Alien Dreamer

Bryan Temmer is the founder of Alien Apex Resort, Inc, a company whose sole mission is to build a theme park in Roswell, New Mexico, that would serve as a Disneyland-like celebration of "alien culture." That's alien as in extraterrestrial, not undocumented human. The company has no formal office space, no other employees, no profits -- heck, it has no revenues. The founder has no experience in the theme park business, nor does he have any money to fund such a venture. What he does have is a dream and the certainty that it will come true. If you just chortled to yourself, then we have something in common. You see, Bryan Temmer is an old friend, and while we've drifted apart over the years, we check in to update each other on our lives, the wives, and kids. One of those check-ins kicks off this story.

Dan Rubin: Bryan, you called me about two years ago and told me that you had a vision. Tell Motley Fool readers about that vision.

Bryan Temmer: I was driving on Highway 54, near my house in Land O'Lakes, Florida, and I was looking out into this large, open field, where I saw a theme park made up of just roller coasters. And I knew that I was going to build an amusement park called "Coaster Capital."  

DR: And when you told me this, I was supportive?

BT: (Laughs) Oh, yeah. Right. You said that I lost my mind, that you didn't mean to hurt my feelings but that you thought I was a jerk, an imbecile --

DR: A buffoon. So, what happens next?

BT: I got home that night, wrote down all of the roller coasters that would be in my park, and how it would be divided into three sections -- wood, metal, and experimental coasters. I then put my idea in a proposal format and sent it out to companies like Disney, Universal Studios, and Cedar Fair.

DR: And what was their response?

BT: The folks from Cedar Fair sent a polite rejection letter. But the others sent these really harsh attorney letters that said they don't take unsolicited proposals.  

DR: Did any of them blatantly insult you?

BT: Well, I had also sent it to a roller coaster enthusiast organization, and the guy accidentally cc'd me on an email he sent to his people that said, "Ignore this guy. He's either a child or emotionally disabled."

DR: People can be so cruel. Did you get any positive feedback?

BT: None. But I try to learn from everything I do. So, from this I learned that there are companies that design rides and theme parks. I researched them like crazy, used the Internet to figure out the email addresses of high-ranking people, and emailed them the proposal. To my surprise, some very high-ranking people were willing to meet with me to discuss my idea. And they were very enthusiastic. But I didn't have any money to hire them to design my park.

DR: So they told you to go make boom boom in your hat?

BT: Pretty much. But I don't wear a hat and I wasn't going to let some rejections stop me. I knew I needed to raise money, but something was telling me that Coaster Capital was not my best idea. I love it, but something wasn't right. So, I took a step back and asked myself what my favorite thing about Coaster Capital was. And I realized it was a roller coaster called Alien Abduction, The Ride. This is a roller coaster that will simulate an alien abduction.

DR: With probes and everything?

BT: No! There's no probing. I don't think families would enjoy that sort of thing. So, I took this idea, wrote up a proposal and thought where would the best place in the world be for such a roller coaster? And of course it's Roswell, New Mexico, the apex of all things extraterrestrial. I then sent an email to the mayor of Roswell. And less than 24 hours later, I got an email from him saying that he liked my idea and that he realized I had put a lot of thought into it.

DR: How did that make you feel?

BT: I was thrilled. The mayor then put me in touch with a guy named Zach Montgomery, who is the City Planner for Roswell, and he loved the idea. Their attitude was, "what do we have to do to make this happen?" My motivation went through the roof. I then set up an appointment to meet with a firm that designs rides. They loved the idea, but they felt it couldn't work as a stand-alone attraction and felt it needed to be an entire park. And that's when I knew that I would build my park.

DR: You knew?

BT: Knew. All of this creative energy just started coming to me as if I was pulling it from thin air. The name came to me, Alien Apex Resort. I started writing. And writing. I wrote down every ride that would be in the park, what food we would sell, what the transportation would look like. It was all so incredibly real -- the colors, the sights, the smells, everything. It felt like a premonition.

DR: And this premonition came to you because?

BT: Because -- you're going to laugh.

DR: Only to inspire.

BT: I believe that human life will be visited, if we haven't already been, by aliens.

DR: Aliens as in creatures from Uranus? (Brian waits a moment.) So, this park will help foster relations between our species?

BT: Yes. Exactly. And we should have a place where we contemplate what that first contact will be like. But look, I'm a scientist by nature, and I know I could be wrong. If so, it will still be great to have a place where people can wonder about our universe. Alien Apex Resort welcomes the true believer and the skeptic alike.

DR: Yeah, if they can pay $80 apiece to get in. So, after you designed the park, what happened?

BT: We took the idea to the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University and they wrote up a feasibility study where they factor in things like land use, travel, lodging, economic impact, etc. And they determined that it was a strong idea.

DR: So, at this point, did you think of selling the idea for big bucks?

BT: What? No. This has absolutely nothing to do with money. This is about genuinely making the world a better place.

DR: So, after the feasibility study came back?

BT: Zach met with Governor Bill Richardson's office. The governor wasn't there, but his people liked the idea. So they sent Zach to meet with New Mexico's Secretary of Tourism, Mike Cerletti. And he liked the idea. And to make a long story short -- remember, this thing took over two years -- a bill was introduced into the New Mexico State Legislature that called for the allocation of $245,000 for the planning and design of Alien Apex Resort.

DR: Which means?

BT: Which means we are now meeting with firms that are going to design the actual park.

DR: And when this bill was passed, did anyone notice?

BT: At first it was quiet. But then a reporter from AP picked up the story and it just went crazy. We were on the home page of CNN.com, in the New York Times, ABC, Fox -- it was incredible. Just. There's no words. Not just because everything we worked so hard for was being acknowledged, but you can just feel the way this story touches people.

DR: Why do you think that is?

BT: Because I think people are afraid. Everyone is afraid for the future. And this story tells them not to be, and that it's still OK to dream.

For more offbeat interviews with Dan, check out:

  • My Dad Is a Fool
  • An interview with CAPS Star Seth Jayson
  • An interview with David Kretzmann, 14 year-old stock picker
  • Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Cedar Fair is an Income Investor selection.

    Foolish comedy writer Dan Rubin does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this piece. He posts to the boards as TMFElCapitan. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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