How can theme parks brings the world's cultures together?

October 24, 2018, 1:15 PM · How do top theme parks create experiences that work for millions of visitors from different cultures around the world?

It's not just about building great attractions. Little things — from the way that operators point people into rows to how you ask guests to pay for food in a restaurant — can lead to culture clashes that ruin the carefree environment that parks spend billions to create. What can park managers do to get all those details right, to create a truly global attraction?

Two of the world's best at doing just that will share their experience next month at the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. Universal's Tom Mehrmann and Europa Park's Roland Mack will join host Bob Rogers to talk about "Charming the World" in the expo's annual Legends panel.

Mehrmann, now the President and General Manager for Universal Beijing Theme Park and Resort, previously worked as the CEO for Hong Kong's Ocean Park, where they consistently beat rival Hong Kong Disneyland in annual attendance in part by trying to do a better job in accommodating a wider variety of cultures among visitors. Mack is the founder of Europa Park, one of the world's most visited theme parks, whose theme is the coming together of Europe's various cultures.

Mack, Rogers, and Mehrmann
Mack, Rogers, and Mehrmann

Neither is a stranger to the IAAPA expo's stages. Mehrmann previously appeared on the 2015 Legends panel with Marty Sklar, Jack Lindquist, and Matt Ouimet, while Mack spoke with fellow IAAPA Hall of Famers Tim O'Brien, Dick Nunis, and Dick Kinzel in 2016.

"Intended for future leaders, the objective of the annual Legends Panel is to preserve and share the otherwise-lost wisdom and methods of the industry’s great achievers, in a way that helps tomorrow's leaders shape the future," Rogers said.

This year's panel will be especially notable because it will be the first without any representative of the Walt Disney Company on it (barring last minute additions, of course). Initially, the "Legends" title referred to the official Disney Legends who composed the panel each year, including Harrison "Buzz" Price and Sklar. In recent years, Rogers has diversified the panel to bring in legendary industry leaders who bring perspectives from other companies while maintaining a focus on the best practices that lead to success within the field.

"Legends 2018: Charming the World" happens at 3:30pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. I will be there to cover the panel for you, here on Theme Park Insider.

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