The Themed Experience Design Showcase

Introducing a New Design Showcase

Compete to create the best ride experience you can dream up!

You have been given the task of coming up with the next big theme park ride! It is your job to come up with the story behind the ride, tell us why you chose it, and design it in whatever method you choose. For junior high and high school students, this contest will introduce you to the world of immersive world of storytelling and creating animation for location-based entertainment. Become the next imagineer and come up with the next ride experience!

The Details! The Prizes!

When creating your ride you will need to consider the following: 

  • Story - Every themed ride starts with a story. Who are the characters? It has to be original (no using existing movies, television shows or books)
  • Creativity - How original or creative is this idea? Is this original or just a repeat of what's been done?
  • Technology - What new technologies will you have as a part of the experience?
  • Feasibility - How doable is this? This has to be grounded in some reality (we'd all want to ride something in the clouds, though!)


Prizes include:

  • Grand Prize: $150 Amazon Gift Card (can be awarded to teams up to 3)
  • Second Place: $75 Amazon Gift Card (can be awarded to teams up to 3)
  • You will be featured on



Contact us here.

Featuring an industry leading panel of contest judges including:

  • Matt Eckert, President, Holiday World and Splashin Safari
  • Mk Hailey, Veteran Disney Imagineer
  • Rodney Heiligman, CEO, Lifeformations
  • Monica Ramsey, Director of Exhibits, Indianapolis Children's Museum

The Process

Themed rides always start with a story. You’re going to start with the following:

  • Time and Location - Come up with where your story will be located and what is the time period. For example, you may choose to do a story that takes place under the sea in the 1800s or on the moon in the 1980s. Choosing both a time and a location gives you some idea of what you can include in your story.
  • Two Characters (minimum) - After you’ve chosen both your time and location you are then going to come up with two characters that live in this location and decide how they relate to one another. Are they friends? Are they enemies? Are they family? You can have more characters but you need a minimum of two.
  • Conflict - Every story has some sort of conflict. Something happens in a story. A hero may be on the verge of loosing everything and sleighs the monster. One way to look at creating a story is looking at Freytag's model.

You’re going to write one paragraph explaining what your story is. Don’t make it anymore than half of a page.

Think about your story and the theme around that story. For example, if your story takes place on the moon then everything may be very dry, cold and maybe black or gray. What type of music would you choose? It might be mystical or it might be eery.

You’re going to come up with a theming mood board which is a way to convey the elements that are going in to your story. Start by making a list and include these elements:

  • Color
  • Sound Effects
  • Music
  • Room Temperature
  • Smell
  • Wall decorations - Will there be artwork or posters? 
  • Texture - Will the walls be stone or wood? Could they be painted or peeling? How about items like doorknobs or lights?

When your done making this list your goign to do an internet search and find as many images as you can to give you ideas for your theme.  Here is some examples:

Need a tool to help you create a moodboard?  Here are some good ones:


You are going to carry guests through your themed ride and they are going to view your story as it plays out. You can also choose to have the guests be active participants in the ride if you would like. As guests move through your ride they will experience at least four scenes from your story. So you need to spend some more time thinking about your story and come up with a couple of scenes that guests will see when they ride by. Look at these rides as examples:

You are going to present one design (illustration or basic concept) of a scene that will be in your final ride.

Here is an example of a scene: 





The last part of creating the ride will be to create a map that will show us how guests will go through the ride. They will start off in a que or a waiting area and then got on a ride vehicle that will take them through the experience. You can choose to create this layout by doing a detailed drawing (a sketch you take a picture of) or using computer software (such as Adobe Illustrator or Sketchup). Here are some examples of ride maps:



You will present your ride by creating a recorded video of your final idea showcasing your story, your mood board, your scene and your ride map. Present it in a compelling way and make sure it is no more than 5 minutes. You should also include a credit list of  your team members and your sponsoring teacher (the teacher who introduced you to the project). 

Sign me up!

Are you ready to take the plunge and become the next world renowned rider designer?

The Schedule

  • September 1, 2022 - Contest Opens
  • October1, 2022 - Entry Deadline
  • December 1, 2022 - Submission Deadline
  • January 15, 2023 - Winners Announced