Gillian’s Wonderland Pier is known for its exhilarating rides and family-filled environment, attracting Ocean City’s locals and visitors each year. But have you ever wondered who designs the look of the park and each ride? From the enchanting castle-like entrance of dragons, princesses, murals, and more from the 6th Street Boardwalk entrance, to the colorful ride sets throughout the park, all the pieces are designed and constructed by Wayne Seddon.
“Believe it or not, I always wanted to work in amusement parks,” said Wayne. “When
I was about 10 years old, my brother-in- law had a friend who worked at Bill Tracy’s Amusements Display Associates, Inc., and as the years went by, my older brother, Jack Seddon, also found employment there.”
From an early age, Wayne knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: Use his craftmanship and bring amusement centers to life through his work. His fascination for the industry may have come from Wayne’s exposure to theme parks throughout his childhood, but artistry runs in his family.
“In earlier years, I was raised by my grandparents where my grandfather worked and made a living as a woodcarver,” said Wayne. “Artwork always has and continues to run in our family.”
Beginning his career at Amusements Display Associates was the onset of Wayne’s success. From contractor work in New Orleans, La., Wildwood, and Ocean City, to starting a business with his brother in display work, Wayne did it all before landing the job at Wonderland Pier.
“During the 1980s, Jack and I began our business. But, after not getting paid for a miniature golf course we worked on, our company quickly plummeted. After this fallout, I still needed to make a living, so I took up a position at the Beach Tag Handicap Facility here in Ocean City, and it turns out Roy Gillian was the chairman of that board,” said Wayne. “One day on the job, Roy approached me, knowing me well from work I did at the park in previous years, and mentioned that if I ever was in need of a job, Gillian’s was always an option. After my time at the Beach Tag Handicap Facility, I began to look for other work and paid a visit to Roy. He offered me a better deal, and the rest is history.”
Since 1989, Wayne has worked at Wonderland Pier as the director of art and creativity, designing pieces with his own personal touch and talent.
“When I have an idea for the park, I run it by Jay Gillian and give him a quick sketch of my vision. He will either give me the go or tweak certain things, but it is almost always a yes,” said Wayne.
Inspiration comes in many forms, and for Wayne it is a combination of his own creativity and inspiration found along the web. With over 30 years of experience, imagination is the main source of Wayne’s craft.
As for creation, this process for his artwork can range, because each piece is unique.
“For the famous dragon that attracts many on the Boardwalk, I created a scale model for Jay to accurately depict the composition,” said Wayne. “I carved polyurethane foam to create the shape of the dragon itself, and once that was finished, I fiberglassed and painted it. As for the skeletons, I used PVC pipes to make the bones and clay to form the joints, finally sealing it with fiber glass and paint.”
Although Wayne genuinely enjoys every aspect of his job, there is more to the gig than his own personal enjoyment.
“Aside from the figures I design, I really love hearing kids in awe of the murals I paint outside Wonderland Pier. Knowing that I can make people happy with the things I create is one of the best feelings, and is why I do what I do,” said Wayne.
The purpose of Wayne’s artistic efforts throughout the years has always been to bring people joy, but also to play a large role in the popularity and success of Gillian’s Wonderland Pier itself.
“I do what I do for the public,” said Wayne. “The appearance of the park gets the people in, but how they are treated makes them want to come back.”
You can find more information about Wayne and his expertise while visiting Wonderland Pier or wayneseddon.com.
Photos provided by Alina Seddon.
Find this and more in the August issue of OC Mag