Gator Theme Park Engineering and Design Club
President – Hannah Frassrand
External Vice President – Olivia Grinage
Internal Vice President – Stephen Morton
Treasurer – Joshua Kesten
Purpose and Mission
Gator Theme Park Engineering & Design (Gator TPED) is a multidisciplinary student organization at the University of Florida that focuses on growing students professionally, technically, and socially through events relevant to the themed entertainment industry. This is accomplished through industry tours, guest speakers, networking events, and design projects.
On UF campus, Gator TPED currently has 3 Design Teams: Ride Team, Creative Team, and Haunted House Team. Members meet weekly to conceptualize ideas for a wide range of themed entertainment projects!
Ride Design Team is technically-focused and is creating a flat ride this semester, with a Gator TPED twist. The team’s goal is to learn more about how flat rides work and the detailed aspects of them, in a way that both new members and current members can feel comfortable in. The sub-teams are currently working on structural analysis, fluid mechanics, motors, and rotational aspects of the attraction, all while following ASTM standards.
Creative Design Team’s theme for this semester is “The Enchanted Forest!” The team promotes a studio-like environment, where members create different attractions ranging from shows, to restaurants, to ride queues. Using computer modeling software such as Revit, SketchUp, and Lumion, Creative Team fosters artistic development while tapping into the technical aspects of themed entertainment.
Haunted House Design Team has finished designing an entire full-scale haunted house based on a specified location on UF campus. The house was 3D modeled in Rhino and an animatronic is currently being built. The team’s goal is to host a trial run of the haunt at the end of the spring semester, with the full haunt set to officially open in Fall 2023.
Coaster Design Team has 3D printed a scaled rollercoaster model of the “IntimiGator,” which was designed by Gator TPED and is on display in UF’s Herbert Wertheim Laboratory for Engineering Excellence.
Gator TPED members compete in the Toronto Metropolitan University Thrill Design Invitational with Universal Creative annually. In 2022, the multidisciplinary team of 8 students was commended for both creative and technical skills in engineering-centered prompts. Gator TPED also hosts our own design competition, Swamp Thrills, each spring with industry judges.
Finally, Gator TPED members actively attend professional events including ASTM F24 Conference, IAAPA Expo, SkyNext presented by Skyline, and TEA NextGen events. Our students have interned with or entered full-time positions with Universal Creative, The Walt Disney Company, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Skyline Attractions, Animax Designs, Roush, Nassal, BRPH, ThemeWorks, and more!
We welcome students of all majors to join Gator TPED, whether you’re an engineer, a designer, or you just love theme parks! All announcements are made via our Instagram and Discord. Go Gators, Go TPED!