughter …. and the ride and its environment are the tools that do this.

Which was your favourite non coaster project you’ve been apart of and why?

The Bubbleworks was my first big dark ride, and was recognised by the National Association Parks Historical Association (in America) for many years as the third best dark ride in the world (next to the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion). It is still fondly remembered to this day. Again, it was not designed by committee!

Once again a massive thank you to John Wardley for agreeing and participating in this blog. It’s been a real pleasure getting to ask a few questions and reading the answers.

Thank you for reading…

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