The best way to experience a theme park just might be in the fast forward mode. Literally billions of people worldwide pack their bags at least occasionally to spend time at a theme park. That’s a lot of feet pounding theme park concrete.
Breaking the numbers down by world regions, more than 368 million people visit theme parks in the Asia Pacific every year. In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the number is 161 million people annually. In Latin America, it’s 30 million. North America tops the list with 375 million theme park guests annually, more than the population of the United States.
The United States has the most theme parks at more than 400. Europe has about 300. And theme parks are big money. The 30,000 attractions – which include theme and amusement parks, attractions, water parks, zoos, aquariums, family entertainment centers, museums and resorts – generate more than $210 billion annually for local economies.
The world’s largest and most popular is Walt Disney Attractions with more than 120 million visiting its parks annually. It’s a booming industry, but how do theme park operators manage to do repairs, additions or makeovers among such a large, diverse and sometimes dangerous population, which often may include pouring theme park concrete amid lions and tigers and bears?
How Much Park Concrete?
While numbers and tonnage of park concrete for each theme park or project is not clear, it is safe to say that millions of tons are laid annually to keep guests on safe and solid ground. The amount of concrete for each park varies depending on the area and the use and is based on complicated engineering surveys and formulas.
Nonetheless, the concrete industry finds a formidable client at a theme park – in more ways than one.
Here are the largest parks in the world by size:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 403 acres
- Epcot: 300 acres
- Tokyo DisneySea: 176 acres
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 135 acres
- Disneyland Paris: 126 acres
- Tokyo Disneyland: 115 acres
- Magic Kingdom: 105 acres
- Disneyland: 85 acres
- Disney California Adventure: 72 acres
- Hong Kong Disneyland: 68 acres
- Walt Disney Studios, Paris: 62 acres
Creatively Laying Park Concrete
Of course, laying park concrete isn’t your normal construction job, especially with requests for very creative and sometimes unusual designs. And sometimes contractors want assurances from park owners that they won’t come into contact with park residents of the furry or well-toothed variety.
One contractor for Disney World explained that he had to determine what colors would suit the Lady and the Tramp attraction. “We were given a tape of the movie and were told to watch it,” Steve Martin of L.M. Scofield Company told Concrete Décor and Professional Trade Publications. “All the colors and textures used for that streetscape were taken from that film. They had to match exactly.”
For Animal Kingdom, Martin had to work with five samples of dirt from the Serengeti. The company developed color hardeners and matched theme park concrete texture to look like rugged African terrain.
While that ride looked like it was a genuine safari trip, guests may not have been able to distinguish between actual Serengeti dirt and concrete. “On the safari ride, the trucks are riding on cast-in-place concrete, not mud,” Martin said.
The animals that were first brought to Animal Kingdom were trained to return to their sleeping areas in the evenings – for the sake of the work crews. Some of the animals, however, didn’t always learn their lessons.
“We’d be pouring concrete and if an animal keeper blew his whistle, we went and jumped in our trucks, no questions asked. Then we’d see a herd of wildebeest or ostriches or zebras run by. It’d happen a couple of times each night,” said Earl “Honk” Visger of D&D Tree in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Del Zotto Products packs more than 50 years of experience into the business of concrete. We are the industry experts in concrete construction projects, even the ones that might require more creative uses or ones that may require you to flee to safety from growling, snorting intruders.
Contact us today. Our expert staff will be happy to answer all your questions. About concrete!