Skip to main content
Building The World’s Best Theme Parks

Building The World’s Best Theme Parks

By Theme Park Insider
What's it like to design and develop the world's top theme parks and attractions? Robert Niles of Theme Park Insider sits down with top themed entertainment designers to find out.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo

Breaker

Castbox Logo

Castbox

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo

Overcast

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

Stitcher Logo

Stitcher

Making Jurassic World VelociCoaster, with Greg Hall
Greg Hall, Creative Director at Universal Creative, talks about how Universal Orlando Resort brought this fan-favorite new roller coaster to life. Hall also shares with host Robert Niles some of the secrets that have made Jurassic World VelociCoaster such a beloved attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. 
24:09
July 30, 2021
Making Music Soar, with Brian Yessian
Music is one of those elements that can elevate an ordinary attraction into something great. We talk with an expert at making great attraction music - Brian Essien, the music director for the upcoming SkyFly: Soar America, a new flying theater that's coming this summer to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
22:10
May 19, 2021
How Do You Find the World's Best Attractions?
What makes a theme park attraction world-class?  I ask that question to the leaders of the Themed Entertainment Association's Thea Awards: Luc Mayrand from Walt Disney Imagineering and experience designer Dave Cobb, who talk about how the TEA finds and selects its Thea Award winners.
31:43
January 14, 2021
Making holiday magic at Universal Orlando
What makes for a great holiday celebration at a major theme park resort? Universal Orlando's Vice President Entertainment, Deborah Buynak, and Senior Manager of Entertainment Creative Development and Show Direction, Lora Sauls, join Robert to talk about their unique approach at Universal Orlando for its holiday-based IP.
26:48
November 24, 2019
Halloween Horror Nights, with Michael Aiello and Blake Braswell
Creative directors Michael Aiello and Blake Braswell talk about the development of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, including the inspiration for the event and how variety in concepts and tone help develop guest engagement through levels of interactivity.
30:26
September 20, 2019
Building a whole new world
First, designers built attractions and lands, but now the very best build entire worlds. What drives theme park designers to create immersive worlds? What are the challenges in communicating with and engaging guests in these spaces? And what are the hallmarks of success? At the 2019 D23 Expo, Walt Disney Imagineering's Joe Rohde asked those questions of his colleagues Jeanette Lomboy, Luc Mayrand, and Scott Trowbridge, who talked about their roles in creating Aulani, Shanghai Disneyland's Treasure Cove, and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, respectively.
58:04
August 25, 2019
Let the Good Times Roll, with Universal Orlando's Blake Braswell
What does it take to put on one of the most popular Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans? Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras combines a Cajun food festival with a daily parade and live musical entertainment in a family-friendly atmosphere that's all about experiencing the fun of one of the world's most popular and enduring celebrations. And each weekend, Universal brings in top-name musical acts for headliner concerts in the park, too. We talked with Blake Braswell, Entertainment Show Director at Universal Orlando Resort, to learn more about he and his team puts together Universal's Mardi Gras celebration.
18:03
March 1, 2019
Telling Original Stories, with Universal's Dale Mason
Established IP can help in developing a world-class theme park or attraction, but it's not necessary. Dale Mason, Vice President and Executive Art Director at Universal Creative, talks about how he and he team developed the original mythology that drives Universal Orlando's acclaimed Volcano Bay park.
15:56
November 27, 2018
'Battle for Eire' and the fight for VR's future
Is there any future for virtual reality in theme parks? David Schaefer from Falcon's Creative Group joined me to talk about what theme parks have done with VR - and how they can do better with it in the future. Is VR just a first step toward augmented reality, or can theme parks create VR attractions that can leave fans thrilled instead of frustrated?
25:01
November 7, 2018
Getting in the game with sports-themed attractions
Some of the most popular entertainment brands in the world are sports teams. With IP being king in theme parks these days, why don't we see more parks developing sports-themed attractions? I asked that question to the experts who have designed two of the leading examples of sports attractions in the world today - the team at JRA. JRA worked on creative design for Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Steelers Country land at Kennywood, which will feature the record-setting nine-inversion Steel Curtain roller coaster. Joining me for the conversation are Randy Smith, the project director for Ferrari World, Rick O'Connell, the design director for Steelers Country and Shawn McCoy, the Vice President at JRA.
28:17
October 30, 2018
Making Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi with designer Dave Cobb
Dave Cobb and his team were tasked with designing what is now the world's largest indoor theme park for one of the biggest studios around. From inception to its public opening, Dave lets us in on the process of taking beloved characters and locations from the screen and bringing them to life in a world-class vacation destination.
51:31
September 30, 2018