Spectrum News: University of Cincinnati theme park course offers experience behind the thrills

UC faculty and students make connections in the theme park industry

For Andrew Holcroft a trip to a theme park is about more than just a thrilling ride. He’s also preparing for his next potential career: designing some aspect of a theme park.

Holcroft, a fourth-year industrial design student at UC, has made connections to professionals in the industry thanks to a couple avenues: a new class launched during the fall 2021 at UC titled Domestic Study Tour: Industry and Experience of Theme Park Design and his involvement in the UC chapter of the Themed Entertainment Association NextGen (TEA). 

He got a behind the scenes tour of Orion, the newest roller coaster at Kings Island Theme Park near Cincinnati.

“Orion was a special experience in that it’s more than just a roller coaster,” Holcroft told Spectrum News. “There’s a story that’s going on throughout the whole experience from the time you kind of walk up to this area and see the sign.”

Todd Foley, PhD, director of digital innovation and professor at UC, helped create the theme park design course and worked with students to establish connections to industry professionals.

“To hear from them directly is so important because then they create those connections that they’re going to be able to have when they graduate from the university and be able to find new jobs and find new opportunities,” Foley told Spectrum News.

Listen to the Spectrum News broadcast online.

Learn more about the theme park design course at UC online.

Featured photo shows Katie Kapusta of Spectrum News, Andrew Holcroft and Dr. Todd Foley going for a spin on a ride at Kings Island Theme Park.  Photo provided.