Saturday, June 6, 2009

Universal Studios S'pore will be one of world's best

by Chen Jingting

MISTER Stefan Zwanzger has one of the most enviable pastimes in the world.

The German travels around the globe rating theme parks in different countries.

Calling himself "The Theme Park Guy", Mr Zwanzger was here recently to visit Universal Studios Singapore, which is still under construction on Sentosa and due to open next year.

How does it rate? He gave it full marks for being the "most amazing theme-park construction area for the time being".

Since October 2007, Mr Zwanzger has rated about 60 theme parks in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

He told my paper in a phone interview from the Philippines: "I think Singapore will have one of the best theme parks in the world next year. Universal Studios Singapore will be absolutely incredible and it will create a lot of theme-park addicts here."

For the 29-year-old, who had dreamt of having his own theme park since he was 10, visiting a theme park is like going to the movies.

He said that technological advancements have made it possible for rides to have "storytelling abilities".

"Now, rides do not just go up and down, left and right. Rides have climaxes - they can start and stop and accelerate again. There are so many possibilities nowadays."

His favourite parks so far are Universal Studios Japan and Disney Sea Japan because of their high-tech rides and well-designed layout.

Mr Zwanzger paid for his trips using what he earned from heading an affiliate marketing company for eight years before he embarked on "The Theme Park Guy" project, which he started because he was "absolutely passionate" about theme parks.

"Theme parks are like little villages of happiness. No cars, no traffic, no rush hours, no pickpockets - a big pedestrian zone, where everyone smiles and the whole diversity of human emotions is present."

The theme-park enthusiast would post his ratings and photographs of places he visited on his website. He has not received any complaint about his ratings, though he expects some to disagree with his reviews.

When asked what he thought makes him qualified to rate theme parks, Mr Zwanzger answered simply: "I love them.

"I don't see myself as a reviewer. A reviewer is someone who's very critical. I'm just a big fan who dares to tell people exactly what he thinks."


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