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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.