Thrills, chills, and spills—these can all be found in any theme park near you!
When was the last time you went to a theme park? Which theme park is your favorite? What are some fond memories you had while you spent time in one? Whether it’s overcoming your fear of the rollercoaster or throwing up inside a ferris wheel car, theme parks are a great place to be. It’s got rides, various attractions, and fun for all ages.
Let’s not forget that it’s chock full of food, more establishments to hang around in, areas that are perfect for photos, and places where you can make even more memories with family and friends. There is no shortage of excitement here, but have you ever wondered what it’s like trying to take care of a theme park?
We’re sure that just by thinking about it, it’s a lotta hard work. You’ve got rides to maintain, props to keep clean and upright, places to mop up after messes are made, and mascots to protect from hordes of rabid children. It’s certainly a labor of love keeping a theme park together, but what if you’d like to experience this monumental task for yourself? Enter Dream Park Story!
Developed by Japanese mobile games team Kairosoft (the same people who brought you games like Beastie Bay, Forest Camp Story, the Pocket Academy series, and dozens of other titles), Dream Park Story follows a similar formula to any avid Kairosoft follower. This formula simply is: earn money through facilities, do something to make more people see your establishment, earn more money, make your establishment better.
While this formula may permeate throughout all of their games, the difficulty and execution of your plans per game varies due to different factors that could affect your decisions. For instance, Pocket Academy’s gameplay can be measured in an in-game day but time is fast-forwarded, so the pace of the game is quite quick. Dream Park Story’s pace is a little bit more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean you should slack off on your park duties!
If you’re here to figure out how you can climb the theme park leaderboard in-game, look no further than our Dream Park Story beginner’s guide below and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of an experience!
But before we begin, do you ever wonder how theme parks have come to be?
Theme Parks: A Brief History
Theme parks are nothing new, really! If you look back in ancient history, location-based entertainment was what made certain parts of it interesting and what kept many of the masses occupied back in the day.
Rome had its gladiatorial battles, for instance. People from all over the country would flock to see dudes slug it out to the death (in some cases anyway)—the spectacle, the skill, the intensity of each match was truly what drew Romans to these types of events. Gladiators were also, in fact, celebrities. Fast forward to the middle ages and medieval England had fairgrounds where nobles and commoners alike would celebrate religious holidays or promote the sales of local markets. It’s been said that the oldest form of theme park could be traced to an old European attraction in a garden called Bakken, which started in the 1500s.
Officially known as Dyrehavsbakken, this is the world’s oldest amusement park located in Denmark (and it’s still open to this day). It initially started as a garden with healing springs that turned into an animal park and eventually—you guessed it—a public park. Its most famous attraction is the 82-year-old wooden rollercoaster. If you really think about it, people simply enjoy hanging around places where the entertainment is something they would commonly enjoy—especially if the location itself has a rich history to it and an interesting theme. The community and staff also provide a sense of belonging.
Today, people often flock to expos, conventions, gaming tournaments, chili cookoffs, book fairs, and yes, even theme parks. It’s fun for the whole family!
Dream Park Story: How to Play It
Now given the nature of humans and how they can enjoy each other’s company through spending time at a theme park, how do you get them to come to you in Dream Park Story?
First, we have to understand the basics of the game. You could be playing this without knowing exactly what you’re doing, but let’s lay the floor out for you so you can discern what you should be doing better!
Of course, you are given your very own theme park. It starts out with 1 attraction (the Trampolines). Putting this up will attract park goers. Although the number of park goers will be small, you can still use the funds you collect to put up more attractions. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock even more content, namely attractions and customers, among other things.
The Menu button, located at the lower right, is divided into 4 main options when pressed:
- Build / Research
This is where you make things in the park happen. From building attractions, researching new ones, to expanding the theme park’s grounds, this will be your most frequented area.
This is where you will keep track of most of the goings-on in your theme park. Namely, you’ll be able to check Rank Up requirements, see the list of Requests, invite VIPs over to the park, and a few others. It’s also here where you can buy more merch for your stalls, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
This is where you can see the details of your park. It tells you what you’ve been spending on lately, messages from your mailbox, the members of your staff, and a couple of other options.
These are your game preferences and settings! Adjust the game to settings that you are comfortable with. You may also save your game here. Though, saving your game is made much easier by simply tapping the Save button located on the lower left. Like most Kairosoft games, Dream Park Story does not save your progress automatically, so save often!
Tapping on the Build/Research button will allow you to build attractions and other things, especially if the ground is still unpaved dirt. If it’s a walkway, there are things you can specifically build on those (we’ll get to those later). Having attractions is a means for your park to make money, but that probably goes without saying.
Naturally, the more upgraded an attraction, the more income it will generate for your park. As your attractions grow in number, you’ll have to expand your park, which can be done by pressing the Expand Park button located in the same Menu button. Other means of getting more customers to go to your park includes building parking lots, hiring Mascots, and getting good reviews from influencers. But you’ll come to learn these as you play through the game.
Eventually, your theme park will go up a rank. This will entail new customers as one of the prizes for doing so. Think of it as the game telling you that you’ll be able to shoulder more responsibility henceforth. Some of these new customers could include reviewers who review different aspects of your park or VIPs that you can invite by choice. If the VIPs had fun, you get prizes that can help further the improvements of the park. We’ll discuss these in detail soon.
It would seem like your goal is to unlock all the attractions and customers the game has to offer, but your true goal is to be the #1 theme park in the in-game leaderboard. By the end of the game, you’ll have a theme park so big that your customers won’t have enough time to try all the rides and they may have to come back another day to get on the ones they’ve missed.
Despite its nature as a management game, Dream Park Story isn’t an idle game. Whenever you put the game down, you will be where you last saved. You can’t earn while the game isn’t running and there’s no way you can double your bonuses by watching an ad unlike most management simulators available in the app store these days, so be prepared to exercise both discipline and strength—you’ll need both to reach the top spot!
Are you a fun enough dude to make the greatest theme park the world has ever seen? Keep reading and you’ll have enough tips to give your competitors a run for their money!
Amusing Tips for an Amusement Park
Below is a neatly-packed list of ways you can maintain your theme park. Learn them well and you’ll keep the fun going all year round. You’ll be jumping through hoops and doing cartwheels here and there because the climb to the top will be tough. Get ready!
1. Watch Your Funds
You start building all these neat rides and attractions and upgrade them to boot, but then, you suddenly notice that you can’t build anymore and your money’s in the red… and in the negatives! Your park has gone into debt!
Having your park put into debt is one of the worst things you could possibly experience—you cannot expand anything, you cannot build anything, and you’ll be earning a lot less than you normally would. You won’t even be able to participate in seasonal events or offer your new mascot a salary they can be proud of (unless they don’t mind the low pay, of course). It’s outright terrible! But hakuna matata, dear reader, this is why you should always watch your expenses and at least save some funds for yourself.
Your funds can go to many places. If you aren’t exactly aware of where your money’s going, here are a few examples:
- Building new things
- Attraction expansion
- Attraction maintenance
- Mascot and staff salaries
- Store upkeep
The most expensive items on this list are quite possibly the last 3 items. Maintenance fees are the ones that would most likely put your park in debt if you’re not careful. These fees skyrocket considerably if you have them upgraded. However, researching their different aspects could help lower the maintenance costs.
Research consumes different points, which can be earned as you play the game or hire park staff (more on that later). The game gives you 4 types of points that are represented by objects with faces on them:
NOTE: The game does not explicitly give these points names, so we will take some liberties here and give them descriptions instead.
- A smiling face with starry eyes. We’d presume this means the “wow factor” of an attraction.
- A laughing fireball. This most likely means the overall excitement of the attraction.
- A calm, soothed water droplet. This looks like it represents the relaxed or refreshing nature of the attraction.
- A jolly shamrock. This possibly represents the comfort that the ride provides.
While it isn’t that important to invest in one type of point over the other, you will be needing these because each level of research will require different point types. For instance, let’s say getting a certain type of research to 2-stars will require 5 points of Wow Factor and 10 of Excitement. Investing on a certain kind of research for a ride may add the Cost Down function, which would greatly reduce those hefty maintenance expenses.
You can instantly regain some lost funds (or extra points) by inviting VIPs over. Specifically, we’re talking about the Amusement Park King who gives you a decent 350,000 G. Just remember to send your VIPs to your most popular rides so they become easily impressed. The catch here is that they cannot repeat the same ride on their next visit, so get those attractions built! Keep in mind that VIP visits can only be done if you have VIP tickets, which are indicated by the number next to the VIP button in the menu.
What’s a theme park without its attractions, anyway? This is why having them around is the most important part of the game.
2. Get as Many Attractions as Possible
A theme park can’t just have a single rollercoaster.
It’d get boring if it’s the same up and down mediocre-speed track that can support only a few people at a time. Why not add a house of mirrors that causes people to break into song when they see their own reflection? Or how about a boat ride with a snackbar just around the riverbend? Fancy a go-kart track where one could feel like they could go the distance? This should be par for the course for any theme park: their attractions.
As stated above, you only start with the Trampolines as your first attraction. Eventually, you’ll get some Tea Cups, a Go-Kart Track, and a Zipline. You’ll be working with these for a long while and you’ll only get more attractions as you Rank Up. The whole idea of Ranking Up, apart from being able to erect more attractions, is to give your park an even bigger challenge—more people, more funds to manage (revisit item number 1 on this list, if you have to), more things to improve.
But it’s always important to work on what you have first because these attractions will become the backbone of your theme park at the onset. Just know that each attraction produces a specific type of Research Point (more on this soon) as displayed by the icon next to its name.
Some attractions can be expanded. This will increase the enjoyment factor, as well as the ticket prices and maintenance costs. Expansion will require some space if you expand the area of the attraction, but expansion could also mean increasing the height of certain attractions. What’s the thrill of a rollercoaster if it doesn’t go up and down anyway? However, this is also why expansion is important: you get to keep customers around for longer. This is your goal per customer, after all. If they stuck around until closing, it’s because your attractions were spectacular.
You can make attractions more lucrative while also more cost-efficient through the challenge of research!
3. Upgrade Attractions to 2-Star (Mostly)
Give yourself and your guests a theme park worth visiting with better comfort for maximum enjoyment! This is why you should get researching!
Researching an attraction is as simple as tapping the attraction itself and then tapping the Research Button. What happens then is it prompts you with a few choices of what you would like to research. These could entail various things like comfort, fun-factor, better stability, and (we can’t stress this enough) cost-efficiency. You will require some of the Research Points we’ve mentioned earlier in item number 1, with some needing more points than others.
Researching a ride’s aspect earns that one aspect a star. Upon achieving the first star, your attraction is instantly given what’s called a Function. Functions directly affect an attraction’s overall performance in the park, making it a cut above the rest. As you get more stars for your research categories, you will find that gaining new functions will be more difficult as chances will become slightly slimmer. However, if you keep researching a particular aspect of the attraction, you’ll eventually get it, albeit at the cost of a lot of research points. If you achieve a 2-star research level, keep it there.
But 3-star levels are better than 2, you say! While we would normally agree, we’d recommend that you keep them just at 2-stars due to efficiency. Sure, they won’t be as great as 3-star research levels, but at the rate that you earn your Research Points, which can be quite slow, and with the number of attractions you will have eventually, keeping your precious Research Points in check and using them up until 2-star levels is best. The number of attractions and customers flocking to them will make up for the research levels.
There are ways you can get particular attractions to have more customers as usual, and that’s through the use of megaphones!
4. Promote Attractions During Events and Use Marketing Tickets
Seasons change but your park will keep on going! It’s off to work you go, but your guests will need to have their fun.
Each season, your park assistant will recommend participating in a seasonal event. This is the perfect time for you to show your park goers that there may be something there that wasn’t there before. Certain events will recommend having certain attractions and to make the most out of this, you’d probably want to promote the attractions recommended beforehand.
To do this, you must first fulfill Requests or have VIPs come visit your park. As we’ve mentioned earlier, VIPs leaving happy will give you a prize and this occasionally includes Promo Megaphones. These special items help temporarily boost an attraction’s popularity, drawing more guests to it than usual. For 8 in-game hours, an attraction of your choice will be swarming with customers. This also means more Research Points. Again, during seasonal events and especially if the attraction is integral to the event that you’ve chosen, this will rake in a lot of earnings.
If that isn’t enough, you may opt to use Marketing Tickets, which can be used by tapping the bottom of the screen when the Menu is open.
These magical, golden tickets don’t send you to Wolly Winka’s chocolate factory, no sir—they instead tell people to flock to your theme park and spend the rest of their day there. Expect droves of people to come on over. If you happened to have promoted rides beforehand using the Promo Megaphones we talked about earlier, you should be swimming in dough after the event.
However, a theme park cannot run on money alone. Sometimes, Research Point generation is slow, so what can you do to get more? Hire staff!
5. Strategically Place Staff Houses
Like any establishment in the real world, a theme park cannot function with just a single person at the helm. Feeling a little swamped with responsibilities? Time to pick out some park staff. You’re all in this together, after all!
Park staff work in what are called Staff Houses, which you will need to place around the park. Once a Staff House has been built, you will have to hire someone to occupy it first. Because you’ll most likely have more than one of these around the park, we recommend having them placed in strategic locations.
By strategic, we mean that you may need to spread them out from each other so the members of the staff can oversee different attractions. As you begin the hiring process, the game will have your assistant inform you that she has candidates ready. The candidates will then be presented to you.
At least two of them will have the ability to speed up the attractions or make the attractions earn more, but we would recommend hiring staff members who supply you with bonus Research Point gains. Whenever visitors enter attractions within the range of the staff member’s influence, you’ll gain a boost in Research Points that way. As you can see, and as we’ve explained earlier, Research Points are quite important since there are a lot of attractions to unlock and upgrade all throughout the game.
Just don’t forget to put your attractions on walkways!
6. Put Walkways to Link Attractions Together
Nothing says adventure than unpaved roads… but not for your visitors.
Have you ever tried walking on an unpaved road? It hurts the feet and ankles, not to mention it gets mud or dirt all over your shoes. It’s hardly an adventure at all. Always remember that the most important person in the park is not you, but the guest. Your job, on the other hand, is to make their experience an unforgettable and possibly comfortable one. So why not start with the walkways around your theme park?
Walkways, footpaths, brick roads, steppy-zones, walkie-walkies, or whatever you wanna call them, are very important when it comes to keeping your visitors comfy. For the most part, if they aren’t eating or resting from trying out the attractions, they’ll just be walking around. Like real people, your guests have invisible stamina bars that deplete while they are in the park. They deplete even quicker if they aren’t walking on walkways (the attraction thresholds notwithstanding). Once they get tired, they’ll go home before even seeing any of your other attractions!
This is bad news and bad business for you. So lay down walkways anywhere you think your guests should be walking, especially between attractions. Just know that walkways can get expensive to lay down because you can span them throughout the entire park. That said, it’d be best if you set some money aside for walkways when you have more than a handful to spare.
But walkways aren’t the only important things to put between attractions—you’ll need Fixtures, too!
7. Fill the Walkways with Fixtures
Make your visitors feel special by giving them amenities along the walkways!
Ostensibly, having more attractions means the ability to accommodate more people. But this also means more mouths to feed, more thirsty throats to quench, more bladders (or stomachs, beware the flying bile) to empty, and definitely more butts to sit down. Thus, what your need are Fixtures. While there are a lot of Fixtures in-game, we have decided to list down the most important ones you should place first:
- Vendors and Shops — How do you keep your body moving? By putting food in it. Make your guests enjoy their stay by keeping them fueled and hydrated. Souvenirs and balloons also help amp up the enjoyment factor. These are also human necessities. A life without balloons and funny hats is hardly a life at all!
- Bathrooms — For when your guests are sick to the stomach or about to conquer the porcelain throne, whichever comes first. These are also human necessities.
- Waste Bins — Nobody likes a filthy park! Keep rubbish off the park premises for good with these handy, and probably smelly, boxes!
- Water Fountains — Put these up if you feel like the drink stalls aren’t good enough.
- Seasonal Pedestals — These are a great way to tell you and your guests what season it is currently.
Mind you, these aren’t just for show—Fixtures boost an attraction’s popularity. For example, if you happen to put a balloon vendor near the tea cup ride, more people will make their way there. Beware that Fixtures also have upkeep costs, but you can lower these if you’ve received Costs Down items as rewards. Just don’t forget to fill the Shops and Vendors with merch.
You can buy merch under the Manage tab in the Menu and tapping Purchase Merch. These cost research points as seen in the picture above. Your guests would pay for almost anything and that isn’t counting the cheap sports drinks your drink stalls are selling. Whatever you feel makes sense with where you want to place your Fixtures (e.g. a popcorn stall near the Theater, a bench near the Bungee Jump, a bathroom near the Go-Kart Track, etc.), make it happen… or make it silly! This is your park, after all.
Because this all feels personal, sometimes it’s a good idea to listen to your customers. What would you like to see in your theme park?
8. Fulfill Requests
They say a dream is a wish your heart makes, but Requests are wishes your guests make.
Just so you know, Dream Park Story isn’t just about running an amusement park, it’s also about making people happy. The happiness of your guests can stem from simple Requests. Such Requests will serve as a roadmap to further your success. Think of it this way: you are on the quest for mass happiness and your goals are to fulfill the wishes of your park goers. These can range from new Fixtures to new attractions.
Completing Requests will take time and money, but all can be done with a bit of patience and park management. If you’ve been investing in lowering maintenance costs, using Costs Down items on Fixtures, and getting more paying visitors, then fulfilling any Request should be a breeze for you. This will be even more effortless if you are financially stable (meaning not going into debt every other season).
To browse what available Requests you have, you may simply tap the Menu first and then tap the Manage tab. Requests should be the first choice there. The greatest incentive Requests can give you are the monetary rewards, which should help you fulfill even more Requests. If you’re lucky, you might even get Research Points as a reward alongside Promo Megaphones and other neat things.
As requests pile on, you’ll need more space. What better way is there to get more space through park expansion?
9. Hire Contractors When Able
Theme parks are massive. That said, they need space to put more attractions around. Time to do what Governor Ratcliffe did to a forest… with no repercussions, of course!
Every in-game year, you will be given the choice to hire contractors for your park. These contractors help clear out land surrounding your theme park. Depending on how much you pay them determines the number of workers you’ll hire for the year. Land expansion is for free but they can also build other things like parking lots and, eventually, a bus stop. By tapping a blue area outside of your park borders, you can expand your park area using multiple workers at once. But that isn’t just what the contractors can do.
Contractors have three types: Light, Digger, and Bulldozer. Light is ideal for when you are on a budget albeit at the cost of expansion speed and range. If you’re feeling a bit more fluid with your funds, Digger and Bulldozer are great ways to expand your park more efficiently. Digger prioritizes speed—digging through the land so quickly at a rate that may surprise you (seriously, at one point we didn’t notice that the workers were already done). For bigger expansion, the Bulldozer is perfect for the job but isn’t as quick as the Digger. All in all, it’s a matter of preference and the amount of funds you currently have.
Occasionally, you might even uncover some buried treasure from the land you clear. The treasure boxes would often contain money among a couple of other things, so keep your eyes peeled when expanding your theme park. You’ll never know if you’ll need the contents of the hidden treasure!
Always keep in mind that more land means more attractions, more attractions means more visitors, more visitors means more money, and more money means more improvement. Do you know how else you can improve your theme park? Study the graphs you see at the end of each season!
10. Learn from Your Graphs
When a season comes to a close, your assistant will show you a couple of graphs displaying the overall performance of your park. There is truth in numbers. Who said math wasn’t an important subject in school?
There are three graphs that will be shown to you at the end: one for compliments which has blue bars, one for criticism with red bars, and one for overall performance which is a hybrid of a line graph and a bar graph. The most important graphs here overall are the blue and red ones. Let’s talk about compliments first.
The graph where your guests tell you the great things about your park can still be learned from. For instance, the lower numbers at the bottom of the graph could tell you a few things that need some improvement. Let’s say that only a few people thought your food was good. This should be an opportunity for you to work on the merch at your Food Stalls, Food Court, Restaurant, and Snack Machines.
Now, the red bars might be a bit hard to swallow. These are what the guests are trying to tell you to fix. The most positive one you can get here is the Stayed Until Closing aspect. This means that the guests who said this really love staying at your park. Unfortunately, not all of them think this way. You might have visitors who got hungry due to the lack of places they can buy food from, thirsty from the lack of drinks, upset because they couldn’t find the bathrooms, left because they tried all the attractions, or merely tired because they ended up walking on unpaved dirt.
It happens, but these criticisms are what should make you look a little closer at your park. Fix these and you’ll have more people who’ll stay until closing. This also means you’d have made a killing that season. Play to your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses—you’ll rise through the ranks in no time!
Taking care of a theme park is no jolly holiday and you’ll certainly feel the pressure as the in-game years go by, but wish upon a star and soon you’ll touch the sky! All you need to do is remember what you’ve learned from reading this guide:
- Manage your funds wisely. Money doesn’t grow on trees!
- Get more attractions ASAP.
- 2-Star ranks for attraction research are the most efficient.
- Use Promo Megaphones and Marketing Tickets during events for maximum profit.
- Staff Houses should be spread out.
- Walkways keep your visitors from treading unpaved dirt. It’s all in the comfort!
- Fixtures are quite important because they keep guests in the park.
- Make requests come true. You’ll make a lot of people happy.
- When you have the budget, hire contractors for border expansion.
- Your graphs should tell you what to fix and what to keep up. Learn from them!
And that’s the end of our beginner’s guide for Dream Park Story! We hope that you enjoyed reading this and that perhaps, you’ll make an even happier place on Earth.
Are you an experienced theme park owner? Do you have tips for Mascots, how to run Shows or Parades properly? Is there anything we missed in our guide? Shoot us some comments down below!