John Wardley

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John Wardley
Born (1950-06-06) 6 June 1950 (age 63)
Nationality British citizen
Occupation Roller coaster designer
Known for Air, Nemesis, Oblivion, Vampire

John Wardley (born 6 June 1950) is a British award-winning[specify] concept designer and developer for theme parks, mainly for rides such as roller coasters.

Rides designed by John Wardley[edit]

Biography[edit]

Wardley started off as a stage manager at Windsor's Theatre Royal then moved on to the film industry, including creating the special effects for five of the James Bond movies. He was later hired by the Tussauds Group due to his experience in designing animated figures and rides for amusement parks. His first project was the creation of the animated show "50 Glorious Years" for Tussauds "Royalty and Empire Exhibition" at Windsor.

After this he was asked by the Tussauds Group to transform the failing Chessington Zoo in London to become a theme park. Now called Chessington World of Adventures, Wardley's work included the design of such park favourites as the Vampire Suspended coaster, constructed by Arrow Dynamics, and The Fifth Dimension dark ride. John designed famous attractions such as the globally celebrated Nemesis, Oblivion and Air roller coasters and The Haunted House at Alton Towers.

One of his other accomplishments was that he, along with the late Geoffrey Thompson, created a magic show called Mystique at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. The show was a big hit and ran for nearly 20 years.

He is most celebrated for a dark ride he designed in partnership with Spark's Creative Services for Chessington World of Adventures, which opened in 1990. Professor Burp's Bubbleworks was a ride that took visitors on a tour of a fizzy pop factory set in Transylvania. Wardley stated that they treated the ride is if it was a comic book and that it was his favourite ride to create. Bubbleworks was closed at the end of 2005 and was rethemed with a new sponsorship by Cussons Imperial Leather. The current incarnation of the ride had no input from John Wardley and was met with bad reactions.

Wardley also worked with Chris Sawyer and Frontier Developments for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, a game about amusement park management. His name is also a secret cheat code in the game - when visitor's title is named after him all height restrictions are removed, alluding to the severe height restrictions that his most celebrated work at Alton Towers was required to comply with.

From 2000 to 2007, when the Tussauds Group was owned by Charterhouse, Wardley went into semi-retirement. However in May 2007 Merlin Entertainments took over the company and he was asked to become actively involved once again in the group's theme parks. His new role is ride consultant - this means he has significant input in the decisions of new developments but no longer designs his own rides. His most recent projects include Saw: The Ride at Thorpe Park and Thirteen at the Alton Towers Resort, as well as creating effects for the "Carnival of Screams" Scarefest attraction.

On 22 January 2013 John announced his retirement, meaning The Smiler would be his last attraction. In April 2013 John's autobiography (titled "Creating My Own Nemesis") was published.

External links[edit]