Building the World's Best Theme Parks podcast, I ask that question to two of the world's top themed experience designers.What makes a theme park attraction world-class? In a new episode of our
Luc Mayrand is a Portfolio Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, having worked on Shanghai Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure and upcoming Zootopia land. He also has worked on the expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland and the reinvention of Epcot. Mayrand came to WDI 1999, but before that he led the development of Star Trek the Experience in Las Vegas and was a core designer on Terminator 2–3D at Universal Studios Florida.
Dave Cobb is a themed experience designer who led the creation of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi for Thinkwell. Before that, he held creative design lead roles for Paramount Parks and Universal Creative, where he led the team that created Men in Black Alien Attack.
Together, Luc and Dave have chaired the Thea Awards committee for the Themed Entertainment Association, leading the TEA's annual effort to recognize excellence and innovation in themed entertainment design around the world. The Theas honor great theme park attractions as well as excellence in other areas of themed entertainment design, including museums, installations, and brand experience centers.
If you are thinking about a career in theme park attraction design, get involved with the TEA - it's the world's leading professional organization for people who do just that.
And if you're inspired to nominate something for a Thea Award - whether you work in the industry or not - bookmark this page, where you will be able to submit a project for consideration when nominations open later this year.
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I could listen to these guys talk for hours. It is interesting to consider how attractions get recognized by the Thea Awards Committee, and it's important to note that you don't have to be in a theme park or other major tourist attraction in order to be recognized by the group. There's a HUGE world out there, and people are coming with new and interesting ways of telling stories (and yes, that's pretty much what themed attractions boil down to, storytelling), and it's impossible for any one person (or small group of people) to experience them all.
For me, it's always been about the innovation within the industry and ways to leave guests wondering "how did they do that" either using technology, forced perspective, or a new/unique way of telling a story. We encounter these "tricks" practically every day without even knowing it, and as our lives have become more virtual, the industry will continue to develop new ways to tell the human story.