CREATING DESTINATION ATTRACTIONS THAT ARE TIMELESS
ary Goddard, creator of everything from The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, to Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square, to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man at Islands of Adventure, to the upcoming Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow at Georgia Aquarium, talks about why finding “The Big Idea” is what it’s all about regardless of whether you’re designing a retail mall, a restaurant, a theme park or a casino.
High quality attractions remain the single best way to attract audiences in large numbers.
an it be 50 years since Disneyland opened its gates to the world and put an unknown Anaheim on the world map? Is it 35 years since Walt Disney World turned a sleepy swampland in Orlando into the #1 tourist destination in the world? Is it possible that Universal Studios started providing “behind the scenes” studio tours some 42 years ago, forever branding Universal City as its own part of Hollywood?
ED: Well first tell us what you mean when you say “the big idea” Gary?
“Deepo” and “Billi” are the stars of the all new DEEPO’S UNDERSEA 3D WONDERSHOW premiering at The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta in November of this year. The show is the latest 3D/4D sensation and continues to build upon a growing trend in theme parks around the world. See “21st Century Entertainment” on Page 6 for the latest and greatest in the world of 3D and 4D attractions.
Believe it or not, through boom times and bust times, destination attractions like these just keep going, bringing tourists and residents back again and again and again. And its not just the theme parks that work this way, places like Times Square in New York, Covent Gardens in London, the Ginza in Tokyo, or the Via Condotti in Rome have this same drawing power. And so do The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Hershey’s Chocolate World in Times Square, or The Space Needle in Seattle. When the right concept is developed, and when it’s executed at the highest level, success follows.
WHAT’S “THE BIG IDEA?”
ED Talks to industry leader Gary Goddard about what it takes to create destination attractions.
An entertainment destination can be a store, a restaurant, a mall, a theme park, or a complete “world” with all of these included in one place. Entertainment Destinations, whether they are designed and built, or whether they simply evolve over time, become timeless and ageless. The boundaries of time and the ups and downs of economies have no long term effect on these magical places. But what makes an entertainment destination work? Why are some such locations successful, while others fail? This edition of Entertainment Destinations will look at the many factors that contribute to making a successful attraction, what it takes to make a great concept work, and we’ll take a look at a variety of projects that provide examples of success and failure.
ENHANCING YOUR BRAND THROUGH ENTERTAINMENT
DESTINATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
How smart companies are using entertainment to engage consumers through unique immersive experiences.
An inside look at the concept and planning process that leads to creating world class destination projects.
21st CENTURY ENTERTAINMENT: 3D/4D ATTRACTIONS RULE
TERMINATOR 2/3D was the first attraction ever to merge 3D film, multiple screens, live actors and 4D effects into one seamless production. Audiences loved it and attendance at USF climbed.
The expansion of CAESARS PALACE in Las Vegas included new towers, new restaurants and an expansion of The Forum Shops Retail Mall as well, leading to increased attendance throughout.
How museums are using entertainment to increase interest and attendance in museums throughout the world.
IRON RIDES VS FAMILY ATTRACTIONS
Ty Granaroli, former VP Creative for Paramount Parks discusses the differences between attractions designed for families and those designed for teens only. COVER: HERSHEY’S TIMES SQUARE is the mega-successful chocolate store that not only makes money, but builds customer loyalty through its high quality visual and sensory delights. See ENHANCING YOUR BRAND THROUGH ENTERTAINMENT (Page 3) to learn more about this and other brand-based attractions.
They are not easy to develop and most architects and designers are oblivious to what I am describing here which is understandable because they are really not showmen. And our industry has been built by entrepreneurs and developers who were, at heart, showmen first. They knew what it took to motivate people to get into their cars, drive to their attraction, and then gladly plunk down hard-earned money for tickets, food and souvenirs and go home happy. And because they got it right, those same people would come back again and again. And that’s what we’re about at the end of the day – providing a unique and engaging experience that is worth the investment of time and money by our audiences. ED: So what is a “big idea” then; give us some examples.
Industry leaders speak to the expanding audience for 4D experiences in theme parks, museums and aquariums worldwide.
MUSEUMS AS DESTINATIONS
GG: Well, to sum it up, it’s merging concept, place, time, price, and perceived value into one unique experience. To expand on that, it’s the right concept, for the right place, at the right moment in time, created at the right price, ultimately delivering the right value to the consumer. Every successful destination attraction, whether it’s a single store, a stand alone attraction, a new casino or an entirely new theme park, has been the result of this unique combination of elements.
Entertainment Destinations is a publication of Gary Goddard Entertainment. © 2005 Gary Goddard Entertainment. Issue 1 Winter 2005 Editor: Forbes Candlish Design: W. Lee Roe Contributors: Ty Granaroli, Taylor Jeffs, Richard Swaidan, Gary Goddard “Jurassic Park The Ride”, “T2/3D’ and “The Spider-man Ride” created in concert with Universal Creative. All materials © 2005 Gary Goddard Entertainment, except as noted below: Caesars Magical Empire © Desert Palace, Inc., T2/3D: Battle Across Time © 1996 MCA, Inc., Jurassic Park: The Ride © 1996 MCA, Inc., Star Trek: The Experience © 1998 Paramount Parks, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man © 1999 Universal Studios, Inc., Spider-man names and images © 1999 Marvel Entertainment, Sanrio Puroland, Harmonyland and Sanrio Ginza Gallery, © Sanrio Company, Ltd., Georgia Aquarium © 2004 Georgia Aquarium, Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow © 2005 Big Fish Productions, LLC. Hershey’s Time Square, The Hershey Story at Chocolatetown Square, and Hershey’s Really Big 3D Show © Hershey Foods, “The Grammy” and “The Grammy Awards” are the registered property of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc.
GG: Well, in terms of attractions that I have created, we use the matrix I described above for everything we do. When I created The Forum Shops for Caesars Palace, we were told flat out “retail will never work in Las Vegas.” So we set out to make sure that what we did was a unique CONCEPT that would work for the specific MARKET in Las Vegas. We determined that the TIMING was right for something totally new in the retail world, and we created an EMOTIONALLY ENGAGING EXPERIENCE that had never been seen before in the world of retail or in Las Vegas. And we did it for a budget that made sense and worked within the terms of the economic models that Caesars and the retail developer provided. The result is well known now: The retail mall that had been called “Henry’s Tomb” (referring to thenCaesars CEO Henry Gluck) while we were building it, became the world’s most successful retail mall once it opened. Applying the same set of rules to Hershey’s Times Square, or to Terminator 2/3D, or to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, or to Sanrio’s Puroland, or to Star Trek --- honestly the list is endless, and the results are the same: Every project we’ve done has always exceeded the most successful projec-
tions of our partner and client. ED: What about projects that you were not involved with yourself? GG: Well, in the retail world you’d have to say THE GROVE is a big hit and that it meets all the criteria of finding “the big idea” for the particular place and time. I’d say Cirque Du Soleil hit the bull’s-eye with “O”, still their best show ever, in Las Vegas. Tokyo Disneyland, when it was initially designed was considered a big risk, so much so that as you know, Disney did not retain ownership and instead had the Japanese investors finance the entire project; a decision they lived to regret when it opened and quickly became the most successful Disney park ever. ED: Can you give an example where the lack of a “big idea” resulted in failure? GG: Well, there are many, the most recent being The Millennium Dome in London, a project that was easy to predict would be a disaster. In fact, I did as much as tell them that about a year before opening at an industry presentation, but the management team thought that building a massive dome and putting poorly executed “educational” displays was what London and the world wanted at the time. I told them they needed some entertainment, something spectacular, and they didn’t agree. So they missed “the big idea” and tried to market sub-standard “edu-tainment” to a sophisticated market that had many other options for their leisure dollar. Mind you, this project was lorded over by a man who publicly stated they would have none of that “Disney kind of thing” as if that was a bad idea! They could have used a little magic under that Dome. The problem is they thought the Dome itself WAS the Big Idea – and it wasn’t. Meanwhile, a good old fashioned Ferris wheel was built across town at a fraction of the cost of the Dome and became an instant sensation. Why? One project had “the big idea” and one didn’t. Another obvious recent example, and I don’t think this a secret of any kind, would have to be Disney’s California Adventure. When the project first opened, people stayed away in droves. Why? The wrong concept, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and done with a marginal budget that created a perception that the value within the park was not worth the ticket price. Disney could not get people to come and so finally management had to capitulate and essentially gave the park away for free with their “buy one ticket (to Disneyland) and get a second admission (to DCA) for free” campaign. I think Disney believed they could market this to the public regardless of the fact that what they had created
JURASSIC PARK: THE RIDE was designed as an “event” that would bring the thrills of the film to life for audience of all ages. When the ride opened, attendance records at USH reached new levels and guests raved about the ride’s exciting climax.
BIG IDEA (continued)
was the wrong idea, executed poorly on just about every level. Why would you create a “budget” park directly across from the greatest theme park in the world? Why would you create an inferior experience that is not anywhere near that of Disneyland and then charge the same admission price? Why would you take the Disney name and build a park that betrays the trust people have in Disney to provide a quality experience at a fair price? Too few rides and shows, and mostly executed at the cheap; too many high priced restaurants and retail stores once you got in the gate; and ultimately, simply a bad concept all around. The perception soon became that this was a shopping mall with an admission price. All but the most die-hard Disney fanatics perceived this park as a rip-off, which really was true at the time they opened. Let’s face it Disneyland was and continues to be a BIG IDEA. And Walt Disney World was a BIG IDEA. But honestly, Disney California Adventure was not. I think that’s clear on just about every level. ED: That’s a pretty rough assessment Gary. GG: Well, as I said, this is not a secret, and it’s my opinion. Disney can refute it if they want, but honestly, I don’t think they want that kind of microscope on DCA at the moment. And I think that park will ultimately find its way. Bob Iger seems to want to bring back the kinds of things that Disney stood for, and Roy Disney is a strong supporter of those ideals. There’s nothing I am saying here that wasn’t on the “Save Disney” web site that Roy Disney had online for years. Having said that,
“The Big Idea... requires the right concept, for the right place, at the right time, created at the right price, ultimately delivering value to the paying customer.”
answer is simple: Add three major “E Ticket” attractions that can only be experienced at DCA. Not retreads from Disneyworld or elsewhere, but three original attractions, all designed for families that have the sweep and power of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man, or Terminator 2/3D, or even get back to original rides like The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. Add three of those over the next three years, and the perception of that park will turn around forever. Of course, getting the right “big idea” for each of those three attractions would be the key. And I don’t think it’s more Mickey Mouse and friends – that should be reserved for Disneyland. And it’s not more roller coasters and thrill rides. I think it’s coming up with some great ideas that are original, unique and that have the broad family appeal of the rides and shows previously mentioned. I mean, isn’t that what theme parks are really about?
How smart companies are using entertainment to engage consumers through unique immersive experiences.
n a world where consumers have more and more choices about what they watch, where they go, and how they spend their money, smart companies are looking for new ways to reach out and touch their core customer. And what better way to form a last bond than through entertainment --- not just any entertainment, but something that touches the audience in an emotional way. This kind of direct connection is something that only entertainment attractions can achieve though such attractions must be accomplished with the right blend of message and showmanship.
ED: Any other words of wisdom with regard to creating “the big idea”? GG: Well, the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that entertainment destinations that are successful have one common feature: they engage the consumer on an emotional level, making a connection with each visitor in a positive and memorable way. Creating unique environments, shows, exhibits or entirely new themed worlds requires more than just a collection of off the shelf ideas. By finding that one “big idea” that is perfect for the specific location, and by executing that idea at a qualitative level, you will find success. It’s never failed so far. It’s making that emotional connection that counts and it takes all of these diverse elements working TOGETHER to make it happen. But it all starts with the right idea. The Big Idea.
The VENETIAN as a “Big Idea”: When Sheldon Adelson, Owner and Chairman of The Sands at the time, approached Gary Goddard with his goal of creating a new hotel casino in Las Vegas, he said “Gary, I’m looking for the billion dollar idea.” Goddard stated he understood the challenge and six weeks later showed Adelson his vision for VENICE. The result is THE VENETIAN, one of the most successful Hotel Casino’s in the world.
ED: So what’s your next “big idea” Gary? GG: There’s more than one! But as usual, I can’t talk about them yet because they are confidential. But one’s a big 4D project that I’m doing with James Cameron, and we are currently working on design development for The Grammy Museum which completely meets the criteria for the right idea, at the right time, in the right place. I have been working for a couple of years on a fantastic new musical attraction with Andrew Lloyd Webber which will be something new in the world of destination attractions. And then we’re working on a fantastic new attraction for a Casino in Macau – it’s an exciting time for us. ED: Those do sound like “big ideas” GG: They are.
STAR TREK: THE EXPERIENCE as a “Big Idea”: When Paramount Parks approached Goddard with the idea of doing an Star Trek attraction in Las Vegas, he instantly new the project would need to be an event-scale concept; something larger than life that would match the expectations of visitors would come from all over the world. The resulting attraction broke all attendance records in its first two years of operation.
with the right creative people working on it, and with management’s active support, I believe DCA can be fixed. But yes, they need to find “the big idea” to turn it around. They have already modified things and have added some new attractions to provide a better sense of value for customers, but I don’t think they’ve really cracked the code yet. Not for the long run. But they will. They’re Disney – they have to.
“The big idea for Hershey at this particular location, “says Goddard, “was to create an iconic display that would be seen from blocks in all directions. We wanted to create what would become the most-photographed corner in all of Times Square. We knew if we achieved this, that people would make their way to the store, and once there, would want to go inside to take a look around.” The concept worked. Goddard’s idea for an eight-story high sign that commemorated the many products of Hershey though a kind of time-line of Times Square signage styles, created a must-see attraction. Now going into its fourth year, Hershey’s Times Square is a true success story, generating high profits while also making a genuine connection with each Hershey customer who visits the store. Prior to the Hershey project, Goddard and his team had created Sanrio’s Ginza Gallery, the first fully themed retail shop that Sanrio had ever owned and operated. The store promoted Sanrio in a unique new way while people from all over flocked to see this fantastic place. Following this, Goddard and his team began a long and successful relationship with Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, providing the concept and master planning for the hotel from 1985 through 1997 and creating The Forum Shops at Caesars, the world’s most successful shopping mall. “Everything we did at the time was designed to build the brand by providing high quality experiences for consumers at every level,” says Forbes Candlish,
ED: What would you do? GG: Well, I’d have to put a lot of thought into that – to really find the right “big idea” that would transform that park into what it could and should be. But the short term THE FORUM SHOPS as a “Big Idea”: When Sheldon Gordon approached Goddard with his notion of “Rodeo Drive in Vegas”, Goddard envisioned something bolder. The resulting retail mall has since become a landmark attraction in Las Vegas, attracting over 18,000,000 visitors annually, and generating sales income that has made it one of the most successful malls in the world.
When Hershey Foods Corporation, a Fortune 200 company best known for its line of classic American Chocolate products, was looking for someone to help them ensure that their new store on Times Square would be successful, they turned to Gary Goddard, one of America’s leading attraction creators. Goddard had successfully led Hershey, and Hershey’s Chocolate World in particular, into a whole new world of branded entertainment through his creation of “Hershey’s Really BIG 3D Show”, a production which broke daily, weekly, monthly and annual attendance records for the facility. When they came to Goddard with their Times Square location he quickly assessed the proper creative idea for them.
Director of New Business for Gary Goddard Entertainment, “and now it seems as if everyone is trying to emulate these early success stories. But doing it right isn’t as easy as it looks.” The key to any successful branded attraction is that the core experience somehow relates to the product itself. Currently, the Gary Goddard Entertainment team is working to bring the experience of The Grammy Awards to life through a highly unique attraction that will be part museum and part contemporary performance space. “What we are planning for the Grammy project is so unique and different that I’m quite sure it will change the way future designers look at the museum experience. Most importantly, we are not putting the Grammy brand in a lifeless box. We are actually extending that brand in a way that television and the internet can’t, by providing the public with an exciting and dynamic experience that is up to date and contemporary, just as the Grammy Awards are.” The concept of creating “brand destinations” that connect the consumer with the brand has provided an entirely new way to reach out and touch loyal customers while also capturing new ones. From “American Girl” to “Coca Cola” to “Hershey’s” to “M&M’s” the list is endless; Brands can expand and connect through location based destination attractions.
“The big idea for Hershey at this particular location,” says Goddard, “was to create an iconic display that would be seen from blocks in all directions. We wanted to create what would become the most photographed corner in all of Times Square.”
THE GRAMMY AWARDS will be celebrated in an exciting new facility that will be at the heart of the new AEG LIVE development in the heart of Los Angeles. As conceptualized by Gary Goddard and his design team, this attraction will be more than a museum, providing contemporary music that is updated every year following The Grammy Awards television broadcast.
HERSHEY’S TIMES SQUARE, as depicted in this conceptual rendering, was conceptualized as a “must-see” destination in the heart of Times Square. To compete with the many other signs and marquees in the area, designer Gary Goddard created an eight-story high neon collage composed of a colorful array of well known Hershey chocolate and snack brands.
DESTINATIONS AROUND THE WORLD An inside look at the concept and planning process that leads to creating world class destination projects.
Making an aquarium A movie studio, retail mall, theme park and a destination resort hotel set the stage for a fantastic new attraction in Atlanta destination resort on the coast of Durban. As the largest Aquarium in the world, Georgia Aquarium had to be more than just another typical aquarium. To help the design team expand their ideas, Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot and the man who is financing Georgia Aquarium as a gift to the people of Georgia, brought in Gary Goddard to act as the entertainment design consultant for the massive project. “I can’t really talk about the project until it opens,” says Goddard, “but I can promise you that there are some very exciting concepts at work within the space, and it’s not like any other Aquarium in the world today.” Bernie Marcus had this to say about Goddard’s contributions to the project; “Gary provided some wonderful ‘out of the box’ thinking and inspiration to the Georgia Aquarium. He brought imagination and creativity to assist our team in developing entertaining strategies for telling the fantastic stories of the aquatic realm.”
Developers in Durban, South Africa, wanted to create a unique place where the magic of movie-making would combine with the natural attraction of retail shopping, dining and entertainment. Durban Movieworld takes the best of old and new and combines in a seaside setting that will serve as a major gathering place for locals, as well as being the number one tourist destination as well.
Heritage and history forms the foundation for a powerful new destination in Dubai The founders of Dubai, now is the midst of rebuilding and expanding their entire country, look to the past as well as the future as they continue to develop Dubai into a world class resort destination. As gleaming towers fill the skyline of Dubai, and as more and more islands, skyscrapers and theme parks are announced, it is important to remember that the heritage of a nation is equally important as its future. To that end, Dubai government officials asked Gary Goddard to look at how they might preserve their historic district while also making the area a viable part of the total community as
well. Working closely with Eduardo Robles and Creative Kingdom, Goddard and his team came up with a concept that brought past, present and future all into one cohesive concept and plan. “We decided the best way to feature the past,” says Goddard, “was to showcase the present and future as well, providing parallel paths that are built upon the historic foundations of the city.” The conceptual plan as depicted here provides a strong vision for that part of Dubai that forms the historical connection to its past.
MILESTONES IN THE 4TH DIMENSION October 1982:
Magic Journeys, directed by Murray Lerner, debuts as the first theme park 3D film at EPCOT Center.
May 1985: Gary Goddard creates a new me-
dium; the 4D attraction. The Sensorium at the Six Flags Power Plant utilized over a dozen aromas (with the patented “Scentovision” process), rumbling seats, and wind effects, among other special 4D sensations.
Walt Disney Imagineering, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola collaborate to create Captain EO, a starstudded 3D epic with over 150 special effect shots and several in-house 4D effects as well.
December 1990: Sanrio Puroland opens
The Time Machine of Dreams, the first attraction to bring motion base seats together with a 3D film and several 4D effects. HERSHEY’S REALLY BIG 3D SHOW was one of the first times a Fortune 200 Company decided to use this new attraction technology to help build brand awareness. The spectacular production, designed and directed by Gary Goddard, resulted in Hershey’s Chocolate World breaking their daily, weekly, monthly and annual attendance records. Equally important, guest satisfaction was “off the charts”; audiences love this show.
Th e f u t u re i s h e re, and it’s in 3D!
he entertainment attraction of the 21st century is already here. It’s called 4D and it merges the best of 3D filmmaking with unique new in-theatre effects (that’s the 4D part) to create an entirely new genre of entertainment experience.
Ask any industry expert what the two most spectacular and ground-breaking theme park attractions to premiere in the last decade were and you’ll get the same answers over and over again. This is no coincidence. Terminator 2/3D: Battle Across Time and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man, both are at the Universal Orlando Resort, and both have one thing in common: they were created by Gary Goddard. Acknowledged as the one of the leading creators of themed entertainment today, Goddard has a long history not only in theme parks and attractions, but in motion pictures, theatre and in the live stage arena as well. With the creation of these two major megaattractions, Goddard has set the bar that as yet, no one has been able to top. “You have to understand that when I was the midst of conceptualizing these attractions,” says Goddard, “it was a battle. The majority of the in-house design staff at Universal thought they were both impossible. Some of my own team-members at my company then thought the same thing. I had to fight at every stage of the development process and it was only with the backing of Jay Stein and then following him Ron Bension, that either of these projects ever saw the light of day.” Now these two attractions set a standard that has been hard to follow, but one thing is for sure, they have ushered in the era of 3D films and 4D attractions.
This history of 3D and 4D development for theme parks goes back to 1985 when Six Flags was developing an attraction for the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland. It was then that Goddard debuted The Sensorium at the Six Flags Power Plant in Baltimore. This ground-breaking attraction was the first to combine physical effects in the theatre (including 16 programmed scent effects, along with rumbling seats) with an original 3D film to create a new kind of attraction that then revolutionized the industry forever. 3D film had been around theme parks for awhile before this of course, and Magic Journeys, which premiered at EPCOT on opening day in 1982, was probably the best use of 3D film in an attraction at the time. The opening “kite sequence” is still remembered by all who saw it. Following this, a number of 3D films were developed for theme parks and Expos, but in recent years due to advances in technology, the interest in 3D has grown expotentially. So now, with over twenty years of ever expanding interest in this exciting medium (see sidebar), the question on everyone’s mind is “what’s next?” Currently, major filmmakers are now moving toward the world of 3D, while top theme park designers are creating new and ever more exciting ways to bring immersive 4D adventures to life.
Titanic director James Cameron has taken a lead roll in the initiative to equip all movie theatres with the technology needed to release major motion pictures exclusively in 3D, hopefully beginning with his new film Battle Angel, set to open in 2007. Cameron sees 3D as the best thing that’s ever happened to cinema. He spoke to BlackFilm.com last year and had this to say; “A few years ago I started down this path of creating this 3D camera system, and once I started working in that, I couldn’t imagine myself going back and shooting with the camera stuff I used before. It just seemed
like going back from a car to a bicycle, and I don’t want to ride a bicycle again.” Peter Jackson (director of Lord of the Rings and the soon to be released King Kong) has stated his interest in making a big 3D movie soon, and George Lucas recently announced plans to release each film of the Star Wars saga, re-mastered entirely in 3D, at the interval of one a year beginning in 2007. So 3D films will be coming to the big screen quite often in the near future, brought to you by some of the biggest directors in the industry.
In the realm of live entertainment, the clues may lie in a recent interview with Gary Goddard where he reveals that in the works is an epic live stage show to open at an undisclosed resort/casino. “This production,” Goddard says, “will take everything we learned from doing attractions like T2/3D and multiply it by ten.” Blending a cast of over fifty performers, with a 3D film and a massive array of 4D effects, this mega-show promises to be something on an unprecedented scale. In the area of themed entertainment, everyone’s looking for new ways to merge the magic of a 4D experience with the thrills of the latest ride technology. Following the success of attractions like The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man (and most recently The Curse of DarKastle at Busch Gardens) Disney is rumored to be following the trend by developing an incredible yet-to-be-announced 3D attraction which will blend the ultimate ride mechanism, the Kuka Robo Coaster, with special effects
that will give the best of the current attractions a run for their money. Connecting with audiences in ways otherwise impossible, 3D/4D provides the inyour-face capabilities that creative leaders like Gary Goddard strive so hard to achieve. This doesn’t mean that every 3D/4D attraction has to be “in your face” and filled with thrills. In many cases, as with Hershey’s Really Big 3D Show, the storytelling can be played for fun, providing laughs and highly entertaining experiences for audiences of all ages. With this in mind, Goddard reports that his latest 3D/4D effort will go back to the roots of a great family attraction, bringing together memorable characters, a compelling story, original songs, and a spectacular new animated film. Deepo’s Undersea 3D Wondershow, set to open at the new Georgia Aquarium on November 23rd of this year, will feature “all the elements that made us fall in love with 3D in the first
place”, Goddard says. “Of course we’ll have the in-theatre effects and some real surprises, but the real magic is on the screen; the show has a lot of heart.” Because of people like Goddard, the medium re-invents itself time and time again, but at the core, it’s the same thing which brings audiences back over and over again, whether it be an 3D-IMAX experience at a museum or a family’s third ride on Spider-man during their vacation. In the brave new world of entertainment, 3D films and 4D attractions are definitely a major part of the future. And not surprisingly, as we look at these amazing immersive experiences, it seems the future has arrived already. “With 3D film and 4D technologies, there is no limit to what we can create, there’s no door we can’t open,” says Goddard. “I think we’re at the threshold of creating some exciting new adventures for audiences of all ages around the world, presenting things they have never experienced. And that, after all, is what our business is all about.”
Disney-MGM Studios opens Muppet*Vision 3D. Jim Henson and Walt Disney Imagineering blend audio animatronics and a live actor for the first time with a 3D film to create a highly popular family attraction that was universally loved by audiences everywhere.
Honey I Shrunk the Audience opens to rave reviews. Pushing the 4D envelope further, among the noteworthy special effects is the 500-person motion base and first use of the “leg tickler” effect.
Created by Gary Goddard and his Landmark Entertainment Group, EFX premieres at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, starring Michael Crawford in the first major theatrical production to utilize 3D film as part of the stage production.
Gary Goddard collaborates with James Cameron and together they create Terminator 2/3D: Battle Across Time. The attraction opens at Universal Studios Florida to overwhelming critical and popular acclaim. This ground-breaking production combines multiple projection screens with live actors, a host of 4D effects, and a spectacular 3D film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by James Cameron. Goddard directed and supervised the production of the rest of the show that Variety termed “a multi-media, interactive, three-dimensional, wall-to-wall wonderment.”
April 1998: It’s Tough to Be a Bug opens
at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with an original 8 minute film created by PIXAR. This attraction adds a “insect crawling effect” to the list of intheatre effects for 4D shows.
TERMINATOR 2/3D continues to be the best example of all that 3D and 4D can be, wowing audiences with some of the best 3D film and the most incredible 4D effects ever devised. Equally important the show tells a compelling story in a way that engages audiences of all ages.
DEEPO’S UNDERSEA 3D WONDERSHOW is the latest 4D attraction from Gary Goddard. Premiering at the Georgia Aquarium, this musical spectacular takes families on an immersive voyage through the ocean’s depths with a cast that includes SEARETHA and the SEAPREMES
DEEPO’S UNDERSEA 3D WONDERSHOW also features a highly unique deep-sea barbershop quartet, THE TWILIGHTERS.
“A few years ago I started down this path of creating this 3D camera system, and once I started working in that, I couldn’t imagine myself going back and shooting with the camera stuff I used before. It just seemed like going back from a car to a bicycle; and I don’t want to ride a bicycle again.” – James Cameron THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF SPIDER-MAN used 3D film in a moving dark ride to create something audiences had never seen or experience before. The Los Angeles Times declared it “the best theme park ride in the world, melding story and technology in a way that surpasses Disney’s top efforts.”
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man opens at Islands of Adventure to critical and public acclaim, and is immediately given the distinction of being the “world’s greatest ride” year after year by fan-sites and industry publications alike. Conceptualized by Gary Goddard and developed in concert with Universal Creative, this ambitious attraction takes guests on a sense-shattering dark ride blended seamlessly with the ultimate 3D film, making it the best 4D ride experience ever. The Los Angeles times termed it “the best theme park ride in the world, melding story and technology in a way that surpasses Disney’s top efforts.”
Hershey’s REALLY BIG 3D Show opens at Hershey’s Chocolate World in Pennsylvania as the first 3D film to utilize digital projectors with an entirely computer generated film, breaking daily, monthly, and annual attendance records.
The Georgia Aquarium, in concert with Gary Goddard Entertainment, premieres DEEPO’S UNDERSEA 3D WONDERSHOW as a major part of Georgia Aquarium.
Museums are turning to entertainment to increase attendance.
here’s a transformation going on in America and around the world. Museums are becoming less and less dusty and dark and quiet. To attract larger audiences, Museums are turning to attractions and entertainment to heighten the visitor’s experience, and to stay in touch with a generation that has been raised on the internet where information is available in seconds. Don’t get me wrong. I like museums. But in the past, museums were often dark and musty places filled with static displays staged in windowless chambers, set behind thick panels of protective glass that increased the sense or remoteness. Guests generally filed through the passive exhibits in church-like silence, enduring a forced march through a confusing labyrinth of galleries. With spaces so vast, objects of such staggering age and walls full of masterworks of historical importance, journeys to the museum often made visitors feel somewhat insignificant. Walter Pater, an English essayist and 19th century critic said, “A museum often induces the feeling that nothing could ever have been young.” That was, and is, part of the problem. The presentation of materials in such a somber and reverential state takes the life out of many museum experiences; you forget that the paintings were created by passionate individuals or that historical times were at one point, contemporary times. But a funny thing happened to the typical museum experience some years ago when government monies all but dried up for most facilities. As a result, institutions now had to earn a large part of their income and they were forced to compete for guests as they came to rely more and more on ticket sales for revenue generation. Not only did attendance have to grow, but the length of stay had to increase, and along with it food and merchandise income needed to become viable profit centers. Many existing museums turned to touring exhibits to generate additional attendance and higher spending levels at their facilities. The right touring attraction can drive annual pass sales and make the turn-styles spin. Several years ago the Titanic Museum Tour was a sensation spiking visitor levels and turning local museums into must see attractions.
Current tours, such as Body Worlds (The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies) and a new King Tut Exhibition are drawing large crowds at museums throughout the U.S. Body Worlds has been seen by over 20 million visitors at exhibitions staged in approximately 30 cities in Asia, Europe and now, the United States. When the exhibit was held at the California Science Center in Los Angeles the facility was open around the clock to accommodate the massive crowds, with a record 62-hour museum marathon that saw non-stop visitation. And this was the second time the
Currently Gary Goddard Entertainment is in the midst of creating “The Grammy Museum” which will be something new in the world of immersive attractions and museums. Part museum and part performance space, this facility will be renewed every year following each new Grammy Awards show. Most importantly this museum will come alive in a vibrant and engaging manner, celebrating not only the achievements of the past, but also of people alive, working, creating and producing today. “We see this as a place where people can experience the history of The Grammy’s while also ap-
“What we are seeing is that as museums offer experiences that are alive, vibrant and emotional, visitors are increasing. And as we move further and further into the future this trend will continue to drive interest and attendance.” tour had been to the museum in the same year. Crowds exceeded 45,000 people in a single weekend. King Tut seems to tour as often as the Rolling Stones, but the fact is it’s been nearly thirty years since the treasures of the Tutankhamen have been on display in the U.S. The previous tour attracted over 8 million guests between 1976 and 1979. This new tour is scheduled for 27months and is certain to eclipse previous attendance numbers. But touring events, as successful as they may be, aren’t the only way that museums are attracting visitors.
preciating the creativity and achievements of contemporary artists. This is much more than a museum as it’s alive with the sounds of today as well.” Across the country, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Gary Goddard and his team are working on The Hershey Story, a museum experience that will take visitors on an exciting journey into the life and times of Milton S. Hershey, creator of The Hershey Chocolate Bar and founder of Hershey Foods. This museum will be a colorful and exciting destination that will include a unique mix of historical artifacts and informative shows, all housed within an immersive facility that will be an attraction in and of itself.
There are many other examples of immersive, or experience based museums, including the highly acclaimed Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Newseum, the self-proclaimed “World’s first interactive museum of news,” and the new Lincoln Presidential Museum designed by BRC Imagination Arts. Early word for this controversial new museum is that it’s a definite must see experience for anyone in the area. Literature from the Lincoln Presidential Museum sums it up pretty well by stating its goal “is not to fully explain all of the issues that confronted Lincoln but to inspire in the visitor a deep sense of personal connection and empathy with the man.” It’s clear that the lines between entertainment and education are blurring as museums strive to offer experiences that transcend traditional displays and immerse visitors in a particular topic. Attractions, when they work, achieve exactly this result, connecting with guests on an emotional level and creating a sense of empathy and understanding that would not be achievable by simply staring at a diorama, or reading a descriptive plaque. In an era of earned income, where museums must pay their own way, there seems to be little choice but to offer experiences that are accessible and immediately rewarding. But what we are seeing is that as museums offer experiences that are alive, vibrant and emotional, visitors are increasing. And as we move further and further into the future this trend will continue to drive interest and attendance. The message is simple: to compete and excel in today’s competitive and fast-paced world, museums can and should become destination attractions. And for those museums that make that leap, the reward is in seeing increased visitation and greater appreciation as well.
The concept for the new Hershey Museum includes a number of immersive environments that are keyed to the life and times of Milton S. Hershey. Within each of these unique exhibit areas, guests will find not only exhibits and artifacts, but also unique shows and interactive attractions. The new museum will also have its own retail and dining facility, all building upon the Hershey legacy.
y Granaroli, former Vice President of Creative for Paramount Parks, talks about the value in creating family based attractions rather than adding another roller coaster.
ED: Why does a family attraction they’ve done a great job with their prodmake more sense than a new Coaster? uct over the years. But when it comes to delivering content and telling stories coastTG: First of all, roller coasters are a ers aren’t very good choices – it’s like playdouble edged-sword. They have to ing the same note over and over again. And be incredibly thrilling to be deemed a coasters are becoming extremely expensive, success, but the more intense the ride, the rivaling the costs of major attracnarrower they become in terms of the range tions and parks are looking for othof guests who will ride them. Family attrac- er solutions to entertain guests. tions can impact people emotionally, while coasters create a visceral response. Both are ED: How can a theme park, or a museum or valid parts of the offering, but the emotional other public facility, benefit from creating response, at least to me, has the deeper and attractions that are equally entertaining for longer-term pay-off. But, the reality is this; adults, children, teens and grandparents? really good family attractions are hard to do. They require a lot of development and great TG: The benefit is that the family gets to
ED: What advice do you have to developers and operators who are thinking of adding a new attraction, or even perhaps creating a new destination of some kind? TG: Be a leader and not a follower. This is a market that is open to new directions. For example, Great Wolf Lodge and the Nick Family Suites are redefining attraction hotels, and perhaps attractions in general. And they’re good examples of a product that brings families together. And it’s not always about Big Ideas – some times it’s about the details, like at the Grove, a fantastic development that appeals to all ages
ED: From your perspective, as a designer of themed attractions, and as the former head of design at Paramount Parks, share your thoughts about the importance of rides designed for families and not just teens.
“Too many parks today are designed to split the family up as soon as they enter the gates. Teens go this way, kids and families go TG: This is a topic I’ve been doing a lot that way...” of thinking about recently. Maybe it’s because I have young children, or maybe it’s because as a designer, I try to pick up on societal trends and how they change how we perceive entertainment. It seems to me that theme parks are totally about families -- even more so now than when Disneyland opened in 1955. Think about it. At that time families spent a lot of time together in the home. They ate dinner together. There were only a few channels on television, so every age group hadn’t been culled from the familial herd and driven to their own demographic cocoon. Now, all the communication tools and in-home entertainment options we have at our disposal, cell phones, Internet, video games, 300 channels, have really cut into family time in the home. So, when folks are looking for out-of-home experiences I think they are seeking things that the family can enjoy together. Too many parks today are designed to split the family up as soon as they enter the gates. Teens this way, kids and families over here…
design and storytelling to succeed – and they are rarely “off-the-shelf ”. You can buy a coaster from a catalogue, so it’s easier, particularly on the very difficult development time lines regional theme parks deal with, and so, for many years, parks have turned to coasters to drive the gate. ED: Parks seem intent on building a newer, faster, higher coaster every year. TG: Actually, it seems like the “iron age” is over, or at least nearing its end. There were “coaster wars”, where you tried to be the first on your block to have a particular type of coaster. But I just don’t think the parks got the results they were seeking. Paramount Parks has a tradition of innovation when it comes to hardware and
enjoy a day together and nobody has to compromise – it’s like a Pixar movie… It’s not a chore to take your kids to see the Incredibles, or Toy Story. The writing is great, the jokes are good and every member of the family can enjoy the show. Attractions can be like that too, but it takes a lot of work. I think the best 4D shows accomplish the same thing – humor is a good common denominator for families. Our thirst for thrills may diminish with age, but not our need to laugh. In the end, if the family is experiencing rides, attractions and shows as a group they take home memories of being together – and that’s really what theme parks or attractions and even museums are for, creating lasting impressions. Thrill rides make impressions, but they’re rarely emotional. If you make an emotional connection with your guests they’ll be with you for life.
and more than that, it’s a highly repeatable experience with just enough sizzle to make it interesting but not off-putting. The key is to deliver a quality experience that can surprise, engage and delight the guests. It’s not easy, but it’s imperative in this new age of experience-making. We can no longer rely on the belief that Americans have some sort of theme park DNA in their genetic makeup that compels them to line up for the same old attractions year after year. It’s like the movie business – you have to offer people quality or they won’t show up.
Family attractions become classic rides to be enjoyed again and again by famiies. As evidenced with rides like THE PUROLAND BOAT RIDE (pictured left above) which is now in it’s 15th year of operation at Tokyo’s Sanrio Puroland, or with STAR TREK: THE EXPERIENCE in Las Vegas (now it’s eighth year), quality family attractions become multi-generational with appeal for all ages.