Attractions maker WhiteWater West hired Chris Perry as vice president of strategic partnerships. If he looks familiar, it’s because he was the host of Travel Chanel’s Epic Attractions.
In the seven-episode series that premiered last summer, Perry took viewers to some of the fastest rollercoasters and wildest waterslides on the planet. Not a bad gig.
His first television show, however, was less than glamorous.
As host of Mission Amusement, it was Perry’s job to swoop in and save struggling family-run themeparks. Telegenic and boasting a lifetime of experience in the attractions industry, Perry was perfectly cast. But Travel Chanel passed after only one episode, fearing the “turnaround” genre was past its prime.
Perry was fine with the decision. Traveling to the world’s worst themeparks wasn’t exactly a dream job.
“When you’re doing a refurb show, you’re not going to an O.K. place. You’re going to a place with no other leg to stand on,” Perry said. “Then when you go in, they’re really not too happy with you being there because you’re going to tell them everything they’re doing wrong. Who wants to hear that?”
But the executives liked Perry and offered him the role of a lifetime, that of a globetrotting thrillseeker. Adventures on Epic Attractions included chasing cheetahs, wrestling gators and snowboarding in the desert.
A champion of the waterpark industry, Perry is now guiding Richmond-B.C.-based WhiteWater West’s client service division from Dubai, where the Chicago native lives with his wife, Lisa, and two kids, Noah and Ella.
It’s in Dubai where he previously served the world renowned Wild Wadi Waterpark as general manager. Under his leadership, Wild Wadi became the world’s first waterpark to achieve I.S.O. and Green Globe certification for customer satisfaction and environmental stewardship.
So, will we ever see Perry on the small screen again?
“If it doesn’t get renewed, that doesn’t mean it won’t come back later,” Perry said of Epic Attractions. “If it comes up again, fantastic!”
Resume at a glance
- On IAAPA’s board of directors since 2013
- A founding member of the Middle East & North Africa Leisure and Amusement Council, which helps foster the industry’s growth in the Middle East
- Oversaw more than 800 employees, representing 45 nationalities, as general manager of Wild Wadi in Dubai
- Served as a freelance operations consultant for world-class aquatic facilities
- Was Director of Ellis & Associates’ International Aquatic Safety School
- MBA from London Business School
- Teaching degree from Eastern Illinois University
- Lifeguarding since he was a teen