Theme Park Design Course

I’ve been putting together a STEM program to work on with my kids this summer using Imagineering and design skills.

I just found this Steve Alcorn Theme Park Design online course on sale for $49 and thinking, hmmm, I might need this. :wink:

Sharing in case anyone else interested…


Steve Alcorn was an engineer with Disney at the time of Epcot’s construction. A couple years ago there was an interesting interview with him on The Season Pass Podcast:

I believe he mentioned his Theme Park Design course in the interview, but it’s been awhile since I listened to it, so I’m not 100% sure of that. He also co-wrote a book about his work on The American Adventure during Epcot’s construction, which (back when I was motivated to do such things) I wrote a review about - PracticalWDW: Book Review: Building a Better Mouse: The Story of the Electronic Imagineers Who Designed Epcot


What a great idea! Will the kids work
Individually or as a park design team?

I’m still working on the details - in a perfect world they’ll be a team, but knowing that my son (almost 12) could go bull in a china shop in relation to his sister (8), so I’m thinking about distinct projects with a smaller overlap for more collaboration.

and I get to be Walt!

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This is just what my son needs! I hear each and every day about his Imagineering dreams. :wink:
I’m so glad you posted this!

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I’m thinking if I purchase that class, I’ll use it more for my benefit, maybe some bits in the kids’ programs.

In case you find it useful:
I’m using Resources on Dr. Howie Diblasi’s Disney Science site to try to build something I can manage without burning our kids out over summer. He has a ton of info on that site, but I feel like I need to write something streamlined and focused.

His free download PDF Imagineering Your Classroom is ginormous and great to have but is a firehose of info.

I’m also using the two giant Imagineering books (1996 and 2009 editions very different) for great visual examples of ideas, works in progress, how to model simply first, detailed later etc.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real

Trying to get my hands on John Hench’s Designing Disney too.

After recently seeing Tomorrowland and their recreation of Small World at the World’s Fair, I’m thinking I might drive them over there to Flushing Meadow for a picnic one day to walk around and get a feel for the area - then make the project a makeover of that space by Disney again. Not sure if that’s too much though, so still thinking.

[quote=“JJT, post:6, topic:13963”]
I’m thinking I might drive them over there to Flushing Meadow for a picnic one day to walk around and get a feel for the area[/quote]

This sounds like a good place for a Liner meet. I’ve never been, but my mother has talked about her visit to the Fair. With that and the Disney connection it would be great to see what remains of the grounds in person.


Sadly, there ain’t much very left from the World’s Fair perspective - the Queens museum and Hall of Science are still pretty nice to visit. (We just hit the latter last fall.) The Unisphere (globe) is still there, cool in it’s own way and was refurbed in the mid 90’s - but not worth a trip on it’s own, IMHO.

Only other thing I can think of remaining off-hand are perhaps the most iconic since you see them when driving by on the LI Expressway: the ruins of the NY State Pavilion with the “Tent of Tomorrow” and 2 towers. (Probably recalled by many from the big scene in Men in Black.)

Now that I’ve talked it down, I suppose it is a pretty neat place from a nostalgic point of view.

I was born a month after this picture of the Tower of the Four Winds etc. was taken by my Dad, so I technically visited the fair - but mostly my view was obstructed by my mother’s maternity clothes. :wink:

While I don’t remember the Fair itself, I do have my own nostalgic perspective since I would sometimes visit in the later 60’s and early 70’s with my family to walk around, see the giant NYS map, or hit the one pavilions that had roller and ice skating. I also remember a 1st grade field trip to the Hall of Science right after they installed the NASA rockets. (Still have my pocket telescope souvenir!)

But in only a few years the decay of the building was obvious (as in most of NYC in the 70’s.) I remember teenagers standing around the dry fountains throwing chunks of cement at the Unisphere. Sad. After that, my 1982 prom was there at the elevated Terrace on the Park… then I hadn’t been back until a meeting I was part of at the Queens museum a couple of years ago.

I just took a look at the Google Map satellite view of the area - seems there’s more open there than I knew about, but is all tucked away in corners of the property. Guess I’ll have to investigate!


I’ve heard good things about the documentary After the Fair (, tracing what happened to the pavilions when the Fair ended. I bought a copy for myself, but haven’t watched it yet. It would seem to be required viewing before visiting the site.


Neat - Will have to check it out!